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The seventh episode of Danny Phantom, and widely considered to be the point when the show Grew The Beard and one of the two best episodes of the series.The episode starts with Danny speeding home one night on his scooter, glad to be home before curfew for once without being held up by any ghost attacks. Faster than you can say "Tempting Fate," his ghost sense goes off as he looks up to see three ghost vultures flying in and out of several houses as if they’re looking for something. So much for being on time... "Going ghost!"Danny flies after the vultures, who ignore him for a while before finally deciding to ask him for directions. They show him a picture (actually, the ripped corner of a photograph) of the target they’ve apparently been sent to kill: Danny’s dad. For obvious reasons, Danny doesn’t tell them where they can find him. A short fight/chase scene ensues that ends with the three would-be hitmen flying out of town in defeat. Danny catches the photo they dropped and starts to wonder why they were after his father... but no time for that! He’s late getting home again, and his parents aren’t happy.Back at home, Danny tries to hide the fact that his arm’s turning intangible while sitting through a lecture about how he’s been neglecting his schoolwork and his chores and is always late coming home. Jazz, as usual, has to join in and starts ranting about how their parents don’t communicate with Danny enough so, of course, he doesn’t think they can understand him! Danny tries to warn her to back off, but it’s too late. Jack agrees and decides they need to spend more time with their kids. How? By taking them along for their college reunion, being held by their old friend Vlad in Wisconsin! Way to go, Jazz...They make the trip in the Fenton Family Ghost Assault Vehicle – an RV loaded with so many ghost weapons that Danny accidentally zaps several innocent birds and covers Jazz in ectoplasmic goo just by trying to open the window. (Jazz is also kind enough to inform us that, wherever Amity Park is, it’s a four day drive from Madison, Wisconsin.) Jack stops for the night to exposite about his old friend, roommate, and research partner from college, Vlad Masters, who’s since become a famous billionaire. Apparently, Vlad, Jack, and Maddie were ¡Three Amigos! in college twenty years ago; according to Jack, they were best friends who did everything together... until the day the aspiring ghost hunters completed their first attempt at a portal into "the ghost dimension." Vlad, who insisted it wouldn’t work, was standing near it when Maddie discovered the calculations weren’t right, just as Jack fired it up for the first time. Sure enough, there was an explosion, and Vlad took the full force of an ecto-energy blast to the face. When it was over, his face was covered with "ecto-acne," which sent him to the hospital for years and pretty much ended their friendship. Even though they haven’t spoken since that accident, Jack’s confident his old friend will have forgiven him after twenty years. Danny, however, looks uneasy about the eerily-familiar story...They meet the wealthy, suave, smooth-talking Vlad Masters the next day at his castle, where Jazz is weirded out by the green and gold football and cheesehead décor. It turns out the billionaire is a huge Packers fan. Jazz sarcastically wonders why he doesn’t just buy the team then."Because the Packers are owned by the city of Green Bay, and THEY WON’T SELL THEM TO ME!" After his brief outburst, Vlad quickly regains his cool, and calmly adds, grinning at Maddie, "One of two things my wealth has not – as of yet – been able to acquire..." Danny can’t help but notice that the guy is hitting on his mother, but since she’s not flirting back, Jazz doesn’t care. Maddie, however, looks a little uncomfortable, and goes to let her husband in, who had the door slammed in his face. Once they come back, it’s obvious that Vlad still holds a grudge against his supposed old friend for putting him in the hospital for years, although he once again restrains himself and finishes by thanking Jack for the opportunity it gave him to chart out a course for his life and become the rich man he is today. Maddie thinks it’s time for them to go, but Vlad insists they stay with him until the reunion tomorrow. Jazz is all too eager to stay anywhere that’s not their RV, but Jack isn’t too keen on the idea until Vlad tells him that the ghost of the last Wisconsin Dairy King is rumored to haunt the castle.The Fentons take Vlad up on his offer, and Danny is woken later that night by his ghost sense. He goes ghost and finds his sleepwalking dad being stalked by the same three vultures from earlier. Danny phases his dad down one floor to safety and then flies back up to the hallway to take care of the birds, who turn around, take one look at him, scream in fright, and disappear. A confused Danny comments, "Okay – that was almost too easy,” only to hear a voice behind him reply, "Ah – bright boy."Danny turns around to find himself facing a sinister-looking new ghost with a goatee, fangs, a Horned Hairdo, and a long white cape – Plasmius. Unconcerned, Danny prepares to fight his new opponent like any other ghost, only to be stunned by how the guy effortlessly rebuffs his first two attacks and addresses him as Danny Phantom. "You... you know me?"Plasmius knows more than his name, too – he phases through the wall into the next room, where Danny follows him, and taunts him about how he uses his powers to protect people, asking him why he doesn’t try sucking him into his thermos like he always does. Danny tries to say he doesn’t want to fight, only to be blasted across the room. He fires back, but Plasmius, unimpressed, raises a shield that easily deflects his attacks. Once Danny gives up on that, he gets another surprise when Plasmius, continuing to tease him about his inexperience, splits into four clones of himself, surrounding him. They all blast him at once, and Danny screams in pain as he falls to the ground.We’re then taken back to the hallway where we’re treated to the sounds of Danny getting the crap beat out of him on the other side of the wall. When he phases through the wall again, he’s in bad shape, too weak and in too much pain to even move. He loses consciousness just before Plasmius comes after him, right on time to see him revert back to his human form. Plasmius is intrigued to find that Danny Phantom is Jack’s son, and promptly powers down to his own human form: a highly amused Vlad Masters.Danny’s screaming in terror when he wakes up and finds himself back in his bed, in human form, in his pajamas, seemingly uninjured, with no sign of a ghost. He’s wondering how he got here when Vlad comes in and asks him if he’s all right. Danny pleads a nightmare due to jet lag and apologizes for the scare, but Vlad simply remarks, "Oh, what’s a little scare between friends, son?" and tells him to sleep tight, indulging in an Evil Laugh once he’s outside the door.Danny joins his parents for the reunion the next day, seemingly untroubled by his encounter last night, perhaps truly believing it was All Just a Dream, but Jazz decides she’d rather watch a marathon of Packers’ games than "watch a bunch of old fossils pogo to New Wave music" and keeps her distance. Danny no doubt regrets he didn’t do the same, as his dad proceeds to set a new standard for Amazingly Embarrassing Parents that night; even an old friend of his, Harriet Chin (or Harry, as Jack calls her... Harry Chin), is as mortified as Danny is when Jack starts jumping... er, pogo-ing around the room with his wife, knocking over everything and everyone in his path.Unsurprisingly, Danny ends up sitting a table alone, sulking for who-knows-how-long, most likely counting down the hours until this torture is over, when Vlad approaches him: "Well, son, you’re looking much better. I was wondering if you could do me a huge favor?" Danny says, sure, but asks him to call him Danny, not "son." Vlad apologizes and then asks Danny to go to his lab and bring down a present for his father. The completely unsuspecting Danny heads off to get it, while Vlad leers at Maddie standing across the room, vowing to change tonight what that lab accident ruined for him twenty years ago.Danny makes his way to the lab but doesn’t see a present anywhere. What he does see is a framed photo of Vlad, Maddie, and a third person with no head. Suspicious, he puts the torn photo of his dad in the corner and finds that it fits. But if this came from Vlad’s picture, then... the implications are still sinking in when his ghost sense goes off. He goes ghost just before being hoisted into the air by a tentacle. He fights off the two ectopusses, whom he recognizes as the first two ghosts he fought, only to get snared and shocked by a net courtesy of another old friend: Skulker.Danny breaks free and kicks Skulker across the room. He asks how he got his suit back and how he got here; in reply, the hunter tosses a small cube across the floor. It lands at Danny’s feet and promptly expands and unfolds into a much bigger box that builds itself around him, enveloping him until only his head is sticking out. Danny tries to phase out of it, but the box glows a ghostly green as it prevents him from escaping. Skulker presses a button on his wrist that makes it shock him, as well, which doesn’t stop until Danny powers down. Skulker ejects a blade from his wrist and seems ready to slit his captive’s throat, until they’re interrupted by Vlad, who angrily reminds Skulker he didn’t free him to kill the boy. The hunter is called away by his schedule and is flown off to the library to check out a book on purple-back gorillas (AGAIN!), leaving the two humans alone.Danny is too flustered to figure out what’s going on. Vlad explains that he was the one who sent the ectopusses – and other ghosts – after his father, never expecting they’d be stopped by "the second ghost hybrid" Jack’s invention created. Danny is confused by what he means by "second"... until Vlad transforms into the same ghost he fought last night. The same type of Freak Lab Accident gave him the same powers as Danny twenty years ago! Danny tries to go ghost again but can’t. After mocking his battle cry, Vlad informs him that Skulker’s Spectral Energy Neutralizer stops him from transforming or using his powers.
This episode provides examples of the following tropes: