In a strange twist, Episode 23 of Beware the Batman begins with Batman and Katana breaking into a vault with the aid Barbara Gordon who has now donned the codename Oracle. Inside the vault, Killer Croc and his goons are loading up the cash. Batman and Katana take down the goons and follow Killer Croc down into Gotham City’s sewers. Croc manages to get away, however, by crashing through a wall and disappearing into Gotham’s subway system. Before they leave, Oracle manages to set up a surveillance system for the subway system, to watch for any signs of Killer Croc.
The next night, Batman and Katana see Killer Croc on the cameras and head out after him. Croc has taken over a subway train, and Batman and Katana arrive on the now darkened train to fight him. He leads them into a trap. An explosion occurs which traps Batman and Katana in cement on the middle of the tracks. Batman and Katana call Barbara to get her to redirect all of the trains off of their track. Unfortunately, Barbara is on a date, and her cell phone reception is poor, causing her to drag her date out of the restaurant and to force him to drive her to a subway station, so she can use their computer.
Barbara Gordon should not be a part of Batman’s team at this point. First of all, there has not been a definitive scene where Barbara is officially accepted as a member of the team. Regardless, why would Batman allow a young girl with no training to join him anyway? He would not let a CIA-agent who worked undercover with the League of Assassins join him unless she had more training. He even attempted to give her bulky body armor. Furthermore, Barbara Gordon is quite young. She is normally older when she joins Batman in the comics. As is seen in this episode, sometimes the person behind the computer can be in physical danger. Having someone as young and inexperienced as Barbara on the team is reckless.
An even more startling error is that Barbara took her date with her while she attempted to save Batman and Katana. This very nearly gave it away that she is working with Batman and Katana. Also, Barbara never told them she had a date. As Barbara is charged with helping out a masked vigilante, especially in the areas of safety and secrecy, she has an inherent responsibility to inform Batman and Katana if she decides to take a night off. Yet, there is no discipline from Batman. He does not scold her or shut her down. The lack of anger on Batman’s part is very out of character.
The next glaring error is the way Commissioner Gordon is used in this episode. After being absent for a few episodes, it is exciting to see him back. However, hopes are dashed almost immediately, as it becomes clear that Gordon is only in this episode to be the stereotypical overprotective father. This relegates him to a role much like that of the Commissioner Gordons in the 1960s TV series and the 1990s movies, as a police officer that is completely incompetent without Batman’s assistance. He is only seen in this episode intimidating his daughter’s boyfriend and using off-duty detectives to track her every movement. What happened to the duty-dedicated, hard-nosed cop that criminals fear? This series had done a remarkable job with this character up until this point, but unfortunately the writers fail miserably on this one.
Another failure on the part of the writers is not recognizing the full implications of injuring one of the characters. Barbara’s date ends up dislocating his shoulder at the subway station. At the end of the episode, he drops Barbara off at her house in his car with an arm in a sling. Speaking from experience, if you dislocate your shoulder and go to the emergency room, you are not allowed to drive home because of the drugs they give you.
Lastly, while the writing staff deserves credit for making their Killer Croc much smarter than the one in Batman: The Animated Series, they make him do something incredibly stupid in “Choices.” In the 1960s Batman TV series, Batman and Robin were always put into a deathtrap by the villain. Rather than making sure they die, the villain always left, which inevitably allowed Batman and Robin to escape what the villain thought was an inevitable death, making the villain seem foolish. In this episode, Killer Croc, likewise, leaves Batman and Katana, allowing them to call both Alfred and Oracle for help and attempt to free themselves. In the 1960s, the villains always had to go finish their evil scheme, but in this episode Killer Croc has no plan to finish. In fact, he does stay in the subway tunnel, but not close enough to hear them calling for help and attempting to free themselves. Instead, he wanders off apparently doing nothing, as he is able to fight Alfred who is running to Batman and Katana with a pickaxe and to attack Barbara in the subway command center. This error is inexcusable.
Almost everything is wrong with this episode.