"Tyger, Tyger" is the thirtieth episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
Selina Kyle enters into the Gotham Zoo after-hours and examines a tiger kept in captivity. She calmly talks to the tiger, unaware of a sniper watching her from a tree. The sniper shoots her with a tranquilizer and jumps out at her. Selina insists that she won't let the man get to the tiger but her assailant tells her that's not what he's there for. A security guard arrives and sees the sniper carrying off Selina and is horrified by his gorilla-like appearance. The guard is shoved into the tiger pit and the sniper runs off with Selina.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne waits for Selina outside a restaurant and gets worried as she's very late. He calls Alfred, who knows nothing. Fortunately, an employee arrives and tells Bruce that Selina called and said she'd be late, as she would be visiting the zoo.
Believing Catwoman may be up to something, Bruce heads out to the zoo and hears the guard's story about the gorilla carrying Selina off and searches the premises. Finding the tranquilizer dart, he realizes something is wrong.
Elsewhere, Selina wakes up and finds a large, humanoid cat-creature approaching. The creature closely observes and sniffs at Selina. A man, Dr. Emile Dorian, arrives and introduces the creature as Tygrus and observes that he likes her. Dorian goes on to explain that he is a geneticist who works on creating new creatures such as Garth the ape man (Selina's assailant) and that Tygrus is the pinnacle of his work. He has now set his sights on Selina whom he knows is Catwoman. He then injects her with a serum.
Looking to get more clues, Batman goes to see Dr. Kirk Langstrom and asks about a compound he found in the dart. Langstrom identifies it as T-99: a compound used in splicing and the brainchild of Dorian, his old partner. Langstrom shows Batman a cat/monkey hybrid and explains that Dorian has worked on combining cat DNA with other creatures. However, Dorian moved to an island when his work started bringing negative attention.
Batman heads to the island and discovers a cat with bird wings flying around. Ignoring it, Batman seeks to break in through the skylight but Garth catches him. Batman and Garth crash into the skylight and Dorian tells Garth to leave them. He then proudly shows Batman his newest creation: Selina, transformed into a real cat creature.
Batman is horrified, but Dorian believes he's done Selina a favor. Batman attempts to free Selina and demands that Dorian reverse the project but Tygrus arrives and throws Batman from his father. Tygrus looks at Selina longingly but she looks away from him. Batman gets up and Tygrus, seeing him as a rival, attacks him. Batman is scratched and Selina runs up to Tygrus telling him to stop. Selina is confused as to what she is now and Batman tells her that he'll help her. However, Dorian orders Tygrus to take Batman outside and has Garth catch Selina in a net, much to Tygrus' displeasure. Dorian is intrigued by Selina's dominant human side and views Batman as a perfect chance to test Tygrus' abilities.
Batman is given a head start off into the island before Tygrus is released and Dorian tells him that if he can beat the creature, he'll get the antidote to Selina's condition. Once Tygrus is set off, Batman attempts to stop him with some gas bombs, but this only serves to make him angry.
Inside, Garth and Dorian prepare to inject Selina with the final part of the serum but she refuses to allow it and escapes. Dorian is unconcerned as there is no way she could possibly escape the island.
Batman and Tygrus continue to struggle with one another, and Batman finally manages to catch Tygrus in a net. Tygrus angrily shouts at Batman, revealing that he can speak. He explains that Dorian told him that with Batman gone, Selina will love him. Batman tells him not to count on it and leaves.
With her newfound abilities, Selina manages to track Batman who is crossing a rickety broken down suspension bridge. Unfortunately, Tygrus catches up with him and in the ensuing struggle the bridge breaks causing both combatants to fall.
Fortunately, Batman manages to catch a tree growing from the cliff side and evades Tygrus who seemingly falls to his death. Selina finally manages to find Batman but Tygrus arrives again. Selina gets in between them and tells Tygrus that Batman is not his enemy and her affections can't be won by killing him. Tygrus is confused, as his father told him the exact opposite of what Selina just told him, and he runs off.
Dorian is outraged that Batman is still alive and scolds Tygrus for his weakness. Batman arrives and says that he's not Tygrus' enemy and all he wants is the antidote and for Dorian to be brought to justice. Tygrus, however, can't leave his father unguarded and protects him. However, Dorian, blaming Selina for Tygrus' weakness, prepares to kill her. Outraged, Tygrus stops him from shooting her and in a fit of anger, Dorian threatens to kill him. Realizing his father has turned on him, Tygrus goes on a rampage. He destroys the lab, causing an explosion that topples the building.
Selina mourns Tygrus, but he then emerges from the building carrying the injured Dorian, asking Batman to take him for medical treatment.
Believing the antidote was destroyed in the explosion, Selina is now despaired as she is now stuck as a real catwoman. Tygrus invites her to stay with him, but Selina insists that she can't live like that. He sadly gives her the antidote and says goodbye. Selina invites Tygrus to come with her, but he turns her down, believing there's nothing left for him in the world, and returns to the forest. Batman thinks back on Blake's poem "The Tyger".
- Batman consults with Kirk Langstrom, referring to the formula that transformed him into the Man-Bat in "On Leather Wings".
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- Garth's mouth is completely closed when he says, "Don't trust her, doc."
- In the DVD closed captioning the name Tygrus is misspelled as Tygris. Additionally, Selina is misspelled Selena.
- There are several obvious parallels with the classic science fiction novel The Island of Dr. Moreau.
- The episode's title refers to the first stanza of William Blake's famous poem "The Tyger", quoted by both Dr. Dorian and Batman:
|“||Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
- The phrase "Fearful Symmetry" was likewise used as the title of an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
- Kirk Langstrom's line, "He likes cats better than people", is incredibly similar to what he said about his father-in-law Dr. March in "On Leather Wings", "I think he likes bats better than people".
- In the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, there are posters of a film titled Dr. Dorian's Island of Mutants. These depict a silhouette of a feline looking creature atop of a mountain, much like the last shot of the episode.
- The zoo security guard is also voiced by Jim Cummings and his voice sounds almost exactly like Sarge from the Army Men Series who was also voiced by him.
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Adrienne Barbeau||Selina Kyle|
Zoo Security Guard (uncredited)
|Joseph Maher||Dr. Dorian|
Selina: (To a tiger) Hello, handsome. It's criminal to keep you like this. If I had my way, you'd be running free, and the humans who did this would be put in here.
Selina: This is called kidnapping! The last I heard, it was highly illegal!
Batman: Selina! What have you done to her?
Dorian: He's all yours, Tygrus. He is prey to you, my boy, of no more concern than a rabbit is to a wolf, and when he's gone, nothing will stand in your way.
Batman: This is out of your hands. Tygrus, he's broken the law, committed crimes against nature.
Dorian: I only wanted you to be strong, to show no weakness, no pity!
Selina: Wait! Won't you come with us? There's nothing for you here.