"Shadow of the Bat" is the two-part second season premiere of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 13 and 14, 1993. It depicts the first appearance of Batgirl, a new identity adopted by Barbara Gordon when her father is arrested on charges of corruption.
Rupert Thorne is supervising a loading at a warehouse late at night. They are interrupted by a squad of GPD officers, led personally by Commissioner Gordon and Deputy Commissioner Gil Mason. Thorne tries to run, but is caught on the roof by Batman.
The news reports that Thorne makes the third Gotham City mob boss who has been apprehended thanks to information supplied by Mason, supposedly from a secret informant. Bruce Wayne is suspicious, however.
At their home, Barbara Gordon is practicing a gymnastics routine, while James Gordon teases her about her burgeoning relationship with Mason. Then Mason himself appears at their door and reluctantly places Commissioner Gordon under arrest; evidence found in the warehouse raid implicates Jim in taking bribes from Thorne.
Barbara, outraged, complains to District Attorney Janet Van Dorn, who says the evidence is solid, and also that there are warnings that Gordon might flee the country if allowed bail. Bullock encourages her to trust her instincts, and tells her the police department will be holding a public rally to gather support for Gordon.
Batman sneaks into the police evidence room to examine the proof. He then confers with Gordon in his cell, and tells him that the proof looks as though it was forged by someone other than Thorne's gang, and that there have been rumors on the street of a new organization moving in. Gordon asks him to look in on Barbara.
Batman does, and Barbara begs him to make an appearance at the rally, to show the public that the Dark Knight is also on Gordon's side. Batman refuses, saying the most important thing is for him to find evidence of Gordon's innocence. He tells her that her old man has told her to stay out of it. But after Batman's gone, Barbara resolves that one way or another, Batman will be there.
Instead of Batman, Bruce decides to investigate in his disguise of "Matches" Malone. Dick Grayson protests at not being allowed to come with him, but Bruce suggests that Robin appear at the rally in his stead.
At the rally outside police headquarters, Gil is giving a speech on behalf of Commissioner Gordon. Robin prepares to swing overhead, but then a figure dressed in a bat costume does it first. It turns out that Barbara has donned her own Batsuit for the sake of appearances. After the crowd's enthusiastic reaction, she plans to slip away, but then a car speeds past the podium and the rider opens fire with a machine gun.
Instinctively, Barbara leaps into action, catching the banner over the street and pulling it down over the car's windshield, causing it to crash. As she starts to run, Robin catches up with her and grabs at her cowl, tearing away a piece of it and letting her hair fall loose. Summer Gleeson catches footage of the mysterious "Batgirl" fleeing into an alley.
Barbara chases one of the masked thugs into an alley and pulls off his mask, getting a good look at his face. He manages to get away, however, and she has to run before Robin catches up with her.
Watching the news report of the incident, Dick notices something strange: in slow motion, it is clear that Mason ducked well before the guns appeared out of the car's windows.
Barbara slips into police headquarters and looks through the mugbooks, finding the face of the thug she tackled. Excitedly, she goes to Mason's apartment to tell him, but stops short when she sees the thug himself sitting in his living room. Mason passes him off as a friend. Barbara hurriedly excuses herself.
Meanwhile, Bruce is undercover at the Stacked Deck. Wayne sees the thug make a phone call from the booth and, through lip-reading, realizes where he's going next. He follows the thug to an abandoned theatre, but is disabled by its security systems as he is entering. He comes around as a prisoner, confronted by Two-Face.
"Matches" claims to be interested in joining Two-Face's gang, but Two-Face, as always, lets his coin decide. It comes up "bad heads", and Bruce is knocked unconscious.
With Batman mysteriously absent, and deciding that she can trust no one except herself, Barbara dons her costume and prepares to enter the night as Batgirl.
Batgirl and Robin run into each other on a rooftop outside Mason's apartment. Robin tells her that she's an amateur and should stay out, but she refuses. Just then, Mason receives a phone call summoning him to a meeting. Each spies in their own way, learning where to go, but doesn't share the information with each other. Robin even implies that he got nothing.
They follow him to an old subway entrance, where Two-Face shows "Matches" to Mason, asking if he's an undercover cop. Mason says no, and complains about being called out for such a trivial thing. Two-Face reminds him who's boss, revealing his plan to the listening heroes: as Harvey Dent, he had Mason set up as Gordon's assistant, and he has been the one giving Mason tips, eliminating his gang rivals while boosting Mason's popularity; soon, Mason will replace Commissioner Gordon. Because of the recent snooping, Two-Face has decided to break Commissioner Gordon out of jail that night and then do away with him.
Batgirl is tripped by the trussed-up guard, revealing their presence. Two-Face and his thugs open fire, then flee with Mason, using explosives to collapse the building entrance. To make doubly sure, Two-Face detonates a bomb left on the wall of the abandoned line, letting in the river to flood the tunnel.
Batman blasts a hole in the wall of the tunnel, then sends Batgirl up with his grapple gun. Before she can lower it down again, another surge of water sweeps both of them away.
Batgirl calls the police station, but it is too late: Commissioner Gordon has already been broken out, and the damage to the phone lines caused by the explosion makes it impossible for them to understand her warnings. It's up to her now.
In the tunnel, Batman and Robin manage to bust out by throwing the brake of an old subway car, which skids to the end of the abandoned track and smashes a hole in the wall, emerging above the river.
At Bayshore Wharf, Commissioner Gordon is being held prisoner by Two-Face and his gang, and Mason is preparing to execute him personally. But Batgirl appears and distracts them with a gas grenade, letting Commissioner Gordon escape. Reinforcements appear in the persons of Batman and Robin, who quickly subdue Two-Face and his gang. When Mason jumps into a boat and speeds away, Batgirl runs after him and grabs one of the mooring ropes.
As Batgirl is dragged along, Mason empties his gun at her, but misses. Catching up to him, there is a struggle in the boat, and he rips off her mask. Momentarily shocked to see it is Barbara, Mason lets go, and she delivers a kick that knocks him back and he hits his head on the transom so hard that he falls into a coma. As the boat careens toward the Gotham Statue of Liberty, she (reluctantly) pulls him free before it crashes.
Commissioner Gordon is exonerated. At a press conference, he reports that Mason is still in his coma, but has been indicted nonetheless. In response to questions about Batgirl, he states that she is as welcome in Gotham as the Batman. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson are also in attendance, and Wayne muses that they will see her again someday. Barbara, standing nearby, beams.
- Barbara first appeared in "I Am the Night" and first aided Batman in "Heart of Steel", but did not adopt a costume.
- Woobie, Barbara's cherished teddy bear, reappears from "Heart of Steel".
- Although Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson are shown dating in later episodes, he does not become aware of her secret identity until The New Batman Adventures.
- Mason apparently never awakes from his coma, since his first act would likely be to expose Barbara.
- Janet Van Dorn returns in "Trial" where she has a bigger and more significant role.
Home video releases
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin: Two-Face (VHS)
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Two-Face is the only supervillain to appear in more than one two-parter episode in the series. He appears in two.
Commissioner Gordon: Don't you just love it when he gives 'em to you gift wrapped?
Bullock: Batgirl, sheesh! What's next? Weasel Woman?
Commissioner Gordon: Batgirl, I presume.
Commissioner Gordon: That's a first: a coin flips Two-Face.
Mason: Now let's see who you really are!