"Never Fear" is the fourth episode of The New Batman Adventures and originally aired on November 1, 1997.
A man swings gleefully through Gotham's skyscrapers. Onlookers initially mistake him for Batman, at least until he smacks into a bank of lights. The real Batman quickly spots him, and with Robin close behind, they follow him until the man's wild antics destroy part of a huge ad and leave him dangling over a ledge. They manage to stop the ad's debris and its live wires from crushing or electrocuting anyone below.
Batman tries to reason with the man, but he simply won't listen, claiming he no longer has any sense of fear. After this, he tackles Batman, throwing both off the building. Batman uses a grappling gun to have himself and then snag the daredevil in midair. As the crowd cheers, a man in a white suit, not looking so satisfied, leaves. He then confers in an auditorium with a shadowy figure, who berates him for not keeping a watch on the lunatic, who turns out to be a test subject.
As Bruce Wayne enters his office the next day, his secretary informs him that an employee has been calling all day, and that Tim is waiting in his office. Tim asks about the man they saved the day before, and is surprised to hear from Bruce that the man was in fact acrophobic – i.e., afraid of heights. Just then, the employee mentioned, Seymour Grey, forces his way into the office and demands that Wayne listen to him; he says he has great ideas for the company, but has always been afraid until now to voice them. To demonstrate his complete lack of fear of anything now, he also quits his job and plants a kiss on Wayne's astonished secretary. Security arrives and carts him away, and Bruce notices Grey's wallet on the floor. Opening it, he finds a business card with the words: "Never Fear".
Bruce disguises himself and goes to the address on the card and joins what is apparently a self-help seminar led by the Guru, who claims that he can help people get rid of their fears. Bruce sneaks away from the meeting and finds a secluded office. Opening one of the drawers with a lockpick, he finds a large amount of gas canisters. While he's examining one, a shadow from behind hits him with a heavy wooden stick and knocks him unconscious. The shadowy figure turns out to be the Scarecrow.
Bruce awakens in a zoo, where the only exit is next to the crocodiles' cage. From a high hill, the Scarecrow confronts him. Bruce plays dumb, pretending to be a petty thief who was simply snooping around for loose cash. Scarecrow shoots him with a gas gun and then dares him to approach the crocodile cage. Bruce crosses over the cage without fear, and is tackled by the beasts. As he goes under, a red stain dots the water, and the Scarecrow leaves, satisfied. Suddenly, Bruce reemerges from the water, and as one crocodile's body floats up, he walks away looking unharmed.
At Wayne Manor, Tim and Alfred are discussing Bruce's absence, when suddenly he enters in a furious mood, abruptly tells Tim to suit up, and they fly out together in the Batwing. Batman tells Robin that the Scarecrow has now invented a gas that has the opposite effect of his trademark fear toxin: this one removes a person's fears, leaving them unable to discern right from wrong, and turning them into reckless, nearly mindless and suicidal daredevils, spreading chaos throughout the city. As he pilots the Batwing through several hair-raising turns and a near-miss with a plane, a somewhat nervous Robin pulls himself back into an upright position and asks him whether he's breathed the gas. Batman answers in the affirmative, but insists he can handle it. Robin, still plastered against his seat as Batman exhibits more aerodynamic stunt work, is not totally convinced.
When they reach Scarecrow's lair, the canisters are gone, and the Guru intercepts them accompanied by a bunch of armed goons. Batman, with his new fearless attitude, chooses to dodge bullets during his charge instead of initially disarming the thugs. Fearing for Batman's life amid the fire, Robin disarms several of the goons with his batarang, allowing Batman to safely take them all down.
Batman confronts the Guru, who refuses to talk, apparently unmoved by the prospect of jail time. Batman resorts to a brutal tactic: dangling him from the building's roof, then slowly cutting through the rope. The Guru fearfully talks and reveals that Scarecrow is planning to release a massive amount of gas into the subway system, but Batman turns away without pulling him up. Robin jumps and catches the rope just as it breaks, managing to save the screaming Guru who passes out.
As Batman prepares to hop into the Batwing, Robin coils a grapple around him and takes away his belt, saying he is out of control and no longer afraid to kill. As Robin turns to leave, assuring Batman that he'll be back for him with the antidote, Batman pretends contrition and offers to let Robin lead if he releases him. Robin is nearly fooled, but he sees through the façade just in time. As Batman berates him in anger, Robin climbs into the Batwing and flies off.
In the subway, Robin boards Scarecrow's train in hopes of stopping him before the gas is released. While he brings down Scarecrow, one of the goons subdues and cuffs him. By then, however, Batman has already escaped.
An increasingly psychopathic Batman manages to enter the carriage, and dispatches the bodyguards by throwing them out the moving carriage, apparently unconcerned with whether they land safely or not. Then, ignoring the cuffed Robin, he reaches Scarecrow and starts strangling him with his bare hands. In their mêlée, he inadvertently destroys the master controls of the carriage, setting it haywire. As they tangle, Robin frees himself of the cuffs and tries to deter Batman from choking Scarecrow, but to no avail. He then takes the inhaler with the gas's antidote and sprays Batman's face with it. Batman comes to his senses, and realizes the train is heading for a deep ravine, just in time to jump off with Scarecrow and Robin.
Walking out of the subway with an unconscious Scarecrow, Robin tries to apologize to Batman for tying him down. Batman replies it was the right thing to do, and adds that a little fear is a good thing.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Four (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- Subway cars have a "dead man's switch" where the operator has to hold a switch down (or a handle in place) to operate the train. If the operator has a heart attack or another serious problem and is disabled the brakes automatically activate. There's no indication of any dead man's switch in the train in this episode.
- At the end of every subway line, there are mechanical trips which activate the train's brakes to prevent the train from running off the end of the line.
- After Robin ties Batman up, he removes Batman's utility belt. When Batman escapes and catches up with the train, his utility belt is suddenly back.
- When an electrical line is cut the only way both ends could be sparking is if both are connected to a power source. It's highly unlikely that this would be done in an outdoors overhead power grid.
- When Robin breaks the chain off his handcuffs, the rest of the handcuff vanishes.
- When Robin jumps off the train, he rolls in the same direction as the train rather than rolling in the opposite direction, which would've been consistent with Newton's First Law of motion.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Scarecrow in The New Batman Adventures. He is given a new, more horrifying appearance and is voiced by Jeffrey Combs, replacing Henry Polic II.
- The auditorium where Scarecrow's "Never Fear" seminars take place looks like the Pan Pacific Auditorium on Beverly Boulevard, in Hollywood, California. It's a classic example of "art deco", which was the inspiration for the "dark deco" look of the animated Batman series. The auditorium is best known for its appearance in the movie Xanadu.
|Kevin Conroy||Batman/Bruce Wayne|
|Mathew Valencia||Robin/Tim Drake|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred Pennyworth|
Acrophobic Man (uncredited)
|Ken Berry||Seymour Grey|
Batman: Now, there's a window a few feet from here and if you just follow me...
Scarecrow: (after Bruce appears to have been devoured by crocodiles) Welcome to the food chain.
Batman: Where's the gas?
Batman: You didn't answer my question.
Scarecrow: You'll soon see what Gotham City will be like without fear, and it won't be pretty. Fear is the glue that holds society together. It's what makes people suppress their worst impulses. Fear is power. And today it will be quite expensive if you want the antidote.
Scarecrow: Fool! You'll get us killed!
Robin: (Batman strangles the Scarecrow) You can't.
Batman: (Trying to stop the train) I can't stop it. You're gonna have to jump.