Editor’s Note: This review begins our marathon of reviews for the final seven episodes which aired early this morning. Rather than spreading out the reviews of the final episodes, a new review of each of the final seven episodes will begin to post every hour throughout the day.
Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad return in “Doppleganger”, the 20th episode of Beware the Batman. Our first glimpse of them is in a chemical factory fighting with Katana, who struggles mightily. Unfortunately, Pyg and Toad are able to escape.
Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne awakens from a nightmare about Killer Croc. He then has a conversation with Alfred, who returned following the incident with Killer Croc at the end of “Animal.” Bruce expresses his fear of what might happen if he puts on the cape and cowl again. Alfred advises him to take some time off to relax and let Katana handle things on behalf of Batman.
Following Alfred’s advice, Bruce has dinner with District Attorney Harvey Dent and the head of Dent’s Special Crimes Unit, Dane Lisslow. At dinner, Dent asks Bruce for a campaign contribution, Bruce and Lisslow bond over their martial arts training, and Bruce leaves early after seeing a large bat fly past the window.
Bruce Wayne chases the large bat and confirms that he has seen a man-sized bat. He returns to Wayne Manor and consults Alfred and Katana. After explaining what happened, Bruce decides he has no choice, but to don the cape and cowl once more. Batman and Katana hit the streets in search of Man-Bat. They find him, and while in the process of capturing him, Pyg and Toad arrive, claiming they want their pet back. The arrival of the Special Crimes Unit causes them to disperse, allowing Batman and Katana to take Manbat to the Batcave.
In the Batcave, Batman removes a mind control device from Man-Bat and interrogates him. Man-Bat reveals that his real name is Dr. Kirk Langstrom and was researching bats, hoping to use his research of their immune system to benefit mankind. Pyg and Toad attacked him one night in his lab and used his work against him, turning him into a mutant bat. He further reveals that Pyg and Toad plan to use the same plan with other animals.
This episode introduces the audience to Man-Bat. The animation and design of Man-Bat is well done, but his face looks more like a monkey than a bat. While the writers stay true to Man-Bat’s typical origin story as Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist studying bats, they added the creation of Man-Bat by Pyg and Toad. This adds nothing to the plot of this particular story. Pyg and Toad, along with their imbecilic dialog, are unnecessary. This episode fails because of the error of including these two character who have not been worthwhile additions to this series in any of their appearances.
Another element of this episode that is unnecessary and drags down the episode is a scene depicting Katana teaching Barbara Gordon some self-defense moves. As Katana states in that scene, Barbara will only be helping via computer. This addition, while potentially hinting at plans for Batgirl, does not fit in with this episode at all and feels completely out of place in this episode. If that is a plot point that is in the works, it needs to be hinted at more subtly or in a larger manner. Furthermore, the ease with which Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman again does not work. The early stages of the episode clearly showed that Bruce was not in the right frame of mind. Yet, all he has to do is put the suit back on, and everything is better. The writers do not even show Batman faltering in any way while out fighting Pyg and Toad. This had the potential to be a great subplot, but the writers have ruined that opportunity.
Lastly, the writers continue to butcher the character of Harvey Dent. In previous episodes, Harvey Dent has been depicted as immature in this series, albeit somewhat subtly, but this episode it becomes painfully clear. With his ranting at dinner about the mayor and how easily he could beat her in the upcoming election, he bears a striking resemblance to a Verruca Salt-like child that is consumed by greed, always wanting more. The writers are ruining any chance of the audience liking him. In all other depictions of Harvey Dent, he has redeeming qualities and is a likable character with a dark side that eventually takes over. In this show, however, he is simply unlikable. When he eventually becomes Two-Face, it will not be the tragedy it usually is.
This episode, despite a solid main plot line, featuring Man-Bat, fails, due to the atrocities that are the subplots of this episode.