The World's Finest Presents
Episode #041 - Tyger, Tyger
Original Airdate - October 30th, 1992

Selina Kyle is kidnapped by genetic engineer Dr. Emile Dorian and becomes his latest experiment to provide his man-cat hybrid named Tygrus with a mate. Batman learns of this and comes to the island to rescue Selina. He is captured and forced into a deadly game of cat-and-flying mouse as Tygrus hunts Batman through the island's jungles. 

Media by Bird Boy
Reviews by Gaunt, Robin III
Story by Michael Reaves and Randy Rogel
Teleplay by Cherie Wilkerson
Directed by Frank Paur
Music Composed by Todd Hayen
Animation Services by Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.

Kevin Conroy as Batman
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred
Adrienne Barbeau as Catwoamn
Jim Cummings as Tygrus
Joseph Maher as Dr. Dorian
Marc Singer as Langstrom

Screen Grabs


GARTH: The doctor don't take kindly to uninvited guests.
DORIAN (from the lab below): Garth! Bring him down here!
DORIAN: That's one way to do it.
DORIAN: Doesn't he remind you of Blake's poem? "Tiger, tiger, burning bright in the forests of the night. . ."?
DORIAN: I want to test Tygrus' reflexes and feral strength and who better to pit him against than you? I'll give you a generous head start before I release Tygrus. If you defeat him, I shall relinquish this, the antigen to reverse Catwoman's mutation.
BATMAN: How do I know you'll keep your word?
DORIAN: You don't. The clock is ticking, Batman.
BATMAN: So, you can talk.
TYGRUS: My father taught me.
BATMAN: Your father was a test tube.
DORIAN: I only wanted you to be strong! To show no weakness! No pity!
TYGRUS: As you wish, father!
CATWOMAN: Wait! Won't you come with us? There's nothing for you here.
TYGRUS: There's nothing for me. . . anywhere.
BATMAN (voice over): "Tiger, tiger, burning bright in the forests of the night. What immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful symmetry."

Review (Gaunt): Introduction

Tyger Tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Tyger, Tyger is usually defined as a love/hate episode. Some pointed out Langstrom’s cameo, Batman’s relationship with Selina, and Tygrus as reasons of why the episode is good. Others claimed it was a blatant rip-off of The Island of Dr. Moreau, as well as a bad portrayal of Catwoman.

Personally? I love the episode. It was a favorite in my childhood and remains that way today. As for the review, I’m going to try something different…..

You see, many people recommend reading the poem (“The Tyger”) before judging “Tyger, Tyger,” claiming that it gives better insight to the entire meaning of the episode. With this in mind, I’ve decided to incorporate my analysis of the poem AND the episode combined, as well as my theories of what the episode is about.


“The Tyger” was one of the poems in the book Songs of Innocence and Experience. Partnered with “The Lamb” (another poem in the said book), “The Tyger” ponders the nature of God and man’s perception of him.

Christianity generally portrays God as an all-loving and forgiving being (with exceptions, such as Calvinistic and Puritan thought). Blake, however, argues to the contrary, in “The Tyger.”

And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?

The first thing to note is the qualities of a tiger. The tiger is a predatory mammal, best known for its killing ability.

What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

The second thing to note is the imagery of this specific part. Quite obvious, Blake is referring to a forge. By doing so, Blake parallels the dangerous capabilities of a tiger with that of a weapon, inferring that the tiger was designed with death as its main focus. To finish it off…..

When the stars threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Here is where the ideas come together. God, the “benevolent” creator of all things, had the “audacity” (notice how the first and last parts of the poem differ. “Could” is replaced with “Dare”) to create something as deadly as a tiger.

So what does this have to do with a cartoon episode? Well, the story starts with the abduction of Selina Kyle by Dr. Emile Dorian. Dorian is a genius, better known for his work in genetics prior to his “self-exile.” Dorian mutates Selina into a half-cat hybrid, hoping to provide a mate for Tygrus, his ultimate creation. Batman, hoping to save Selina, is forced to match wits with Tygrus on Dorian’s jungle isle.

The parallel between the poem and the episode is quite obvious. Dorian experiments with living things, changing things from one thing to another. Literally, he is “playing God.” By doing so, he wades into the ethics regarding this role. But it is here that the plot makes a mistake. The episode is missing a critical aspect of the poem: the lamb.

No, I’m not suggesting a half-sheep hybrid (that would be wrong on so many levels). I’m talking about the central meaning of the poem. The quote reads:

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

To those not familiar with Christian thought, the Lamb represents Jesus Christ. Its inclusion in the poem is Blake’s means of discussing the moral ambiguity of God. God, the all-powerful, creates the Lamb, a symbol of peace and love, yet also creates the Tyger, a symbol of death.

The episode clearly points out how unethical Dorian’s work is. What it doesn’t state is the positive aspects of Dorian’s work. It doesn’t tell of his accomplishments in gene-splicing and the possible benefits of it. It just rams a message down your throat, which is contrary to what the poem is about.

Now, I can stop the review right now. I did connect the poem to the episode. But I believe that there is more to the episode then meets the eye. Thus, I will explore the other possible symbols in the next sections. Take note that these are just my personal theories!

Character Symbolism

Dr. Emile Dorian: Again, Dorian is a representation of “God” in the episode. Listen to some of his lines and his voice. Do you feel the feeling of pride he radiates? Do you notice how he views his work as a miracle, a blessing of which he bestows to those he deems as worthy? Regarding the cats, do you find it fitting that he chooses one species as the perfect blueprint and seeks to apply it to everything he wishes? And, of course, there are the promises. Dorian PROMISES Tygrus love and respect. Dorian PROMISES Tygrus’s union to Selina Kyle. Dorian, you see, is confident in his control, most likely due to his success in gene splicing. He commands respect and punishes those who disobey him. After all, for “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

Tygrus: Tygrus is a symbol of evolution. It makes perfect sense, really. Remember, Darwin was originally training for the clergy before going on his fateful trip to the Galapagos Islands. In fact, Darwin would incorporate religion into his theories. In real life, religion birthed evolution, which is thus incorporated in “Tyger, Tyger.” As for the qualities that place him as a symbol of evolution, examine his relationship with Dorian. Whereas Dorian adores Tygrus, remarking that he is the “perfect organism,” created by his “blessed” touch, Tygrus has motives fitting of animals. Tygrus seeks to best Batman, thus proving him to be the strongest, and thus gain the right to breed with a female (Catwoman).

Batman and Catwoman: Ironic, isn’t it? The show is about the Dark Knight and he (and his female companion) is the hardest to analyze. Not surprising, considering that the poem only discusses the nature of God.

But that doesn’t mean I have an idea of what they represent. After all, the episode itself deals with several moral/ethical issues. I grouped both Batman and Catwoman here because I believe they represent the same thing, albeit different aspects. I believe they represent humanity as a whole. Catwoman is the insecure aspect, the one seeking truth in a world. When she reveals her transformed state, she is confused, unsure of her nature or her place. Meanwhile, Batman represents the ethical side of humanity. He doesn’t err or waver in his quest. He remarks of the crimes Dorian has committed, ignoring any possible rationalization, stubbornly sticking to his moral guidelines. His determination to see justice done is what drives him throughout the series. Such thoughts are displayed very clearly here.

Character Conflict and Relationship

Dorian vs. Tygrus: Religion vs. Evolution
Historically speaking, evolution is the child of religion, just as Tygrus is the child of Dorian. For many years following its birth, evolution has attempted to fit in with religious thought, only to be met with blind defiance. After so many attempts, evolutionary thought had broken off. Such is the case in “Tyger, Tyger,” in that Tygrus attempts to fit the conditions Dorian sets on him (or at least compromise) only to fail. Tygrus then lashes out, destroying what linked him to Dorian and going his own lonely path.

Dorian vs. Batman: Practicality vs. Ethics
Though understated in the episode, Dorian has an underlying motive. He does what he wants, justifying it by any benefit the experiment can bring (or by his excessive pride). Batman, however, allows a degree of morality in his thought, not wanting “crimes against nature.” Such an issue is clearly shown today, in such topics like cloning, stem-cell research, or GM foods. One side believes the ends justify the means whereas the other believes that one should not willingly compromise the soul of society.

Batman vs. Tygrus: Superego vs. Ego
In keeping tune with evolutionary thought, Tygrus is self-motivated. He does not care for the repercussions of his actions, focusing only on his genetic survival (by breeding with Catwoman), a representation of the ego (the part of the mind that dictates thoughts for the survival of the individual). Batman, however, represents the superego (the part of the mind that dictates thoughts for the survival of the species). His motives are to bring Dorian to justice and restore Catwoman to her true form, things not necessarily to his own personal benefit.

Catwoman vs. Dorian vs. Tygrus: Free Will vs. Fate vs. Instinct
Both Tygrus and Dorian represent force of creation. God (represented by Dorian) had created a species for the purpose of worshiping him and doing his bidding. Evolution views everything in terms of adaptability, allowing the weak to be culled and allowing only the strong to survive. Caught between the two forces is man. Does man choose a life of devotion, never realizing any true potential or development? Or does man embrace evolutionary thought, despite any moral repercussions in this somewhat cutthroat existence? In the end, humanity chooses its own path.

This conflict is extremely flexible, as it can be modified to other viewpoints. For example, the Catwoman vs. Dorian vs. Tygrus conflict can be seen as a parallel to the treatment of women. God (represented by Dorian) had created Eve (represented by Catwoman’s mutation) to serve man, thus justifying there lower-status (God blames Eve for the corruption of man, represented by Dorian’s attempt to kill Catwoman). Tygrus believes that he can win a mate (Catwoman) by a show of strength and obvious genetic superiority (by killing Batman). Catwoman, however, chooses neither. She will not be controlled by “biblical justification” or a “primal instinct.” She will choose her own path. This is essentially a parallel to the treatment of women which, in the past, have been defined as either a lower being (for the exile from paradise) or a breeding tool (for the propagation of the species) and how the women’s rights movement changed that (in America, at least).

But again, this particular conflict can be fitted to many other viewpoints.

Character Portrayal

Batman: Excellent portrayal. It balances out Batman’s frosty exterior (“Your father was a test tube.” That was cold.) with the warmth underneath. You really see him care for Selina, and the inner rage of the actions of Dorian.

Catwoman: People complain that Selina was only the “damsel in distress” in this episode, but I don’t mind. If my character conflict analysis is correct, then she does show a degree of independence symbolically. My only complaint was her breaking into a zoo to talk to a tiger (DAMN YOU, SEAN CATHERINE DEREK FOR MAKING CATWOMAN INTO AN ANIMAL ACTIVIST!!!!).

Oh, and regarding her transformation, let’s just say I…..liked it.

Moving right along……

Dr. Emile Dorian: My only complaint was that this was his only episode. He could easily fit in with the Rogue’s Gallery. I see him as a combination of Langstrom’s genetic brilliance, Maxie Zeus’s delusional pride, and Scarecrow’s malicious nature.

Tygrus: Easily one of the most tragic figures of the animated series, Tygrus has no place in the world. Nature shuns him, for he is unnatural. Dorian shuns him, for Tygrus does not comply with Dorian’s vision. Catwoman shuns him (well…..), because she cannot fit in his lifestyle. So Tygrus abandons his search for acceptance.

“There's nothing for me...anywhere.”

Whereas Mr. Freeze had gained Nora (the only figure who loved him) and lost her, Tygrus had nobody who would accept him, forever alone.


I am extremely happy that the animation quality was this good. Many a good episode was cheapened due to bad animation (“Joker’s Wild” a good example). The superb animation helps add an epic flair to “Tyger, Tyger.”

What Could’ve Been

I believe that “Tyger, Tyger” should’ve been handled as a DTV rather than a single episode. This would’ve solved a lot of problems.

If they increased the time frame, the story could’ve filled in a lot of plot holes. Recall my complaint in the plot section regarding “the lamb.” The author could easily expand Dorian’s character, by showing the benefits of his research or displaying his origins.

The story could’ve also benefited if they explored Selina’s relationship with Tygrus. Watch the part of the episode where Batman discovers Selina’s transformation and attempts to break her out. After a brief scuffle, Tygrus looks to Selina (I assume for approval), and Catwoman replies with a dirty look. Then watch the parts where Catwoman stops Tygrus from attacking Batman. Notice how he is very gentle around her? At their first encounter, they didn’t meet on the best of terms, yet there is some understanding that suggests more to the relationship. I realize that if they did this it would lessen the shock the audience experiences when we see Catwoman’s transformation for the first time, but the potential benefit is far worth it. It would help the audience feel more for Tygrus (who mostly grunts and growls through the episode) when the ending rolls around.

And what about the confrontation between Batman and Tygrus? It was stunning, but rushed. Imagine a longer sequence, with Tygrus hunting Batman. It could be work through the course of DAYS. Imagine the suspense as Batman, running low on supplies and gadgets, having to rely more on his wits and cunning to survive. Meanwhile, there would be a similar hunt occurring elsewhere, with Dorian and Garth hunting the escaped Catwoman in the jungle.

And what about Batman’s relationship with Catwoman? “Tyger, Tyger” didn’t offer anything new to their relationship. But what would’ve happened if “Tyger, Tyger” was a direct-to-video movie, one with more time and more lenient standards? It’s not an outrageous thought. Mystery of the Batwoman had a lot of sexual overtones despite a bland and uninspired romance between Bruce and Kathy Duquesne. Mask of the Phantasm actually had Bruce sleep with Andrea Beaumont! And it’s not like Batman minds half-cat women (he smooched Cheetah in an episode of JL). Take into consideration that Catwoman is extremely vulnerable during the course of the episode and that there are at least two instances where Batman and Catwoman embrace rather closely. Imagine the ramifications it would have on both characters…

But nevertheless, if “Tyger, Tyger” was made into a DTV, I can see a backlash. The story plays with some touchy subjects, from religion to evolution to sex. Remember what happened with Return of the Joker? “Tyger, Tyger” could’ve, in a sense, been the Batman Returns of the animated series. A beautiful symbolistic tale that would nevertheless cause serious problems to the franchise.


“Tyger, Tyger” is perhaps THE episode in the animated series with the most potential. To me, it stirs the mind, asking questions of philosophy and ethics. Though, the story is incomplete, that doesn’t ruin the episode for me.

Score: 100/100

Review (Robin III)
: An excellent twist on the classic poem "Tiger, Tiger". This episode was very poetic in showing what the poem was all about. If you have ever studied the poem, you will truly appreciate this episode. If you haven't studied it, you will think this is trash.

The animation was also excellent in this episode, some of the best there is, with great facial expressions, animal movements, and athletic accuracy. More episodes should be done this way.

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