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Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E62 "His Silicon Soul"

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Batman faces the last remaining H.A.R.D.A.C. robot, a Batman duplicate, who believes himself to be the real Batman.


Tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: A rare case where this benefits the hero (and humanity as a whole). The android rejects its programming, which in effect, utterly vanquishes H.A.R.D.A.C. (Sadly, the android itself destroys itself as a result.)
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Batman Gambit: Batman made his android copy think it killed him, to see if it would trigger Batman's own feelings against killing in the android.
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  • Big "NO!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Humanity is saved and the threat of H.A.R.D.A.C. is gone forever. Sadly the android had a Heel Realization just before that happened, leading it to be Driven to Suicide, and his death could have been avoided.
  • Call to Agriculture: Karl Rossum briefly takes up farming after the disaster of the H.A.R.D.A.C. program. He eventually does return to the robotics business full-time.
  • Chase Fight: The android Batman and the real Batman engage in this at the climax.
  • Deceptively Human Robots: Subverted. The Batman robot started out as a deceptively human robot, but became a Ridiculously Human Robot over the course of the episode. So human, in fact, that it sacrificed itself to prevent the scheme it had set in motion from hurting people. Because like the real Batman, the robot copy is unwilling to kill, ever.
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  • Do Androids Dream?:
    Bruce: It seems it was more than wires and microchips after all. Could it be it had a soul, Alfred? A soul of silicon, but a soul nonetheless?
  • Driven to Suicide
  • Gone Horribly Right: H.A.R.D.A.C. wanted his robotic replacement for Batman to be utterly indistinguishable from the real one. As it turns out, he did so by genuinely replicating his personality-and morals.
  • Heart Drive: A single piece of H.A.R.D.A.C. serves as a backup for his entire programming.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: H.A.R.D.A.C. created a duplicate Batman all too well.
  • Homage: The episode has the premise of Blade Runner, with Batman's replicant believing it was Batman.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Bruce calls his android duplicate as "it" even when questioning whether the android had a soul.
  • Kill and Replace: H.A.R.D.A.C.'s final creation, a robotic duplicate of Bruce Wayne/Batman activates long after its initial defeat. The duplicate lacks a complete memory file, and thus believes itself to be the REAL Batman until it learns otherwise. It then begins trying to carry on H.A.R.D.A.C.'s mission by eliminating Batman and replacing him. Turns out, H.A.R.D.A.C. did too good a job copying Bruce Wayne's mind, and the robotic duplicate can't handle the guilt of thinking it actually killed a human being (Batman was actually OK though) and self-terminated.
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  • Killed Off for Real: The last remnant of H.A.R.D.A.C. is gone forever.
  • Knockout Gas: After escaping into the Batcave and running down to the Bat Computer, Alfred attempts to use this on the duplicant, but the duplicant removes Alfred's air filter mask once it catches up to him, knocking Alfred out.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Batman robot, having absorbed the original's moral principles along with his basic knowledge, is horrified when it thinks that it killed Batman. He freaks out and destroys the computer, causing an explosion that destroys himself and H.A.R.D.A.C.'s last remains.
  • Oh, Crap!: Alfred gets this upon seeing the Batman robot's circuitry and realizing it's a duplicate.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: In fact, that was H.A.R.D.A.C.'s flaw here. He made the duplicate too human.
  • Robot Me
  • Robotic Reveal: Batman is shot by a thug. The thug is rather surprised, not because he managed to shoot Batman, but because he sees its circuitry.
  • Sequel Episode: To "Heart of Steel".
  • Shout-Out: Like in "Heart of Steel", the android's face is partially destroyed, showing its metallic skull underneath, very similar to the Terminator.
    • Karl Rossum's name is also a reference to the science-fiction play that first coined the word robot, "Rossum's Universal Robots."
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: The robot copy of Batman that H.A.R.D.A.C. created in a final attempt to gain revenge on Batman and Kill All Humans follows his human template's example all too well. The robot has a Heroic BSoD when it thinks it killed Batman during their fight and sacrifices itself to foil the scheme it had earlier set in motion when it realizes more people will die because of it.
  • Title Drop: Spoken by Batman at the end. (See Do Androids Dream? above.)
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed. When a robotic Batman (mistakenly) thinks that he has killed the real Batman, he becomes so horrified that he commits suicide. Batman later reflects on this, and wonders if the robot could have had a soul.


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