Growing Pains was first broadcasted on February 28, 1998 with a script by Robert Goodman from a story by Goodman and Paul Dini and directed by Atsuko Tanaka.
Robin fights to protect a young girl with amnesia named Annie who is being stalked by her “father”, who turns out to be Clayface. Having created the girl from his own body to scout out the city, he now intends to reabsorb her.
YEAH……that happens. Clayface created a young girl out of his body and needs to reabsorb her…that’s pretty messed up there.
But at the same time, it’s a really damn good episode, on the levels of the second part of Feat Of Clay and Baby Doll where you know what has to happen and there’s nothing really you can do to stop it from happening.
The great thing I appreciate about this one is that most of it is centered around Robin, Batman only shows up in very brief scenes especially towards the end, and it gives us a chance to get used to the character of Tim Drake, learning about how to be a kid alone on the streets of Gotham and dealing with a harsh reality. I mean, the line at the end from Batman perfectly sums up the episode as a whole, “sometimes there are no happy endings”, something that would also be an unfortunate omen for Drake’s fate as revealed later on in Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker.
The voice work on this is excellent, you not only have an excellent performance by Matthew Valencia as Tim Drake but a great performance by Francesca Marie Smith, better known as Helga on Hey Arnold!, playing Annie along with a really good performance by Ron Perlman as Clayface.
Add in great animation by TMS, a compelling story, great characters, and great conflict and Growing Pains is another winner for this series, the strongest episodes I’ve seen so far in this series at this point.