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The Darkest Knight

  • Link: Batman: The Animated Podcast #40 - The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne; (1.) 27:30-39:40, (2.) 41:03-41:09, (3.) 41:52-41:58 mark
  • Who: David Wise
  • Posted: October 4, 2016
  • Quote: 1. Which nicely brings us to my story that got killed. This--this was in the second season. Uh, Marty was no longer on the show as far as I recall. And Michael Reaves, my other friend, who was a story editor called me up and said, "You want to do another Batman?" "Well, the last one..." He said, "Oh, relax. This will be fun." I went, "Yeah, okay! Besides, I kinda have an idea for a story." So basically, I worked out the story and pitched Michael. He was okay with it, wrote it up. The story outline, which I swear I'm going to read aloud and post on YouTube one of these days. It reads really well. Called "The Darkest Knight." I--well--I won't tell you what the idea-you'll get it as I tell the story but basically, it starts with Batman is rushing--Mayor Hill is kidnapped and Batman is rushing to the meet point. A million dollars in cash or the Mayor gets it. And he shows up and there's no Mayor Hill. What there is is these blond handsome kind of paramilitary patent leather slightly homoerotic jack booted Hittler Youths who are the personal militia of one Sanford Grisham. And the Batman knows who this Sanford Grisham is one of the few billionaires, one of the few guys in the city who is as rich as Bruce Wayne. Very--he's a right wing extremist. A very law and order. Batman shows up, "Where's Mayor Hill?" On his way home in comfort and security I hope. This was just a ruse to get you here. The Hitler Youth raises a handheld gas canister and gas-maces Batman with gas. Because Sanford Grisham thinks Batman is a good idea for solving crime in Gotham but he doesn't go far enough.

    Okay, a couple days later, Dick Grayson returns from school, where he often is, unannounced. Um, no, Alfred. Where's Alfred? Goes into the Batcave. The wall of TVs is alive with showing like very crime currently happening. We would use like traffic cams and stuff nowadays. But here it's like the police blimp cams and the monitors that are everywhere. There's like a hundred crimes unfolding on the screens. There's Bat-Bruce/Batman which is our code for he's in the Batcave but with his cowl off, right? Sitting. Staring almost like a zombie, at this panoply of crimes He goes, "So many crimes. I'm just one man. How to choose. How to choose." And Dick is like, "Bruce, you okay?" He stands and holding his hands out like a divining rod, he goes from screen to screen and goes, "That one!" And he goes tearing off. Dick like throws on his Robin suit and jumps in the Batmobile with him and he tears out after this punk who is on a causeway somewhere having just robbed something or another. Basically forces him over an overpass causeway, grabs him, leaps to the roof of a tall building below the causeway, and this is something, you know, I said to Michael, "I've always wanted to do this." Because it was a joke. The Batman always dangles the guy. The hood. Off the edge of the building to get him to talk. So you know and he's dangling the hood off the edge of the building. And the hood goes, "Please, I-I'll give you back the money. C'mon, I left it right there. You have the money back. I'll talk. I'll tell you whatever you want!" He goes, "Who said I want to hear anything from you?" And he drops him. He lets him go. And Robin like pushes off the side of the building, fires a bat grappler you know, snags him and pulls him to safety so that he doesn't die but he's back, "Bruce, what's a matter with you?" And Bruce goes back to the Batcave.

    Anyway, I'm doing the beats. I shouldn't do the beats. Now Robin knows Bru-oh, and when they get home, Robin finds that Alfred has been tied up and stuffed in a closet by Bruce and he, you know, breaks him out and unties him and Alfred says he's gone mad. He calls in or-who's the woman? Leslie Thompkins. And Leslie Thompkins is like, "You knew this was going to happen one day. It's you know, we may be able to cure him but there's nothing I can do now. We're going to have to bring him out. We'll probably going to have to institutionalize him for awhile. It'll take a long time. He's finally gone over the edge." And Robin isn't so sure. Robin thinks, "Okay, not in one day because Alfred's only been in the closet for one day. "I talked to Bruce over the phone and he was fine. Something's going on here." So he says, "Who is an expert on madness? I gotta talk to someone who understands this because there's something pharmacological going on. Who would know that sort of thing?"

    Off he goes to Arkham Asylum. Waits for its most famous patient to be rolled out in restraints. Wrapped in straitjacket. Tied to an upright like Hannibal Lector. Basically, this being the year of "Silence of the Lambs." Retraints on his face. The Joker. And basically, you know, Joker does his mind f**k on Robin and says, "You know this day was going to come. He took away all the sunshine from your childhood and brought your worst nightmares to life. He's been heading for this edge he just passed all along." And he mind f**ks Robin so bad that Robin starts to run from the room, clutching his mouth, about to vomit. Then he stops. "No, no, he's messing with you. He's the Joker. C'mon." And he goes, "There's a way to do this." He turns around and goes back in and he turns the table on the Joker and goes,"You know he can't last long like this. You know it's only a matter of time before he gets splattered or somebody takes him out. Or he blows himself up to stop a bad guy or whatever. You're going to miss your chance to be the one to kill Batman." And Joker goes, "I don't care." And Robin goes, "It's gonna be an accident. It's gonna be listed as "Cause of Death: Misadventure," not "Cause of Death: Joker."" And Joker goes, "Ergh! Alright, there's this drug..." You know, he tells him the drug and then he's got to go to the Batcave and break it down, you know? Finds a sample of it and finds the antidote.

    Meanwhile, Batman has been going all over town throwing rocks with notes basically through the hideouts of every rogue in the city who's not in Arkham Asylum. And at this point, Michael and I wanted to have the scene because the second Batman, Batman Returns, had come out which we had all hated with a passion and we wanted to when he goes to the Penguin, have the Penguin in his lair pacing back and forth, you know, hand on his chin going, while all his minions sit and eat raw fish, going, "How to kill the Batman. How to kill the Batman." One of the minions finally goes, "I got it! I got it." The Penguin goes, "What? What?" "We get a bunch of robotic penguins and strap missiles to their backs." The Penguin goes, "Hm, that is the stupidest idea I ever heard!" So he's throwing-the Ventriloquist, everyone's window, "If you want to get the Batman, come to the Gotham Sports Dome at midnight." Just big dome sports arena. So Robin finally has an injectible-like EpiPen of antidote for this stuff but when he tries to get near Bruce, that's actually one of the act-outs. When he tries to get near Batman to deliver it, Batman thinks he's just trying to kill him because he's already paranoid. The act out. He fires one of the bat harpoons right at Robin's chest.

    And when we come back, he dodges it just in time buy, you know, this is like the level of dark I wanted to take this all, too. We haven't gotten to the darkest part yet. So Gotham Sports Arena, all the rogues are there. They're looking at each other going, "This is a trap. C'mon. It's a trap. He's gonna trap us. We gotta get out." And they say, "We shouldn't be here. Let's run." They turn and start running. Spotlight hits the center of the sports dome. There's Batman. Head down, cape and cowl just wrapped around his clothes, like this. He says, "So you all want a piece of me? Every one of you is just itching to be the one who gets rid of Batman. You want to get rid of me? You want to get rid of me? Well, c'mon! We're all going out together!" He whips his arms out, he's wearing basically 100 pounds of TNT. He's carrying a suicide vest. There were no suicide vests back then. Exactly. And meanwhile, Grisham's paramilitary guys have locked every entrance and a huge fight commences. And, um, I think they pull the vest off Batman but he's got the triggering device. He starts climbing clear and Robin confronts him. He goes, "I'm going to let them have it right now." He's holding the trigger. "Don't do this." He looks right in his eye. For just a second, Bruce comes back and deactivates the thing. And...actually that's not it. Sorry, I take it back. "Bruce, don't do this." Look him in the eye. For a split second, you see him pause. Boom. In that second, he gets him with the antidote. Bruce passes out. He grabs him before he galls down the dome. They head outside. The police blimps are moving in to round up the rogues and what not.

    And the last scene is we established where Sanford Grisham has-his bedroom in his mansion is like a hospital room. The only thing...mansion is like a perennial flowers poster otherwise it's life support. It's got an operating theater. And he's dying in his bed. And Batman and Robin show up. And there's his doctor standing over him. They showed up to arrest him basically. The doctor pulls the sheet over Grisham's face. And turns to him and says, "He wasn't all bad. He really cared for the city. He cared about crime. He cared about the people who were victims of crime. It's true he went a little mad toward the end." And he looks at Batman and says, "But then again, don't we all?" And that's all. And that was killed for being too dark.

    2. And I really thought what if he gets that little push and actually becomes psychotic? What would happen?

    3. Here was the other thing that was kind of interesting about it is that it's really a Robin story. Robin's the hero.