"Mad as a Hatter" is the twenty-seventh episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It first aired on October 12, 1992.
A small group of lab rats is given a miniature tea set and react to it much as any normal rat would. However, Jervis Tetch, an expert of neuro-technology at Wayne Enterprises, activates a mind control device and the rats suddenly sit around the table and accept tea poured into their cups. Jervis is delighted with his success, but a blonde co-worker named Alice Pleasance runs in and warns Jervis that Dr. Marcia Cates and Mr. Wayne are arriving. Bruce asks Jervis about a proposed project on using microchips to increase the brain's potential. However, having been working on his mind-control device, Jervis can only offer an excuse. Bruce is fine with it, but the abusive Cates is not. As she's leaving the lab, she warns Jervis "heads could roll if you slip up again". Alice kindly tries to cheer Jervis up, but having a boyfriend, Billy, she considers him only as a dear friend.
Jervis thinks about leaving Alice alone or using his mind-control device to make her love him; neither one of these ideas truly appeals to him. However, Jervis hears Alice crying and, much to his happiness, discovers that after a fight, Billy has broken up with her. Jervis sees this as an opportunity to woo her. He plans to take her out on a magical date but can't figure out how he could impress her. He then notices his poster of Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party and thoughtfully picks up his mind control device.
That night, Jervis arrives at Alice's home dressed as the Mad Hatter character from Alice in Wonderland and invites her to go out on the town so she can see how "Gotham can be a wonderland".
Out in the park, a couple of thugs see Alice and Jervis and think that they've found some easy money. They attack Jervis, but as they grab him he manages to put two of his mind control cards in their headbands and takes over their minds. He tells them to go jump in the river.
The call goes out on the police band that there's a possible suicide and Batman goes to investigate. He discovers the two muggers trying to jump off the Gotham Bridge. They are totally unresponsive to Batman, even pushing him off the bridge trying to jump in the river. Batman manages to save them and discovers one of Jervis mind control cards.
Meanwhile, Jervis takes Alice to the Beret Rouge Club. There he uses his mind control device to make other people his servants and make Alice think that he is someone of the utmost importance.
After dinner, Jervis takes Alice to Storybook Land and tells her about how Alice in Wonderland was always his favorite story. He asks Alice to dance reciting the Mock Turtle's song “Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, join the dance?”
Having returned to the Batcave, Batman studies the mind control card and Alfred approaches him with a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and opens to a picture of Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party. Batman remembers that Jervis had exactly the same picture in his lab and was also working on the same kind of technology.
Alice accepts Jervis' kind gestures as simply attempts to cheer her up. She comes home and finds Billy is there waiting for her. He apologizes and says if they can talk.
The next day, Jervis arrives at work feeling wonderful. However, he is infuriated when she flaunts her engagement ring to him after learning that Billy had proposed to her. He insists to himself that he can still fix the problem. To make matters worse, Cates arrives and informs him angrily that Bruce has asked to see him. Jervis snaps and places a mind control card on her head and leaves. Later, Bruce learns that Cates and Jervis left "together" a while ago. However, before she can further explain things, she gets a call from Billy and immediately breaks out in tears. Jervis has captured Billy and used his mind control to force him to break up with Alice.
Alice returns home and discovers that Jervis is there waiting for her. However, Batman is also there and demands to know what Jervis did with Billy and Cates. However, The Mad Hatter calls in two thugs dressed as the Walrus and the Carpenter. While they attack Batman, Jervis places a card on Alice's head, brainwashing her and escaping. Batman continues to fight the duo but they eventually become docile and he discovers that they too were under mind control.
Batman learns where The Mad Hatter got the card and goes to Storybook Land, where Mad Hatter sends several of his mind control victims dressed as other characters from the story, among them Cates and Billy, after him on a giant chessboard. The Mad Hatter challenges Batman to harm innocent people to get at him. The group attacks with increased strength and Batman is nearly defeated. However, he manages to pull the helmet off Bill the Lizard and discovers that he's Billy. He tells Billy that the people won't attack him. Billy removes the people's hats while the Mad Hatter runs into the card maze.
Batman manages to reach The Mad Hatter, who threatens to kill him for attempting to take Alice away. Batman then calls out Jervis for reducing Alice to "a soulless little doll" with his brainwashing. However, The Mad Hatter angrily claims that it's Batman's fault he had to resort to this and attacks him with an axe. Running back into the card maze, the Hatter manages to trap Batman under some card walls and prepares to cut off his head. Batman, however, throws a batarang at a hanging statue of the Jabberwock causing it to fall onto the Hatter. With Jervis incapacitated, Batman then destroys the control band hidden in his hat while Billy removes Alice's mind-controlling headband, returning her to her normal self. During Alice and Billy's reunion, Jervis gazes from afar and brokenheartedly recites the Mock Turtle, "Would not, could not, would not, could not, oh could not join the dance..." while Batman stands over him.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- The chef, here named "Antoine", is similar to the chef of the Rose Café in "Pretty Poison" and one of the guests of Jordan Hill's birthday party in "Be A Clown".
- Tetch refers to his favorite book being Alice in Wonderland; no such book exists. The book's title is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, though it is often shortened to Alice in Wonderland in adaptations.
- The Mad Hatter's poem, "Twinkle twinkle little bat, how I wonder what you're at…" is spoken by the Dormouse in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- Roddy McDowall previously played the Bookworm in the 1960s Batman TV series.
- Alice goes from wearing Pantyhose to socks in between shots.
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Steve Bulen||Police Dispatcher|
Security Guard (uncredited)
|Roddy McDowall||Jervis Tetch / The Mad Hatter|
|Loretta Swit||Marcia Cates|
Jervis Tetch: Curiouser and curiouser.
Jervis Tetch: It's always been my philosophy that people should take what they want from life.
Mad Hatter: Why don't you do something useful, like... oh... go jump in the river.
Mad Hatter: Are you, the famous Batman, so intent upon destroying my happiness that you'll hurt these poor mind-warped innocents to get me?
Marcia Cates: (As Queen of Hearts) There's the knave! Off with his head!
Mad Hatter: You're mighty in Gotham, Batman, but in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter reigns supreme.
Mad Hatter: I'll cut that cowl off your neck before you take her! I've waited my whole lonely life for her!
Mad Hatter: Would not, could not. Would not, could not... oh, could not join the dance.