Sunday, October 26, 2014

Recap: Beware the Batman "Control"

During the original run of this episode, the full theme was played for the first time. So now I'll critique the intro for realsies. The intro is nice and moody, using only red and black. It features Alfred, Katana, and Batman in little action shots, and ends with Batman swooping off of a building. Awesome. The song is awesome sauce, too. I don’t know why some Batman shows like to have themes that are almost James Bond-esque, but I approve, especially here.

I originally predicted that this was the beginning of Beware the Batman hitting its stride. Let's see if I was right.

A stride or a stumble? Hopefully, this episode won't lose control of the series' momentum.
The episode opens with its "Previously On" segment. Dr. Jason Burr invented the "Ion Cortex," a stupid bit of technology that I've given quite a thorough bashing already. He was attacked by ninjas who wanted the secret of this technology, and was rescued by Tatsu, who he developed a crush on.

I really like this picture.
The episode proper opens in a Gotham office after hours, where a man seems to be putting in some overtime. He goes to get some more coffee when he finds a glowing green cable on the counter. He grabs it, and it starts attacking him like a snake. He keeps it away, but an identical one appears from behind and latches itself into his neck.

???: "Don't struggle. I have your mind. I have control."

"I control the horizontal. I control the vertical."
The man obeys his new ceiling-crawling master and floats away, carried by the thin cable which shouldn't be able to lift his body weigh. He grabs a blueprint, unrolls it, and adds a few lines to it. We then cut to the same man walking down a busy Gotham highway, where a cops pulls up to assist him. I'd've assumed that, being a Gotham cop, he'd have opened fire, as is apparently Gotham cop custom.

Cop: "You okay, fella?"
Man: "He has my mind... he has control...."
Cop: "Who, buddy?  Who has control?"
Man: "Cypher...."

We then cut to Bruce and Tatsu sparring. He's got some choice words for her as they fight.

Bruce: "Too slow."

Just like this show was at setting up Tatsu as Katana.

Bruce: "Too predictable."


Bruce: "Too angry."

Well, that's just Tatsu's character in general.

After the nicely animated fight session, Bruce concludes that Tatsu needs to work on controlling her emotions, but her technique is good.

Bruce: "Think with your head, not your heart."

Tatsu's phone begins to vibrate (how does she get service in the Batcave when I can't get service at my own house?) and it's Jason Burr calling. Apparently, it's the fifth time today. Alfred brings tonight's liquid dinner (ostensibly with bovine glands in the mixture) but Tatsu informs them both that she's having a dinner date with Jason.

Tatsu: "I know, I know. Head, not heart. Don't worry, they're both well-protected."

Don't be a fool, wrap your... heart.

She rides off on what appears to be Robin's motorcycle, when the Bat-Computer makes the Adam West Batphone sound. The Bat-Signal's been turned on. Batman asks for his bovine glands in a to-go cup and suits up.

Meanwhile, a security guard spots Cypher crawling on the walls like Spider-Man. Cypher then shoots his tendrils out of his hands... much like Spider-Man shoots his webs. Huh, I wonder if that's what they were going for. Also, please stop reminding me of Spider-Man, show. After seeing the Web Warriors Halloween crossover special... I'm in a bit of a mood.

Tatsu drives up to the same building and ascends the escalator. We then cut to Jason receiving a knock on the door of his lab, where's he's got roses in test tubes and dinner by Bunsen burner light. Nerd. He answers the door, and gets enveloped by green cables.

Tatsu makes her way to Jason's lab. She spots the roses he dropped on the ground as the tense music plays, and she enters the lab, finding... Jason at the table. He hands her the test tubes, wondering where the flowers are, and goes to show her a surprise. Cypher, meanwhile, hides in a ceiling vent. Meanwhile, Lt. Gordon tells another officer to go grab some donuts in one of the most cliche cop/donut exchanges I've ever seen.

Cop: "Wife says I gotta cut back."
Gordon: "Then only get a half a dozen this time."

The cop goes off to get his pastries, and Batman appears by Gordon. Gordon fills Batman in on the situation. This guy keeps muttering "Cypher," which sounds like one of those guys that Batman's always fighting. Hey, Gordon's learning! 

"There's this other guy who's been rating about some clown, but I don't think we need to worry."
Batman looks the guy over, Shawn Spencer-style, finding drafting pencil residue on his fingers and strange marks on the back of his neck. The guy was ID-ed as William Benjamin, an architect who designed the Wayne Industries building.

Batman: "The Cortex."

Oh, no, that dumb thing. Batman speeds off as, again, I swear that part of the Judge Dredd theme plays. Is it just me? Am I the crazy one?

He tries checking security through his computer, calling Tatsu, but no luck. Tatsu's phone vibrates uselessly as Jason talks about how the Ion Cortex will somehow "redistribute power" across the globe to blah blah blah. Tatsu tells him that she knows all this. But what she doesn't know is that Jason has a working prototype, smaller than the planned global one. This one has a very limited range, and it doesn't work for long.

Tatsu: "I didn't know you were this far along."
Jason: "No!  No one does. It's awesome."

So, wait, if no one knows about the working one, then you gave a press conference... about technology that doesn't exist yet? "Hey! Look at this thing I want to make!" I don't know if that's how it actually works though, so let's move on to the next point. This Ion Cortex is basically a cannon. So, how does it work when it's not plugged into anything that it's going to control? It's an aim-and-fire energy distributor, right? So if anyone's between the Cortex and the target, ZAP! This thing's frickin' dangerous. Good thing Jason's not evil, right? Heh heh...

Jason throws caution to the wind, though, and fires it at a neighboring building, most likely without permission or permits or anything, and gets the windows to produce a light show, before lighting up all the windows to create Tatsu's ever-grumpy face.

Well, that is her default emotion.
So... no. There's no way we could create all the details of Tatsu's face the way he does by lighting up windows. Instead of creepy and stalker-ish, Tatsu finds this charming... for odd some reason. The Cortex fizzles out, and Cypher's tendrils curl up behind Tatsu as Batman pulls up to the building and grapnels his way up. As Jason and Tatsu have dinner, they both engage in awkward dialogue, thanks to Jason's inability to carry on a conversation without saying something stupid. I will spare you from the awkward dialogue. You're welcome. You're very welcome.

Tatsu: "You should stop talking now."
Jason: "Heard that! Yep."

Batman, meanwhile, spots Cypher about to control Jason and bursts in through the window. Unfortunately, Cypher takes Jason away through the vents, followed by Tatsu and Batman. And I'm sure that no one will ever wonder why Bruce Wayne's bodyguard not only looks like Batman's partner, but also teams up with Batman with out Katana. Hmmmmm. Batman and Katana end up with a giant, industrial fan between them and Cypher, who controls Jason like a puppet, with hand movements and everything, even speaking through Jason's mouth.

Katana: "Let him go!"
Batman: "Wait."
Jason: "Try to stop me, and I'll destroy his mind." 

Honestly, there's not much to destroy.
Tatsu tries to jump through the fan, but Batman stops her, telling her to use her head. Batman deduces that the League of Assassins wants the information in Jason's mind, hence the brain-hacking. There's some banter over whether Cypher's an upgraded human or a robot, and Cypher runs away. Batman blows up the fan and goes off to lock down the building. He tells Tatsu to stay a safe distance away from Cypher, but to continue tracking him. She runs down the hall, and finds Jason's limp body. Hmmm... what's that thing that Admiral Akbar said that became a meme?

No, I'll think of it....
Tatsu runs over to help Jason.

Tatsu: "Why did he let you go?"
Jason: "...he didn't."

Tatsu gets tentacled in the neck as Batman activates the security lockdown and uses the cams to spot Cypher on the sixth floor. Batman rushes there, only to discover Tatsu hooked up to Cypher and ready to fight. Tatsu, Batman, and Jason scuffle, and I'm wondering why Batman doesn't just sever the cables. Well, that would probably fry their brains. And even if it didn't, Cypher would probably lie and say that it would. I have to say, the fight is good, and Cypher's gestures to control his puppets are nicely creepy.

In the stairwell, where the fight ends up being held, Batman attempts to cut a cable, but Cypher tells him that doing so would fry Tatsu's brain. Called it! With the villain having two hostages, Batman does what Cypher says and handcuffs himself to a nearby pipe, after telling him how to unlock the building. Cypher promises to return the two, but only if Batman doesn't interfere. Cypher goes to exit the building, and Batman activates the tracer he put on Tatsu.

After Cypher leaves, Batman escapes the cuffs and rushes down to the Batmobile, tracking Tatsu to the subway. We then cut to Cypher and his puppets casually strolling up the cars of the subway as the passengers quietly freak out to themselves about this madman. Said madman takes out the conductor and begins piloting the subway car himself. Batman, who's now driving the Batmobile through the subway, sets the car to autopilot and jumps onto the subway cars' roofs, runs to the front of the train, checks on the conductor, and separates the first car from all the others so that the passengers are safe.

Like. A. Boss.

With Cypher, his hostages, and Batman alone in the speeding vehicle, Batman turns the tables by taking control of the situation. He throws a Batarang at the controls, and makes the car speed up.

Batman: "Let's all go down together."

Cypher lets go of the two hostages and exits the car. Batman jumps out with Jason and Tatsu at the next station, right before the train crashes. Tatsu looks up, only to find Batman controlled by Cypher. Batman and Tatsu start fighting, but Tatsu quickly reaches out to Batman (after hitting him in the face with a metal rod), telling him to resist the mind control. Batman resists successfully, and rips the cable out of his head. Cypher quickly takes control of Jason and threatens to kill him by cutting the cable with a shard of glass. Batman says it's a bluff; cutting the cable won't kill him. Called that one too!

Here's a thought, Cypher. That broken glass? Put it up to Jason's neck. That can still kill him.

Tatsu figures out that Cypher feels everything that his puppets feel. Kick Jason in the crotch, Tatsu! No, she kisses Jason instead, which.... Cypher doesn't like...? For some reason? Is he a Batman/Tatsu shipper? (Or would that be "Batsu"?) The cable starts sparking, and it gets ripped out of Jason's head. Batman shoves the cables in Cypher's own neck, and the feedback takes him down, like a microphone and a speaker.

Later, an unconscious Jason lies in a hospital bed. Uh-oh, if he makes it, he's gonna turn evil. Calling it now. Jason Burr's evil in the comics; this is his start of darkness. Tatsu wonders if there'll be any lasting damage, but Batman says that Gordon told him that the architect recovered just fine. Batman tells Tatsu that he can't get any info off of a sample of Cypher's tendrils. Yep, gonna turn evil. Batman congratulated Tatsu's usage of her head over her heart.

Tatsu: "Finding Cypher's weakness, yes, that was the head. But the kiss, that came from a different place."

Yeah, your mouth. Which is technically part of your head.

Later, after everyone has left, Jason wakes up, with an evil, green glow in his eyes and a grin on his face. Called it again! Three-for-three! Batting a thousand!

Now let's... wait, why did Cypher control that guy at the beginning? To plan his route to get Dr. Burr? ...seems needlessly complicated. Now let's review.

1 comment:

  1. Fun fact: Cypher is voiced by James Arnold "Obi-Wan, Ratchet, Tidus" Taylor, who did, in fact, voice Spidey in a few video games. And, uh, speaking of the Halloween special... I guess the Living Tribunal had to restore balance after the awesomness that was the ASM2 movie and the Spider-Verse storyline. Being spoderman is suffering.

    - That One Anon