CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini; directed by Yuichiro Yano.
REVIEW: In an alternate (has to be!) reality where Batgirl was killed, rather violently I might add, falling from a great height right onto her father's car (jeepers!), the Commissioner brands Bruce Wayne (Barbara didn't keep her files locked too tight) and the Batman Family criminals and goes after them with the full weight of the GCPD. It's about invading the Batcave with a bazooka in tow, shooting at minors, and using criminals like Bane to fight the Bat. But his career is likely over anyway; he collaborated with a vigilante who has been charged as an accessory to murder. This is the darkest timeline, and Nightwing will be arrested (shouldn't have used his jetski's torpedoes on police vehicles!), Barbara's funeral used as a macabre lure, and Batman eventually killed.
By the time we entered the final act, I was actually wondering how they would undo this. There scarcely seemed to be time to, say, go back in time. And then it dawned on me that the villain in the opening bit was the Scarecrow, and that this was clearly a worst case scenario someone FEARED. Dumb of me perhaps, but the episode played it smart throwing other villains in later (Bane and a panel of Arkhamites on TV), but not the Scarecrow. I forgot about him amid the shocking and violent twists of the episode. Even after I finally figured it out, I was still surprised that this was Batgirl's hallucination and not Batman's. It's HER fear that if something ever happened to her, it would destroy her father, and by extension, the Batman Family. Makes sense, though it is a bit odd for her to wake up and say "it all seemed so real" when she wasn't really part of the dream after she'd died.
And though a dream sequence, the episode does change something. It's meaningful. Barbara decides to tell her father the truth about her nocturnal activities, and brilliantly, he already knows and doesn't want to discuss it (as a lawman). And he's entirely supportive. A sweet and heartwarming finish to what is otherwise one of the darkest episodes of the series.
REWATCHABILITY: High - A strong imaginary story that for once, has real world meaning.