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A Death Worse Than Fate

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From the previous episode, Zelda has kidnapped Aunt Harriet from Wayne Manor and demanded $100,000 for hersafe return. Bruce Wayne must contact her within an hour, but the police cannot find the millionaire (because he is currently Batman) Batman tells Commissioner James Gordon that he'll track Wayne down, and with just over half the hour remaining, Wayne reaches police headquarters. There he learns that Zelda has demanded he contact her by television. He and the police race to a nearby studio, where their broadcast interrupts regular programming.

Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon, and Robin appear on the air, and offer a telephone number for the criminal to call, promising it will not be traced. Wayne reveals that the counterfeit story was a ruse and that the criminal has real money. Robin appeals to whatever decency she has left, imploring her to release Aunt Harriet from her being suspended over a tub of flaming oil. Zelda agrees to release her prisoner.

With police help, Aunt Harriet returns to Wayne Manor. Alfred Pennyworth feels guilty, since he was below dusting the Batcave when Harriet received the false telephone summons, but Wayne advises his loyal servant to rid himself of guilt, for the kidnapping has enabled him to deduce the criminal's identity. This declaration surprises Robin, who does not understand how Batman deduced this. Alfred also contributes a clue: a matchbook from the Gnome Bookstore that fell from Aunt Harriet's pocket. En route to the bookstore, Batman encourages Robin to recall Aunt Harriet's predicament, and after putting two and two together, Robin realizes who the criminal is: The suspended over flaming oil escape was Zelda's signature trick when Bruce Wayne took Dick Grayson to see Zelda on Dick's last birthday.

At the Gnome Bookstore, Eivol Ekdol reveals to Zelda that there is no escape from his trick. He plans to lure Batman into the trick so he will show him how to escape it. When Zelda questions how she can use the trick if Batman understands it, Ekdol tells her: "Dead men tell no tales!" He has hired two syndicate contract killers to assassinate Batman after he escapes the trick. Although highly reticent to commit murder, Zelda has anticipated Ekdol's strategy: she planted the book of matches Alfred found to lure the Dynamic Duo to the bookshop, the trick, and their deaths. He hides the killers and the villains wait.

The bookstore is closed, but the door is unlocked. Batman and Robin enter, and quickly discover a note that leads them to a slim volume titled, "The Truth About Bats." Removing it from the shelf opens a concealed door into Eivol Ekdol's workshop and his "Inescapable Doom Trap". A fake bat inside leads the duo into the trap. Its space age plastic resists the tools from their utility belts, deadly gas begins to pour in, and the floor vent is electrified. But the gas rises; Robin realizes it must contain hydrogen. Using their metal belt buckles, the Duo creates a spark and the exploding gas bursts apart the trap. As they're about to pass between the mummies, inside where the machine gun equipped gangsters lurk, Zelda warns them. They duck and the gangsters kill each other with crossfire. Ekdol tries to escape, but Batman knocks him out with a Batarang. A tearful Zelda surrenders, truly remorseful. While Ekdol is taken into custody, Zelda is granted her reprieve.




See AlsoEdit

List of Batman (1960s series) Episodes

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