The Royal Flush Gang is back in King’s Ransom, minus Ten. And King gets angry if you mention her. Turns out he’s working with Paxton Powers; well, more like Paxton’s assistant. King is having an affair from his Queen. She’s not happy with the state of the family, things are not like when her father was in charge. King tries holding Paxton for ransom, but Bruce won’t deal. If King has a problem, Paxton wrote the policy. Though Bruce is now able to nail Paxton on some crimes (and Barbara has a snarky comeback when Paxton protests being arrested; he’d never try to kill Bruce, he was like a father to him. Well, Bruce doesn’t glow in the dark like Paxton’s real father). And when Queen finds out about the affair, she goes after her husband. King protests to Batman, “do you have any idea what it’s like living in someone’s shadow?!” (Yes, he does.) On a happier note, Melanie stays out of the criminal activity and even pays Jack’s bail so he can have a fresh start.
There is a thief running around Gotham, stealing isotopes and wearing a force field, making him Untouchable. Bruce and Terry investigate the force field and discover that Wayne Enterprises is funding its’ research to be used for patients with weak immune systems. Terry befriends one of the female teenaged patients (and Bruce makes a crack that women used to throw themselves at his feet; he simply stepped over them). She does help discover that one of the doctors is behind the thefts. While Bruce is away in Inqueling, Terry has to face Inque by himself; he refuses to risk Bruce again, after the last encounter brough out the dangerous Bat Armor. Dana is not as upset about Terry missing their date; she’s figured out that Bruce is a father figure to Terry. Terry admits to Max that his girlfriend may not be so far off. Inque is in trouble and needs to lay low; she finds her daughter and convinces her to steal the appropriate mutagen. But after only sending money her entire life, the daughter betrays her mother for her large bank account. Batman is not convinced that Inque is truly gone at the end.
An old friend of Terry’s returns; Charlie Big Time Bigelow. He was the one who took Terry on a heist when Terry was fourteen and Charlie was eighteen. It was when Terry’s parents were divorcing and he was being an angry kid with Charlie. Terry didn’t realize what was going on until it happened. Terry got three months in Juvie, Charlie got three years in jail. Now he’s out and wants Terry’s help. Terry refuses; he has a life now, a job. However, he still feels guilty and tries to get Charlie a job at Wayne Enterprises. Bruce figures out that Charlie is trying to get in with another crew and is using his connection. Terry goes after Charlie; Batman is waiting at the next break in. Charlie is exposed to cerestone, a growth hormone. He becomes large and disfigured and goes after the crew. Batman is involved in the fight and takes down Charlie.
Bruce starts to feel his age in Out of the Past. Terry treats him to the Batman musical for his birthday; Bruce does not find it amusing. [Though, the music and lyrics are very good, even using “I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman.” And criminals are a “superstitious and cowardly lot.”] he reminisces about his past relationships and Talia al ’Ghul steps out of the shadow. Terry even knows who she is; he’s actually done research on the Bat computer. She’s offering Bruce a trip to the Lazarus Pits for eternal youth. Bruce takes it when Batman has to save him and a young woman from an accident. The process works and Terry enjoys working out with a more youthful Bruce. But Bruce feels like it’s a cheat, so they plan to leave. The guards won’t let them, so the two kick butt together (and the Animated Series theme plays for a minute). And Talia is actually Ra’s al Ghul; he used his own daughter to continue to cheat death. His ultimate plan is to transfer his consciousness into Bruce, now younger and stronger, and return to Gotham to take over the company as Bruce’s long-lost son of Talia’s. Batman to the rescue! The pits are ultimately destroyed and Bruce bids farewell to his beloved.
There is a gorilla on the loose in Speak No Evil. The local university used human DNA to give the gorilla human intelligence. Now he’s after James van Dyle; he appears to be a conservationist but is actually a poacher and captured the gorilla and his mother years ago. Batman helps the gorilla and investigates, but he’s captured. The gorilla helps get him out of a tiger’s cage and the commissioner is there to arrest van Dyle. Bruce and Terry release the gorilla back into the wild so he can scare away poachers.
Superman shows up in The Call, a two-part episode. The Justice League tower in Metropolis is facing danger, superheroes are being put out of commission. Superman comes to Gotham to ask Terry to help the Justice League. The other members are not happy about young Batman joining them and they don’t trust him. Batman does his research and even rescues Aquagirl when she’s in danger. Superman feels there is a traitor in the League and right now, he only trusts Terry. Metropolis is under multiple attacks and the League is spread thin. Warhawk receives a distress signal and Batman follows him because no one else heard it. Warhawk is apparently killed in an explosion and when Bruce investigates the footage, it looks like Superman is responsible. Bruce has kept kryptonite on hand, in case Superman ever went rogue again. His directive to Terry is “do whatever it takes, but make sure you stop him.” However, turns out that Warhawk is alive; he suspected something when he was the only one to receive the distress call and now trusts Batman when he suspects Superman. When they go to confront Superman, he is being controlled by an alien starfish. He escapes, but Bruce knows where the Fortress of Solitude is located. There, the League finds a zoo of alien creatures. Batman uses kryptonite to stop Superman and Aquagirl is able to read the starfish’s mind to discover that the starfish was kidnapped from its’ home world. Superman eventually freed him, but kept him locked up again. Now the starfish wants freedom and to take over the world, so he’s using Superman. Superman and the starfish wake up and take control of the League, except Batman. Now Batman has to fight several other superheroes in order to save the world (just another day in the life, huh). Superman goes after Batman and eventually an electric shock brings Superman back. They work together to free the League and to stop the starfish’s friends from escaping. Superman almost traps Batman (“he knew what he was getting into” Superman tells another hero when they protest Batman is still underwater), but Batman flies up at the last second. They send the starfish home and Batman is offered a full-time position with the League. Old Batman was only ever part-time. Then they have something in common, Terry remarks. Superman muses, more than you think.
Big Time is back in Betrayal and Bruce has to warn Terry against going after Charlie again. Leave it for the police. But Terry won’t back down. He ends up kidnapped by Charlie (Max picks up the backpack with the suit and Bruce calls her to warn her against putting it on…the old man knows everything). Charlie wants Terry to join the new operation as his loyal companion. Terry refuses, which makes Charlie angry. Terry escapes and Charlie chases. When he catches his old friend, Charlie says he can’t kill Terry due to their friendship. Terry convinces Charlie to go to the police; yes, he’ll go to jail, but while there, Terry will have Bruce’s company search for a cure to the cerestone. When the police arrest the gang, Charlie runs. Terry is only slightly surprised, but now he’s angry. Charlie lied to him; he never had any intention of going good. He used it as a way to get the leaders out of the way and now he’ll take over the gang. Bruce drives by and throws the bookbag to Terry. Batman appears a minute later to save Bruce and take on Charlie. Bruce once again warns Terry against facing an old friend. Charlie ultimately falls off the bridge during the fight and Terry claims he outgrew him.
Terry faces the Kobra cult in the two-part Curse of the Kobra. They start by stealing a thermal bomb and Batman can’t face off against all of them. Instead of berating Terry, Bruce sends him to an old martial arts teacher to fine-tune his technique. There, Terry makes friends with Zander. He even introduces Zander to Max when they go to get a slice of pizza (“who’s bad, who’s rad, who’s never been had,” she cheers when she beats Zander at a video game). But Zander is being groomed for something else and can’t socialize with his new friends. Turns out, Zander is the leader of Kobra and they have something big planned. Then he kidnaps Max (who immediately calls Bruce and Bruce immediately sends Batman to her house when they hear her scream). Batman ends up with a minor concussion and four cracked ribs after trying to go after Max and Zander. Bruce warns him that it will hurt to move and breathing won’t be fun. He helps with the investigation since Terry is in no condition and blaming himself is not productive. When Bruce finds the hideout, Terry immediately suits up: “I’ll breathe on the weekend.” “It’s a toxic waste dump,” he tells Bruce when he arrives. “Or so they say. Can you think of a better way to make people want to avoid the place?” “Call it a high school?” Terry quips. Max meanwhile attempts her own escape (after being changed out of her clothes into something that is almost slave-Leia inspired). She’s stopped by a dino-man, the result of a Kobra lackey breathing in green gas. Zander’s master plan is to use the thermal bomb to heat the Earth up so only he and his men will survive and thus they’ll rule the world [not the brightest plan], and he’s chose Max as his companion. He likes that she’s different, though to make her subservient, he does order her to be gassed. Batman goes in (sore) to rescue Max and receives a bit of help from a ninja in the shadows. After Zander breathes in the gas to go through the transformation, their teacher (the ninja) appears to take him down. She buys Batman and Max time to escape.
At a science symposium in Countdown, Mad Stan interrupts to “blow it all up!” He comes across a man in distress afterwards and rescues him from federal agents. The man is actually a synthoid; Zeta is back [tying in to the new show that was developed]. Mad Stan figures it’s the feds out to get him so he arms Zeta with a secret bomb and releases him. Batman discovers the plot and now has to go after Zeta. He tries to get the feds to help him, but they are only concerned about getting Zeta back, not the innocent people that could be hurt or killed. Batman of course finds the bomb in time, but they’re surrounded by the feds. Zeta pretends to be Batman so he can escape and Terry gets out as himself in disguise. [Not a terribly exciting episode. Nor is the final episode.] Unmasked relates a mission Terry had when he was first becoming Batman when he showed a young kid his face in order to rescue him. Kobra found out and kidnapped the kid so they can find out who Batman is. Terry lucked out and the kid remembered his face as a famous action figure. Terry uses the tale as a caution to Max for making jokes about Batman in Terry’s place.
If the final episode feels like a letdown, never fear; Terry McGinnis shows up as Batman in a follow-up movie Return of the Joker and several episodes of Justice League Unlimited. What I really appreciated about this season is Bruce showing obvious care and concern about Terry. I do so love when a crochety character shows tenderness to a select group of important people. Bruce may be learning from his past mistake of shoving people away. Overall, the episodes are not as interesting as season two, but Out of the Past was fairly interesting, giving Bruce a little bit of the limelight again. Charlie Bigelow as a villain after being a friend to younger Terry is a good twist; Max remarks in his second appearance that Charlie was always a monster, just now his outside matches his inside and Dana never trusted the guy. It highlights Terry’s growth as a person. As he remarks when Charlie first approaches him, he has a life now.
Next Time: Return of the Joker and the other episodes featuring the new Batman.