Batman Beyond: Season Two
Season Two opens with introducing a friend of Terry’s, Maxine Gibson (voiced by Cree Summer, who has provided voices for hundreds of shows and games, including Susie Carmichael in Rugrats and All Grown Up, Valerie Grey in Danny Phantom, and Princess Kida in Disney’s Atlantis movies). In Splicers, Terry faces off against Dr. Cuvier, who leads the splicing movement in Gotham; splicing animal DNA in humans. DA Young stands against the movement, understanding its dangers. Even Terry agrees with him, though his friends are piqued by the teen craze. When Batman investigates the Chimera Institute (Reborn to be Wild), he’s electrocuted and captured. Cuvier injects bat DNA into Batman, but Batman escapes, in time to help stop an attack against Sam Young. Barb has to stop Batman from killing one of the henchmen (even calling him Terry in the process); the invading DNA is starting to take over. Barb calls Bruce to warn him and Terry steps out of the shadow; he’s now half man, half bat. He attacks Bruce, but the old man is a few steps ahead and already has a mutagen antidote ready. Terry is cured and takes Ace to help him track down Cuvier “you find, me stop.” Cuvier spends part of the fight as “a true Chimera,” injecting himself with multiple animals’ DNA. Then Batman overloads him and he gets real creepy. Ace leaps to Batman’s rescue and Batman returns the favor “don’t touch my dog.” The factory ends up going up in flames and Barb speaks to Terry afterwards; he can’t live a life of narrow escapes. It’s a thankless existence with few rewards. To Terry, the small rewards are the best, like now being friends with Ace.
Earth Mover is a bit creepy. Terry is studying with a classmate, Jackie, and they feel something watching them. Terry chases after a blob, which throws him around a bit (and he gets right back up), but it disintegrates into dirt. Later, there is an earthquake at a field where Terry is with Dana, Jackie, and her stepfather. Radioactive goo spills out and they all run. Batman swings in to the rescue. The truth comes out that Jackie’s birth father worked for Bill, until there was an accident illegally dumping chemical waste. Tony was believed dead and Bill adopted Jackie. Turns out Tony’s DNA was scrambled with the earth thanks to the waste and he’s now trying to contact Jackie and get revenge on Bill. Batman helps saves the pair and Tony finally dies. (Terry does have to point out to Bruce that ten years ago, when some of this went on, he was only seven so no, he didn’t read the news.)
A few Jokerz find a new government vehicle abandoned (because it was going to overheat) and take it for a Joyride. They terrorize Gotham with it and Batman has to work with the woman who developed it to get it shut down before the nuclear core blows. Of course, Batman saves the day and another teen realizes he does not want to join the Jokerz. Lost Soul is also a bit creepy; a businessman from the past who had his mind stored in a computer decides that when he’s woken up he’s going to take over his grandson’s body. He manages to take control of the Batsuit and attempts to drown Terry before Bruce uses the kill switch. The suit escapes the Batcave and Terry decides he’s going after it. Bruce tries to stop him; that suit is very powerful and just punched through a stone wall. Terry brings up “is Batman just the suit, or the man inside?” Bruce gives Terry one of his old utility belts and Terry uses Nightwing’s mask. The actual suits won’t do much good since they have bullet holes and cuts in them. Using his wits and gymnastic moves he already possesses, Terry faces off against the controlled suit and runs a spike plugged into a magnet to shut it down. At the end, Terry says he’ll be glad for a few nights off for Bruce to reprogram the suit. Bruce quips, it’s the suit that’s out of commission, not Batman.
Max is running a program in Hidden Agenda to discover Batman’s true identity; she’s brilliant and bored. Terry is fearful that she’ll find out his secret, but first he has to protect her from a band of Jokerz out to hurt her. They’re led by a classmate angry that Max beat his test score. For a while, Max believes Terry is one of the Jokerz, but quickly realizes the truth. She’s eager to help Batman, going after the female Joker when Batman tells her to run. “Not what I meant,” he quips. Max points out to Terry at the end that her knowing his secret can be good; she can cover for him with Dana when he as to cancel dates.
Batman gains a Stalker in Blood Sport. Stalker is a poacher who is now hunting Batman as the ultimate prey. He bears a scar down his back from an encounter with a panther; the scar now gives him enhanced strength and other abilities. Stalker also believes that the bat spirit is an ageless soul that inhabits the strongest warrior in each generation. Terry doesn’t realize he’s been marked after his first encounter with Stalker and ends up leading the man to his younger brother while he’s babysitting. So Batman swoops in to rescue Matt (which Matt finds thrilling). Matt even quips to his brother that Batman is super cool, unlike Terry. To which Terry responds, “we can’t all be Batman.” Ten is back in Once Burned, stealing from a high-stakes poker game to pay the Jokerz ransom to get her family back. Turns out, it was all a test by her family to prove her loyalty. Melanie stays with Terry while she’s in Gotham and really wants to get back together with him. But she goes on the run after breaking with her family and Terry decides to not read the note she left with Batman for him.
Max pressures Terry to let her help Batman in Hooked Up. He ends up agreeing when clues from comatose runaways lead to the Virtual Reality gaming room. Max is approached, but Terry is hesitant and suspicious. She goes without him and comes under the thrall of Spellbinder, who is using virtual reality to give people their dreams, in exchange for money. They steal when they run out and when they get too much of their dreams, it puts them in a coma state. Max likes the dream world because she’s alone at home and in the dream, her family surrounds her. She does ultimately help take out Spellbinder, but she’s beginning to learn what Batman’s world is really like.
Rats is another creepy episode (this season has several). As you can guess, rats feature heavily in the episode. Dana is mad at Terry for breaking another date, but decides to give him another chance when she finds a white rose. However, Terry ends up late for the date anyway (keeping Mad Stan from blowing everything up). And when Dana goes to leave before he arrives, she finds another rose, then is chased by large rats. She wakes up in an underground lair of Patrick, the rat boy. He collects unwanted things and has been spying on Dana, realizing that Terry’s been letting her down, so he’s brought her to him. She plays along to get Patrick to leave, then attempts to escape on her own (you go girl!). She gets away for a while, but ends up lost and stuck; Patrick finds her. Batman is also searching desperately for Dana when her father reveals to Terry that Dana never came home. He discovers the giant rats at their meeting place and follows them back to Patrick. While Batman fights Patrick, who has decided that Dana needs to die since she won’t stay with him and teases him like others have (he’s done this before…you might not want to think about that), Dana fights off the rats and starts a fire. Gotham’s underground seems riddled with chemical waste and a pool of it explodes while Batman flies Dana to safety. It’s Terry who meets her above ground and she has him take her home.
A psychic girl, Tamara, contacts Batman to save her in Mind Games. The Brain Trust told her parents she was going to a gifted school, but when they try to contact them, they get nothing. With Tamara’s help, Batman is able to track them down and rescue the little girl. Max pops up in the episode, helping Terry study while on patrol (all presidents are boring, according to Terry), and accompanying him to a swanky hotel to find the girl. There is a supposed ghost haunting Hamilton Hill High in Revenant. Strange accidents have been happening around school, so a few girls hold a séance to contact the ghost (at home, Matt wants to hold one to contact his father). Nelson interrupts them and the “ghost” attacks. Batman has to begrudgingly save Nelson. But Bruce doesn’t believe it’s an actual ghost; not because he doesn’t believe in ghosts. He’s seen actual magic, but this stunt seems “so high school.” Terry puts together some of the clues and visits Willie Watt in Juvie. Willie has retained his powers and is responsible. He escapes and goes after Nelson, then fights Batman. Willie is locked up again and cannot access his powers. At home, Terry reminds Matt of the good memories they have of their father.
When animals start going nuts in Babel, Bruce and Terry realize that Shriek is back. And Shriek plans to use sound to his advantage and terrorize Gotham; he’ll drive them all mad unless Batman hands himself over at midnight. Barbara tells him “you’re out of your mind” on the phone; Shriek answers “duh.” Barbara calls Bruce and he is the first to offer himself up as Batman. But he’s not the Batman people know now. And Bruce won’t hand Terry over so easily; while he may trust Barbara, he doesn’t trust the others around her. “That kid’s done a lot for the city; it’s time for the city to do something for him.” Max cautions Terry that he has friends and family that would miss him if he handed himself over. And the public isn’t going to do anything to protect their vigilante hero. But Terry still shows up at the Batcave in his suit; it’s not his first plan to just hand himself over, but he also remembers why he became Batman. And he figures out where Shriek is hiding. They fight and Shriek is buried in a pile of rubble. Back in the cave, Bruce thanks Terry for reminding him why he started his crusade. This is one of my favorite episodes because it’s about Terry as a person, not in the suit. He has to decide that he’s the kind of guy to put others ahead of himself. And I love Bruce standing up for him.
Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot is exactly what it says on the tin. Terry’s friend Howard is trying to be popular. When he accompanies Terry on an errand to a synthoid factory for Bruce (he has Terry run simulations against the classic villains as training), he discovers a man running a side-gig, hooking men up with…let’s say female companions. Howard orders himself a hot and loyal girlfriend. And it works to get people to come to his party. But “Cynthia” attacks Nelson when he makes fun of Howard. And she tries to go after Chelsea when she flirts with Howard; Terry manages to stop that. And at the party, when Howard tries to hook up with Chelsea, Cynthia goes berserk. Max buys some time for Batman to swoop in; and Howard does nothing to help when he utters “can we still be friends?” As Batman points out, that is never the right thing to say. Cynthia self-destructs and Howard now has to deal with irate parents.
While Barbara won’t hand Batman over to Shriek, she will believe that he killed Mad Stan in Eyewitness. To be fair, it’s not entirely her fault. Spellbinder is behind it; and Batman interrupted an undercover sting. But Terry has to go on the run for a while after he finds cops at his home asking to see him. Bruce luckily believes him and works to clear up the video recording of the last fight between Batman and Mad Stan. Barbara reminds Bruce that Terry has a record; he knows. Terry spent three month is juvie, but Bruce argues, the teen is still learning. And if Barbara takes Batman in and reveals Terry’s secret, she reveals a lot of other secrets too. Bruce is able to give Terry the clue to reveal Spellbinder. Barbara makes it up to Terry by giving him a student award to cover for the police looking for him.
Curaré is back in Final Cut. She’s taking out the rest of the Society of Assassins. The last member comes to Batman for protection (voiced by Tim Curry, a most excellent Cardinal Richelieu in Three Musketeers with Chris O’Donnell [who plays Robin in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin]). He’s planted a bomb in Gotham that will go off if he doesn’t input a code every twelve hours. Batman needs to stop Curaré, or a lot more people will die. Max again tries to help Batman, but Terry warns her off. She doesn’t listen and is almost killed by Curaré. Batman saves her (and warns her not to call him “Terry”) and the assassin dies. Now it’s a race to find the bomb and disarm it. And fight off Curaré. The latter task is Batman’s and Max has to deal with the bomb.
Dr. Wheeler has set up a ranch for troubled teens in The Last Resort. But his methods aren’t the best. Busloads of kids are being sent to the ranch for minor things, apparently due to a new parental liability law. Luckily, Terry is not sent, but Batman investigates because what kind of ranch would take his friend Chelsea alongside a legitimate threat like Sean Miller. Wheeler’s methods run alongside those use to brainwash prisoners of war; and he’s using it on kids. Terry heads in as himself to speak to Chelsea; he has to sneak past the guards to get the truth and ends up running into Sean Miller. Wheeler catches him and throws him in a cell. If no one comes looking for him, he’s to be terminated. Terry works with Sean to escape and Batman swoops in to finish the job. The kids run free and Batman has to stop Sean from killing Wheeler.
Terry’s friend Jared shows up again in Armoury. His stepfather throws him a lavish birthday party, then ends up laid off. As a weapons’ developer, his skills are just not called for now and he struggles to find a new job. An old buddy suggests some illegal methods and the man takes them so he can maintain appearances. That means stealing from Wayne-Powers and Batman gets involved. Jared figures out the truth of what his stepfather is doing and the partner is not happy. Batman shows up and the partner tries to kill him, but the stepfather saves him.
Batman’s identity is almost revealed in Sneak Peek. A nosy journalist, Ian Peek, has found a way to get exclusive dirt on celebrities. Turns out, he has a belt that allows him to go intangible and sneak through walls. When Ian gets in a spot of trouble, he finds the Batmobile and sneaks a recorder inside. He captures an image of Terry unmasking in the Batcave and Bruce alongside him. He plans to reveal the exclusive on television. Terry attempts to tell his mother, but she laughs him off. He goes as Batman to Ian to persuade him to not reveal Bruce; he’s done too much good for the city. Ian is his usual reporter self. Batman flies away. Then Ian needs Bruce’s help; he can’t control the intangibility, he needs Bruce’s company to save him; after all, the original scientist worked for him. Oh yeah, he killed the scientist. Bruce isn’t happy and walks away. Ian attacks and luckily, Batman is nearby. When he begins to sink through the floor, Batman tries to save him, but gravity is the only thing that works on him now.
Eggbaby actually won an Emmy award for the show and it is a fairly funny episode. It’s a classic family studies episode, which Terry is failing. So he has to take care of a baby simulator, an egg. While being Batman and facing Ma Mayhem and her boys from stealing rubies. Bruce is not happy that Terry takes the egg on patrol (for a second he thinks there is an actual baby and does Terry have something he needs to tell Bruce?), but he also won’t watch the egg. Through various mishaps, Terry has to get the egg back. And all the excitement is apparently good for his grade because he’s the only one to pass since he gave it positive stimulation.
There’s a synthoid on the loose in Zeta (which ended up being the backdoor opener to a new series that no, I did not watch). It first masquerades as a teacher at Hamilton High, then the feds show up and start shooting (not the smartest of ideas). Zeta was a deep cover operator for the NSA, whose purpose was to infiltrate, interrogate, and dispose of terrorists. Now it’s gone off target. Max gets involved and Batman goes to save her. Turns out, Zeta doesn’t want to kill anymore. Max persuades Batman to help and when Zeta resists killing an NSA agent, he does help Zeta disappear. The NSA shows up in the next episode, Plague, when they’ve hired Stalker to track down False Face, who is helping the terrorist organization Kobra spread a super virus through Gotham on credit cards. Batman and Stalker have to work together and their styles do not wholly mix. They stop the virus, but False Face gets away.
Batman faces a gang of thieves who have metal accessories in their bodies in April Moon, thanks to a specialized doctor. He gave the gang their powers hoping to save his kidnapped wife. When Batman does further investigating, it turns out that she was in on the operation, which breaks the doctor’s heart. Batman is able to defeat the gang, though the leader escapes. He goes to the doctor at the end of the episode, not knowing that the doctor knows the truth now (that can only spell bad things). Luckily, the next episode is a bit funnier, and a bit of a spoof on Star Wars. Sentries of the Last Cosmos is an elaborate series of video games. One of Terry’s friends excels at the game and is invited to the home of its creator. Who believes the story he has spun, that he is a Wise One and uses the kids on sentries to destroy his enemies, like the Dark Regent is on Earth. They attack a hall of records and Batman investigates afterwards (dissing Jar Jar at the same time). Batman is able to reach “the Dark Regent” first, who is actually the original writer of the game series, the other man was the producer, but wanted more of the profits, so he cut the writer out. His charade falls apart and the kids leave him. They turn up on the writer’s doorstep and ask their questions. “It began a long time ago, in a cosmos far from Earth…”
There is a masked man attacking people who disrespect kids in Gotham, named Payback. Bruce figures out the connection between the kids; they all attend youth counseling. Terry goes in and has a convincing story about being overworked and underappreciated by his boss. Batman goes after the wrong man first and gets in an argument with Bruce (proving his point). We do get this exchange (this episode has some of my favorite quotes from the show):
“Ow!” “Why weren’t you watching your back?” “I was too busy watching my front. Am I supposed to have eyes everywhere?” “Only if you want to live to a ripe old age.” “You don’t make it sound too inviting.”
They attend a fancy dinner and Payback attacks…as planned. Payback goes after Bruce.
“You’re a mean old man, you know that?” “Mm-hmm. And what are you?” “Your worst nightmare!” “You have no idea what my nightmares are like.”
Of course, Batman saves Bruce and Payback is revealed to be the counselor’s son, hoping that taking out the kids’ problems would allow his father more time to spend with him.
Terry leaves a date with Dana, Max, and Howard, then ends up following a guy in the subway. The next day, he’s not at school and Bruce can’t hail him. Max decides to help Bruce find Where’s Terry? Batman wakes up in rubble. There’s a runaway kid there who wants Batman out of his domain. He’ll lead him topside. Batman thought he recognized someone. He did; Shriek is behind it. But the tunnels make aiming bad for him. Batman sends the kid on for help, but Shriek strikes again, releasing the river into the tunnels. Batman can now escape and goes to help the kid. Meanwhile, Bruce and Max track down Terry’s backpack and Bruce uses Max as a decoy so he can find Terry. A well-aimed strike with his can puts Shriek out of commission and the kid decides to run back home. Luckily for Terry, his mother doesn’t suspect anything; she just now thinks that he makes his bed in the morning.
We discover Ace’s background in Ace in the Hole. His previous owner had him in dog fights. He managed to run away during a police raid and found Bruce while he was paying his respects to the spot his parents were murdered. They save each other from a clown and Bruce takes Ace home. Now the previous owner is back and Ace chases after him. Batman searches and even goes undercover as Terry. Ace finds the bandages with Terry’s scent and Batman discovers that the owner is making serostone growth hormones to use on the dogs. Batman has to face one of the huge mutant dogs, but Ace breaks free in time to help him. It’s a happy ending, with Bruce and Ace reunited.
I like the character development we see in this season. Bruce genuinely cares for Terry, even if he is sarcastic about it. He doesn’t want to see Terry hurt. And Terry cares for Bruce. When his mentor wears the powered Bat-armor, he’s fearful of the effect it will have on the elderly man. This season also shows Terry coming into his own as Batman. He doesn’t always need the suit and he’s developing his own deductive sense. Though, could the bad guys please stop electrocuting Batman? That’s got to have some consequences for Terry down the road.
Next Time: Season Three