"Growing Pains" is the eighth episode of the first season of The New Batman Adventures. It first aired on February 28, 1998.
A girl is walking out on the streets alone and frightened, when she catches the attention of a violent street gang. They surround her, until Robin steps in. He defeats the gang, and when he turns to check on the girl, she tells him that she can't remember anything, and that she has to keep moving, then runs off in a panic. He chases after her, but is interrupted by the Bat-signal.
He goes to Commissioner Gordon's office. Robin, having affection for the girl, is daydreaming about her while Gordon tells Batman that there is a new criminal in Gotham, a gigantic man with superhuman strength, possibly chemically induced. He shows Batman footage of the man, pausing it at one point, where it shows that the man has blank-white eyes. He is a stranger to both Gordon and Batman, but Gordon warns him that he is very dangerous. Robin tells Batman about the incident with the girl, but Batman says that it's more important for them to keep their eyes open for this new criminal.
Tim Drake complains about Batman to Alfred in the car, when they pass a bus station. Tim sees the girl, and, putting on the Robin suit, leaves the car and chases after her. He catches up with her, and she in turn bursts into tears and falls into his arms. Robin asks why she's so scared of him, but she says that it's not him, but there's a man chasing after her, who haunts her in her dreams. Robin tells her not to worry, and that he'll protect her. He asks her what her name is, but she says that she can't even remember that. Robin names her Annie, after the doll. Annie then senses that the man is near. As a truck passes, the light shines into an alleyway, where the huge man that Gordon was talking about is lurking in the shadows...
The man comes out, telling Annie that she was supposed to come home. Robin demands to know who he is, and he claims to be her father. He shoves Robin aside with incredible strength and moves menacingly towards Annie. Robin runs to rescue her, and starts pummeling the man, who seems to feel no pain at all. Robin is lifted up into the air, when he is rescued by Batman. The man runs away into the subway, Batman and Robin hot on his tail. At times the man seems to disappear into thin air and is able to survive incredibly high drops. At the end of the chase, the man vanishes, suspected by Batman and Robin to have escaped through the gutter. Annie has also disappeared, and Batman takes a sample of mud from the man's shoes from the floor. Robin wants to find Annie, but Batman says that they're going home and Robin will just have to wait. He refuses and runs off.
Robin searches the homeless shelters for her, and then goes through the city. He finds Annie, who says that he shouldn't be trying so hard to help her. Robin says that he's able to handle the man, saying that his father was a similar type. Annie is touched by the fact that he cares so much about her. Suddenly, Annie sees something familiar about a light high above, and describes an area that she remembers. Robin takes her to the ocean shore where sits a lighthouse on a cliff, and Annie sees several pipes near the ocean. She remembers them and moves towards them, Robin following her.
Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Batman is analyzing the mud from the man's shoes. He is able to look after Robin, since he has placed a tracer in his utility belt, much to Alfred's disapproval. When the analysis is complete, Batman, shocked to realize who the man really is, races towards the Batmobile.
Robin and Annie are exploring the inside of the pipes, Robin wondering what caused Annie to lose her memory in this place. They both fall through a hole in the ground, when they run into the huge man. The man is delighted that Annie has finally come back to him, and then reveals his true identity... Clayface.
Clayface moves towards them, reaching towards Annie, but she and Robin run away and find the factory that the tunnels lead to, with deadly chemicals down below. Some of Clayface's clay flesh has landed on Annie, and she is shocked to see the clay being absorbed into her skin. Suddenly, she realizes the truth, and tells Robin what she really is. Shortly after Clayface fell into the ocean, before dissolving completely, his remains drifted near some factory pipes leaking strange chemicals that fused his flesh back together. He found a new home in the pipes, but wasn't sure where he was or if it was safe. So he created a separate being, Annie, to explore Gotham and report back to him. Annie forgot and was lost, only now realizes that she is a part of Clayface.
Robin insists that, despite this, she is real and can be saved, but then Clayface arrives, telling her that this is not possible, and that she's not real. He says that the only thing she can do is go back to him. Robin refuses to let this happen, and tells Annie to run. Clayface attempts to grab her, but is stopped by Robin. Enraged, Clayface attempts to kill Robin. Annie, refusing to let Robin die, runs at Clayface, throwing herself into him to knock him away from Robin. Annie struggles, but is reabsorbed into Clayface's flesh. Robin is enraged and demands Clayface brings her back. Clayface says that he can't, that Annie is gone. Furious, Robin almost kills Clayface by showering him with solvent, when he is stopped by Batman. While Batman and Robin are struggling, Clayface tries to kill them, but he causes some sparks which ignite the solvent. Batman and Robin swing away just as Clayface is caught in the ensuing explosion and knocked out.
Batman and Robin watch as Clayface is arrested. Robin is deeply affected by Annie's 'death' and Batman tries to console him by telling him that sometimes, there are no happy endings, and as he hears Clayface being charged of robbery and breaking and entering, he mutters that he should also be convicted of murder, and sadly walks back home.
- Clayface's last appearance on the show. He would later appear in Justice League where he joined Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society in "Secret Society".
- This episode's flashback explains how Clayface survived his apparent death in the first-series episode "Mudslide". This also infers that this episode is set prior to Holiday Knights, an episode Clayface also features in, despite it being produced and aired after Holiday Knights.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Four (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- When Commissioner Gordon shows Batman the footage of the disguised Clayface robbing the store, the cashier's tongue is colored red in the otherwise black and white image.
- A sign in the episode says "Kane", the last name of Batman comics co-creator Bob Kane.
- Robin, unusually, is the main focus of this episode.
|Kevin Conroy||Batman/Bruce Wayne|
|Mathew Valencia||Robin/Tim Drake|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner Gordon|
|Francesca Marie Smith||Annie|
|Matt Landers||Gang Leader|
|John Rubano||Gang Member|