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Recap: Batman: The Animated Series E30 "Perchance to Dream"
aka: Batman The Animated Series Perchance To Dream
Bruce Wayne wakes up and discovers his parents are still alive and he's not Batman. Everything seems perfect, but is it all too good to be true?


Tropes:

  • All Just a Dream
  • Blank Book: Some books are blank, others are just full of gibberish. This is because reading is a function of the right side of the brain, which is inactive when sleeping.
  • The Final Temptation: Batman was caught in a virtual dream world by the Mad Hatter (who fortunately could not observe the dream itself) living a life as playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne, with his parents alive and well (and thus he had never become Batman). In the dream he was engaged to Selina Kyle (who was not Catwoman) and the mysterious Batman was someone ELSE who just showed up in Gotham. His friends and family in the dream almost had him completely convinced he had created his real life as a delusion to escape his feelings of not having accomplished anything on his own, but the illusion fell apart when he discovered he couldn't read anything.note  Suffice to say, he did NOT appreciate the Mind Screw when he woke himself up.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death:
    Bruce: I won't live a lie! No matter how attractive you make it!
    Mad Hatter: It's rather moot at this point. There's no way out of this.
    Bruce: Tell me how to wake up or... !
    Mad Hatter: Ah ah ah! You can't hurt a dream, and you can't wake up! The police are on their way! Do you want to spend the rest of your dream life in Arkham? Don't fight it, Bruce.
  • Foreshadowing: During the first appearance of "Batman", one of the storefronts in the background has a sign on it that's illegible gibberish. It could be just an artifact of being drawn by the animators as filler, but, in retrospect, it could be a subtle clue as well.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pay close attention to Selina's actions when she offers to cheer Bruce up. She's taking off her gloves as she says it.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Bruce wakes up to discover his parents are alive, he's engaged to Selina Kyle, and there's even a Batman to fight crime. Sounds like a perfect life, huh? Like it says in the title, it's All Just a Dream and he's been put in a Lotus-Eater Machine by the Mad Hatter.
  • Leave Your Quest Test: Batman is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine where his parents aren't dead, he's engaged to Selina Kyle, and someone else is running around Gotham City, solving crimes and fighting the good fight. Eventually Bruce Wayne starts to settle in and writes his Caped Crusader days off as a temporary illusion. Then, he realized he couldn't read, and recognized that he couldn't read while in a dream world.
  • Literary Allusion Title: (Hamlet III.i)
  • Lotus-Eater Machine
  • Milking the Giant Cow: "Thomas Wayne" makes a giant swinging motion as he explains that he and "Martha" are going to go golfing. Evidently, the Thomas Wayne in this continuity REALLY likes golf.
  • Musical Spoiler / Theme Song Reveal: There's a modified version of The Mad Hatter's Leitmotif as a musical hint towards his usage of a dream machine on Batman.
  • Pinch Me: Bruce realizes it's All Just a Dream when he finds he can't read any books (based on the idea that the left side of the brain, which controls the interpretation of written words, is mostly dormant during dreaming), though it takes him a bit longer to figure out how to free himself.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Selena wears a pink and lavender outfit.
  • Psychological Horror: Bruce fears to see Through the Eyes of Madness for all his I Just Want to Be Normal fantasy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Gordon says to Batman "Any idea what it [the mind-control helmet] is?" and Batman deadpans back the final line of The Maltese Falcon:
      Batman: Yes. The stuff that dreams are made of.
    • That line is also an homage to The Tempest Act 4, scene 1
      Prospero: ...We are such stuff
      As dreams are made on; and our little life
      Is rounded with a sleep.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: This episode is one for the comic (later given an Animated Adaptation) For the Man Who Has Everything. Both stories are about a hero who is placed into a Lotus-Eater Machine and given a dream about mundane life as a "normal" person. Superman, as The Cape, has a Happily Ever After fantasy. Batman, as The Cowl, dreams a Psychological Horror fantasy.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    Mad Hatter: It's not possible! No one's will is strong enough to escape my dream machine!
    Batman: (furious) Why? Why did you do it?
    Mad Hatter: "Why?" You of all people have the gawl to ask me that! YOU RUINED MY LIFE!! (breaking tears) I was willing to give you any life you wanted, JUST TO KEEP YOU OUT OF MINE!!
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Bruce gets out of the dream state unharmed by "dying" in a fall, betting against the trope. Judging by Mad Hatter's reaction, this is the only way to get "out", and he's shocked someone would willingly end what should be their greatest fantasy.


Batman: The Animated Series E29 'Eternal Youth"Recap/Batman: The Animated SeriesBatman: The Animated Series E31 'The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy"

alternative title(s): Batman The Animated Series Perchance To Dream
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