Batman: The Animated Series (1992) – The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy, Perchance to Dream, and The Underdwellers

 

It’s time to head back to Gotham for another trio of episodes featuring the Caped Crusader (Kevin Conroy). These three stories oiginally aired on 14th, 19th, and 21st of October, 1992, respectively.

Up first is The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy! Batman may have his hands full when he encounters a trap designer who has been hired to claim his iconic cape and cowl, beating him and unmasking him to the world.

Josiah Wormwood (Bud Cort) is a master, he deals in blackmails, and traps, and is known as The Interrogator. When Bats learns he’s in town, he starts running down leads to track the villain down, including questioning Waclaw Jozek (John Rhys-Davies), who gives the Dark Knight everything he knows. Humiliated, Waclaw turns to Wormwood, and hires him to humble Gotham’s hero.

Will Batman be able to outthink and outmaneuver Wormwood and maintain his secret identity as Bruce Wayne?

It’s a fun story and kind of dark, putting the Dark Knight in some rather dire scenarios, but it’s also an easy one for Bruce to resolve as he knows, going into the trap that he needs to keep his identity a secret, but that won’t stop him from going after Wormwood to reclaim his costume and get a confession for previous crimes from him!

This episode sees the introduction of the Bat-signal atop the GCPD, and Batman wonders if it may cause Gordon (Bob Hastings) some problems politically…

Cape_and_Cowl_Twist

Perchance to Dream poses the question… what if Bruce Wayne wasn’t Batman? When he’s struck unconscious, Batman wakes to find a completely different world around him. His father (also Conroy) and mother (Adrienne Barbeau) are alive, he’s engaged to Selina Kyle (also Barbeau) and someone else is the city’s Dark Knight.

Bruce knows everything is wrong, but he can’t find a way to see through it. The Bat-cave doesn’t exist, he’s the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, and his marriage is only a week away. There’s a hint that everything is a dream, when the name of a jewelry store (in the midst of a robbery) is seen, and it’s just a nonsense word.

He checks in with Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Diana Muldar) who suggests that his belief in his other existence as Batman was a delusion… something he starts to accept as true. But what happens when Bruce confronts Batman?

Is it a dream or is this real? Is it possible that the Mad Hatter (Roddy McDowall) is behind everything? And how can Bruce save himself, and wake from this dream, if that’s all it is?

Though if the Mad Hatter had captured Batman, why not look beneath the cowl? And love the last line of the episode, a little nod to the Maltese Falcon…

badass-lightning-punch

The Underdwellers closes this one out, and after the two preceding, superior stories, this one feels a little weak. Batman discovers a city of subterranean children under Gotham, all of it overseen by the tyrannical and insane Sewer King (Michael Pataki).

The Sewer King is using these homeless children as his own pick-pocketing, thieving army. He’s also using them deep underground to work mines, dig tunnels, and use them as general slave labor, while he lives off all they give him, keeping them in line with fear, torture, and his pet alligators.

He’s almost too evil and villainous to be taken seriously, but that doesn’t stop the episode, or Batman from trying to hunt him down, and free the children he has under his control.

When Batman rescues one of the children, Frog, Alfred (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) is put on babysitting duty, a rather comedic, but pointless moment, while our hero goes after the bad guy…

The Bat-mobile has a city disguise, it encases itself in a garbage dumpster(!) – hopefully we don’t see that one again.

That’s all for this week, we’ll see you again! Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

batalligator

 

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