Sunday, August 18, 2013

Recap: Beware the Batman, Ep. 6

And, so, here we are. We've arrived at the final episode of Beware the Batman... for now. From what I'm seeing, the season's being split up into at least two parts, and we've reached the end of the first chunk of episodes. And with a heavy heart, and for the last time for a while... Let's recap Beware the Batman. 

Britney Spears doesn't show up, but there are a couple blondes involved.
Let's begin, as per usual, by looking at the "Previously On..." 
Interestingly, the flashback is to the events of the first episode, where shady-businessman Simon Stagg was rescued by Batman from Pyg and Toad. Hmm, makes sense. Metamorpho's gonna be appearing, and Simon Stagg is Metamorpho's nemesis. I guess that they're bookending this half of the season? I'd've thought it'd make more sense to bring back Pyg and Toad, but maybe it's a good thing to not repeat villains so early.

The episode proper begins on an establishing shot of Stagg's business HQ, and quickly cuts to inside the building, where there's a blonde making out with a security guard. Um... I'm gonna want to see your hands at all times, you two. This is being shown on for kids on a Saturday morning.

Guard: "Sapphire... we shouldn't be doing this here."

See? Even one of the characters is iffy on the idea of this almost-groping-makeout on a cartoon. They engage in some badly written "As you know" dialogue. You know, where two characters tell each other things that both of them already know? That's always been annoying to me. I mean, I was riding in the car with my sister from Ohio back home the other day. Do any of you really think I said,

"As you know, my sister, we're traveling in a car back to our childhood home, where you'll be staying for a while. It's a good thing we don't need gasoline at the moment thanks to filling up at that station a while back where we got these 69 cent fountain drinks!"

(For the record, I didn't.)

Anyway, the dialogue between the two tells us the following facts in as clumsy a way as possible: 
1. The lady is Sapphire Stagg, the boss' daughter. 
2. The guy is Rex Mason, a building security guard. 
3. "Daddy" doesn't know about their love, and probably wouldn't approve. 
4. Sapphire loves Rex for "the man inside." Can you say "plot point?"

A screen shows CCTV footage of the two. (Protip: Don't make out in front of security cams.) A begloved hand smashes the screen, and it looks like Stagg. Ruh-Roh, looks like he found out about these lovebirds! Suddenly, an alarm goes off, and, after grabbing one last snog for the road, Rex goes off to, you know, do his job.

Meanwhile, Batman's car-computer informs him of the same alarm, and he drives to investigate. Roaming the corridors, Rex discovers the robber in a room filled with computer banks, and follows him out, after radioing in for backup, and into a room labeled "PROJECT METAMORPHO." Yep, that sounds appropriately evil. He follows the robber into the dangerous-looking machine that bears more than a striking resemblance to the Goblin-Formula chamber from Spider-Man 1, and the robber runs right back out, locking Rex inside. With suspicious knowledge of the equipment, the robber begins turning the machine on, causing SCIENCE to happen. The chamber floods with purple, yellow, and green gas. That's bad.  I mean, purple and yellow?  You can shrug that off, but GREEN? That's bad mojo, right there.

The robber runs off as Batman runs in, shutting down the machine and giving Rex a respirator. Later, Alfred and Bruce exit a store in what is presumably Gotham's Chinatown. Alfred chalks up the incident to corporate espionage, but Bruce is a bit more suspicious as to how the robber got in and out so easily. Alfred...  okay, why is Alfred holding a smoking toaster? Alfred himself is wondering exactly what he's holding, too, and Bruce tells him that it's bovine glands, because he thinks that he can use them to get to the point where he only needs 2 hours of sleep, as opposed to 4. Reminds me of my own experiments with energy drinks my Freshman year of college.

Anyway, Bruce asks where Tatsu is, and Alfred informs him that she's taking Dr. Burr to a new lab, for security. Interrupting Alfred, Dr. Bethany Ravencroft shows up and greets them. Wow, this episode's a regular continuity-fest! Fitting, considering this is essentially the finale for now.

Small talk happens, and then she asks Bruce to a fundraising dinner tomorrow, to which Bruce accepts. And then Dr. Ravencroft jaywalks away while Alfred smirks.

Bruce: "Don't say one word."

Alfred calls Bruce flustered, who demands that he's not.

Alfred: "Don't worry; I'll keep your bovine glands on ice."

Um... ew? Creepy? I...I just don't know. 
We cut to Gotham Hospital, where Rex Mason wakes up. Both Sapphire and Simon Stagg are at his bedside, and Simon tells Rex that he approves of his daughter's choice in men. Well, that's nice. Rex gets some nausea, and goes off to the bathroom. Simon sits down and warns Sapphire that the gasses that Rex was exposed to may have unexpected side-effects. Purple, yellow, and green? I should say so!

With that, we cut to the bathroom, where Rex is washing his face. He accidentally rips the towel rack out of the wall, and looks at his newly-metallic hand.  Aw, yeah, bathroom transformation scene! He begins to grunt as his arms begin to bubble. That's gross. Sapphire hears him from outside the bathroom, and asks if he's okay. Then the door explodes outwards, revealing.... The Toxic Avenger! ...I mean, Metamorpho!

A guy like him should wear a warning. ...Sorry, there's just no instantly recognizable lyrics for Britney's "Toxic."
He's also talking like he has no tongue. You know what? He probably doesn't. Think about it: if you had to reshape you body back to normal from memory, how would you know that you got your insides right? Stagg yells at the "freak" to stay away, but Rex manages to force out "Sa-hire," and Sapphire recognizes him.

But suddenly, a trigger-happy cop (as if there were any other kind in Gotham) enters the room and starts firing at Rex, causing him to jump out the window onto the streets below.

We cut to Bruce in his limo, looking through the Stagg Industries security tapes on his Bat-iPhone. Well, he tries; he can't get through the firewalls. Suddenly, a car falls from the sky at them, and Bruce goes to change into costume. As we cut to Metamorpho's rampage outside the gallery from "Tests," I have to say, Metamorpho's design is actually kind of awe-inspiring. The many different textures give him a patchwork look that doesn't often come across in various media depicting him. Kudos to the animation/design teams.

After the commercial break, we cut back to said rampage, where Batman joins in, wrapping Rex in Bat-Cable, before it melts away.

"I caught a big 'un!  Get the net, Alfred!"
Rex: "Leht... me... gho!"

Dude, make yourself a nose, it'll be easier to talk. Rex flees Batman, bringing down part of a building in the process, and emerges from the rubble a second later. Looking back at Batman, his features have shifted back to normal a bit, and Batman recognizes him as Rex Mason.  Rex roars (not helping his case), and runs off into an alleyway. Batman catches up with him, and he gives Batman the message to tell "her" not to be afraid. Before he can say anymore, he melts down a sewer grate, and Batman scoops up a bit of his liquid body. Um... ew.

Back at the Batcave, Batman analyzes Rex's remains, which appear as red blood cells, and spiky green blood cells. It seems that "biology," in this episode, has been replaced with the Wal-Mart brand, reconstituted from science and science-like by-product. It's almost the same as the real thing, but not quite. But I'll give them points for trying, unlike the Artificial-Intelliegence-Electro-Generator from "Hide." Seriously, what was up with that?

As it turns out, the neapolitan gasses have made Rex's cells unstable, and Batman vows to track him down and cure him. Why don't you use Curium? (Ba-Dum-TSSHHH!)

 Batman? The only person in the DCU to successfully go from rock to human got help from Zeus. She also has a lasso!
We cut to Stagg Industries, where Batman B&E's his way in, going through computer files. Dr. Ravencroft calls him on his Bat-iPhone, and she asks what he's wearing. Hey, lady! Kids show, remember? She reminds him about the dinner, and Batman quickly finishes the call and goes back to Batmanning after seeing that Simon Stagg erased the files on the "Metamorpho" project. He looks at the security tapes, and watches Rex and Sapphire make out from the start of the episode, deducing that Sapphire is the "her" that Rex was talking about. Then, gunfire happens as Stagg walks in. Aw, snap, he's packin' an uzi! Stagg hunts Batman between the computer terminals. After Batman reveals that he knows about Stagg arranging the "accident" to keep Rex from his daughter, Stagg monologues about his plan to create shapeshifting super-soldiers.

Forget Curium. Stagg's plan for Rex is to Barium.
Interesting, looks like they took Metamorpho's origin from the Justice League cartoon, not the comics. In the comics, it was a magic artifact that transformed him, not a super-soldier serum. Batman tells Simon that the formula's killing Rex, then he Spider-Batmans away, and we cut to Sapphire's room. Metamorpho walks up to her, strokes her face with his rock-hand (um... ow?), and she wakes up. They have the standard "It's still me on the inside" exchange, and Batman walks up and tells them that Simon Stagg was behind the whole thing. This angers Rex, who begins to Hulk-Out, attacking Batman with sword arms.

Have a knife day!
Batman jams stun-sticks in his back, but Rex counters by absorbing them and... Oh my God, lightning breath. Um... anyway, the lightning breath zaps Bats through a wall, and Rex grabs Sapphire and runs off, presumably to go climb the Empire State Building.

After the commercial break, Batman wakes up and answers his phone. Hey, Bruce? Seriously, get a bat-cell. Oooh, make it red and give it a buzzing ringtone, like the one from the 60's show! Anyway, it's Dr. Ravenscroft, who berates him about not showing up, and he promises her a nice date, like the boss that he is. Meanwhile, Metamorpho's in the sewers with Sapphire. How romantic. He notes that she's cold, and warms her up with his glowing hands. Then, he writes out "STAGG" on the wall, and glares at it. If I were Metamorpho, I'd've made a heart; girls love that sort of cuteness in a guy.

We cut to Simon Stagg's office, where Batman confronts him. He tells Stagg that he told Mason that Stagg set him up, and that he's probably on his way here. Batman uses this blackmail to get Stagg's help in luring Rex into the chamber to be cured. Later, Rex, with Sapphire in his arms, mows down Stagg's security. (Must've been awkward; he was working with those guys less than a week ago.) Batman, meanwhile, tinkers about with the machine, presumably setting it to "Undo."

Batman: "There are two things in life everyone's powerless against: love and revenge."

Well, that and the stares of baby animals.

Rex makes his way inside using rocket jumps and a giant fist and Batman tells Stagg to stall for time. Stagg runs to his office, and Rex soon shows up, without Sapphire. They exchange harsh words, and Stagg exchanges Uzi bullets while Batman finishes up. He radios Stagg, and tells him to get to the lab, which he does, firing wildly all the way. After Batman secures Sapphire, they manage to trick Rex into the machine. Dude, you fell for it twice. Not very bright, are you?

Anyway, Batman makes SCIENCE happen again, and as the gasses clear, he despairs that it didn't work.  Well, Batman, let's see. 
1. You're trying to reverse the effects with the same gasses. 
2. The changes took time last time. 
3. Rex is mostly inorganic now.

Take your pick as to why Batman's plan was doomed from the start! Rex and Sapphire have a talk about their future, and Rex asks her if she could truly love him now. She says.... no. Oh, wow. That's a twist I never saw coming. It's a far cry from their Thing/Alicia Masters-type relationship that goes beyond outside looks. Heartbroken, he turns into gas and disperses into the air vents, presumably wasting away. Sapphire begins to break down, and Simon accuses Batman of murder... before Batman shows footage of Stagg as the original robber taking off a ski-mask. Batman tells Stagg that the GCPD has a copy of the footage, too, before walking away like a boss.

We cut to Bruce and Dr. Ravencroft's date, and Bruce explains that he had to "help" a "guy" that he "didn't really know that well" who "needed" him for his "relationship problems," but he couldn't help in the end because "that sort of thing" has never been his "strong suit."

Congrats, Bruce, she's going to think that you experimented with homosexuality. Was the other guy Green Arrow? 

He goes off to answer his phone, and Ravenscroft texts someone the message "Wayne hooked.  Awaiting instructions."


Meanwhile, in the sewers, a purple hand emerges! Crap, I already used up my "Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN!" for the day.

Final Thoughts
This was a good episode, filled with a mature grasp of the inherent horror of the episode's events. It really doesn't feel like a way to end this chunk of episodes, though; especially since Tatsu didn't even appear in this one. Oh, well. It was still a good episode in its own right. The only thing is...  Katana's teammate from the comics, Metamorpho, appears as a hero before Tatsu does? Kind of a letdown. Although, this can be forgiven if this ends up with Batman forming the Outsiders from the comics! Batman, Metamorpho, Katana, Geo-Force, Black Lightning, Halo, and assorted others kicking butt and taking names? Yes, please! 
So, yes, good episode. I look forward to recapping many, many more! 
See you all then!

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