Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recap: Beware the Batman "Toxic"

And now we've arrived at the final episode of the first chunk of Beware the Batman. As it was originally aired, Beware the Batman had a fairly set schedule... for the first eleven episodes or so. How appropriate that the end of the first block of episodes heralds many things that would come later. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go ahead and look at "Toxic."

Britney Spears doesn't show up, but there are a couple blondes involved.
Previously on Beware the Batman....

Interestingly, the flashback is to the events of the first episode, where shady businessman Simon Stagg was rescued by Batman from Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad. Hmm, makes sense. Metamorpho's gonna be appearing, and Simon Stagg is Metamorpho's nemesis. I guess that they're bookending this block of episodes? 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. But look at that, I'm reviewing already. Let's keep going.

The episode proper begins on an establishing shot of Stagg's business HQ, and quickly cuts to the inside of the building, where there's a smokin' 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. Well, originally speaking. The rerun I'm watching for this remastered Recap is on [adult swim]. Go nuts, you two.

Use more tongue. Yeah, that's hot.
Guard: "Sapphire... we shouldn't be doing this here."

Huh. Even one of the characters is iffy on the idea of this almost-inappropriate makeout in a kids show.

They engage in some badly written "As you know" dialogue. You know, that thing 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 a while back. Do any of you really think I said...

Newt: "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; she's 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 "foreshadowing?"
A screen shows CCTV footage of the two. (Protip: Don't make out in front of security cameras.) A begloved hand smashes the screen, and believe it may be Stagg's begloved hand. 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, actually do his job.

Meanwhile, Batman's car-computer informs him of the same alarm, and he drives off 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 intruder 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. Good thing there wasn't any pink. Too much pink energy is dangerous.

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. 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 two hours of sleep. As opposed to four. 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 episode was the last aired episode for a while. But not the last one aired before... that thing I keep trying not to rant about any more.

No, the other thing.
Small talk and light groping of Bruce Wayne 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: "What, and make you even more flustered?"
Bruce: "I'm not flustered."

Yeah, and I'm not pedantic.

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


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. What a wonderful man Simon Stagg is! 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 gasses? 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 like he was the villain from Hulk. 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 your 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 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.

Batman joins in to oppose the rampage, 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. Ew; put that down. You don't know where he's been, Batman.

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 Ion-Cortex-Artificial-Intelliegence-Electro-Generator from "Safe." Seriously, what was up with that? Here's hoping that thing won't be important again. ...yeah, it will be. But I digress. 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 try Curium? (Ba-dum-tssh!)
Batman? Your plan is to turn a rock back into a person. The only person in the DCU to successfully go from rock to human got help from Zeus.

She has a lasso, too.
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 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. 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 separate bat-cell for when you're out and about as Batman. 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 have made a heart; girls love that sort of thing.

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 Ctrl-Z.

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!

Now that Rex is permanently stuck as an affront to man and God, he and Sapphire have a talk about their future.

"Look at my big purple eyes."
As we all saw coming, of course she can. That's how these Ben Grimm/Alicia Masters relationships work in comics.

"You know purple's my least favorite color."
But yeah, she's going to say yes.

What!? What!?

They're breaking away from the standard script? After she proclaimed her undying love for "the man inside"?

Not adhering religiously to the source material? What is this, Iron Man 3?
All jokes aside, this plot twist is brilliant. Just... wow. I'm speechless.

Heartbroken, Rex 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 kind 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 from the mire! Crap, I already used up my "Dun-dun-dunn!" for the day.

Let's review.

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