"Eternal Youth" is the sixteenth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 23, 1992.
In the dead of night, a woman runs, panting with fear, through a remote forest, being pursued by a mysterious figure in a jumpsuit. When the woman stops, out of breath, the figure catches up. The woman, Mrs. Thomas, begs for her life, having seen what has happened to the "others", but the figure sprays Mrs. Thomas with some kind of chemical. There is a creaking sound, and Mrs. Thomas becomes completely petrified.
The next day, at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne has an angry phone conversation with a Wayne Enterprises director who made an unauthorized deal with a slash-and-burn operation in the Amazon rain forest, and threatens to fire him unless he cancels the deal. Alfred answers the door to his special lady friend, artist Maggie Page, whose morning jog has taken her past the Manor. Though pleased to see her, he is a little embarrassed by her open flirting in front of Bruce. While sorting through the mail, Alfred finds a promotional videocassette from something called the "Eternal Youth Spa." On it, two pretty young women, Lily and Violet extend Bruce a personalized invitation to a free weekend at the spa. Bruce says he's too busy, but suggests that Alfred and Maggie go in his stead. Alfred stiffly declines, but Maggie is delighted and drags a less than enthusiastic Alfred along with her.
When they arrive at the spa and announce they are there to take Bruce's place, Lily and Violet confer with their boss, hidden in the shadows. The boss tells the girls to let them in — someone has to pay for Wayne's crimes.
The new guests at the spa are treated to a welcome lecture from the spa's founder, Dr. Daphne Demeter. She has invented a new compound, "Demetrite," which has been imbued into the spa's food, drink, water, and air, and has miraculous restorative properties. Alfred does not hide his skepticism, but is pleasantly surprised by the tastiness of the water and fruit samples they are offered.
Batman is informed that several prominent industrialists, including Mrs. Thomas, have disappeared mysteriously. In her apartment, he finds another promotional video for the spa. He calls Alfred at the spa, who duly inquires about Mrs. Thomas and is told she left unexpectedly a few weeks earlier. Alfred adds that he is having a wonderful time, and will return to the Manor a new man, but Bruce is not entirely convinced.
Indeed, when Maggie drops Alfred off after their weekend, he bids her a fond goodbye, complete with a kiss on the cheek. Later that day, Batman pulls the Batmobile into the Batcave and is taken aback to see Alfred decorating the cave with potted plants. Now a firm believer in Demetrite, Alfred takes a dose in a glass of water, and suggests that Bruce do the same. However, he suddenly sways, feeling faint, and Bruce has to help him upstairs into bed. Suspicious, he takes a sample of the Demetrite for analysis.
The next morning, Alfred rises from his bed, takes in the morning sunshine, and instantly feels better. He sees Maggie outside his window, and they agree that they are sharing the same thought — they want to return to the spa.
In the cave, Batman tests the Demetrite by combining equal amount of the enzyme with human plasma. It causes a violent chemical reaction, and a vine grows out of the test tube and catches Batman's arm. Batman breaks free and rushes out of the Bat Cave to warn Alfred; however, he finds an empty bedroom.
Alfred and Maggie return to the spa, telling Dr. Demeter about what a difference she has made to them. With a sinister smile, Demeter backs away and says the couple is ready for the "final treatment". She motions Lily and Violet forward, revealing she is Poison Ivy. Alfred, too late, realizes the danger and orders Maggie to run, but the two henchwomen spray Maggie and Alfred with gaseous Demetrite, petrifying them both.
Entering the spa's cathedral-size greenhouse at night, Batman is surprised and taken prisoner by Violet and Lily. Ivy herself appears and reveals that the Demetrite is a special growth enzyme extracted from a rare South American tree she has cultivated. With it, she has produced her "collection" — her victims, all of whom own companies that have committed some environmental crime, and all of whom have now been transformed into humanoid trees. She claims to be after Bruce Wayne for his part in the slash-and-burn operation (not knowing it was actually one of Bruce's directors), but for now is content with his friends. She shows him Alfred and Maggie among the trees, enraging him.
She says the transformation will take months of additional spray before it becomes irreversible, and orders Violet and Lily to spray him with a triple-strength mixture that should transform him almost instantly. It doesn't work, and Batman advances, explaining that he analyzed the Demetrite and coated himself and his suit with a herbicidal antidote. Violet and Lily back away, still spraying, but Batman subdues both of them. Ivy somersaults through the branches, firing her crossbow at Batman. She manages to pin him against a tree, and just as she's about to shoot him, he picks up a bucket of tree sap and throws it at her. He misses, but luckily ends up shattering a container of the enzyme in her laboratory, spilling the enzyme onto the ground of the greenhouse. Instantly, an enormous tree grows out of the ground at an accelerated rate, scooping up Ivy and her henchwomen in its expanding branches. Ivy is apparently crushed between the growing tree and the spa's roof, but when the growth ends, Batman only manages to find Ivy's victims and henchwomen — Ivy herself nowhere to be found.
Ivy's victims are treated, and Alfred and Maggie share some rest time at the hospital. Bruce enters with a flowerpot to brighten their room, and both Alfred and Maggie recoil. Bruce apologizes and takes away the bouquet, to which Maggie remarks to Alfred "Nice man, but not too bright."
- Ivy makes her first appearance since her debut in "Pretty Poison".
Home video releases
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin: Poison Ivy (VHS)
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin: Poison Ivy/The Penguin (DVD)
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- When Maggie drives her car down a steep hill on the way to the spa, she is driving on the left side of the road; when she reappears at the bottom, she is on the right.
- When Ivy makes her welcome speech as Dr. Demeter, Lily's hair is miscolored brown.
- Ivy's manner of leaving Arkham Asylum since the events of "Pretty Poison" is left ambiguous, as it seems unlikely that she would be released after attempting to murder the District Attorney, and even more unlikely that she escaped.
- This is the only appearance of Maggie Page. She was created as a possible love interest for Alfred, but never used again.
- En route to the spa, Alfred grumbles, "I've been Shanghaied." "Shanghaied" was a slang expression used in the United States and Great Britain for being recruited into the navy by force or trickery, and then being forced to continue serving (see also Impressment).
- Ivy's aliases are something of a giveaway: in Greek Mythology, Daphne was a nymph who was turned into a laurel tree, and Demeter is the goddess of grain and the harvest.
- Alfred sardonically refers to Ivy as "Joan of Bark", a spoof on Joan of Arc, the medieval French warrior and later Catholic saint.
- Alfred's behavior after ingesting the Demetrite is a clue to its plant-transformative effects; in particular, the way sunlight restores his strength is indicative of photosynthesis, the process by which chlorophyll-bearing plants produce nourishment.
- The climax of the episode was adapted into a stage in the Super Nintendo game The Adventures of Batman and Robin.
- Maggie's roadster has a right-handed driver's seat, implying that it was imported from Great Britain.
- This is one of the few times that Bruce Wayne goes upstairs into Wayne Manor while still in the Batsuit.
- Ivy's last scene in this episode shows her being slammed against the greenhouse roof by the rapidly growing tree. The pressure upon her body could easily have killed her, but yet, she survives.
- When Batman is driving back to the Batcave Alfred has taken the liberty of decorating the cave extensively with potted and hanging plants, it's never stated how the plants will survive without sunlight unless artificially lit.
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne/Batman|
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner Gordon|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Paddi Edwards||Maggie Page|
|Diane Pershing||Poison Ivy|
|Lynne Marie Stewart||Violet|
Bruce: I don't care how much money we'll lose! I won't have Wayne Enterprises involved in an operation that will destroy a rainforest! Shut it down, or you're fired!
Dr. Demeter: Here you'll find Demetrite everywhere. In the water, the food, even the air you breathe at night.
Alfred: You know, Maggie, it's never occurred to me before how dreary this place looks.
Poison Ivy: Actually, Batman, you and I are surprisingly alike. We both strive to see evil-doers punished. But while you have your gallery of rogues, I have my grove.
Poison Ivy: This dog of a dogwood leveled enough trees to shade a small state. And weep not for this willow. She slaughtered an ancient forest to produce cardboard—CARDBOARD!
Poison Ivy: I have the patience of a redwood.