Quarantine Post #43: Batman TAS

If you were a 90’s kid… chances are you remember Batman the Animated Series. If you don’t… I am sad for you. It was my introduction to Batman and all things DCAU (DC animated universe) as it was for a lot of kids. Prior to this show, I wasn’t into comic books but this show still captivated me. It was something that my brother and I watched religiously. It came on Cartoon Network where we were at. So I am doing a rewatch on HBOmax, (I needed something after the SynderCut.) And to be honest, it is even better than I remember which is interesting since I thought it was great then.

Batman: The Animated Series was developed by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Mitch Brian, and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It originally aired on Fox Kids from September 5, 1992, to September 15, 1995, with a total of 85 episodes. For the final 15 episodes, the series was given the on-screen title The Adventures of Batman & Robin. The series became the first in the DC Animated Universe, spawning further animated TV series (Superman TAS, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, and Justice League), feature films (Batman and Mr. Freeze: Subzero, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker), comic books and video games. The series took influence from Tim Burton’s live-action films, Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), but there were several characters that were placed in comic books after being created for and appearing in the show. Those characters include: The Joker’s accomplice Harley Quinn, Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya, the vigilante Lock-Up, former actor Simon Trent, and ninja Kyodai Ken. Some characters, however, were refigured for the series.  Mr. Freeze was changed to a tragic backstory while Clayface was changed in the comics to look like he does in the show.

So I am going to pick several of my favorite episodes from the iconic series. I did note that the series was pretty dark even though no one died… I am not sure that 13 year old me and my 8 year brother grasped the storylines fully. But revisiting them was fun. Let’s jump to it… in no particular order.

  • Nothing to Fear – Batman’s first run in with the Scarecrow. Scarecrow has a vendetta against Gotham University. Crane became a Professor of Psychology at Gotham University until his experiments in fear became too dangerous. He lost his job due to his obsession with inspiring terror in his patients and students. He was apparently called a lunatic… well he was. No doubt about it. Using his fear toxin, he is wrecking havoc on the university. Batman ends up exposed to the toxins while keeping the university from burning down and it is fun to see him crack the case beat the Scarecrow while battling his inner fears and demons.

  • Two Face 1 & 2 – Everyone knows that the prosecutor Harvey Dent becomes Two Face. Every iteration the story is a bit different. In TAS, Harvey is leaning on organized crime in Gotham City trying to get reelected. His re-election campaign proved so tiring that he started having violent outburst and they became more frequent, to the point where his psychiatrist recommended committal to a psychiatric ward in order to prevent a traumatic psychotic break. However, such an action would ruin his campaign and Dent instead compromised, agreeing to a reduced campaign effort and increased medical treatments. Rupert Thorne isn’t liking the extra police attention. Thorne decides to get all the dirt he can on Harvey even going so low as to dig through his psychiatric files. Thorne finds out that Harvey is suffering from multiple personality disorder (DID). Thorne knew if it was exploited it could ruin Dent’s career. When a fight ensued between Dent and Thorne’s cronies, a freak explosion destroyed the left side of Dent’s body. The trauma was powerful enough to force his alternate personality to dominate, and left in state where right and wrong no longer held any meaning. Bruce is left feeling like he failed his friend… Just like his parents. In part two of the episode, with his new identity Dent started a crimes’ spree against Rupert Thorne. He also started using a double head coing with one of the sides scratched to act upon. Every decision Two Face made fell on the flip of this coin. Two-Face attacked several of Thorne’s fronts causing Thorne to lose substantial money. When Two Face decides to return the favor to Thorn and blackmail him. Batman of course saves the day. But you end up feeling bad for the Bat because he did all he could… and you feel bad for Harvey. He was a rising star and now he is just another criminal.

  • Heart of Ice – Enter the start of Mr. Freeze’s tragic backstory. (Freeze is one of my favorite characters in this series. You find out that a lot of the villian have turned to crime after they were done wrong. Revenge should be Mr. Freeze’s middle name.) Freeze is out for revenge on behalf of his wife (which he usually is.). This is the start of his story. Victor Fries was a scientist working at GothCorp. His wife, Nora, diagnosed with a terminal unspecified illness. It is sad that they don’t seem to know how to cure her. Victor is just a doting husband trying help his wife. Victor started experimenting with cryogenics using GothCorp’s funds. Was this wrong…? Totally. Did he deserve what happens next? NOT AT ALL. When the CEO of GothCorp, Ferris Boyle, learned of Freeze’s experiments, he decided to shut them down. Not caring what happens to Nora… Boyle broke into his laboratory, destroyed most of his equipment and kicked Fries into a batch of chemicals, leaving him to die. (But this is a kid’s cartoon…. and an origin story… so no one dies.) Freeze makes it out alive although he can no longer survive outside of cold temperatures. (Sub Zero). He built a cryo-suit that kept his body at low temperatures and also tripled his normal strength. He also built a freeze gun to start a criminal campaign against GothCorp and Boyle. Mr. Freeze made numerous break-ins on GothCorp, stealing parts for a giant freezing gun. While Batman intervenes throughout the episode (I remember a henchman getting shot with the gun accidentally, Freeze with his cold hearted self wants to leave the guy behind… It is Batman who helps the guy.) The ending culminates in Freeze confronting Boyle at his Humanitarian Ceremony. (Imagine believing you killed to people and getting a humanitarian ceremony.) Batman challenged Freeze at the party, fighting him one-on-one until he broke Freeze’s helmet with a flask of chicken soup. Freeze was defeated, and detained along with Boyle, as Batman presented evidence of Boyle’s crimes to the press. Victor Fries was incarcerated in a special cell in Arkham Asylum.

  • Feat of Clay 1 & 2 – Roland Daggett is a turd. And I thought that as a kid. TURD. Bruce Wayne is framed for the attempted murder of Lucius Fox. The real perpetrator is an actor and master of disguise named Matt Hagan, who was disfigured in a car accident years ago. Matt Hagan starts doing sketchy jobs for Daggett in order to get his hands on a monthly supply of an addictive face cream known as Renuyu (a pun on “Renew You”) that can temporarily reshape his face back to normal. For botching the murder, Hagen’s supply is cut off, and poor Hagan goes through a side bout of withdrawal. When he breaks into Daggett’s lab for more Renuyu, he pays the price dearly when Daggett’s men drench his face in the formula and force him to swallow liters of it. Matt is not okay and Bruce is locked up for the attempted murder. Matt’s overdose saturated every cell in Hagen’s body, altering his appearance to a bulky and misshapen clay-like form who can, for brief periods of time, shapeshift into anything or anyone he intends. Clayface subsequently attempted to get revenge on Daggett. He posed as an overweight woman in the audience of a talk show where Daggett was promoting Renuyu (after being released on the market) and then morphed back into himself to try and kill him. His efforts were stopped, however, by Batman using footage of Hagen’s old movies to remind him of who he was, and thusly, what he has become. Clayface relents, and just prior to his capture by the Dark Knight, fakes his own death.

  • Joker’s Favor -Mark Hamill as the Joker… is there anything better? (2nd best goes to Heath Ledger.) The worst possible person to owe a favor to in the Batverse would be the Joker. Charlie Collins comes across the Joker after a rough day and has had enough. After hurling curses at the car that cut him off only to find out that it is the Joker. Desperate to save his life, Charlie mentions he has a wife and son and promises to do anything the Joker asks of him. Joker accepts, but decides not to put Charlie’s promise to use just yet. He takes Charlie’s driver’s license and leaves. This leaves the terrified loser at the beck and call of The Joker. Two years later, Charlie has moved and even changed his name but the Joker still locates him. The Joker learns that Commissioner Gordon is to be given an award, and decides to call in the favor that Mr. Collins owes him. Charlie is surprised when he learns what the favor is to be: Holding a door open for the Joker’s right-hand woman, Harley Quinn, when she wheels a cake into Gordon’s testimonial dinner. Joker promises to send Charlie home immediately afterwards. (Who would actually believe that though….?) Not knowing what the Joker is planning but desperate to avoid it, Charlie fashions a crude Batsignal, which is seen by Bruce Wayne as he is leaving the dinner. Just then, Charlie is called to hold up his end of the bargain. Charlie dutifully opens the door for Harley, but then finds that his hand has been glued to the handle. Joker and Harley release a gas that paralyzes everyone else in the room. As the guests watch, immobile and helpless, the Joker enters the room in grand fashion and “congratulates” Gordon by pinning a miniature bomb on his lapel. The Joker and Harley leave, explaining, to Charlie’s horror, that the Joker does intend to let him go home, but not alive. Batman frees Charlie from the glue… and pursues the Joker through the building, dealing in turn with his henchmen and Harley. The Joker manages to escape the building, only to then see Charlie waiting for him in an alley. The Joker laughs this off, but is surprised when Charlie belts him in the gut, knocking him into some garbage. Charlie holds up another one of the Joker’s bombs, which he acquired from the van and vowing to protect his family by doing them both in and robbing Joker of the only dream he has, defeating Batman in a huge spectacle or dying in the effort. He laughs at the thought of making sure Joker will only be remembered as having been blown up by “a miserable little nobody”. Panicking, the Joker tries to talk Charlie down, while simultaneously screaming for Batman’s help. Believing that Charlie has lost it and feeling he has no other choice, the Joker gives up his notebook containing all the information he has on Charlie and his family. After the Joker surrenders the information, he runs to the vigilante for protection Charlie tosses the bomb towards him anyway. The Joker screams and hides behind Batman, but the bomb is revealed to be a harmless confetti firework. Batman laughs, surprisingly, and promptly takes a greatly irritated Joker into custody. Fun times. Easily one of favorites.

  • Fear of VictoryFear of Victory is the episode marked the first appearance of Robin in the series from an airdate viewpoint. It is also the second episode featuring the Scarecrow. After escaping from Arkham Asylum, the Scarecrow has come up with a fear chemical that is triggered by the release of adrenaline.  He uses the chemical on Gotham City’s greatest athletes, then bets against them to rake in the winnings. At Gotham University, Dick Grayson and a friend named Brian Rogers watch the TV news about the excellent performance of Rogers in a University match, when news about strange incidents related with athletes seemingly lost control of themselves in a very strange way was aired leaving them worried. A delivery man knocks on their door room to deliver a telegram addressed to Rogers and then leaves without saying much. The message of the telegram wished Rogers luck for the upcoming match and also advised that “only a fool knows no fear”. Both he and Dick are left powder on their hands. At the football game, Rogers performs poorly and in the last minute he panics in the middle of the field, paralyzed with fear. He had seen his opponents as scary monsters and isn’t able to continue playing the game. later that night he goes on patrol with Batman. Robin tells Batman about the events when they spot a robbery in progress in the rooftop of a skyscraper. They use their grapple guns to get to the top of the building fast, but as they get higher, Robin looks down to the street and is overwhelmed by fear. Robin loses the grip of the rope and almost falls off, but manages to cling to one of the building’s columns. Batman has to retreat to help Robin (who grew up in a circus and should have no fear of falling.) Batman takes the telegram to the Batcave to investigate it further. He experiments with animals and discovers that the chemical is a variation of the Fear Toxin that is absorbed by contact and is triggered by a rush of adrenaline. Batman decides to pay a visit to Jonathan Crane; the Scarecrow. At some gambling center in Gotham, a man who likes to be called “Lucky” is seeing making lots of money of the recent games. Later, Batman tells Robin that they are going to a match to prevent the Scarecrow from committing further crimes. Robin is still trying to overcome his fears and agrees to go, reluctantly. At the stadium, Robin spots a strange man and follows him. After a while Robin discovers that the man is Scarecrow and goes to check what was he doing in the players’ locker room. A helmet is turned upside down and Robin knows what to do. During the match, the top player performs better than ever, much to Scarecrow’s frustration. Batman confronts Scarecrow and tells him to give up his plan. Scarecrow threatens to drop a vial of a potent version of the chemical compound to the attendees so he can escape without Batman following him. The two of them struggle for a while and the vial is inches from falling down to the crowd. Robin, who has been looking the situation, fights his fears and uses the batrope to swing toward the vial before it falls down. Scarecrow tries to escape but is captured and taken into custody. I am always fascinated when the Scarecrow is involved. Fear toxin… I would have never come up with something like that ever… and I can’t imagine what I would see if sprayed with it. (Insert Shudder.)

  • Mad as a Hatter – This episode introduces The Mad Hatter to the show. The villain was rarely used in comics and his appearance on the series helped improve his portrayal in the comics. Jervis Tetch develops a form of mind control which he implements by placing devices in people’s hats. He uses this to impress Alice, a woman he’s attracted to, turning all of Gotham City into a wonderland to please her at every whim. When he learns she’s in love with another, the jealous Tetch decides to use his mind control power to do away with her, emulating a figure he idolizes: The Mad Hatter. Jervis Tetch is a scientist who works at Wayne Enterprises on a project on using microchips to increase the brain’s potential. Tetch has developed a technology that allows him to control the minds and bodies of any animal or person he wants by using micro-chips attached to his brain and to the other person.  Alice enters the laboratory to announce the unexpected visit of the head of the WayneTech division Marcia Cates, and Wayne Enterprises owner Bruce Wayne. Tetch is embarrassed to tell them that the project isn’t complete but Bruce Wayne thinks it is fine and gives the man more time despite Cates displeasure. Tetch starts feeling down and Alice cheers him up, but in doing so, Tetch develops a romantic feeling towards Alice which would be turned awry when he learns that she is in a relationship with a man named Billy. Tetch falls into a depression and he starts to think about forcing Alice to like him using his mind-control device. Later he learned that Alice had argued with Billy and they had broken up and he takes the chance to invite Alice to spend the night with him in Gotham. Tetch uses his mind-contol device to make the people in Gotham do what he wants and pretends to be a well known man in the city. When the couple are at the park, two goons try to mug them but Tetch uses his controlling cards and tells them to jump to the river. At that moment, the police radio sends the message to all the units about two men climbing the Gotham bridge above the river. In the Batcave, Batman examines the cards and remembers that his employee, Jervis Tetch, was working in a similar project at WayneTech. Alfred also indicates that the card is too similar to the one depicted in a book of Alice in Wonderland. Batman also remembers that he saw the same illustration at Tetch’s laboratory. (I don’t know anyone that has an even a passing interest in that story. Maybe I should read it but I only know what I know from the movie.) The next day, Tetch arrives at his office and learns that Alice and Billy are together again and that they were going to get married. Tetch is angry and when Marcia Cates tells him that Bruce Wayne is looking for him, he uses one of his cards to control her. A few moments later, Bruce personally arrives at Tetch’s office and asks Alice for him. Alice tells Bruce that Tetch and Cates had left the building together some time ago. Alice then receives a phone call from Billy and after she hangs the phone, she starts crying disconsolately. Bruce becomes aware that all the events are a bit weird. It is later revealed that Tetch is controlling Billy and he made him call Alice and tell her what Tetch wanted. When Alice arrives at her home, she finds that it has been covered with big flowers all over the place. Tetch is waiting for her but she is scared of him and at the fact that he knew about Billy when she didn’t tell to anyone. Batman appears from the shadows and questions Tetch about his experiments and then Tetch calls two mind-controlled men in disguise to fight Batman while he takes Alice with him using his mind-controlling cards. The Mad Hatter takes Alice away from there and Batman follows them into a maze of cards. After struggling for a while Batman finds his way out and confronts Tetch in the tea table of Wonderland. Tetch drops one of the maze’s walls on Batman and gets ready to strike Batman, when the dark knight used his Batarang to cut the rope of a hanging statue above them. The statue falls to the ground, leaving Tetch trapped inside and Batman takes the top hat, removes the mind-controlling device and destroys it. Alice is free of the mind-control and she and Billy are reunited much to The Mad Hatter’s sorrow. (So as a kid… I missed the implications of what Alice was going though… that I and many women face as they move through life. Tetch is a stalker and thinks he is entitled to be with Alice whether she wants to or not. So much for the “nice” guy.)

  • Perchance to Dream – This episode features the return of The Mad Hatter for the second time as the main antagonist since his first appearance in Mad As A Hatter. The episode is notable for dealing with the psychology of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Batman is knocked unconscious while chasing some crooks, only to wake up in an alternate existence that’s sees Bruce Wayne leads a fulfilling life with family (Parents and all. I was like… WHAT THE F***) and fiancée Selina Kyle. And someone else has the burden of being batman…. (RED FLAG.) Batman is chasing some crooks in the Batmobile, and when they enter a warehouse, Batman steps out and enters the building through the window. Upon entering, Batman is shocked by a flashing light and then a big metallic object dropped on top of him. When Bruce wakes up, he realizes that he’s on the safety of Wayne Manor and when Alfred Pennyworth comes into his bedroom to serve the breakfast, Bruce complains about falling into a trap so easily and then asks him about last night events. Bruce thought that Robin had saved him, but Alfred doesn’t know anyone under that name. Later, Bruce tries to open the grandfather’s clock entrance to the Batcave and realizes that it is not there. Bruce asks about the entrance to Alfred, who doesn’t understand what Bruce is talking about and when Bruce starts to lose his temper, someone comes into the room and asks what was going on. It is Thomas and Martha Wayne; Bruce’s parents and the two of them are alive. After that, Bruce talks to Alfred and asks him to tell him about his own life. Alfred tells him about Wayne Enterprises and his commitment to Selina Kyle. Bruce then goes to Wayne Enterprises to keep working as he supposedly does, when he receives a visit from Selina, her future wife. She is there on behalf of Bruce’s mother, who was worried for him and asked for Selina to cheer him up. Bruce tells Selina that he is feeling like he’s living someone else’s life. Selina then screams “Batman” and Bruce is shocked by the name, thinking that Selina might know his secret, but he realizes that she screamed because she saw Batman outside the window crossing the sky with his Batrope. Later, Bruce goes to the only doctor he trusts, Leslie Thompkins and tells her about his situation. Thompkins just clears up that Bruce is simply identifying with Batman, because he feels as though he’s been given everything his whole life and the lack of real accomplishment is manifesting the fantasy that he is Batman, who has worked for everything he has and every deed is of great value. When Bruce returns home, in a much better mood, he hugs his father and even plays a joke on Alfred, who is happy to see Bruce acting normal again. Bruce then grabs a newspaper and tries to read it but all the letters and words were scrambled and don’t make any sense. Bruce tries to read a book but the book had the same problem as the newspaper and he begins to understand that something is very wrong. Bruce goes to buy a rope, a grappling hook and flares as the police find him and try to take him back to his parent’s home, but he refuses and escapes by climbing to the rooftops. Finally, Batman appears and tries to reason with Bruce, but Bruce tells him that he had deduced that it is all a dream and that it was all Batman’s fault. Batman asks Bruce how did he realize it was a dream and Bruce tells him that he knew it when he couldn’t read anything. The reading is a function controlled by the right side of the brain and dreams were a function of the left side, so he figured that it is impossible to read something in a dream. Batman and Bruce start to fight each other and Bruce unmasks Batman to find that it is Jervis Tetch, The Mad Hatter under the mask.

  • Robin’s Reckoning 1 & 2 – Both episodes are notable for showcasing the origin of Dick Grayson and how he came to be Robin, Batman’s sidekick. During a fight with some gangsters at a construction yard, Batman and Robin learn the name of their boss: Billy Marin. While Robin looks forward to going up against Marin, Batman becomes distant, and after a falling out at the Batcave, Batman doesn’t allow Robin to accompany him on the search for Marin. Seems the Bat knows something that we don’t. Robin wonders what happened for Bruce to act that way and he decided to investigate about Billy Marin in the Batcomputer’s files. Robin discovers that Billy Marin is an alias used by Tony Zucco; the man responsible for the deaths of John and Mary Grayson; Robin’s parents. It is the flashback that threw me (even as an adult.) Batman is dark… knowing that Dick’s parents are dead is one think… seeing that they were murdered is another. It was done in a great way for kids… but still jarring. Would I want revenge????? Definitely! Was Batman going to be able to start Dick from going down a slippery slope? I had so many questions. Robin calls Batman and tells him that he deserves to apprehend the man who caused him so much pain but Batman refuses to let him in the case. For this reason, Robin decides to get into the action by himself with or without Batman’s approval. Robin then remembers the time when, as a kid, he went out to the city looking for Zucco’s place after hearing a conversation between Lieutenant Gordon and Bruce. Robin becomes more focused on finding Zucco and he goes to check on the place of Zucco’s captured henchman. Robin uses a tracking device in the telephone and he calls the last dialed number. Zucco answers and Robin learns his address thanks to the tracker.  Zucco is freaking out because of the Batman and he tells his henchmen that the bat is following him. Zucco notices some weird noises coming from the ceiling of his hideout and he starts shooting the roof with a machine gun. After the gun is depleted, Batman falls from the ceiling and hurts his leg in the fall. Using a smoke pellet, Batman escapes from the place and walks to a nearby abandoned amusement park. Zucco and his men follow Batman and separate to find him. At that moment, Robin is rushing to the place and Batman has to fight the three of Zucco’s henchmen with an injured leg. Robin arrives in his motorcycle and draggs Zucco across the pier. Robin is mad at Zucco and gives him a proper beating before throwing him off to the end of the pier. Robin is not sure whether to kill Zucco or hand him to the police, but Batman arrives and tells him to stop. Robin snaps at him, insisting that Batman can’t know know how he feels, but immediately realizes who he has just said this to, and apologizes. Robin lets the police take Zucco.

  • Joker’s Wild – Why in the world would you build a casino based on the Joker? Well that is what the Batman is trying to find out. A man called Cameron Kaiser has opened a casino that he named Joker’s Wild. The place was modeled after the criminal mastermind The Joker and it caused the wrath of the clown prince of crime, who escaped Arkham Asylum in order to teach Kaiser a lesson. While watching TV from the rec room at Arkham Asylum, the Joker watches a news report about the opening of a luxury casino in the outskirts of Gotham City. The casino’s owner Cameron Kaiser unveils the casino, “Joker’s Wild”, which is heavily modeled after the Joker’s image much to the surprise and shock of everyone. Kaiser states that he is paying tribute to the joker symbol’s classic roots, rather than the criminal himself no matter how it looked. This infuriates Joker, who realized that Kaiser is obviously stealing and profiting off his own image. Joker destroys the TV and fakes an injury to get out of the rec room. Joker promptly escapes from Arkham, steals a truck, and heads directly to his namesake casino. Bruce Wayne attends as guest at Joker’s Wild and is suspicious of Kaiser’s motives. As Batman, he then infiltrates Kaiser’s office and found files relating to massive construction bills for “Camelot” casino, and a dossier on Joker. The Joker arrives at the casino with intentions of destroying it in spite of appreciating the place’s dedications to him. As Joker plants explosives in the casino’s basement, Kaiser prepares to leave but is then confronted by Batman. He tells Kaiser that he deduced why he constructed a casino modeled after Joker: Kaiser bankrupt himself building the “Camelot” casino before changing its theme in order to invite Joker’s wrath to destroy it, thereby allowing Kaiser to collect the insurance money from the casino’s destruction. Kaiser admits this, but manages to incapacitate Batman with a electrical device and sends him to the basement, where Joker’s captures and ties him to a giant roulette table attached to the explosives that are rigged to detonate. When Batman wakes up, he reveals Kaiser’s intentions to Joker, who then reluctantly deactivate the explosives and is resolved to chase Kaiser, but not before throwing a live grenade to Batman. Fortunately, Batman escapes by shooting the grenade away with his grappling gun. Joker hijacked Kaiser’s helicopter and takes the casino owner with him, as he tells Kaiser that he decided to kill him and run the casino from behind the scenes. Batman chased the helicopter with his Batglider and manages to grab the helicopter. Batman tries to stop Joker and the two of them start to fight inside the helicopter, causing the aircraft to crash into the casino’s front doors. Summer Gleeson reports the arrests of Joker and Kaiser, whose insurance fraud plot was exposed and was condemned for endangering his employees and guests. 

  • If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? – The episode is notable for introducing to the series the classic Batman enemy: The Riddler; in a story that contains similar elements from the character’s first comic book appearance. After being fired from Competitron; Edward Nygma takes over the identity of The Riddler in order to get vengeance over his former boss Daniel Mockridge. I so enjoy the Riddler and I love this episode mostly because Mockridge is a tool. Edward Nygma arrives at his office at Competitron and finds that his nameplate has been removed and that he has been fired by his boss, Daniel Mockridge. Nygma tells him that the company owed him the prestige for developing the game of the Riddle of the Minotaur, but Mockridge tells him that the game was owned solely by Competitron. Clearly, he wants to keep the funds all to himself… although their isn’t much Nygma can do for himself since he signed a contract. Furious, Nygma tells him that he is nothing compared to a mastermind like him, to which Mockridge replied, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” Two years later, Mockridge tries to sell his products to Wayne Enterprises in order to expand his market into Gotham City. Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne listen to the man but they notice that Mockridge is suddenly distracted with a billboard outside of the window. When they turn, they see a stock update screen addressed to Mockridge, written in a riddle and saying something about a wasteland. Mockridge loses his nerve and leaves the building without any explanation. Later that night in the Batcave, Bruce still ponders the solution to the riddle while Dick plays the “Riddle of the Minotaur” game. Alfred comes in with their suits and stays a while, trying to understand the game. When Dick says that his character has been trapped in the wasteland, Bruce realizes that Mockridge owns a bar in Gotham called The Wasteland. Mockridge arrives at “The Wasteland” and he finds Edward Nygma sitting on his desk. Mockridge warns him to stay away from him, but Nygma tells him that he has an offer to make. Nygma tricks Mockridge and traps him with some trick rings. At that moment, Batman and Robin arrive at the place and Nygma comes out to meet them. He introduces himself as The Riddler and Batman asks him if it was a pun on his real name. Batman and Robin fight Riddler’s henchmen and then Riddler starts a fire in the place. Batman had to decide whether to follow Riddler and save Mockridge or stay and save Robin from being burned. Batman chooses the latter and by the time they escape from the burning building, Riddler and his men were gone. Batman and Robin drive in the Batmobile when they realize that the city lights are flashing in a strange pattern. Batman deduces that it is Morse code and uses the computer on his gloves to decipher the message. Riddler is manipulating the lights from Gotham’s Lights Power Plant. The message was a riddle relating something that was “as high as an elephant’s eye”. Batman solves the riddle and goes to the place were the Riddler is leading them; The Riddler of the Minotaur amusement park that featured a maze as part of its attractions. They have only 10 minutes to find the center of the maze and when their time starts to run out, Batman decides to use one of the traps in his advantage. Using “The Hand of Fate” as a vehicle, Batman and Robin arrive at the center of the maze and answer the last riddle. They free Mockridge but Riddler tells them that they must survive the attack from the minotaur and the robot minotaur comes to life. Batman uses the hand of fate and destroys the minotaur. Riddler, while unhappy with the results, is yet relaxed because at that precise moment, he is far away from their reach. In the aftermath, Wayne Enterprises acquires Competitron, but Dick is still bitter that Mockridge made millions out of the buyout and got away. Bruce, however, is strangely satisfied, noting that the Riddler is still at large and he wonders how well Mockridge is coping with the unfortunate events. Mockridge is living in a constant state of fear and paranoia and, because of his guilty conscience, cannot sleep well at night. (“How much is a good night sleep worth anyway?”)

  • The Man Who Killed Batman – It is one of the few episodes that doesn’t feature Batman as the main character and instead it focuses on Sidney Debris, a new character created exclusively for this episode. Sidney Debris was acting as look-out for drug-runners when Batman showed up.  The two struggled, and Sid’s bumbling causes Batman to fall off the roof and into a shed of explosive gas. After the ensuing fire, the only thing found was Batman’s cape and cowl. It seemed Sidney had done the impossible and become the man who killed Batman. In prison, Officer Montoya learns from Harvey Bullock about the supposed death of Batman at the hands of a master criminal called “The Squid”. Renee is in shock and Harvey tells her to go talk to Gordon and try to help him cope with the news. Harvey wonders if any of the people they caught at the pub know something about the case. Harvey asks Sid about it, but before he can answer, a woman comes into the place and demands that Sidney Debris be set free as she paid his bail out of jail. The woman introduces herself as Harleen Quinzel, Sidney’s lawyer. Harvey seems to recognize the woman but he is unable to make the connection. When Harleen and Sid are finally out of jail, Sid asks her who was the person that bailed him out. She didn’t answer and instead she starts powdering her face. After a while, she is done with the makeup and Sid recognizes her as Harley Quinn, the woman that works for the Joker. Harley takes Sid to Joker’s hideout and the clown prince of crime greets the man who killed Batman. Joker tells Sid that they are going to make sure that Batman has meet his final destination. Joker and his people break into a jewelry and they take Sid with them. They are going to wait until Batman shows up. As time passes, the GCPD arrive and surrounds the building but there is no sign of Batman. Joker starts to worry about the situation and he finally comes to the conclusion that Batman was in fact dead at the hands of Sid; which makes him completely sad. Using some of his Joker laughing gas, they escape the place without taking anything. (Poor Joker?) Joker takes Sid to the Ace Chemical Processing Plant and starts a funeral ceremony for Batman. With the cape and cowl placed inside a coffin, Joker begins his eulogy. Before finishing his speech, Joker blames Sid for all the damage he has caused him by killing Batman. Joker tells his henchmen to put Sidney in the coffin and locks him inside, and the coffin is sent on a conveyor belt towards a vat of acid. The acid is getting inside the coffin and Sid can’t escape. It all seems to be lost, but in a few seconds, the coffin breaks open and Sid realizes that he was outside the plant, nearby the river.  Sid’s first thought is to look for help from Thorne himself and so he finishes his story. Thorne is amazed to learn that Sid is just a victim of consequences. Sidney wants to get out of Gotham but Thorne comes to the conclusion that Sid is actually a mastermind that wants to steal his drug racket and prepares to kill Sid. Some noises come from outside and after a while, Batman enters the room. He disarms Thorne and beats him to a pulp. Sid is shocked to see Batman alive and Batman explains that he managed to escape from the explosion just moments before. Sid was glad to know he was innocent of murder and tries to leave the place but Batman reminds him that he is still an accomplice in the drug deal. Sid was afraid to go to prison but Batman changed his mind. At Stonegate Penitentiary, Sid “The Squid” is cheered by all the inmates for almost killing Batman, setting up Rupert Thorne, and making a fool out of the Joker. A pleased Sidney realizes that he is finally a “big shot”.

  • Read My Lips – This is an episode that is notable for introducing The Ventriloquist and Scarface to the series. Gotham Police are baffled by a series of crimes executed with clockwork-like precision. Batman investigates and discovers that the crimes are planned by a mob boss known as Scarface. He traces Scarface to his lair — a deserted mannequin warehouse — and discovers, to his astonishment, that the crime czar is a wooden dummy, manipulated by a mild-mannered man called the Ventriloquist. There is a robbery after a great boxing match between Dynamo Dave and Mad Dog Ted, at the Gotham Square Garden by a very organized gang. After their first successful crime, the leader of the band tells them that they are going to own Gotham City. The following weeks, all the news are related to the crime spree and it seems like the Gotham City Police Department can’t figure out a way to stop the new gang in town. At the Batcave, Batman identifies one of the perpetrators as Rhino. Batman follows Rhino on the streets and confronts him in a dark alley about the latest crimes and also questions him about his boss. Rhino is not giving Batman any answer and instead he fights the dark knight.  Batman follows Rhino to the secret base of operations to learn who is the mastermind behind the crimes. Batman watches as Rhino tells an old man to get the boss because he has important news for him. The man goes to get the boss, who is sleeping. The old man comes back to the main room, where Rhino and is waiting with Ratso and Mugsy, the other gang members. The boss speaks to them in an angry way for waking him up when he has gone to bed, but Batman is surprised to see that the “boss” is actually a ventriloquist dummy that calls himself Scarface, because of the “scar” on its face, and is controlled by the old man, called Arnold Wesker; or The Ventriloquist as he is known among the gang. Scarface asks them what is so important that they needed to wake him up and one of the thugs starts talking to the Ventriloquist, which makes Scarface angry. The dummy wants to be talked to him and not to the “hired help”. Batman sneaks into Scarface’s bedroom and examines the dummy, which is laid in a very fancy bed and the room itself is very ostentatious. The dummy opens its eyes and Batman is scared at first but then he closes the eye lids again. At that point, the Ventriloquist comes into the room to make sure that Scarface is alright and Batman grabs him from behind and pulls him back to his bedroom, which Batman notices is much smaller and poor in comparison. Batman wants some answers, but Wesker is completely honest when he tells Batman that Scarface is the brains of the gang and that only he knows the location of all the stolen goods. Then, somehow, Scarface calls for the Ventriloquist from the other room and the man, completely scared of what Scarface might do to him if he learns that Batman is in the room, answers his boss’ call. Back in the Batcave, Batman shows Alfred the skills of the Ventriloquist in voice throwing and changing voice tones with help of the microphone. Alfred is amazed to learn that Scarface and the Ventriloquist are the same person and Batman explains that even the Batcomputer is confused. Batman himself knows a bit of ventriloquism. Batman also deduces that Wesker suffers from multiple personality disorder and that Scarface and The Ventriloquist are in fact two different persons in the same body. (The first time I heard about multiple personality or DID. I really thought it was made up for this show.) Rhino and the other two men go to the ship and get inside it to steal some of the platinum just as Batman arrives and tries to stop them. Batman takes the man driving the boat and then he attacks Rhino before going for the last man standing However, Rhino recovers fast and pushes a pile of platinum bars on top of Batman, knocking him down. After a while, Batman recovers consciuosness and he finds himself hanging above some spikes carved out of old mannequins. Scarface talks to Batman and tells him that the robbery of platinum was a trap from the beginning since The Ventriloquist told them about his encounter with Batman and Scarface found the bug on the bow tie. To make some time, Batman tells Scarface that one of his gang members told him about his secret place and Scarface believes him since he had a hunch of a double-cross. Scarface is not sure of who could it be and Batman tells him that it is The Ventriloquist. Wesker turns Scarface to face him and he starts having a discussion with the dummy. (It is one of the oddest Batman scenes I have ever watched.) Batman uses his own ventriloquism skills and says some offensive words to Scarface in the voice of Wesker, which only makes the mob boss angrier. He tells the henchmen to kill Wesker, but they aren’t sure of it since without The Ventriloquist, there would be no Scarface. During all that time, Batman unties himself and tosses a Batarang to Scarface, taking off his hand and preventing him from Killing Wesker. The Ventriloquist to drop Scarface and at that moment, one of the thugs picks up the machine gun and starts shooting at Batman, where there was also the Scarface dummy. Batman gets cover behind the fallen shelf and the Scarface dummy is shot and completely destroyed in front of The Ventriloquist, who screams in desperation. When the shooting stops, Wesker gets near the broken doll and cries over his “dead boss”. The Ventriloquist is taken to Arkham Asylum and some time later, the doctors think that Wesker is making progress and has left his other personality in the past. However, during the crafting sessions, The Ventriloquist have been carving a new dummy.

  • Trial – One of my favorite episodes because it features most of the rogues gallery. Gotham’s deadliest criminals, The Joker, Two-Face, Mad Hatter, The Ventriloquist, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy among many others, kidnap Batman and put him on trial in Arkham Asylum. The Dark Knight’s only hope rests with District Attorney Janet Van Dorn who, despite her anti-Batman stance, is forced to defend the Caped Crusader’s life as well as her own. At Gotham’s courthouse, Poison Ivy stands on trial and is sent back to Arkham Asylum since she was captured by Batman and not by an official law enforcer. D.A. Janet Van Dorn is upset at the outcome because she wanted Ivy to be sentenced to life in prison, and she blames it all on Batman. Upon arriving at Arkham, Ivy meets Harley, who tells her that they’re about to start something big in the asylum and just as she says that, two guards appear in front of them with some strange cards on their hats. They’re being controlled by The Mad Hatter. A few hours later, Janet goes on a date with Bruce Wayne and they meet in a fancy restaurant. They start discussing the Batman issue and Bruce tries to change her mind about it, but they’re interrupted by an important call from Janet’s office. She goes to answer the call, but after half an hour later, she doesn’t come back and Bruce starts worrying about her. Back at the GCPD HQ, Gordon gives Batman a note telling him to go alone at the Gotham Courthouse. Moments later, Batman goes to the arranged place and Poison Ivy uses her crossbow to attack Batman from behind and when he starts feeling weak Harley attacks him. Janet is being held in a cell of some sort of prison and she demands to be set free. Suddenly, Two-Face enters the cell revealing to Janet that she is in Arkham and then Batman is taken inside, carried by Killer Croc and in a straightjacket. Two-Face tells them that Batman is going to be on a trial in Arkham and that Janet is going to defend him if they want to survive. They’re taken to the main hall where the trial is being held and The Ventriloquist, acting as bailiff along with Scarface, introduces the prosecutor, Two-Face; the accused, Batman; the defense attorney, Janet and the jury : Killer Croc, Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow and The Riddler. Lastly, the judge Joker is introduced. (There is no way he will get a fair trial in Arkham… or one would think. Who would want the joker as their judge?) One by one, the members of the jury are called to testify and Van Dorne does her best to prove that they are criminals because of their own twisted minds and not because Batman caused them to turn into criminals. Each one of them fall short and all the evidence shows that in fact, they would have turned into criminals one way or another. Hatter’s testimony gets him excused for saying something he was not suppose to say, (“I would’ve killed her first.” in response to being asked why he didn’t just respect Alice’s decision to not date him. Creepy. And still very relevant today.) Harley starts flirting with Joker and gets kicked out, and Ivy sends a dig at Two-Face which gets a rebuke from him but she breaks when Van Dorne pushes her buttons and rips up Joker’s flower. In the end, Van Dorne concludes that Batman didn’t create them, but instead it happened the other way around. After hearing all the testimonies, the jury comes to the conclusion that Batman is not guilty of making them the way they are, which amazes Batman and Janet. Joker congratulates Janet for successfully defending Batman, but reveals that since they are already crazy by themselves, they might as well kill the two of them after all. The Arkham inmates take Janet and Batman to a dark cell, where they put Batman on a security bed and tie him to it. Joker walks towards him and before eliminating them, he wants to take off the cowl from Batman to know the identity of the man behind the bat. Janet remembers that she kept the batarang with her the whole time and tosses it to the only light bulb in the room, leaving it in complete darkness for a few seconds. In the dark, Batman escapes from the restraints and  starts taking them out one by one and he starts by pulling out Harley and tying her upside-down with the straightjacket.  Batman grabs Janet and they try to escape the asylum, filled with lunatics and mind controlled orderlies. On their way out they come across Scarecrow and on the other end they are trapped by Ivy, Hatter, and Scarface. Scarecrow uses his scythe but he misses and decapitates Scarface instead with Ventriloquist having to put him back together. Batman manages to outrun them and he leads Janet as far as he can from the psychopaths. However, they find themselves trapped in a dead end hallway, forcing Batman to use his Grapple Gun to get them to the rooftop from a skylight. The psychopaths are left cornered in the dead end and at that moment, the GCPD enters the building and captures all of them. After all the inmates are back on their cells, Janet Van Dorn admits that Batman is much needed in Gotham, but she warns him that she will still work for a city that doesn’t need Batman.

  • House and Garden – It is the first episode aired of the second season of Batman: The Animated Series, rebranded as The Adventures of Batman & Robin. It is the last episode from the series to feature Poison Ivy as the main antagonist. (It has got to be the most disturbing one.) Poison Ivy is my favorite female character of the series. She is able to hold her own in any situation and seems to work well with Harley. Not only has Poison Ivy been released from Arkham Asylum, she’s also married her doctor and settled down to help him raise his two sons. Still, wealthy Gotham bachelors are being poisoned and robbed in ways that exactly mirror Ivy’s old crimes. The attacks take a personal turn when Dick Grayson is kidnapped by the mysterious assailant. A green monster has been attacking and poisoning the wealthy men of Gotham City, taking away their money and all the clues lead to Poison Ivy. However, when Batman suggests this to Commissioner Gordon, the man thinks that is not a possibility since Ivy has been released from Arkham Asylum several weeks earlier and she was legally declared as sane for completing her rehabilitation. She got married and has settled down. (I am not sure why getting married absolved her from doing bad things. Makes absolutely no sense. I remember in college where a teacher of mine talked about the idea of wife and motherhood clouding the idea of doing bad things.) Gordon and Batman drive to the new residence of Poison Ivy, now simply called Pamela Carlyle. She married Dr. Steven Carlyle, a professor at the Gotham University and a staff member of Arkham Asylum. She lets them in their home and when she is asked about the recent events, she tells them that she is not involved in the whole situation and that she wants to live a happy life with her husband. At that moment, two little boys come in the room and are surprised to see Batman in their living room. Pamela explains that Chris and Kelly are Steven’s sons and that after experiencing motherhood, she knew that it was exactly what she wanted to be happy. Dick Grayson is studying with Cindy on his room at the Gotham University. The situation starts turning a bit romantic when the telephone rings. Batman has already left Pamela’s house and is calling Dick to investigate about Steven Carlyle. Cindy leaves the room angry at Dick for not paying attention to her. Batman apologizes for the inconvenience and Dick tells him that he knows Steven, as he was his professor the previous year. As soon as Dick hangs the phone to do what Batman asked him, the green monster comes bursting through the door and after attacking the youngster, the monster leaves the place taking Dick with him. Bruce gets in his car and starts driving home, when suddenly, the monster grabs him from the backseat of the car and tells him to deliver 5 million dollars at the docks in exchange for Dick’s life. After giving the instructions, the monster jumps off the car and disappears in the night. Bruce gathers the money and puts it in a suitcase. However, he is not convinced of Ivy’s innocence and he decides to check her every move for one day until he finds a clue. The whole day, Batman spies on Ivy, but can’t find anything unusual as she is living a normal life along with her children and husband. Bruce takes the money to the docks and follows the instructions given by the monster. However, instead of returning Dick, the monster attacks Bruce and makes him fall down to the water below. Bruce swims underwater and changes into his Batman outfit. The monster feels unsafe and runs away from the place. Batman rescues Dick and together, they get in the Batmobile. Dick changes into his Robin outfit and he questions Batman about Ivy. Batman replies that she seems to be happy with Steven and his two sons, but Robin reveals that Steven’s ex-wife has the custody of their children and that Chris and Kelly are actually girls. Batman turns the car and they go straight to Ivy’s house. Robin checks the place and finds that Steven and the boys are asleep. He joins Batman at the greenhouse and he notices Batman adding something to the water pump outside. They get inside the greenhouse and discover a secret entrance to an underground laboratory. After looking for a while, they discover the real Dr. Steven’s body trapped in a water bed. They take the man out and help him recover. Steven explains that Ivy tricked him during her therapy sessions in Arkham. Batman takes a look around and finds that Ivy is creating baby creatures from plants.  Ivy appears behind them and she explains her plan. After kissing Steven, she controlled the man and she made him sign her release papers. Later, she used his DNA from to create a family for herself. However, with Steven’s DNA she could only replicate boys and also, the creatures’ lifespan is short, just like that of a flower. The creatures look like kids during the first stage, on the second stage they are adults looking like Steven and on the third stage, they transform into green monsters. (Ugh, it was weird and horrifying. Probably too much so for Ivy. Aside from her obsession with plants rights… I did not see this extreme thing coming. Although, I will say earlier in the show’s run… Poison Ivy tried to do away with District Attorney, Harvey Dent.) Ivy traps Batman, Robin and Steven with her vines and she gives the recently born creatures a serum to make them grow faster and in a few seconds, they transform into the green monsters. Batman cuts the vines with a knife and helps Robin and Steven to get out of the laboratory. Using a couple of electric cables, he stuns the monsters until he is able to get out of the lab. Batman has her cornered but then, she starts melting away, just like the other creatures. Before dying, she explains that she is just another replicate from Ivy’s DNA and that the real Ivy has already escaped. At that moment, Ivy is traveling by plane to some place away from Gotham and she sheds a tear over her loved family.

  • Harlequinade – This was such a funny episode right up until the end… I am not of fan of the weird romance between Joker and Harley… but both of them are delusional so…. yeah. The Joker gains possession of an atomic bomb which he uses to threaten Gotham City; forcing Batman and Robin to form an uneasy alliance with Harley Quinn in order to stop the Clown Prince of Crime. Harley leads them on a hunt through Gotham, and eventually into a deadly show-down where Harley is torn between her promise to help Batman and her twisted love for the Joker. A gangster meet up is happening in a secret warehouse and the leader is selling an atomic bomb to the highest bidder. From the shadows of the warehouse, Joker comes in and tells the thugs that he is taking the bomb and paying nothing for it. The gangsters pull out their guns and point them towards Joker, who in turn pulls out a bomb from his hat. The thugs run away in fear of Joker’s bomb triggering the atomic one and only the leader stays in. Joker tosses the bomb to him but instead of exploding, a “jack in the bomb toy clown” comes out of it. Commissioner Gordon tries to evacuate the city, but Mayor Hill wouldn’t allow it. (I guess… but Mayor Hill is an idiot.) Batman decides that in order to figure out Joker’s plan, he would need to think like the Joker, or at least, have someone who thinks like him. In Arkham Asylum, Harley Quinn plays with a clown doll when suddenly Batman comes into her cell unannounced. Batman explains Quinn the situation and he tells her that he needs her to capture Joker. Harley refuses at first, but as soon as she learns that Batman would help her to be released from Arkham if she cooperates, she quickly has a change of heart. Batman takes Harley in the Batmobile with handcuffs to prevent her from trying to escape. In the car, Batman contacts Robin and tells him that he and Quinn are going to the last known Joker’s hideout. They arrive at Joker’s Ha-Hacienda and Harley decides to change the Arkham inmate clothes to her traditional jester outfit. Batman investigates the place and learns that Joker has cameras installed in the GCPD Headquarters on Gordon’s office and also on Mayor Hill’s house. Suddenly, Batman is attacked by Joker’s hyenas until Harley comes in and distracts them with food. Batman and Harley arrive at the place and when they open the main door, they find that the place is now an illegal casino, bar and lounge for the organized crime of Gotham. The place is filled with thugs and when they notice Batman there, they get their weapons ready to attack. Batman also gets ready, but he is knocked unconscious by Harley who attacks him from behind. The thugs tie Batman and put him in the pool table. They are about to kill the dark knight when Harley notices Robin trying to get in through a window. Harley buys Robin some time by staging a darkly humorous number, and she sings her own version of “Say that We’re Sweethearts Again” to distract the gun-toting party goers, while Robin sneaks in and unties Batman. (It is such a strange rendition… and I know I missed the significance of this as a kid.) After Harley finishes her song, Batman and Robin start taking down all the thugs and criminals. Harley feels really accomplished about her collaboration with the dynamic duo. They get to their respective vehicles and Robin tells Batman that Mayor Hill still refuses to evacuate the city. Harley then starts to laugh as she understands Joker’s plan. The Clown has kidnapped Mayor Hill and is using him to control the police force. Joker is enjoying himself in Mayor Hill’s swimming pool and he orders his henchmen to bring the Mayor to him. Joker comes out and pushes Hill, who is tied to a chair, to the bottom of the pool. Batman and Robin arrive just in time to prevent Hill from drowning. Batman uses a Batarang to stop Joker’s escape and after a few punches, Batman finally captures Joker. However, as soon as he is taking the madman with him, Harley appears and ties Batman and Robin using a device she found in the Batmobile. She joins Joker, who is utterly surprised to see her there and with the heroes tied up, Joker activates the bomb that would explode in 10 minutes. Joker has already planned an escape using an old fashioned biplane and he takes Harley with him. Robin tells Harley that if Joker blows up Gotham, all her friends in Arkham would die and Harley tries to convince Joker to free them. But Robin also points out that Joker was planning on allowing her to die in Arkham as he was going to escape without her.  Harley attacks Joker and tries to free Batman. Joker, who is already flying on the plane, drops a couple of bombs towards Batman and Harley, but they manage to dodge the bomb and remain safe. As Batman frees Robin, Joker makes his henchmen turn the plane around and he starts shooting at Batman with a machine gun incorporated in the plane. Batman dodges the bullets and in the meantime, Robin successfully defuses the bomb. Harley, who feels nothing but contempt for Joker, aims her little jester weapon at Joker and shoots him, hitting him in the head and knocking him out for a while. The plane explodes, but Joker comes out alive and without a single scratch. He is still a bit dizzy because of Harley’s hit and he falls down to the ground, where Harley is waiting for him, armed with a machine gun. Batman and Robin try to stop her, but Harley is determined to finish the Joker once and for all. Joker realizes the situation and he stands up and defies Harley, telling her that she wouldn’t dare pull the trigger because she is weak and worthless. Harley is hurt and she actually pulls the trigger; Joker flinches—and a flag that reads “RAT TAT TAT” pops out of the barrel. The Joker smiles and says: “Baby, you’re the greatest!” and the mad couple embrace each other in a loving hug.

  • Torch Song – This the twelfth episode of The New Batman Adventures. It is the first time we see Firefly. The synopsis for this episode reads that a pyrotechnics expert seeks revenge on his former girlfriend (except I never thought of her as his girlfriend but that’s me.) Bruce Wayne and his date, Shannon, go to a concert. Before the show, the star, Cassidy, has an angry confrontation with her show’s pyrotechnics expert, Garfield Lynns. Apparently, the two dated briefly before Cassidy broke it off (because they went on a few dates doesn’t make her his girlfriend.), but Lynns refuses to accept this. (Keep in mind, I didn’t particularly like Cassidy’s character.) In anger, Cassidy orders him fired before going out on stage. As the show starts, an enraged Lynns overloads the stage pyrotechnics, creating a rising wall of fire around Cassidy that drives the band away and traps her. Bruce tries to intervene but suddenly Batgirl appears to rescue Cassidy from the fire. Afterward, the police storm Lynns’ apartment with a warrant for his arrest. Lynns is gone, but they get a look at his apartment, a virtual shrine to Cassidy, lit candles and all. (Super weird…. Has he been hanging with Jervis?) At Cassidy’s apartment, she is talking with her agent, Frank, and receives a letter that burns up in her hands. Unnerved, she makes an appearance at Rock City with other musicians, but Lynns appears, now dressed in a fireproof battlesuit and calling himself “Firefly”, and shoots firebombs.t Cassidy’s apartment, she is talking with her agent, Frank, and receives a letter that burns up in her hands. Unnerved, she makes an appearance at Rock City with other musicians, but Lynns appears, now dressed in a fireproof battlesuit and calling himself “Firefly”, and shoots firebombs. Batman and Batgirl appear and save Cassidy, but Firefly manages to escape. Batman and Batgirl investigate Lynns’ hideout and discover an arsenal of pyrotechnic weapons. While looking through them, Batgirl pulls a lever that triggers a booby trap, igniting a firebomb that starts to consume the entire building. At the studio, Cassidy is rehearsing when smoke starts to fill the room. Coughing, Cassidy is led out by a man she thinks is her agent, but realizes too late is Firefly. Unable to contain the fire, Batman and Batgirl escape out a window, but Batgirl is injured by falling debris. The news reports Cassidy’s abduction. The police have no idea where to find her, but Batman picked up a matchbook at the hideout with the name of a paint company on it. At the Mephisto Paint Company’s manufacturing plant, Cassidy is tied up while Firefly works with the equipment. Cassidy tries to reason with him, but he says it’s too late for that. He shows her an incendiary gel he’s invented that can burn through any substance—to demonstrate, he sets a small amount of the gel alight, and she watches in horror as it burns through a block of ice, then down through the floor. Firefly has made enough of the gel to pour down the sewers, covering the entire city. Then he will ignite the gel and the entire city will burn—in Lynns’s twisted mind, the perfect cover for him and Cassidy to disappear together. (You know…. against her will.) But before he can release the gel, Batman appears, wearing a heat-resistant suit of armor that is able to withstand Firefly’s fireballs. irefly gains the upper hand long enough to empty the gel into the sewers. Firefly then unsheathes a flaming sword, and attacks Batman. The two fight again, and the sword goes flying into the gel, igniting it before it can spread across the city. As the plant starts to burn, Firefly escapes, while Batman frees Cassidy and gets her outside. The building explodes, and Firefly staggers outside, only to collapse from exhaustion. Cassidy has dinner in a restaurant with her agent, who tells her that Firefly’s kidnapping and mayhem have done wonders for her publicity, and they should capitalize on it right away. While he starts describing his new ideas for a fire-themed tour, a flambe dessert is ignited at their table, and Cassidy recoils. (Having PTSD from her ordeal with a man that can’t take no for an answer. Her agent, who seems oblivious, is planning a tour based around fire. It was very unsettling.)

  • Baby Doll –  It is notable for introducing the original character Baby Doll to the series, although it is her only appearance in the show. She does get re-used with a new appearance in New Batman Adventures though. A former child star, now grown bitter and insane, kidnaps her TV family and holds them prisoner on an abandoned sound stage. After finishing a play, some actors get out of the theater through the back door and a young actor notices a little girl crying on the corner of the alley. She tells him she’s looking for her big brother. When he glances at her you can see the recognition on his face before he is attacked from behind and knocked unconscious. A few days later, Commissioner Gordon calls Batman and Robin to discuss the recent abductions of actors that used to work on an old sitcom called “Love that Baby”. The main character was a little girl by the name of Baby Doll, who was portrayed by Mary Dahl, an actress with a pyhsical condition that prevented her body from aging and thus she looks like a child. Gordon informs them that until that moment, three of the main actors have been abducted. Gordon informs them that until that moment, three of the main actors have been abducted. The youngest woman of the cast is being abducted and the police can’t get a handle on the situation. Batman and Robin arrive in time to stop the couple of thugs, but when they think they’re safe, a big truck comes into the alley, crashing against the police cars and the vigilantes. The woman is placed inside the truck and the thugs get away with her. Batman and the boy wonder are in hot pursuit. However, Batman stops the car as he notices a little girl on the way and forces the car to crash against some crates on the street. The little girl is scared and looking for her mom and a few seconds later, a woman comes and takes the girl away. Batman recognizes the voice and when he talks to her, Baby Doll uses an exploding ball to create a smoke screen and get away. Knowing that Dahl is responsible for the abductions, Batman and Robin go to Summer Gleeson and ask her for a couple of her documentary episodes on the TV show where Dahl used to perform. the kidnapped actors find themselves in a recreation of the old set for the TV series and Baby Doll tells them that they are going to be a happy family again. With help of a couple of thugs and her personal bodyguard, Dahl prevents the other actors from leaving the place. Batman and Robin learn about the tragic acting career of Dahl and they realize that she might be holding a grudge against her peers for that. However, it was Dahl who decided to leave the TV series after the producers introduced a new character that upstaged her in camera. When she failed on other acting roles, she wanted to go back to the series, but the producers wouldn’t accept her offer and the show was officially cancelled. Batman and Robin realize that Dahl hasn’t kidpapped the actor who upstaged her and they deduce that he might be the next victim. The next day, Spunky, the former kid actor and now musician is playing guitar in his garage when a woman crosses in front of his place with a baby carriage. She approaches Spunky and tells him to lower the volume of his music since her baby needs to take a nap. Spunky tells her that he needs to practice, but from the carriage comes Baby Doll and uses knockout gas on him to capture the last member of the cast. Baby Doll recreates the last episode of the series, where she celebrates her birthday, but this time, the actors are tied to the chairs and the candles of the birthday cake have a dynamite among them. Dahl first pushs Spunky face into the cake..and then lights a dynamite stick ..she plans to “stay” with her family forever ..by killing both her “Family”…and herself. Spunky is the one to blow the candles out and he grabs the dynamite with his teeth and tosses it away from them. When the dynamite explodes in the next room, it creates a big smoke screen and from it comes Robin, who was disguised as Spunky in order to save the real Spunky and to learn Dahl’s secret hideout. Batman arrives at the scene and with Robin’s help, they incapacitate Dahl’s henchmen and untie the actors. Dahl runs away and tells her bodyguard to take care of the duo. Dahl runs away to a nearby fair, where she tries to merge with the people in the crowd. Batman tries to find her by looking from the highest point of the place, but there is too many people to locate her. Batman tries to keep up with Dahl, but her little body allows her to get in small places and move faster than Batman. He tries to explain her that he understands that she must be feeling confused and that he wants to help her. Dahl doesn’t believe him and she runs towards an abandoned house of mirrors, where she is overwhelmed by her own image reflected in all the mirrors. Dahl walks to the final mirror, which reflects her as the adult woman she could have been and suddenly she feels joy. However, she realizes that the reflection, just like her TV family, and everything else in her life, is not true. Realizing that she can never have either a normal family or a normal life, Dahl starts shooting all the mirrors until the only one left is the one with her adult image. Suffering an emotional breakdown for the life she will never have, Dahl breaks down and shoots that mirror as well and she keeps pulling the trigger, even though her gun has ran out of bullets. 

  • Lock Up– This episode was so interesting because I don’t think that I have ever seen Dr. Jonathan Crane tremble with fear. He is the Scarecrow. Fear is his thing. It introduces the original character Lock-Up to the series. A vigilante on another vigilante. Several Arkham Asylum inmates lodge complaints against Lyle Bolton, the Asylum’s sadistic new chief of security. When Bolton is fired, he vows revenge on societies’ true lunatics, the officials whose policies have turned Gotham City into a haven for crime. Taking on the new identity of master jailer Lock-Up, Bolton kidnaps several prominent Gotham officialsand locks them away on an abandoned prison ship. Batman and Robin take Scarecrow back to Arkham Asylum, but they notice that Crane is completely afraid of returning. The cause is the new security chief, by the name of Lyle Bolton, who acts aggressively towards Crane, leaving Batman wondering if the man is doing his job or if he is going overboard. A few days later, Bruce Wayne requests a hearing in Arkham Asylum to learn about Bolton’s performance. The members of the jury are Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill, Doctor Bartholomew and Bruce Wayne. The inmates that are questioned about Bolton’s behavior are Harley Quinn, Jonathan Crane and Arnold Wesker. Bolton is present in front of them. All of the inmates are asked questions about Bolton’s attitude to the inmates in Arkham, but they all reply that the guard is doing an excellent job, while looking at the guard with evident fear in them. Bruce notices their anguish and he decides to act as he speaks that in light of their testimony, they should grant Bolton a permanent job at Arkham Asylum. At that moment, the inmates show their true feelings about the way Bolton mistreats them as well as the other inmates and Bolton loses his temper, attempts to attack them until he has to be stopped by several Arkham orderlies and Bruce, who drops a chair in front of Bolton, making him trip over. Doctor Bartholomew fires Bolton from Arkham and never allows the man to get another job in security. As he is being taken out of Arkham, Bolton starts rambling that he needs to clean the city from the real scum like the police, the politics and doctors who refuse to recognize them for the scum they are. Six months later, Bruce Wayne and Summer Gleeson come out of a fancy restaurant after they had an interview over dinner. Bruce is called back to the building to answer a phone call and Summer gets on her car. Suddenly, the door locks on Summer’s car are shut and when she tries to open a window, the handle breaks on her hand. Summer uses the horn of the car to alert Bruce and he tries to get out, but the door from the building is locked tight by some special device. Bruce opens his suitcase, where he keeps his Batsuit and he starts a smoke machine to create a smoke screen while he changes into Batman. Using some explosive devices from his Utility Belt, Batman opens the door and goes straight for the truck. Batman opens the back doors and finds a big man in a disguise, who offers Batman to work together, but when Batman refuses, the man who calls himself Lock-Up, attacks Batman and overpowers the Dark Knight. t the Mayor’s house, Bullock and several other officers surround the Mayor to prevent him from being abducted by Lock-Up. Hill insists that his personal security is more than enough to protect him. At that moment, Lock-Up uses a smoke grenade, throws it to the main room, and captures Hill. Batman and Robin search information about Bolton’s past and they learn that he was in charge of the security when Stonegate Penitentiary was being built. Robin recalls the code F-84 and they discover that it’s the name of a ship that was used as a temporary prison until Stonegate was finished and that it was under Bolton’s command. Batman and Robin search information about Bolton’s past and they learn that he was in charge of the security when Stonegate Penitentiary was being built. Robin recalls the code F-84 and they discover that it’s the name of a ship that was used as a temporary prison until Stonegate was finished and that it was under Bolton’s command. Lock-Up tries to stop the duo by setting traps on them, but none are effective. Batman finds Lock-Up and they start fighting, while Robin locates the power source and disconnects it. Robin locates the prisoners and he does his best to free them from their cells, which start to fill with water. After a while, Batman comes out of the water, with his hands freed and carrying the unconscious body of Lock-Up. Lyle Bolton is taken to Arkham Asylum as a patient and prisoner, much to the inmates’ amusement. However, Bolton seems to be fine with it, since now he would be able to keep an eye on all of them.

  • Almost Got Em – The Joker, Two-Face, Killer Croc and the Penguin are sitting down in a dimly lit club playing poker. In walks Poison Ivy who kicks Croc’s chair over and decides that she wants in on the game. After Ivy settles herself into the game, each of the villains take turns regaling one another with tales of how they almost defeated the Batman. Poison Ivy tells the story about her last encounter with Batman during last Halloween when she was infecting a pumpkin patch with her patented toxic spray. She succeeded in getting the drop on Batman, but Batman used the remote control on his Batmobile to chase Ivy up a tent pole, trapping her. (Poor Ivy… She really almost had him.) Two-Face then tells how he had captured Batman and flipped his coin, which landed on bad heads. He took away Batman’s utility belt and strapped him down to a giant penny which was resting upon an over-sized coin-flipping device. Two-Face activated the device, sending Batman flying through the air-which depending on how it lands will either crush Batman to a pulp or break every bone in his body; but Batman managed to snatch Two-Face’s lucky coin and used the jagged edge to cut the ropes and free himself. Landing on his feet, he kicked Two-Face into a bag of stolen loot and apprehended his henchmen with the crane. Killer Croc then tells the group about the time he encountered Batman in a quarry. The story is just that he threw a rock at him. The others look at Croc waiting for the rest of his story. Croc adds that it was a “big rock.” (What kind of story is this?) Unimpressed with Croc’s story, The Penguin starts his tale about how he baited the Batman into his “Aviary of Doom” where he unleashed a flock of poisonous humming birds at him. The Batman avoided their dangerous beaks with his cape and managed to incapacitate the birds by turning on the sprinkler systems. The Penguin then sent a giant bird after him which began tearing through Batman’s costume with its talons. Batman picked up one of the unconscious hummingbirds and stabbed the cassowary in the leg. The fast-acting poison knocked the creature out and Batman was free to apprehend the Penguin who had escaped via his umbrella-chopper. Finally, the Joker starts telling them how his gang once caught Batman and strapped him to an electric chair. The chair was positioned on a theater stage before a literal captive audience at gunpoint. (I mean it is the Joker.) With Harley Quinn, the Joker demonstrated that the chair was activated through the power of laughter. Forcing the audience members to laugh through his laughing gas caused thousands of volt of electricity to shoot through the machine. Fortunately for Batman, Catwoman arrived in time to rescue him from the Joker’s clutches. Once the villains finish telling their tales, the Joker reveals that he has since captured the Catwoman and had Harley tie her down to an assembly line at a cat food processing plant, where she was to be ground up and mixed with supplies of cat food. (Because how dare you foil his plans Catwoman?) At this point, Killer Croc reveals that he is actually Batman in disguise. The other patrons of the club are members of the GCPD who all pull their weapons on the villains simultaneously. They force the Joker to reveal where Catwoman is being held.

I could write about all of these episodes but Batman TAS still holds up for me in a way that a lot of shows do not anymore. My nephew and I are watching it now so it is something that I get to share with him… along with my TMNT… that may be a post for another time. I enjoy Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker. But honestly the voice casting and acting in the DCAU is unmatched. I realize that this was the reason I fell in love with Batman and DC comic in general. I love it. So that is all for now.

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