Batman: TAS – S1 – The Underdwellers Review

Batman has many enemies such as The Joker, Penguin and Poison Ivy and they have all done very bad things but the villain in this episode could arguably be the worst of the lot. He is basically a scumbag.

Playing chicken is a very dangerous game but playing it on top of a train that’s about to enter a tunnel is as good as writing your own death certificate. Thankfully for the two youths playing this game they have a guardian angel or should I say bat. After they are saved Batman warns them if they keep playing chicken their luck will run out. If I were them I’d listen to the bat.

A few blocks away a lady has her purse stolen by a small boy. Batman pursues the boy through some alleyways but he is distracted by the police and loses sight of him. Down in the sewers of Gotham’s theatre district we see a large group of children working away. Some are farming; some are sewing clothes while others putting whatever money they have stolen on a table. One of the children hurts himself while farming and he screams out in pain. Another child shushes him and tends to his wound. A bell rings and all the children go into a large room with a throne. Unfortunately on that throne sits the aforementioned scumbag The Sewer King. He has grabbed these children off the streets and turned them into slaves. He treats them badly, barely feeds them and has an army of alligators keeping the children in check. He screams at a boy for talking and locks him in a room with a bright light which hurts the boy’s eyes. The children have not seen sunlight for a very long time so they are all very sensitive to the light. They stay down in the sewer during the day and only go out to rob people at night.

Batman is searching the theatre district as that was the last place he saw the boy and he finds a hidden door which eventually leads to the boy who had been punished for talking. The boy startled by Batman runs off but Batman manages to catch the boy and reassures him that he means him no harm. The boy is nervous until he sees the Batmobile and actually smiles at the prospect of riding in it.

Batman takes the boy to the Batcave and asks Alfred to look after him. Alfred claims he does not know how to look after a child which is odd as he brought up Bruce. The boy proves to be a handful for Alfred as he keeps trying to steal cutlery from the kitchen. He also slides down the stairs on a tray. Batman wonders if he was that much trouble when he was a boy.

We see the Sewer King enjoying a big meal. He calls for the boy (who he named frog) to bring him some rolls but when he sees another child bring them to him he goes berserk. The Sewer King is livid that Frog has disappeared and he tells the other children that he will not feed them till Frog is found.

Batman asks Frog to lead him to the other children which he does. Batman is disgusted with the conditions the children live in. Batman finds the bell and breaks it. The Sewer King flanked by a few alligators confronts Batman. The alligators attack Batman but he manages to incapacitate them. The Sewer King grabs a child and threatens to feed him to his alligators but Frog swings down from a rope and saves the child. Batman even gives him a thumbs up. Batman chases The Sewer King but when he catches him they both fall onto a train line. Batman gets up and pulls The Sewer King off the track and away from an oncoming train. The Sewer King asks why Batman saved him. Batman explains that he doesn’t pass sentence as that’s for the courts to decide but he was tempted to do the job for them for once.

Some social workers and police welcome the children from the sewers. Frog sees the sun for the first time in years. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a bright future for him and all of the other children who suffered at the hands of The Sewer King. Batman watches from a nearby rooftop. If I were him I’d be proud of what he had just achieved but we all know Batman doesn’t think that way.

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