Recap: Batman: The Animated Series E51 "The Man Who Killed Batman"

We open with a terrified man running through the rainy streets of Gotham, as if being chased by someone. An issue of the Gotham Times floats by reading "BATMAN SLAIN? Mysterious Crime Fighter Missing". The man, Sidney Debris, a small, bespectacled scaredy-cat, eventually arrives at Rupert Thorne's mansion and requests to see him. Thorne agrees and despite Sidney's nervousness, Thorne greets him warmly. We then see the reason for such warmth:

Thorne: I've heard you've made quite a name for yourself on the streets, Sidney. What is it they're calling you? Oh yes... "The Man Who Killed Batman".

Sidney only stammers nervously at that statement, and halfway denies that it is true, before explaining that he is in big trouble. He then starts telling his story.

Sidney was just a nobody mob underling wanting to move up in the ranks. His "friend" Eddie G. informs him of a drug shipment they're picking up and Sidney asks to get in on it. Eddie lets the bumbling Sidney come in the hopes that he serves as bait for Batman while the others get away. Eddie sweet-talks Sidney claiming that this will get him a cool mob name like "Sid the Squid" (which Eddie gets from looking at a calamari billboard). Eddie then sends Sidney to the roof, to ostensibly keep watch. Predictably, Batman shows up at the roof and engages Sidney. Sid fumbles around, which casts a bunch of shadows that make it look like he is actually fighting Batman to the onlookers below. Eventually Sid accidentally falls off the roof and Batman pulls him up... but ends up falling himself, right on top of a leaking propane tank that explodes, leaving Sid holding on to Batman's cape and cowl. The rest of the mobsters arrive and notice the burning tank, Sid clutching the cowl and babbling incoherently. Believing that No-One Could Have Survived That, they conclude that "Sid the Squid just offed the Batman".

Sid, who all his life dreamed of being a "big shot", has apparently had his dream come true, and is being cheered by his fellow criminals in a bar celebration, with Batman's cape and cowl hanging by his chair. Unfortunately, the joy is short-lived since the minute someone calls him "the toughest guy in Gotham", some muscled thug comes along wanting to take out Sid in order to take that "title". A fight breaks out followed by the cops showing up and arresting everyone present, including Sid. While locking up the prisoners, Montoya gets the news from Bullock that Batman was killed by "some mastermind called 'the Squid'". Bullock starts demanding the prisoners give info on this "Squid" and zeroing in on a terrified Sid until a woman enters claiming to be Sid's attorney... Harleen Quinzel. Sid's bail has been paid and Harleen is requesting he be released. Bullock asks Quinzel if they met before but she simply retorts with "I served you a subpoena once. It was a small subpoena."

As Harleen and Sidney are being driven around, Sid wonders who could have bailed him out since his mother doesn't speak to him and his parole officer is still in jail. After complaining about Harleen's makeup choking up the air, she turns around revealing a familiar hat and black and white face paint...

Harley: My boss likes me to wear a smile to work!
Sidney: Hey, I've seen you! You work for... [gasp] The Joker!

At the Clown Prince of Crime's hideout, the man himself welcomes Sid and requests to shake the hand of "the man who did the impossible: The Man Who Killed Batman" (though he's visibly disgusted at uttering the latter). [[Main/Foreshadowing Sidney notices a tack on said hand which Mr. J excuses as "force of habit"]]. Anyway, Joker's a smart guy and the fact that no body was found is bothering him, therefore they're pulling a job tonight to make sure if Bats is really dead. Joker, Harley, their goons and Sid then leave to rob the Gotham Diamond Exchange. "And if Batman hasn't really gone to his final reward, we'll see that he gets there!", quips Joker.

While the cops amass outside the Exchange, Batman fails to show. Joker swings between nervousness, anger at Sid and finally sadness, over the fact that Batman is apparently really gone. He orders that Harley put back all the loot and utters the immortal line:

After escaping the police via a laughing gas bomb, Joker and the gang hold a little "memorial" for Batman at the Ace Chemical Plant. Batman's cape and cowl is placed inside a coffin on a conveyor belt to a vat of acid, to which Joker adds a "Kick Me" sign ("You put the fun in funeral," says Harley). The Clown Prince of Crime proceeds to give his eulogy:

Joker: Dear friends... Today is the day that the Clown cried. And he cries not for the passing of one man, but for the death of a dream. The dream that he would someday taste the ultimate victory over his hated enemy. For it was the Batman who made me the happy soul I am today. How I agonized over the perfect way to thank him for that. Perhaps with a cyanide pie in the face. Or an exploding whoopie-cushion playfully planted in the Batmobile. (with growing anger) But those dreams were dashed by the weaselly little gunsel sitting there in our midst. (everyone starts moving away from Sid) The cowardly insignificant gonif who probably got lucky when Batman slipped on the slime trail this loser left behind him. This mound of diseased hyena filth who's not fit to lick the dirt from my spats...! (regains composure) But I digress. The time for sorrow has passed. Its time to look to a future filled with smiles. (threateningly) And I'll be smiling again just as soon as we take that man THERE... (points to Sid) ...and slap him in that box THERE... (points to Batman's coffin) ...and roll him into that vat of acid THERE! (points to said vat of acid)

Joker's goons then proceed to lock Sid, who repeatedly and desperately screams that he is sorry for what he did, in the coffin and it's rolled into the vat of acid... as Harley plays "Amazing Grace" on the kazoo. A tearful Joker watches as the coffin slowly sinks into the acid...

As the acid starts dissolving the coffin, things look grim for Sid until suddenly the lid opens and he finds himself on the Gotham River bank, which he attributes to the coffin being sucked down a drainpipe. He decides he needs to get out of town, so he calls Eddie to set him up with the leader of the drug ring...

...who happens to be Thorne, which brings us back to the "present" and the end of Sidney's story. Unfortunately, Thorne drops the friendly tone he had thus far and suddenly becomes hostile: he doesn't believe that Sid managed to kill Batman AND make a fool of the Joker by complete accident since "no one is that lucky OR stupid!" He accuses Sidney of "playing dumb" to muscle in on his drug racket and draws a gun on Sid offering to get him out of Gotham... "in a pine box!" Suddenly gunshots and fighting sounds are heard from the next room, which can mean only one thing...

Batman makes his dramatic entrance and quickly knocks Thorne out. Sid asks how Batman survived and he explains he swung away before the explosion and decided to tail Sid and lay low to figure out who was heading the drug ring. Batman also saved Sidney from the acid. Sidney thanks Batman and tries to leave... but Batman stops him, pointing out Sid is still an accomplice to the gang. However, he also points out that "in the right environment" someone with Sid's "dangerous reputation" can get "a lot of respect"...

...which brings us to Stonegate, where the inmates give Sid a hero's welcome for having "nearly offed the Bat", "making a fool of the Joker" and having "set Thorne up". A beaming Sid remarks "A big shot at last!".


  • Accidental Hero: Sid, to Gotham's underground anyway.
  • And This Is for...: "That's for pulling a gun. That's for the drugs. And that one's for any I missed!"
  • Antagonist in Mourning:
    • The Joker's reaction to Batman's "death".
    • Bullock as well.
  • Anti-Villain: Sidney is a Type IV.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Sid the Squid was given this nickname as a mocking joke by his buddies who thought he was worthless as a crook. It became a badge of honor after he almost killed Batman and made a fool of the Joker.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: You'll get mauled by Joker's hyenas.
  • Badass on Paper: Sidney
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: "Sid the Squid", while being held at gunpoint by Rupert Thorne, who refuses to believe that anyone could kill Batman and escape the Joker out of dumb luck and thinks Sid is trying to depose him. Then they hear violence in the next room, and in walks Batman.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
  • Butt Monkey: Inverted with Sidney. This bumbling wannabe crook, through several bizarre twists of fate, experiences incredible good luck throughout the episode, making monkeys of Rupert Thorne, the Joker and (temporarily) Batman and earning widespread praise he doesn't deserve for an incredible feat that, due to a freakish coincidence, he only appears to have performed. Thorne even lampshades the possibility that Sid's "loser" shtick may all be an act.
    Thorne: Nobody's that lucky or stupid!
  • Canis Latinicus: While Joker is wondering whether Batman is really dead or not given the lack of a body, he says "Batus delicti", a pun on "Corpus delicti": the term, which means "body of crime", refers to the principle that a crime must have been proven to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.
  • Continuity Nod: Bullock nearly recognizes the uncostumed Harley, having seen her dressed as a policewoman in her debut episode.
  • Corpsing: Joker holds a funeral for his rival, complete with Harley Quinn playing Amazing Freaking Grace on a kazoo. Harley's voice actress Arleen Sorkin actually did the kazoo herself, and reportedly they had to do this bit (and Joker's follow-up line "Well that was fun! Who's up for Chinese?") in one take because the cast was laughing too hard to try again.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy:
    • Eddie G. and the rest of the mooks had to pick a drug shipment, but he knows the Batman will give them a Mook Horror Show. To avoid this, Eddie sets Sidney up as bait so Batman will be too busy with Sidney to notice them.
    • The Joker hears the rumor about Batmanís murder by Sid, but they Never Found the Body (No batus delicti, so to speak), so he pulls a job knowing that if Batman is alive, he will stop him.
    • When Rupert Thorne hears Sidís explanation, he canít believe Sid could be that lucky or stupid, so he suspects Sid is pulling a Scheherezade Gambit on Thorne trying to replace him.
    • Batman knows that Sid has Karmic Protection by bitter experience so instead of harming Sid for being one of the mooks, he sends him to Jail knowing fully that is the only place he will be safe and satisfied his dream to be a big shot.
  • Extreme Doormat: Sid never does anything, all the things simply happens to him and he barely reacts at them.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero
  • Faking the Dead: Batman takes advantage of the situation by letting everybody think he's dead while he tracks Sid to find out who's running the drug ring.
  • False Friend: Sid considers Eddie G. his best friend... and Eddie set Sid up to be Batman's bait. And it's very difficult to blame Eddie once you get to know Sid.
  • First Day from Hell: This is Sid's first day as one of Thorne's Mooks and he was subjected to five Mook Horror Shows (six if we count Batman sending him to jail).
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator
  • Framed for Heroism
  • Main/Foreshadowing: The tack on Joker's hand when Sidney goes to shake it is a sign that Joker's [[Main/Understatement not too happy]] with Sidney, along with the noticable pause in Joker's voice as he says the word "Killed" in a Title Drop.
  • The Fun in Funeral: The Joker. A vat of acid. A coffin with a bat-cape and a "kick me" sign. Harley playing "Amazing Grace" on the kazoo. One of the defining moments for the entire show. The scene had to be done in one take as the actors were laughing too hard. Harley delivers the Trope Namer line afterwards.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "I served you a subpoena once. It was a small subpoena."
    • There is also the couple of Yiddish insults that the Joker slings Sid's way during his eulogy, most importantly "gunsel" (maybe he's using it in the kind-of-current-pulp-fiction-way that means "goon", but its original meaning being a rude name for homosexuals...)
  • Gossip Evolution / Snowball Lie: Even when Sid claims it was an Accidental Murder, being a Extreme Doormat, he just let the Mooks treat him as their hero. Mere hours after the explosion, Gotham Underground believes Sid is a mastermind at jail. Only one day after that, Rupert Thorne, with true information about Sid being a Bumbling Sidekick, believes Sid is a Magnificent Bastard.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Montoya mutters "Madre de Dios"note  upon learning of Batman's "death".
  • Hello, Attorney!: Harley Quinn's disguise. She even wears glasses.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: That's all Sid ever wanted. And he finally got his wish in the end. And then you realize Sid's dream was being From Nobody to Nightmare.
    Sid: A big shot at last!
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Sid
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: Sid makes a convincing shadow of a squid's tentacles with his hands. This is Foreshadowing the Central Theme: Later, Batman shows up at the roof and engages Sidney. Sid fumbles around, which casts a bunch of shadows that make it look like he is actually fighting Batman to the onlookers below. The whole theme is how the Gossip Evolution could make a Snowball Lie making a Bumbling Sidekick into a Badass on Paper.
  • Kick Me Prank: The Joker attaches a "Kick Me" sign to Batman's empty cape and cowl before it is to be sealed in a coffin.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: "Sid the... uh... Squid!"
  • Made of Iron: A guy was punched across the room and hit his head on the front of a desk. The desk did not even have a dent and the guy did not even have a concussion.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Sid is certainly not one of the combatant Mooks, but he is such a loser he cannot be called Minion... he doesn't do anything useful (he was set up as bait, but Sid didn't manage to accomplish even that).
  • Mistaken for Badass
  • Mood Whiplash: Two in-universe examples. After holding a "funeral" for Sid:
    Joker: "Well, that was fun! Who's for Chinese?"
    • Later, once Sid has finished telling his story:
  • Mook Horror Show: The episode plays with this trope: showing us all the terrors Mooks had to endure:
    • First, Eddie G. sets up Sid as the bait in an effort to avoid this trope with the Batman, so Sid is chased by a Terror Hero. Sid is saved by his own stupidity.
    • When Sid is taken to a Bad-Guy Bar to celebrate how he killed Batman, some Bit Part Bad Guys Gang Bangers challenge him for the title of "The toughest guy in Gotham". Cue a Bar Brawl. Sid is saved by the police...
    • At jail, Sid is menaced by Harvey Bullock with a little Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique. Sid is saved by a lawyer...
    • ... that is Harley Quinn who leads Sid to the Joker, who puts Sid in a Death Trap. Sid escapes by a Deus ex Machina...
    • ... then Sid decides to asks Rupert Thorne for help... who suspects Sid is trying to pull a Scheherezade Gambit and decides Sid has outlived his usefulness and Sid is saved by
    • ... Batman, who finally plays this trope straight on Thorne's gang, and he sends Sid to Jail.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The opening theme and Batman's theme is played with an organ. This is because this episode walks the edge on the Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The Joker tries to murder Sid for denying him a suitably epic showdown with Batman.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Harley "rescues" Sid from the cops in plain clothes and using her real name. Bullock thinks there's something familiar about her, but can't place it.
    • Word of God claims this was partially unintentional: they had come up with "Harleen Quinzel" as a Sue Donym and only later on did they decide to make it her real name.
  • Perspective Flip: The whole episode another classic Super Hero tale, now from the point of the lowly Mooks that must endure the Mook Horror Show the Terror Hero Batman give them.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Sid's (apparent) triumph brings him nothing but trouble — other petty crooks want a piece of him to establish their own Villain Cred, police attention is focused on finding him, the Joker tries to kill him for stealing his ultimate triumph, and Boss Thorne concludes that he's trying to put one over on him. Inverted in the end when he goes to prison with an impressive reputation among the other prisoners.
  • The Runt at the End:
    • Subverted by "Sid the Squid". He is the smallest and most pathetic of a gang of crooks, but is also the one who always comes out smelling like a rose because of his ridiculously good fortune.
    • Played straight when Bullock asks all the Mooks for information at Gotham's Police Headquarters: From a row full of ugly angry men, only Sid is showing fear. Who do you think Bullock picks up for the interrogation?
  • Scheherezade Gambit: After Sid ends the Whole Episode Flashback explaining How We Got Here, Thorne replies him that Sid is just using Obfuscating Stupidity and invokes this trope as the excuse Sid needed to muscle in on Thorn's drug racket.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: This episode is a lot of fun, while you're not Sid. The Ominous Pipe Organ should tip you that this is a Mook Horror Show, and we see a guy in an acid Death Trap from the victim's perspective!
  • Something Completely Different: A nobody mob underling, "Sid the Squid", acts as the lookout on a job in which Batman is apparently killed. From Sid's perspective, Bats fell into a gas explosion, but everyone else thought Sid pushed him. He has to deal with a jealous Joker, an angry Harvey Bullock, and a few rival mob bosses who can't believe his story. The producers admitted that this episode was an experiment to see if they could make a good episode with Batman appearing as little as possible (indeed, Batman only appears for about three minutes total in this episode). Arguably, they succeeded.
  • Strategy Schmategy: When Batman shows up, Sid fumbles around as he frantically tries to escape. To the rest of the gang watching from the street below, it looks like he's actually putting up a decent fight.
    Sid's taking on the Batman! The little weasel's got guts! No brains, but guts!
  • Super-Stoic Shopkeeper: The bartender.
  • Unintentionally Notorious Crime: Sid the Squid takes part in a small-time drug run but (apparently) accidentally kills the Caped Crusader himself.
  • Villain Cred: Sid ends up going to prison, but he's happy — the other prisoners respect him for almost killing Batman and making fools of the Joker and Boss Thorne.
  • Villain Episode: The episode follows Sid's misadventures; Batman appears only briefly at the beginning and end.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Sid, he even admits it. However, Rupert Thorne refuses to believe that and insists that he's playing dumb.
    Rupert Thorne: You think I didn't hear the rumors of the third-rate stumblebum who rubbed out the Batman? And now you say you "ACCIDENTALLY" made a fool of the Joker? No-one's that lucky OR stupid!
    Sid: Yes, I am! Honest!
  • You! Exclamation: Thorne when the very-much-alive Batman kicks in his door.