Batman is a DC Comics character, and Batman: The Animated Series is owned by Warner Home Video. If you'd like to purchase this episode, you may do so here; if you'd like to buy the DVD box set, you may do so here. The episode was written by Jules Dennis, Richard Mueller, and Sean Catherine Derek; and directed by Boyd Kirkland.
A jailbird harmonica trills, accompanied by blues riffs and some bottleneck slide guitar. A chain-link fence topped with barbed wire clearly demarcates the boundary between worlds.
We delve from a bird's eye view of Gotham's gleaming spires to a crumbling pawn shop. In a nearby rescue mission, Bruce Wayne is – oh my, not wearing his brown suit with yellow shirt!
Our turquoise turtlenecked doppelganger helps the man in charge of the rescue mission peel potatoes. The man suspects that homeless people are disappearing, which catches Bruce's attention.
In the Batcave, our hero disguises himself so that he looks like cross between Jon Slattery and a linebacker. He patrols the streets in a car that's a little less flashy than his usual, and pounds the pavement for good measure.
Undercover Bruce enters the alley from every noir movie. Steam issues from the manholes, and he's startled by a harmless cat in a trashcan. That is, of course, the cue for two men to emerge out of the steam behind him.
In a slightly porn way, they ask him if he'd like a job. Bruce asks what kind of job (funky guitar), and one of them says it's real long term employment (clothes come off now).
They attack him, but he thrashes them without taking his hands out of his pockets. He foolishly pauses to smile at the cat from before, and gets a truncheon to the back of his head. You can't trust cats, Bruce. (Foreshadowing!)
Now we're on the farm where George and Lenny worked.
Bruce wakes up chained to a bunk bed, and meets the welcoming committee for the prison camp. I'm sure these guys have all sorts of madcap adventures, like starving and being beaten. However, here's where shit gets real – our hero can't remember who he is!
The operation is actually a mining outpost in the desert, doing its best impersonation of Frontierland. Jabba the Hutt's Cubano brother angrily exits a hut in a white zoot suit. He's clutching a chicken leg, the prop of chubby villains everywhere.
Carlos the Hutt smacks his foreman with the chicken leg, demanding that the laborers bring him twice the gold ore. He then singles a man out at random, and the poor guy is dragged kicking and screaming into a cramped metal box bathing in the desert sun.
Bruce moves to intervene, but his new pals hold him back.
At the Manor, Alfred notices Master Bruce never made it back. He gets a quip off before we cut to the man himself, playing the manual labor version of Minecraft.
He gets the scoop on his buddies - a slip of a guy who was unemployed and a strapping dockworker - and a mention of the rescue mission starts to jar something loose. Before he gets too far, there's a cave-in!
Bruce and his buddies dig out, unharmed.
We cut to Alfred in the Batcave, where he notices the Batmobile is parked where it usually is. He checks the garage and discovers out of twenty something cars, the Studebaker is missing.
The butler activates the car's tracking beacon.
Bats fly across the screen as white-haired hobo Bruce walks through a hall of mirrors, his image distorted in each. He's dreaming. From another mirror, brown suit yellow shirt Bruce is laughing at him.
The laughter becomes maniacal as the well-dressed Bruce morphs into the Joker, who pulls hobo Bruce through the mirror. Through the looking glass is a hundred story fall from one of Gotham's skyscrapers.
Flame transitions us to a Gotham that looks like it withstood the siege of Stalingrad. Bruce stands in the street, dressed in his brown suit. A man begs him for money, and our hero obliges. A dozen other people appearing, swarming him with hands.
Bruce recoils, crying a single tear. The experience jolts him awake with a scream. Covered in sweat, he slowly recalls the name of the rescue mission.
Courtesy Carlos the Hutt, we now get a tongue's eye view of the world.
The boss is complaining about the workers being lazy again, and Bruce’s little buddy blows an ill-advised raspberry. Carlos catches him, and he’s dispatched to the sweat box. The dockworker starts throwing haymakers in protest, and the mooks rush him.
Our hero joins in the fray, and even an amnesiac Batman is capable of lifting a full grown man and throwing him through the air.
Soon, the two are buried under a dogpile of angry fists. Carlos has them all thrown in the boxes.
Meanwhile, Alfred strolls the bad part of town with what looks like a PKE meter in his hand. He locates the Studebaker in the Dock Street scrap yard, and rolls under the car to retrieve it.
Just in time, too, as the thugs that bludgeoned Bruce are loading another batch of homeless up. Alfred plants the tracer on the bottom of their truck.
In the sweltering boxes, the two men keep up an amiable chat. The dockworker suggests maybe Bruce used to be a fighter, and our hero agonizes over his memory loss.
The desert sun sinks lower in the sky, and the dockworker - Riley - has his dark night of the soul when he can't keep his son’s age and birthday straight. He screams, “I lost my family!”
“My family,” echoes in Bruce's mind, and a gentle orchestra plays as we enter his mind’s eye. We see him with Thomas and Martha, a happy child seeming to float in the air; then the orchestra turns mournful as their grave spins before us.
Shrieking violins accompany bats across the screen. We pan up and up, to a dark figure on a skyscraper. It is the Batman. When Bruce opens his eyes again, the set of his face tells us he’s back.
Bruce growls Riley’s name in the voice of a thousand criminals’ nightmares, and promises they’ll get out of there. He mule kicks the metal box, and then rips it the rest of the way open. He darts for freedom.
His pursuers are confident he’ll be trapped in Box Canyon. There’s no escape!
Confronted with the sheer wall of the canyon, Bruce free climbs some boulders. He then makes a dangerous leap onto a not-so-nearby ledge.
The human pursuers catch up, and their flashlights reveal Bruce climbing a narrow crack in the rock with perfect chimneying form.
Alfred Pennyworth is high above the desert, currently held captive by the Batplane. He groans as the sleek machine makes grand and unnecessary sweeps above the sands, and then threads a canyon, a move that would earn Luke Skywalker's respect.
The Batplane refuses to land in such a confined area, even though the tracer is near. Alfred argues with it, and it finally agrees with a robotic “Your funeral.”
Bruce hits the ground as the Batplane dives low overhead, then rolls to a stop; a delirious Alfred falls from the cockpit. Bruce strides towards him, grinning. The two men share a moment as they lean against the fuselage, fatigued.
Carlos the Hutt is enjoying another poultry leg when one of his enforcers runs in, scared. The man is followed by Batman, finally in costume, with a mook dangling from either hand.
The petty tyrant gasps, terrified.
Batman throws both men at Carlos. Indignity gives him courage, and he rushes outside with a shotgun. Batman heads for the mine, outrunning armed mooks and the gatling gun rounds that kick up sand behind him.
In a fit of whimsy, our hero bowls the villains over with a mine cart. Carlos orders them to split up, so of course they're dragged into the angry darkness one by one.
Carlos then kills the lights in the mine, putting Batman even more in his element. He gets to listen in terror as his men cry for help and are silenced. Batman thrashes his bodyguard mook, and he takes off.
Surprisingly nimble, Carlos trips over himself at the sight of Batman once more melting from the shadows. His oil lantern shatters next to the explosives shed, with predictable results.
Batman throws the man, paralyzed by panic, into a chute of quickly running water, hopping in after him.
The mine explodes, and the two are washed into the safety of a river below. Carlos can't swim, so Batman saves his life yet again.
We're back at the rescue mission, where it all began. Bruce and his buddies are on the steps, and Riley's been reunited with his family. They offer him assistance, but he says it won't be necessary. His new friends are flabbergasted when Alfred pulls up in a Rolls Royce, asking for Master Bruce.
The richest man in town offers them both a job, if they'd like. He smiles and rides off.
End credits. Batman is awesome.