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 Mitch Brian; the teleplay is by Sean Catherine Derek and Laren Bright; and the episode was directed by Kevin Altieri.
As fits the episode title, the background could be a human brain, puzzle pieces, or swirling smoke. The score is funereal, but builds on a vaguely hopeful note.
A police car races like the devil chases it under a harvest moon. Gotham. Any night. Every night.
Renee Montoya is behind the wheel, and the rook she's partnered with grips the dashboard as she takes another fishtail turn. Amazingly, he's worried about being late, not dying in a crash. They're on their way to meet Bullock at a sting.
However, as with everything the good Detective touches, the building is on fire. The two cops hop out and find him slumped by a dumpster, which GCPD calls “the Bullock position.” Some mooks climb out a window with sacks. The officers split up.
Bullock struggles to his feet and sees Batman's shadow against the roaring flames. “Batman!” he exclaims, before passing out like a girl at her first Beatles concert.
We're in an interrogation room. In a narrow circle of light are Commissioner Gordon, the officers from the sting, and a man with a combover who only has two speeds, stop and berate. The man wants to know why a pircey sting operation to take down a drug lord failed so spectacularly.
“Batman,” Bullock explains, his by now Pavlovian response to what's wrong. Violent crime on the rise? Batman. Car breaks down? Batman. Diabetes? Batman.
The Detective tells the tale from his POV, which plays out like a Marlowe story. Bullock prowls the warehouse, gun drawn. He sees some mooks drilling out a safe that is packed with greenbacks.
As he moves to make the collar, he trips on a can, his gun flying. Of course his voiceover blames the noise that alerts the criminals on Batman. Three mooks lean over him, like he's a drunk cheerleader at Roofie University.
Bullock tells them they're under arrest, and then fights them all off with a combination of bulk and bravado. I'm not gonna lie, it's really impressive; he hands out a Batman sized ass whooping.
However, Bullock diverts an axe headed for his face into an electrical junction box. Said box proceeds to spit out sparks that grow quickly into flames. The mooks flee, knocking boxes down to block Harvey's path.
The Detective is choking to death, until Batman jumps down and tests the tensile strength of his grapple gun by pulling them both to safety. In the voiceover, Bullock evaporates any goodwill he had when he claims to have saved Batman.
Back in the interrogation room, we find out combover is a Lieutenant. He accuses Harvey of being on the take, and Gordon defends his officers. Lieutenant Combover keeps pushing everyone's buttons. Bullock tries a new tune in the key of “the other officers were late.”
Now that I look at the Lieutenant, he looks – and sounds - familiar. Yep, I'm pretty sure they drew him like a thinner, but still caricatured version of Joe “Red Scare” McCarthy.
The rookie pipes up, so it's his turn in the hot seat. After him and Montoya arrived on time, they split up. He patrolled down an alley - Alleys: Where cops go to die in Gotham! True to form, the mooks emerge in a car and try to run him down.
He tries to outrun the car, instead of dodging to either side. He then proceeds to trip, reinforcing the idea that rookie is a state of mind, not how much experience you've got.
The Dark Knight throws out some caltrops, which the rook calls “sparks from his hands”. The car swerves, then crashes into a wall. Batman shoots “some kind of ray” (electrified grapple gun) and the door explodes off the car.
One guy runs, but Batman “pointed at him” (batarang) and he drops. It's clear the rookie is a Tolkien fan. We see our hero pounce on the downed mook and scare him into giving up some information, “dock” something.
Then we get a repeat of the previous scene in the interrogation room – the irrationally belligerent Lieutenant, Gordon sensibly defending his officers – but this time it ends with Montoya's story.
Montoya charges into the burning warehouse, as Bullock told her there were still suspects inside. She overhears the suspects say “Hathcock”, and points her shotgun at them. However, the fire detonates some barrels, and she's disarmed in the confusion. One of them advances on her with a drill.
Batman uses a batarang to tear the drill from the guy's hands, saving his third cop of the night. (Jackpot!) He then handles all the mooks, with a little help from Montoya. She tries to arrest the bad guys, but the ceiling collapses on top of her.
She's pushed out of the way by Batman, and watches as he's buried in flaming debris! (The writers were told every other episode needs flaming debris.)
The Lieutenant accuses them of being “three cops, two stories”, which is not something I'd look up on YouTube. He goes on to suspend them all, demanding badges and guns from each. Montoya is the last to turn hers in, leaving Lil' McCarthy and Gordon in the room.
On the subway home, Montoya puts together what she overheard from the mooks with the rook's story to realize the bad guys are headed to the docks at the Gotham Harbor. She peers in the window of “Hathcock Distributing Co.”
There are the mooks, hard at work, and our hero, hanging from his bonds. Montoya wastes no time picking the lock, while a scar faced mook tries to pick Batman's utility belt. He fails, and gets a face full of Batman's pink foundation instead.
Once Batman is sure their boss is on the premises, he cuts himself down. He tussles with one mook, and Montoya uses some martial arts moves on the other to keep the Dark Knight from getting shot.
The drug lord, cloaked in shadow, sends six more down the chute. Batman throws a table at one, and then the rest close in for melee with him and Montoya. They work like a well oiled machine, throwing mooks into the water left and right.
This lasts until the world's worst marksman fires on them with – what else? - a Tommy gun. He misses with every shot, actually outlining them.
Batman grapple guns himself and Montoya out of "danger." He leaves her on top of a crane, and tackles the shooter. Three mooks remain, closing on Batman. As they advance, Montoya uses the crane to drop a giant box. The henchmen make a big splash.
The drug lord runs for his ship and hauls anchor. Before Batman can pursue, drill mook comes at him with a forklift! After a brief fight, Batman handily commanders it.
He races for the boat, cape flying, theme playing.
He drives the forklift off the pier and into the side of the ship, safely jumping off. Water rushes into the hull, sending the boat careening into the dock. The drug lord abandons ship, but he's caught by Montoya via the crane arm like the best prize in the Claw game.
The rest of GCPD arrives. Gordon commends Montoya, as well as Batman, and returns his officers' badges over the protests of Lieutenant Combover. Bullock grumbles, but he manages to be truly grateful before the end of the episode.
Wonders never cease.
End credits. Batman is awesome.