Episode Title: The Bloody Tower
Original Airdate: December 7, 1967
Well, it’s time to wrap up the Caped Crusaders’ adventure in Londinium. Considering how lackluster the first two episodes of this story were, I think we’re all pretty anxious to get back stateside. But first, Batgirl, who has been captured by Lord Ffogg (Rudy Vallee) and Lady Peasoup (Glynis Johns), needs saving. Let’s see what happens in the conclusion of our British adventure, The Bloody Tower.
With Robin having been safely rescued from potential death by drawbridge at the end of last week’s episode, our heroes now set out to rescue Batgirl, chained up back at Ffogg Place. They’ll have to act fast, though, since Lord Ffogg has tossed some lethal fog gas pellets into the dungeon. Luckily, they must be stale since they seem to have no effect on Batgirl. So, the villains head off to get some fresh ones. Meanwhile, Robin speeds off in the Batmobile, remembering to drive on the left side of the road, while Batman and Alfred head off in a taxi borrowed from one of Alfred’s relatives.
As Robin arrives on the grounds, he clumsily trips on a wire that releases one of Lord Ffogg’s Death Bees (I knew those things would pay off eventually). It sits on Robin’s hand waiting to strike while Lady Prudence shows up to tell him how much danger he’s in. As for Batman, he ends up in the dungeon just in time for Lord Ffogg to release some truly lethal fog pellets. Luckily, he has a can of Anti-Lethal Fog Bat Spray in his utility belt, and a file to break Batgirl’s chains. They are now safe from the fog, but still trapped inside. All they have is a rope, but Batman uses an ancient indian faker chant to cause the rope to go stiff and levitate. They then climb it up to a grate in the ceiling. No I’m not joking on this.
Meanwhile, Robin gets through being bitten by the bee thanks to a African Death Bee Antidote Pill (his last one). Then Lady Prudence and the other girls tell him that Lord Ffogg plans on stealing the crown jewels. When the villains arrive to get the goods, they find Batman and Robin already there, disguised as Beefeaters. Batgirl eventually shows up to join in the fight and the baddies are hauled off to venerable Ireland Yard.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad this three-part Londinium story is over. This has been one of the definite low points of the whole series. This particular installment is very low on action and seems to just kill time until we can get to the final fight. Now, on the positive side, the final fight is kind of fun. Batman and Robin use various ancient weapons that are on display in the tower, which adds a little bit of fun to it. The last battle hardly makes up for the rest of the episode, though. I mean, talk about killing time, there is a lengthy scene in the middle of the episode dealing with Aunt Harriet showing up in Londinium after a cruise and asking Commissioner Gordon if he knows where Bruce and Dick are at. Now, this is only the second time we’ve seen Madge Sinclair as Harriet Cooper this season. She had pretty much left the cast due to health concerns. So it’s kind of a novelty to have her back, but talk about shoehorned in.
Once again, our biggest problem is the two villains. Sure they are somewhat amusing with their droll British quips, but as bad guys they are about as menacing as my shoelaces are. Supposedly they are out to nab the crown jewels but that hardly factors into things. Plus, their plans for actually stealing the jewels seems to be something along the lines of 1. Show up at the tower 2. Take the jewels. Not exactly an ace plan there.
This episode featured a few moments that were a bit heartbreaking for this longtime fan of the show due to the extreme level of stupidity. The death bee that Robin faces, for example, looks like it was made out of some fuzzballs and pipe cleaners that you can find at your local Hobby Lobby. I did, however, like that Robin happened to have an African Death Bee Antidote Bill handy to keep from dying. The icing on this cake of stupidity, though, is the way Batman and Batgirl escape Lord Ffogg’s dungeon. Who knew that Batman was an expert in indian mysticism? I know we’ve had some pretty ridiculous escapes all throughout the run of this series, but this one might just take the taco. Seriously, after magic floating ropes I’m wondering if maybe I’ve reached the point of needing to tap out. Fear not, though, I will soldier on to the end of this classic series.
Now, once all is well in England, our heroes head back to Gotham because, after, all, we need to find out who the next villain is. This one is something familiar, but also new. After speaking to the president on the phone in Gordon’s office (and being invited to a barbeque in Texas) , the Commissioner’s secretary buzzes in to say that a feline visitor has stolen a bunch of police lady uniforms. It must be Catwoman! The heroes rush out to see her escape into the elevator. But this Catwoman looks a bit different. No longer is the role played by Julie Newmar! Enter the one and only Eartha Kitt for her first of just a handful of appearances in the role. We’ll see what she’s up to next time in Catwoman’s Dressed to Kill. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Anti-lethal fog Bat Spray
African Death Bee Antidote Pill
Pipe of Fog Bat Reverser