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Recap / Batman Beyond S1 E1-2 "Rebirth"

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Batman Beyond's two-part pilot episode. Years after the events of Batman: The Animated Series, a middle-aged Bruce Wayne is forced to hang up the cowl due to his declining health and retires from crime-fighting, becoming an isolated recluse.

Another twenty years later, crime in Gotham is worse than ever, and the city itself has largely fallen under the influence of Derek Powers, the new CEO of Wayne's former company. In a chance occurrence, Bruce meets a teenager named Terry McGinnis, who shares his passion for justice and inadvertently discovers his past secret identity as Batman.

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After Terry's father Warren is murdered, Terry begins to suspect foul play on the part of Powers, his former employer, and asks Bruce for help. Having long given up vigilantism, Bruce insists that the proper route would be to inform the police and have them further investigate the situation. Terry, upon finding the batsuit, has different ideas...


Tropes:

  • Adventure Rebuff: Bruce refuses to help Terry at first. Once Terry steals the batsuit, Bruce shuts it down remotely, but eventually decides to let him become the next Batman.
  • Badass Boast:
    Mr. Fixx: You're pretty strong, for some clown who thinks he's Batman.
    Terry: I am Batman!
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Happens in the prologue. In the middle a hostage rescue attempt, the aged Bruce suffers a heart attack and receives a severe beating from a mook. He is then forced to hold off the mook by pointing a gun at him, much to his own horror.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Bruce takes hires Terry as his "go-for", essentially taking him on as the new batman. But meanwhile, Paxton has not only been treated of his own plague with a radiation treatment, he's become a radioactive being who may pose a threat...
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The new Batsuit is at least 20 years old by the time Terry wears it, but he mentions that it's still cutting-edge.
  • Big "NO!": Derek Powers after being exposed to his nerve toxin.
  • Career-Ending Injury / Game-Breaking Injury: Bruce's bad heart (and his deteriorating physical state in general from all the injuries he'd sustained over his years as Batman) finally catches up to him during a fight with some kidnappers and he is forced to use a gun to make the last attacker step down.note 
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  • Changing of the Guard: By the end of the episode, Bruce decides to hire Terry as his "assistant," effectively accepting him as a worthy successor to take over the duties of Batman.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: The kidnappers in the opening scene watch a TV news report of the kidnapping, followed by a business news item that shows that Bruce Wayne is now considerably older than he was in Batman: The Animated Series and introduces Derek Powers as a rival trying to take over his company.
  • Continuity Nod: Bunny Vreeland, the kidnapped young woman in the prologue is confirmed to be the daughter of Veronica Vreeland, a recurring character from Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Derek Powers in spades. In the intro, it is mentioned that he had repeatedly attempted hostile takeovers of Wayne Enterprises, eventually succeeding and transforming the company into Wayne-Powers. And he only gets worse from there...
  • Create Your Own Villain: Terry causes Powers to get exposed to his own nerve gas. Later, his doctors treat him with high levels of radiation to save his life, but the effects transform him into a translucent glowing green skeleton...
    • Create Your Own Hero: Powers having Warren McGinnis murdered for his knowledge about the nerve gas is what brings Terry and Bruce together, reviving Batman.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Derek Powers easily shoots down the batarang that Terry throws at him. He's just as quick to shoot the next thing Terry throws at him...a canister of his nerve gas, which bursts open right in front of him.
  • Death by Origin Story: Warren McGinnis and Mr. Fixx.
  • Dirty Coward: The kidnapper in the Distant Prologue has no qualms against brutally beating Bruce with a metal bar while he's incapacitated and in agony on the ground from a heart attack, but quickly freaks out and bails when Bruce threatens him with a fallen gun.
  • Distant Prologue: The first episode begins with Bruce Wayne's final night as Batman, twenty years prior to the rest of the story.
  • The Dragon: Mr. Fixx to Derek Powers. He is the one who murders Terry's father.
  • Evil Gloating: The mook while he's overpowering Bruce in his last fight as Batman.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Fixx dies when his craft crashes into the Gotham Bay and he drowns.
  • Good News, Bad News: In the end, the good news from Powers' doctors is they stopped the deteriorating effects of the nerve gas. The bad news is he's turned into a glowing skeleton from the radiation used to treat him.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Mr. Fixx has a jagged scar down from his left eye.
  • Gory Discretion Shot / Take Our Word for It: The eventual fates of the test subjects of Derek Powers' nerve gas, given the horrified reaction by the Kaznian minister upon seeing the pictures.
  • He Knows Too Much: Harry Tully and eventually Warren McGinnis are murdered by Mr. Fixx for knowing about the nerve gas.
  • Heroic BSoD:
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During the battle with Batman, Derek Powers gets exposed to his own nerve gas, quickly suffering from the effects.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Bruce's final battle as Batman begins with him easily taking down criminal mooks as usual... until he clutches his chest in distress.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: After stealing the Batsuit from the Batcave, Terry takes a few minutes to get used to the suit's flight patterns.
  • Hurting Hero: Terry realizes this about Bruce after he refuses to do anything about Powers' nerve gas project.
    Terry: Something happened to you, didn't it? And it wasn't just that you got old.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Before he dies, Harry Tully passes on an infodisk about the nerve gas to Warren. Later, Terry finds the same infodisk hidden in one of his pictures.
  • Impairment Shot: When Bruce collapses during his final battle as Batman, we see a wavering double-vision view through his eyes.
  • Jerkass: The crooks Bruce fights in in the Distant Prologue. They kidnapped Bunny Vreeland to ransom five million dollars for her, and despite being given the money, fully intended to kill her anyway.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: When Bruce is incapacitated due to a sudden heart attack, the final kidnapper gleefully beats him with a crowbar.
  • Laughing Mad: Derek Powers, upon seeing his new appearance after receiving the radiation treatments.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Harry Tully "accidentally" got exposed to the nerve gas. Later, Mr. Fixx makes it look like Warren was murdered by Jokerz.
  • Mugging the Monster: When the Jokerz run into Bruce, they assume that he is just a feeble, crippled old man and not a threat. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle.
    J-Man: Who do you think you're talking to, old man? We're the Jokerz!
    Bruce: (smirking) Sure you are.
  • Not So Different: Terry convinces Bruce to let him continue by appealing to their common loss:
    Bruce: I'll shut down the suit again — and this time, it'll be for good.
    Terry: I read up on you, Mr. Wayne. I know how you lost your folks. The guy who murdered my dad is on that transport. This is my one chance to nail him.
    (Bruce moves his hand away from the kill switch)
    Bruce: The hover pads are in the north-east sector.
    Terry: Wish me luck.
    Bruce: Good luck.
  • Obviously Evil: SF Debris pokes fun at Vilmos Egans, the Kaznian Minister for this.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the prologue, the kidnapper is reduced to terrified babbling after Batman Grabs a Gun, apparently realising the significance of this act.
  • Parting Words Regret: Terry bitterly regrets his last conversation with his father.
    Terry: I yelled at him, Mom. He grounded me and I wouldn't listen. The things I said—!
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Bruce helps Terry fight off the Jokerz, but then needs help getting back to Wayne Manor for his medicine and falls asleep in his chair right after taking it. This serves as an Establishing Character Moment (building on what we saw in the Distant Prologue); he still knows how to fight, but lacks the stamina to do it for very long.
  • Pretender Diss: Bruce gives one to the Jokerz when they try to threaten him. Later, Mr. Fixx tries to give one to Terry as noted in Badass Boast.
  • Reality Ensues: Doesn't matter how skilled Bruce is, he still grows old and can't do the kind of thing he did when he was younger and healthier.
  • That Man Is Dead: Bruce invokes the inverted version when Terry tries to enlist his help against Powers:
    Terry: You have to do something! You're Batman!
    Bruce: I was Batman.
  • Welcome to My World: Bruce says this to Terry verbatim. Terry's mother thinks he's referring to the world of big business; Bruce, Terry, and the audience know that he means taking up the mantle of Batman.
  • You Killed My Father: Terry's motivation for stealing the Batsuit and taking on Derek Powers and Mr. Fixx.

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