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BTAS Review: The Forgotten


 

Episode 08: The Forgotten
Written By: Jules Dennis, Richard Mueller and Sean Catherine Derek
Directed By: Boyd Kirkland
Original Air Date: 10/08/92

 

When I think of some of the more different or odd episodes of "Batman: The Animated Series," the episode that comes to mind the most for me is “The Forgotten.” It’s not the overall plot that makes it different, but rather it’s bunch of other things, like the setting of where the story takes place, the music, and the designs of some of the characters (including Bruce Wayne) that set it apart from the other episodes of "Batman: The Animated Series." But while it’s not the greatest episode ever produced, it's definitely not a bad episode. In fact, it's an episode that I always liked as a kid, and is an episode that I still continue to enjoy watching now.

 

The overall theme for “The Forgotten” deals with another social topic like “The Underdwellers” did. But for this episode, the story deals with the social topic of people that are homeless. Again, like “The Underdwellers,” this episode doesn’t beat you over the head about this issue, and it doesn’t come off as too preachy. It does a good job of spending just the right amount time on the subject, showing that it is a serious issue, while also giving us plenty of cool Batman action!

 

The story for “The Forgotten” starts with Bruce doing some volunteer work at a rescue mission for the homeless. While he’s there, Bruce gets some information from another volunteer worker, about some homeless men that he thinks have gone missing. Once Bruce learns about this, and finds out that the police aren’t doing anything about it, he decides to investigate the situation himself. One thing that I thought was cool in this episode was how we got to see Bruce go undercover in a disguise for the first time. Using different aliases while going undercover is just one of the many cool things about Batman, and while his most famous alias is Matches Malone, in this episode he decides to go undercover as Gaff Morgan. Bruce disguises himself by making his hair white, giving himself a five o’clock shadow, and dressing up in some shabby clothes. As Bruce walks through the slums of Gotham City, the disguise does its job, as Bruce gets a “ job offer” by two thugs who thinks he is homeless. These thugs aren’t going to give Bruce a choice about accepting this job though, so they decide to take him by force. I really liked how in this sequence Bruce easily fends off these guys. He keeps his hands in his pockets the whole time, and beats them with a few simple dodges and a kick. But after the scuffle, Bruce gets distracted by a stray cat,  which then causes him to get hit in the back of the head by one of  the thugs from behind, and is then taken away.

 

After waking up from being knocked out, Bruce sees that his leg is chained to a cot, and that this "job offer" involves him being held captive to do some mining work in the desert against his will. Here in this desert camp, Bruce meets two other captives named Dan Riley, who also did volunteer work at the Gotham Mission, and Salvo Smith, who Dan Riley describes as the comedian of the chain gang. I really enjoyed both of these characters throughout this episode. Dan Riley was someone who you rooted for, as we learn that he is a hard working man who just wants to help people, and you start to feel bad for the guy when all that he wants to do is see his family again, but realizes that’s probably never going to happen. Salvo Smith provided the comic relief for what was a pretty depressing situation, and he did have a lot of funny one liners throughout the episode that made me laugh.

 

Due to his disguise, Riley and Salvo don't realize they're with Bruce Wayne, so they ask Bruce for his name, and it's here that we find out Bruce can’t he remember who is. Seeing Bruce Wayne as someone who has all this skill but cant remember why he has them, or what he uses them for, makes for a good Batman story, and this episode pulls it off real well. There is a great sequence in this episode where Bruce has a dream, where in the dream it looked liked his mind was trying to remind him just who he actually was. In this sequence, we see Bruce walking through a row of fun house mirrors, where he sees different reflections of himself in his disguise. But eventually he sees the reflection of how he really looks as Bruce Wayne, but this reflection starts laughing hysterically, and then transforms into the Joker, who breaks through the mirror, and pulls Bruce in as they fall off a building. The next part of the dream is a rather sad sequence, as it shows that no matter how much you try to help people, you just wont be able to truly help everyone. It shows Bruce standing at the mission he was helping out at, and then shows a homeless man coming up to him asking for some money. Bruce gladly gives him some, but as he does, more and more homeless citizens come to him, begging for money, and all Bruce can do is shed a tear, as he knows that he cant help all of these less fortunate people.

 

The working conditions that Bruce and the others have to deal with, are less then ideal. They have to do mining work in caves that frequently have cave-ins, but the worst part about their situation has to be the man who is in charge of this whole operation, Boss Biggis. Boss Biggis is another antagonist who you immediately hate right away. He is an extremely overweight man, who is always eating something every time he’s on screen, and all he does is yell, and complain about how lazy and pathetic the people he keeps as slaves are. He also doesn’t take kindly to jokes, as we find out when Salvo's comedic nature goes too far when he makes fun of the Boss. The Boss tells his men to throw Salvo in the "box," which is a metal box that amplifies the heat from the sun, and will kill anyone who stays in there for a long period of time. But before the guards can take Salvo, Bruce and Riley come to his rescue and fight off the guards. But unfortunately, there ends up being too many guards to fight off for just the two of them, and instead of Salvo being put into the box, Bruce and Riley are put in instead.

 

Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, we get to see Alfred do some detective work here, as realizes Bruce hasn’t come home yet, and decides to go look for him by using the tracer that was on the car Bruce took to investigate the missing homeless people earlier. The tracer leads Alfred to a car impound lot, where he then takes the tracer from Bruce’s car, and puts it on a truck that just dropped off the the thugs that attacked Bruce in the beginning. Next, Alfred takes the Batwing to to the desert canyon where Bruce is being held, as that is where the tracer led him to. I thought this scene with Alfred in the Batwing was great. It was one of the more funnier moments of the episode, as we see Alfred having an argument with the A.I. of the Batwing about where to land the jet. We find out that Batman gives his A.I. a sense of humor, as the jet responds to Alfred's demand to land in the canyon with the response: “Your Funeral.”

 

This next sequence is my favorite part of the episode, as we see Bruce get his memory back during another really cool dream sequence. Bruce and Riley are trying to keep their sanity in the heat boxes by talking to each other, but Riley finally loses it when he can’t remember his son’s age, and starts to think he’ll never see him again. When he shouts out the Words “I lost my family!” Bruce gets a surprised look on his face, and recalls the most vivid memory of his life. While we don’t see a dream sequence showing his parents murder, we do get a sequence that’s just as effective in showing how his parents murder is his motivation for being Batman. It starts with Bruce as a child being tossed into the air by his father, and then being caught by him. But on the last toss, we don’t see his father catch him. Instead, as Bruce comes down, we see his parents tombstones with Bats coming through them, flying up to a skyscraper, where we then see Batman standing on top of it, in what was a very cool looking shot. This is where Bruce regains his memory, and immediately goes into Batman mode. Even though he’s not in his costume, you know that you’re watching Batman in action. Just by the way he took charge in getting out of the situation that he and Riley were in, and by the way he changed his voice when he tells Riley to pull it together. Bruce then busts out of the box, and makes his escape into the canyon, with guards and dogs chasing after him. I really have to give props to Riley's voice actor Dorian Harewood during this sequence. The way he shouts out, "I lost my family!" really made you feel his pain and sorrow, where you could definitely see how a statement like that would make Bruce remember how he lost his parents. A really great job of voice acting in this sequence by Dorian Harewood.

 

As Bruce makes his escape through the canyon, he sees the Batwing fly over his head as it's about to make a landing. As he makes his way over to the jet, he sees Alfred laying on the floor exhausted. So before he goes back to the slave camp as Batman, they both decide to take a quick break as they rest their heads on the Batwing. But as we next see Biggis chomping down on another meal, one of his guards comes running in, screaming about a giant Bat. The Boss thinks he’s just shouting nonsense, but finds out that Batman has now entered his office with two knocked out guards in his hands. Batman throws the two guards at Biggis, and knocks him on the ground. As Biggis gets up, he yells at his men to shoot Batman, but sees that he has already made his way into the mine. I really liked the ending action sequence in this episode, as Batman doesn’t take out Biggis men head on, but rather takes them all out from the shadows. He takes them out one by one, and no one sees it happening. This causes panic to the boss and his men, as we visible see the Boss sweating nervously, as he hears one of his men scream for help in the darkness before Batman knocks him out.  As much I like to see Batman display his martial arts skills out in the open, seeing him sneak up and making his attacks from the shadows on his enemies, is just as cool to me as seeing him fight in hand to hand combat. It’s a great technique he uses against a large group of enemies, as he causes panic among them, which then makes them easier to take down.

 

As Batman now makes his way to Boss Biggis, the Boss panics and drops his lantern, which then causes a fire throughout the mine. The fire eventually makes its way to some explosives, and Batman has to quickly make his way out the cave with Boss Biggis. There is probably no better instance that shows Batman strength throughout the whole series than what he does here. He is able lift this extremely overweight man, and toss him into a water shoot that leads out of the cave. You can even hear it in Batman's voice that lifting this guy even a little bit off the ground, took a lot of effort from him. They eventually both fall into a river, where Batman has to rescue the Boss before he drowns, as he obviously can’t swim. My only complaint about this sequence, is that Batman really didn’t get a chance to take down the boss in a fight. In what would have been a very easy fight for Batman, he instead ends up rescuing this guy, when he deserved nothing more than a good beating from Batman after what he has done to all the people he captured.

 

The episode concludes with Bruce, Riley, and Salvo, back at the rescue mission, where Riley tells both Bruce and Salvo they can stay with him and his family as they try to get back on their feet. But before Bruce can respond to the offer, Alfred pulls up in a limo, and asks “Master Bruce” if he’s ready to go. As he introduces himself as Bruce Wayne of Wayne Tech Enterprises, Bruce tells both men that he can probably help with providing a job for them. With both men stunned with this revelation, I always liked how this episode ended with Salvo asking Riley to hit him. When Riley asks why, Salvo tells him: “Maybe I’ll lose my memory, and wake up a millionaire too!’

 

“The Forgotten” is an episode that I’ve always enjoyed watching, and is an episode I continue to enjoy today. But I can see that there may be some things about this episode that some Batman fans might not enjoy. As I mentioned in the introduction, while I really don’t mind them, there are a few things that make "The Forgotten" different from other episodes in the series. The story mainly takes place in a desert canyon, which is a setting that you really don’t see Batman in too often. You also see Batman mainly looking like an older man in this episode, and if you were to come in and watch this episode without seeing the ending, you probably wouldn’t know you were watching a Batman show. The music is also really different in “The Forgotten.” The main music theme for this episode has a country feel to it, and it sounds like something you would hear in an old western movie. The theme is real catchy though, and I actually really enjoyed the music throughout the whole episode, even though I’m not really a fan of that particular style. This episode also did a great job of telling a story about Batman losing his memory, and featured some really great dream sequences. Especially the one where Bruce gets his memory back. The action sequences in this episode were good too, as we got to see Batman show off his stealth skills, which is always awesome. So even though this episode may be titled "The Forgotten," there are plenty of things about it that make it stand out as an episode that I know I'll never forget.

 

 

Batman: The Animated Series-The Forgotten:

 

3.5 out of 5 Batarangs

 

Posted by Tim Geraci

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