Monday, August 5, 2013

Recap: Beware the Batman, Ep. 4

Wow. I've been looking at the statistics, and it looks like these recaps are quickly becoming the most popular posts on the site! And so, we come to Episode 4 of Beware the Batman. Will this one actually deliver what it promises? Hopefully.      

Fingers crossed, everybody.
The shortened theme begins, and you know what? Mini-rant time. Why is it that superhero cartoons don't have 30-second themes anymore? Now it's just 5 seconds at best. Spectacular Spider-Man had a good theme, Ultimate Spider-Man has none. Avengers: EMH had an awesome one, Avengers Assemble has none. Beware the Batman has a really catchy one, but they don't show it! I'm hoping that this is because the intro shows Tatsu as Katana, and they're "trying" to keep that hidden from the audience. Anyway, let's begin the recap of Episode 4, "Safe."

According to the "Previously on Beware the Batman," Tatsu jumped around, Alfred played chess wrong (I promise, I'm done ranting about that), Bruce isn't impressed with Tatsu, and Tatsu looks at a sword while they dub over a line from a different part of the episode that doesn't make sense in this context. Everybody got that? Good.

We open the episode proper on a shot of Wayne Industries, where Bruce is giving a speech to a crowd. He announces the development of something called the "Ion Cortex." Okay, so get this bit of comic book science. It's a glowing energy sphere that is also apparently an Artificial Intelligence, which can link up to power distribution all around the world through Wi-Fi and redistribute energy being wasted, which is estimated to create a surplus in 5 years.

So, skipping the obvious questions on this pseudoscience (It's just a glowy energy ball, so how is it also an AI?), how can it redirect power from, say, Arizona to the United Kingdom? How does it know when energy's being "wasted"? Can it detect the difference between leaving the TV on while you're shopping and watching it? Is there surveillance involved? Bruce says it will work globally, so is North Korea okay with this plan? Or even Canada? All of these questions and more will be completely ignored. It takes talent for a TV show to solve the world's energy problems and then make that fact irrelevant.  

Anyway, Bruce didn't invent this thing, and he introduces the man who did: a guy by the name of Jason Burr (in the comics, an evil terrorist leader, but that doesn't come into play here). He's visibly nervous as he gives his stilted speech, which gets worse as ninja stars hit his podium. Ninjas suddenly happen, and they smoke bomb the whole place and kick around the security. Bruce, Jason, and Tatsu run to the limo, when Jason falls behind and Bruce tells Tatsu to help him. She does, using some secret super-ninja moves of her own. She grabs one of the ninjas' swords and gets ready to finish him off, but is stopped by Batman.

Batman: "Once you cross that line, you can't go back."

Tatsu decides to inflict blunt force trauma instead, and they beat up ninjas together. After the last ninja disappears, Tatsu and Batman debate the merits of killing enemies, and Tatsu says she doesn't need "an ethics lesson from some nut dressed up like a bat." Batman tells her she just got one.

And he zips away. Tatsu makes sure Burr's okay, and he gets uncomfortably huggy. Tatsu takes Burr to the limo, where Bruce is waiting. He informs Burr that the ninjas are after him because he invented the Ion Cortex, and someone wants it. Bruce decides to take Burr to STATELY WAYNE MANOR to keep him safe.

Cut to the escaped ninja in a dark room under a spotlight, being chastised by a mysterious female voice who reveals that they are the League of Assassins. Then three ninjas appear from the shadows and kill the failed ninja. One of them, wearing a Silver Monkey mask and identified as Silver Monkey (appropriately enough), is then instructed to retrieve Doctor Burr.

We then cut to STATELY WAYNE MANOR, and Alfred is leading, Tatsu, Burr, and some security guy through the manor while expositing on the security. When he's finished, he refers to random security guy as Mr. Reese, but I'm going to call him "Agent Coulson." 

C'mon, look at him; the resemblance is uncanny.
Bruce walks up in a tux, saying that he's got a hot date, and that everyone else will be fine at the manor. Secretly, he actually goes to the BatCave and heads to Dr. Burr's lab on the BatCycle. Dr. Burr, meanwhile, plays with a toy motorcycle and then goes up to Tatsu to flirt. Badly. Tatsu rejects all his clumsy advances, and we cut back to Batman. He's using night vision to track footprints from the lab to the roof, and suddenly blocks swords with his gauntlets. Ninjas! They scuffle, and Batman gets on the Batcycle and speeds away.

Cut back to Tatsu (anyone else getting whiplash?), and Burr tells her what his MacGuffin, I mean invention, does. Tatsu tells him that's why the ninjas are after him. Burr flirts a bit more, and Tatsu tells him that he's not safe, even at the manor.

Meanwhile, Batman fights ninjas on motorcycles. It's awesome. He interrogates one, but gets no information. He calls the manor, but no one picks up, as Tatsu is making sure Burr's bedroom is safe. She tells him to sleep tight, and he starts haplessly flirting again. Tatsu smiles at him warmly, then shuts the door right in his face. Nice. Alfred is at the front of the manor, informing Agent Coulson on the lockdown protocols. Coulson goes out and talks to the guards out front.... and then hits them with poison darts! Coulson's a traitor! He must be working for S.H.I.E.L.D. to take out Batman! Then, two ninjas jump over the fence. I guess he's really working with the ninjas, then.

Back in Gotham, more ninjas on bikes, and he signals Alfred on his watch, causing him to run to the Cave and Batman tells him that they're coming for Burr. Outside, Coulson takes off his Mission Impossible-style mask and suits up as the Silver Monkey, running inside.

Was he wearing that under his suit and tie?
Alfred activates the outside security system after the assassins get in, so he's really just locking Batman out. Someone then enters Burr's room and puts their hand over his mouth. Seeing as how we cut to commercial, I bet it's Tatsu, and this is a cheap cliffhanger. After commercial, it turns out that I'm right. She tells him that something's wrong, and puts pillows under his blanket as a decoy. Again, the show voices my exact thoughts.

Dr. Burr: "Will that work? ...I'm...I'm taller than that."

They run down the hall, and run into a closet as SM (Silver Monkey) walks into the bedroom and poison darts the pillows. Tatsu quickly runs up and locks him in, but SM punches through the wooden door as Tatsu and Burr get to the Panic Room. Meanwhile, Batman's still fighting motorcycle ninjas, and he asks his computer how to get inside his manor, and it tells him how, with a 28% success estimate. Batman likes them odds. He takes out the remaining ninjas, and turns his bike into a glider, getting into the mansion by crashing down from above. Again, right as I think it...

Batman: "I need a new security system."

It's weird how this show can read my mind.

Tatsu and Burr make their way into the sitting room, when SM poison darts the wall. He recognizes Katana, and is surprised to see her alive, and says she'll die for her betrayal. They tussle impressively, and SM slashes her with mini-Wolverine claws.

I can't make fun of this scene, it's actually really good.
Then, Alfred appears and chases SM off with a shotgun, like a boss. SM slinks through the halls, and runs into Batman, and another good fight begins. As Bats becomes occupied with mooks, SM runs off to find Tatsu, who is currently with Alfred and Burr in front of the Panic Room. Alfred and Burr enter, but Tatsu stays behind, running off to her room and grabbing her glowing green sword. Alfred deactivates security so help can enter the manor, and SM puts a bomb on the Panic Room door. Before he can detonate it, though, Tatsu puts her sword on his neck and takes the detonator, demanding he disarm the bomb. After telling her that she was not worthy of the League of Assassins, he gets her with a shoe blade, and  grabs the sword. As he raises it for a killing blow, he gets conveniently taken out by Batman. Batman tells SM that his bomb won't do anything against the panic room door, and SM knocks it into the wall instead, making a sizable hole and escaping. Batman and Tatsu (after hiding her sword) follow suit.

After another scuffle, Batman loses his Grapple Gun and is knocked with SM off the cliff that the manor's perched on. He grabs SM, and Tatsu gets Batman with the Grapple, but SM gasses Batman and escapes.  Batman climbs up the rope, and Tatsu helps him ups, saying that she may have misjudged him. Then she finally feels pain at all of her injuries.

"Miss Yamashiro!"

Oh, great, it's Burr. And he's got a first aid kit?

Dr. Burr: "Give me room!  I'm a doctor!"

Again, right as I'm thinking it...

Alfred: "Wait, are you a medical doctor?" 
Dr. Burr: "I am tonight!"

He gets all melodramatic, and I have to admit that his antics are finally amusing me. Batman and Alfred look at each other, and we cut to the ninja spotlight room. SM informs the female voice (Lady Shiva, of the League of Assassins) that Tatsu faked her own death, but doesn't tell her about the sword. Interesting.... Shiva tells him to not worry about Burr anymore, and that they'll get the Ion Cortex another way. 

And with that, the episode ends and I'm watching a "Tales of Metropolis" short, and it's a hundred times better than the Wonder Woman ones they've been showing up to this point. Seriously, the short where Lois Lane tries to interview Batman might be the best short I've ever seen from DC Nation. Keep up the good work!

Final Thoughts
First of all, allow me to apologize for the lack of snark. The episode quality has been generally improving, so I've had less snark fodder. Second of all, the subplots are moving forward! Finally! Thirdly, the showmakers say that they want to use more obscure villains, but it seems like most of them are just the more well-known characters under different names.

Katana - Robin (Damien Wayne, with their mutual assassin training)
Magpie - Catwoman (female, claws, flirting with Batman)
Anarky - Joker (criminal mastermind spreading chaos, but less jokey, more Nolan-series)
Silver Monkey - Fox, Vulture, Shark (from TBATB, animal-ninjas who trained with protagonist)
Humpty Dumpty - Toyman (by the looks of things)

I really won't be surprised if we end up seeing the Puzzler (from the Adam West series) show up leaving riddles everywhere and stealing Gothamites' intelligence through their TVs. Still, there's something to be said for giving the more obscure characters a chance.

Back on task, I'm actually somewhat impressed by this episode, because I'm generally uninterested in ninja episodes of Batman, because they're all so similar. Here's how they all go:
*  World's best ninja wants a _______ (MacGuffin/Bruce Wayne) to ________(steal/destroy).
*  Batman stops them using his own ninja training.
(Bonus points if Batman trained with the villain of the week years ago.)

This one managed to stand out nicely using Tatsu in an interesting way, while simultaneously revealing her backstory (FINALLY!). Overall positive, but it is a ninja episode, so it's not my favorite. Still good, though, don't get me wrong. We'll see if we can get another good episode next time, when Humpty Dumpty appears in Episode 5, "Broken."

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