Season 2 begins to wrap up with Vlad Plasmius watching his favorite show Danny Phantom. It turns out the ghost hunting equipment he gave Valerie last season has one feature he never told her about: it's been monitoring and collecting footage of Danny. A lot of footage. Vlad browses through clip after clip but, apparently, finds nothing useful. His computer (which he's made to look and sound like Danny's mother Maddie) confirms that what he needs to complete his "experiment" is a DNA sample of Danny in mid-morph. He sends three bizarre-looking ghosts who address him as "father" (to his delight) to collect it.
The first ghost finds Danny just after he meets up with Sam and Tucker at a mini-golf course. By the way, the writers randomly decided to make gratitude the anvilicious moral of the episode and, for the benefit of anyone who has never (or who has) seen the show, establish in the beginning that Danny is a self-centered jerk who uses his two friends to take the blame for any damage caused by his battles, never appreciates the help they give him, treats them with no respect, and has no concern for whatever inconvenience or physical danger his ghost fighting causes them. There's no word on how many kids this taught to appreciate their friends, but it certainly provides a great lesson for Fan Fic writers on the art of Out-of-Characterness. But enough about that... The first ghost is a black-and-green skeleton wearing a white bed sheet (no, that last detail is never explained). He and Danny exchange a few blows before Danny fires a powerful energy blast that causes it to completely dissolve. Since the blast took out a good portion of the golf course as well, Danny makes tracks.
He flies home and turns human once he's safely in his room, where he finds a strange figure sitting on his bed. No, it's not a house-elf it's a little girl with blue eyes and black hair identical to Danny's. She introduces herself as his cousin Danielle and claims she's run away from home and needs a place to hide. Danny brings her some food while he asks her more questions about who she is and what's she's doing here. All he learns, however, is that she likes his favorite band and NASA as much as he does. He finally decides it's time to tell his parents and hers that she's here and drags her away by the arm. Danielle absolutely refuses to talk to his parents, pulls herself free, and runs back to his room, but when Danny gets there, she's gone. He goes ghost and flies out the open window, wondering where she went, when his ghost sense goes off.
He's attacked this time by a muscular ghost that looks like a cross between The Incredible Hulk and Frankenstein's monster. This fight doesn't go half as easy as the last one. The ghost has him in a choke hold when Danielle reappears and angrily tells it to leave him alone. Danny tells her to run before two shocking things happen: 1) Danielle tells him she knows who he is and came here specifically to find him; and 2) she transforms into a ghost with white hair and glowing green eyes just like Danny's, and a black and white uniform, complete with matching Chest Insignia.
Danielle fires an energy blast at the ghost, making it release Danny. He's about to ask her what's going on when their opponent returns. Whoever Danielle is, Danny can't argue with her when she says this is no time for questions. They attack the ghost together with a blast that leaves a gaping hole in its chest before it dissolves into a puddle of green goo. Danny finds the ending to this fight as weird as the appearance of his cousin with ghost powers. He has a lot of questions for her, but she passes out in his arms before he can ask any, forcing him to put them on hold for tomorrow. A quick smirk at the camera, however, shows she was faking it.
Danny fills Sam and Tucker in on his encounter with Danielle the next day at school during lunch. Last he saw her, he hid her in the guest bedroom, but when he went looking for her before school, she was gone again. Not for long she pokes her head up through their table, in ghost mode, evidently having no qualms about using her powers in public. Danny pulls her aside and warns her she has to be careful about how and when she uses her powers. Danielle turns human but argues that Danny find stuff like that just as fun as she does. Danny still wants to know how she got her powers in the first place when they both sense a ghost. The other students run as a small green bubble zips through the cafeteria. Danielle promises Danny she'll tell him everything after they catch that ghost and runs after it. Danny has no choice but to follow them.
The two halfas fly over the city after the small ghost, the chase quickly turning into a race. Danny actually seems to be enjoying flying with his cousin until, after she falls behind, he flies up the side of a skyscraper and finds himself face to face with Plasmius. Vlad blasts him out of the sky, and the two arch enemies battle it out on the ground, their fight eventually leading them back in front of the school. They each fire an energy blast straight at each other that collide in mid-air, Vlad's gradually gaining more and more ground.
Danny's straining to hold his own when Danielle lands behind him. He asks her for help, and she grins as she raises her hands... and blasts him in the back. He falls prostrate on the ground and reverts back to human form. The last thing he hears is Vlad congratulating his "daughter" on an excellent job before he passes out.
Tucker and Sam are hauling trash bags from the wrecked cafeteria outside when they see Plasmius lift the unconscious Danny over his shoulder and fly away, with Danielle close behind him. Lancer's right behind them, but they inform him they're ditching school and run to help Danny. They go to the Fentons' and sneak into the basement, where they steal the Specter Speeder, the Specter Deflector, and the Boo-merang. Danny's parents catch them but not soon enough to stop them from flying away in the Specter Speeder. Once they're outside, Sam tosses the Boo-merang, which is still keyed into Danny's energy signature, and tells Tucker to "follow that stupidly-named tracking device!"
When Danny comes to, he finds himself in human mode, trapped in the spectral energy neutralizer, with Plasmius standing over him, in a laboratory with a screen playing more clips of footage of him transforming and fighting. He now realizes just how much Vlad has been spying on him, which, for Danny, only confirms his original assumption about him: "You really are one seriously crazed-up fruit loop." This sends Plasmius into a rage.
And since Danny refused to be the son he wanted, he's had to resort to other means: cloning. While an invisible Danielle secretly watches, Plasmius pushes a button and reveals a containment chamber with a sleeping clone that looks exactly like Danny in ghost mode, the result of months of experimenting, although it's not quite complete yet. The ghosts Danny's been fighting are failed prototypes intermediate steps in the process of creating a viable clone. Apparently, Vlad graduated from the same cloning school as Dick Hardly, as he doesn't care how many flawed, unstable clones he has to create and let melt in order to make his "perfect, half-ghost son," which he's done at last. All he needs is a DNA sample of the original Danny in mid-morph, and his work will be finished. Naturally, he doesn't expect Danny to provide said sample willingly, so he'll have to take it. The last clone flies in and reveals its true form to be a green, amorphous, goopy version of Danny. Danielle watches in horror as Vlad makes the obviously flimsy clone overshadow Danny, who tries to force it out of him. He fails, but the clone also fails to make him transform.
Unsurprisingly, Vlad's not giving up. Danny ends up locked upright in a containment chamber with his hands bound while Vlad's holographic Maddie-lookalike of an assistant turns a dial that shoots an electric current through him. Danny screams in pain but resists transforming with all his might. Vlad increases the voltage, but Danny still manages to force himself to remain human, even stopping the transformation once it begins to spread over him. The chamber finally overloads and explodes from the strain. Plasmius throws up a shield to protect himself and drops it as the room fills with smoke. A severely weakened Danny now goes ghost, turns intangible, and flies right through Plasmius, who turns after him and gets a very unpleasant surprise when he finds Danielle floating right behind him. How much did she hear?!
Danielle tearfully asks her father if she's really nothing more than a mistake. Vlad quickly tells his "dearest" that he only meant the other, imperfect clones he created before her, like the one that just tried to overshadow Danny, which now tumbles out of the containment chamber and melts into ectoplasmic goo like the others. Danielle screams at the sight, which claims to find as horrible as she does. He tells her that he needs Daniel's mid-morph DNA to save her, his "greatest creation," from the same fate without it, he can't stabilize her. He'll need her help, though...
Several floors above them, Danny emerges in the den of Vlad's mansion in Colorado as he tries to make his escape. He wondering which way he should go next when Danielle flies up and blasts him against the wall. Danny falls to the floor and protects himself with a shield as she shoots another blast at him. Danielle tells him to give up, since he's obviously too weak to fight her. Danny has no desire to fight her anyway: "Every time I fight a clone, they turn to goop." He's right Danielle looks down and sees a puddle already forming at her feet. She lets the energy blast she was forming fade and stops melting.
Danny walks up to her, saying he doesn't want to hurt her because she's not mindless like the other clones. If that's true, Danielle tells him to give her father the DNA sample he needs to save her. Danny tries to make her see that Vlad has no intention of saving her, that he's just using her, but Danielle, refusing to doubt her dad loves her, calls him a liar and knocks him out with a blast to the chest, ever loyal to her father.
Danny wakes up back in the lab, in another containment chamber with his hands bound again, too weak to try to escape. Now all Vlad needs to do is make him transform, but how? He decides that the only way is for Danielle to overshadow him and force him to morph. Danielle's reluctant to do it, though, after seeing what happened to the last clone that tried that. Vlad assures her it won't be too much for her and keeps pressing her to do it, but she's still afraid of what it would do to her. Vlad finally loses his patience and snaps, "You! Exist! To serve! ME! Just! DO! IT!"
Danielle tears up as she realizes Danny was right Vlad doesn't care about her at all; she's just a tool, a means to an end, to him. Danny showed more concern for her than her supposed "father" did! Telling Vlad he's not her boss, she pushes the button that unlocks the chamber, freeing Danny. Looks like she's on his side now! The two high-five each other and transform together, then deliver a massive double-energy blast that sends Plasmius flying across the room. He crashes into the chamber that contains his final clone, causing it to destabilize and dissolve into a puddle of ectoplasm just like all the others, but there's nothing anyone can do about it.
Vlad loses it when his final clone is destroyed and turns to Danielle with murder in his eye. The music turns menacing and ominous as he marches slowly towards his young opponents. Realizing how serious the situation is, Danny shoves Danielle behind him and unleashes the most powerful attack he has: his Ghostly Wail. The attack completely demolishes the cloning lab, shattering all the equipment, destroying the holograms, and forcing Vlad back into his human form. Once it's over, Danny turns human again as well, drained of his power but satisfied by the results.
Unfortunately, his lab may be destroyed, but Vlad himself is completely unharmed; he simply gets to his feet and goes ghost like nothing happened. Danielle steps protectively in front of the exhausted Danny, telling Plasmius to stay away from him. Her creator points out she's in no position to threaten him, as simply powering up for another energy blast is causing her to start melting again. With neither young halfa able to defend themselves, there's no telling what Plasmius would have done to them if the Boo-merang didn't zoom in and smack him in the head at this very minute. The ghost tracker is quickly followed by the Specter Speeder. Danielle pulls Danny out of the way as it turns sideways and rams Plasmius into the wall. While he's still stunned by the blow, Tucker leaps out and snaps the Specter Deflector around his waist, turning him human again. With Vlad unable to focus his powers, there's nothing to stop Danielle from knocking him out with a good ol' fashioned punch to the head, no ghost powers required: "So, Dad... BAM Stay away from my cousin!"
Well, the good news is, Danny and his "cousin" are safe, and Vlad's cloning operation is officially done for. The bad news is, the ¡Three Amigos! are still in trouble for skipping school and wrecking the Specter Speeder. At least, they are at first, until Maddie suddenly forgives them, Lancer decides there's no need to call their parents, and Jack excitedly agrees with him that this is the perfect opportunity to build a newer and better ship. The trio can deduce as easily as the viewers that the adults must have been overshadowed, but by who? The answer flies up to Danny's bedroom window.
On that note, the second Dani flies away, leaving the original to hammer home once more what he's learned about not taking his friends for granted, since a moral about the sanctity of life and using science responsibly and cautiously wouldn't be strong enough to carry a story without adding a non-sequitor moral randomly pulled from a spin of the Wheel of Morality. *sigh* When you watch the episode for yourself, feel free to skip those parts.
This episode provides examples of:
- Agony Beam/Electric Torture: Danny gets subjected to a brutal display of this.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sam and Tucker are guilty of skipping school, stealing and wrecking the Specter Speeder, and calling Mr. Lancer "old man."
- Beam-O-War: Between Danny and Vlad. Danny has to use both hands to generate a blast to match the one Vlad shoots with one hand. Unfortunately, Danielle gives Vlad the edge to win.
- Big Damn Heroes: Sam and Tucker.
- Big Brother Instinct: Danny slowly but surely develops this towards Danielle, as shown at the end.
- Big "NO!": Vlad's response to his perfect clone being destroyed.
- Broken Pedestal: Vlad becomes this when he snaps at Danielle by telling her she exists to serve him.
- Cloning Blues: Life is not pleasant (or long) if you're a disposable clone created by Vlad Masters.
- Compressed Vice: Danny Phantom who regularly risks his life for his friends and always strives to protect them, who always feel guilty about any damage or harm caused by his ghost battles, whether it's a girl at school or owners of a store he doesn't even know apparently needs to learn to appreciate his friends, stop treating them like disposable soldiers, and no longer flippantly leave them to take the blame for any destruction he causes while ghost fighting... makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
- Darker and Edgier: This is easily one of the darkest episodes in the series. While it doesn't have the body count The Ultimate Enemy does, there are still several deaths and nearly every character has a personal stake here. There is a very real sense of desperation from Vlad, torture of the hero, and some of the most brutal fights in the whole show. By the time this episode ends you will be shocked by how dark it is.
- Easily Forgiven: Danny doesn't seem to ever hold a grudge against Danielle for how she tricked him and helped Vlad capture him twice. Of course, he himself knows what a Manipulative Bastard Vlad can be and probably felt more sorry for her than anything as soon as he learned the truth.
- Fearsome Critters of American Folklore: Apparently there are jackalope in the world of Danny Phantom, Tucker claims to have seen one on their way to save Danny. Considering he was looking from high up, he might have been seeing things.
- Fiction Is Not Fair: Under what circumstances in the non-fictional world would two minors who just happen to be nearby when a place is vandalized beyond what they are obviously physically incapable of causing be automatically forced to repair it or clean it themselves without involving their parents, the law, or witnesses? Survey says: "Never."
- Fighting from the Inside: Danny when the clone tries to force him to go ghost.
- Foreshadowing: Two: When Vlad releases his ghosts, only one pod doesn't open. Second, Danny notes the muscular ghost looks like he does "on a bad day".
- A Friend in Need: Tucker and Sam don't hesitate for a second to save Danny, even though it means getting in trouble for ditching school.
- Go Through Me: Both Danny and Danielle do this for each other during their final showdown with Vlad.
- HeelFace Turn: Danielle
- It's All About Me: "I am not a villain!" Vlad doesn't see anything wrong with what he does, from kidnapping and torturing Danny, to creating living clones doomed to a short life before dissolving into a pile of goo. Why? Because it's all to give him what he wants, and what's wrong with that?
- Lack of Empathy: Vlad towards his creations, except possibly the last. The fact that Danny actually shows Danielle empathy despite what she's done to him probably goes a long way towards her choosing him over her "father."
- Let's Get Dangerous!: "Funny, joke-around Vlad isn't here today!"
- Meaningful Echo: "You wanna ask questions, or you wanna kick some butt?"
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Nice job telling Danielle she only exists to serve you, Vlad!
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Vlad is (more or less) portrayed as one in this episode.Vlad: Funny joke around Vlad isn't here today.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The state of the final clone is left ambiguous. Vlad claims it wasn't "complete," but in its last seconds, it seems every bit as sentient as Danielle. This makes its ultimate fate all the creepier.
- Opposite-Sex Clone/Distaff Counterpart
- Phlebotinum Breakdown:Maddie Hologram: Containment chamber beginning to overload. (explosion) Oopsie has overloaded.
- Right Behind Me:Plasmius: Danielle! How long have you been floating there?
- Sequel Hook: "You'll see me again..."
- Sinister Surveillance: Vlad reveals this was the real purpose of the equipment he gave Valerie.
- That Man Is Dead: Dani doesn't adopt her new name (which sounds like her "cousin's) and stop using "Danielle" (which was her "father's" name for her) until after she turns on the latter.
- Transformation Sequence: Danny and Danielle get a particularly long, detailed, awesome one together.
- Villain Opening Scene: The episode begins with Vlad analyzing data he collected on Danny through his fights with Valerie to complete his cloning experiment.
- Villainous Breakdown: Upon his perfect clone's destruction, Vlad looks to Danny and Danielle with pure rage. From then on, he considers Danny DEAD MEAT.
- We Have Reserves: Vlad's perfectly willing to "watch a hundred more failures devolve into ectoplasm" if necessary to create the perfect clone he wants.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Danny doesn't feel guilty about destroying Vlad's "mindless" bad clones but would feel guilty if he hurt the sentient Danielle. How he feels about the destruction of the final clone is never addressed, but he never deliberately tried to harm it before it was accidentally destroyed during a fight.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: By the end of the episode, Tucker and Sam are so annoyed by Danny's overflow of gratitude that they begin to think things were better before.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vlad couldn't care less about what happens to his clones after they've served their purpose (this includes the original, who will be "obsolete" once his perfect clone is completed).
- You're Insane!: Danny's reaction to seeing how much Vlad's been spying on him and learning about his cloning scheme.Danny: Oh, yeah nothing loopy about that...