"Terry's Friend Dates a Robot" is the twenty-sixth episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts the troubles that arise when Terry's friend Howard illegally gets a synthoid that can double for a human. Fed up with being seen as a loser and sad no one will come to his house party, Howard believes that getting an attractive girlfriend will earn him popularity. When he goes to a synthoid factory with Terry, he finds he can get a custom-made robot that appears to be human. However, after Howard buys his new girlfriend, he soon learns that she's completely amoral — as well as far too possessive.
Batman prepares for battle while Bruce trains him on fighting the criminal adversaries. The Riddler, Two-Face and Killer Croc all fight against him, but the new Batman is just as effective against them as his mentor. During the fight with Croc, Batman rips his head off revealing it to be a robot. Bruce says he has improved but could be a little more subtle. Bruce further comments that the key to beating these colorful foes is in identifying and exploiting their personality quirks. He instructs Terry to get a replacement robot after school.
Out at Hamilton Hill High School, Howard goes around the school announcing a party at his house but no one seems to be interested. Terry and Dana tell him to give up on the popular students and that he's being shallow. Howard, however, doesn't care and claims that what he really wants is a cool girlfriend and popularity.
Terry goes off to the synthoid factory and brings Howard along for the ride. While Terry deals with paperwork, Howard wanders around and sees Louie, an employee, create a female for an unknown customer. Intrigued, Howard goes to Louie and orders a special order for himself in spite of the fact that he's told that it's illegal. He's specific about her appearance, particularly the height, hair, and eye color, but when it comes to personality, he only says she has to be absolutely devoted to him.
The next day, the synthoid walks through the halls of school gathering a lot of attention, especially that of Nelson. However, she shoves off Nelson and says she's only interested in Howard. He introduces her as "Cynth-i-a" and the two leave. Nelson is angry, believing that Howard doesn't deserve someone like her and plans to "put him in his place". Cynthia overhears Nelson's plans and gets angry.
Later, Nelson comes into the locker room from sports practice and finds that Howard's locker is open. He immediately begins a search. Cynthia is also in the locker room, and when Nelson is in position, she shoves over the lockers nearly crushing him.
News of the accident spreads fast and the students wonder of its cause. Cynthia, however, coldly blows off the situation. The other students aren't very happy with her attitude.
Terry goes to investigate the fallen lockers with Max despite his objections it's the boy's locker room and discovers handprints deeply embedded into them. He finds it curious that someone with such small hands could push over the lockers. He scans for fingerprints but finds that there aren't any, and Max guesses that gloves might been worn. Then to her embarrassment, the boys from gym class start to head in and she hides in a locker. Terry tells her that he'll let Mr. Silverstein know she'll be late, much to her frustration.
Now that he has Cynthia at his side, Howard re-announces his party and the students are now interested. Chelsea even offers to have a dance with Howard, which upsets Cynthia so much that she cracks Howard's notebook with her bare hands. Terry notices this and follows her. He soon discovers Cynthia trying to push over the school's stone logo onto Chelsea. When he tries to stop her, she attacks him, throwing him off the building. Terry's agility saves him, and Cynthia's strength and abilities, as well as the evidence pointing towards her being the one who injured Nelson and various comments she made to him that hinted at her origins, cause him to suspect her true nature. He then calls Max with his suspicions that Cynthia is a synthoid. Max is shocked that they even could make human-like synthoids, with Terry mentioning that the process is illegal, meaning he needs to do some sleuthing at Synthops. He then tells Max to tell Dana that he'll be running late and that she keep her eye on Cynthia in case she does anything drastic.
That night, Batman goes back to the synthoid factory and finds Louie fulfilling more illegal orders. He activates several synthoids and has them attack Batman but they are of little threat. After the synthoids are done, Louie tries to flee and has a synthoid double confronts Batman to distract him, but the ruse fails. Batman apprehends him and ends his sideline business.
Meanwhile, Howard is having trouble with Cynthia as she continues to shove anyone who shows any interest in him or tries to stop her. Howard takes her into his room and, after trying to call Louie to get her repaired, Cynthia cites that Howard's her only reason for living and existing. Howard tells her that he wants to see other girls. Upon hearing this, Cynthia malfunctions and becomes outright violent, nearly killing Howard. Max stops Cynthia momentarily, but the synthoid's strength proves to be too great. Max is almost killed, but Batman arrives to stop the carnage.
With a stronger opponent to face, Cynthia gets even more violent, forcing the party guests to flee the house. Since Cynthia is such a formidable opponent, the fight continues for a while. In desperation, Howard tries to talk things out with her and naively suggests that they can still be friends which makes Batman slap his forehead in disbelief at his stupidity. The word "friend" drives Cynthia completely mad. Her circuits overloaded, Cynthia explodes, destroying just about the entire house. Batman escapes with Howard just in the nick of time.
Batman drops Howard outside where the other students congratulate him on the party and its "legendary" end. Howard is happy that he now has the popularity he sought, but finds that Chelsea isn't interested in him. To make things even worse, his parents arrive. They are angry at both the fact that he maxed out their credit card—thereby forcing them to cut their vacation short—and that he blew their house up, accusing him of buying dynamite. Howard's friends leave him to his fate.
Home video releases
- Batman Beyond - Season Two (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Batman Beyond: Crush (VHS)
- According to the commentary for "The Eggbaby", Max Brooks inadvertently believed that the producers were unhappy with his performance as Howard Groote. He just walked in and overheard complaints, which he thought were about him. (The complaints were actually about a then-released movie.) He was thus surprised when he was later asked to reprise Howard in later episodes, and the misunderstanding was resolved.
- In the distance shot of Terry and Howie just after Dana leaves, Terry is wearing his jacket, even though he isn't in the previous shot or the following one.
- The marks Cynthia's hands left on the lockers do not match up to where she pushed the lockers.
- When Louie makes a run for it, Terry throws bolas at him ensnaring his legs, and when he falls down he has a rope coiled around his arms. However, in the previous shot, he was running with his arms free.
- When Chelsea talks to Howie at the party, her eyes are black. They later change to blue.
- When Max grabs Cynthia's arm after she pushes Chelsea, it is miscolored in a white skin tone.
- Dan Castellaneta, who plays Mr. Groote, is credited for playing "Mr. Brooks", possibly a mix-up with Max Brooks.
- The GoLeM from its eponymous episode makes an appearance when Howard is exploring the synthoid factory.
- Bruce Timm has stated on various audio commentaries that he admires the Buffyverse, and in the "Rebirth, Part I" commentary he said that he was asked to make Batman Beyond like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was very popular of WB at that time. Curiously, one year and one month after the airing of this episode, Buffy aired an episode with plot points similar to this one, in which a misfit creates an android girlfriend, who also goes haywire in a party.
- Stan Berkowitz stated he wanted to put Killer Croc in the show as his reptilian physiology allowed him a longer lifespan. However, other than this robotic version, he does not appear.
- Max saying "Hope I wasn't out of line with that robo bim crack." is a likely reference to the series "Get Smart" in which Maxwell Smart, played by Don Adams, frequently says it after insulting someone and hitting them with no effect. Previously, Lobo referred the Preserver's female robot guards as "robo bims" in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man, Part II".
|Will Friedle||Terry McGinnis / Batman|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne|
|Max Brooks||Howard Groote|
|Seth Green|| Nelson Nash|
Blade's boyfriend (uncredited)
|Melissa Disney||Blade Sommer|
|Cree Summer||Maxine Gibson|
|Lauren Tom||Dana Tan|
|Yvette Lowenthal||Chelsea Cunningham|
|Dan Castellaneta||Mr. Groote|
|Andrea Romano||Mrs. Groote (uncredited)|
Louie: You ought to look into getting a synthoid, bat-freak! It'd give you something to do on Friday night!