"Nothing to Fear" is the third episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. Due to schedule changes it was the tenth episode to air. A criminal calling himself The Scarecrow starts wreaking havoc in revenge against Gotham University, stealing funds while intoxicating people with a gas that causes nightmarish hallucinations. When Batman first tries to stop him, he gets intoxicated, and begins to see his worst fear: his father considering him to be a failure.
The Gotham University Charity Book Signing is in progress, and the guests talk about the string of robberies and vandalism that has been plaguing the university. Summer Gleeson greets one of the university's professors, Dr. Long, and asks to interview him about the robberies as he makes his way out. The two enter the elevator and encounter Bruce Wayne. Long tells Bruce that he attended university with Thomas Wayne, who had big plans for his son. Bruce assures Long that his father would have been at least pleased that Wayne Enterprise has made great profits, but Dr. Long huffs in disagreement. He believes that Bruce has disgraced the Wayne family name by acting nothing more than a rich playboy, adding that it was fortunate that Thomas had not lived to see what had become of his son. Though Summer tries to assure Bruce that Dr. Long is only angry because of the troubles of the university, it's obvious that his words are troubling him. While looking out the elevator windows, Bruce notices a helicopter landing on the University Bank and heads out.
Meanwhile, two goons and a man dressed up as a scarecrow blast a hole in the ceiling and are confronted by the security guard. The Scarecrow sprays the guard with a gas, and he writhes in horror as he suddenly sees himself covered with spiders. The goons watch in confusion, as they see nothing. The Scarecrow explains that he caused the guard to see his worst fear: arachnophobia. They then head into the vault, where Scarecrow instructs his goon to take only what money he can carry, then to burn the rest of it as his primary goal is revenge, not theft.
As Scarecrow pours gasoline, Batman arrives and quickly subdues the thug, Nigel, outside the vault, throwing him at the Scarecrow's feet. After the other goon, Anthony, jumps Batman, Scarecrow shoots Batman with a drugged dart. Scarecrow then sets fire to the gasoline, and he and his men escape.
Batman has managed to grab a scrap of Scarecrow's mask, but is weakened and somewhat disoriented by the effects of the gas. While he tries to escape, he hears a voice and then sees a vision of his father in the flames telling him that he has disgraced the family name. The fire sprinklers come on and extinguish the fire, but Batman is still affected. The police arrive and question Batman about who attacked the bank. Harvey Bullock arrives and attempts to intimidate Batman for some answers. Commissioner Gordon arrives and demands to know what Bullock is doing. As Bullock tries to explain, Batman disappears.
Elsewhere, Scarecrow watches a newscast on Batman's thwarting of the fire. As he rants, his goons wonder what Scarecrow has against the university. He explains that he used to be a professor of psychology, specializing in fear at the university, where he developed the fear gas which was originally to help his test subjects conquer their worst fears, but was expelled by the board members, among them Dr. Long, after they believed he was taking his experiments too far, and branded a lunatic. Now maddened that his intentions backfired, Scarecrow has resolved to destroy the university entirely and show them the "true nature of horror".
Meanwhile, a still weakened Bruce does an analysis on Scarecrow's mask. As he waits for his computer's results, he struggles to fight the effects of the gas. He stares at a picture of his parents and trembles as he hears his father telling him that he failed him. A news report on another screen shows Summer reporting on the arson attempt and Batman's failure to catch the perpetrator. Bruce hallucinates Summer saying how he "failed" repeatedly. Alfred switches the TV off before the hallucination can get worse, and inquires as to whether Bruce is alright. When Alfred is told about the hallucinations, he firmly assures Bruce that Thomas would be proud of him.
Later, at a Gotham University Museum benefit, the room is suddenly flooded with gas and Scarecrow waltzes in. As the guests go into crazed hallucinations, Scarecrow takes the donation money and then sprays Dr. Long with his fear toxin, taking him prisoner.
When Batman arrives, the crowd now sees him as a giant bat and attack him en masse in a hysterical panic. Batman manages to escape the crowd, but Scarecrow has already escaped onto a dirigible and flees, trailing the gas hose that was pumping fear gas into the building's air conditioning ducts. As the hose pulls free, Batman manages to grab hold of it and climb up.
Scarecrow believes that Batman has been killed, but Anthony points at Batman holding onto the dirigible. Scarecrow sends him outside to get rid of Batman. In the ensuring fight, bullets are fired into the control cabin, staring a fire. Now out of control, the dirigible crashes into a building and Batman and Anthony tumble off together. Batman manages to keep hold on the dirigible with his grapple gun, but Anthony plummets several stories, fortunately landing on an awning.
As Batman tries to climb back onto the dirigible, his hallucination comes on again. However, Batman masters his fear and declares that he is not a disgrace: "I am vengeance... I am the night... I am BATMAN!" The vision disappears, and Batman swings around to crash into the dirigible's cabin.
Scarecrow tries to hit Batman with his drugged darts again but accidentally hits Nigel, who sees himself trapped by shrinking prison walls. Nigel panics and leaps out the broken window, landing safely in a convenient tree. Seeing that he's lost, Scarecrow escapes on a glider leaving Batman and the professor alone on the dirigible. Batman manages to save Dr. Long before the dirigible crashes.
With Dr. Long saved, Batman summons the Batmobile and checks to see the results of the mask's analysis. The computer reveals that only five places manufacture such chemicals and Batman cross-references them against former employees of Gotham University. Only one place fits the bill: Crane Chemicals, owned and founded by Jonathan Crane.
Scarecrow reaches his chemical plant and removes his mask. However, he discovers that his fear gas has been released into the room and he sees visions of a giant bat attacking him. He then smacks into Batman and cringes away, quaking in fear. As Batman reaches for him, Crane sees him as a giant bat-like demon.
Back at the Gotham Police Department, Bullock tries to convince Gordon that Batman and Scarecrow are working together. Gordon points up, revealing an apprehended Crane dangling unconscious from the ceiling fan.
Later, Bruce leaves roses at his parents' grave and silently walks away.
- Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne
- Robert Costanzo as Detective Harvey Bullock
- Bob Hastings as Commissioner James Gordon
- Clive Revill as Alfred Pennyworth
- Mari Devon as Summer Gleeson
- Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Long
- Richard Moll as Computer
- Henry Polic II as The Scarecrow / Jonathan Crane
- Written by Henry T. Gilroy & Sean Catherine Derek
- Directed by Boyd Kirkland
- Music by Shirley Walker
- The sixth level of The Adventures of Batman & Robin: The Video Game is based strongly on this episode. The differences are Scarecrow's look, which matches his second design from the series, and Scarecrow being defeated by Batman while on top of his plane. The music is the same, however.
- This episode introduced the popular catchphrase "I am vengeance. I am the night. I am Batman!"
- A Tiny Toon Adventures comic book can be seen being read by a security officer.
- When Batman orders the computer in the Batmobile to search for the origin of a piece of Scarecrow's costume, one of the listed entities is Metropolis' Star Labs, of Superman fame.
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