The Adventures of Batman & Robin isn’t actually a series in and of itself. They are 10 special episodes in the second season of the critically-acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series.
Same animation, same voice actors, same writers. The only difference between The Adventures of Batman & Robin episodes and Batman: The Animated Series episodes is that The Adventures of Batman & Robin episodes have alternative opening and closing credits. Those 10 episodes are not the only episodes in Batman: The Animated Series to include Robin; they’re just the ones with the special credits. And (of course) Robin is a much more prominent character, appearing in all episodes of The Adventures of Batman & Robin.
Robin has been Batman’s sidekick for decades, and these episodes are a classic example of how he can be utilized as a great supporting character in Batman storylines. There are a few moments during some The Adventures of Batman & Robin episodes when you wonder whether or not Batman would be better off going solo without a sidekick … but it’s safe to say that Robin proves himself useful overall.
This article will offer a short synopsis for EVERY episode with The Adventures of Batman & Robin credits and will rank them from worst to best. Let us know if you disagree with the order!
The Adventures of Batman & Robin Episodes: Worst to Best
10. Episode #4: ‘Riddler’s Reform’
The Riddler has been released from Arkham Asylum! And, with his incredible intelligence, he has been able to quickly establish himself as a celebrity through his new line of toys and games. However, Riddler’s mind is still occupied because he has yet to defeat Batman in a battle of wits. Therefore, they can’t stop themselves from luring Batman into an intricate death-trap puzzle.
It ranks last, but it’s not because this is a bad episode! They are all pretty great, actually. The Riddler is always a lot of fun, and this episode is a great case in point. It’s true that Batman having to go alone without Robin, who gets injured, doesn’t reflect particularly well on the Boy Wonder! But Batman’s escape from the Riddler’s trap is pretty impressive and makes for fun viewing.
9. Episode #2: ‘Bane’
This episode introduces the now-famous super-villain ‘Bane’ to Batman: The Animated Series. Crime boss Rupert Thorne hires bane to take out Batman. But he also, unbeknownst to Thorne, plans to overthrow his employer! Success in these objectives would leave Bane with significant power and control over Gotham city. Batman & Robin have their work cut out.
This was a good depiction of Bane: he was intelligent, intimidating, and so much better than the Batman & Robin George Clooney movie version of Bane (blergh). Robin getting captured again didn’t earn him any Brownie points! But it was an enjoyable episode all the same. Bane breaking the Batmobile with his bare hands is a definite ‘holy s***’ moment.
8. Episode #8: ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’
Batman & Robin investigate a number of bizarre crimes being committed by some unusual criminals around Gotham. They soon learn that these criminals are actually famous comedians who have been brainwashed by the Joker – still bitter about his failed attempt at a career in comedy.
This is actually a great episode, offering some insight into Joker’s origin (possibly a degree of influence on the Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie). Joker’s use of Mad Hatter’s microchip-mind-control-devices is memorable, too, and his dialogue of quips and jokes (voiced by Mark Hammil) is as giggle-worthy as ever.
PS: It would only be fair to point out that Robin saved Batman in this episode!
7. Episode #10: ‘Batgirl Returns’
After an intense dream where she saves Batman from an enemy attack, Batgirl investigates a robbery from her university. With Batman out of town, Batgirl works with Catwoman – who Robin displays serious distrust towards – to catch the criminals responsible.
It’s rare to have an episode where Batman doesn’t feature much. But that this episode didn’t feel unusual with the series’ main protagonist is a testament to how well the supporting cast has been developed by the writers. Batgirl’s partnership with Catwoman was great and seeing Robin assume a more senior role was satisfying in his character’s development.
6. Episode #6: ‘Harley’s Holiday’
Harley Quinn is released from Arkham Asylum! Her good behavior and apparent commitment to turning her life back onto the straight and narrow earned her some freedom. But a few misunderstandings with the public trigger her bitterness towards society. Can Harley really move on from crime?
Harley Quinn is just such a likable character! And to have an episode dedicated to her is as fun as you’d hope for it to be. There’s a real insight into the good side of the villain, Harley, who has previously been a romantic interest of the Joker. The big kiss she plants on Batman at the end comes as a surprise, for sure!
5. Episode #7: ‘Lock-Up’
After instilling fear into the hearts of every prisoner in Arkham Asylum, Lyle Bolton loses his job as Head of Security for being too aggressive. 6 months after his firing, Bolton returns to Gotham as the villain Lock-Up, who wants to imprison the authority figures who disagreed with his approach to treating criminals.
Lyle Bolton is one of the well-meaning baddies, who believes that what he is doing is for the greater good. But his flawed logic makes him quite a dislikable character compared with other villains. It is quite satisfying how he is greeted to his Arkham Asylum cell with choruses of laughter from the prisoners he’d previously enjoyed torturing! Overall a new, challenging villain that satisfies fans.
4. Episode #5: ‘Second Chance’
Batman is equal parts nervous and excited for his old friend Harvey Dent to be undergoing an operation to fix the facial damage that triggered the villain Two-Face. But when his anesthetized body is kidnapped, he has another unpredictable mission on his hands.
This episode has a bit of conflict between Batman & Robin. At one point, Robin describes himself, disappointed, as “just a kid in tights.” But, in an episode centered upon the topic of friendship, Batman eventually shows his appreciation to the deserving young sidekick. A memorable episode with a cool plot twist.
3. Episode #9: ‘Deep Freeze’
When Dr. Freeze is dragged out of Arkham Asylum by billionaire Grant Walker, he is offered an opportunity to meet with his beloved dead wife once more. In return, though, Walker wants to know the secret to Dr. Freeze’s physiology so that he may stop his own aging process, and usher in a new ice age with his flawed Utopian vision.
This episode does everything that the previously mentioned Batman & Robin movie (featuring George Clooney) failed to do. Not to knock Arnie Schwarzenegger, but his portrayal of the heart-wrenched Dr. Freeze didn’t match up to this incarnation of the ice-cold villain. This Dr. Freeze was as 3-dimensional as you’re ever likely to see in any super-hero series.
2. Episode #3: ‘Baby-Doll’
Baby-Doll, a washed-up, former child TV star, suffers from a condition that prevents her from aging. She has been missing for years, but she returns to Gotham to kidnap the cast that she worked with on the set of her most successful TV series. When they learn about the actors who are missing, Batman & Robin employ themselves to investigate.
Baby-Doll is a previously unseen villain … and man! She’s a creepy one. There’s something spooky about little girls in horror movies, and Baby-Doll really plays into that feeling. This character is possibly an inspiration for the movie ‘Orphan’. But it is also another example of the well-rounded character development of villains in this great series.
1. Episode #1: ‘Time Out of Joint’
Our heroes face-off against Temple Fulgat, a.k.a. ‘The Clock King’. Fulgat has a device that can virtually stop time so that he can do his villainous deeds while the rest of the world is stuck at the moment he decided to pause. Batman & Robin find themselves trapped in time as they attempt to defeat their elusive foe.
This one tops the list in these rankings because of the wonderful execution of a practically and conceptually complex plot. The Clock King is an excellent villain who provides the kind of threat that Batman & Robin are not used to facing. It’s an engaging and satisfying episode throughout, and all the characters involved are awesome. There are plenty of other episodes that could’ve made the top spot, but this episode felt most potent and was somehow the most memorable.
What We Can Learn?
The alternative theme music was really nice, as most Dan Elfman scores are. But these episodes are not distinctly different from other Batman: The Animated Series episodes. Actually, you could make a strong argument that none of these episodes would make it into a top 10 list of episodes of that main series!
In any case, it’s cool that Robin got to feature more in this selection of episodes (if you’re a fan of the Boy Wonder).
But what can we take from them? Well, they’re a great watch! So it’s worth giving them a watch to experience some great examples of how Batman acts in teamwork-essential situations.
And you can decide for yourself whether a sidekick would be of use to you, or just be a hindrance to you!