Sunday, October 6, 2013

Recap: Beware the Batman, "Instinct"

Well, we've reached the part in Beware the Batman where villains will start returning instead of debuting, since we've seen all the villains on the preview poster.

In this episode, Pyg and Toad return! What sort of ecoterrorism will they commit this time? Let's find out!

Travel, change, interest, excitement!
In the "Previously On..." segment, we see that Jason Burr likes Tatsu, and Prof. Pyg fights with bone saws. And with that, "Instinct" begins.

The episode proper opens with some model wearing a Lady Gaga-esque feather bikini exiting through the rear exit of a fashion show. She pushes her way past the paparazzi and complains that she wants real condor in her outfit, despite the fact that, you know, they're endangered. Her bodyguards are blow darted behind her back, and they fall over. Suddenly, Mr. Toad whips out his tongue and eats her phone. You'd think that Professor Pyg, who freely distributes medical advice, would tell him not to do that. But no, he apologizes for Toad's "exotic appetite" and proceeds to confront her.

Pyg hates Society, and invitations, and dinner, and all that sort of thing.
Pyg: "Do you know how many birds had to lose their plumage so you could look atrocious? Do you!?"
Model: "Six?"

Pyg responds with a cryptic threat and we fade out from the model's screaming face and fade into Tatsu putting a fork in her mouth. She's at a restaurant with Bruce Wayne, and really enjoying the food she ordered. Bruce is merely content to drink his tree bark smoothie.

Tatsu: "How is that even on the menu?"
Bruce: "I own this restaurant."

That'll be Tatsu's role for the episode: pointing out the would-be plot holes.

Epic staring contest.
Bruce gets back to her training and asks her to look around and tell him what she sees. She does, but all she can see is people having a good time. Batman however, just sees crime! No, just kidding. That'd be the response of a Batman parody. What does Bruce really say?

Bruce: "I see crime."

...really? ...okay then, you've turned into a College Humor parody.

Bruce: "The waiter's stealing from the register. There's a cheating husband; he's removed his wedding ring. And a pickpocket on the street, lifting a wallet from a woman's purse."

That last one was the most impressive, considering that Bruce started describing the theft before it started happening. Tatsu's impressed, but there's a hubbub below as the two exit the restaurant. A crowd is gathering and staring at the model from earlier; she's wearing a chicken mask and tied to the minute hand of a clock tower. The second hand ticks closer with a blade attached to it. The blade cuts the rope, and the model falls, before being tackled by a quickly-changed Batman into the building, saving her. Batman finds a note on her and reads it as we pan over to Pyg and Toad, having biscuits and tea on the clock tower, apparently not caring that Batman could run up and take them down. Oh, those two guys! It's a bromance.

"When you wake up in the morning, Pyg, what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"'What's for breakfast?' What do you say, Toad?"
"I say, 'I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?'"
"It's the same thing."
Back at the Batcave, Batman and Tatsu look over the message from Pyg: "One for the Dame."

"He may be a murdering psycho, Tatsu, but he's got mighty fine penmanship."
Tatsu recognizes it as part of "Baa Baa Black Sheep," and Batman recognizes the nursery rhyme as being consistent with Pyg's MO. I guess Scarecrow doesn't exist in this world. Tatsu says that they need to find all the streets with "Lane" in them, and Batman tells her that he's already narrowed the potential "boys who live down the lane" to three, and turns away from the Bat-Computer.

Tatsu: "Why do we even have this thing?"

Meanwhile, a fashion designer wearing an outfit worse than the 6th Doctor's coat is taking a saw to leopard hide before getting ambushed by Pyg and Toad.

Thank God purple leopards are extinct now.
Pyg: "We're here to punish you for your crimes against animal kind."
Toad: "Naht to mentchen fatchen."

Toad aims the flamethrower in his staff at the designer, who dodges it and runs. Pyg takes note of the man's thanatophobia (fear of death) and nets him to the wall with his blunderbuss. Batman and Tatsu ride their motorcycles to the scene, and rush in to find the designer wearing a fox mask, tied to a spinning saw deathtrap. Batman tells Tatsu to use her instincts, and she throws shurikens at the blades, which all bounce off.  Batman throws exploding goo at the motor, and the trap shuts down.

Katana: "Exploding goo? Hmm. Pity someone's got a bigger gadget budget than me."

Batman helps the man down, who promptly faints, and removes the mask, finding the note confirming the nursery rhyme (which has weird resin on it); he notes that the man is a prominent fashion designer known for his work with leather.

Katana: "How do you know that?"
Batman: "Bruce Wayne knows fashion."

Batman checks the mask and finds a sticker with Plastic Man's belt design on it with a "C." He recognizes it as the logo for Cole Plastics. (Jack Cole was the creator of Plastic Man.).

He says that he'll go check out the plastic factory while Katana should get the resin analyzed. She finds a cranky Jason Burr, working overtime at Wayne Industries. Burr says he's got a headache, and tries to kiss Tatsu as she gives him the resin. She rejects his advances, and he apologizes. At Cole Plastics, Batman infiltrates the factory and gets attacked by Pyg. Toad hops in (no pun intended), and Pyg welcomes Batman.

Pyg: "We've been meaning to invite you over for tea and a good ol' fashioned pummeling. Sadly, we're all out of tea."

What a coincidence, Batman's all out of bubblegum. Batman lays a smack down on the two, and Pyg whips out a couple of de-fibrillation paddles and starts swinging. He gets a couple good zaps in, and Batman gets sidelined by Toad's sonic croak. Pyg proceeds to let Toad deliver the killing blow, but the cops grow closer, and the two run away before Toad can follow through on his final attack.

Toad: "Oh phooey, andt fiddlesticks."
Pyg: "Language, Mr. Toad."

Batman gets out from under the shelf of crates, and finds a set of blueprints. Back at the Batcave, he calls Katana, who just left the lab, and tells her that the Bat-Computer matched the blueprints to a parking garage under the Gotham City Opera House, where the "Masters of Fashion" show is booked, fulfilling the "master" part of the nursery rhyme. The duo meets there, and Batman spots a suspicious barbecue truck. He opens it up and finds bombs ready to blow in just seconds. He tells Katana to make an exit, and she blows a hole in the structure. Batman drives the truck through it, and it explodes in midair, with Batman and Katana jumping to safety.

Back at STATELY WAYNE MANOR, Tatsu celebrates with a banana split, but Bruce can't shake the feeling that they missed something, saying that the timer was set to blow up an empty building. Tatsu gets a call from Jason, who apologizes for acting like a creeper, and also tells her that the resin is a phosphorus secretion of certain African toads that becomes highly flammable at high temperatures and has been altered to be highly explosive... after almost telling her about his rash he gets when he has to confront people. Tatsu hangs up and tells Bruce about the situation, and Bruce tosses a card at her inviting Bruce Wayne to come to the "Masters of Fashion" afterparty on a yacht. And it started two hours ago. So... why aren't you there already, Bruce?

They drive up to the docked boat. Katana goes to calmly evacuate people, and Batman goes to the bowels of the yacht, where he finds the toad-resin everywhere, along with Pyg. After all, believe me, my young friend, there is nothing- absolutely nothing- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Pyg: "Bravo, Batman. You're not as senseless as your attire would make us believe."

Yeah, anyone who dresses up like an animal is probably a moron, right, Professor?

Toad: "Eh cape in Jshoon? Iss jess naht dahn."

Batman tells the, their scheme is over, but Toad encourages Pyg to explain it. The more people enter the ship, the higher the temperature gets on their device, which will set off the resin at 280 degrees. Batman stupidly tell Pyg that the guests are being evacuated, so Toad flips over and manually cranks up the heat, as Batman and Pyg fight. Batman dodges Pyg's bone saw, and Batarangs Toad, but Toad counters with his sonic croak, knocking Batman back, and Pyg freezes him in place with a freeze gun.

Insert "Mr. Freeze called" joke here.
Before Pyg can apply a second coat of ice, Katana cuts the tubes to the gun, and attacks the villains.   also hacks at Batman's ice coating, leading to his escape. Katana tells Batman that the evacuation's started, and Pyg cranks up the temperature even more. The heating coils glow hotter, as Katana takes out Toad. Batman smashes the console, stopping it just in time, but Pyg and Toad toss a couple bombs, setting off the resin, which quickly catches fire.  Pyg and Toad get knocked out by the blast as Batman hacks into the sprinkler system, extinguishing the flames.

Katana: "How do you know these things?"
Batman: "Bruce Wayne knows yachts."

Back at STATELY WAYNE MANOR, Tatsu apologizes for not seeing the misdirection in Pyg's scheme. Batman tells her that she did a good job anyway, and she calls Jason. They arrange dinner, as Jason codes for the Ion Cortex, and his glasses are oddly foggy. Uh oh, are his eyes green?

As they hang up, Jason looks over with his glowing eyes and tells his new master, Lady Shiva, that Katana suspects nothing and that the Cortex will be ready soon. Lady Shiva welcomes him to the League of Assassins, and the episode ends.

Final Thoughts
Great episode. The detective work was well handled, and the clues were nicely obscure without being indecipherable. The lines were funny, and Pyg and Toad are quickly becoming the show's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The threat was nice and large, but not overdone, and everyone in the show was portrayed as competent, both heroes and villains.

If the rest of the show is like this, this show will probably be remembered fondly by many people. Let's see if they can have a hit next week, too! See you then!

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