The original Batman: The Animated Series run comes to an end with Batgirl Returns, first broadcasted on November 12, 1994 with a script by Michael Reaves & Brynne Stephens and directed by Dan Riba.
While Bruce is in Europe on a Wayne Enterprises business trip, the theft of a jade cat statue occurs at Gotham State University. Barbara Gordon again becomes Batgirl to investigate, only to run into Catwoman, who is also investigating, pointing out that the acid residue used to destroy the security system is not her style. The two team up to find the statue, with Robin tailing them, and things go from bad to worse when Roland Daggett is revealed to be involved.
One thing I will give the second season of Batman: TAS is that most of the animation is excellent, Dong Yang Animation has done most of the animation for the course of this season and they’ve helped to up the quality of each episode going into this newer season and nothing could prove that more than the first 90 seconds of the episode alone, check this out:
By the way, the facial expressions in this episode may be some of the best you will ever see on this show not just on Batman at the end but on everybody else in that scene, you can definitely see a lot of the inspiration on the old Max Fleischer Superman cartoons in this episode with the animation in this one, they really ended the original run on a bang animationwise.
Not only that, but the episode is just a really fun episode where you get to see a lot of what we’ll eventually see in the final incarnation of the series where you’ll see one character teaming up with another character for the majority of the episode, in this case it’s Batgirl (Melissa Gilbert) and Catwoman (Adrienne Barbeau) working together and it leads to a lot of really enjoyable and funny scenarios between the two. Honestly, this may be the overall best Catwoman episode I’ve seen up to this point so we did it, we finally found an overall great Catwoman episode…okay, we had a couple of good Catwoman episodes here and there but this one may be the overall best one so far. Gilbert and Barbeau work off each other nicely over the course of the episode.
I do think it is kind of amusing that on the very last episode in this incarnation of the series, Batman is barely in the episode, just in the beginning and that’s about it, only mentioned in passing afterward. But then again, it’s a precursor to what the next incarnation of the series ends up becoming more of having supporting characters teaming up while Batman is doing something else so, it evens itself out.
Batgirl Returns is a fun little finale to the original Batman TAS run, spectacular animation, great story, great action, and just a fun episode all around. They end the original series on a really good note.