Episode Title: Caught in the Spider’s Den
Original Airdate: March 16, 1967
When we last left Gotham City, Batman and Robin had been trapped in a giant spider web by Black Widow (Tallulah Bankhead) with a couple of giant spiders crawling up their bodies. Speaking of trapped, they were also trapped in a pretty lousy episode. Do things get better this time? Let’s find out in Caught in the Spider’s Den.
The spiders are getting awfully close to our hero’s faces. “Batman, he’s almost on me!” exclaims Robin. To which Batman reminds him that “he” is a “she,” only the female is venomous. Somehow, Batman manages to free one hand and get a hold of the mini charge in his utility belt. He then sends an electric charge through the web, harmless to the Caped Crusaders, but it takes out the spiders.
The heroes then find Black Widow counting her money in her vault. She pulls out her brain-short-circuiting device, but remember, our heroes are wearing special electrodes to protect them. However, Black Widow has reversed the polarity, so she manages to put Batman under her spell. Robin, meanwhile is tied up. Then Black Widow sits down for a glass of milk with Batman and gets him to help with her next scheme. He uses a remote control device to access the batcomputer back in the Batcave. You see, Black Widow has run out of banks to rob, so she needs the Batcomputer to tell what options she has. Lucky for her, a new bank has just opened.
Next, Black Widow has her goons make up the robot grandpa that sits outside her hideout like Batman, while she is made up to look like Robin. They then head for the bank in the Batmobile to commit the robbery, framing the Caped Crusaders in the process. Meanwhile, left alone at Black Widow’s hideout, Robin breaks free of the ropes. He then reverses things on Black Widow’s device again, and gets Batman out of his trance. When Black Widow returns, our heroes put up the act for a short time before battling with her henchmen. When all is said and done, they end up using the brain scrambling device on Black Widow herself.
Well, it’s only fitting that after such a bad episode last time that this story is wrapped up with an equally awful episode. Once again Tallulah Bankhead is, at best, completely incoherent, or at worst, sloshed beyond belief. The one moment that brought a smile to my face in this episode was when Batman and Black Widow have some milk, because Batman doesn’t partake of spirits. Black Widow takes a tiny sip and says, “so that’s milk,” as if she’s never consumed liquid that wasn’t 90 proof in her life. Last time I humored Tallulah Bankhead to a degree, but I’m sorry…this performance is terrible! TERRIBLE!!! I can’t help but wonder, have we reached that moment that all series’ go through? Some call it “Jumping the Shark.” Is it all downhill from here? I sure hope not.
The episode also struggles because it slips into the realm of the creepy at a few junctures. When the grandpa robot is done up to look like Batman, it looks like a pasty white corpse sitting in the driver’s seat of the Batmobile. Creepier, though, is Burt Ward speaking with Tallulah Bankhead’s slurring, mouth-full-of-Cheetos voice. Then, if you haven’t had enough yet, the real Robin has Batman sing a number from HMS Pinafore before zapping him back to his normal state!
I’m done! I can’t waste any more words on this episode! Let’s put it behind us and try to move on. Next time is more promising, though, with the return of the Joker in Pop Goes the Joker. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero)
Bat Gadgets Used:
Remote Control Bat Computer Oscillator
Holy Reversed Polarity