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Robin's Reckoning is a two part episode of Batman: The Animated Series. The episode originally aired on February 7 1993. It earned the series an Emmy award for Most Outstanding Half Hour or Less Program and is considered to be one of the best episodes of the series.
The story is based on the origin of Robin from Detective Comics Issue 38 (April 1940), which it shows through flashbacks, intercutting an unfolding mystery in the present with the more significant moments of Robin's life. It touches on Robin uncovering who killed his family and how he first met and joined forces with Batman. Meanwhile, it also shows how Batman and Robin are slowly growing apart.
During a stake-out at a construction site, Batman and Robin catch a gang of mobsters trying to extort money from a wealthy architect. While all but one of the mobsters escapes, Batman catches the straggler and demands the name of his boss. The criminal refuses to speak to him or the police, but when Batman shows he's not joking, the criminal blurts out the name "Billy Marrin", a name that seems to disturb the Caped Crusader. When they return home, Robin is left wondering who Marrin really is, but Batman insists that Robin stay out of this one: he works alone for the time being. Following Batman's departure, Robin and Alfred Pennyworth use the Batcave's criminal database to determine the real identity of the crime boss. Robin discovers that Marrin is really an alias for Tony Zucco, someone he crossed paths with nine years ago in an event which changed his life.
As a young child, Dick Grayson was in a popular circus acrobat trio with his parents, "The Flying Graysons". While performing at a Wayne Charity convention in Gotham City, Dick overhears Zucco threaten the ringmaster, Mr. Haley, telling him that if he doesn't pay money for "protection", people will die. Haley refuses, and in response, Zucco partially saws through a trapeze rope to be used in the Graysons' act. During a portion of the trapeze act involving Dick's parents on the same trapeze, the rope snaps and his parents plummet to their deaths in front of his eyes. Bruce Wayne, who is in the audience, takes pity on the boy, as they are both the orphaned sons of parents murdered in their presence. Upon hearing of Dick's telling of what he saw, Commissioner Gordon fears that he will have no place to go, as he is a material witness, but Bruce steps in and adopts Dick. As Batman, he becomes obsessed with finding Zucco, to the point that he is rarely home, leaving Dick mostly alone.
Batman tracks down Zucco at his uncle Arnold Stromwell's mansion, where he overhears Stromwell disowning Zucco for bringing Batman down on their heads. Suddenly, Stromwell's guards are alerted to Batman on the property. After fleeing from Batman, Zucco slips out of Gotham, leaving Batman haunted for not catching the Graysons' killer. As he returns to the Batcave, Alfred reminds him that Dick is feeling unloved and scared, which prompts Bruce to realize he must spend more time with him. He tries to comfort the boy, but Dick breaks down in tears and says that he feels responsible for his parents' death. Bruce says that he felt the same way when his own parents were murdered, but assures Dick that the pain will ease in time.
After discovering the crook's identity and reliving the tragedy, Robin realizes that Batman left him out of this to keep him out of the way. Vowing revenge, Robin deliberately disobeys Batman's orders, saying "Not this time, Alfred. Maybe not ever again," and sets out on his motorbike to find Zucco.
- Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne
- Bob Hastings as Commissioner James Gordon
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Alfred Pennyworth
- Paul Eiding as Dolan
- Loren Lester as Robin / Dick Grayson
- Eugene Roche as Stromwell
- Joey Simmrin as Robin - Age 10
- Thomas Wilson as Zucco
- Ed Gilbert as Diane Pershing
- Brion James as Roger Rose
- Written by Randy Rogel
- Directed by Dick Sebast
- Music by Shirley Walker
- Animation Services by Tokyo Movie Shinsha Co., LTD.
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