DCAU #311: Lost Soul

IN THIS ONE... An A.I. based on a dead C.E.O. takes over the city and Batman's suit.

CREDITS: Written by Stan Berkowitz; directed by Butch Lukic.

REVIEW: Haven't we JUST had an episode about a dead businessman (Vance) who returns to haunt his family as a possessing spirit/monster? Earth Mover was pretty effective and really traded on horror tropes. Lost Soul is the sci-fi version of that story, with an Artificial Intelligence built from a C.E.O.'s memories who slips into the Internet when his unambitious grandson inherits the company and proceeds to cause mayhem, steal Terry's suit, and proceed to attempt an upload into said grandson's brain. It's a little bit HARDAC, a little bit Brainiac, a whole lot Earth Mover, so not entirely original.

It's acting as a virus on the suit that gives the episode its oomph. The "infection" is well represented visually, with red circuits turning green (and later, superimposition of circuits on a brain schematic), and the initial infection plays out slowly and leads to Vance almost drowning Terry. Bruce is forced to throw the kill switch, freezing him underwater while he leaves the office (rare occasion!) to retrieve him. The fact that he does so so coldly and calmly should fill you with apprehension. But the suit doesn't stay deactivated and leaves on its own support - more rigid that you'd have thought, not sure how I feel about that! The final fight is great showcase for Terry, showing he has the stuff even without all the tech and the powers that come with it, and giving the production the chance to go to town on the Batman suit, impaling it, ripping its face off, etc. Effective! When Vance is finally destroyed, he cycles through his memories, right down to childhood in a "Daisy Daisy" kind of way. I wish we knew the character better, because it lacks the pathos I think they were going for.

Villain aside, this really is about Terry showing he could have been Batman without all the toys. Or at least a Robin/Nightwing (even wears the latter's mask). He's teased about how easy he has it, and Bruce tries to argue with him about going out to face Vance without the suit, but gives us a proud smile when Terry insists. At the end, Bruce explicitly says the suit isn't Batman, Terry is. It's at once a cute, proud papa ending AND a cold Bruce moment implying "Batman" can never rest. Well done.

SOUNDS LIKE: Vance is played by TV's Mike Hammer, Stacey Keach. His grandson Bobby is Rider Strong, AKA Shawn on Boy Meets World.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - That final fight looks really cool and the Bruce-Terry relationship reaches a new level, which makes me forgive the fact that the story feels redundant at this point.

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