The premise of “Perchance to Dream,” is that Batman wakes up in a world in which his parents are alive, he’s marrying Selina Kyle and someone else is Batman. It is all his best dreams made real so of course he suspects something is up and investigates to find the truth.
Here is the assessment of the episode:
The Pros: The Premise – Being trapped in a dream that is everything you want…this has been used before by Bruce Timm and DC Animated Universe, but it is especially powerful this time. It allows us to explore Batman’s psyche and to see that even the best dream is still only a dream and therefore a prison from the real.
Batman/Bruce Wayne – Are fantastic in this episode. We see that he is unable to accept good happening because of both his commitment to true truth and the reality of his trauma as a child. Batman has become so much a part of his identity that being forced to be Bruce Wayne is too much and allows him to see that it is an illusion.
The Mad Hatter – Hat’s off the Mad Hatter. This is one of the best schemes of any villain and his worlds at the end are awesome, “You, of all people, have the gall to ask me that? You ruined my life! I was willing to give you whatever life you wanted, just to keep you out of mine!” It is twisted that he was going to force Batman live a lie…and he is not a good guy, but for a villain that is the nicest punishment ever. I got to respect him as rogue after this episode.
The Dream World – Is very well done, it really didn’t need books to be empty or jumbled…in the end Batman was willing to die to come back to reality and that should have been enough. It is still well done. Selina Kyle not being Catwoman, Bruce’s parents, Alfred…all these illusions are close enough to the real that they are great temptations to stay.
Dream Mad Hatter – A great antagonist and like Harvey from “Farscape” in John Chriton’s head. He is limited in that he can’t let the Original Hatter know what is up and who Batman really is…but he uses all of Batman’s desires to craft the amazing illusion and fights for Batman to stay till the end.
This was a perfect “Batman: The Animated Series” episode. Batman stories are always great when they are exploring Batman and his rogues psyche since in that there is so much discovery and drama. You see the humanity behind the identities they’ve adopted and what drives them to do what they do.
The perfect episode 10 / 10.