Saturday, September 14, 2013

Recap: Beware the Batman, "Allies"

And now, we finally get what we were promised since the beginning! Does it meet my expectations? Let’s find out!

Finally.  Just... finally....
Y’all know the drill.  Short theme, and the “Previously On…” segment.

Apparently, Bruce Wayne is Batman.  Huh. Didn’t see that one coming.

The episode proper opens up on a shot of Gotham City, before we fade to a warehouse full of Stagg Industries equipment being raided by Tobias Whale’s crew due to the incarceration of Simon Stagg. Oh, hai, continutity! You’re going to be everywhere in this episode!

Batman takes down the whole gang ridiculously easy, and the cops show up.  Batman hands over Whale, and the episode ends. Well, that was short.  See you next time!

Just kidding. 
Gordon comes over and starts chewing out Batman about “police procedure” and stuff, but Batman counters that Whale’s been doing this for a month unimpeded.  Gordon tells Batman that he has no choice, and gives the order to take him into custody.  Batman escapes with a smoke bomb, and Gordon tells the cops to take care of Whale.

Back at the Batcave, Tatsu’s trying on her new suit!

What, are you going to call her Humpty Dumpty, too? ...he would.
Tatsu: “There’s no way I can fight in this. I can’t even move a finger!”

Tatsu: “See? That was me trying to move a finger.”

Tatsu actually wants to be able to move, but Batman wants her to be protected. What, coming from the man who let his partner go out in this?

She takes her suit off and tells Batman that they should be going after the SoulTaker Sword, but Batman reminds her that the League of Assassins could be anywhere, but they still want the Ion Cortex, so they’ll be back. Ugh, that dumb thing? 

Anyway, Alfred tells Tatsu to be patient, but she’s eager to get out there and do something. Batman tells her not until she’s “suited up and armed.” Tatsu agrees. She goes to the supplies, grabs a domino mask and a katana, and walks back out wearing the mask.

Add some bright colors and remove your pants. That'll win Batman over.
Um, maybe you need a better outfit than the one you’ve been wearing since the beginning? People are going to wonder why Bruce Wayne’s bodyguard is hanging out with Batman. Batman questions the decision, too, but Tatsu insists that she can actually fight this way. She does a few moves to demonstrate, and chooses her codename: Katana. Alfred points out that was her name in the League of Assassins, and she says that when they fight the League again, she wants them to know that it’s her. See my previous comment on Katana’s costume for why that’s a bad idea. We cut to Gordon talking to Whale with his lawyer, requesting that Whale cooperate.  Whale’s Russian-accented lawyer tries to make a deal with Gordon.

Lawyer: “We will make a deal.”
Gordon: “Good! Finally, now…”
Lawyer: “You have until midnight, which would be four hours from this moment, to release my client. He will not be prosecuted, he will be cleared of every charge. This is a good deal, Lieutenant. I advise you take it.”

Gordon laughs at the lawyer offering him a deal, and walks out, telling Whale that he’ll see him in court.

At Lt. Gordon’s house, Barbara Gordon is reading a book. The doorbell rings. She opens the door, and a pair of glowing hands grabs her. Stop it, Barbara.

After commercial, we cut to Gotham PD, where Gordon bursts into Whale’s cell. He demands to know where Barbara is, but Whale denies everything, but still eggs Gordon on.

Whale: “Clock is ticking! Who knows what’ll happen to that kid after midnight…”

Gordon responds with a punch in the face. Other cops drag him back, and Gordon leaves the station and goes back home. Entering his daughter’s room, he looks over her shrine for Batman. Photos, newspaper clippings, and more are arranged on the wall in that “teenage girl obsession” sort of way.

Hanging from the ceiling in the corner is a cutout of a bat. Gordon looks at the shadow that it casts on the wall and gets an idea. We then cut to his idea in action.

It'll never catch on.
Batman approaches the waiting Gordon. Batman informs Gordon that he knows about Barbara’s kidnapping, thanks to his police scanner.

Batman: “I’ve been looking for her all night.”
Gordon: “You have?”
Batman: “Kidnapping is on my list of crimes too.”

Maybe don't word it that way, Bats. He tells Gordon that, because he can go places Gordon can’t, they should team up. Gordon insists that it will be just this once, and Batman acquiesces. He tells Batman that the last person to see Whale was his lawyer, Milo Match.

He did it. C’mon, Milo MATCH? And the kidnapper had flaming hands? Milo Match did it.

Batman goes to find him. Back at the Batcave, Batman has Alfred locate the trackers that he put on Whale’s men back during the “Humpty Dumpty case.” You know, that doesn’t stop being cruel, Batman. He tracks them down to “the Cauldron,” in a “Ghost-heavy zone.”

They exposit for Tatsu that the Cauldron was the industrial part of the city that became abandoned after the financial crisis. The people who live in these slums are called “Ghosts,” and they react violently to outsiders. 
(Uh oh, bad news for Katana and Metamorpho! …never mind.) The authorities leave them alone because they keep to themselves, though.

They narrow the possibilities of Barbara’s location to three different warehouses, all equally likely. Batman decides to check them all out, and demands that Katana stay behind. Okay, so how come when Batman approves of Tatsu at the end of episodes, he always doubts her in the next one? It bugs me.

Alfred: “You know, Katana…”
Tatsu: “If you’re going to tell me to have patience, do me a favor and don’t.”

You know, I can’t help but wonder if bits like that were written for people like me who just want to see Tatsu suit up and kick some butt.

Meanwhile, at one of the warehouses, Milo Match (with goons holding a tied-up Barbara) makes an offer to the hidden Ghosts as Barbara points out all the flaws in what he’s doing.

“You’re not actually trying to make a deal with Ghosts, are you?”

Surrounded by Ghosts.
“Hope you have a backup plan. If not, you should get one.”

Gives them a tanker of fuel.
“Classic bad guy mistake of trusting other bad guys.”

Match: “Gentlemen, Ladies!”
Barbara: “I think they’re all guys.”

The Ghosts agree to the partnership, then slink back into the shadows. Match tells Barbara that her dad only has two hours left.

Back at the Batcave, Tatsu’s complaining about not being out in the field as Alfred uses a satellite to track movement in the Cauldron. Alfred tells her that actions, not words, get the job done. She says she understands.

Meanwhile, Batman drives up to a wall of cars, gets out of the Batmobile, and climbs the wall into the Cauldron. You know, the whole place reminds me of inFAMOUS, especially the Dust Men parts. I wouldn’t mind replaying that now.

Alfred tells Batman that he’s got bad guys at ten and two. Dust Men Ghosts surround Batman, and he begins to take them down. After three of them target him with laser scopes, Katana jumps the wall on her motorcycle. She tells him that actions get the job done, and the two of them take out the Ghosts. As I watch the fight, I can’t help but notice how she never attacks with her sword. Obviously, it’s a kids’ show, so no decapitations, but it’s still jarring that she just carries around a sword that only gets used to block attacks.

"Take that, homeless guy!"
They defeat the Ghosts, and Batman gets after her for not listening to his advice during the fight.

Batman: “You need to take your ego out of this or you’ll be dead within a year.”
Katana: “For the record, I do not have an ego. It’s called ‘pride in my work.’”

Back at Gotham PD, Gordon gets informed about the fights at the Cauldron, and he goes to Whale. And he aims a gun at him and tells him to get going. Dang. Back at the Cauldron, Batman and Katana recon two of the warehouses, then meet back up to take a look at the third, which is heavily guarded. Batman tells her that Barbara’s their priority, and to follow his lead exactly.

Katana: “I get it. We have different fighting styles. But our differences make us stronger. You know, like, ‘toh-MAY-to,’ ‘toh-MAH-to.’”
Batman: “No. Those are the same thing said differently.”
Katana: “Exactly my point.”
Batman: “Just… follow my lead.”

Katana, I think you fail at koans. Anyway, they make quick work of the guards as Gordon pulls up to the Cauldron with Whale. Gordon takes out an approaching Ghost.

Gordon: “Now take me to my daughter before the Ghosts learn how to count bullets.”

Batman and Katana burst into the warehouse, and Barbara gets all excited as Gordon and Whale join them. Gordon demands that Match release her, and he just smiles. Whale laughs, and tells Match to “show ‘em.”

With that cue, Milo Match lights his head and hands on fire. He shoots a few fireballs, and Whale introduces him as “Phosphorus Rex.” Ah, Phosphorus Rex, another Grant Morisson villain, like Pyg and Toad from the first episode.

Rex fireballs a shelf, which falls on Whale and Gordon, then takes a few shots at Batman, who dodges them all but the last one. Gordon emerges from the shelves to save his daughter, but Rex makes a circle of fire around them.

I fell into a burnin' ring o' fire...
Katana runs out of the warehouse, and Rex laughs at her. Batman grapples up and lands in the circle. He and Rex come to blows, but Katana drives the aforementioned tanker of fuel into the warehouse and blares the horn. Amusingly, she has her seatbelt fastened. Batman quickly saves Barbara, and Katana jumps out of the tanker seconds before it crashes into Rex and explodes.

After the blast that should have realistically destroyed the warehouse but didn’t, Rex fins himself unable to flame on, and collapses. Batman cuts Barbara’s ropes, and she hugs her dad.

Batman: “Putting out a fire with a bigger fire. Rudimentary physics.”

Um… did the force of the blast put the fire out? Did the explosion use up all the oxygen? We’ll never know. Katana apologizes for not telling him her plan, and Batman tells her that they’ll work on it. Gordon tells Batman that the cops are coming, and they know that he busted out Whale. Batman cuffs Gordon and tells Gordon to tell the cops that he was forced by Batman to free Whale.

Gordon: “I don’t want you to do this.”
Batman: “You’re the hero, I’m the vigilante. Those are the roles we play.”

He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. Barbara thanks him and compliments his “grappling thing.”

Batman: “Grapnel. It’s called a grapnel.”

Batman and Katana run off, and Barbara says that someday she'll be a crime fighter. She also wants a grapnel.

Gordon: “Not ‘til you’re old enough.”
Barbara: “When will that be?”
Gordon: “Never.”

I agree with Gordon. When all you have is a grappling hook, everything looks like a target.

And with that, the episode ends.

Final Thoughts
Hi, status quo that we were promised! The title “Allies” applies equally to Katana, and to Gordon, which works well, as the episode builds on both relationships.

Animation-  Amazing, especially the flame effects (except the ones on Rex’s face were… iffy)
Voices-  Good as ever
Story-  Great

And TATSU IS KATANA! Finally! Now my view of the episodes won’t be tarnished by the thought “When is Tatsu going to become Katana already?”

I can’t wait to see what next week’s episode brings us! Well, yes I can.
Because the Ion Cortex will make another reappearance.
Oh well, see you then!

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