DC Animated Universe

"Shadows" is the eighth episode of the first season of The Zeta Project. It first aired on April 7, 2001. After IU7 attacks Zeta in a shopping mall, Batman gets his hands on damaged vid-footage, and mistakenly believes Zeta has reverted to killing. Feeling responsible for letting Zeta run free, Batman sets out to hunt down his former friend.


In a vibrant jungle, a gorilla steps forward from the bushes. Making his way towards a bunch of bananas, another ape begins to fling coconuts at him from above. Dodging the coconuts, the gorilla picks up two bananas, and squeezes them to the point their insides launch like bullets towards his assailant. Hitting the monkey in the face, the gorilla is pelted once again from another pair of monkeys who snuck up behind him. Grabbing two more bananas, he fires back.

Ro shouts with gleeful enthusiasm as she continues to play the VR game she's hooked up to. Distracted by Zeta, still bewildered by the ways humans relax, she breaks her winning streak with a score of 500,287,895. She reminds her friend that Eli Selig isn't due for his genetics conference until tomorrow and that the need to find ways to kill time waiting. Ro hands the VR goggles to Zeta and tells him he should have some fun.

At the airport, Infiltration Unit 7 saws its way out of a shipping crate, intent on finding Zeta. Witnessing a baggage handler pass by the infiltration unit takes his appearance and heads into an employees only section of the airport. Making his way through the terminal, the synthoid heads up an escalator and to an unattended J Ayr booth where he searches passenger data for info on Zeta. Interrupted by a couple of unsuspecting passengers, IU7 is asked to help with their luggage. Smashing the cuckoo clock the couple presented, the assassin makes his leave. Scanning for Zeta's footprint, Infiltration Unit 7 makes his way through the airport and to a train terminal.

Zeta's height

Zeta takes on a younger form so he can follow Ro's order to have fun.

Back at the arcade, Ro is astonished by Zeta's perfect score. Zee admits that it was the result of him adjusting his reflexes to match the game, and Ro compares his strategy to cheating. Expressing that he thought the objective was to win, Zeta voices confusion at Ro's demeanor. As she tells him he needs to learn to have fun, the duo come across another mall attraction, the Fun Funnel. Convinced he should try it, Zeta turns into a younger disguise, and Ro leaves him to head to the food court.

In line, Zeta asks another child if he thinks the experience will be fun. Surprised to hear, Zee's never gravved before, his new acquaintance offers to show him the ropes. The two enter the Fun Funnel with a group of 5 other kids, and Bud, the ride attendant, starts the machine. As the kids are lifted in the air, a smile spreads across Zeta's face.

IU7 as Zee

IU7 sneaks into his targets inner-circle.

In the food court, Infiltration Unit 7 has arrived. Scanning the room, he spots Ro nearby berating the clerk at a pizza stand about the number of pepperoni she received. After accessing his memory banks, the infiltration unit confirms her as a known accomplice to his target and begins infiltration by turning himself into Zee. He approaches Ro, who tells him the clerk needs an attitude adjustment, and takes that as a call to violence. Lifting the clerk over the counter, IU7 produces his wrist-saw, frightening Ro who clarifies she meant for the synthoid to pay him.

As the duo leave the food court via the escalator, Ro asks the Zeta imposter why he's acting weirder than usual. IU7 declines to answer, and as their escalator reaches the floor below, the real Zee approaches. Realizing his cover is blown, the infiltration unit attempts to make his move, but is splattered in the face with Ro's pizza. Unable to aim, Infiltration Unit 7's fire nearly hits Blair, but Zee leaps to push him out of the way just in time.

However, Infilration Unit 7's projectile strikes a foundational pillar, resulting in chaos. Zeta reveals his robotic form as he leaps into action to stop the pillar from striking Blair. Meanwhile, IU7 continues his volley of attacks, destroying multiple storefronts, a hot dog cart and security cameras. Finally, the imposter reveals himself to the crowd. Noticing Ro, he shoots at her, but narrowly misses. Zee finally manages to set the pillar aside but is buried under falling debris. As the single-minded infiltration unit makes his way towards Zeta, Zee shouts at Blair to get out of the mall. Sights set on Zeta, IU7 continues his approach.

IU7 Extends

IU7 extends to catch Zeta.

Patrons flee as Infiltration Unit 7 grows ever closer to his target, Zeta. Hoping to throw off the robot pursuing her friend, Ro tosses the prize Zeta won at the arcade at him. Momentarily distracted, IU7 dispatches the oncoming projectile. With the limited time given to him, Zeta is able to free himself from underneath the rubble and launches his attacker across the room. IU7 returns to his feet and makes chase, eventually extending his torso in order to more quickly catch up to and tackle Zee.

With Zeta in his grasp, Infiltration Unit 7 extends his claws and prepares to terminate his fellow synthoid. Unable to help, Ro watches the fight as the two infiltration units fall to the floor and roll towards the Fun Funnel entrance. Pinning Zee, IU7 lifts his claw to attack the defenseless robot. With one arm freed, Zeta extends his wrist to turn on the Fun Funnel, lifting him and IU7 both into the air.

Confused by the sudden lack of gravity, Infiltration Unit 7 is easily repelled by Zeta, who already has experience with the machine. With his foe stuck above, Zee reels his wrist back in, and returns to the ground, where he's quickly met by Ro. However, with Zeta's back turned, IU7 shoots at the duo. The two jump to avoid the blast, but Ro is knocked unconscious.

At that moment, a SWAT team arrives on scene alongside local law enforcement. Securing the perimeter, they make their way through the wreckage of the mall, weapons drawn. Zeta, still trying to assess the situation with Ro, overhears the commotion, and quickly changes his disguise to match the law officer's uniforms. Lifting Ro from the ground, Zee exclaims she needs medical attention, and is promptly dismissed by the SWAT team captain.

Bruce and Terry view mall footage

Bruce and Terry review footage of IU7 destroying the mall.

In the Batcave, Batman approaches the Batcomputer as Bruce Wayne explains that since Wayne-Powers owns an interest in the mall, he was given security footage containing the previous events. Fooled by IU7's disguise, Terry asks Bruce if he's sure it was actually Zeta, and is shown the only other piece of footage available, Zeta towering over a frightened Blair. Bruce tells Terry that it's only a matter of time until this footage reaches Agent Bennet. Feeling betrayed, as Zeta expressed a desire to never kill again, Terry leaves with the Batmobile, frustrated with himself for having ever let the synthoid free in the first place.

At the hospital, Ro remains unconscious as the doctors perform Ultra-MRI scans, which use magnets so strong they align the water in your body. Taking a step back for his own safety, Zeta asks Dr. Rashad how Ro is doing. Suffering a slight concussion, the doctor tells Zee that they'll need to keep her overnight, but that she was lucky he was around. As the doctor exits, Zee resumes his typical form and questions whether or not she truly was lucky for his presence.

After dark, Batman arrives at the mall. Sneaking past security, he surveils the destruction with Bruce present on an open radio line back at the Batcave. Letting Bruce in on a visual connection, Terry tells his mentor he's concerned about what the size of the blast marks may mean in regard to the weaponry he has to face. At the Batcomputer, Bruce tells his protege he has a lead, and notes Ro was checked into Arlington Mercy two hours prior. Following the trail, Batman heads out in the Batmobile. Watching from afar, the security guard reveals himself to be IU7 in disguise and follows on foot.

Batman short circuits Zeta

Batman attempts to short circuit Zeta, in hopes of shutting him down for good.

At the hospital, Zeta grieves over Ro's state and the hand he played in her getting there. He tells his unconscious friend that she acts so tough he often forgets she can't repair herself the same way that he does, and pulls out a blow torch to weld shut the scars from Infiltration Unit 7's claws. As Zee tells his friend goodbye, Batman bursts through the window and attacks. The vigilante demands the synthoid drop his weapon, but Zeta tries to explain it's not what he thinks. Unwilling to listen, Batman begins pummeling Zeta. Grabbing a defibrillator, Batman promises that this time, he's shutting down Zeta for good.

IU7 arrives

IU7 arrives at Arlington Mercy.

Snapping to consciousness, Ro begs Batman to stop hurting Zee, but Terry remains convinced that Zeta was the one who caused the havoc at the mall and hurt Ro in the first place. As Ro tries to explain Zeta was only trying to protect her, Infiltration Unit 7 bursts into the hospital. Acting quickly, Batman launches cables from his wrist, momentarily subduing the new infiltration unit. He apologizes for misjudging the situation and helps get Zeta back on his feet.

Freeing himself from his bondage, Infiltration Unit 7 fires at Zeta but misses and blasts a hole in the side of Arlington Mercy. Witnessing the building shake, Dr. Rashad steps into the hallway to assess the situation and instructs his assistant to call security. However, before she can get too far, IU7 releases gas pellets that render the doctors and Ro unconscious. Realizing the robot assassin is specifically after Zeta, Batman commands him to run away as a means to keep the others safe from the chaos.

As Zeta flees, IU7 makes chase. Batman attempts to jump the infiltration unit from behind, but is flung through a door with minimal effort. Shocked by the vigilante's sudden appearance, the patient in the room hits him over the head with a bed pan repeatedly. As he leaves the room, she throws it after him.

Back in the hallway, the chase ensues. Infiltration Unit 7 fires rockets that narrowly miss Zeta as he rounds a corner. Running through the flames, the assassin robot just barely loses his target in an elevator. Prying the doors open, IU7 draws his buzzsaw and snaps the elevator line. To slow his descent, Zeta extends his arms far enough to pin the elevator cart to the walls of the shaft, but seeing the cart stopped IU7 leaps down.

As Infiltration Unit 7 pries a hole into the elevator's roof, Zeta makes his escape. Running into the hospital's salad bar, Zeta's exit is cut off by more of IU7's missiles. His target turning to face him, IU7 tells Zeta he's out of options just moments before being attacked from behind by Batman. Terry throws an exploding batarang at the synthoid, which momentarily takes out his hand, but IU7's able to self-repair as well. With his new hand, the infiltration unit picks up the salad bar, and uses it to shield from impact of another batarang.

Blown back by the explosion, Zeta and Batman take a short minute to recoup, and wipe salad off of themselves. Noticing a pair of bananas nearby on the floor, Zeta picks the fruit up. Remembering the arcade game from earlier, Zee holds the bananas as guns, and to Batman's amusement, fires them at IU7. With the infiltration unit's vision obscured, Zee and Terry make an exit.

Hoping to pick up the trail, Infiltration Unit 7 makes his way down the hallway, where he finds a door swinging as if it had recently been opened. Entering the room, IU7 draws his wrist mounted cannon. Seeing Zeta's shadow, the infiltration unit opens fire and begins to follow after his target. However, unbeknownst to him, Batman is hanging from the ceiling and drops down to take the robot from behind. Reaching his hand to Batman's face, IU7 decommissions the hero with another round of gas.

With Batman out of the picture, Zeta makes a last-ditch effort and heads for the ultra-MRI. Both wrist cannons drawn, Infiltration Unit 7 makes chase. Inside the control console, Zeta sets the timer, and jumps into the machine as IU7 blasts through the door. The infiltration unit tells Zee he has nowhere left to escape, but resigned to his fate, Zeta responds that neither of them will ever hurt anyone else again. Three seconds remaining on the countdown, Batman launches a wired batarang and lassos Zeta out of his untimely demise. As the machine begins to take action, IU7 raises his cannons to take aim once more, but is ultimately caught in the super magnets and torn apart as Zee and Terry watch.

Zeta Ro and Batman

Batman meets with Zeta and Ro.

On top of a nearby building, Batman tells Zeta and Ro that he spoke to Bennet, but the NSA agent denies any connection to Infiltration Unit 7. He tips them off that the agent is on his way to collect the pieces of the infiltration unit, and Zeta sees this as cause to get moving, even if it means missing Dr. Selig. Terry apologizes to Zee for doubting his friend, but it's all water under the bridge.

After Batman departs, Zeta begins to express his guilt over the danger Ro has endured as a result of their association. She interrupts her friend and tells her that it's her decision and her risk. As she tells him that she's not going to let him run off and have all of the fun, Zeta admits he must have more processing to do when it comes to the topic. Ro tells him to work on that, and the two exit down a stairwell into the building.

Shadows Ground Wire Gag

This episode's Ground Wire Net Search

Ground Wire Net Search[]

Zeta: This was called an egg timer. It was used to time eggs.
Ro: Time eggs for what?
Zeta: Perhaps until they hatched?
Ro: (timer pings) Seemed kinda quick.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

Production inconsistencies[]



Actor Role
Zeta Diedrich Bader
IU7 (Uncredited)
Rosalie "Ro" Rowan Julie Nathanson
Batman Will Friedle
Bruce Wayne Kevin Conroy
Kid Zee Eli Marienthal
Dr. Rashad Hamilton Camp
Blair Brandon Jaxson
SWAT Captain Lionel Mark Smith