"The Forgotten" is the twenty-third episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It depicts Bruce Wayne losing his memory and being turned into a slave. When indigent men start disappearing from the Bowery, Bruce goes undercover as lowlife Gaff Morgan to investigate. He soon ends up as an amnesia victim forced to work with other kidnapped men in a treacherous and remote mining camp.
It's another peaceful day in Gotham City and Bruce Wayne volunteers at the Dock Street Rescue Mission, which he is also a major benefactor. The priest thanks Bruce for his help and mentions that people are disappearing, mainly homeless people who frequent the soup kitchen, but one of his volunteers has disappeared as well. Although the priest has reported this to the police, they haven't bothered to look into the situation as the disappearance of homeless people has not ranked high on their investigative list.
That night, Bruce dresses up in a shabby outfit (labeled "Gaff Morgan"), fixing himself to look like an old vagrant. He also takes a lower-end car and drives it to the Old Bowery Wharf in an attempt to look inconspicuous. Gaff Morgan searches the city's slums and eventually a couple thugs that "offer" him a job. After a brief fight, Gaff manages to disable both thugs and watches a stray cat on the fence. However, this distraction is all that a third thug needs to strike him over the head with a blackjack and knock him out.
Later, Gaff wakes up chained to a cot in a remote shack out in the middle of the desert. Two men, Dan Riley and Salvo Smith greet him and ask his name. Gaff, however claims not to know. The group goes to have their breakfast but the boss of the camp, Biggis, demands that they get to work or they'll "all end up like... him". An unfortunate man is pointed out at random and shoved into a small metal box, that magnifies the heat of the desert sun. Gaff tries to save the man but Riley stops him.
Meanwhile, Gaff works away at a mine while he talks to his newfound friends. Unfortunately, he still can't remember anything but Riley tells him to hang onto his hope. Riley and Smith explain that they were both in the docks area and were kidnapped. Smith claims that he was unemployed while Riley was a steam fitter at the Gotham Navy Yard and a volunteer at the soup kitchen, the Dock Street Rescue mission, and was kidnapped. Gaff suddenly starts to remember something. Riley continues and mentions that he has a family. Just as the conversation finishes, there's a cave-in, a disaster that happens all too often due to the poor integrity of the mine.
Alfred continues to have problems as there are people who are asking for Bruce but he only tells them to call back another day. Looking to save his friend, Alfred checks the cars and sees that the Studebaker is gone. Using the tracking device, Alfred finds that it's in the Bowery, a low-income section of Gotham.
Elsewhere, Gaff wanders a hall filed with funhouse mirrors. As he looks at one of his reflections he hears laughing. One of the mirrors has the image of Bruce Wayne who is laughing hysterically. Confused, Gaff looks at the image which turns into the Joker and pulls him from the building. Suddenly, Bruce is wandering through the slums and generously gives cash to homeless people, but is soon overwhelmed by a mob of homeless people begging for handouts. Just then, Gaff awakens in a cold sweat and recalls the Dock Street Rescue Mission.
Work continues in the mine and Smith makes the mistake of blowing a raspberry at Biggis after Biggis hypocritically refers to them as "lazy scum". As punishment he is sentenced to be thrown into the box but Gaff and Riley intervene. Though they fight well, they are soon overwhelmed and thrown into the ovens themselves.
Back in Gotham, Alfred finds Bruce's car in a junkyard and takes the tracking device. There he sees two thugs get into a truck. Thinking that they might lead him to Bruce, Alfred plants the device on their truck and waits to see where it ends up.
Out in the desert, Gaff and Riley sweat it out in the metal boxes. Time passes and Riley begins to lose his mind. Finally, he cries that he has lost his family. This sparks Gaff's memory to his earlier years of being with Martha and Thomas Wayne and he remembers who he really is. He shouts to Riley that they'll escape and breaks his way out of the box. Bruce runs from the mine and is quickly pursued by the mine's guards. He makes his way into Box Canyon, which is believed to be a dead-end, but Bruce begins to climb his way out.
Over the canyon, the Batwing flies, piloted by Alfred, but moreso the onboard computer acting as autopilot. Finding the tracking device, Alfred orders the Batwing to land, despite the computer's warning of the danger of Box Canyon. Fortunately, Bruce is nearby and meets up with his friend.
Shortly thereafter, the mine guards run to Biggis fearful of a giant bat. Batman makes his presence known and is attacked. Biggis joins in on the chase, offering a thousand dollars to the man who kills Batman. In the darkness of the mine Batman easily manages to evade notice and disable the guards. Biggis tries to escape but Batman is right after him. During the chase, Biggis trips and drops his oil lamp onto crates filled with explosives. Batman shoves him onto a water flute and dives into the river after him. The mine is destroyed in the ensuing explosion while Batman and Biggis fall into a lake. Batman apprehends Biggis.
Back at home, Riley is reunited with his family and offers his home to Smith and Bruce. However, Bruce declines the offer and reveals his true identity, telling his friends that if they're looking for work, he can help. Bruce then heads for home, leaving Smith half-joking that maybe he can get amnesia and wake up a millionaire too.
Home video releases
- Batman: Tales of the Dark Knight (VHS)
- Batman: Tales of the Dark Knight (DVD)
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman and Friends (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- The Batwing's hazardous landing in the canyon is inconsistent with other episodes showing it to be capable of hovering and descending in a straight vertical line. However, this may be due to Alfred's lack of proficiency in piloting/commanding the vehicle, as well as his demanding the Batwing land now so as not to stray from Bruce.
- When Bruce escapes from the labor camp and is being chased by the men with dogs, the perspective of his pursuers is poorly drawn, and at one point it looks like the men and dogs are all different sizes (two smaller men and one giant man).
- This is the first episode where Batman is shown to be captured on screen, albeit out of costume. The previous episode, "P.O.V.", shows him captured, but it is strongly implied that it was part of his plan.
- The idea for this episode was conceived when Bruce Timm and the writers wondered what Bruce would do if he lost his memory and was forced to find a solution without gadgets or his costume.
- Alfred makes a brief reference to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who claimed what is now San Diego for Spain.
- Bruce Timm revealed in the DVD introduction for this episode that one of the main difficulties in using one-time villains is making them memorable. Thus, Biggis' trademark was to be fat and revolting. In fact, according to Timm, voice actor George Murdock ate food as he read his lines. It worked so well that the slurping and gulping sounds he made were kept for the character as part of the soundtrack.
- This is the first episode to feature Alfred away from Wayne Manor.
- Biggis' huge appetite, physique, and slobbering voice are very reminiscent of Mr.Creosote from Monty Python and the Meaning of Life.
- One of Biggis' men is named Paur, a reference to series writer/director Frank Paur.
Joker (Hallucination) (uncredited)
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Lorin Dreyfuss||Salvo Smith|
|Dorian Harewood||Dan Riley|
|George Murdock||Boss Biggis|
|Ian Patrick Williams||Ivan|
|Jay Thomas||Guard 1|
Alfred: That's odd. Only vampires loath daylight more than Batman.
Riley: Hey, you can't give up hope. Down here it's all we've got to hang on to.
Biggis: (chewing noisily while watching his men working hard in the scorching sun) I've never seen such lazy scum.
Alfred: This must be the place. Bring us down.
Batwing: Watch your step.
Alfred: I... I... I claim this land for Spain.
Biggis: Stop! We'll be killed!
Smith: Hit me, Riley.