Episode four begins with an introduction of two important elements of the show. The ion cortex and its creator Dr. Burr. The ion cortex is a new energy source that could provide the entire world with more than enough energy, and Dr. Burr is its socially awkward inventor. During the unveiling of this device, there is an attack by some ninjas, who we later learn are members of the League of Assassins.
After the attack, Bruce Wayne tells Tatsu not to involve the police because he does not trust them. Instead, he insists that Dr. Burr come stay at Wayne Manor (or Wayne Fortress as Alfred calls it). At Wayne Manor, Tatsu is in charge of watching Dr. Burr, along with a security team hired by Bruce Wayne and led by a guy who looks suspiciously like Agent Coulson from the Marvel movies. Tatsu is not too fond of this assignment, and things are made worse for her by the fact that Dr. Burr is obviously smitten with her and tries flirting with her. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne leaves on a “hot date”, so Batman can search for clues at Dr. Burr’s laboratory. All of this leads up to a dramatic endgame at Wayne Manor. A new team from the League of Assassins is sent to Wayne Manor to retrieve Dr. Burr in order to steal the ion cortex. At the request of Lady Shiva, this team is led by Silver Monkey. Alfred initiates a failsafe that locks down Wayne Manor, making it impossible for anyone to get in to the building. This unfortunately happens too late, as Silver Monkey and the assassins are in the building prior to the failsafe being put in place. With the betrayal of the security team, Tatsu is must defend Alfred and Dr. Burr from the assassins, and Batman must find a way in to help them. Further intrigue develops as we learn that Silver Monkey and Lady Shiva know Tatsu and refer to her as “Katana”, ending speculation as to when Tatsu would start being referred to by that name.
The best part of this show is the debate Batman and Katana (Tatsu) have about killing running throughout the episode. On more than one occasion, Batman has to stop Katana from killing an assassin, saying “Once you go down that road, there’s no going back.” This is a key component of the high standard of justice Batman has, and it brings further character development for our hero. It is comforting to know we are dealing with a Batman that knows what limits he needs to place on himself to avoid becoming what he has sworn to stop.
Again we get to see some cool action shots, but that alone cannot make a show like this good. Batman, once again, has a neat looking fight on the Batcycle and flies off on his glider. That makes two episodes in a row for that stunt. This is a great feature of this incarnation of Batman, but they cannot overuse it. Twice in a row is a bit much.
When the alarm goes off for Alfred to lockdown Wayne Manor, his watch sounds the alarm. The sound that it makes is nearly identical to the sound the Batphone made in the 1960s TV series. For a show that is trying to be darker (I think), they should try to avoid the campier connotations that alluding to the Adam West series brings.
While the decision to bring in the League of Assassins is good for the show, it can be debated as to why they are starting with Silver Monkey and Lady Shiva. The better move to draw in viewers (and plot-wise too) would be to start with Ra’s al Ghul. While Lady Shiva is a strong female character and well known, Silver Monkey is lesser well known and brings up memories of my childhood watching the Silver Snakes or the Green Monkeys compete on Legends of the Hidden Temple. As awesome as that show was, I would much prefer a villain that has a much more fearsome tone. Furthermore, the battle of wits and the relationship between Ra’s al Ghul and Batman is much more interesting to delve into than what Silver Monkey bring to the table.
The decision to wound Alfred in the first episode is growing tiresome. Katana has potential to be a strong character, but right now she does not like her job and we get this whiny vibe from her. She is supposed to be this former ninja-assassin, but we are getting more of a bitter-teenager vibe from her. If Katana is to be on this show, she must be done right. As of right now, she is not. Furthermore, I would like to see more of Alfred. He has been used well, but he is a much more compelling character than Katana. I would rather have the former British spy than the whiny girl and her dorky scientist admirer.
I must say that I am tiring of bringing this up, but once again, the writers are struggling to find the right balance between children’s entertainment and a show that will draw adult viewers. After the initial attempt on Dr. Burr and the ion cortex, the ninja in charge of the attack was punished by Lady Shiva and Silver Monkey. We see Silver Monkey kick the man, and then we see the man being dragged away. It is unclear whether he is unconscious or dead. If this is a show for kids, it needs to be clear that the man is alive. If we want this to be a show for adults too, then we need to get rid of the dopey romantic advances from Dr. Burr. It was incredibly painful to watch. The worst of this occurred at the very end of the episode. Batman and Katana have successfully scared off the League of Assassins, and Dr. Burr and Alfred come outside to see Katana and Batman. Katana has a minor injury on her shoulder, and Dr. Burr rushes to her and makes an overly melodramatic scene about wanting to save her life in return for her saving his life. This is just excruciating. That scene is so horrible that Joel Schumacher could watch that scene and say “Well, at least I didn’t do anything THAT bad!”. This episode could be the best episode of the series thus far, but that scene alone makes it the worst thus far.
Beware the Batman: Safe:
Reviewed by Alex Hey