The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne
The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne

"The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne" is the twenty-ninth episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on October 29, 1992.


Out on a closed bridge, a solitary woman, Judge Maria Vargas, is proceeding with a purse full of cash, unaware that Batman has been shadowing her as he is wondering why she is going to a dangerous area. She is met by two thuggish looking men, a short man and a tall man. The men show her a videotape and she hands over the money. The short thug orders the tall thug to count the money, who declares a deficit of $20,000, causing the short thug to tell Judge Vargas that she now owes $100,000. Vargas insists she can't afford that much but the thugs refuse to listen. Batman decides it's time to reveal himself and attacks the thugs. During the fight, the tape falls onto an I-beam hanging from the bridge and Vargas desperately goes after it. Unfortunately, she loses her balance and is knocked out on the girder. Batman, shocked that Judge Vargas would attempt such a foolhardy stunt, turns his attention to her, which gives the thugs an opportunity to escape. Batman manages to save Judge Vargas, but he loses the VHS tape, causing him to wonder what was so important on that tape that she would act so irrationally.

The police later arrive and take Vargas to the hospital. Although she's not hurt badly, she'll be out for a while and cannot provide any information leaving Commissioner Gordon to wonder what she was so afraid of. He insists that Vargas was an honest woman and had nothing to hide so he's sure that blackmail was out of the question. Batman, however, isn't too sure about it. Continuing with his wonderings, Gordon mentions that Vargas had just gone on vacation at a relaxation resort the Yucca Springs Health Resort that happens to belong to Daggett Industries. Batman figures that there's a connection and decides to pay the place a visit.

Wayne heads out with Alfred and schedules an appointment with Dr. Hugo Strange, the same doctor that treated Vargas. Wayne is placed upon a machine that Dr. Strange explains will lower his defenses. Wayne isn't too sure he wants to be subjected to the treatment but Dr. Strange encourages Bruce not to keep things bottled up. Bruce Wayne then recalls his childhood and the murder of his parents, and how he wanted vengeance on the murderers and all wrongdoers. During this recollection, Strange is surprised to see the Batman symbol appear, then says that the therapy is over. Bruce Wayne says he feels even more stressed than before, but Dr. Strange tries to be reassuring, saying the first session is always the toughest. As Bruce departs the room, Strange says "Good day...{quietly to himself}...Batman".

Later, Dr. Strange calls up the Joker and tells him that he has something that would be interesting. Meanwhile, Wayne decides to take advantage of Dr. Strange's absence and examines his machine. Discovering a batch of tapes he finds Vargas' and watches it. The tape reveals that as a child she accidentally started the "Great Gotham Dock Fire" when she was playing with matches. Realizing the purpose of the machine, Wayne checks to see his tape but discovers that it's missing.

Elsewhere, the Joker, Two-Face, and the Penguin arrive with some rather heavy bags. Alfred witnesses the three crime bosses entering the resort and discovers that the bags contain money. He calls Wayne who is erasing the tapes, and warns him to escape. However, Dr. Strange and his thugs discover and kidnap him. Unaware of this, Wayne realizes that Dr. Strange is going to auction off his secret and decides to make a new tape just before he destroys the machine. Dr. Strange and his thugs arrive, but they are too late to save the machine. Dr. Strange says the machine represented a lifetime of work, but then is surprisingly calm, remarking "But no matter" (as he stands to become a likely multimillionaire from exposing Batman). Strange's goons abduct Bruce Wayne and lock him up.

With his enemy locked away, Dr. Strange starts his auction, which quickly reaches the millions, but the Joker decides that they should "pool their assets", causing all three villains to combine their money for a general show, causing Dr. Strange to collect over 50 million dollars. However, unbeknownst to Strange, Wayne has escaped. Batman connects a new link to the screen and the video shows Dr. Strange claiming that his plan was to imagine Batman to be anyone he wanted and Batman's enemies would believe it and pay a fortune. Enraged at this, the three villains attack Strange who tries to escape with as much cash as he can carry. However, the villains catch up with him at the airport and take him for an unfriendly ride. Desperate to save himself, Strange tells the villains that Bruce Wayne is Batman which falls on deaf ears. (Ironically, Two-Face says he knows Bruce Wayne and if he is Batman, then Two-Face is the King of England). The trio prepares to throw Strange out of the plane but Batman, who had climbed onto the bottom of the plane, cuts the fuel tubes forcing them to land. The villains threaten Batman, but he manages to disarm them and the police arrive taking the three into custody.

Gordon reveals that Judge Vargas has confessed to her guilt but Batman points out that she had nothing to fear since it was an accident. Strange, however, is not convinced that he has lost. He has already figured out that Batman imagined the fake tape and he knows Batman's true identity. However, much to Dr. Strange's surprise and dismay, Bruce Wayne walks up next to Batman. Batman then explains that he knew of Dr. Strange's scheme and had Bruce Wayne pretend to be Batman. Now confused over the accuracy of his original theory, Strange is taken away.

When everyone is gone, Bruce Wayne removes his mask revealing himself to be Dick Grayson wearing Wayne's clothes and leg extension braces to look taller. Batman then decides to go home, believing he's had enough vacation.


  • Harvey Dent/Two-Face makes reference to his past friendship with Bruce Wayne, as shown in episodes like "Pretty Poison."



  • Story by David Wise
  • Teleplay by Judith and Garfield Reaves-Stevens
  • Directed by Frank Paur
  • Music Composed by Lolita Ritmanis
  • Animation Services by Akom Production Co.

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