Spider-Man: You know applause from you...makes me want to shower.
Tombstone: Perhaps, but someone should point out I offered you a handsome salary to do just the sort of thing you did tonight. And instead, you've done the Big Man's business for free. That, my heroic friend, is what grown-ups call irony.
At a gala hosted by L. Thompson Lincoln, Spider-Man is defenestrated
. He web-slings back through the window, confronting the Green Goblin, a man dressed in a green-and-purple goblin costume standing atop a bat-shaped jet-glider. Trading insults as they trash the gala, the Green Goblin gleefully attacks Spider-Man with jack-o-laturn-shaped grenades, bat-shaped shuriken, and energy bolts launched from his fingertips. Spider-Man flashes back to earlier in the evening to Midtown High's Fall Formal, where Flash and Liz, Harry and Glory, and Randy and Sally arrive and submit their votes for the King and Queen of the ball. Harry diffuses an argument between Randy and Sally over whether he or Flash should win by offering to treat them at an expensive restaurant, and they run into Gwen and Eddie. Harry ignores Gwen when she greets him, and she laments to Eddie that his newfound popularity is going to his head. However, the arrival of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson steals Harry's spotlight.
At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is dressing up while Ned Lee pesters him over getting permission to investigate Spider-Man's true identity. Jameson refuses on account that if Spider-Man is "Joe-schmoe" then the paper's popularity will drop. Jameson's mood instantly improves when his son, astronaut John Jameson, arrives, and he proudly introduces him to the staff, announcing that John is to pilot his first mission on the space shuttle the next week and that he is taking him to a party to celebrate. As Jameson heads out, Robbie Robertson tells Lee to run with the Spider-Man story and see where it goes. At the gala, Gwen sulks as Peter introduces Mary Jane to the faculty, while Harry attempts to become the centre of attention once more, but is cut off by Sally's outburst that "geeks like Parker do not get girls like her!" Peter introduces Mary Jane to "the in-crowd", and she foils Flash's attempt to humiliate Peter over their bet. While the others go off to dance, Harry offers to get Glory a drink, only to find Kenny apologizing to her. Glory accepts and hooks back up with him on the spot, and a distraught Harry runs off, taking a vial of "Globulin Green
" from his locker and drinking it before disappearing into the night.
At Oscorp, Otto Octavius is patrolling the lab when he is startled by a man in a green and purple goblin costume, who makes off with the Techflight jet-glider. At an apartment, a trio of Tombstone's thugs work to crack a safe, only for the Green Goblin to burst in and threaten them into joining him. At the gala, which is being hosted by L. Thompson Lincoln, John expresses disappointment that he didn't get to spend his last day just chilling with his dad and Jameson decides to leave, but they are blocked by the three thugs, who are wearing pumpkin masks. The Green Goblin crashes the party and confronts Lincoln, attempting to blackmail him into stepping down as the Big Man. Jameson calls the Daily Bugle and demands that Peter be sent to get pictures. Peter apologizes to Mary Jane, who opts to dance with Randy when Sally attempts to poke fun at her. Spider-Man arrives at Lincoln's gala and takes on the Goblin, who proposes they join forces. Spider-Man refuses, and the Goblin promptly attacks him, leading to Spider-Man getting launched out the window.
At Midtown High, Flash Thompson is crowned the King of the ball, while to everyone's surprise Mary Jane Watson is named the Queen. The fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin takes them across the city until Spider-Man finally webs him to the side of a building. The Goblin reveals he left a bomb in the gala room, and Spider-Man rushes to the scene and helps Tombstone evacuate and search for the bomb. John remembers one of the Goblin's quips and realizes the bomb was hidden in the chandelier, allowing Spider-Man to launch it away with only seconds to spare. Tombstone dryly remarks that Spider-Man turned down getting paid for doing exactly what he'd just done. Jameson calls the Bugle and declares that the next morning's headlines say his son saved the gala, but John says that unnecessary publicity would cause him to be pulled from the launch so Jameson gives the credit to Spider-Man. Spider-Man returns to where he'd left the Goblin to find the webbing slashed open, while at Midtown High Sally berates Glory for dumping Harry before their ride home, while Harry secretly watches them before drinking another vial of Globulin Green and walking away. Peter arrives at the school to find the party over and almost everyone gone, but Mary Jane offers to give him the last dance of the evening.
This episode provides examples of:
- Arrow Catch: Tombstone calmly catches a Razor Bat thrown at him.
- Ax-Crazy: The Green Goblin.
- Bad Date: Harry's date with Glory turns into one when she gets back together with Kenny in the middle of it.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The Green Goblin gives off this impression.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mary Jane proves supremely talented in this respect. The Green Goblin revels in this just as much as Spider-Man.
- Deadly Euphemism: The Green Goblin is fond of these. Lincoln also uses one when addressing the three turncoat thugs.
- Destination Defenestration: Spider-Man gets knocked through the window and lampshades it at the beginning of the episode.
- Doting Parent: J. Jonah Jameson
- Drugs Are Bad: The Globulin Green is an obvious steroid metaphor.
- Enemy Mine: Spider-Man teams up with Tombstone to evacuate the gala. Lampshaded by Tombstone, who remarks that Spider-Man passed up an opportunity to be paid for doing exactly that.
- Expressive Mask: The Green Goblin's.
- Foreshadowing: Harry's use of the Globulin Green and the Osborns' collection of grotesque masks.
- Genre Savvy: Mary Jane proves adept at maneuvering the ins and outs of high-school intrigue.
- Hollywood Nerd: Peter Parker, as lampshaded by Sally Avril.
- Hurricane of Puns: The Green Goblin.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: This episode highlights that while J. Jonah Jameson may be a blustering, cantankerous jerk, he's a big softie when it comes to his son.
- Large Ham: Jameson, but especially the Green Goblin.
- Laughing Mad: The Green Goblin.
- Psycho Serum: The Globulin Green.
- Sarcasm Failure: Spider-Man can only say wow when the Green Goblin jumps over a building.
- Slasher Smile: The Green Goblin's mask gives this impression.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Spider-Man vs. The Green Goblin.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: The Green Goblin is hinted to be Harry Osborn's.
- You Fight Like a Cow: The Green Goblin, who is more than capable of matching wits with Spider-Man.
- We Can Rule Together: The Green Goblin proposes this to Spider-Man. His response when turned down: "Oh well. Your loss... of LIFE!"