Here's a synopsis of some of the things you would have found in
the pilot episode of Bruce Wayne:
Masterpiece Theatre, Batman style. "How did it all
come... to this?" the voiceover asks. We see a small
side-cavern at night, full of momentos of times past. The voice
is that of Alfred Pennyworth, who explains that he begins this
narrative to explain what led himself and his employer to get
to their current remarkable state of affairs. The aged hand is
holding a photo, full of young people with "faces full of
promise." The image fills the frame and dissolves into the
"present day" setting.
to a police station is London. Alfred is bailing young Bruce Wayne
out of jail. He's gotten in a fight, yet again. Bruce is only
a few days away from his 18th birthday; he's rich, and a noted
celebrity as big as JFK Jr. or Prince William. "Master Bruce
has 'issues'," Alfred tells the police superintendant who
asks if this sort of thing happens often.
Bruce is released, he tells his cell mates "so long,"
that his ride is now here. It is at this time that Alfred tells
him that the trustees have called. Bruce Wayne's presence is required
in Gotham City "as soon as possible."
rather stay here," Bruce tells Alfred. "We have
no choice," he is told. Alfred looks grim. Bruce sees that
he's serious. He's angry, but he nods. It's time to leave. Cue
One begins with a flashback to the fateful night when Thomas and
Martha Wayne were gunned down in front of their small boy on Crime
Alley. They were exiting a neon-lit theater; there to see "The
Mark of Zorro." In the shadows lurks a dark figure...
young Bruce Wayne wakes up. He's having a nightmare about the
night that his parents were killed. Bruce is now safe, in a private
jet, in flight with Alfred.
looks at the book Alfred is reading. "Troubled Teens."
He gives Alfred a "give me a break" look. Alfred highlights
passages and tsk-tsk-tsks. Really, this take on Alfred Pennyworth
is by far the best part of the Bruce Wayne pilot script. For a
show about something as dark and foreboding as Batman it's almost
a refreshing surprise to see such humor. It must be pointed out
that the humor and wit are not camp; although a bad actor could
easily ruin it.
those curious, when reading this I (the writer of this article,
Craig Byrne) was picturing an Anthony Stewart Head type. Granted,
Head was busy with Buffy at the time but it's someone with
that Giles-like dry wit.
turns on the television, and this is where the viewer learns more
about what a big celebrity Bruce Wayne is in this world. Every
station he turns to, talks about Bruce's return to Gotham City
for the first time in 12 years. Oprah, MTV, Wall Street
shows... he's the topic of conversation. One of the programs Bruce
passes is the gossip show Gotcha! hosted by a young Vicky
only is Bruce known for his millions but he's somewhat of a teen
idol as well. Young girls gossip about him and lust after him
the same way a girl of 1999 would carry on about N-Sync.
warns Bruce that the U.S. media is a lot more offensive than their
counterparts in Europe.
plane lands in Gotham City, and Bruce looks out. "Who in
their right mind would want to live there?" he asks
Alfred. "Five generations of Waynes, sir. Not counting you,
of course." Bruce tells Alfred he wants to sign the papers
which would give the Waynecorp trustees the right to continue
running his company and get out of there.
says something to Alfred about feeling like he's supposed to do
something with his life, but that running "some stupid
company" is not part of the plan.
they deplane at the private aviation terminal, Alfred and Bruce
are mobbed by the press. Photographers are everywhere, and it's
a frenzy. Finally, at night, the two arrive at Wayne Manor.
is covered in dust. Alfred apologizes that there was no time to
bring anyone to clean. Again, the wit of Alfred shines through,
though in this scene he almost evokes C3PO.... right up to continuing
talking even after Bruce is far down the hallway.
stares at a portrait of his family. He broods and his eyes water.
Suddenly, someone is behind him. It's Alfred. A jarred Bruce snaps
at Alfred to please make some noise when he approaches. "Habits
of a lifetime, not easily broken," Alfred tells him.
a man of many hats. It's not very long before he's in the kitchen,
in fancy chef whites, preparing a souffle. Bruce tells Alfred
he's going out. Alone. Alfred looks alarmed.
scene cuts to Bruce hurrying out, and already - there's Alfred,
in a chauffeur's uniform, holding open the door to the Rolls.
Bruce comments on Alfred's changing of uniforms so quickly. Alfred
tells him it's because he was a tenor in the Footlights Club in
Cambridge, and he played many parts. "I thought you were
a medic, in the British Commandos," Bruce says. "Indeed
I was," Bruce is told. It seems Alfred's past is shrouded
in mystery, because there's no way he could have done all of these
things in his previous days.
instructs Alfred to go to the seedier part of town. The mean streets
look awful. At a certain point, Bruce tells Alfred to stop. They've
arrived at Crime Alley.
old movie theater is boarded up now. Bruce visits the very place
where his parents were killed. More flashbacks. Bruce talks to
Alfred about the night, reveals that he was the one who
insisted on seeing "The Mark of Zorro" in that part
of town. His parents said no, but be threw a tantrum. "I
had to see Zorro," he explains. "A silly movie about
a 'hero' who wears a costume and fights crime."
thugs come up the street. Alfred tells Bruce that they should
go, but Bruce, of course, wants a fight.
thugs ask him "Who do you think you are? Think ya own this
street or what?" They start fighting. Alfred interrupts to
remind him that actually, with all the "subsidiary of WayneCorp"
signs on the buildings in development on the street, he actually
does own the street.
thug demands Bruce's wallet. Bad move. Bruce uses some martial
arts moves against the thug. The thug drops his gun, and Bruce
mocks it and starts making fun of the "gangsta" way
the thug was holding it. He starts tormenting and teasing the
thug, who demands his gun back. "Sure," Bruce tells
him, but not after dismantling the gun into several parts.
I point out that engaging ignorant hoodlums in violence is no
substitute for qualified, professional therapy," Alfred tells
Bruce. "Therapy takes years," is Bruce's response.
It's at this time that it is revealed to the viewer that Bruce
has had 12 years of martial arts training all over the world.
"I appreciate your need to never feel weak and helpless again,
but you're rich! Hire a bodyguard!" Alfred tries to tell
Bruce. Bruce tells him that he likes fighting because he's good
at it. Alfred suggests opening a karate school. Bruce then K.O.'s
the last thug and adjusts his clothes.
that the thugs are properly taken care of, they've got to be taken
someplace. So, it's a trip to the Gotham police station. On the
way there, Alfred tells Bruce that he really needs to cover up
that martial arts ability or the next time, they'll either attack
in greater numbers or shoot first. Not to mention, the potential
and Alfred drop the thugs off at Gotham PD. The desk sergeant
asks for the gun, which is now in parts. Their report is ignored
for the most part. They are told they need to talk to a detective,
and all of the detectives have already gone home. Bruce asks what
they are then supposed to do. The desk sergeant shrugs. A young
voice is heard. "My dad's still working...." It's a
spunky young red-haired girl, around 13 years old. Her name is
desk sergeant is annoyed. "My dad's a detective," Barbara
tells them. "He's gonna be Commissioner someday." Then
she looks at Bruce, and immediately recognizes him. She's very
excited, and tells him she has saved many teen magazine articles
desk sergeant, upon hearing it was Bruce Wayne that he just blew
off, suddenly pays attention. He offers to call Lieutenant Flass,
who will come and take Bruce's statement personally. Bruce tells
the desk sergeant to forget it. He's going upstairs to see Barbara's
dad and talk to him. Barbara takes him upstairs, babbling the
whole way up. She tells Bruce that her mother died a year earlier
and so now it's just the two of them, and if she doesn't take
her dad dinner upstairs, he's not going to eat. As Barbara's babbling,
the desk sergeant is speaking quietly on the phone, warning somebody
that Bruce Wayne is there talking to "you-know-who."
and Barbara get upstairs, and Bruce recognizes the cop behind
the desk. He remembers one rookie cop who comforted him the night
of his parent's murder, a fellow whose nametag read "J.W.
Gordon." Now, Jim Gordon isa detective for the police.
doesn't recognize Bruce at first, but upon being introduced, he
needs to cover up some "sensitive information" on a
chalkboard in the office. It's a diagram with all arrows and lines
leading to WayneCorp. Bruce notices it. What is it? What's going
brings up the fact that he recognizes Gordon. "You were there.
When my parents were murdered." Gordon acknowledges it. "So.
Who killed them?"
to Act Two