"The Demon's Quest" is a two-part episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
Robin returns to Gotham University and sneaks into his room, only to find a group of people waiting for him. They hit him with a tranquilizer dart and he falls unconscious. The leader of the group, a man in a jackal mask, is pleased.
Later, Batman returns to the Batcave and tells Alfred that Robin has been missing for two days and his searches have been fruitless. Alfred gives him an envelope that is addressed to Bruce Wayne. He opens it and is shocked to find a note inside referring to him as Batman. The note is attached to a picture of Robin tied up.
Just then, a mysterious man and his servant enter the Batcave, revealing that they know who he is. The man introduces himself as Ra's al Ghul, and his servant as Ubu. He tells Batman that Robin and his daughter, Talia were abducted on the same night, and proposes an alliance. As they talk, Ra's begins coughing explosively, but waves off Batman's offer of help, saying he is simply very old.
Based on clues in the photograph, Batman deduces that they may be in Calcutta. As they start to exit the cave, Batman starts to walk past Ra's, but Ubu, overzealous, shoves him back, calling him "Infidel!". Batman angrily does nothing, calling Ubu's reaction "strike one".
On Ra's plane, he explains that he deduced Batman's secret identity based on a worldwide survey of goods bought that could be used as equipment. After Talia saw him without his mask, her description was all that was necessary to confirm his identity as Bruce Wayne. Ra's begins coughing again and Batman expresses concern. Ra's tells him that he's fine, as Napoleon himself once told him a strong will can aide a weak body. Batman gets the feeling Ra's isn't being completely honest with him.
They make it to India and search for the mercenary cult supposedly responsible for the kidnappings. Ubu once again pushes Batman back so that Ra's may go first, to which Batman considers "strike two". The mercenaries attack and Batman easily defeats them. He interrogates one of them and learns the children are now in Malaysia.
While driving through a rain forest in Malaysia, Ra's goes on at length and about humanity's destruction of the environment. Batman defends Wayne Enterprises' environmental activity, but Ra's says that force is required, not just money.
They make it to a temple and Batman goes inside only to find that it's a trap. The door is closed and a black panther is released into the room. Batman and the panther fight for a moment, but its abilities are no match for Batman's skills and ingenuity. He finally manages to defeat the panther by using a sleeping gas capsule on it. With the panther sedated, Ra's comes in and they find a map inside to a location in the Himalayas. Once again they head out, but this time Batman lets Ra's go first.
Over the Himalayas, Batman prepares to parachute down while Ra's and Ubu wait on the helicopter. Ra's starts coughing again and Ubu makes mention of how they must get him to one of the "pits". No sooner has Batman jumped than a missile is launched that zooms past him and destroys the helicopter. Batman lands and confronts a team of armed thugs, but defeats them with ease.
Batman finally finds Robin but is attacked by a group of thugs. They are no match for him, and Robin is freed. Just then, the torches light and the jackal-masked man comes in, applauding. Batman unmasks him, revealing... Ra's al Ghul.
Ra's asks how long Batman has been on to him. Batman replies, from the very beginning: the only way Ra's could have known Robin and Talia were kidnapped at the same night was if he himself had done it. The thugs who attacked them always knew exactly where they were and when they'd be there. Finally, the one time Ubu didn't care that Batman walked ahead of Ra's was when he entered the temple to confront the panther, something beyond Ra's control. Ra's is highly impressed as Talia appears beside him.
Declaring his interest at an end, Batman starts to leave with Robin. Ubu tries to force him to stay, but Batman overpowers him ("strike three"). Ra's applauds again, and explains that the whole ruse was a test: he needs a man to succeed him as ruler of his vast empire, and Batman has now proven his worthiness, and because Talia loves him.
Though temporarily surprised, Batman still refuses much to Talia's disappointment. Ra's declares them to be enemies, but is overcome by a coughing fit and collapses to the floor. Talia says that he must be taken to the Lazarus Pit—a source of mysterious chemicals that have kept alive for six hundred years.
At her urging, Batman helps lower Ra's into the Pit, and it succeeds—too well. Ra's jumps out of the pit, with the speed and strength of a young man, but laughing maniacally. Talia tries to calm him, but he lifts her into the air and prepares to throw her into the Pit...
Ra's prepares to throw Talia into the Lazarus Pit, but Ubu tells Batman that the chemicals will kill a healthy person. Batman uses a grapple to pull Ra's back and forces him to drop Talia. She then confronts her father and slaps him. He instantly regains his senses. Ra's thanks her for his sanity back and Batman for Talia's life. They explain that the pit will make someone momentarily insane and that it won't work forever. Ra's repeats his offer but Batman still refuses. Ra's decides that he'll have to kill Batman and activates a self-destruct sequence on the stronghold. Talia is upset but Ra's says they can just go to their desert stronghold. Batman and Robin are locked inside the room while it starts to crumble. Fortunately, they are able to grab onto the rope used to lower Ra's into the pit and climb it out to safety.
After a daring escape involving jumping down a cliff and avoiding an avalanche, the duo sees Ra's leave. Robin claims that he's heard the word "Orpheus" several times. Looking it up at Wayne Enterprises, Bruce and Dick discover that it refers to a satellite that orbits a desert.
Taking a plane to the desert, Batman infiltrates the stronghold by stealing the uniform of one of the thugs and joining a caravan. Once inside, he sneaks away but Ubu finds him and attacks. Batman is more than a match for his enemy but is soon attacked by a gang and captured. Ubu prepares to kill Batman, but Ra's shows up and orders Ubu to stop. They unmask him and Ra's is impressed and wants Batman alive to see what he's going to do. Ra's then orders them to take away his utility belt and to search him, which results in taking away his cape, gloves and shirt. Batman then tells Ra's that he has nothing to lose of telling him of his plans. Ra's seeing that he owes Batman that much, he explains that he intends to detonate bombs in Lazarus pits around the world. This will cause them to overflow covering the world in chemicals, which will kill approximately 2,056,986,000 and restore most of the world's ecosystems. Batman calls Ra's completely insane, which only makes him and Ubu angry.
Before Ubu can do any further harm to Batman, Ra's stops him and instead orders him to be locked up, however just before they do, Talia briefly stops them and much to Batman's surprise, she kisses him. Talia says it's his way of remembering her and they continue to take Batman to his cell. Batman is locked up and guarded, but he soon finds a lock pick in his mouth, revealing that Talia had planted it there when she gave him the kiss and Batman escapes.
Ra's activates the bomb countdown in spite of Talia's protests. Batman, however, has other plans and detonates a room full of armaments. The resulting explosions force Ra's people away while Batman attempts to shut off the countdown. Ubu attacks him but Batman easily defeats him. Ra's decides to take a personal stake in things and confronts Batman with a sword. Batman takes up a sword and the two duel.
The fight rages towards the top of the pit but Batman throws his sword at the signal device stopping the countdown. Ra's attacks in rage but loses his balance and falls towards the pit himself. Batman tries to save him but Ra's refuses and drops into the pit. Batman looks away while Talia shortly appears and begins to mourn the death of her father.
Later, Batman and Talia leave the stronghold, where Talia explains that while she shares her father's vision, she doesn't go the same lengths to achieve them, but Batman assures her. Soon, Robin prepares the plane, Talia asks if she is now his prisoner, but instead of answering her question, Batman and Talia share a passionate kiss before he boards the plane and they both go their separate ways. Robin asks if they have seen the last of Ra's Al Ghul, Batman believes that Ra's is gone. However, Ra's emerges from the pit laughing maniacally.
- When Ra's explains how he deduced Batman's secret identity, he references "Off Balance", where his daughter, Talia, saw Batman without his mask.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- The episode is based on the comics stories "Daughter of the Demon" (Batman #232, June 1971) and "The Demon Lives Again" (Batman #244, September 1972) by Dennis O'Neil.
- In Part II, Batman glares at Ra's before they duel, and his gray suit appears below his cowl, even though he isn't wearing it.
|Kevin Conroy||Batman/Bruce Wayne|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|David Warner||Ra's al Ghul|
Ra's al Ghul: You must forgive Ubu, detective. He is well trained. Allow me to introduce myself. I am he who is called Ra's Al Ghul.
Ra's al Ghul: As Napoleon told me, "A strong will can fuel a frail physique".
Batman: Next time, I'll have to glue my mask on.
Batman: Ready to go?
Ra's al Ghul: A most impressive plan, would you not agree?
Ra's al Ghul: Victory is yours, detective. Perhaps it is time I am finally one with the planet I so love.