DC Animated Universe

"The Last Resort" is the sixteenth episode of the second season of Batman Beyond.


While patrolling the skies of Gotham, Batman goes over a few updates on school events with Max. Just then, Batman hears sirens blare and sees a renegade truck giving the police a lot of trouble. Batman intervenes but the truck is stronger than the Batmobile and the driver is flying like a madman. Fortunately, Batman manages to stop the driver: Sean Miller, a student in Terry's history class.

Wheeler Sean example

Dr. Wheeler talks about troubled kids like Sean.

Later, the chase forms part of a commercial for a new rehabilitation clinic for troubled adolescents. The clinic's founder, Dr. David Wheeler, reminds parents that new laws are imposing strict punishments on the parents of truants, and assures them that his methods can help troubled kids become normal and well-adjusted again.

The clinic proves to be so popular that soon Hamilton Hill High School is nearly empty of students. One of Terry's classes has only eight students left. Chelsea is sure that the clinic is to blame and sends a protesting e-mail to Principal Nakamura, calling this new solution "un-schway". Nakamura calls Chelsea's father about the email, and Mr. Cunningham seizes on the excuse to enroll Chelsea in the clinic. Knowing that Chelsea is not necessarily troubled, Terry, Max and Dana are suspicious at how readily the clinic admitted her, and Max and Dana both agree that someone should look into the ranch, with Max casting a meaningful look Terry's way.

At the clinic, located on a ranch on the outskirts of the city, Chelsea wanders around and is rudely greeted by Sean, who is already trying to pick a fight, accusing her of talking about him behind his back. She tries to leave him by going to a friend of hers, Adam Stepnik. However, Adam is totally unresponsive to her, and she notices that he's painting a blank canvas using a brush with no paint. Sean sneers that Adam is still under the effects of the "ISO". Before Chelsea can get answers as to what "ISO" means, the students are herded into "class" by Vincent, the head guard of the facility.

That night, Batman starts his investigation of the clinic, eavesdropping through the wall using his fingertip mikes. The class consists of the students being forced to stand for hours on end, listening to Dr. Wheeler yelling at them that they are worthless, and he is the only one who can help them. The students are not allowed to leave for any reason, not even to go to the bathroom. A boy tries to speak up, begging to go back to his room so he can sleep, and Wheeler orders Vincent to drag him away to the ISO as punishment. Bruce identifies Wheeler's methods as a form of brainwashing, used by cults and sometimes on prisoners of war. Disgusted, Batman leaves, but his foot trips a laser and triggers the alarm, forcing him to evade the security guards led by Vincent who is piloting a mobile pod. He eventually escapes by throwing down a smoke bomb and then using the Batsuit's cloaking device to hide against a nearby tree.

Back in the Batcave, Terry says they have enough evidence to go to the police and have the clinic shut down, but Bruce reminds him that he would have to explain how he got the suit's recordings which he cannot do without revealing their secret. So, Terry decides to go undercover in the ranch as himself.

The next day, Terry enters the ranch to pay Chelsea a friendly visit, carrying a plastic video camera that slips through the gate's metal detector. Unfortunately, the desk guard, Vincent, confiscates his backpack with the Batsuit in it.

On the way in, he passes a boy named Donnie being visited by his parents, who is begging to be taken away from the ranch. Terry is told by another guard that Chelsea cancelled their appointment, but doesn't believe it. Fortunately, at that moment, Donnie breaks down and tries to escape through the gate, distracting the security guards long enough for Terry to slip inside the entrance to the main facility, where he hides in an air duct when the guard comes back.

Terry sees Chelsea

Terry sees how sleep-deprived Chelsea is.

Seeing Chelsea pass, he pulls her aside, and is horrified at the state she is in. She reveals that she hasn't been sleeping much, and she says that she was told that Terry was the one who canceled their appointment. He takes out the recorder and she describes the abusive conditions at the ranch and explains what the ISO is: a sensory deprivation tank that blocks out all feeling and sound, making the subject feel totally isolated. Reaching the end of her control, Chelsea breaks down crying and begs Terry to get her out of there. Now that he has the evidence he needs, Terry promises to help her as soon as he can return with the police.

But as he's about to leave the ranch, Sean stops him, trying to pick a fight. Terry keeps going, but Sean attacks him, bringing both Wheeler and his security guards. Sean is sentenced to the ISO, and Terry is searched, turning up the camera. Terry is taken prisoner as well, yelling at Wheeler that once the parents find out about him, they're going to shut him and his ranch down. As Wheeler and Vincent talk, Wheeler says that if anyone comes for Terry, they'll destroy the camera and it will be nothing but his word against Wheeler's in court, but if no one comes, they will do away with him. When Vincent expresses how Terry will not be easy to kill because he is a fighter, Wheeler tells him that they'll just have to "take the fight out of him" by putting him in ISO alongside Sean.

That night, Sean taunts Terry through the wall between their cells, describing the horrible experience he's in for. However, Terry convinces Sean to cooperate with him so that they can escape from the ranch.

Morning comes and the two are taken to the ISO chambers, but at Terry's signal, they attack the guards and manage to escape with the help of Adam, who takes Vincent out with his easel just as it looks like he has Terry on the ropes. Sean gets hold of the master keycard from the downed Vincent and uses it to release all the students from their cells. While the security guards are trying to round up the students, Terry retrieves his backpack from storage and suits up. The guards continue to overwhelm the students and begin to throw tear gas bombs as they try to escape. The guards are about to set off another, but Batman appears and single-handedly defeats the guards with the students cheering him on. However, Vincent suddenly appears and zaps Batman with an electric staff, but Batman quickly recovers, disarms Vincent and takes him out easily.

Sean's revenge

Sean wants revenge on Wheeler.

Batman then hears Dr. Wheeler pleading for mercy, and sees Sean dangling him off a high wall, intent on revenge against him for trying to put him in ISO. Batman pleads for Sean to stop, saying that he's now redeemed himself by freeing the students and helping shut the ranch down, and that he's a hero. Sean laughs this off and drops Wheeler, forcing Batman to save him. Sean is then apprehended by the guards.

The students run outside, where the police and their parents have arrived. Most of the students reunite with their parents, but Chelsea gives her father the cold shoulder, showing that she still hasn't forgiven him, much to his sadness. Wheeler and his guards are arrested. Terry and Bruce watch sadly as Sean is also taken into custody. The ranch may have been a fake, but that doesn't change the fact that there are still troubled kids in the world.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • This episode was conceived as a "gritty prison story" in response to the Columbine High School massacre. According to Stan Berkowitz, much of the grit was lost when revisions were made in order to get the network to approve the episode, which was a result of the backlash against violence in movies and video games consumed by children following the Columbine High School massacre.[1]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • When Bruce points out that taking the recording they have to the police isn't plausible, Terry's Batsuit is seen in the display case with a blue bat emblem.


  • This is the first episode in which Terry does not throw a Batarang.
  • Rachel Leigh Cook replaces Yvette Lowenthal as the voice of Chelsea.
  • Bruce shoots down Terry's idea of going to the police because the recordings from the Batsuit's microphones are inadmissible as evidence; oddly, in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry gives such a recording to the police when Jordan Pryce is arrested. However, in this episode Bruce points out that Terry would have a hard time explaining where he'd gotten the recording as the reason; something that isn't an issue in the film, as Terry is handing over the evidence to the police as Batman, not as Terry McGinnis.


Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis / Batman
Donnie (uncredited)
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne
Rachael Leigh Cook Chelsea
Donnie's mother (uncredited)
John Ritter Dr. David Wheeler
David Faustino Sean Miller
Don Harvey Vincent
Sam McMurray Chelsea's Dad
Guard (uncredited)
Adam Wylie Boy
Cree Summer Maxine Gibson
Lauren Tom Dana Tan
Girl in clinic (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances[]


Terry McGinnis: Let me see if I got all this: Jurgen is breaking up with Blade so he can see Chris, but Chris is interested in Eric, who doesn't want to date anybody. Now wait a minute, that doesn't sound like Eric to me.
Max: It's not. You're thinking of the other Eric.
Terry: Aw, man, there's two of them now?
Max: See how important these little updates are? Without them, people would start wondering why you don't know what's going on at school anymore.
Terry: I should just tell them I'm busy chasing renegade synthoids and living heads.
Max: They wouldn't believe it.
Terry: Neither do I.

(As Batman listens in through his fingertip microphones)
Dr. David Wheeler: ...easiest thing in the world, being a teenager: you get up, you go to school, you come home, and you do your homework. How do you mess that up?! Yet all of you did, in one way or another -- and now I have to clean up that mess!
Batman: He's been going on like this for hours, telling them how worthless they are and how only he can help them. Won't even let them go to the bathroom!
Bruce: Sleep deprivation, endless harangues; it's classic brainwashing. Some cults do it. It's also occasionally used on prisoners of war.
Batman: And Wheeler's doing it to kids.

Terry: What do we need more evidence for? You taped the feed from my fingertip mikes, didn't you? All you gotta do is take it to the authorities.
Bruce: And what do I say when they ask me where I got it? A little bat left it on my front porch?
Terry: (Realizes) Oh. You still got that plastic mini vid-cam? The one you can take through a metal detector?
Bruce: I've got it, but you're not thinking of...
Terry: Some jobs are just too tough for Batman. That's when Terry McGinnis swings into action.

Chelsea: The sleep thing's just the beginning, Terry. He's trying to break our will, turn us all into little robots. Wheeler's got this thing they call "ISO". Short for isolation. It's total sense deprivation -- no light, no sound. He uses it on the kids who don't get with the program. It...It... (starts breaking down) Terry, you've got to get me out of here!
Terry: That's gonna happen, Chels. Just as soon as someone I know sees this vid. In the meantime, just try to stay schway for another day or two, OK?
Chelsea: I'll try.

(As Vincent and another guard are taking Terry and Sean to ISO)
Vincent: Just think of it as a whole lot of peace and quiet...all at once.

(Sean is holding Wheeler over a long drop)
Batman: No!
Sean: Stay out of this!
Batman: You've made your point! This place is crashed and Wheeler's going to jail!
Sean: I don't care! The only reason I went along with it was cause I was hoping I could get a chance for this!
Batman: Don't you get it? You helped save everyone! You're a hero now!
Sean: A hero? (Laughs cruelly)
(Sean drops Wheeler)

Bruce: I got worried when you didn't come back.
Terry: Bet you brought one of your old Batsuits with you.
Bruce: You'll never know.

Bruce: I hope you don't think this place was typical.
Terry: No. But I sure wish we didn't need them.
Bruce: I know.
(They both watch sadly as Sean is loaded into the wagon)
Bruce: I know.