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Recap / Batman Beyond S3 E4 "Out of the Past"

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After being taken out by Terry to see Batman: The Musical for his birthday, Bruce begins to lament his old age and what could have been. He then receives a surprise visit from an old flame, Talia al Ghul, who informs him that she has since taken control of her late father's Lazarus Pit and has altered the procedure to the point where it is now "safe" for use. She offers Bruce the chance to become young again, but he is initially reluctant. However, a subsequent mugging episode which nearly leaves him and a bystander dead causes him to reconsider the idea...

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Tropes:

  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: Batman: The Musical
  • Back in the Saddle: Bruce's rejuvenation makes him almost as strong as he was decades earlier.
  • Bash Brothers: Young!Bruce and Terry fight side-by-side for the first time ever, taking out several mooks together.
  • Batman Gambit: Bruce gets one performed on him by a villain for a change. The "mugging" that occurs at the beginning of the episode turns out to be a setup by Ra's al Ghul, done to give Bruce a Moment of Weakness and convince him of his own feebleness in order to encourage him to accept "Talia's" offer to use the Lazarus Pit.
    • The "thoughtless" gift of food Bruce had once enjoyed but can't eat anymore at his age was probably a similar ploy to chip away at his resistance to the idea.
  • Birthday Hater: Bruce has become one in his old age as it serves to only remind him of the fact that he is well past his prime.
    Terry: Lighten up, it's your birthday!
    Bruce: Don't remind me.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bruce learns that Talia had been murdered by her father and he begins to revert back to his normal age after leaving the Lazarus Pit. However, he succeeds in defeating Ra's once and for all, is now satisfied and content with his elderly age, and is finally able to provide closure for Talia's memory.
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  • Crosscast Role: In Universe. Much like many young male roles in theatre, Robin in "Batman: The Musical" is clearly being played by a woman, and wearing the original bare-legged Robin costume from the comics, no less.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: After exhausting what little tolerance he has for "Batman: The Musical", Bruce walks out, getting steadily more exasperated and rude as he pushes his way past the people between him and the exit.
  • Familial Body Snatcher: This was Ra's last ditch attempt to save himself, with it left unknown if Talia was willing or not.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Talia kisses Bruce, then we later find out Talia is Ra's. Terry and Bruce are both creeped out.
  • Gilded Cage: After becoming young again, Bruce quickly realises that Talia's offer of eternal youth is this, and decides to return to Gotham. Her mooks however have other orders.
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  • Grand Theft Me: Ra's al Ghul performed this on his own daughter (see Offing the Offspring below). And now he plans to do it to Bruce, plotting to return to Gotham as the "long-lost son" of Bruce and Talia.
  • Grand Finale: Not a traditional version of the trope, but this episode marks the conclusion of Batman and Ra's Al Ghul's longstanding emnity.
  • Happier Home Movie: One scene has old Bruce looking over photos of happier times he spent with his past romantic partners, including Zatanna, Lois Lane, Catwoman, and Batgirl. And one with Talia at the end.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Talia corrects Terry when he mispronounces Ra's al Ghul's name.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The mook who'd been gloating about how he watches people get chomped on by crocodiles gets thrown in there himself. Subverted when he escapes a Karmic Death, presumably because he has been paying attention to how the crocodiles act.
  • My Grandson Myself: Ra's al Ghul's plan is to transfer his mind into Bruce's rejuvenated body and return to Gotham as the son of Bruce and Talia in order to get control of Bruce's assets.
  • Mythology Gag: The line "Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot" is from Detective Comics #33.
  • Noodle Incident: The "Near Apocalypse of '09," which was apparently a major crisis during which Bruce had defeated Ra's al Ghul for good.
  • Not Quite Dead: Ra's al Ghul was considered dead and gone during the above incident. He survived, but his body was too broken even for the Lazarus Pits to heal.
  • Offhand Backhand: Even the Batman character in the musical is able to pull off the Dark Knight's signature move.
  • Offing the Offspring: After the Near Apocalypse of '09, Ra's al Ghul's body had been so badly damaged that even the Lazarus Pit was unable to repair it. In order to survive, he then used a computer to transfer his own consciousness onto Talia's body, in effect overwriting her mind and killing her. Although not directly stated, it is implied that he may have done this against her will. At the very least, he guilted/coerced her into it by playing on her filial loyalty.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Terry loves the Batman stage adaption with its lighthearted and catchy musical numbers. Bruce considers it an insult to his legacy and everything he stood for. An added bonus is the fact that the stage Batman was also voiced by Kevin Conroy.
    Bruce: You hate me, don't you?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bruce delivers a fairly brutal one to Ra's:
    Bruce: Sure, Ra's, why not? Anything to hold off the Grim Reaper a few more seconds. I take it back. You don't cheat death; you whimper in fear of it. (gets slapped) And you hit like a girl.
  • Save the Villain: Averted; Bruce stops Terry from running back to save Ra's. "Whatever was in there died years ago."
  • Shark Pool: Two mooks try to throw Terry into a crocodile pond, but he overpowers them and throws one of them in instead. The mook fights off the crocs with his machete and escapes.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Bruce, after becoming younger again having used the Lazarus Pit.
    • Terry as well in this episode. His extensive knowledge of Gotham's history and past events, which he displays when first meeting Talia, noticeably impresses Bruce.
  • Voices Are Mental: Played with. At first, Ra's uses Talia's normal voice in her body as a disguise. However, after his cover is blown to Bruce and Terry, he begins speaking with his own voice again. According to Season 3's DVD features, they were going to explain this by way of transplanted vocal chords, but it was cut.
  • Wham Line:
    Bruce: I heard him, Talia! Where's Ra's?!
    Talia: I did not want you to find out this way, but I suppose what is done is done... (in Ra's voice) Detective!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Bruce's pictures of former loves noticeably doesn't include Andrea Beaumont. Paul Dini explained that Bruce deliberately left her out due to being a murderer.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To H. P. Lovecraft's The Thing on the Doorstep.

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