Growing Pains

  Robin falls for amnesiac stray.
  Original Airdate: February 28, 1998
  Episode # 8
  Rating: * * * *

Credits Cast

Story by Paul Dini and Robert Goodman
Written by Robert Goodman
Directed by Atsuko Tanaka
Music by Michael McCuistion
Animation by TMS

Kevin Conroy as Batman
Mathew Valencia as Robin
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon

Ron Perlman as Clayface
Matt Landers as Gang Leader
John Rubano as Gang Member
Francesca Marie Smith as Annie

An emotionally gripping story about Robin's relationship with a amnesiac stray, whom he names "Annie," after the doll. Alas, she is more doll-like than he realizes: She is an extension of Clayface, whom he sent out to reconnoiter but who has forgotten him and her mission.

What makes the story successful is its oblique style; it never stops and gives pat little speeches about how much Robin cares for Annie, but reveals his solicitude by showing him in action or in dropping little asides. His search through the lowest depths of Gotham, and the vignettes of misery and loneliness he witnesses, are an excellent example of the episode's subtle technique. The search illustrates the lengths to which Tim will go to find this girl, and the vignettes arouse a sense of pity which, by implication, is identified with Tim's feelings for Annie. And so despite there being very little interaction between the two, we understand and are moved by the care and tenderness he shows her.

Even the final confrontation with Clayface is harrowing. Instinctively, we believe that Robin is right, that Annie is an independent being, and that in swallowing her up, Clayface has committed murder. But Clayface, too, seems to have a point: Whatever Annie is, she is not human, and if she is to be sundered from Clayface, what else might he be asked to surrender? His perplexity in the face of Robin's attack, and reluctance to fight back, further suggest that Clayface, no less than Robin, is standing on principle.

Related Episodes
   * Feat of Clay
   * Mudslide

What Others Are Saying ...
"An excellent episode, possibly the best of the season."World's Finest

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