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Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E8 "The Forgotten"

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Bruce Wayne goes undercover to investigate disappearances of homeless people. He gets kidnapped and ends up in a slave camp with amnesia.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Amnesia Danger: Bruce forgets that he's Batman, along with most of the skills that could allow him to easily escape the slave camp. While he handles himself just fine against a few of the guards, when he gets locked in a Punishment Box, he doesn't escape until his memories return, at which point he easily busts the box open.
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  • Amnesiac Liar: For much of the episode, Bruce thinks that he's just another homeless man who's been swept up in Boss Biggis's operation, since that's the persona he had adopted when he was kidnapped.
  • Bad Boss: Boss Biggis threatens to punish his men for allowing Bruce to escape.
  • Bald of Awesome: Dan Riley, a volunteer at a soup kitchen who got rounded up with the people he was helping.
  • Cartoonish Supervillainy: Boss Biggis and his lackeys are one-note stock villains without any personality or depth to them. They're just there to give a face to homelessness that Batman can punch.
  • Cat Scare: A black cat darts out of a garbage can in front of Bruce in an alley just before the kidnappers appear.
  • Corrupt Hick: Boss Biggis, a Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit who runs a slaving gold mine in a desert somewhere.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Weirdly enough, the Batwing: when Alfred has the plane's autopilot computer take him to the secret labor camp where Batman is being held prisoner, the plane locates Batman but can't find a safe place to land. Alfred demands that the "tin can" land them at once, to which the Batwing replies, "Your funeral." It even tells Alfred to "watch [his] step" getting out after the harrowing landing.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Batman involves himself in a city-wide kidnapping and forced labor plot because the police are too busy to bother with homeless people disappearing.
  • Easy Amnesia: Thanks to a Tap on the Head, Bruce forgets everything about his life, and believes himself to be just another homeless man kidnapped and put to work. When Dan Riley mentions that he has family back in Gotham, thoughts of Bruce's parents unlock the rest of his memories and Batman immediately sets to work escaping, then liberating the other slaves.
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  • Fat Bastard: One-Shot villain Boss Biggis. Morbidly obese (the voice-actor actually ate while recording his lines to give the proper feel for the character) and running an actual slave labor camp, naturally, so he doesn't have to do or pay for any work himself.
  • Fat Slob: Biggs has atrocious manners (as far as table manners and general cleanliness go), to say the least.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Boss Biggis provides the trope image.
  • Hypocrite: Boss Biggis, a Fat Bastard who runs a slave camp rather than do any honest work, complains about his slaves' productivity while chowing down on a sandwich.
    Boss Biggis: I've never seen such lazy scum.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Almost every line from villain Boss Biggis is grumbled through a mouthful of half-chewed food.
  • Kill the Poor: A slavery ring snatches homeless people off the streets of Gotham City and flies them to some stiflingly hot badlands thousands of miles out west, where they are forced to mine gold under dangerous conditions and are locked in sweat boxes if they offer the least resistance. As one of the captives puts it: "I used to be one of Gotham's unemployed. Now I got a job - lucky me!"
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Gotham City's homeless population is made up entirely of men, with not one woman or child in sight. As it turns out, this was deliberately but not on the writers' part, as BS&P executives forbade them from showing anyone other than men as homeless.
  • Mook Horror Show: Batman leads the villains into Biggis's mine and begins picking them off one by one in the dark.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Riley and Bruce are in the Box together, Riley despairs that he'll never see his son again. This sets off Bruce's memories of losing his family, whereupon the Batman wakes up and prepares to kick ass.
    Batman: Riley, you've got to pull it together. We're getting out of here!
    Riley: Yeah, right. You're the one who's losing it.
    Batman: (kicks right through steel wall of Box)
  • Mouth Cam: When the Boss eats a sandwich.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Justified; Boss Biggis's obese body would make him unlikely to last in a fight. So when he's run out of men to protect him from Batman, he panics.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The chain-gang Bruce gets shanghaied into has workers in a mine without lights, helmets, or any sort of safety equipment. A cave-in nearly kills him soon after he arrives, and his fellow gang members remark that they happen all the time. The mine is being operated illegally and the operators do not care if their employees live or die, since they are grabbing them off the street.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Alfred after landing the Batwing.
    Alfred: I claim this land for Spain!
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Salvo Smith keeps his spirits up in the slave mine through humor.
    Dan Riley: Don't mind him. Every chain gang has a comedian.
  • Punishment Box: The main punishment for failure to work (or in one case, insulting Biggis) is being placed in a metal box, which sits out in the open under the desert sun.
  • Single Tear: Bruce fells one in his dream, wherein he is trying to give money to the destitute citizens of Gotham, and discovers that he simply doesn't have enough money to hand out to all of them.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Biggis not only uses Disposable Vagrants as slave labor, he treats said vagrants like garbage.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Gotham City is a steel-clad, faux-1940s metropolis, so you'd expect to hear overly dramatic classical music (which we do) or else jazz and/or showtunes (which we sometimes do). But in this episode the action shifts to some sort of arid, rocky landscape out west (could be South Dakota, or maybe Wyoming) so that Batman can capture some Corrupt Hicks who have kidnapped and enslaved homeless people in order to mine gold. The hicks' theme is as "frontier" as all-get-out, with rapidly-played harmonicas and a booming basso guitar straight out of a Western movie.
  • Tap on the Head: A kidnapper sneaks up behind Bruce with a cosh, leading to unconsciousness and Easy Amnesia.
  • Tuckerization: One of Biggis' men is named Paur, a reference to series writer/director Frank Paur.
  • Very Special Episode: This episode was written by Sean Catherine Derek, a story editor who made a shtick out of turning all the BTAS episodes she worked on into these. In this case, her social commentary of the day was on homelessness, a message that was undercut by the Cartoonish Supervillainy of her antagonists and the higher-ups mandating that only men be shown as homeless.
  • Villain of the Week: Biggis never appeared again after this episode. Being an ordinary (if very unpleasant) man, it's likely he was sent to Blackgate and never got out.
  • Villainous Glutton: Boss Biggis is never seen without food in his hands.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Cool Hand Luke except "Luke" is secretly Batman.
  • With My Hands Tied: Bruce fights off two of Biggis's kidnappers without even taking his hands out of his pockets, mostly by Nonchalantly Dodging their clumsy blows so that they hurt their hands punching stuff behind him, with a bit of kicking and tripping thrown in. But then a third guy sneaks up behind him and knocks him out.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When trying to take out Batman in the mines, Boss Biggis orders his men to turn off the lights aside from their helmets, figuring that would give them the advantage. Batman, of course, has no trouble at all moving about in the dark and picking off men who have made targets out of themselves by placing the only light sources on their heads.

Smith: Hit me, Riley.
Riley: Hit you? Why?
Smith: Maybe I'll lose my memory and wake up a millionaire too.

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