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"Payback" is the twenty-fourth episode of the second season of Batman Beyond. It depicts the appearance of Payback. A masked vigilante stalks the streets of Gotham brutally attacking people who have wronged teenagers in various ways. Though he claims that he's doing this for a good cause, Batman can't allow him to continue. Meanwhile, tensions start to build up between Bruce and Terry as Bruce is becoming more scornful of Terry's mistakes. Soon, Bruce himself becomes a target of Payback.


Batman vs Payback

Batman and Payback's first meeting.

A teenager, Drew, heads out of the store that he works in but his boss, Warren, calls him back in saying that he has to do overtime. When Drew protests, Warren threatens to fire him. Drew returns and another individual, a tall figure in an outfit, walks in. Warren mocks the figure, but he angrily locks the door and attacks. Warren pulls out the cash drawer, activating the silent alarm, and tries to give it to the man but it's swatted away. Warren tries to run while the man goes to Drew and tells him to stay where he is and he'll be safe. He continues to go after Warren, claiming that he's doing this for the kids that he disrespects. He almost kills Warren with a laser whip but Batman intervenes recognizing the man as "Payback". At first he claims that he's Batman's ally, but when Batman refuses to help him, Payback decides he's the enemy too. After a brief fight, Payback escapes while Batman saves an ungrateful Warren.

After the fight, Terry talks to Bruce about the encounter and Bruce points out that he failed to capture Payback. Back at the Batcave, Bruce shows Terry that there's a connection between the victims of Payback, as they're linked to teenagers that attend counseling sessions at the Gotham Youth Counseling Center. He has Terry enroll into the Center in order to learn more.

While at the Center, Terry listens as some teenagers talk about their issues in life, particularly a girl named Trina and her problems with her boyfriend DuWayne. When asked what his problem is, Terry claims that it's Bruce. After the session, the head doctor, Dr. Stanton takes Terry through the center and talks to him about it. During the walk, Dr. Stanton introduces Terry to the two "resident geniuses", Howard Lewis and Dr. Stanton's son Kenny Stanton. Kenny asks his father to play but is refused. While Terry talks to Howard, Kenny continues to ask about doing something but his father refuses saying he has to work. Just then, a nurse rushes in saying that a girl, Maxine Gibson, has arrived saying she has an emergency. Dr. Stanton leaves to take care of the situation giving Terry time to search things on his own.

Terry sneaks into Dr. Stanton's room and hacks into his computer. Bruce quickly starts a download but while this goes on, Terry is attacked from behind by an unseen assailant. When he comes around, he sees both Howard and Dr. Stanton looking down over him. Terry manages to make up an excuse for his being there and manages to avoid suspicion.

After returning to Bruce, Terry is scolded for not watching his back. Bruce tends to Terry's wound then tells him about what he's found. He's confirmed that Payback is linked to the Center and due to the fact that he has attacked victims from several different sessions, he has access to the Center's files. Terry instantly jumps to the conclusion that it's Howard, who has access to the files, but Bruce doesn't see a motive.

Batman interrogates Howard

Batman captures "Payback".

Batman heads out to the Center and finds that Howard has been making strange looking statues and also finds the laser whip that Payback had wielded. While Batman examines the laser, Howard attacks him. After a brief fight, Batman eventually brings Howard down. When he accuses Howard of being Payback, he seems to have no idea what Batman is talking about. He also claims that the laser is only used to cut the statues. Bruce calls Terry and alerts him to the fact that Payback is attacking someone far from the Center. Batman sheepishly apologizes and leaves Howard looking over his destroyed statues.

Meanwhile, Payback cuts his way into DuWayne's truck and mocks him for caring nothing for his girlfriend. He forces DuWayne to lose control of the truck, sending it over a cliff. It's only through Batman's intervention that they are saved. Afterwards, Batman goes after Payback and attacks him. Payback fights back refusing to listen to reason. During the fight, Payback starts a forest fire and escapes while Batman tends to the blaze.

Terry's Problems

Terry shares his problems about Bruce.

Back in the Batcave, Terry fills Bruce in. Bruce scolds Terry for his reckless actions with Howard, telling him "You injured an innocent man. That's inexcusable!" Terry decides that Payback is Dr. Stanton, but Bruce snaps at him again and insists that they'll do things his way from now on.

The next day, Terry goes to the Center and complains about how Bruce treats him and how he thinks he'll never be good enough for him. While some believe that Terry should quit and get another job, other patients advise that he should confront Bruce, Terry agrees with them, but mentions how Bruce will be attending a party at a new hotel. The others tell him he can't put it off. Terry hopes a night away from his house will mellow Bruce out a little, but they tell him he'll never mellow out.

That night, Terry takes Bruce to the Vreeland Marquis Hotel while newscasts announce him. Things seem to be okay, but when Bruce rides in the elevator, Payback arrives and attacks him, letting the other people on the elevator leave. Bruce delays Payback for a while but is unable to prevent him from cutting one of the elevator's brakes causing it to fall. Fortunately, Batman manages to rescue him, revealing this was part of the plan he and Bruce worked out.
Payback Revealed

Payback's identity is revealed.

Payback continues his assault, cutting a support beam trying to crush Bruce, but it fails. When Batman tries to confront him, the structural damage causes the floor to fall out from under him. Batman saves him and Payback is unmasked as Kenny.

While Kenny is being taken away by the police, his father realizes that this happened because he neglected him. Kenny's motive was that if he solved his patients' problems, then his father would have more time for him. Bruce tells Dr. Stanton to go to his son and leaves with Terry. Bruce marvels over how well Terry performed, but he quietly says that he wasn't performing.


Background information

Home video releases

Production inconsistencies

  • It has been established that conventional money has been replaced and currency exchange is done via Credit Cards. However, the cash register in the store contains paper money.
  • Batman shoots a grappling batarang onto a window, but unlike Terry's conventional batarangs this one looked like the ones used in The New Batman Adventures episodes. This can also be observed in "Armory", "Where's Terry?", and "Betrayal". Interestingly, all of these episodes were directed by Kyung-Won Lim, and presumably outsourced to Koko and Dong Yang animation.



Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis / Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Mitch Pileggi Dr. Stanton
Adam Wylie Kenny Stanton
Bill Fagerbakke Payback, Howard Lewis
Bumper Robinson Zack
Tia Texada Trina
Max Brooks Drew
Mark Jonathan Davis Vid-News Anchor
Curtis Armstrong Warren
Rebecca Gilchrist Receptionist

Uncredited appearances


Bruce: You know, we did do detective work before there was a net.

Dr. Stanton: It sounds to me that Mr. Wayne really does respect you but that he has a hard time showing it.
Terry: Why do you think that is?
Dr. Stanton: Maybe some trauma in his past.

Bruce: Why weren't you watching your back?
Terry: I was too busy watching my front. Am I supposed to have eyes everywhere?
Bruce: Only if you want to live to a ripe old age.
Terry: You don't make it sound too inviting.

Payback: You're a mean old man, you know that?
Bruce: Mmm-hmm, and what are you?
Payback: Your worst nightmare!
Bruce: You have no idea what my nightmares are like.

Bruce: By the way, exactly what did you say in that group to get Payback so mad at me? You must've given quite a convincing performance.
Terry: Who said anything about performing?

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