Beware the Batman Ep 6 Review: Toxic
This was the last episode before the show went on hiatus, and they picked the right one to go on a break. We get human tragedy, a great story, and a perfect example of using continuity to make episodic TV more compelling. I’m a little late due to personal matters tying me up for several weeks, so the hiatus has already ended and there’s a brand new episode out. Written by Erin Maher & Kathryn Reindl and directed by Curt Geda let’s look at, Toxic.
We open on Stagg Industries as the illustrious Simon Stagg watches his daughter make out with one of his security guards. Stagg was in the first episode and it set him up as a dubious character who has little regard for anyone’s life other than his own. His daughter, Sapphire, professes her love for the guard, Rex Mason, and Stagg isn’t too happy about that as he punches a hole in his computer monitor. Stagg plots a way for Mason to have an accident by faking a break-in and luring Mason into the Metamorpho experiment test area. Mason is changed into a monstrous being who can change his body into various elements. Now the hunt is on as Batman tracks down Gotham’s latest monster, to subdue and then try to cure him, and for Mason to try and get back to his one true love.
This is what I’ve been waiting for, the episode where everything comes together and for the show to really hit its stride. Everything works to pull off a great tale of human drama, tragedy, and loss. While I do sing this show’s praises this is definitely the episode to watch if you’re a little unsure about it. It is one of those note perfect episodes where there is no happy ending. I’m reminded of Batman Beyond’s bittersweet endings where in the end the bad guy may have been taken down but it still felt like a loss.
It also had some well done continuity that propped up the episodic nature but it didn’t feel like we needed to watch previous episodes. The audience already knows who Stagg is from the first episode, we got to see that he’s a bastard who values his own life and money much more than anyone else. We get a reason for Tatsu not being around because she’s guarding Dr Jason Burr from a previous episode. There was also Ravencroft and her flirting with Bruce, her connection to the mysterious Argus club. It’s these little things that help the show get the sense of growth and development while still being a largely episodic series.
The exposition is a little heavy in the beginning, however. It does its best to set up things and characters, but it’s still heavy handed and the opening just hammered home that they didn’t have time to properly introduce the characters and their conflicts. It was just a few lines of dialogue and once the episode got going it was fine, but at the beginning it was a little painful.
That was probably the only major drawback to the episode, everything else was pretty great. More so Metamorpho himself as Adam Baldwin played the part very well, especially given for most of the episode he can’t speak properly but in a more monstrous way in the vein of Frankenstein. He had to convey quite a lot with limited dialogue, and that was spectacular. As was the animation on Metamorpho, giving him a rather unstoppable edge that meant Batman had to outthink him and come up with a solution.
Which lead to the conclusion and a nice twist that had Batman in more villainous role against the tragic monster. Even going so far as to work with Stagg to solve the problem, or forcing Stagg to work with him since Metamorpho would’ve killed Stagg otherwise. We got to see Batman doing some counter planning with him hoping Metamorpho would come with him quietly, but he was prepared if he didn’t and seeded where he wanted Metamorpho to go. Also Batman does evil villain chair swivel, which is too funny for a character like Batman since he can pull it off but it’s very out of the ordinary for him to do.
Overall this is a great episode and I believe it’s the turning point in the series that will set it out against the other DC cartoons to showcase its own unique style. The bad guy loses, Batman gets Stagg but I’m sure he’d rather save Mason, and Sapphire loses everything. Brilliantly pulled off tragedy that I hope we’ll get see more of its type in the future.