Remember how I said Dreams In Darkness was the opposite to this episode in which Batman, in Dreams, faces his greatest nightmares while in this one, Batman faces his greatest dreams…but that may not be a good thing.
Perchance To Dream was first broadcasted on October 19, 1992 with its’ primetime premiere on March 14, 1993 with a script by Joe Lansdale from a story by Laren Bright & Michael Reaves and directed by Boyd Kirkland.
Bruce Wayne wakes up one morning to find that his life is completely upside-down: his parents are alive, the Batcave does not exist, Alfred does not remember Robin, and he is engaged to Selina Kyle. However, it doesn’t mean that Batman isn’t still around, and Bruce starts to wonder what has happened, especially after seeing the characteristics of a dream (such as book and newspaper prints not making sense) inside this new life.
Like I said, this is very much the opposite of Dreams In Darkness in which Batman is faced in a situation where he should be ecstatic knowing that not only is his parents still alive, he’s engaged to the woman he loves, and somebody else is fighting crime as Batman. I mean, Bruce has got it good….but then again, it’s all like a dream come true.
This is the series at its’ absolute best, from an animation perspective, it’s amazing, the animation in some of these sequences presented are spectacular, especially towards the end. Kudos to Dong Yang Animation, they did a great job on this one and they also did another Batman: TAS episode we’ll get to that’s not only my favorite episode of this show but my favorite episode of television period.
The script is tightly written by Lansdale and he does such a good job of making the situations of Bruce in this scenario feel normalized and restricted and not going too overboard to break the illusion but to establish a purpose to the story, such as the concept of having books and newspaper prints written in gibberish like in a dream, it’s little moments like that where the episode’s attention to detail comes into play big time.
There’s also a lot of really good character development with Bruce actually getting a little used to the idea that his parents are still alive and the scenes with him interacting with the older versions of his parents are genuine and effective but they know how to have Bruce’s limits be tested as even though he becomes close with his parents again, he even realizes that it’s not really happening right down to him literally saying right in front of his father “no, you lie, it’s all a lie” and then running out of the manor.
Which leads to the best aspect about this episode, the conclusion, once again, the animation in the final climax is not only epic and intense but also iconic, that scene where Bruce Wayne is at the top of the belltower and he just raises his arms out as the lightning strikes is such an iconic piece of animation that could easily sum up the entire episode, maybe possibly having a little influence on the famed scene from The Shawshank Redemption with Tim Robbins, maybe?
This also of course leads to Bruce Wayne literally fighting his alter ego, not only is it a great piece of action, the music is great, the atmosphere is dark and intense, and Kevin Conroy working off himself in that scene is nicely handled to a tee.
Of course, I would show you this epic awesomeness in its’ entirety, however, that does lead to the twist in this episode of who’s behind of all this and that I will not reveal. The way this episode handles said twist is great, not only does the episode start off with two random thugs so you don’t know right away who is responsible for this but if you listen closely to the music in the final action scene, you can hear little indications of who it might be. And when they do finally reveal it and the reasons why he did it, it makes perfect sense.
Perchance To Dream is such a great, great episode, it’s a perfect what if storyline done with spectacular and iconic animation, a well written and well put together story, great voice work, and a great usage of a twist ending. This is Batman: The Animated Series when it’s all coming together so well and creates one of the most memorable episodes in the run, this is an episode that is, much like the last line of the episode, the stuff that dreams are made of.