"Blind as a Bat" is the fifty-fourth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on February 22, 1993.
Bruce Wayne is present at a demonstration of Wayne Tech's prototype military helicopter, the Raven X1-11. The attending brass are suitably impressed by its capabilities, which include silent running, a cloaking device making it invisible to radar and sonar, and its revolutionary ZVF sensor package which uses computers to turn sensor data into visual images, thus working in total darkness. But as soon as the demonstration is completed, the helicopter runs amok, opening fire on the stands. As people flee inside the hangar, they find the real aircrew, gagged and bound.
The Penguin has hijacked the chopper, and he announces over its radio that he plans to ransom the city with it. Then it opens fire again, and Bruce dives to cover a woman caught in the line of fire. As he raises his head to look, another shot to a car engine causes it to explode right in front of his face, and he collapses in agony. Alfred arrives and Bruce orders him to take him home at once, revealing that he has been blinded.
Leslie Thompkins examines Bruce at Wayne Manor. She says she can't be sure, but believes the blindness is only temporary. She strictly orders him to stay home and rest, otherwise he could damage his vision permanently. Bruce refuses to accept this while the Penguin is menacing the city, but has to admit that his blindness has grounded him.
When Batman fails to respond to the Bat-signal, Commissioner Gordon confers with Mayor Hill and Harvey Bullock. The Penguin contacts Hill's office from the helicopter to ask about his ransom. When Hill says it'll take time to raise the amount demanded, the Penguin shuts off. In short order, the Raven attacks a bridge, causing it to collapse.
Determined to stop Penguin, Bruce has Alfred and a reluctant Leslie craft a vision aid for him: Using the sensor package similar to the one mounted on the chopper, and wired into his brain. With his vision temporarily restored, Batman contacts the Mayor and orders him to comply with Penguin's demands. Hill broadcasts a message, inviting the Penguin to the ransom drop.
The chopper lands in an abandoned lot near a steel mill, but the ransom briefcase turns out to be a fake. Then the Batwing appears overhead, having sneaked up on them with its own cloaking device. It fires a net, but Penguin escapes and re-boards the helicopter. The Raven attacks, but Batman manages to down it with a volley of aerial bombs. But even when grounded, it fires a blast from its laser cannon that shoots down the Batwing.
Batman makes an emergency landing and exits the vehicle just before it explodes, accidentally tearing his headpiece's power cable loose. It begins to run out of power, and he stumbles into the steel mill, pursued by Penguin and his thug Falcone. As he coaxes the last dregs of power from it, he manages to subdue Falcone, but it shuts down for good, with Penguin still left.
Realizing Batman is blind, Penguin taunts him with scattered sounds. Batman gropes his way through the mill, ending up in a room filled with molten steel. As Penguin starts to push him over, Batman jumps up and hangs on to the ceiling. Feeling water drip on his head, he realizes he is hanging onto a water valve, and twists it, releasing a gush of water that vaporizes on contact with the steel, creating a thick cloud of steam that causes Penguin to cough heavily. Finally knowing where his enemy is, and with both of them now unable to see, Batman dives down from the ceiling and knocks him out.
The next day, Leslie removes the bandages from Bruce's eyes, and all are relieved to see that his vision has returned and takes great delight in the newspaper headline of Penguin's pending incarceration.
- It's possible that due to this incident, Bruce Wayne shut down Lex Luthor's idea about the Wayne/Lex T-7 being used in warfare as seen in "World's Finest".
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- After Batman puts on the ZVF helmet, a shadow on the wall shows that his cowl is back up over his head. The next cut, it's still down and the helmet uncovered.
- This is the final episode in which Penguin is the main antagonist. Soon after this season, the revamp emerged and Penguin became "reformed", although Batman occasionally questioned him about other crimes of which he had knowledge.
- Penguin deduces that the Batwing must carry a cloaking device identical to the Raven's, but somehow doesn't seem to make the connection between Wayne Enterprises and Batman.
- The Raven was a "boss" in the Super Nintendo game The Adventures of Batman & Robin.
- Batman's predicament in this episode is similar to Daredevil of Marvel Comics, a superhero who is blind but relies on his remaining (but largely enhanced) senses in order to process the world around him to fight crime.
- The music played on the car radio before the Penguin destroys the bridge is also played in "Almost Got 'Im".
Penguin: As of this moment, the most dangerous bird in the sky is the Penguin!
Bruce: Alfred, I've got to find some way to stop him. Sight or no sight.
Penguin: This means war!
Batwing: Red alert. Red alert. Traumatic impact. Heat damage to fuselage. Breach to hull. Extensive structural damage.
Penguin: Your aim seems to be a little off today, Batman. I don't think you could hit the broad side of a barn, let alone the broad side of this bird! You're blind as a bat! Sightless and helpless!