DC Animated Universe

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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.

At the Jeans Age, 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. Warren asks him why is he doing this to him, a masked hooded figure claims that he's doing this for the kids that he disrespects. Warren tries to stop a masked hooded figure from harming him by saying that his sorry. 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, in the Batmobile, Terry talks to Bruce about the encounter and Bruce points out that he failed to capture Payback. Back in the Batcave, Bruce shows Terry at the Batcomputer 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 turned down. 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.

Regaining to consciousness, Terry 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.

Back in the Batcave, Bruce tends to Terry's wounds on his head and scolds him for not watching his back. Bruce tells him about what he's found at the Batcomputer and 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 turns on the vid-screen and sees that Payback on someone else's car starting to bang on top. Turning to Howard, 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.

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 apologizes and decides that Payback is Dr. Stanton, but Bruce snaps at him again and insists that they'll do things his way from now on.

Terry's Problems

Terry shares his problems about Bruce.

The next day, at the Center, Terry complains about how Bruce treats him and how he thinks he'll never be good enough for him. While Zack believes that Terry should quit and get another job, Trina advises that he should confront Bruce, Terry agrees with them, but mentions how Bruce will be attending a party at a new hotel. Trina tells him he can't put it off. Terry hopes a night away from his house will mellow Bruce out a little, but she tells 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. Batman reveals to Bruce that he always hanged around with Howard and had access to the Center's files. Being exposed, Kenny begins to cry.

While Kenny is being taken away by the police, Dr. Stanton realizes that this happened because he neglected him. He notes to Bruce that 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, which he does. As Bruce and Terry leaves, Bruce marvels over how well Terry performed, but he says that he wasn't performing.


  • The Vreeland Marquis Hotel is named after the Vreeland Family, with it being stated that Bruce is a longtime friend of the family.

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
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[]


Warren: Why are you doing this to me?
Payback: Because you don't respect the kids who work for you.
Warren: That's it? Because of some loser kids? You gotta be crazy!
(dodging Payback's laser whip)
Warren: Like I had to say it.

Payback: Batman?
Batman: Payback, right?
Payback: Yeah. Your new ally.
Batman: Ally? What are you talking about?
Payback: I do the same thing you do.
Batman: Sorry, pal. Not even close.
Payback: If you're not with me, then you're the enemy, too!

Warren: (after Batman and Payback's battle in his store) Look at this place. You couldn't fight the guy outside?

Bruce: Another student at your school was also connected to Payback: the son of the man who was attacked last week, and the two boys have something else in common. They're both patients at the Gotham Youth Counseling Center. Know anything about it?
Terry: What's there to know? Sometimes people just need a place to talk out their problems.
(Bruce smirks)
Terry: Some people, anyway.

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: (Bruce tends to his head wound) 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.
(tying it off, Bruce yanks the bandage a little too hard)
Terry: Ow!

Batman: It's over, Payback.
Howard Lewis: Who?
Batman: Don't bother. I've seen that laser close enough to singe my suit.
Howard Lewis: The laser? I cut my sculptures with it. That's all.
Batman: Save it for the cops.
Bruce Wayne: Terry, stop!
Batman: What? Don't tell me you're buying this.
Bruce Wayne: He's telling the truth. Is there a vid-screen around there?
Batman: Yeah, but...
Bruce Wayne: Turn it on. Any channel.
Batman: (doing so and seeing a live news report) Payback.
(turning to Lewis)
Batman: Um... sorry?

Batman: (to Payback after saving a two-timer from him) I know what you're doing, and you're nuts! You think those kids want you to hurt these people?

Payback: You don't know anything about kids! I know how kids think!

Terry: This time, Payback was after a kid who was two-timing one of the girls in the group. He got away again.
Bruce: You might've gotten there in time if you hadn't jumped the gun with Lewis.
Terry: I know.
Bruce: Do you? You injured an innocent man. That's inexcusable.
Terry: And I'm sorry, okay? But I got something more important to do right now.
Bruce: And what might that be?
Terry: Stanton. If Payback's not Lewis, Stanton's gotta be the one.
Bruce: Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. But from now on, we're handling it my way. Which means taking our time and getting it right.

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.

Dr. Stanton: (after Payback was defeated by Batman and revealed to be Kenny Stanton) This is all my fault. I was always so busy, I kept dumping him on Lewis. He must've thought if he solved my patients' problems, I'd have more time for him. I'm so sorry.
Bruce: Go to your son.
[Dr. Stanton heads to the police who have Kenny]

Terry: You called it. I put down the bait like you said, and Payback took it. Only it wasn't who I thought it would be. I was wrong, twice.
Bruce: Learn from it. That's all you can do. By the way, what exactly 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?