The Timeline of the first section of the DC Universe is as follows:
The Superman Movie Trilogy and the five seasons of The Caped Crusader run concurrently, from 1978 to 1988. Superman first introduces himself in 1978, portrayed in the film The Man of Tomorrow. Batman first introduces himself in 1979. During these series’ run, there are four accompanying miniseries: Wonder Woman, Supergirl/Arrow, The Flash, and Green Lantern. Starting in 1983, after the second season of CC, a Birds of Prey series also begins. Details for these miniseries and series are forthcoming. The fifth and final season of CC will conclude in 1988, and in the same year it is followed by the events of the third Superman film, The Dynamic Duo. The contents of the Superman Trilogy, written and under the full direction of Wolfman Jew, are featured at the end of this document.
Main Cast: Bruce Wayne – Wentworth Miller, Talia al Ghul – Sarah Shahi, Harvey Dent – Shemar Moore, James Gordon – David Oyelowo, Selina Kyle – Archie Panjabi, Alfred Pennyworth – Charles Dance, Dick Grayson – LaKeith Stanfield, Oracle/Barbara Gordon – Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Renee Montoya – Stephanie Beatriz, Batwoman/Kate Kane – Evan Rachel-Wood, Doctor/Harley Quinn – Sunita Mani, Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy – Amy Acker, Rami Malek – Jason Todd, Tim Drake – Brandon Mychal Smith.
Superman Cast: Clark Kent/Kal-el/Superman – Omid Abtahi, Lois Lane – Alison Brie, Jimmy Olsen – Alfie Allen, Lex Luthor – Joel McHale, Metallo – Malcolm Goodwin, Antonia Arcane – Sophia Marceau, Swamp Thing – Wendell Pierce, Morgaine la Fey – Lena Headey, Frankenstein’s Monster – Jurgen Prochnow, Solaris – Nicolas Cage.
Recurring/Guest Season 1 Vicki Vale – Elizabeth Banks, Lucius Fox – Dennis Haysbert, Holly Robinson – Bex Taylor-Klaus, Jack Ryder – Adam Scott, Hamilton Hill – Jaime Camil, Harvey Bullock – Ken Jeong, Gillian Loeb – Bob Odenkirk, Rupert Thorne – Chevy Chase, Arnold Stromwell – Richard Kind, Superman – Omid Abtahi, Scarecrow – Oded Fehr, Clayface – Andy Daly, Roland Daggett – Jon Hamm, Cyrus Gold – Steve Buscemi, Cluemaster – Carol Kane, Ventriloquist – Thomas Middleditch, Hugo Strange – Demian Bichir, Mad Hatter – Jason Mantzoukas, The Joker – Caleb Landry Jones, Firefly – Kumail Nanjiani, Leslie Thompkins – Jamie Lee Curtis, Thomas Wayne – Andre Braugher, Martha Wayne – Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Season 2 Black Canary – Naya Rivera, Huntress/Helena Bertinelli – Yu Aoi, Zatanna – Rashida Jones, Zatara – Fred Melamed, Killer Croc – Lance Reddick, The Riddler – Daniel Dae Kim, Mr. Freeze – Colin Farrell, Clock King – Scott Aukerman, Plastic Man – Aiden Gillen, Ted “Starman” Knight – Donald Glover, Roulette – Gina Torres, Calendar Man – John Hodgman, Calendar Girl – Gillian Jacobs, Lex Luthor – Joel McHale, Andrea Beaumont – Maggie Siff, Amanda Waller – Yvette Nicole Brown.
Season 3 The Penguin – Brian George, Lois Lane – Alison Brie, John Henry Irons – Ricky Whittle, Bane – Edgar Ramirez, Deathstroke – Richard Armitage, Lady Shiva – Zhang Zhiyi, Cassandra Cain – Juju Chan, Bronze Tiger – Michael K Williams, Mad Dog – Iko Uwais, Ubu – Yayan Ruhian, Ra’s al Ghul – Alexander Siddig.
Season 4 Stephanie Brown – Emmy Rossum, Enchantress – Rinko Kikuchi, Deadshot – Joe Taslim, Nightshade – Julie Estelle, Rick Flag – Chris Meloni, Janet Van Dorn – Teyonah Parris.
Season 5 Founding Members of Batman Inc: El Gaucho – Oscar Isaac, Batwing – Uzo Aduba, Batman of Shanghai- Donnie Yen,Wingman – Alden Ehrenreich, Batman of Japan – Ken Yamamura, Ranger – Rocky McKenzie, Orpheus – Conphidance, Man-of-Bats – Rudy Youngblood, Nightrunner – Sofia Boutella, Knight – Jason Statham, Batwoman of Australia – Cate Blanchett, Hood – Ruth Negga.
Legionary – Bobby Cannavale, Swedish Vigilante – Noomi Rapaca, First Ranger – Hugh Jackman, Lord Death Man – Tadanobu Asano, Andreau Beaumont/Phantasm – Maggie Siff, Anarky – Sonja Sohn, Captain Boomerang – Margot Robbie, Shauna Belzer /Ventriloquist 2 – Samira Wiley, Professor Pyg – Udo Kier, Terry McGinnis – Danny Pudi, General Wade Eiling – Kurtwood Smith, Bat-Might – Kevin Conroy.
Caped Crusader Season 1
1. Taking Flight
Cold open: Bruce is meditating in an unlit backroom, until Alfred tells him that his guests are arriving. He gets dressed and successfully navigates his party over an extended time, until as the last are leaving, when police cars are seen and heard roaring past the front of the manor. He turns to Alfred and says, “Let’s go to work.” Credits sequence. One year earlier, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham after a several-year, post-university sabbatical, in which he trained under and encountered individuals like the washed-up detective Henry Ducard, and members of the League of Assassins. After his happy reunion with Alfred, Bruce quickly tours around Gotham to get back in touch, based on the updates Alfred has provided while he was away, including congratulating his childhood friend Harvey for being elected to District Attorney, and meeting with his cousin Kate, a military student. Bruce lays out the details of the plan they’ve been putting together to launch his career as Batman, briefly describing his martial art, forensic, and other studies around the world.
He asks that Alfred focus on helping him with the equally important other half of his career, philanthropic and entrepreneurial pursuits amongst a community he’s been out of touch with. Bruce claims his position of CEO at Wayne Enterprises after some difficulty, while he and Alfred plan for a big party debuting “Gotham’s Golden Son” returning for good to its social scene. Early in his first year as Batman, Bruce crosses paths with a bounty hunter named Talia, with whom he competes for bagging criminals. They begin a passionate affair while she helps him with improving his combat training after a bad run-in with a sex worker. Months pass as he clashes with police and continues to grow both as Batman and as public figure Bruce Wayne. Kate contacts her friend Barbara Gordon with belief that Bruce has been acting strangely, and together they begin an investigation to find what he may be hiding. Talia and Bruce eventually break up, but continue to work together against crime in Gotham. The episode climaxes with Batman’s first big raid on a meeting of Gotham’s mob families, which in turns earns his good graces with the police.
2. Catwalk: Bruce gets word of a cat-themed vigilante targeting the Gotham mob, but she pushes back on his offer of help, and they clash once it becomes clear she’s merely robbing the wealthy indiscriminately.
3. On the Street: A day in the life of officers James Gordon and Renee Montoya, during which they cross paths with Matches Malone, the criminal identity Bruce has started using for undercover work.
4. You Scratch My Back: Bruce gradually navigates a more positive and mutual relationship with Catwoman, culminating in her helping with a major arrest.
5. Cross-Examination: Harvey faces his first major case as DA against one of Gotham’s kingpins, Rupert Thorne. Mob war breaks out when Arnold Stromwell’s family attempts to seize opportunity from Thorne’s arrest. Sides are quickly chosen and Harvey is struck with how the outcome of his case might affect the conflict.
6. Reckoning: Popular acrobatic family the Flying Graysons get caught in the middle of the ongoing mob war, killed by Tony Zucco as working for Sal Maroni. Bruce takes surviving son Dick off the streets, and after careful consideration, takes him on as both adopted son and apprentice to Batman.
7. Take a Bow: Dick Grayson, now operating as Robin, builds towards a final confrontation with Tony Zucco, the man that killed his parents, and Maroni, the man he answers to.
8. Hellcat: Catwoman goes on a mysterious rampage that turns out to be in pursuit of her deadbeat father, recently released from prison. The intense threeway confrontation between them and Batman leads to Bruce discovering her identity as Selina Kyle. This scares her into a temporary retirement.
9. The Man of Tomorrow: Much to Bruce’s consternation, the alien guardian of Metropolis, Superman, arrives in Gotham for a publicity event, leading into the two being forced to work together to prevent a terrorist attack on said event.
10. Nothing to Fear: Still uneasy about him knowing her identity, Catwoman makes contact with Batman and begins improving relations with him, revealing the Robin Hood status she occupies amongst the locals and hoping that his reputation with them can continue to improve. A disturbing, mysterious man called the Scarecrow is experimenting on these working class citizens, and as they pursue him together, tensions arise between Batman and Selina over his cooperation with the police.
11. It’s Never Too Late: In the climax to the mob war arc, Batman saves Arnold Stromwell’s life in an assassination attempt and works to convince him to testify against Thorne in his retrial or even become a mole against the rest of the kingpins. He retires and agrees to testify, while Gordon reveals who has been operating as a mole: Harvey Bullock.
12. The Face of Tragedy: Failed actor Basil Karlo becomes addicted to a new drug, Renuyu, from Roland Dagget’s company, believing that it will help him secure the lead in a remake of his one major film, The Terror. He struggles with trauma from the disfiguring accident that ruined his career, and ultimately overdoses on the drug, turning him into a creature that violently attacks each of the remake’s cast members.
13. A Bullet for Bullock: Harvey Bullock races against the clock to nail Sal Maroni with an arrest warrant before a team of hitmen, led by motor-mouth Cyrus Gold, can take him out, after his undercover operation is discovered. Gold’s coworkers ultimately kill him in retaliation for his incompetence and never shutting up, giving Bullock the time he needs to escape.
14. Nine Angry Jurors: With Bullock’s evidence and Stromwell’s testimony, Rupert Thorne and Sal Maroni go to trial. Kate and Barbara confront Bruce with their suspicions that he is Batman.
15. Haven’t Got a Clue: Failed game show host Amelia Brown begins a campaign to establish herself as the smartest criminal in Gotham by uncovering the secret identity of Batman.
16. Stage Fright: Investigation of an armed robbery at the local comedy club points to Arnold Wesker, who was a formerly meek young man until he found a puppet called Scarface, using it as an outlet for his repressed anger and violence. Bruce assigns this as Dick’s first solo case while he and Kate work together on her becoming Batwoman. Ultimately, when Arnold threatens to shoot himself during a stand-off, Robin is able to talk him down and convince him to check into Arkham, after shooting Scarface instead.
17. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat: Lonely electronics developer and mogul Jervis Tetch attempts a grand romantic gesture towards his secretary Alice, and when she spurns him, abducts her and attempts to control her mind with a brain microchip. Jervis turns his office building into a bizarro Wonderland that Kate Kane must traverse in her first outing as Batwoman.
18. Ink Blot: Connecting the recent aspiring supervillains (Cluemaster, Ventriloquist, Mad Hatter) to each other through them all going to the same psychologist, Bruce investigates Dr. Johnathan Crane, who specializes in fear, and ultimately uncovers that he is the Scarecrow. He had been encouraging his patients to let go of their fears while testing a toxin meant to control and manipulate fear on the locals of Selina’s neighborhood. Crane flees his apartment in order to launch his terrorist attack upon Gotham, and before he can pursue him, Bruce receives a phone call from his last, unnamed patient, who has taken hostages.
19. Ring Ring: Batman goes through the city at break-neck pace in attempt to rescue the Joker’s hostages, ultimately being faced with the tragic consequences of his failure. With the support of Dick, Selina, Barbara, and Kate, he succeeds in destroying the current source of Joker’s poison even as he still evades them. Together, the team begins to face Gotham City in crisis as Scarecrow begins his attack.
20. Dreams in Darkness: Scarecrow releases fear gas into Gotham’s busiest public areas, inciting extended chaos, which Crane ultimately admits he did merely as another social experiment with no further gain or agenda. The Gotham Knights successfully apprehend him after each being forced to confront their fears. Having waited long enough since his charges for the Clayface affair cleared, Roland Daggett arranges a press conference in the aftermath of the Scarecrow’s defeat and arrest. He announces both a new drug release to soothe over the Renuyu fiasco, and a proposal to demolish and renovate Crime Alley.
21. Morning in Gotham
Selina contacts Batman with suspicions about the new drug based on the condition of the feral cats she’s seen around recently, but he’s more concerned with Crime Alley. He points to a TV news story in which Crime Alley clinician Leslie Thompkins (Jamie Lee Curtis) speaks out against the proposal, explaining that he’ll be meeting with her shortly as a civilian. This sparks suspicions in Catwoman, but she focuses instead on breaking into Daggett’s labs and gaining a sample of his new drug, during which she fights with his henchmen. Bruce and Leslie meet for their weekly appointment, discussing concerns over Daggett’s plan, with his reassurance that “someone” will be sure to stop him. While walking together in Crime Alley, none other than Joe Chill draws a gun and attempts to mug Leslie, triggering a PTSD flashback in plainclothes Bruce, who angrily beats down Chill until Leslie stops him.
While waiting to give the drug sample to him for testing, Catwoman looks into Leslie Thompkins and sees that she comforted local heir Bruce Wayne after the loss of his parents, confirming her suspicions. Vicki Vale announces that Gotham’s zoning board has rejected Daggett’s demolition proposal on the basis of Park Row being a historical landmark, and his, Bruce’s, and Selina’s respective reactions are intercut with this. Upon pressure from Catwoman, Batman tests the drug sample she obtained, and he’s able to conclusively determine it to be an altered form of Renuyu. By providing this and evidence that it’s still just as dangerous as before, they’ll be able to put Daggett away, hopefully before he makes any drastic decisions regarding Crime Alley. Cut to Daggett hiring Firefly to blow up Crime Alley and frame it as a gas line rupture. End credits.
22. Appointment in Crime Alley
Dagget quickly proceeds to attempt forcing the neighborhood’s residents out of the area, leading to Leslie being taken hostage and this being witnessed by Legs. Bruce entrusts Robin to get more of the drug and bring it to the police while he and Selina head to Crime Alley, where they’re informed by Legs and work to defuse the bombs. Robin gets into an extended fight with security wherein he is ultimately captured, but he is able to free a mutated test subject. Bruce rescues Leslie and gets word that Robin has been apprehended by Daggett’s security, meaning that his test results will need to be their evidence. Firefly evades capture as the heroes and Leslie help residents evacuate the buildings that couldn’t be sweeped in time. Bruce offers Selina the chance to escape, but she chooses to stay and be arrested alongside Daggett so that she can testify against him and be a hero as a civilian and not just as Catwoman.
She kisses him goodbye and acknowledges they both know the other’s identity, before giving the drug sample over to the police. Still as Batman, Bruce and Leslie lay down two roses at the site of his parents’ deaths, and they embrace as she insists good people still live in Crime Alley. Fade to black, then hard cut to Bruce convincing Harvey to defend Dick and Selina rather than prosecute Daggett. In the proceeding climactic sequence, the trials are shown. Harv is successfully able to argue for Dick and Selina to go free, but this also enables Daggett to finagle out of prison time with a weak prosecution and being able to claim to provide information like those two did. Twilight Zone by Golden Earring kicks in and plays on and off through the remaining scenes. Daggett is shown being abandoned by corporate partners and going into debt. Selina meets with Bruce to explain that she needs to keep a low profile for the time being, and so she’ll go into hiding and retire the Catwoman persona in the meantime. They have an emotional goodbye. Fade to credits.
Caped Crusader Season 2
1. The Brave and the Bold
Bruce, Dick, Kate, and Talia have continued their efforts as the Gotham Knights for the past several months, and he decides to seek out new recruits to work with while Selina continues her time in hiding. An opening montage portrays them facing and apprehending a number of minor supervillains during the span of the timeskip, featuring: Signalman, Calculator, Penny Plunderer, Crazy Quilt, Condiment King, Spellbinder, Kite Man, Ten-Eyed Man, and the Monarch of Menace. Two vigilantes emerge that have been competing with one another, Black Canary and Huntress. They have been cleaning up the leftover gangsters since the convictions of Thorne and Maroni, but differ in their methods and ideals. Batman struggles with recruiting both, clashing with Huntress over her lethal methods and Canary due to her skepticism towards a team up.
After spending more time with the team and being introduced to the resources the Knights have at their disposal through Bruce, both women are more amenable towards joining forces. With Oracle as tech support, both the Knights (Batman, Robin, Talia) and the Birds of Prey, newly formed by by Batwoman, Black Canary, and Huntress, are fully prepared to go to work. The teams head out together in response to an apartment building fire and a shoot-out in the streets, during which Canary debuts her sonic scream to hold off a vehicle charging at them. Bruce is drawn away from the group into an ambush, but a ragged, somewhat feral young man suddenly runs out from a nearby alleyway and saves Bruce by taking a trash can lid and smashing it against the assailants’ heads. The man introduces himself as Jason Todd. Batman thanks him and asks if he has a place to sleep tonight.
2. Seeds of Doubt: Pamela Isley, a former botanical researcher for Gotham University, returns to her home city with a group of ecoterrorists. They disrupt a fancy gala and take its attendees hostage, including Bruce Wayne, demanding that they drastically adjust their corporations’ environmental policies. Wayne must navigate negotiating with the ecoterrorists and keep his peers alive without equipment or backup. Dick and Jason spend time together in the Batcave and quickly get jealous and competitive with each other over Bruce’s attention. Ultimately, all of the hostage-takers are apprehended except for Pamela, who releases a video declaring the continuation of their activism under her leadership, having reinvented herself as Poison Ivy.
3. Doctor is In: With Crane’s license revoked, new doctor Harley Quinzel arrives at Arkham, just in time for a visit from Batman as he delivers Kirk Langstrom to the facility. Batman, still haunted by his run-in with the Joker, decides to stay at Arkham for the day and visit with Head Doctor Hugo Strange, Quinzel, and the former Dr. Crane in his cell, while Quinzel adjusts to her new workplace. Tensions emerge between her and Director Jeremiah Arkham. Scarecrow explains that Joker had been in Arkham long before he started working there, nobody knowing exactly where he came from. In the aftermath of his conversations with these individuals, Bruce Wayne announces a massive stipend that will go into improving conditions and resources for Arkham Asylum.
4. How to Pull a Batman Out of a Hat: Bruce takes Dick, Kate, Montoya, Jason, and Barbara out to the Miraculous Zatanna’s magic show, reminiscing about his childhood friendship with her and time training with her father Zatara during the show. Upon meeting with her backstage after the show, the crew is dragged into a bizarre and magical underworld as Zatanna needs their help to stop a magical master criminal. Ultimately, Zatanna’s name is cleared and she is recruited into the Knights and the Birds of Prey.
5. The Bayou: Waylon Jones is a homeless man with a severe skin disorder living on the streets of Gotham. A blue-collar native of Gotham, he fought hard for a dignified, above-board life in physical labor, but prejudice in the workplace was too much to bear. He turns to a string of robberies to make enough money to get off the streets and eventually out of Gotham.
6. House and Garden: Bruce Wayne catches himself in public controversy after admitting that he supports Poison Ivy’s goals if not her methods. Behind closed doors, Jason challenges just how different Batman’s methodology is from hers, and whether it should be even more like hers. Poison Ivy enlists new members for her group from the disgruntled working class of Gotham and leads them in a protest and occupation of the city’s financial district, which turns violent due to the actions of the GCPD. Catwoman comes out of hiding in the midst of the extended chaos to help the Knights and protect Bruce. Ultimately they apprehend Poison Ivy, but are now reluctant to turn her over to Commissioner Gordon due to his mishandling of the situation, so Batman holds her in the Batcave for the time being.
7. Something to Prove: Bruce Wayne wakes up inside a massive, elaborate maze full of riddles and puzzles set up by former WayneTech employee Edward Nashton. If he does not escape the maze within 24 hours by solving every single obstacle, he will be trapped forever unless he admits that the Riddler is smarter than him. As Catwoman formally joins the Birds of Prey, she and the others scramble to rescue Bruce and keep peace in post-riot Gotham at the same time. After his escape, Bruce fires Nashton’s manager for wrongful treatment. The Riddler becomes obsessed with learning Wayne’s secret, the explanation for how a trust fund kid could’ve outsmarted him, and successfully evades capture to pursue this new goal.
8. Heart of Ice: Victor, a mysterious man in a metal suit, puts Gotham into a deep freeze so that he and his wife Nora can celebrate their wedding anniversary despite their medical condition. He goes on a rampage through Gothcorp’s medical research facility to wake Nora from cryostasis before the weather conditions can be reversed by Wayne Enterprise’s emergency response team. Chased through the city by Batman, Victor and Nora embark on one last romantic evening together before going to the hill where they married, to be in the sunlight one last time and die in each other’s embrace.
“We were married ten years ago on a snowy christmas eve. Nora loved the snow. I thought it sad there should be none this year. And I wouldn’t want my Nora to be sad tonight.”
9. Against the Clock: Temple Fugate plots against Gotham City Mayor Hamilton Hill due to blaming him for the failure of his own career years earlier. The Knights and the GCPD respond with complete severity on the assumption he’s intending to assassinate him, but the Clock King ultimately reveals he only means to demand an apology from him.
10. Harley and Ivy: Batman brings Pamela Isley into Arkham Asylum through extralegal channels. She is assigned to Dr. Quinzel, who she dated in college, by now Director of Arkham Hugo Strange. The episode is focused on Harley and Pamela’s interactions with each other over a course of weeks and months, as they catch up on what each has been up to since the breakup and begin to bond again, while Harley struggles with remaining professional and providing Pamela the treatment she needs.
11. Sideshow: Fleeing from Gotham, Killer Croc takes refuge with a group of retired circus performers sustaining themselves in the wilderness outside the city. Bonding with them over having been mistreated for their appearance, he decides against robbing them and bailing, and settles into a happier life until the performers learn of his criminal history. They defend Croc from the violent posse that goes after him, but hold him prisoner and turn him over to Batman afterwards. Kneeling before him, Croc pleads for mercy from Batman. “I was born in Gotham and I’ve been trapped in it my whole life. Nothing’s ever going to get better as long as I stay here. I need to start over.” Bruce allows him to leave.
12. The Face of Comedy: Eel O’Brian was left orphaned some time after his family emigrated to Gotham, forced to grow up on the streets and support himself with petty theft, until one night in present day, when his accomplices abandon him in an Ace Chemicals plant in pursuit from the police, and he falls into a vat that transforms him into the rubbery Plastic Man. When Bruce gets word of his case, left without a public defender, he pays his bail because he sees potential in him. Although Eel is grateful and eager to embrace a new way of life, they struggle with working together and Bruce eventually sends him to train with Superman instead.
13. Starman: Bruce Wayne, with adopted sons in tow, visits Gotham University to learn more about Pamela Isley, reconnecting with old friend and GU professor Ted Knight in the process. Ted unexpectedly needs Batman’s help retrieving his experimental cosmic rod from Roulette, a new crime lord who has risen from the ashes of the Gotham Mob. To earn the cosmic rods back, Batman, Robin, and Red Robin (Jason) must compete in an underground fighting ring. When the circumstances turn sour, Ted reclaims his device to show off just what it can do.
14. Battle for the Calendar: Amateur supervillains Calendar Man and Calendar Girl compete to determine who is the better criminal and more deserving of being allowed to continue as the one calendar-themed villain.
15. Mad Love: Harley comes to terms with the fact that she’s fallen back in love with Poison Ivy. She’s self-aware of how she’s started to believe in Pamela’s cause and how the Poison Ivy persona appeals to her fondness for the grandeur and glamor of supervillains. When she asks her superior Hugo Strange for Pamela to be reassigned to another doctor, he refuses to take her seriously. Feeling dejected, Harley returns to Poison and allows for their roles to reverse, venting about the pressures of her work. They kiss for the first time in years, and make love in Poison’s cell. Caught in her bed by Director Strange, Harley desperately attacks him and the guards, and breaks Poison Ivy out of Arkham.
16. Partners in Crime: After taking refuge in her apartment, Harley joyfully debuts her Harlequin supervillain persona to Poison. They proceed to raid Gothcorp’s medical research and Ted Knight’s Gotham U research facilities, to begin developing their device as the Knights and Birds of Prey chase them throughout the city. In the midst of this pursuit, Dick and Jason’s rivalry comes to a head when Jason’s violent methods result in collateral damage upon innocent Gotham citizens, for which Dick angrily reprimands him and forces him to return to the Batcave without Batman’s notice. After Ivy injects herself with experimental chemicals to gain plant-based superpowers, Harley and Ivy succeed in launching their device in the center of Gotham, transforming the entire city into a plant-infested jungle.
17. The Plants Shall Rule!: The city rapidly descends into anarchy after being consumed by vegetation, leaving the Knights and Birds’ hands full while Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy liberate her followers from Blackgate Prison, using Pamela’s powers, and begin their campaign to complete her utopia for plant-life.
18. Trouble in Paradise: Tensions begin to develop between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy as Pamela remains focused on completing her vision for Gotham, while Harley wants to focus on their relationship and spending time together. Pamela does her best to be loving and patient, but hopes for Harley to be more serious and “big-picture oriented,” which she does her best to live up to in her confrontations with DA Harvey Dent, Commissioner James Gordon, and Mayor Hamilton Hill. Similarly, discontent continues to develop amongst the Bat-Family over Bruce and Jason’s relationship.
19. Wild Cards: The anarchy in Gotham independently attracts two villainous opportunists, the Joker and Lex Luthor, the latter of whom quickly draws Superman after him. Jason attacks Alfred to break out of Wayne Manor, and gets caught in a confrontation between the mad-cap Joker and Batman. Jason gets badly injured in the process, resulting in him angrily blaming Batman, telling him off for the consequences of his “weakness of heart” and subsequently leaving Gotham. Dick and Selina subsequently tell off Bruce as well for neglecting them and others in favor of Jason while ignoring the red flags in his behavior. As he tries and fails to apprehend Joker and Luthor, while frustratedly acting solo, Batman is captured by Harley and Ivy.
20. Perchance to Dream: Bruce wakes up in the manor, comfortably living with Thomas and Martha, engaged to Andrea Beaumont, the fiance he had before he left Gotham for seven years, Bat-family nowhere to be seen but Batman seemingly still operating in Gotham. He goes back to Leslie Thompkins for help, struggling with this opportunity to escape from the hardships of his life. Ultimately he is unable to become complacent in this new life, and his efforts at heroism against the Mad Monk force him back into consciousness, having discovered that Harley and Poison Ivy imprisoned him and gave him a powerful hallucinogen.
21. Concrete Jungle: Bruce is forced to confront the emotional reality of recent days, Jason’s injuries and abandonment of him, while planning and attempting to escape from the physical reality of his imprisonment. Dick and Selina discuss their disappointment and hurt over Bruce’s recent behavior. Harley’s fixation on Batman as the definite obstacle in her and Poison’s relationship continues to intensify until she finally decides to murder him out of the belief that it’ll ensure their happily ever after, until Pamela intervenes in outrage, much to her surprise. Wayne Enterprises researchers led by Lucius Fox reach a breakthrough in culling the plant-life that’s choking Gotham, just as the Bat-Family lead the GCPD in encroaching upon Harley and Ivy’s headquarters and rescuing Batman.
22. Toxic: Poison Ivy surrenders to the GCPD encroaching on their hideout, and in interrogation, she betrays Harley in exchange for immunity, accusing her of being the brains of the operation, breaking Harley’s heart and getting her sent back to Arkham as a patient. Upon her release, Poison is attacked by her followers for working with the police and betraying their cause, forcing her to go into federal protection, which she is granted in exchange for years of service under government official Amanda Waller. The relationship between the GCPD and the Bat-Family is mended for the time being as a result of Gordon’s role in the rescue of Bruce. In the wake of Jason’s departure and subsequent tensions with both Dick and Selina, Bruce decides to take an extended, solitary vacation away from Gotham City and passes the mantle of Batman onto Dick in the meantime. Blue Monday by New Order plays over an extended montage portraying the emotional and physical states of Harley, Pamela, Dick, Jason, Selina, and Bruce as they depart or transition into new states of their lives. Cut to credits.
Caped Crusader Season 3
The Gotham Knights and Birds of Prey prepare for Bruce’s return from his long vacation, as Dick comes to terms with his tenure as Batman coming to an end for the time being, and the Birds of Prey clear up any immediate criminal activity that might distract Bruce before he’s ready to fight crime again. Selina and Dick have forgiven Bruce for the time being, wanting to be patient with his own troubles, but intending to be immediate and upfront with their objections going forward. Alfred has an appointment with young socialite Tim Drake, who directly states that he has determined Batman and Robin’s identities, recognizes that Batman isn’t currently his usual self, and wishes to study under both of their tutelage. Dick quickly takes a liking to him, but is concerned about Bruce taking on a new student while recovering from Jason’s abandonment, and so decides to train Tim on his own, in secret, and introduce him to Bruce sometime down the road.
Bruce arrives at the manor in a relaxed but contemplative mood, enthusiastic to get back to work, happily greeting everyone, wanting to talk through where they left off, being encouraging to Dick, apologetic to Selina, etc., with positive results all around. As the Birds transition into primarily operating as an independent organization allied with the Knights, Bruce comfortably negotiates which group covers which of Gotham City’s neighborhoods with Kate. Once he’s finally away from everyone, Bruce’s tone shifts. In private, he expresses a still-unwavering and intense sense of guilt for the events with Jason, believing that he neglected his duty to the city and to his family, and did harm to Jason. He wants to neither harm his loved ones nor compromise his efficacy and believes that shouldering more of the responsibility as vigilante by himself will best prevent this.
2. The Iceberg Lounge
Now that affairs with the Gotham Knights and Birds of Prey have been squared away, Bruce sets his sights on the biggest name to emerge in Gotham while he was away: a foreign businessman who appeared some months ago and has claimed a new foothold in the city’s underworld, buying up vacant properties and having converted them to the most popular joint in town. Bruce visits the Iceberg Lounge without informing anyone where he is, leading to a panicked search for Batman throughout the city while Dick and Tim Drake have their first training session inside the Bat-cave. Penguin has rebuilt the criminal elite of Gotham into a more refined and unified group, with him at the top and working class of Gotham excluded entirely. He is very friendly and welcoming to Bruce, leading into his casual reveal that their families did business together early in Thomas’ career. He struggles to keep his cool, but remains conversational with Penguin long enough to receive an invitation to his next party, before excusing himself as he has a panic attack in the bathroom. Visibly stressed, Bruce exits from the most notorious nightclub in Gotham right into the presence of his concerned friends waiting outside.
3. Wayne’s Eleven
Penguin is holding the biggest soiree of the year in his new penthouse, opening up the best possible opportunity to access evidence that could put Penguin away without having to resort to being Batman. Unbeknownst to the others, Bruce also hopes to find any information he can regarding Penguin’s claims about his father. He assembles a crack heist team consisting of: Kate Kane to plan with him, Robin for his gymnastics/acrobatics, Selina Kyle for lock-picking and vault cracking, Alfred as watchman, Barbara Gordon to cover surveillance and security, Huntress and Canary to talk to the attendees, Zatanna to create distractions and provide a quick escape, and Clark Kent and Lois Lane, who were separately invited to the party and intend to deal with a circumstance involving Lex Luthor and his employee John Henry Irons.
Kate argues over whether she should bring her girlfriend Renee considering she’s a cop, but eventually agrees for the sake of her providing extra security. Everything goes smoothly despite occasional hiccups at the party, with evidence of bribes and extortion easily transferred to the manor’s computers, but Bruce refuses to leave until he can uncover the physical files containing the truth about his father. Ultimately, Huntress causes the party to descend into violent chaos in attempt to give Bruce the cover he needs, but in his rush out, he leaves behind evidence that he raided Penguin’s office before Zatanna mysteriously disappears them all away right before the partygoers’ eyes. Everyone is upset at Bruce for his recklessness.
4. La Ruina
Having caught wind of the investigation into his affairs, Penguin puts separate hits out on Bruce Wayne and Batman, bringing both the League of Assassins’ elite team known as the Shadows, and its newly former member Bane, to Gotham. Deathstroke leads the assassins in staking out their territory and laying low for the time being, while Bane immediately goes to Wayne Manor and breaks down its doors. Alfred attempts to hold him off, but is horribly injured and left in his wake as Bane tears through the house. Already heavy with guilt from the most recent previous events, Bruce is horribly distraught upon finding Alfred, but is forced to call an ambulance for him and leave, quickly putting on the Batsuit and giving chase in attempt to stop Bane before he hurts Robin too.
Bane’s rampage through the manor disrupts Dick and Tim training together, resulting in Batman encountering and rescuing them both, holding off Bane as he puts all his pent-up emotions into their fight. Reaching a stand-still, Bane departs while having vocally noted that he has all the information he needs to bring down both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Alfred is held in the hospital, the Manor is closed down as a crime scene, the news report on the break-in becoming a major story instantly. Bruce announces a leave of absence from his company before going into hiding with Dick and Tim in tow, insisting that the present threat to their safety needs to be contained first, but he will be talking to them about whatever secrets Dick has been keeping from him.
5. In the Shadows
Now that he’s made a name for himself, Bane decides that he needs to put a face to it in Gotham’s eyes while also drawing out all of his enemies at once. He goes to one of its shopping districts and fires his machine gun into the air, but Deathstroke refuses to put any of his major assassins in the spotlight just yet. Bruce decides that too many innocents are in danger for him to not intervene, futilely attempting and failing to prevent Dick from following, now with Tim in gear for the first time as Red Robin. Bane makes quick work of the minor assassins sent to attack him for defecting*, but the situation quickly escalates into a lengthy chaotic brawl in the middle of downtown Gotham between the Gotham Knights, police, Bane, and the League.
When Talia is unmasked mid-combat and recognized by one of the assassins, she panics and abandons the team, leading to a retreat from all parties. Bruce tracks down and eventually confronts Talia after wearing down her endurance, getting her to admit that her father founded the League of Assassins and raised her to be his successor until she abandoned him and the League out of fear. He promises that he knows she’s a different person now and understands why she was afraid to tell him and the others. In private, however, he is nonetheless shaken by the revelation and driven to further isolate himself out of concern for the effects of his relations with the other team members.
*Deadshot is mentioned as a previous defector of whom the League is still in pursuit.
6. The Fire and Ice Ball
Bruce locks himself away and spends many hours digging into the files on Thomas Wayne’s criminal activities, intensifying the damage to his emotional state as Dick and Tim leave the bunker to contact the others for help. With his new enemy forced into hiding, Penguin turns his attention back to business as usual, hiring Firefly to burn down the properties of his rivals in criminal enterprise. The fires quickly spread to the vacant housing used by the Shadows, leading to Lady Shiva hunting Firefly down and forcing him to bring her to the Iceberg Lounge, where she takes Firefly hostage in front of the Penguin as she forces him to renegotiate their contract to kill Wayne.
She explains that the presence of two traitors, her boss’ daughter in particular, means that Wayne is no longer their concern, Batman is their main enemy, and that Penguin is now an enemy for associating with Bane. He attempts to lie about hiring Bane. She kills Firefly in retaliation and insists that he’ll be next and she’ll be out of the Lounge before his guards have a chance to react. He promises that he’ll provide them with state of the art residences, remove Bane from the equation, and pay them triple what he’d been offering to bring in Batman’s head. She disappears and he meets with Bane, making a deal in which he lays low until the League leaves the city without cause to return, and they’ll be able to share complete control of the city with Batman gone, to which Bane agrees.
7. Outrunning Justice: Bruce passes off the evidence against Penguin to both Commissioner Gordon and DA Harvey Dent, and both are obstructed in their efforts by corruption having massively infested their respective departments, eventually leading to Mayor Hamilton Hill personally confiscating the evidence and returning it to Penguin. Harvey and James are devastated and furious, contemplating leaving their careers. Harvey hopes that if he can take Hill’s position at the very top, he can finally have the authority to override those in the system, can finally reform their systems and weed out the worst of the worst in City Hall and the GCPD. He begins planning for a mayoral campaign. Upset upon learning from Gordon of their failure to stop Penguin, Montoya resigns and asks Kate if she can participate in the Birds of Prey’s activities full-time. Gordon is mugged on the way home and mourns Gotham, how it’s been changing for the first in a long time but seemingly only for the worse. Batman visits both Gordon and Hamilton Hill, meaning to instill hope back into the former and confront the latter about the histories of Thomas Wayne, the Penguin’s family, and Hill himself.
8. He Comes Bearing Smiles
A petty criminal runs down an alleyway and sees ominous posters on the walls, advertising a New Age self-help group started by none other than the Joker. The group is a cover for a cult centered on worshipping the Joker, meant to ensure a loyal base of henchmen, and the increasingly disillusioned populace of Gotham are particularly vulnerable to him at the moment. He’s returned to murder five former henchmen on the suspicion that any one of them might have betrayed him, using the cult to target and kill all five without being directly connected to the crime. Operating solo, Bruce learns of the police discovering the first criminal’s grinning corpse in the mud just outside of the city. Over the course of one long night, he attempts to individually protect each of the Joker’s former gang members, hoping to redeem himself for his previous failures. Deeply upset upon his failures for the second and third henchmen, Batman takes the flyer he found and goes to the cult’s meeting, where Joker is proselytizing.
After the sermon, he speaks to Bruce and maintains that his alibi and current goals/motivations are rock solid. Knowing his instincts yet unable to do the proper detective work he would desire in most cases, he desperately focuses on saving even one of the criminals. Meeting him at dusk in the church, the fourth gang member believes Batman is only trying to bring him in for a mugging he recently committed, even after Batman tells him the story. He asks if Batman will lead the way because he’s frightened, and then the second his back is turned bashes Batman over the head with a blackjack and attempts to run away. When Batman regains his composure, he’s horrified to witness his hanging by the cultists’ hands, putting everything together just too late. The cultists attack as Bruce does his best to hold back, recognizing these as ordinary citizens in need of help just as much as any Arkham inmate or blue collar henchman.
They wear him down and then grab hold, allowing Joker to viciously beat him with a crowbar. When asked why he chooses not to unmask or finish off Batman, Joker kills those questioning and then explains to the rest. “He has gone from nuisance to true nemesis in obstructing my little pranks, to now reduce him to a mere man in face or in life…where’s the fun in that? I must utterly crush him as the result of cunning at the end of a longer, more bitter struggle. We’ll be back for him, with a grander plan.” They leave the battered bat behind as they pursue the final target, and Batman runs out into the streets, chasing the Joker and forcing him to leave Gotham without completing his revenge, but not in any condition to catch up to him. Bruce climbs to a nearby rooftop as early dawn sets in, ragged but with renewed confidence, looking out over his city.
Having emerged from laying low as promised to Penguin, Bane leads a small elite squad in a frontal assault on Blackgate prison, liberating and arming hundreds of its inmates as they are sent into the streets of Gotham. Batman is forced to scramble around Gotham without stop for over 24 hours as he attempts to apprehend every single prisoner himself, ignoring efforts by the Knights and GCPD to contact and corroborate with him. They repeatedly try to get into merely the same vicinity as Batman and every time he evades them. Bruce is confronted internally by shame for mistreating and avoiding his friends and starts to accept that he needs to be honest with them about the struggles he’s been experiencing recently. However, he remains frightened of how his loved ones could be harmed in the wake of this particular crisis, and so finally makes contact with them, agreeing to meet only after the incident has been fully resolved throughout Gotham.
Debate occurs amongst Bruce’s associates over the terms of these arrangements and their frustrations with his behavior. Bane goes to the Iceberg Lounge, where Penguin proceeds to quickly have a breakdown as he realizes Bane has paid off every single one of his guards. Bane’s last words before crushing Penguin’s skull are as follows: “Two immigrants come to a dog-eat-dog city. Only one of us was ever making it out of this.” Having apprehended and immobilized a large portion of the inmates, Batman heads to a rooftop to catch his breath. Haggard and injured, he stands on the building looking out over his city, just as in the previous episode. From behind, Bane’s voice calls out: “I’ve been wondering what I’ll break first: your spirit or your body!” Batman slowly turns around in shock, lacking the energy to properly respond, and is kicked off the roof by Bane. He crashes into the windshield of Dick’s arriving car, shocking everyone inside, as Bane bellows triumphantly.
The Knights race to get Bruce to a hospital where he can receive emergency treatment for his injuries, while Bane debuts himself at City Hall, city still in the midst of chaos, as the self-appointed king of Gotham and man who broke Batman, mounting Penguin’s corpse on the steps to win over the locals that resented him and his prestige class of criminal. He systematically executes the police and legal departments while taking Gordon and Dent as imprisoned hostages inside of City Hall. The League deals with internal strife from tensions between Mad Dog and Cassandra Cain, and prepares to defend the buildings that Penguin provided them. They mean to lay low and hold the fort, knowing that their combat styles leave them vulnerable in an atmosphere of mobs wielding assault rifles.
However, an uneasy peace is soon established between them and Bane’s horde, staying out of each other’s way. Bruce is retrieved from the hospital and taken to private rest and treatment in their refuge, as the entire city of Gotham quickly falls to chaos and mayhem. Many months pass as Bane’s grip on Gotham tightens. Bruce and Alfred slowly begin to recover from their injuries. Selina gets the rest of the Bat-Family in contact with a growing underground rebellion built by the city’s working class, and together, they develop their plot to undermine Bane’s violent grip on Gotham. During their first confrontation with his forces after joining the rebellion, Jason Todd suddenly arrives after having disappeared for over a year, aiding the Knights under the new vigilante persona of Nightwing.
Settling in at the rebels’ headquarters, Jason explains that Talia intervened shortly into his travels. She convinced him to join her on a journey, visiting as many of the sites of Bruce’s training as possible, developing his social skills and moral code along the way. They parted ways so that he could seek out his own opportunities to help the public, and eventually he began traveling back once she asked for help with Bane and the League. With her vouching for him, he is welcomed back into the fold, and the group turns back to dealing with Bane. The rebels explain that Bane has been selling weapons to pay his army, then using the leftover funds to import an addictive steroid cocktail that made him powerful enough to match Batman. As long as he’s using it, his soldiers believe that he is physically unstoppable.
This leads into the plan to cut off both the arms dealing and the purchase of Venom by targeting the sites of these transactions, thus depriving his henchmen of all motivation to follow him. Afterward, the Knights infiltrate City Hall while the rebels keep the soldiers outside occupied. The Knights use teamwork to attack Bane in the central chamber, knocking him out and handcuffing him to his throne so that he’ll eventually go into withdrawal: Jason Todd exhausts Bane through fight and chase, Tim Drake crouch-runs between seat rows, jabbing his fists into Bane’s ribs, Dick Grayson trapeze swings down and double-kicks Bane’s chest, knocking him back into his chair, at which point Kate jabs a tranquilizer syringe into his neck and together they all pin him down until it takes effect.
12. Wings of Desire
The Knights rescue Gordon and Dent from City Hall after the first soldiers begin to surrender or flee. Gordon and Dent join the other leaders of the charge as the rebels reclaim Gotham City neighborhood by neighborhood. After suffering through his Venom withdrawal, a strung-out, crazed, emaciated Bane escapes from his shackles, haunting City Hall, the last part of Gotham still under his control, not back under the rule of law. Abandoned by his forces, he keeps GCPD at bay with his remaining assault rifles, until the Knights are brought in to remove and hopefully apprehend him. They play cat and mouse with him for some time, until he begins to hear Batman’s voice coming from the shadows of City Hall, setting him further on edge. His voice emerges from many rooms and directions, surrounding Bane as he becomes more and more disturbed. Bruce delivers the following speech as the rest of the Knights continue to pursue him:
“You left your soldiers feeling uninspired, Bane, and all of your power quickly disappeared along with them. From where do you get your power? Greed, and fear. Unsustainable, made of salt and sand. To remain loyal, a following needs a cause to believe in. What do you believe in? Power and control for their own sake? Meaningless. Do you know what I believe in? I believe in my home being worth turning into a better place. I believe in making people feel they can be safe out at night. I believe in improving our social environment so that no one could be desperate enough to follow the likes of you. And I believe that strength comes from support, not domination. Together, not my followers but my family defeated you. I won’t let you hurt my family. For I am Justice. I am the Night. I AM BATMAN!”
Bruce soars down from the ceiling towards Bane, frightening him so much that he runs out of City Hall and grabs the nearest car behind the building, desperately leaving Gotham behind him. After he lands, Bruce winces as he limps towards the nearest wall, helped by his family, until he can lean against the wall for support. Catching his breath, he gently chuckles, happy that their plan worked. He was in no condition for a real fight. He’s grateful that he could rely on his family.
13. Crisis of Leadership
With Bane finally out of the way, Bruce knows that the League will rear their heads again soon enough, and gets everyone to swear that they will support Talia and fight alongside her. Ubu and Mad Dog exert pressure onto Deathstroke to go on the offensive as soon as possible, against the advice of Lady Shiva. Cass Cain and Bronze Tiger discuss their concerns over the direction the group is heading. At the same time, Jason is chafing under the plan to continue remaining under the radar for as long as possible. He’s getting along better with everyone, including Tim, but that renews his conflict with Dick, who is protective of his student considering Jason’s past behavior. When the order comes down from on high that he needs to confront Talia and Batman, Deathstroke issues a challenge for a duel with Batman at midnight.
Jason is eager to accept the challenge in his place given Bruce’s condition, and as the sole holdout, Dick agrees to support him as long as he promises to remain true to what Bruce would do in the situation. Jason and Slade proceed to get into a knock-down drag-out swordfight and fistfight in the tenements of Gotham, culminating in Deathstroke being accidentally stabbed in the stomach with the broken edge of his blade. He begs for a mercy killing, but to remain true to his word, Jason takes him out of Gotham to find the medical treatment he needs and says goodbye to his family for now. Once word of his failure and abduction reaches them, the League immediately descends into infighting, and soon after Cassandra Cain and Bronze Tiger both defect, with her going to the Birds of Prey and him disappearing into the night. At last, Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) arrives to take charge.
14. Head of the Demon
Cassandra Cain struggles to integrate and be accepted into the Birds of Prey despite her need of refuge. In the wake of new betrayals and the challenges to authority given by Ubu and Mad Dog, Ra’s focuses first on instilling loyalty into his remaining assassins and punishing those two for their actions, then sending them out to kill Cass before they can set their sights on Talia. As leader of the Birds, Kate steps forward to give acceptance and support to Cass, helping her to better understand what being part of their group means. Cass explains that Mad Dog is her adoptive brother and how she has struggled with her relationship with Lady Shiva, her mother, due to her preference for him. Kate talks about being part of the Wayne family and growing up feeling overshadowed, and that while forging her own path was important for her, working with Bruce and gaining strength from her family connection was better. Kate fights alongside her when Ubu and Mad Dog attack, and after he rebukes Cass’ attempt to reach out, Kate defeats him so that she doesn’t have to. Ubu retreats quickly, Mad Dog is taken prisoner, and Cass embraces her new persona as Batgirl, apprentice to Batwoman.
15. Black Tiger: Amanda Waller successfully captures Bronze Tiger on the outskirts of Gotham and takes him to a mysterious underground facility. As she attempts to interrogate him, he tells the story of how he first met Ra’s al Ghul and was inspired to follow him, in a 1970s-set blaxploitation homage. Afterwards, she informs him that he’ll be sent to Belle Reve, with no trial, no parole, and three life sentences, unless he cooperates, coercing him into providing information about Ra’s and the League. He receives a new sentence in exchange for signing on with her special task force.
16. The Wall
Bruce Wayne finally reopens his manor and returns to Wayne Enterprises. Alfred chooses to retire as his butler due to the tensions between them since his discoveries about Thomas Wayne. Bruce’s happiness in returning to his company is short-lived, as Amanda Waller arrives and declares his company under investigation. Privately, under the protection of Bronze Tiger and Poison Ivy as her bodyguards, she informs Bruce of several things: she knows he is Batman due to the circumstances of Bane’s first attack combined with information on the Batcave provided by Poison; Batman will never be able to cooperate with GCPD again as she has claimed it from the forcibly retired James Gordon; and that if Batman obstructs her plans to arrest Ra’s and the assassins legally, she will arrest him and expose his secret to the world. After planning out with his board how to deal with the investigation and still invest in the recovery of Gotham from the Bane crisis, Bruce returns to his family and gives them the news. Tim and Cass continue their training with Dick and Kate, but everyone struggles with the shadows Waller has cast over their work. A few weeks pass in this state of unhappiness, leaving both the Bat-Family and their enemies in the League restless. Bruce focuses his energy on philanthropy and surviving the investigation, and keeps himself positive to help motivate his wards.
17. Desperate Times: After careful, extended consultation with Shiva and Ubu, Ra’s decides that he will systematically destroy Gotham through terrorist attacks and thus force Talia into facing him, preferably alone after losing her friends in these attacks. Once reinforcements arrive to fill out their numbers and provide with needed resources from Nanda Parbat, the League launches their first attack upon the Gotham clock tower.. As the rest of the team responds to this crisis, Cassandra holes up in the Batcave in attempt to interrogate her adoptive brother and prisoner, Mad Dog. It takes time and effort to wear him down, but ultimately, they connect over their feelings towards their parents, the pressure they put them under, and this leads to Cassandra freeing him so that he can leave Gotham and the League in peace.
18. Harley: This extended-length episode centers entirely on Harley Quinn’s experiences spanning the first year and a half she spends as a patient in Arkham, from her first day after arriving in the season 2 finale to a parole hearing occurring at the same time as the season 3 finale. She struggles with the trauma of Poison’s betrayal, her fall from grace, and the mistreatment subjected to her by other patients and her former coworkers. She frequently speaks and bonds with the various other former supervillains in Arkham, such as the Cluemaster and Clayface. Harley begins a gradual recovery after transferring to a different psychologist. Eventually, she qualifies to be under consideration for release from Arkham, but she is denied it, devastating her. Now bitter once more, she begins planning a return to supervillainy and an escape from the Asylum.
19. Fire From Olympus: Ra’s continually escalates his terrorist attacks on Gotham, forcing the Bat-family in a race against Waller’s police to be the first to determine the location of the League’s hideout. Bruce strains to complete his recovery in time as the final confrontation with the Shadows grows closer.
20. Some Great Reward: Three extended flashbacks from Talia’s life are intercut with and juxtaposed against each other throughout the episode, culminating in a montage of the climaxes to all three timelines, set to Master and Servant by Depeche Mode. The first timeline is her childhood, portraying her relationship with her father before she left Nanda Parbat, the second is set in Gotham after Bruce left to continue his training, and the third follows the time she and Jason spent together outside of Gotham in near-present day. Her father’s controlling treatment of her is connected to to her own relationship with Jason. The middle flashback reveals that she had a child named Jason Wayne, accelerated his aging with chemicals from the Lazarus Pit, and then released him onto the streets of Gotham with a false identity, until she eventually reconnected with him in the final flashbacks. As the climactic montage ends, it suddenly cuts back to Talia in the present day amidst final preparations for the assault on the League’s hideout.
21. Family Matters
As the team infiltrates the League of Assassins’ headquarters, Cassandra is forced into a fight to the death with her mother, Lady Shiva, staying behind to keep her from harming the others. In the midst of their duel, she demands an apology that she never receives. The Bat-Family, led by Bruce and Talia, make quick work of the minor assassins as they scour the building for Ra’s, until Ubu arrives to present their final challenge before facing his leader. Tim Drake steps forward to take Ubu on singlehandedly and proves himself, making Bruce very proud. He steps in at the end to put Ubu into a sleeper hold and leave him for Waller’s authorities. Cassandra returns and upon witnessing this, asks if she has dishonored herself. Kate reminds her that she operates under the Birds’ code, not Batman’s, which Bruce reaffirms and respects. Talia impatiently urges them to get the happy family business over with and marches onward, with the rest in tow.
They reach Ra’s’ chamber and fight him extensively as an entire group, as he relies more on magic than physical prowess in his advanced age. Finally, Talia pushes the rest away from him, stabbing Ra’s in the heart and slashing his throat, then proceeding to immediately burn his body to ensure he stays dead. Bruce is shocked and dismayed by her brutality and lack of sentiment. She urgently searches for and finds a hidden button, which opens an entrance into an underground passage. As Amanda Waller’s heavily armed and armored police forces begin to storm the building, Talia orders everyone to go through without her to escape. Bruce looks back at Talia, but she closes the door without following right before Waller arrives. Waller demands the arrests of everyone who was an accomplice to the deaths of Ra’s and Shiva. In homage to the ending of Blake’s 7, Talia responds by silently pointing her pistol towards Waller and smiling, prompting the police to open fire upon her as the screen cuts to black.
22. Family Secrets
As the Bat-Family journeys through the underground tunnel system beneath Gotham City, walking on a network of suspended metal platforms, they contemplate the many questions opened by the location’s existence and Talia’s awareness of it. When they pass an elaborate computer system in the tunnels’ central chamber, Bruce asks everyone to stop as he investigates. From the Bat-cave, Oracle provides remote assistance in accessing the computers’ files, leading to Bruce finally being able to fill in the rest of the gaps within the information he received about the collaboration between Penguin, Mayor Hill, and the Wayne family. Gotham’s tunnels and platforms were built as part of its founding and used by the League of Assassins to preserve the power of Gotham’s elite throughout the generations, with self-made man Thomas Wayne being the first new inductee into the inner circle of Gotham’s elite in some time. Thomas directly ordered the deportation of Penguin so that he could absorb his business, and forcibly interned other rivals in Arkham.
The League’s relationship with Mayor Hill and the rest of the inner circle only fell apart after he refused to aid them in apprehending Talia and brought Waller in to retaliate. Confronted by his father’s legacy, Bruce discusses his internal conflict with the others. Ultimately, with their help, he refuses to allow it to compromise his ideals or his mission, vowing to absolve the Waynes’ sins in his public life while continuing to serve as Batman, despite the loss of his original inspiration. The Bat-Family returns to their travels, reaching an entry point into the Bat-cave, where they are greeted by Barbara and the returned Jason. Bruce is visited by a furious Waller, but is able to prevent her leaking his identity by relying on a fake alibi and the claim that she didn’t physically see him or any other vigilantes at Ra’s’ lair. Talia awakens in the morgue and greets Mayor Hill with a smile on her face, before the scene cuts to credits.
Caped Crusader Season 4
1. I Believe in Harvey Dent
Begins with a cold open showing the meeting between Talia and Mayor Hill in which he explains that he can’t protect her from Waller, but he can help her continue the ruse that she remained dead, in exchange for funding his reelection campaign, providing the resources she has gained from the dissolution of League of Assassins leadership. Very little time has passed since the deaths of Ra’s and Talia. Bruce is laying low for the time being while Waller’s grip over Gotham’s streets tightens. He’s focusing on continuing Tim’s training while Dick intermittently patrols solo. Bruce has installed an in-home infirmary within the Manor. Crime, organized and petty, has slowed to a crawl, leaving only increasingly unhinged, self-styled supervillains that are forced to work together to survive. As Harvey launches his mayoral campaign, he has to work to convince Bruce to help fund it rather than focusing entirely on his company and philanthropic work.
Bruce is concerned that putting the Wayne name back into politics will only reawaken tensions remaining from his father’s actions, and suggest that he’s following in his footsteps. Harvey is desperate to win Bruce over, unsure of how else he could sustain his campaign, but must leave him be for right now to deliver his announcement speech. Jason crosses paths with Dick on patrol, who is happy to see him after his help with Bane and Deathstroke, while Jason is colder, asserting a willingness to cooperate but also being loyal to Talia over Batman. Dick attempts to warn him about the consequences of staying with the past and the dead rather than moving forward, talking about his own experiences with his parents. When he returns to the Batcave, Dick and Tim share a kiss in private.
2. Cain and Abel
Jason is followed for a time on solo patrol, exploring his sense of isolation from his allies and the people he protects alike. He is eventually called back to headquarters by Talia. Meanwhile, Bruce attends a fundraising party for Harvey, who is just barely scraping by without a major donor. The two men reminisce about their early friendship after Harvey’s speech, and he admits to some envy towards Bruce over the years. They plan for another private meeting later in the week. Talia meets with Jason and reveals to him that she is his mother. She lies about the context by claiming that she and Bruce knowingly had him together and that he ultimately asked her to give Jason away, not ready to have a son until he eventually chose Dick as a surrogate. Jason wanders the compound to contemplate this information on his own, suffering at the thought of being continually rejected by Bruce, of the loss of family, and ultimately succumbing to anger and envy. Harvey and Bruce meet in private, where the former talks about how the arrival of Batman began to undermine his career, but he always held great admiration for him.
Based on Bane and Waller’s actions among other evidence, he suspects that Bruce uplifted someone with the training and motive and has been funding Batman since he first appeared more than five years ago. Bruce chooses to confess that he provides Batman’s resources, which Harvey reveals that he has recorded and will give to Vicki Vale if Bruce doesn’t fund his campaign. Jason confronts Dick while he’s out on patrol, attempting to interrogate him about his relationships with Bruce and Tim, wearing down his emotional defenses and hard-won positive affection. Dick realizes that Jason wants him to strike first, and so refuses to be manipulated, restraining himself. Finally, Jason impatiently lashes out and proceeds to get into a brutal extended fight with Dick in the streets of Gotham. Waller dispatches officers to the scene upon watching it on her surveillance system, forcing Batman to race to get there first once Dick calls for help. Dick’s injuries force him to retire as Robin for the time being and allow Tim to take his place full-time.
3. Flight: As Bruce prepares Tim for his final test before he can begin as Robin, he struggles with the aftermath of both Harvey’s and Jason’s betrayals and contemplates what could have caused Jason’s. All of the Knights/Birds prepare to be mindful for Jason being an active opponent of their work moving forward. The episode focuses on Bruce and Tim’s eternal lives, the latter of whom is faced with living up to an established legacy, the romantic feelings he’s been developing for Dick, and the space he needs to give Dick right now during his recovery. After reaching some degree of internal peace with the support of Bruce and his friends, Tim succeeds in his final trial and becomes the primary Robin.
4. Return of the Cluemaster: Amelia Brown is released from Arkham and meets with her ex-husband (Jeff Goldblum), whose rejection causes her to relapse into her Cluemaster persona, taking him hostage alongside the audience of Gotham’s newest, hottest game show. Amelia attempts to keep calm and focus on entertaining her audience for as long as possible, as her facade begins to slip. Bruce and Tim attempt to intervene, but a new vigilante calling herself the Spoiler arrives first, only succeeding at protecting some of the hostages when Waller’s forces suddenly storm the studio and open fire, causing Cluemaster to flee with her ex in tow. Batman, Robin, and Spoiler pursue her from the shadows, all four ultimately converging at Brown’s old home, where Spoiler reveals herself as her daughter Stephanie and desperately attempts to convince her mother to stand down from threatening murder-suicide. Ultimately, she fails and Stephanie is put into great pain by witnessing the deaths of her parents. Bruce attempts to reach out in consolation and is rebuffed, as she silently, angrily leaves them with the mess while Waller closes in on the building.
5. The Aftermath
As they hide out from Waller’s police in the basement of the dilapidated apartment building, Tim deals with being traumatized by the deaths he’s witnessed, leading to Bruce talking him through his own trauma with his parents, and new struggles after discovering the truth about Thomas, in attempt to help him cope. Tim is still disturbed and will have to live with this moving forward, and Bruce assures him that is okay. They ultimately conclude that anyone and everyone is worth saving and they should always try to, and they also need to be able to continue their mission after losses and failures. Tim then confesses that he and Dick were developing feelings for each other before the attack, but he had been scared of what the others would think. Bruce promises that, with the two of them as equals rather than in a position of mentor/student, everyone will gladly support the two of them after Dick recovers, and admits to past relationships with men to make him feel more comfortable with discovering his identity. Enough time having passed, they leave the building and return home.
6. The Cautionary Tale of La Ruina: Bane arrives at Wayne Manor with a gesture of peace, his mental and physical condition restored. He has taken Bruce’s words in City Hall to heart, wanting to rebuild his family and forge a new path for himself. He asks for Bruce’s help with breaking into a prison in Latin America to rescue his father’s team of luchador wrestlers. Bruce agrees on the condition that Gotham will be left alone by Bane’s criminal enterprises for the rest of time, which is accepted. He entrusts Tim with keeping Gotham safe for the weeks needed for the heist and the travel to and from Santa Prisca. Batman and Bane’s extralegal, lighthearted adventure ends with Bane heroically turning himself over to the police to protect the men and women broken out of prison, inspired by Bruce’s example.
7. Circus of Strange: The Riddler reemerges from the shadows, having assembled a cabal of bizarro henchmen called the Circus of Strange*, to help him in finding the truth about Bruce Wayne. Gordon is abducted by the Circus and put through a disturbing gauntlet of obstacles with the demand that Bruce Wayne turn himself in for questioning by midnight, leading to Batman and Robin attacking the Circus before the deadline, with Tim posing as Batman at key intervals while Bruce appears out of suit to keep Riddler off the trail. They successfully convince him that Bruce is merely a privileged, lucky and well-educated public figure. The Riddler is successfully turned over to Arkham Asylum by Batman after stealing him from Waller’s custody. Batman visits Gordon and comforts him in the wake of his experiences, encouraging a possible brief check-in to Arkham.
*Big Top, Humpty Dumpty, Flamingo, Jackanapes, Phosphorus Rex.
8. Ego Trip
Tim and the Knights, Jason and Talia, and Waller compete for the soul of Gotham City during the weeks of Bruce’s absence, while Harvey Dent begins to descend into paranoia and power fantasies as his poll numbers continue to rise against Hamilton. The rapid loss of Harvey’s idealism and political intentions in the wake of popularity and attention is contrasted against the ideological reflections engaged in by Talia and Waller as they continue their power struggle with each other. Both ultimately believe that they can bring justice to the city by seizing the city and purging it of undesirable elements, but Talia intends to take it even farther than Waller has. Waller meets with Hamilton to consider what they can do to contain the situation at this juncture, and she is dissatisfied with his inaction. All of these events culminate in an altercation between Jason and Harvey in front of a massive crowd, which Harvey turns into an opportunity to posture as a Batman esque hero. Bruce returns to Gotham enthusiastically, unaware of what has transpired.
9. The Great Debate
As the Knights prepare to monitor and secure the upcoming first debate of the mayoral election, Bruce is exposed to how Harvey has been acting while he was away, throwing his money around at will, intimidating and dominating his employees, and acting increasingly brazen in his public comments against both Hamilton and Waller. The ideological conflict at work in the election is threatened to be derailed by his actions, and Bruce is unsure how to intervene with the blackmail in play. Harvey’s increasingly manic, erratic, and egotistical behavior throughout the campaign comes to a head during his first debate with Mayor Hamilton, when he publicizes Thomas Wayne’s criminal history and thus drags the Wayne Family name through the mud in order to take Hamilton down with it. Waller stages a terror attack on the debate to claim power from Hamilton and frame Dent for the murder in the process, but is successfully defeated by the Knights, albeit without being able to prove her involvement.
10. Harvey Two-Face
Harvey immediately popularizes the conspiracy theory of Waller’s potential involvement in the attack on his debate with the Mayor while continuing to demean the Wayne family and now Bruce directly for failing to protect the event properly. Bruce faces much difficulty in gaining direct access to Harvey as he continually makes public appearances displaying great confidence, before Bruce is distracted by another clash between Jason and the Birds. Independent vigilante Spoiler is caught in the middle of their conflict and ultimately enlists with the Birds of Prey as Batwoman’s new apprentice. Her respect for Batman and Robin have grown, but she finds herself uncomfortable working with them. Eventually, Bruce is able to confront Harv privately over recent events, and when Harvey drunkenly suggests that the campaign is a lark and that he didn’t even take the mudslinging seriously, Bruce loses control, tackling Harvey, and punching him in the face before being dragged off. This causes Harvey to finally, seriously reconsider his actions, attempting to offer an olive branch to Bruce. That exact moment of greatest public vulnerability is when he is struck with acid in the face by someone he sent to prison years ago.
11. Reap What is Sown
Harvey Dent is left completely traumatized, his mental spiral being exacerbated into a definitive break from reality, by being taught the mistake of showing his vulnerability and having his paranoid belief of the universe being unfairly stacked against him be reinforced. After his weeks-long physical recovery in the hospital it is quickly decided to institutionalize him in Arkham, which receives much public controversy and leaves an impact on the city. He is temporarily replaced by Janet Van Dorn, known critic of vigilantism and Batman. Bruce is troubled by the events and takes leave from his company in the wake of them, after Waller meets with him to quietly and finally close the investigation of his company out of respect. Stephanie has begun her training with Tim Drake and the Birds of Prey, developing a sense of trust and enjoyment of their company. Hamilton is satisfied with having won the election by default, until Talia arrives to receive recompense for supporting him in the election. When he threatens to turn her over to Waller if she steps out of line, she ruthlessly murders him, putting the building into lockdown as security quickly swarms the office and searches for her. As Talia regroups with Jason in the tunnel system, Waller declares a state of emergency in Gotham as she seizes power.
12. Poker Night
This episode is entirely set within Arkham Asylum, alternating between the perspectives of Harvey Dent and Harley Quinn. Harvey enters Arkham and struggles to acclimate, being mistreated and rejected by other inmates for receiving special treatment from staff and for having a role in some of their arrests and captures. Meanwhile, Harley prepares to launch her breakout soon, considering to incorporate taking Dent hostage as part of the plan. She has been troubled to learn about what happened to the Cluemaster and wonders where Poison has been. Harvey, entering his Two-Face persona, attends Arkham’s weekly poker night and bonds with the other two biggest egos in Gotham, Clayface and the Riddler. Clayface has begun to suffer from cellular deconstruction, his clay falling from his body. Each of the three men gripes about how Batman affected their lives for the worse. They take over the conversation, causing others to leave. Roused with anger, the three toast to Batman in the finale of the poker game, bidding farewell for now with renewed energy.
13. Fragile Alliances
Talia reveals her living self to Bruce, offering a truce for as long as Waller holds her iron fist over Gotham and threatens both of their operations. He confronts her over Jason’s attack on Dick, and she insists that she had no way to know that he would react as such, but agrees to tell him the truth of Jason’s parentage in order to understand Jason’s actions. Bruce is upset that a son was kept from him and wants to reach out to Jason. He reluctantly agrees to Talia’s truce. Meanwhile, Harvey reaches out to Clayface and Riddler with a proposal to take over Arkham and rule it together. Clayface is reluctant until Two-Face delivers a grandiose speech suggesting that he deserves a suitably dramatic final act for his life, waking Basil’s fear of his mortality. Bruce and Talia work together to plan for how to go against Waller and the police force on a mass scale, until they get word of a breakout and takeover at Arkham.
Clayface begins to use his powers against the guards, orderlies, and doctors of the Asylum, making quick work as he attacks and impersonates them until the three have seized complete control of the facility. The staff, as well as certain inmates like James Gordon, are held hostage in the top floor of the main building. While many inmates are nonviolent and left in their cells, protesting that Arkham has provided them with good treatment that they wish to continue, many other inmates are freed and united in their resentment under the Trio, as Clayface takes charge and broadcasts his demand to Waller for Batman to be brought to the island. Bruce asks Talia to hold down the fort and goes to Waller, saying that Batman can take care of the situation. She says he will be sent to appease the Trio, but that he best not get in the way of her agents, they can secure the situation themselves.
14. Task Force X
We open on Amanda Waller, followed by an armed guard, entering what appears to be a luxury penthouse apartment, until the extensive security measures eventually lead her to into a chamber protected by reinforced glass to keep her safe from the occupants while allowing for communication. She is greeted by Poison Ivy, who proceeds to discuss their new assignment with Waller as the rest of Pamela’s squadmates appear behind her and join the conversation, featuring both old faces (Killer Croc and Bronze Tiger) and new faces (Enchantress, Nightshade, Deadshot). As Waller and Flag put together a plan of attack with the rest of the team, several vignettes portray some of the various heists and missions experienced by Task Force X during the first years after Waller founded the operation. These vignettes demonstrate how Croc, Tiger, and Poison have developed as characters, and establish the new characters and their abilities. Former members of the Squad (Blockbuster, Plastique, Shrike) that died in action are also shown. After an extended sequence of Task Force X, led by Poison Ivy and Rick Flag, deploying onto Arkham Island and infiltrating the Asylum, cut to credits.
15. Through the Looking Glass
Waller delivers Batman to Arkham Island by boat, where he uses his stealth abilities to approach the main building while avoiding the armed inmates. Ivy has overgrown the island grounds with her powers to make transferring between buildings more difficult. This leads to Batman quickly getting lost and disoriented until he wanders into the Arkham gardens, where is apprehended by the hypnotized henchmen of a deranged Mad Hatter, who ties him up and takes him prisoner at a tea party. The Hatter has entered a deeply delusional state, speaking completely in nonsense-poetry and addressing corpses seated beside Batman as though they were alive. He seems no longer able to offer a physical threat, until the henchmen start preparing to surgically plant a hypnotic chip into his brain. Meanwhile, the Suicide Squad is accosted by several inmates and engage in a firefight as Poison departs with Tiger, Croc and Nightshade, leaving the main building for recon.
The Trio gets word of their presence and Riddler encourages Clayface to be ruthless, otherwise their authority will continue to be undermined, but Clayface is worried about losing too many of their forces and making themselves more vulnerable. The Trio of supervillains rapidly descend into bickering, distracting them from the outside threats, while beginning to quietly conspire to hijack leadership of the inmates and control of Arkham from each other. Harley is infuriated that her escape plans have been hijacked by the Trio, but she resolves to take advantage of the situation for as long as possible and then leave the Asylum when the time is right. This is further complicated when she witnesses Poison Ivy scouting the grounds with other Squad members. She begins planning to isolate and attack Poison. Batman breaks out of his binds and fights through all of the henchmen, leaving the Hatter tied up and unharmed so that he might still receive the treatment he needs. He infiltrates and sneaks through the main building of Arkham until he makes contact with Flag and his squadmates.
16. Curtain Call
Although Enchantress and Deadshot are skeptical, Rick Flag respects Batman based on reputation and thus attempts tentative negotiations. Bruce learns from them that former commissioner James Gordon is among the hostages, igniting his guilt. This discussion quickly falls apart when he attempts to discourage them from employing lethal force, leading to a tense departure. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn angrily confronts Poison Ivy and fights with her to the point of exhaustion and vulnerability. They reluctantly decide to stick together for the time being rather than be alone and weakened in the madhouse. They briefly cross paths with Batman, who has been observing and listening as Harley regales her experiences within the Asylum. They are on edge at first, but he promises them that he understands they are not the true threats on the island and will not intervene with their escape. He explains: “I know what it’s like to try to rebuild a life. I had a bad day once.” He bids them good luck and continues towards the Trio’s location. Scarecrow (Oded Fehr), who has been appointed as lieutenant by Clayface to mobilize on his behalf as his decomposition progresses, leads the army of inmates to overwhelm Batman through brute force and overwhelming numbers and take him to the medical facility.
The Riddler and Two-Face decide to work together for the time being, believing that they can sway their followers away from Clayface by arguing that his increasing deterioration renders him physically and mentally unfit to continue leading. They claim the army of inmates left to their own devices by Scarecrow, leading them into a clash against the rest of the Suicide Squad, eventually forcing the Squad to retreat and lick their wounds with Harvey as their hostage. Harvey attempts to exploit this opportunity, speaking with the Squad about each of their experiences with Batman and trying to convince them to help him. Riddler struggles with the inmates’ loss of morale as Clayface realizes that he has been deposed from his place in the asylum’s cafeteria. Clayface is joined by the Ventriloquist, who speaks with him about their struggles with recovery and lack of authority among the more aggressive patients. As mortality creeps ever closer, Clayface is unconcerned about being deposed by Riddler, but fears if anyone will care that he died. Ventriloquist promises to help him. Wesker brings Riddler and the inmates back to the cafeteria, promising that their spirits will be renewed to keep fighting. Clayface eventually, completely deconstructs some hours after being deposed by Riddler, and dies in the midst of a final grandiose and tragic monologue delivered to a massive, applauding crowd of inmates in the cafeteria.
17. What is Reality?
Riddler is massively distressed by Clayface drawing attention away from him, so much so that he retreats into a comforting delusion of absolute grandeur, an existential god mode of sorts that helps him transcend his petty human emotions and in turn any lingering grasp of reality. His ability to lead failing, Riddler is left behind by Ventriloquist and the rallied inmates as they attempt to hunt down the Squad, tearing the facilities further apart in the process. Harley and Ivy must work together to evade the dangerous mob and protect each other, forcing them to communicate and begin the process of finally talking about what happened years ago. Ivy talks about how she’s changed as a leader and how close she’s grown to her squadmates, leading to Harley eventually letting her leave so that she can help and protect them. Harley hates that Ivy’s life has improved as hers has worsened and says that she can’t promise their next reunion will be on good terms. The fully reunited Squad takes advantage of the chaos to advance to the top of the main building and begin freeing the hostages, to Two-Face’s dismay.
As the hostages are escorted to Waller’s boat, Two-Face is freed by a briefly more lucid Riddler and together they take Gordon away from the squad and escaping hostages. Scarecrow gives Batman massive dosages of his revamped fear toxin and releases him into the labyrinthine hospital to wander and be hunted by the inmates. He endures this torment for hours as he hallucinates his parents, a dead Gordon blaming him for encouraging that he check in, the loss of his adoptive family, and other traumas. He eventually finds Scarecrow and beats him viciously in exchange for an antidote, before continuing his journey through the hospital as the inmates continue hunting him. Bruce has a panic attack after locking himself into a random doctor’s office to get away from his pursuers, his fortitude beginning to wear down from the continued mental and physical gauntlet of Arkham. The situation only worsens when Bruce overhears the slaughter of the inmates that were hunting him, and then the office door is broken down by none other than the Joker, who declares that he is delighted to have finally returned home.
18. Living Hell
Locking themselves in the lounge chamber of the Asylum’s main building with James Gordon tied up, Riddler and Two-Face begin to panic about their loss of power and control over the rest of the inmates, while the Suicide Squad contemplates how to retrieve Gordon without coming in contact with Ventriloquist’s mob. Harley comes to the Ventriloquist and calms him and his mob down by talking about the good that Arkham has done for them and can continue do if they restore it to harmony and expel negative influences. Leading the mob, they storm the lounge and overwhelm Riddler and Two-Face, tying them up and preparing to transfer Gordon to the Squad and Waller’s boat, on the condition that the nonviolent inmates who were left in their cells be evacuated with him.
Waller attempts to argue with this, but Poison and Flag vote her out. Harley leaves Ventriloquist in charge of their captives and the remaining inmates while she searches for Batman. Riddler has slipped back into a mental state that leaves him amenable to ceding power and returning to peace in the Asylum, but Two-Face desperately convinces the inmates to free him, at which point he easily cows Ventriloquist into submission, and casually executes the first inmate to challenge his authority. He leads the inmates in attacking and overpowering the Suicide Squad at the expense of some of the inmates’ lives. Nightshade and Enchantress are sedated in order to prevent the use of their powers to escape. Poison Ivy flees and manages to send a message to Harley warning that Two-Face is back in control, before she is captured.
19. A Serious House on Serious Earth
Cold open: the sequence of the Joker killing the hunter inmates is replayed from their perspective in a nightmarish, surrealist horror visual style (a la the artstyle of ASHSE) that the entirety of this episode is presented in. Joker seizes the weakened Batman and brings him to the chapel at the northern end of the island, where Arkham administrator Hugo Strange (Demian Bichir) is waiting. As Joker subjects a bound Batman to torture, Strange reads from the diary of founder Amadeus Arkham: “This island is cursed, its heritage is one only and always of suffering, and to do good here is an errand of the mad.” Amadeus was tormented by hallucinations of a Bat-Monster that convinced him to kill his family. He built the Asylum on the grounds where they were slain in attempt at repentance, but the visions of the monster returned, forcing him to torture his patients until he was finally institutionalized himself.
Strange believes that he has been possessed by the spirit of Amadeus, and that Batman, who he has been dangerously obsessed with since his first appearance in Gotham, is the Bat-Monster and thus he must be destroyed as part of the Asylum’s rebirth. He explains that ever since he was a junior psychologist at Arkham in the early 70s, he’s exploited the negligent, abusive conditions of Arkham to conduct medical and social experiments, but as people like Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent have spent the better part of the 80s improving the conditions of Arkham, his work is more and more difficult to accomplish, and his “home” that he knows and loves is not recognizable.
This is what brought him and the Joker together, equally enraged at how Arkham has changed, after having spent many years operating in the uneasy coexistence of Joker coming and going in Arkham as he pleased in exchange for removing those that threatened Strange’s work and his own freedom in turn, including getting Harley Quinn caught fraternizing with Poison. They intend to destroy Arkham so that it can be rebuilt as they see fit, having planted bombs in the foundation of each building, and Batman must die in the collapse as both the monster, and for Joker a symbol of the improvement / worsening of Gotham. As the duo prepare to depart, detonator in hand, Harley Quinn suddenly intervenes, taking the detonator, wounding both men in retaliation for their treatment of her, and freeing Batman from his binds as the two men retreat. As other inmates arrive in front of the chapel, she holds him at gunpoint and cheerfully informs him that she is bringing him to Two-Face.
As he is brought into the main lounge of the Asylum, Harley reassures Batman that she has a plan, hiding the detonator on her person. Two-Face orders the small number of remaining inmates to subject Batman and the Suicide Squad to a joint trial, wishing to prove that they’ve done more harm than good. He has Acting DA Janet Van Dorn brought to Arkham by Waller to serve as defense attorney. Harley leads the charge from the jury on looking favorably towards Batman, knowing he is in no condition to testify on his own behalf. Each of the Suicide Squad is subject to individual interrogation, particularly where they have pre-established relationships with Batman such as Poison’s rivalry or how he helped Croc. Ventriloquist volunteers testimony on how he came to Arkham, that speaks to how Batman wants to help those he apprehends, the first in a long line of villains speaking to their growing appreciation of Batman. Van Dorn is ultimately forced to conclude, with the support of the supervillain jury, that Batman is not responsible for the ruined lives and criminal careers of Arkham’s residents and he has in fact consistently done the best he can to save them just as much as he saves people from them.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, Two-Face declares a mistrial and sentences Batman and Killer Croc, as representative of the Squad, to fight to the death in trial by combat. Desperate and frightened, Croc argues that he has nothing to prove, despite their accusations that he “turned his back on the other villains.” His proof that he hated and attacked Batman just like they all did, “I threw a rock at him! It was a big rock…” fails to convince them, and so he is tossed into the watery pit of the basement along with Batman. Croc tells Bruce about he has genuinely cleaned up his life, with honest work and a wife and child just as he told Batman he wanted. Bruce is sadly unmoved as he’s in a severely strained emotional and physical state. He is aggressive and provocative towards Waylon, forcing him to fight back. Batman is ultimately forced to kill Croc to survive, stabbing him with a stone spear taken from a fallen statue. The rest of the Squad is upset and outraged at this occurrence, and a newly conscious Nightshade casts her teleportation ability to free them all from their cages and be dispersed throughout the Asylum to regroup.
21. Fall of Arkham
Bruce is wracked with guilt at having broken his code, failing to stay true of the rousing defense just offered on his behalf. Two-Face commands the inmates to hunt down and kill the Suicide Squad, but many defy his orders out of anger at his unfair handling of the trial. He reveals the detonator previously held by Harley Quinn, threatening to bring the roof crashing down on them in thirty minutes if they don’t follow his orders. Unbeknownst to him, she gave it to him as part of a larger plan, having turned on the intercom so that everyone on the island would hear his threat. Two-Face loses all remaining control over the inmates as the room descends into chaos, the massive crowd of inmates peeling out of the Asylum as quickly as possible, from any escape route possible, while each of the Suicide Squad is shown in an intercutting sequence one by one as they desperately scramble to navigate the Asylum, evade their pursuers, and escape in time. Bruce and Harley slip away through the crowd as Two-Face attempts to chase after them.
He asks her whether they should try to disarm the bombs, and she proclaims that Hugo Strange was right about one thing: Arkham isn’t going to continue getting better and actually stay better in its current state. It needs to start fresh. A newer, better Arkham can be rebuilt from the ashes, which she connects in turn to their respective rebirths. Bruce accepts this, and Harvey, having overheard it, appears to calm down and ask to join them in quietly leaving the Asylum. With his plans completely dissolved, Harvey has resigned himself to trying to get better and agreeing to be escorted by them into Waller’s custody. The three calmly depart the Asylum together as he hits the detonator and tosses it back through the front entrance. Each of the bombs go off and the buildings come crashing down around as the trio walks back through the gardens. They arrive in front of everyone near the docks on the southern side of the island: the crowd of inmates, and the regrouped Suicide Squad alongside Amanda Waller. The Two-Face persona suddenly reemerges, driving him to take Harley hostage in front of the distraught, increasingly trigger-happy Suicide Squad.
22. Judgement Day
Amanda Waller stands in front of the boat Two-Face hopes to escape on, with the Squad by her side and at her beck and call. A ragged Batman rushes in and stands between his former friend Harvey, and the Suicide Squad, angrily ready to gun Two Face down over the death of Croc. Massively regretful after having resorted to lethal violence, he attempts to rise above that failing by talking Harvey down rather than allowing anyone else to be hurt. He appeals to Harvey as a fellow moral crusader, as spiritual kin, as a friend who wants to help him. Harvey quietly realizes that Bruce hasn’t just supported Batman, but in fact was Batman. Harvey lands on the scarred side of his coin, but chooses to spare him anyway, then surrenders without any further harm done to him, the Squad, or others. Waller sends Harvey and the other inmates to Blackgate for temporary holding, and intends to send Harley as well, but she successfully negotiates for a pardon in exchange for her help in evacuating Gordon and the nonviolent inmates. After the boat returns, Waller separately dispatches the Suicide Squad, and Harley and Batman, back to Gotham, thanking them all for their service, and reminding the latter two to not cross her path again.
Having witnessed Batman successfully secure the situation with Harvey Dent, Waller starts to reconsider whether she has remained true to her moral goals in serving Gotham. Some time later after cleanup ensues on the island and she returns to the mainland, Waller steps down from the mayoral office and announces an upcoming free, open election for the city to have a new leader chosen by its people. Bruce reunites with his family, including a recovered Dick Grayson, who retires from the Bat-Family for the time being to happily and openly be with Tim, who will continue as the main Robin. They fill Bruce in on the conflicts they have had with Talia and Jason while he was gone. Haunted by his experiences in the Asylum, Bruce tells them that he will be taking a short recovery vacation outside of Gotham. Before he leaves, he visits Alfred and asks him to come back to the Manor, realizing that he could’ve died having left on such poor terms. Alfred happily accepts the reconciliation. Fade to black, then fade back in for an epilogue. Roland Daggett, after years of misery following the end of his career in Season 1, has reinvented himself as the Black Mask, planning a terrorist attack upon the city. Harley Quinn breaks into his apartment and kills him, seizing the resources that he had gathered.
Caped Crusader Season 5
Short Film Prologue: The Suicide Squad mourns for Killer Croc, holding a small memorial service and then over time recovering in their compound. Sometime later, Waller arrives to introduce their newest inductee, the Flash’s nemesis Captain Boomerang. She struggles with acclimatizing but eventually proves herself during a mission overseas. Afterwards, she throws a raging party.
1. Batman Incorporated
During his mental health holiday from Gotham, Bruce comes to several realizations: the reminder of his own mortality and vulnerability in his experiences in the Asylum; that those experiences also prove the enduring strength of Batman as a symbol and make him proud of how he has helped some of the villains he encounters; while there is definitely more work to be done in Gotham, the city is in plenty of capable hands through the Birds of Prey, and so the best work he can be doing right now, the work that can reignite his passion, is to continue developing the legacy of Batman by bringing him onto a global scale. He had heard of several isolated vigilantes scattered across the globe citing Batman as inspiration over the years.
In this feature-length episode, Batman embarks on a yearlong globe-hopping adventure to recruit aspiring vigilantes as the executive and founding members of an international network of Batmen and Batwomen.
He first attempts to reach out to the Italian Legionary who emerged most immediately after Batman’s debut, but discovers that he has been murdered, sold out to the mafia by a fellow vigilante from Sweden that had grown tired and bitter. He tracks her to Australia where he is unable to prevent her from murdering the Ranger, but successfully apprehends her with the aid of the Ranger’s cohorts. They are the first recruits for Batman Inc., as Australia’s Batwoman and the new Ranger respectively. The rest of his journey includes fighting against Lord Death Man in Japan, and ultimately recruiting in Brisbane, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Lagos, Johannesburg, Paris, London, Berlin, Dublin, Buenos Aires, and Phoenix, to start the base of his operations.
While Bruce is out of Gotham, Batwoman and Robin face many emergent adversaries, including the arrival of Killer Croc’s vengeful widow presenting herself as an anti-authoritarian warrior named Anarky. Amanda Waller and Talia have spent their time vying for influence over the newly elected mayor Andrea Beaumont, as an increasingly dissatisfied Jason maintains a street presence on Talia’s behalf. In the wake of re-democratizing, Gotham’s crime rates begin to rise again, and the atmosphere of the city only worsens as the absence of Batman becomes apparent, emboldening certain individuals and frightening the rest.
Waller’s police have thus begun to lose their grip over the city and she struggles with being tempted to compromise her moral integrity in order to regain power and control. The Martha Wayne Memorial Hospital, colloquially known as New Arkham, completes its accelerated construction thanks to generous support from Wayne Enterprises, and the patients begin transferring back to the island. Word comes back from Bruce that he is extending his holiday and quietly resigning from Wayne Enterprises with Dick Grayson now operating on the exec board in his place. Batwoman and Robin come in contact with a new vigilante roaming the streets known as Phantasm.
3. Next Generation
Months have passed as tensions continue to rise in Gotham, with Jason finally quitting his alliance with Talia to strike out on his own. Ferdinand Belzer is found dead alongside one of his schoolmates, and the police investigation quickly points to Ferd’s younger sister Shauna, a young woman embarking on a telekinetic rampage through Gotham that Kate and Tim must try to stop. In a presentation to Mayor Beaumont and representatives of the US government, Waller points to Shauna as part of a larger trend of the exponential increase in emerging superhuman individuals in the decade since Superman’s arrival in 1978. For the time being she is denied funding for a federal project she is planning due to the crime rates starting to rise again. The original Ventriloquist is brought in to help talk Shauna down due to the influence that he and other supervillains have had on her through mythologizing in street culture. Phantasm and Talia again come to blows, severing their professional relationship once Talia realizes who Phantasm is.
4. Second Chances: Through a series of intersecting vignettes, this extended episode follows the lives of the first group of outpatient supervillains from Old Arkham (Ventriloquist, Riddler, Harvey Dent, Harley Quinn, Calendar Girl) as they operate a support group and pursue assimilation back into civilized Gotham society with varying degrees of success. This culminates in Harley succumbing to another breakdown, and putting together her plans for “something big” to start soon.
5. A History of Violence
A serial killer has been stalking Gotham’s wax museum, murdering individuals while disguised as historical villains such as Emperor Nero, Goliath, Genghis Khan, Pope Borgia, Captain Kidd, and Attila the Hun, and framing seemingly random citizens for each death. Phantasm, the mysterious new vigilante bearing a mask of death, attends to this matter while everyone else remains spread so thin. We see her in her mayoral day life as Andrea, impatient and desperate to improve Gotham, working in a more smoothly functioning political system,with a new wave of people with integrity and effectuality, but having lost sight of the benefits of this work. After struggling with the modus operandi of the killings, she eventually determines that everyone who has been framed is connected by knowing a guard at the museum, who is settling grudges by getting people in his life arrested, and taking the opportunity to kill patrons that annoy him in the process. Phantasm pursues the guard throughout the museum late at night, terrifying him with her use of artificial fog that fills the building, and ultimately slashes him to death without hesitation. She disappears before either Waller’s soldiers or the Bat-family can accost him.
6. What We Owe to Each Other
Bruce returns to Gotham from his year-long holiday, shocked by the city’s degradation and his former lover being the new mayor, from which he is quickly able to deduce that she is Phantasm. Talia attempts to reach out to Jason, seeking reconciliation in the wake of having lost her political connection in Mayor Beaumont. Jason gives her one chance to earn a secured and balanced alliance. She promptly fails this opportunity when she leaves him to die after their attempted weapons raid on Wayne Tech is botched. Bruce is caught off-guard by the dynamics of his relationship with Dick shifting from his ward’s new position of power, who along with the rest of the group are unhappy with Bruce for leaving them again for so long. Bruce is once again caught in foolish self-obsession, with his concern for legacy and obligations to Gotham overshadowing them. Secrets he has held from them like what he learned about Thomas are quickly exposed. In the midst of their arguments with Bruce, Selina cuts off their relationship in protest. These tensions are further spiked after the failed weapons raid places Jason in their captivity.
7. Sins of the Father
Bruce sits with Jason in his cell and pursues an extended interrogation of his treacherous son, during which he somewhat softens the tensions between them by confirming what Jason had begun to suspect, that Talia had lied about the circumstances of his birth. Jason remains focused on confronting Bruce for his failures as a mentor, vigilante, and father. Eventually, Dick enters the cell and brings further conflict to the situation by upsetting Jason through his presence while also contributing to the confrontation of Bruce’s failings, focusing the discussion on the competitive relationship between the Robins and Bruce’s contribution to that.
Additionally, Dick argues several things: it was wrong to exclude him and the Birds of Prey from the Batman Inc plans, the holiday that led to Batman Inc was Bruce falling back into old patterns of isolating himself rather than communicating when he’s troubled, and Bruce never took responsibility for the consequences of his trust in Talia. After many hours together, tensions remain but Jason has been calmed down, and Bruce chooses to trust and release him, then leaves to pursue an isolated period of self-contemplation in the wake of what he has been rightly accused of.
Bruce secludes himself in Wayne Manor for an extended period as he reflects on his life and mistakes, during which he experiences visions and traumatic flashbacks of people and experiences throughout his life, including those from his past like Thomas, Martha, and Leslie Thompkins, his current estranged loved ones, and villains that have left the greatest impressions on him, such as the Joker and experiences like those in the Asylum or Bane’s attack on him. Harley experiences a similar psychological journey in parallel, revealing previously unknown traumas and difficulties from throughout life, as she goes stir-crazy from having isolated herself to develop plans for a terrorist attack.
Bruce accepts that with the launch of Batman Inc., the long line of loyal and morally righteous comrades serving in his place, and his retirement from WayneTech, his only remaining obligation is to the people he loves. He needs to make amends, treat them with respect, and he can finally retire in peace. He starts by speaking to Selina about his neglect of their relationship, coming to a more positive place while respecting that she still needs time before they can perhaps begin again. Meanwhile, Harley reaches a point in being nearly suicidal in her despair, until finally she desperately makes contact with her recovering villain support group, bringing them over. They comfort her and provide her company, until discovering evidence of her terrorist plans, which forces her to run in fear of being sent back to Arkham.
9. Old Wounds
Bruce continues his efforts to reconcile with his loved ones, meeting with Tim and an impatient Dick, who needs to be on time for a WayneTech meeting at the Port of Gotham. Bruce explains that Kate has been brought on as a Batman Inc partner and that the org recognizes the authority of the Birds of Prey within Gotham and the Eastern US. Dick appreciates this while still having concerns. He expresses his feeling that it was unfair to push the executive position on him so soon after his recovery and retirement as a vigilante, he is deeply dissatisfied with it and finally yearning to be a vigilante again, and thus he can’t be an effective long-term replacement for Bruce. Tim volunteers himself for the position, arguing that despite his youth, his upbringing among wealthy socialites and established analytical capabilities better prepared him for tech and business work than it did for being a Robin.
This satisfies all parties, but after further extended discussion regarding other issues brought up, Dick still remains unhappy, and after brief questioning from Bruce and Tim alike, Dick starts to break down in tears. He pushes them both away and angrily exclaims that he has no way to trust that Bruce won’t just disappear on them again when they need him. Everything with Talia and Waller is terrifying and is going to get worse before it gets better. He can live with it if he has to accept not relying on Bruce whatsoever anymore, but he can’t take it if he keeps getting his hopes up, only for Bruce to break his heart again. Selina wanted to be cool and strong, but she wouldn’t take it well either. Bruce is devastated and regretful at what he hears, but accepts that he needs to give time and space to soak it in and Dick needs time to calm down. Time passes in tense silence, and finally the two reconcile on the promise that Bruce is hear to stay, remain out of harm’s way, and continue to emotionally support his family.
Jason launches his ambush on Dick as he meets with his coworkers at the Port of Gotham. Jason drags Dick towards a suspended, open cargo container that he intends to have welded shut and launched into Gotham Bay with Dick trapped inside. Dick gains a second wind and grapples with Jason, pulling him and falling together into the container as Jason’s henchmen continue to weld it shut. They both hinder the other’s desperate attempts to escape as they are finally dropped into the bay.
Dick Grayson and Jason Wayne are trapped inside a sealed cargo container as it sinks into the river and bay off the Port of Gotham. Angry and frightened, Jason half-heartedly attempts to attack Dick, but relents quickly as Dick reminds him that fighting will only waste most of the remaining oxygen they have left. Dick wants to focus on figuring out how to escape and survive. Jason is more fixated on discussing and resolving their emotional issues and relationship with each other, which has evolved and been brought onto greater footing given the recent developments with Bruce.
Dick calmly accepts these terms, asking why Jason attacked him despite the positive results of their recent conversation. Jason struggles to answer this, and after some gentle prodding, confesses that he’s been feeling desperate, frightened, and uncertain from all the changes in his life. He has no idea what’s going to happen and fears that he’s incapable of truly being a good person, and that everyone could never truly trust him, so it was better to prove them all right now and get himself killed, rather than risk further disappointment in them or him.
He apologizes for their current predicament and for attacking him in the past, saying that he was confused and deeply jealous, and that doesn’t excuse it, but he has moved on from those feelings. Dick consoles Jason, pointing to his saving Deathstroke’s life as proof that he’s always been capable of being a true hero, expressing forgiveness, and apologizing for his persistent skepticism, believing that it drove him further under Talia’s control. He, and Bruce, should’ve taken more responsibility as the older individuals involved. He trusts that Jason can atone for his mistakes just as Bruce is trying to, and reassures him that he will be welcomed with open arms back into the Bat-Family. They resolve to see each other as brothers and not enemies, and to escape so they can continue to develop their friendship. Using batarangs and a lighter, they carve a small exit through the top of the container and help each other climb through it and swim towards the surface. Dick and Jason finally return to Gotham, urgently reaching the Bat-family to provide them with information that Jason has about Talia’s plans.
11. Pygmalism: A Tale in Five Acts: In a series of vignettes, we see the origins, rise, derangement, descent into madness, and slow recovery within New Arkham Asylum of failed criminal mastermind Professor Pyg, as he meets and battles the mysterious Batman over the course of their decade-long super careers. Guest written by Wolfman Jew.
12. Suicide Mission
The joyous Bat-fam reunion is cut short by the news that Harley has launched her assault on Gotham Mall, taking many civilians hostage. Jason reveals that Talia is bringing in a small, armed nuclear warhead to erase Gotham entirely, believing in her alienation that it is past the point of possible salvation. As the Suicide Squad prepares to deploy in response to Harley, Poison admits her feelings of conflict with her squadmates, until being interrupted by Amanda Waller. Waller responds to the hostage crisis by declaring a citywide state of emergency, taking the opportunity to give herself carte blanche to ruthlessly eliminate all threats to her power. She seizes Enchantress from the Squad’s compound, using her magicks to depose Beaumont and retake power in Gotham, before ordering an armed assault on Wayne Manor. Rick Flag and Poison Ivy agree that they must take full command of the Suicide Squad and deploy into Gotham to stop Waller, but they are unsure of which crisis to intervene in first, knowing the likely collateral damage that will occur at the mall.
Poison convinces the others that the best way to help Gotham’s citizens right now is to get to Harley before Waller does, arguing that she can negotiate a peaceful stand-down, which her team debates and ultimately supports her in. The broadcast announcing the state of emergency and Waller’s intentions to storm Wayne Manor reaches the Bat-family with little time to prepare before her arrival. Despite Bruce’s misgivings, at Alfred’s insistence he takes everyone else to the secondary bunker, leaving Alfred to die in an extended firefight with Waller’s forces before they raze Wayne Manor to the ground, but leave the entrance to the Bat-Cave undiscovered. Phantasm contacts Bruce, finding herself forced by newfound vulnerability to pursue an alliance with the rest of the vigilantes. After losing Alfred and having only just brought Jason back into his life, Bruce insists that remaining secure is their priority for right now, to many of the others’ objection.
Cold open portrays Harley Quinn, caught deep in a dissociative manic state, dancing through a department store, erratically firing an assault rifle at mannequins, displays, hostages, and even her own henchmen, as she sings “Say That We’re Sweethearts Again.” Amanda Waller and her forces sweep the site of Wayne Manor’s ruins, but it turns up nothing, and she prepares to depart for Gotham Mall. Batman engages in extended debate with all of his allies from inside the bunker they first used during Bane’s regime. Eventually, they get through to him with Phantasm saying that now of all times, in the face of the utter failure of their leaders and the systems meant to protect them, just as it has happened before, the people most need to be reminded that good still thrives in Gotham and they must stand against Waller. The entire team sets out, split into two for both Gotham Mall and for stopping Talia in the catacombs.
The Suicide Squad deploys into the Mall, and as they start to clash with Harley’s mercenaries at the entrances, they struggle to follow Poison’s strict command to remain non-lethal and minimize harm whatsoever. When Captain Boomerang quickly grows impatient with this and nearly catches several people in the explosive radius of one of her boomerangs, Poison soundly kicks her ass to make an example of her without using her powers. Captain falls in line as everyone else takes notice of the severity of these orders. The Squad proceeds through the mall, disarming and incapacitating the henchmen, escorting hostages to safety with Nightshade’s teleportation when possible, until finally reaching a central zone on the second floor where they make contact with Harley, who has exchanged the machine gun for a shotgun. A tense silence casts over the space as Harley and Ivy confront each other on a bridge.
With her hands trembling, Harley circles around Ivy, pointing her shotgun at her, as she begins to speak.
“You betrayed me, ruined my life, and then you had the audacity to make me happy for you that you were becoming a better fucking person! Congratulations on growing as a human while I’ve been suffering and hating myself, and even when I was out of Arkham and in the support group, I sabotaged myself just like I did when I fell back in love with you. After so many mistakes, why not embrace the chaos, why shouldn’t I bring a little fun back into my life and go out in a blaze of glory? A freakish clown is all I ever was and ever will be, I should accept it, and do the world, and everyone who inexplicably cares about me, a favor by becoming the punchline I deserve to be. She was so deluded, she thought she could make a grand gesture and bring some meaning into her life just by lashing out and shooting up a mall to get herself killed, because she’s too scared to do it herself. And you complete the pathetic little picture. I can’t fix my mistakes, and we aren’t finally going to die the romantic death together like we were meant to all those years ago, you’re just going to put me out of my misery because I can’t stand to keep living, and I can’t shoot you, because I’m such a failure, I can’t even stay angry at the woman who seduced me and then ruined me.”
Harley points the shotgun toward her tear-soaked face, taking a step back when Ivy attempts to step forward and starts talking to her.
“There’s nothing romantic about dying together, but living together, thriving together as better versions of ourselves, there’s a beauty in that, isn’t there? Is that big and bold enough for you? I joined Task Force X because I was afraid for my life, but I stayed because I feel more alive than I had in years. It’s vibrant and full of opportunity, and we can take it from Waller and bring out its potential for self-reflection, self-improvement, and giving back to the world, helping others and ourselves. A good life, and real change, it’s not easy, it’s not always fun, it is so much effort and work, but it is within our grasp. I can never take back the horrible mistakes I’ve made, how I’ve mistreated you, but there’s no reason you can’t be a part of my new life, growing and improving just like I’m trying to. You have all the pieces and tools you need to do the work. You have your brilliant mind, you have your big heart, full of conviction, you have people who love and support you, people who called to tell me they were worried about you because you ran away from them, with our team you have what can be a stable and positive work environment, and still be an adventure, and you have me, and I never stopped loving you, just like you haven’t stopped loving me. Let’s build a better tomorrow.”
After some trembling apprehension, frantic and paranoid glancing around to see if someone’s about to blow her head off from across the building, Harley throws the shotgun to the floor and runs to Ivy, embracing her.
Their reunion is cut short as Waller’s soldiers descend upon the mall, forcing them and everyone with them into a defensive position. The Birds of Prey soon arrive on the scene led by Batwoman. They dismantle much of Waller’s army in an extended battle scene, providing the Squad the needed cover to escort all of the civilians out of the mall via teleportation, before they return, sans Harley and Ivy, to join the fray. Waller observes this as it unfolds in silent, furious disbelief, before we cut back to the two women, heading towards City Hall to hopefully meet with Rick Flag and a stabilized Enchantress. As they walk together, the two converse at length. Ivy reminds Harley that she should never turn away help, from her or the support group, and she also has a massive amount of work that she needs to do and only she can do for herself. Harley nods with a sad chuckle and loving glint in her eye. “Say That We’re Sweethearts Again” plays over credits.
Cold open: Brief flashback to the Enchantress, deeply upset Waller’s exploitation and manhandling of her, and isolated in City Hall to have a chance of calming down. Rick Flag visits Enchantress by himself in attempt to console her, eventually somewhat succeeding before Harley and Ivy arrive. Cut to Bruce leading Phantasm and the Knights into the tunnels beneath Gotham, fighting through small, scattered groups of mercenaries until they reach the central chamber, where an unhinged Talia yells at her soldiers to finish transporting the nuclear warhead as quickly as possible.
When asked how she intends to time the detonation so that they all can get out of the blast radius and preferably as far out of Maryland as possible, Talia clumsily attempts to evade the question, until her men finally realize that she wanted to die with Gotham. They promptly abandon her, leaving the warhead in the back of a small truck somewhere in the tunnel network, as Talia fumes. Bruce steps in and tries to convince her that this is a sign to call off the bombing, which she almost seems to consider until she realizes that Jason is with him. She angrily retreats by motorcycle with the plan to drive the warhead downtown and set it off by herself.
The team needs to regroup with the rest of their allies, being informed by Kate on the radio that Waller has begun besieging City Hall, where the Birds have barricaded themselves in with the Suicide Squad. As Talia drives through Gotham, she bears witness to a large number of civilians standing up to Waller and her armed forces, risking tear gas and being shot to protect each other, to declare that Waller has become a tyrant and her order unworthy of being followed, finally showing her that the city and its people are worth preserving. She turns the truck around, giving the warhead to Lucius Fox and his WayneTech team to disarm and dispose of it. She then arrives at Waller’s extended siege of City Hall, where she has just broken through into the building.
Talia drives her truck into the crowd of soldiers that remain outside, shooting her way through them to go after Waller. A firefight rages inside the building until Rick Flag is shot and collapses to the ground, and Talia suddenly takes Waller hostage at knifepoint. Talia forces the remaining soldiers to stand down, and joins the vigilantes and Suicide Squad. The group extensively discusses terms for Amanda Waller’s surrender of power back to Mayor Beaumont, to which she is aggressively resistant, as Enchantress attempts to tend to Flag’s wounds. Rick Flag ultimately bleeds to death in the Enchantress’ arms, sending her back into the state Waller left her in. She attempts to attack and kill Waller, and when Talia and the others intervene in this, she lashes out at them as well. Her eyes go completely black.
15. Black Baptism
The Enchantress has completely lost control of her powers, becoming consumed with devastating magical power in her sadness and rage at the injustices visited upon her by Amanda Waller. The demon contained within her body reveals itself, declaring that Gotham will be reborn within an ocean of fire and blood, as it hovers away and out of the building. Dark magic spreads endlessly out from her body, infecting the soldiers and the body of Rick Flag, as well as numerous citizens outside City Hall, transforming them into puppets of demonic will, transforming Gotham’s landscape and architecture into a distorted, otherworldly form, opening numerous interdimensional tears throughout the entire city of Gotham that grant entry to numerous bizarre creations, most notably and disturbingly a massive swarm of nightmarish, winged monsters that begin to swoop through the city and attack the populace. Seen through their portals is a land of barren rock and massive flames, a true hell visited onto earth. The heroes struggle to get their bearings face with this complete uprooting of reality, ultimately deciding against their better instincts to let Amanda Waller go so that she may bring in outside help.
Waller swears that the Suicide Squad will pay for disobeying and attacking her, and quickly goes into hiding while the rest go into the streets and begin trying to fight off the various monsters attacking the city, with little success. Their extended travel through the city allows them to see some of the various new arrivals and changes besides the winged creatures, such as packs of pale mutants wearing red visors, hawklike men and women carrying electrified maces, a small group of armored, seemingly alien women led by one wielding a whip, and what appear to be oversized and technologically advanced gorillas. They also see the tragic yet more familiar sight of relapsed escapee supervillains on the rampage, who the Suicide Squad devote themselves to rounding up. The Bat-family resolves to emphasize on keeping the people safe first before they try to beat back these bizarre hordes. They begin leading Gotham’s citizens to evacuate into the underground tunnel system, while Bruce, hanging back as he struggles against a debilitating panic in the wake of everything he’s seen, is soon shocked to find himself facing an army of unfamiliar Batmen approaching him in the street.
16. Crisis of Infinite Batmen
The dimensional tears throughout Gotham have resulted in numerous iterations of Batman from other realities coming together and seeking to thwart the Parademon infestation through their combined abilities. There are many dozens of iterations, but the leaders of the group that this world’s Bruce meets with are as follows: an older, more isolated and cynical Batman from a dystopian Gotham (Stephen Lang), a cybernetic Batman from the future named Terry McGinnis, actor Will Arnett who claims to have played Batman in a widely acclaimed Hollywood film, a gothic vampire with shadow powers (Willem Dafoe), an overly serious bureaucrat from an absurdist Gotham (George Clooney), an anarchist radical from the Soviet Union (Costa Ronin), a wild-eyed 18th Century Black Pirate (Michael Keaton), and a bombastic pop star Batman (Andy Samberg).
Their various personalities clash as the army of Batmen move through Gotham and pursue returning everyone to their home dimensions. Will Arnett reveals that he is a mad scientist by the name of Professor Ivo, having gathered the myriad Batmen together to harvest their bodies and offer them in tribute to the leaders of the demons invading Gotham. Bruce and the other Batmen are forced to overcome their differences to escape from their cells and stop Ivo’s harvest before it begins. Ivo is backed up by a pack of demons and successfully escapes in the ensuing brawl. Bruce disperses the various Batmen throughout the city to better combat the invading demons and ultimately help seal the respective portals to each of their own realities. Before they leave, Future Batman/Terry reveals to him that he is in fact Bruce and Selina’s son.
17. A Time of Demons and Nightmares
Gotham has been quarantined and military blockaded, cut off from the rest of the Eastern US on governmental order, obstructing Amanda Waller’s efforts to bring in the military. The huddled masses of the vast majority of the populace are in hiding beneath the city, as the various vigilantes do their best to sneak past the flying patrols of Parademons and smuggle food and other resources to them. The monsters cannot be conventionally defeated in one to one or group combat with non-powered individuals. The situation is bleak, and the entire team assembles to discuss strategic options. Talia reveals that the tunnel platforms’ supports are rigged to explode at key points, able to collapse the entire network, blocking all entrances and in the process destroying the Bat-Cave, and trapping any occupants’ beneath many tons of rock. Bruce is at first outraged at the additional danger this puts the people of Gotham in, until the group realizes that they can use this to lure the flying monsters into a trap and defeat them, and allow them to turn their attention to Enchantress to finally seal all of the tears in reality. The one problem, Talia explains, is the detonator has a deliberate proximity limit, requiring it to be triggered inside the tunnels for the bombs to go off because Talia didn’t want it to be taken and used against her by the other vigilantes.
The Bat-Family, Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad, and Multiverse Batmen coordinate with precise timing to begin leading the monsters toward the entrance at the Bat-cave, and escorting the people out through the tenements that Ra’s and Talia used. A massive swarm of Parademons begin to gather amidst the ruins of Wayne Manor, and are goaded during their battle with the heroes into breaking through the false floor and hidden passageways, discovering the Bat-cave. The monsters tear the facility apart, destroying much of Bruce’s various technologies and using them against the heroes as they desperately fight through the swarm, and lead them into the tunnels. Many citizens still remain underground and begin to panic, needing a voice of guidance. Phantasm unmasks herself, revealing to the people, that their beloved reformist mayor has not died in the chaos, and inspires them to continue forward. She takes the detonator from Talia, and despite her protests out of regret for many things, including the past conflict between the two, Andrea Beaumont insists on remaining behind in the tunnels instead of her. Everyone else frantically works to seal both entrances so that the monsters cannot escape. Phantasm says her goodbyes to Bruce, her former fiancee, thanks all of the other vigilantes for inspiring her, reminding her that she serves the people before all. As the Parademons rapidly fly to attack her, she detonates the bombs.
18. The War for Gotham
With the Parademons eliminated, the blockade of Gotham is opened. Civilians hide in their homes while numerous creatures still roam the streets, doing battle with the Enchantress’ army. The Multiverse Batmen begin to return to their home dimensions, fighting those creatures and bringing them back with them in the process. General Wade Eiling speaks in defense of Amanda Waller’s handling of the incidents in Gotham, preventing her from being discharged and court-martialed, and gaining permission to lead a large group of National Guard towards Gotham, to aid her in retaking control of the city. The vigilantes must turn their attention toward Enchantress, doing their best to minimize harm to the human bodies she’s using as puppet warriors, and racing to reach her at the Suicide Squad compound before the soldiers arrive and escalate the situation into far more dangerous territory. Bruce and Selina reunite with Terry McGinness and speak to him about the circumstances of his birth before he too passes through his dimensional tear. In their confrontation with Enchantress, the team realizes that her human consciousness remains inside her, trapped by the demon that shares her body, and her comrades in the Squad encourage her to fight and reclaim control. The demon is expelled and destroyed by their combined forces, and with its demise, every portal in the city closes at once. June Moone has been rendered comatose, and lost all of her magical powers, in this process. Waller and Eiling lead their soldiers in marching on the building, with everyone still inside.
19. I Am the Night
After Waller and General Eiling’s first meeting prior is shown, where he earns her loyalty by explaining his defense of and belief in her work, the two meet with the vigilantes inside the building, intending to negotiate the terms of their surrender. Poison Ivy confidently declares that her successful negotiation of the situation in the mall, Waller recklessly putting civilians in danger through her intervention, and Waller’s role in the events with Enchantress and the death of Rick Flag, prove that Task Force X is deserving of independent leadership and jurisdiction. Waller regretfully accepts these terms and bids them to go freely, but insists that separate negotiations are needed for the others. They worry about leaving behind the extended Bat-family, but Bruce and the others reassure them that they’ll be fine, and say to focus on gathering the remaining Arkham escapees to protect citizens and those individuals themselves from Waller and Eiling’s brute force. Kate Kane reluctantly reveals her identity, leaning on her military background and connections to argue for the safe passage of herself and the Birds of Prey, and succeeds in this on the terms that the Birds’ operations stay out of Gotham. Waller points to the harboring of Talia as proof of the threat posed by the Knights, demanding she be turned over in exchange for their going free. They reject this, provoking Eiling to order the troops to open fire, sending the vigilantes fleeing as they are pursued throughout the compound. Bruce decides to keep the soldiers distracted as the rest of the Bat-family escapes from the fortress, ultimately sacrificing himself in a hail of gunfire as he confronts Waller one last time.
20. Dark Victory
A military occupation of Gotham is maintained in the short term until every monster is removed from the city, while the Suicide Squad succeeds in focusing on civilian protection and peaceful supervillain recapture. The military presence combined with Batman’s sacrifice casts a dark, mournful shadow over the beginning of the city’s recovery from the massive invasion. Parts of the city remain warped and must be quarantined, demolished and rebuilt. Defying the military’s threat and the terms of the Birds of Prey’s freedom, all of the vigilantes, including the Knights, are the first to volunteer their labor in clean-up of the city, and people of Gotham speak on their behalf to protect them when the soldiers attempt to intervene. Amanda Waller meets again with General Eiling, who requests access to the project proposal she delivered to Mayor Beaumont. After reviewing it, he explains that, and confirms that she will be formally transferred into the US military to begin work with him on their greenlit black ops operation, Cadmus, to prepare a defense for the return of monsters like those that attacked Gotham. Talia remains a fugitive for a brief period before finally surrendering herself, being sent to Blackgate to await her trial for the murder of Mayor Hill among other crimes. As Waller and Eiling depart Gotham, power is transferred back from the military to a skeleton political team, mostly consisting of Andrea Beaumont’s appointees, including Janet Van Dorn and a newly rehired Harvey Dent.
21. A New Day
As an emergency special election approaches, Harvey and the rest of the political team supervise the development of an experimental, rehabilitative reconstruction of Gotham’s law enforcement system. Pamela Isley and Harleen Quinzel assume joint command of the Suicide Squad, who volunteer for recovery services in Gotham while planning funeral arrangements for Rick Flag and Enchantress. Their intent is to fully reform the Squad, serving as the de facto law enforcement and working with it once it is rebuilt, partnering with Arkham’s villain recovery treatments for recruitment, and maintaining its service as strictly voluntary and not coerced by violence or blackmail. Poison and Harley negotiate with the Birds of Prey for a formal alliance, agreeing to aid each other’s work as needed and otherwise not obstructing it. Talia al Ghul is ultimately transferred into a life sentence at Belle Reve after Blackgate is shut down. Dick Grayson and Jason Wayne struggle with their grief, but ultimately wish to help continue Bruce’s work, seeing as how Batman has emerged and expanded as a symbol far beyond Bruce’s life. Dick decides to take up the mantle of the Batman of Gotham and Director of Batman Inc., with Jason Wayne enthusiastically serving as Dick’s Robin, while Tim Drake maintains his Wayne Enterprises position. They put out a public statement to disclose Bruce Wayne as a “supporter” of Batman and having died during the previous chaos, leading into plans for construction of a dedicated Gotham Knights and Birds of Prey headquarters near the site where Wayne Manor stood. Finally, they lead a daring heist to reclaim Batman’s body from a US military base in order to give him a public funeral.
22. Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
A massive crowd assembles for the funeral of Batman, as each member of the Bat-family, from his lover Selina, to the Robins and the other Birds of Prey, speak on their relationship with him and about the value of Batman as a symbol, a message of reclaiming what has harmed you, how you’ve been misperceived, and harnessing it into your new strength. A message that starting again and second chances are within your grasp. The spirit of Bruce Wayne is residing in a distant, mysterious cosmic realm, where he is accompanied by a powerful spiritual entity that allows him to witness the funeral as it unfolds. This entity has long been inspired by his heroism and takes on a similar name and form to communicate with him, Bat-Might.
He creates visual reconstructions of his understanding of the eulogizers’ stories, which in various ways contradict the truths of what the audience has seen in Bruce’s life. Bat-Mite enthusiastically speaks with Bruce at length and encourages to take everyone’s kind words to heart, take them as a sign that his plans for retirement were a mistake, that this was the right way for things to end, and that they still don’t even have to end, thanks to Mite’s powers.
“There’s no greater reward for all your hard work than to continue doing it! You get to be Batman! This can’t be the end of your story! Your force of will has been so powerful that even death can’t obstruct its path! Fighting until you drop, and then still fighting, never surrendering, is what made and makes you special, what makes you Batman! What else could you do? You really think hanging back and helping your sons is worthwhile compared to being Batman?!”
Bruce angrily refutes everything that the imp says, declaring that his family always made him a better hero, their belief in him is what makes Batman meaningful, makes the cost of being Batman worthwhile. Bruce would find no happiness and has no interest in being a vigilante indefinitely, he would gladly continue serving the world in ways that are equally if not more valuable. Bat-Mite finally disappears from Bruce’s side in frustration, only for a shrouded being to take his place, and begin speaking to Bruce.
“Your work is not yet done. The world still needs Batman. Not Dick Grayson, the Batman of Gotham. Not the Batmen of Shanghai, or Tokyo, or London. Bruce Wayne, Batman of the world. Batman Inc was a good start, but you need to think bigger. The universe is a vast and wondrous place, and within it there are also many horrors. The monsters you saw in Gotham are still out there, they will be back, and there are other powerful, horrible things like them. No one hero can stand against any of them. Your world, and innumerable other worlds along with it, are hurtling towards the new millennium, a pivotal point in our universe’s history, where it could flourish, or it could collapse. It needs a carefully built defense, an assembly of your world’s finest truly working together, on an international or even intergalactic scale, to preserve life, to protect everyone, and to change society for the better. I will give you one day of rest. You have more than earned it. After that, however, you have a choice to make. I will not force you.”
On a dark night, a figure bursts out and rises from the grave of Batman, standing on the cliffside overlooking Gotham, as a bolt of lightning strikes behind him.
The Man of Tomorrow
In 1978, timid but morally upright 24-year-old Kansan Clark Kent moves to Metropolis, NY to join the famed Daily Planet newspaper. He makes friends, notably fellow reporter Lois Lane and photojournalist Jimmy Olsen, but feels powerless to help the “City of Tomorrow’s” underbelly of crime and destitution. He decides, then, to reveal his true nature: he is no mere mortal, but the last son of the destroyed planet Krypton, whose people gain superhuman powers under the light of a yellow sun. Wanting to hide his loved ones from retribution and needing a “human” life, he takes on a separate guise for a new kind of “super-hero.” After saving a crashing plane in the middle of the city – and being named Superman by Lois, with whom he begins a flirtation – he begins a string of adventures, from fighting abusive spouses to saving people’s families from demolition crews to stopping crime bosses. However, his fame also comes at a cost, as he becomes a public rival to Lex Luthor, the city’s creator and chief magnate, an infamous master of science and technological development publicly angry that his upcoming innovation, a “metal man” soldier, has been overshadowed.
After an infamous master criminal takes the device for his own and kidnaps Lois, Superman gives chase, rescuing Lois but not able to save either the criminal or suit from a building explosion. Later, suit appears on its own trying to kill Superman and almost succeeds – the machine is powered by an irradiated green rock that strips the Man of Steel of his powers and causes him to choke. A timely rescue from Lois crashing her car into this “Metallo” saves him, but they have to retreat. Investigating leads Lois and Clark to discover the criminal was working with Luthor to test and sell the device, only for the latter to trick him into giving up his human body to assassinate the Man of Steel. Furious for revenge against both men, Metallo tries to kill Luthor, but Superman manages to defeat him, throwing him into the ocean depths. That night, he confronts Luthor, now hateful that this new kind of “perfect man” seems on the verge of taking his stature and empire built on murder and corruption. Clark mentally commits himself to being an example for both the city and the world as a whole, while Luthor begins to plot against the Man of Tomorrow.
Superman Against the Swamp Thing
Three years after hitting the Metropolis scene, things are great for the Man of Steel. As Clark Kent he’s feeling happier in his friendship with coworkers Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, and on the cusp of a romance with the latter. As Superman he’s fighting all new super-criminals, and both identities continue to investigate the criminal holdings of commercial and science titan Lex Luthor. The three Daily Planet reporters get sent to the swamps of Louisiana to investigate a series of odd sightings of and killings perpetrated on Lexcorp scientists. One of them, Antonia Arcane, explains how it started with the murder of Alec Holland, a biologist working on a classified project. However, Superman’s rescue of one potential victim leads him to meeting the the “Swamp Thing”, an intelligent monster seemingly made of the swamp whose regenerating, shape shifting body seems impossible to defeat.
Over the course of their investigations and altercations with the monster, Clark, Lois, and Jimmy discover the victims were performing ghastly experiments to build a machine that could create a new, “pure” energy, one Luthor could monopolize. Superman, Lois, and the “Swamp Thing” get captured by Arcane, who discovers the latter came from flora and fauna absorbing Holland’s consciousness after she murdered him. Swamp Thing escapes, frees them, and drowns Arcane. Superman decides the events can’t be conventionally judged and lets “Holland” live in the wetlands in solitude, instead returning to Metropolis with a version of the story that hides his fate. He confronts Luthor overlooking a lab at the city’s outskirts and congratulates him: the machine could solve the energy crisis and save the environment. But Luthor – resentful of people potentially taking his work, angry at Superman’s moral fiber, and desperate to hurt him – blows up the lab, killing hundreds of his employees. Superman alternates between assaulting his nemesis and tearing up the ruins to try finding survivors; Luthor laughs and wheezes at him. Traumatized and despairing, Clark reveals his identity to Lois as they walk home from work the next day.
[Notes: very much a horror story, with the sweaty, slimy swamps creating an atmosphere drastically different from Metropolis. Maybe it could include Swamp Thing’s lady friend?]
The Dynamic Duo
In the many years since his horrifying, ignominious defeat at the hands of Lex Luthor, Clark Kent has remained psychologically disturbed, seeking emotional support in formal counseling and his romance with Lois Lane. In his superheroics, he has mostly focused on the international platform as an advocate for peace, but he is stretching himself thin. His interest in Metropolis matters piques after discovering that the Batman is skulking throughout the city in an odd investigation. Enticed by an opportunity for a team-up – if slightly annoyed that another superhero is on his “turf” – they start working together to uncover the secret behind a series of bizarre thefts and murders. It turns out they are from Morgaine la Fey, a dark sorceress from an ancient time looking for magical artifacts and whose magicks become more than a match for either hero’s abilities.
Repeatedly unable to fight or even comprehend either la Fey’s magic or her bodyguard, a dark soldier claiming to be Frankenstein’s Monster, the two heroes retreat, with Lois helping them through a psychedelic trip to find their secret. It reveals an Escheresque “time ship,” and Superman and Batman sneak aboard and explore it to retake the artifacts. However, during a fight at its bridge la Fey ends up possessed by the ship, revealing itself to be a sentient, eldritch weapon of mass destruction from another universe named Solaris. The “Tyrant Sun” plans to absorb Superman and la Fey’s powers to annihilate part of the earth as passage for its enigmatic lord, forcing the four to send it through an orrery of alternate universes – a number occupied by drastically different versions of Batman, Superman, and other superheroes. They finally reach its world of origin; a blackened rock lit by hellish firepits, and after crippling the ship create a portal back to earth. With la Fey being sent to prison and a freed Frankenstein deciding to walk the earth, Batman discloses to Superman and Lois that he’s seen similar things in Gotham City, and that he was brought from death to build a defense against it. Recognizing there are things out there far too horrifying or incomprehensible for only one hero, they start crafting a plan for a “Justice League.”
[Notes: instead of the sword of the Archangel Michael, Frankenstein uses a Tron-esque lightsaber stolen from New Genesis. La Fey’s magicks draw from Gaelic, Arthurian, ancient Indian, and Babylonian mythologies, and her powers include creating the Painting that Ate Paris and giving Superman a lion head. Cage’s performance uses Max Headroom sound effects. The travel sequence goes through a number of DC Comics adaptations]
The DC Universe Saga Will Continue with the Complete World’s Finest Archive in December 2017!