Normally, Jimmy and Tom would be covering Game of Thrones in this time slot, but instead, we’re going back to Neo Gotham to discuss the Batman Beyond episodes “Disappearing Inque,” “A Touch of Curare,” and “Ascension”.
Inque returns, and she’s out for revenge—against Batman and the old man she saw helping him!
jimmy: Man it was great to see Bruce back in action. Terry is fine and all, but nothing like the OG.
tomk: Bruce isn’t really allowed to save the day on this show, but when he dons the armor and his theme music pipes in, well, we can all hope.
jimmy: Well, we could kinda see it coming how his fight would end.
tomk: True. Again, it would have been nice. He’s still our Batman.
jimmy: And always will be.
tomk: But Terry still has to be the hero.
jimmy: Well, it is his show.
tomk: He won by shooting the roof out. Hardly rocket science.
jimmy: Defeated by rain. That’s almost as bad as being afraid of the color yellow.
tomk: There would have been two dead Batmen if Inque waited for good weather to act.
jimmy: Instead we get Inque defeated, sure to return another day…and…whatever that other guy is turned into now. I think he’s the equivalent of a hamster.
tomk: That guy doesn’t come back.
But look at that guy who looks like he’s melting and remember: this was supposed to be the more kid friendly show.
jimmy: Kids love melting things!
tomk: Especially people!
William H. Macy was melted guy. He plays good losers.
jimmy: He does indeed.
tomk: Considering he got as Oscar nomination for it in Fargo, he’s got a talent for it. He’s so pathetic in Fargo and just as much blubbering, “ You promised!” here.
jimmy: Boogie Nights comes to mind too.
tomk: But not Shameless. He’s more a cartoon character on that show.
jimmy: Not familiar with that one.
Are we supposed to feel bad for him here? He wasn’t exactly a lovable loser. And while we probably don’t want to see him turned into a melted hamster, he did help Inque and basically begged her to transform him.
tomk: I don’t think he was meant to be a lovable loser. He was a wannabe villain. He gets dumped on and his first response was to free a corporate saboteur and possible murderer. He would have been a villain himself were he just a little more competent.
And then, in the end, he got a female version of himself to watch over him. And that woman’s voice sounded familiar…then I realized where I heard it before and saw where bad parenting can lead a person. Sorry, but this is the best quality video I could find with a thirty second search.
Besides, how much can we sympathize with melted guy when I can’t even remember his name, and I remembered where I’d heard the voice of Kimmy Robertson before.
jimmy: Heh. I don’t remember it either. We’ll call him Watson.
But that’s what I mean, the end is almost played for sympathy, but I don’t think we are overly, or at all, sympathetic to him.
tomk: We shouldn’t be. His punishment is he’s still a loser, but now he has a loser fan of his own.
Oh, and he only got half the treatment.
jimmy: But all the lettuce he wants.
tomk: But no fried chicken.
That’s the worst part!
jimmy: It’s not great for his waistline.
tomk: Good news there: he doesn’t have one anymore.
jimmy: Get that man(?) some chicken!
tomk: Well, we’re getting silly. I do think it is safe to assume Terry’s biggest enemy going forward will be either Inque or Blight. Now, forgetting for a moment I know a few things you don’t, what’s your take on the two of them?
jimmy: Blight seems like the better nemesis. Maybe Inque will morph (pun intended) into one, but for now, she is just too easily defeated. Which is ironic, since she seems unbeatable a lot of the time.
tomk: We’ve only really seen Blight in combat once. Inque, we know, learns from mistakes.
jimmy: Yes. It is still early for both.
tomk: True. Well, this struck me as a good episode, and it deals a bit with Bruce saying something about his heart that Terry doesn’t quite believe, but did you have anything else to add? It’s a good episode for visuals, but the plot is rather basic in many ways, with an “ironic” ending that the old BTAS specialized in so well.
jimmy: The only thing I was going to add was your second last point about Terry having similar suspicions to me about why Bruce actually retired.
tomk: The heart was part of it. Combine that with Bruce breaking his “no guns” vow in the pilot, and I think that’s all you’re ever going to get.
jimmy: You would know. 🙂
I know that is all we’re ever going to get.
I actually found a video on YouTube that explained why Batman Beyond never got a fourth season as planned…most of the people behind the scenes moved to Justice League, and then there were some network scheduling issues. Point is, a lot of questions (like what happened to Dick) are never answered. At least, not in the show.
jimmy: Well, we still have a ways to go before that anyway.
tomk: True. Ready for the next one?
“A Touch of Curare”
Commissioner Barbara Gordon’s husband, D.A. Sam Young, is targeted by a master assassin! Can Batman protect the District Attorney from the deadliest the League of Assassins has to offer, the mysterious woman named Curare!
jimmy: I guess the prologue to the Killing Joke movie had it right all along.
tomk: See, this is why that Killing Joke stuff didn’t surprise me.
jimmy: I can see why. Up to that point I was thinking they’ve been pretty stingy with the details of what occurred during those 50 years or whatever between shows. I was a little surprised we got that much.
tomk: And that is probably all you’re going to get.
At least until Return of the Joker.
jimmy: I still find it odd that Barbara turns 180 degrees and is now full anti-vigilante.
See, there’s a line in RotJ where Barbara says something about Dick being very bitter. It’s never really explained on the show.
There is a comic book that bridged the gap with a really…out there explanation.
jimmy: She mentions Dick wanting to get out of Batman’s shadow here and being ticked that Barb stayed behind as his…”partner”.
tomk: Yeah, well, that seems a bit tame, doesn’t it?
The comic story said Bruce got Barbara pregnant while Dick was out of town. Bruce being Bruce told Dick directly and Dick punched Bruce, walked out, and never went back. Barbara later miscarried.
jimmy: Quite a slip up for Bruce who is all about protection…
tomk: It just seems so wrong on so many levels.
jimmy: Yes. But explains at least the thinking for Killing Joke‘s prologue.
I’ll give it that much.
jimmy: Not saying that makes it better, but less out of left field.
tomk: Yes, but I think HISHE did a good job of suggesting how Batgirl should have reacted to such a suggestion. Those folks usually end their comedic rewrites of superhero films at a diner where the heroes chat with Superman and Batman or a pub run by Emperor Palpatine for the bad guys, but they did something different for Wonder Woman:
jimmy: lol…is that Adam Warlock in the first post credit scene?
tomk: That’s a stinger plotline they’ve been running since their GotG2 short.
“Oh gross, you’re friends with my Dad!”
Like Monica and Richard. Without the mustache.
tomk: Yes. See, I can somewhat accept Barbara having a thing for Batman. I just don’t see why Bruce would go for a girl so much younger than himself. That seems out of character, especially since she’s Dick’s ex.
jimmy: Mid-life crisis?
tomk: He’s not made of stone?
jimmy: Exactly. I can see it both ways, but it’s still weird.
Now all I can think about is Tom Selleck as Batman…
tomk: That mustache would be a giveaway.
I see that the Gotham of the future uses the same “build the train tracks WAY too high above the city” engineers as Metroplis.
tom: Build the new on top of the old. 60% of the time, it works every time.
But the thing that jumps out at me the most about this episode is that the Barbara/Bruce thing overshadows the rest of the episode. And the rest isn’t bad. Curare is actually a pretty decent villain who will return. Sam the DA is an interesting match for Barbara and the case of the week has a deadline of “Sam needs to testify in the morning”.
jimmy: I liked Curare. Definitely a deeper mystery to explore there.
tomk: I like the fact a silent character had a voice actress credited to her in the closing credits.
But Curare is pretty cool with the super sharp sword and the horrible face you never see.
jimmy: I noticed that and was trying to remember her speaking.
tomk: She probably grunts a few times.
jimmy: Sounds like Snake Eyes.
tomk: Maybe they’re related!
You know, Zartan would turn blue in sunlight. Maybe Snake Eyes hooked up with some member of his family…
jimmy: There was a female Dreadnaught…
But here’s a question: if the League of Assassins has never failed a job, how do we know Curare is the best of them?
jimmy: …uh…they’re all the best of them.
tomk: She better hope she’s the best of them by the episode’s end.
jimmy: You said she returns?
tomk: At least once.
jimmy: I look forward to it. I think I’ve covered what I have in my notes. I don’t think it is coincidence that I find I enjoy the episodes that focus on Bruce more than Terry.
tomk: Well, I will repeat that it is saying something when a short conversation between Terry and Barbara makes us forget an otherwise pretty good episode.
Oh, and it was nice that they found a better role for Paul Winfield after that dumb one way back when as the guy who fixes the Batmobile.
jimmy: It was a good episode yes. But we do get caught up in trying to get pieces of backstory.
Also true about Winfield. I assume (and you might have said) he returns again?
tomk: He’ll pop up in a few more episodes as Sam. He’s the DA and Barbara’s husband. He isn’t the type to completely disappear.
And fortunately, he doesn’t become Two-Face Beyond.
Made me think though, if my first exposure to Batman is through Batman Beyond, do I care about Bruce’s backstory? Is it just taking up precious “Terry time”?
tomk: Interesting question….but how could you possibly approach this show without knowing who Bruce Wayne is? He’s so prominent in our culture, even if you’ve never seen a Batman anything, you probably know he’s Batman.
jimmy: Yes. And that’s how the series begins. But do I care about the odds and ends that we pick up on from between BTAS and this?
tomk: Hmmm. Well, you’ll see less and less of it as we go forward, but one episode I am thinking of will make some great use of it. The show is Terry’s show, and Bruce is good for advice, but he doesn’t often leave the Cave to do much active work. That’s appropriate, but I think to a certain extent, Bruce Timm and Co. may have figured you know enough right now.
Well, we may want to consider this question for the future as we go through the series. Do you have anything else to add for this episode?
jimmy: No. I think I’m good.
tomk: Then let’s move on to the last of the original batch of episodes.
As Batman closes in on Blight, Derek Powers summons a new player back to Neo-Gotham: his estranged son Paxton!
jimmy: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say…not the last we’ve seen of Blight.
tomk: Actually, Paxton is right about that one. It is the last we see of Blight.
jimmy: Really? Wow. I thought he was like THE Batman Beyond villain.
tomk: Yeah, and it’s easy to see why. But for some reason we never see him again. Paxton does become a reoccurring villain.
jimmy: The power of the Elwes.
tomk: You wanna go that route? As you wish…
Regardless, with Paxton, the rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the dead tree.
jimmy: I bet not. They definitely set him up as a corporate big wig who didn’t care about the little guy or the environment. Though he did seem genuinely concerned when his dad was melting down in the board room…when that guy barged in…with the fish…that was all a set up…hmmm…never mind.
tomk: It can be two things.
He might have been concerned about his own ability to stay cancer free.
jimmy: Turning into a green glowing monster is hereditary.
tomk: Only if you take the radiation option after exposure to certain nerve gases.
jimmy: I guess they wanted a more Luthor-esque adversary.
tomk: Or a more Rupert Thorne/Roland Dagget type.
jimmy: True. Basically a non-superpowered foe.
tomk: And it keeps the idea of corruption in Wayne-Powers going. Blight wasn’t going to keep his identity hidden forever from any Batman.
jimmy: True on both counts. Especially since he was running out of soylent green or whatever he was using to make his artificial skin.
tomk: And he was getting worse.
jimmy: And crazier.
tomk: Radioactive Ghost Rider has his own problems.
jimmy: I found it interesting that Bruce seemed to take issue with Terry’s vendetta against Powers over the death of his father…when that is exactly why Bruce BECAME BATMAN IN THE FIRST PLACE.
tomk: True, but Bruce still doesn’t wish anyone dead.
jimmy: No. And I’m not sure Terry would kill him.
tomk: And Terry eventually realizes that.
If you think about it, take the Blight episodes and you have a total origin for Terry to come into his own.
jimmy:So this is the end of the first season. How many seasons were there?
jimmy: I’m still surprised they “killed” Blight off.
tomk: He isn’t the first. He did kill Freeze.
jimmy: But Freeze has been around and was really a Bruce villain. Blight seemed like he was in it for the long haul against Terry. Maybe they found him too powerful/supernatural to be a Batman villain, as they tend to be more “realistic”. Outside of Inque.
Who is much like Clayface I guess, though she reminds me more of Venom.
tomk: Or they forgot to bring him back.
tomk: Seriously. Inque has, I think, a total of four appearances. The Royal Flush Gang and either Shriek or Spellbinder each have three. There are a lot of one off villains…oh, and Mad Stan.
When there’s not even fifty episodes, guys like Blight disappear.
Editor’s note: I looked it up later and found out there were 54 episodes.
jimmy: I suppose. Even Joker took a long hiatus…after he was in like the first 8 episodes. Or something like that. (edited)
tomk: And Bruce has a well-established Rogues Gallery. Terry’s are being made up as they go along.
jimmy: Yeah, and everyone knows you can’t make up more than one good villain every 20-30 years or so now. Not like in the early Stan Lee days when he’d make up a dozen iconic villains before breakfast.
tomk: Like the Enforcers!
jimmy: Very iconic.
tomk: And the Circus of Crime! And Diablo!
jimmy: Well, you can’t make an omelette with them all being gems. Or something.
tomk: I remember Stan saying even he hated Diablo.
jimmy: Anything left to say here, or about season one in general?
tomk: It gets creepier from here if you thought Blight was scary-looking. Wait until you see Earthmover.
But this was a good start. Terry isn’t Bruce, and he shouldn’t be, but he’s a likable enough hero in his own right, and he does seem to be a bit more Peter Parker than Bruce Wayne right now, so you must like him too.
jimmy: We haven’t gotten into that much since when we first started, but obviously more Spider-Man/Parker parallels than Bruce/Batman for Terry.
tomk: Well, Norman Osborn has been taken care of. Now he has a Harry to deal with. And without that weird Osborn hair they all seem to have.
jimmy: You’d go crazy too if you had to maintain that stripe-y hair.
tomk: I will never understand the stripey hair.
And with that in mind, maybe we can move on to things we do understand: teenagers beating up criminals for geezers too old to throw their own punches.
jimmy: Terry is the best embodiment of “get off my lawn” ever.
tomk: Close to!
In that case, let’s see what the whole deal with splicing is.
NEXT TIME: Tom and Jimmy jump into season two of Batman Beyond with “Splicers,” “Earth Mover,” and “Joyride”.