Batman: The Animated Series

Season 1 Episode 29

The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne

1
Aired Saturday 9:00 AM Oct 29, 1992 on FOX
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
126 votes
9

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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An evil psychiatrist named Hugo Strange discovers Bruce Wayne's secret, and attempts to auction it to the highest bidder, which could be the Joker, Two-Face, or the Penguin.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • great and fun episode.

    9.0
    Hugo came very close to letting The Dark Knight's enemies know his secret identity. But it was backfired due to the cleverness of the Batman. Liked the arguing between the Joker and Two-Face. That was funny. Fun episode to watch because of the decent plot, in which a sort of Mad scientist tries to exploit Batty.
  • The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne

    3.0
    After discovering Bruce Wayne's secret identity, Dr. Hugo Strange auctions the information off to Joker, Penguin, and Two-Face in "The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne," a frustrating episode that requires all disbelief to be set to the side for the illogical plot to work. The story by David Wise, with teleplay by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, requires Bruce Wayne to act idiotically in order to be marginally sensible, and the animation duo of director Frank Paur and Akom studio provide sloppy visuals to match the disappointing plot. This is an episode of a Batman: The Animated Series that feels like an average children's show, with mediocre quality that can be overlooked by a kid but is hard to excuse as an adult.



    A loose adaptation of Steve Englehart's Detective Comics #471/#472, "The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne" has Bruce entering an "executive relaxation program" to investigate a blackmail attempt that almost costs Judge Vargas her life. The opening sequence on the Gotham bridge has some surprisingly good work by Akom, with a tense string-heavy score by Lolita Ritmanis, but from the very outset, it's obvious this is going to be a rough episode. Once the dialogue starts and Strange's henchman Numbers counts a stack of money by shuffling it near his ear, the suspense deteriorates into stupidity, climaxing with Vargas passing out by banging her head against the metal girder she's climbing across. Apparently, the judge can't support the weight of her own head. The thugs' plates are traced to the Yucca Springs resort, a subsidiary of Roland Daggett's corporation, prompting Batman to investigate as Bruce Wayne, having learned his lesson in "Eternal Youth" that the therapeutic clinics surrounding Gotham are breeding grounds for evil.



    At Yucca Springs, Bruce Wayne meets Dr. Hugo Strange, who treats his patients by hooking them up to a machine that projects their thoughts on a screen, recording the images so he can blackmail his subjects later. Bruce has no problem undergoing the process, even though he is explicitly told that it lowers defenses and exposes deep secrets, which drives me crazy. It's not like Bruce Wayne has anything to hide, right? Like "The Cape And Cowl Conspiracy," this episode has Bruce putting himself at needless risk, which goes against the calculating, cautious mentality that's made him the world's greatest detective. While Bruce is hooked up to Strange's machine, the animators have the opportunity to do whatever they'd like to interpret Bruce's mental pictures, and I was hoping for a surreal sequence like Batman's fear gas trip in "Dreams In Instead, we get a series of images that we've seen plenty of times already: young Bruce standing in darkness with Alfred by his side, his parents' faces, a floating gun, etc. Strange presses Bruce until the Bat-symbol appears on the screen, and by the time Bruce regains his composure, it's too late. Strange has the information he needs.



    The trio of rogues that appear this episode are totally arbitrary, but Mark Hamill saves this episode from being a total failure with his typically fantastic delivery. Joker's voicemail is brilliantly disturbing, and his one-liners help pick up the plodding second half of the episode. There's some adequate banter between the group of villains, but for the most part, they appear only to make the lousy plot more exciting by bringing in three recognizable faces. They offer little to the overall story, and their presence feels like a desperate attempt to fill in Wise's flimsy script.



    Bruce discovers Strange's thought machine and learns that Judge Vargas was being blackmailed for her involvement in the Gotham Dock fire. In one of those random PSA Batman moments, we learn that matches are bad, and we should listen to our parents when they tell us not to play with them, even though they make us smile so much. The image of little Maria's insane face as she lights the match is hilariously over the top, but it's just another unintentionally funny moment in the messy episode. Just take a look at the animation when the three rogues get off the airplane. Even a simple sequence of characters stepping forward is stiff and ugly, with some particularly awful shading on Two-Face.



    The worst part of "The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne" is the horrible cop-out ending, when Dr. Strange reveals Batman's identity as Bruce Wayne, only to have no one believe him. So the entire point of the episode is moot, because the rogues find out it's Bruce and just don't give a shit. What was the point of it all? Dick's Forrest Gump impression at the end? It's a waste of time, and that's the worst crime of all.moreless
  • The Winner is

    8.0
    A psycho Psychiatrist gets Bruce under his device and learns the secret of Batman. This could be his way to the big time if he can sell it to the right bidder. Can some quick slight of hand to alter evidence save the day and Bats life?
  • A very good episode that finally makes use of Dr. Hugo Strange.

    9.0
    When Doctor Hugo Strange finds out Bruce Wayne's secret he holds an auction to three of Batman's worst rogues. Two Face, Joker, and the Penguin. Bruce uses the same machine that probed his thoughts and told Dr. Strange that he was Batman to creat a fake video of Hugo saying that that he was planning to lie to the villains from his mind.



    This was a gret episode in my eyes. Someone discovering Bruce Wayne's secret and trying to make a profit out of it. I felt that Hugo wasn't that good of a character. He didn't have his obssession for Batman that he had in the comic book and didn't seem to be insane (as he should have been). Also, I found that the ending wasn't my favorite. They could have done much better than have Dick Grayson dress like Bruce Wayne. I don't care if it's a cartoon, no comstume in the word could make someone look as close to Bruce as the one Dick wore did. Aside from those details the episode was enjoyable.moreless
  • Just great!

    9.1
    The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne



    An interesting episode...



    When Batman discThe Penguin it's not one of them but whatever). Full of action, this episode made me very thrilled second by second! It's not at all boring, the whole 20 minutes fly away very fast, you don't even feel them passing by. And I think this was the purpose of this episode. And they reached it gratefully. A very nice episode again!overs a judge being blackmailed by a video tape, he goes to the resort where she visited to find out the importance of the tape. There he meets Dr. Hugo Strange, someone who claims he could help Bruce relax, and using a thought-reading machine, discovers that Bruce is Batman. At this revelation, Strange auctions the tape to three of Batman's worst enemies.



    The premise of this episode is interesting: if someone found out Bruce Wayne's secret, how would they react? What would they do?



    The villains were good in this episode, especially Mark Hammill's Joker, delivering the same amount of twisted humour you would expect from him. The Penguin was also quite amusing as well. And the way Batman outsmarts Strange is quite clever.



    Not the best Bat-episode, but still worth a watch, and should be in every episode collection.moreless
Loren Lester

Loren Lester

Dick Grayson / Robin

Guest Star

Ray Buktenica

Ray Buktenica

Hugo Strange

Guest Star

Carmen Zapata

Carmen Zapata

Judge Maria Vargas

Guest Star

Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Penguin

Recurring Role

Ingrid Oliu

Ingrid Oliu

Renée Montoya

Recurring Role

Richard Moll

Richard Moll

Two-Face

Recurring Role

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