"The Lion and the Unicorn" is the last aired episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 15, 1995.
The next morning, Dick wakes and is surprised to see Alfred gone, having left a quick note of apology. He explains this to Bruce, saying this is unlike Alfred, as his normal behavior is not to leave dirty dishes lying about "not even if England was sinking into the sea". Bruce sees Dick's point, but believes something important happened as Alfred is clearly loyal to his native country.
In London, Alfred is met on the street by a pair of thugs. They claim that Frederick has sent them, but Alfred sees through them and fights them off. He manages to outrun them. As he makes a call to Gotham City to tell Bruce that he's in trouble, the thugs break in and capture him.
Frederick has also been taken, and they are both introduced to their captor: Red Claw.
Bruce fills his astonished partner in on Alfred's background: before entering service with the Waynes, Alfred was a highly trained agent of the British government, expert at resolving diplomatic and military crises. Bruce also realizes that "cousin", is also espionage parlance for a fellow agent, and reasons that, whatever trouble Alfred is in, it is a cause for concern.
Batman and Robin fly to London, where, in their civilian guises, they search Alfred's hotel room. As they leave, two men watching the hotel begin to tail them. They get the drop on their pursuers as Batman and Robin and identify them as Red Claw's men. They soon drop in on a conference with three shadowy government ministers. Having learned of Frederick and Alfred's disappearance, the ministers know that the common point of their careers is a castle located on a remote Scottish island, with a concealed nuclear ballistic missile. It was intended as a weapon of last resort, and Alfred and Frederick are the only men alive who know the two-part launch code.
Red Claw has already taken the two men to the castle, and injected them with a truth serum. After some resistance, Frederick breaks down and gives his part of the code. Alfred resists longer, mumbling quotations from British poetry.
Nevertheless, Red Claw sends a message to London, threatening to plant the missile in the middle of London unless she is paid an enormous ransom.
Batman and Robin infiltrate the castle and fight their way through Red Claw's thugs to the upper levels. Just before they reach the control room, Red Claw realizes that Alfred's apparent ramblings were a clever cover for the fact that one of the phrases is the code, and initiates the launch. Robin frees Alfred and Frederick and deals with the remaining thugs, while Batman jumps into the Batwing and flies after the missile. Red Claw, however, knocks Robin out from behind and discreetly follows Batman onto the Batwing.
Aboard the Batwing, Batman is about to fire a pair of missiles, but Red Claw grabs him from the rear seat and they fight, Red Claw removing his cowl and unmasking him in the process. Before she can see his face, in desperation, Batman ejects the passenger seat, sending Red Claw shooting out of the cockpit to plunge into the ocean. With seconds to spare, Batman locks on to the missile and fires, destroying it before impact.
A crisis averted, everyone prepares to go home. Frederick tells Alfred that London would be thrilled to have him back, but Alfred says he's most needed at Wayne Manor.
- Red Claw previously appeared in "The Cat and the Claw".
- Alfred's resistance to truth serum had earlier been alluded to in "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne".
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- Peter Morwood is credited as "Philip Morwood".
- In the credits, Roy Dotrice's name is misspelled "Doctrice".
- When Alfred tells Bruce he is in London, Bruce asks "London, England?", to which Alfred replies "There is only one". This may be a mistake on Alfred's part, or simple British pride, as there are actually several cities named London throughout the United States, one in Ontario, Canada, another in Burgundy, France, and the capital city of the Kiribati atoll in the Pacific Ocean. None of those, however, is as big or prominent as the capital of the UK.
- Blairquhan Castle is an actual castle in Scotland. However, contrary to its portrayal in this episode, it's not on Scotland's west coast nor on an outlying rock, but further inland.
- While it's possible Red Claw may have smuggled weapons into the country for her crew to use, the incidences of gun-related crimes are much lower in the UK than in the US, and one of the lowest in the world. It would ordinarily be unlikely to see the criminals all armed with a variety of handguns, shotguns, and machine guns. The former idea of smuggling weapons is the most probable, as criminals do not obey the law, ergo they are not going to pay attention to any law that prohibits ownership of firearms.
- The Lion and the Unicorn are the supporters of the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. It is an analogue for Great Britain that has been used in a nursery rhyme; Alfred's part of the code is the first two lines of the song.
- The short and tall thugs who initially greet Alfred in London are named "Bert" and "Ernie," after the Sesame Street characters.
- Struggling against the truth serum, Alfred quotes the opening lines of The Brook and later on The Charge of the Light Brigade, both by his namesake, Alfred Tennyson.
- While struggling with Batman from the seat behind his, Red Claw tears off his cowl. However, it's never made clear whether or not she got a good look at his face, which would make her realize that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
- Final appearance of Red Claw in the DCAU. It is not made clear if she drowned in the River Thames or was captured and imprisoned, though the former appears more likely as she is not seen or heard from again.
- This is the second time Alfred has been menaced by one of Batman's rogues for reasons having nothing to do with him being Batman; the first was in "Eternal Youth", when Poison Ivy sought revenge on Bruce Wayne for an environmental crime almost committed by a greedy Wayne Enterprises director (without Bruce's approval). Mr. Freeze would later attack Alfred in The New Batman Adventures, "Cold Comfort", because of his emotional importance to Bruce.
- Alfred refers to the smashed piece of furniture as a "Louis Quinze" (quinze being French for the number fifteen), indicating it was made in the period of design associated with King Louis XV of France.
- Batman repeated the attempt to shoot down a nuclear missile in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Doomsday Sanction".
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne / Batman|
|Loren Lester||Dick Grayson / Robin|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Kate Mulgrew||Red Claw|
Alfred: (After being drugged with a truth serum) You'll get nothing but gibberish out of me, madam. I come from haunts of cootenfern and knicker sudden Sally. Uh...dee-dum dee-dum dee-dum dee-dum, and bicker down the valley.
(Alfred knocks out a thug with an antique chair, breaking it)