Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E15 "The Cat and the Claw: Part 1"

The episode opens with an impressive view of Gotham City, with Classy Cat-Burglar Catwoman climbing up a building. With the help of her cat, Isis, she steals a valuable-looking pearl and diamond necklace from a penthouse. The camera then shifts to Batman, who it turns out was watching the whole thing from the top of a building, intrigued that a woman could be this new burglar. Batman gives chase, but fails to catch her. Catwoman blows a kiss while she leaves. Batman leaves impressed, while he collects a hair off his costume.

The focus shifts to an Animal-Rights Celebrity Auction, where billionaire playboy and philanthropist Bruce Wayne is called to the stage. A blonde lady in a red dress named Selina Kyle wins the auction for a date with Bruce, with the very steep bid of $10,000. Bruce goes to meet Selina and is visibly interested in her. Machine gun fire is heard outside, with police cars in chase. Bruce inconspicuously vanishes from the auction to investigate the ruckus, which, it turns out, is caused by a group of terrorists under the control of a notorious leader named Red Claw, as Batman learns from Commissioner James Gordon.

Bruce arrives at Selina's apartment, where he learns that Selina lost a deal for land for a Mountain Lion preserve in favor of Multigon International. When they go to Multigon International, they learn that the owner, Stern, wants to build a resort on the land, even though it's in the middle of nowhere. Selina threatens to bring every animal rights group down on Stern before storming out. After Selina and Bruce leave, Stern secretly meets with Red Claw (who it turns out is female), who orders that someone keep tabs on Selina. In the meantime, Selina asks a rain check on her date with Bruce.

That night, Batman interrogates a mob boss to get info on Red Claw. Meanwhile, Red Claw calls a meeting with her henchmen, stating her plans to unleash an infectious plague on Gotham. Catwoman infiltrates Stern's office to get info, but she is secretly under surveillance by Red Claw, who goes with her henchmen to take care of her. Isis warns Catwoman of the coming trouble, and she escapes through the ventilation system before Red Claw and her henchmen barge in. Red Claw's terrorists give chase. While Catwoman tries to escape by roof hopping, Red Claw blasts away a ledge she hangs on, but she is saved by the intervention of Batman.

Catwoman returns home and removes her mask, where she tells her secretary that Red Claw wants the land because of the military base there, but unfortunately, one of Red Claw's terrorists sees Selina, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger.

This was the first episode of Batman: The Animated Series aired. The story is continued in "The Cat and the Claw: Part 2", which strangely was the eighth episode aired, unlike other two-parters, which were aired one part after the first.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Catwoman ducks into Multigon's air vents to escape from Red Claw.
  • Bachelor Auction: Among the items being auctioned for an animal-welfare charity is a date with Bruce Wayne. Selina severely overbids, ironically just to make a showy donation; she isn't actually interested in Bruce until afterwards.
  • The Baroness: Red Claw, who leads a gang of terrorists with unspecified but strongly-held convictions while sporting a red leotard and an Eastern European accent.
  • Building Swing:
    • Catwoman does this using her whip.
    • Batman does too with his grappling hook.
  • Disco Tech: Playing the beginning of "Ode to Joy" to unlock the secret room.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: In the opening, Catwoman uses her Absurdly Sharp Claws to cut a perfectly circular hole in a window, just large enough for Isis to enter.
  • Laser Hallway: Catwoman uses a clever way of getting past the laser grid surrounding a diamond necklace; she uses her housecat Isis—who can see the infrared beams and, thus, can steer around them with her sleek body—to get the jewelry for her.
  • Off-Model: Probably the Ur-Example for Sunrise, who, along with AKOM (who did part two), would cause no end of grief for the producers.
    Director Kevin Altieri: In cartoons if you want lines to bend over characters, it's not a trick, it's real animation, you shouldn't do it. The chances of it working are astronomical, but I went for it anyway, and they did it! They blew so many other simpler things, and this they pulled off.
  • Pilot: Aired as one for Batman: The Animated Series as well as the DCAU.
  • Scenery Porn: Several impresesive shots of Gotham are displayed throughout the episode.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: The keys of a piano have to be pressed in the right order—the first few bars of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"—to reveal a map of the Multigon "resort" site. Catwoman, having had piano lessons, plays that out with ease and then continues—unlocking more hidden parts of the room.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Red Claw's goals are never spelled out, but she's very keen on them, and for some reason causing an epidemic in Gotham will strongly advance them.
  • Western Terrorists: The terrorists are, Red Claw aside, all white men, though the implication is that they are vaguely "foreign" in a nonspecific way. Given the Retro Universe nature of the setting, they can be taken as its rough equivalent of stereotypical "Red" saboteurs.