While Batman Beyond started strong with some great villains and stories, it is still a late 1990s kid’s cartoon and as such is going to have a few episodes that remind you of it. It’s a good companion to the Batman: The Animated Series episode “The Under-Dwellers,” in which Batman reminds a child that “kids and guns don’t mix. Ever.”
Batman Beyond: The Winning Edge
While lots of moments in Batman Beyond feel dated by virtue of the show’s inability to predict what the next 20 years would look like, this one felt dated when it aired. The D.A.R.E. drug education program was already an old joke, and that doesn’t help this story.
After witnessing a particularly brutal sports match–the show never actually names the anti-gravity hockey-football game they show a few times throughout the series–Terry encounters the same athlete when he catches him breaking into an electronics store.
The episode goes full Special when Terry snatches a sample of the drug from the athlete’s locker and then comes home late. His mom catches him with the drug and assumes the worst, grounding him. She allows him to go to work, and as Batman he visits the facility where Bane lives and finds that the once-formidable villain destroyed his body with his drug use. Instead, Bane gave the formula to a businessman named Jackson Chappell, who turned it into a for-profit drug trade. In the end, the athletes get arrested, the coach who allowed their violent behavior is suspended, and Bruce has Terry tested to prove to his mother that he didn’t, in fact, do the drugs that fell out of his backpack.
Don’t do drugs, kids
Every element of the story feels like a Drugs Are Bad morality play–Drugs destroyed Bane. They ruin Terry’s life for a while. The Venom “slapper” patches break Chappell’s brain. And finally, those athletes and coach are punished, destroying their chance at participating in a sport they theoretically enjoy.
It makes for a really generic-feeling episode that doesn’t do much to enhance who Terry is, or who Bane was. It’s just a reminder that, yes, drugs are bad. As with the previous episode, you could skip over this in a re-watch and not miss a thing.
It’s a good thing the next episode’s villain has one of the sickest outfits in the entire series.