Episode title: Hidden Agenda
Original air date: October 16, 1999
Another exciting episode this week especially as it introduces the character of Maxine “Max” Gibson who will soon become another key character in the series. The downside though is that she is working on a program to reveal the true identity of Batman. At the same time the Jokerz have found themselves a dangerous new leader in the zombie make up wearing “Terminal” who is leading his goons with a worryingly high level of professionalism, but does he hide an ulterior motive?
One of the few episodes to not feature Bruce, here Terry is left to fend for himself with no reason given for Bruce’s absence. Not that it affects the episode as at this point Terry has proven himself more than capable of handling his Batman duties without Bruce’s help. This episode also sees the Jokerz being used as a major threat, even if they seem to have a rotating door policy when it comes to their leaders, though Terminal manages to stand on his own merits, let alone the mystery surround his true identity which forms the real backbone of the episode while giving the Jokerz a worthwhile reason to be featured rather than local colour or being an annoyance while Terry battle another threat. The fact that he is also voiced by DC Animated regular Michael Rosenbaum also doesn’t hurt the character either; it’s just a shame that he would be relegated to the roster of one shot villains, especially when he could have easily have been given another scheme even one outside of the Jokerz.
While the episode is essentially another Hamilton Hill High School set episode, the fact that this time it is used more as a setting than the location of the issues, helps it to rise above seemingly like we are watching Batman the high school years. In fact for this episode it only adds to it as the true identity of Terminal is teased out, while his motives for joining up with the Jokerz only further playing into this setting as the pressures to succeed are given as a motive. An idea which feels in many ways like the writers drawing inspiration from Asian cinema were the ideas of youths uprising as a result of such pressures has frequently been used, with a key example being “Battle Royale” and here it works just aswell within the setting of Neo-Gotham as we see Terminal having to deal with a disappointed mother who expects nothing but perfect grades from her son and inturn making a target of Max who currently dominates the top of the exam results.
Max is great addition to the show with her quick wit and computer skills she really fills the void left open by the lack of an Oracle type character which until this point has largely been filled by Bruce giving guidance from the bat cave. At the same time she proves an additional level of cover for Terry which comes in handy especially when dealing with making excuses for Terry not seeing Dana. She also joins the very small group of characters who figured out the true identity of the Batman.
A strong episode with several great action moments throughout including Terminal using killer chattering teeth while later trying to assassinate Max using acid spraying cleaning robots. The episode provides the perfect introduction for Max who at the same time is adamant that she’s no intention of being Terry’s Robin, though he may have found his Alfred.