What They Say:
Batman is hindered by a robot who thinks he’s the Dark Knight.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the things that was both a positive and a frustrating point with the series was that it didn’t lean into a lot of callbacks or connections between episodes. Which was good in some ways since things were shown out of order and so forth. But bits of continuity coming back into play is a big comic book thing and having some of that within the show is always welcome. Such is the case here where another Batman shows up and it ties back to the Cybertron company from before and the duplicates that were made there. These guys even got a nod in Batman Beyond years later and just makes me appreciate the Heart of Steel episode all the more.
The catalyst for this is when some criminals break into Cybertron looking to strike it rich somehow and end up prying open a crate that reveals a Batman duplicate. It’s a great action sequence with its visuals and color design to really make it both “scary” and intense with how he deals with his opponents. He doesn’t manage it without getting shot, however, which exposes some of his guts. And that’s useful when he finds his way to Wayne Manor and begins looking for help there believing that he is the real Caped Crusader. Enough so that even Alfred is fooled briefly. It’s the good kind of sequence as it really shows how human the duplicate can be and just how much it believes who he is that he can’t understand all the circuity exposed within him.
This is the biggest plus of the episode because he’s absolutely convinced he’s the real Bruce/Batman and that even if this is a robotic body, he’s been placed inside it. So he’s intent on getting things back to its normal state. Alfred gets to play off this well while the real Batman works his investigative side to try and understand what happened here and deal with it. Once he does realize that there is this other Batman there are several fights that get underway within this packed and tight episode, but I love that the duplicate Batman has ideas that go big and wide in how to do good things that will turn out bad, such as duplicating himself on computers around the world. Discovering his own humanity amid it all is a big plus in being able to sympathize with the duplicate, including how he deals with Rossum as we get William Sanderson brought in for a little more screentime. The duplicate is incredibly sympathetic thanks to what Kevin Conroy does here, even if it ends up going bigger than it should.
There’s a lot to like with this episode across the board as it goes big, weird, and very human all while building upon previous story material involving HARDAC. It’s a good exploration of Batman in both his forms as we see here and just how much of his core personality seeks to do the right thing out. I love the look of it in many places as the duplicate Batman has some solid action material right from the start that sets a great tone. It’s one of my favorite episodes even if it does go too big for my taste with what the duplicate wants to do to the world but it fits as a kind of prime directive as interpreted by the “silicon soul” within.