The Underdwellers (Batman: The Animated Series)

The Underdwellers
AirdateOctober 21, 1992
Production Number6
Airdate Number27
Running Time22 minutes
Directed byFrank Paur
Story byTom Ruegger
Teleplay byJules Dennis
Richard Mueller
Previous EpisodePretty Poison
Next EpisodeP.O.V.

The Underdwellers is the sixth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It first aired on Ocober 21st, 1992.

[edit] Plot

Two boys are standing on top of a speeding train playing a game of chicken. One of the boys jumps off, and while the other is celebrating his "victory", his foot gets caught in a rope as they near a tunnel. Batman sees him and jumps onto the train, pulling him to safety. Meanwhile, a woman gets her purse stolen by a boy wearing a green hooded outfit. She tells police that a leprechaun robbed her. Batman attempts to chase after the child, but he loses him in the alleyways.

Back at the batcave, Alfred laughs at Bruce for believing he saw a leprechaun. He decides to head back out to the theater district to investigate the matter more thorougly. Underneath the city in the sewers, young children are shown sewing together clothes and gathering money collecting above ground. During the work, one of the boys screams after accidently hitting himself with a hammer. Suddenly a bell rings and all of the children gather around their leader, the Sewer King. One of his rules is that the children are not allowed to speak, so he decides to punish the boy that screamed. He sends him into a room lit by very bright lights. Since the children are so accustomed to darkness, it is very traumatizing. Then the Sewer King sends the rest of the children out to commit more crimes and robberies.

Sewer King preaching to his children.

Using an alternate vision mode, Batman is able to find a hidden entrance in a nearby building. He enters it and finds himself going deeper into the city, eventually reaching the sewers. In them, he trips over a line of cans that are used as an alarm system. A boy tries to run away but he is stopped by Batman. Frightened, the boy falls on the train tracks as a train speeds towards him. Batman jumps down and pulls the boy to safety. He then takes him back above ground and puts him in the Batmobile, heading back towards Wayne Manor.

Back in the underground, Sewer King is sitting down to a turkey dinner prepared to him by the children when he notices that Frog is gone (the boy whom Batman took). He immediately sends out the children to find Frog. Bruce asks Alfred to take care of the boy. After letting him sleep in a guestroom, Alfred fights with Frog to give him a shower. Then, asking for his help with the dishes, Frog ends up stashing the silverware away in his clothes and then uses a dinner plate as a sled that he uses down the stairs of the house. Frog eventually makes his way to a room of the manor that stores old guns and weapons. He picks up one of the muskets, but Batman takes it away, telling Frog that guns are not meant for children. He then asks the boy for his help.

Batman confronting Sewer King in his hideout.

Frog leads Batman into the sewers where they soon meet up with the rest of the children. Batman takes their picture so he has evidence of what has been going on down there. The children then point Batman towards the bell, letting him know that is how they call for the Sewer King. After ringing it, the Sewer King shows up in front of Batman with two pet crocodiles. He tells Batman that he has cared for these children when nobody else wanted them, but Batman knows this is a lie. Then Sewer King sets his crocodiles loose on Batman, but he is able to tie up one of the creatures while knocking the other out cold.

The Sewer King escapes through a passageway in the distance. Batman chases after him but ends up falling through a trap door, grabbing onto a pipe as he dangles above a pool of crocodiles. Sewer King taunts him from above, but Batman is able to swing up and knock him into the pool. The crocodiles dive in afterwards and Batman believes that he is dead. Suddenly, the Sewer King appears on a platform below, telling him that his pets would never harm him. Using his batarang to swing down and give chase, Batman eventually tackles the Sewer King, knocking him into the train tracks. As a train approaches, Batman jumps down and drags him out of the way, capturing him.

Police are shown pulling children out of the sewer system. As Frog is brought above ground, he says "The Light! The Light" as he shields his eyes from the sun. In the distance high above the city, Batman looks down, smiling.

[edit] Cast/Characters

Character Voice Actor
Bruce Wayne / Batman Kevin Conroy
Alfred Pennyworth Efrem Zimbalist Jr
Matron Victoria Carroll
Sewer King Michael Pataki

[edit] Background Information and Notes

  • At one point, while dealing with the sewer alligators, Batman makes the comment "I thought you were endangered." American alligators were removed from the endangered species list in 1987, prior to the creation of this episode.
  • According to Bruce Timm, BS&P took a lot out of this show. "Originally, the kids were to be victimized by the Sewer-King, but he was not allowed to be mean or tortorous to any of them. The impact is watered down. If we were doing it today, we probably would have decided not to do the show."
  • Though the Toon Disney airing has the scene with the kid pulling out the gun, the scene with it being pointed at Alfred is removed.
  • This is the only appearance of the Sewer King, the first original villain not adapted from the comics in the animated series.

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