Batman 06: The Underdwellers

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 story is by Tom Ruegger; the teleplay is by Jules Dennis and Richard Mueller; and the episode was directed by Frank Paur.

Big brass instruments give us a skittering score, like shapes sneaking up behind you when you're not looking. Light is sliced into single servings by a sewer grate, and a cloaked figure hurries into the dark.

Ah, fair Gotham, where two towheaded children are driven to playing chicken on the roof of a train for amusement. Do they not have arcades? Batman lands behind them, shaking his head – he's a guy who beats up lunatics in their pajamas, and even he thinks this is stupid.

He rescues the one who gets his foot caught in cables, and warns them off further thrill seeking with a bad pun. (I blame Alfred's influence.) Elsewhere in the city, Doctor Doom's pint-sized understudy robs a pork roast stuffed into a fur coat.

Batman arrives on the scene just as Mme. Pork Roast is reporting her crime as purse napping by leprechaun. The cop doesn't believe her, at which point the Dark Knight abandons his pretext of stealth and straight up runs on top of some cars caught in traffic.

In the alley, his glimpse of Doom's understudy is cut short as a police car almost runs him over. Some fancy footwork later, he's watching the bemused cops from on top of a building. The Murtagh of the pair hangs a lampshade on the proceedings.

In the Batcave, Alfred laughs at ole' Brucie for thinking it's a leprechaun. He suggests a vacation, and Bruce bats (I'm sorry) down all his suggestions like a sullen child. Then he holds his cowl up like he's going to burst into song.

Alfred calls him on his drama addiction as Bruce brings up city schematics.

In the sewers, it's the hard knock life. Bedraggled children perform menial tasks, and there's a kid with one shoe. Somehow that's worse than if he had no shoes. Of course he slams a hoe into the no-shoe leg, and another kid fearfully muffles his cry for help. This is brutal.

A bell rings, and all the children walk into an incinerator.

Just kidding. It's a room lit by a single candle, which looks like a fierce red glow to their light deprived eyes.

The children crouch before a throne, on which sits the bastard lovechild of Gargamel and Severus Snape. He's clothed like he made passionate love to a theater department's costume rack, and babbles like a manic depressive with a meth habit.

Doom's understudy lingers behind, but a hiss and a menacing shadow push him forward.

Psycho Eddie paces while shouting at the children, until he singles one out for punishment. All the other children simultaneously cover their eyes like Weeping Angels. 

He drags the boy into a solitary room with a bank of flourescents. We get a brief moment of the kid recoiling from the lights like a little vampire, and then he's locked in. Once that's done, he shouts at all the other children to bring him pretties from the surface.

To the tune of his cackle, Eddie's Underarmy mobilizes, every child in a green cloak.

Batman arrives on the scene, and his Cyclops visor tells him about a secret door. He kicks it down, and begins to explore the sewers.

Doom's understudy emerges from a No Admittance door just in time to hear Batman fall prey to a proximity alarm consisting of cans on a string. (I bet Batman felt really stupid tromping around in his million dollar suit and setting off a can alarm.)

The kid bolts down a narrow chute, and our hero can't follow. However, the kid doubles back to find Batman waiting for him. Even though he's shocked, and scared, Doom's understudy only issues a wordless scream.

Despite assurances that he won't be hurt, the kid stumbles backwards into the path of an oncoming train!

Commercial break!

Batman once again proves adept at rescuing children from train related injury.

The kid starts to crawl away, but our hero is clearly frustrated with this game of cat and mouse. He puts the moppet under his arm like a football, grapple guns out of the sewer, and runs with him for the touchdown line of the camoflagued Batmobile.

The car roars off towards home. Along the way, the kid is put to sleep by Batman's hypnodashboard. Batman informs Alfred that Doom's understudy is his responsibility, and the butler seems nonplussed. Oh well, wouldn't be the first time Master Bruce brought home a strange boy.

The next morning, Alfred wrestles the covers off of “Master Leprechaun”. Heh. The kid shrivels in the sun, but pulls a total Risky Business when he has his shades.

Another game of cat and mouse ensues, but Alfred eventually grabs him for his bath.

Back in the sewers, Psycho Eddie sits at a banquet table eating a turkey leg. He demands that Frog bring the rolls. Another kid tries to fill in, but it looks like Frog is the leprechaun/Doom's understudy. This does not bode well.

The psychopath grabs one child in a head lock, and guilts the others hard. He asks if they want to go back to those that hurt them, and they all openly cry.

At the end, he tells the malnourished children there will be no food until Frog is found, stomping on a turkey leg as punctuation.

Alfred is trying his best to teach Doom's understudy how to eat properly, but the kid steals the silverware and then eats like Slimer. When the butler wrangles him into cleanup duty, he runs off with a silver serving tray.

...which he then uses as a sled on Wayne Manor's impressively long staircase.

He finally ends up in Bruce Wayne's trophy room, pointing a blunderbuss at Alfred. Batman arrives, noting that the gun isn't loaded but it could have been. (Are you listening, children at home?) He then asks for the kid's help.

Frog/leprechaun/Doom's understudy leads Batman to Psycho Eddie's lair. Batman gives us his angriest face when he sees the state of the children, and snaps a few pictures as evidence of their pitiful treatment.

Batman demands to know where he is, and the kid points. In the throne room, he tears the summoning bell from the rafters. The children will be safe now, but not if Eddie's giant alligators have anything to say about it!

Commercial break!

The alligators come for the Dark Knight, and he squares off with them. The first one catches a bell to the face. Batman suplexes the second alligator off the ledge behind him, and then hogties it in seconds.

Yes, you read that correctly. Batman suplexed an alligator and then trussed it like a Christmas turkey.

Instead of shitting his pants and running away like a sane man, Psycho Eddie earns his moniker by shouting at more alligators to attack Batman. That should be in the DSM as a sign of mental illness. 

Two more alligators surround our hero, and one knocks him down.

The other goes for Batman's head, but he holds its jaws open. That shouldn't even be possible, given the power of their jaw muscles. However, Batman is mad. He then dials it up to eleven by forcing its jaws open until he kills it.

Eddie is apoplectic with rage. He grabs a child as a hostage, and Batman sounds like he's barely choking back rage of his own. Then, Frog swings in on a rope, rescuing the hostage. Him and Batman share a sweet thumbs up moment.

The villain finally has the good sense to run, and Batman chases him. However, our hero falls into a trap. He ends up dangling above a pit filled with more alligators than he could comfortably suplex/shatter with his hands.

Psycho Eddie takes this opportunity to taunt Batman. He steps out on the pipe to stomp on Batman's hands, but our hero swings around and kicks him into his own alligator pit. He offers a hand, but the jerk falls instead.

And why wouldn't he, since the crazy bastard really does have the alligators trained. They let him leave the room without so much as a nip.

As he does when he's had enough, Batman pulls out the grapple gun. With a pithy “later” to the lizards, he's on Eddie's trail. The man is strolling like Keyser Soze in the tunnels, until a door blows up behind him and he's tackled by Batman.

They land on the train tracks, and our hero performs his third train related save of the episode. As Batman shakes Eddie, he makes it clear that he's a hair's breadth from breaking his "no killing" oath.

The children are pulled out of a manhole, and Frog speaks for the first time in the episode. From a nearby rooftop, Batman watches with a smile.

End credits. Batman is awesome.