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Series / The Tick (2016)

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The Big Blue Bug of Justice is back.
"Hello world, this is The Tick! Don't worry—I'm not in outer space. I'm not even in this yet! But I know what's coming—an epic tale, rife with destiny, adventure and blood loss. The ultimate struggle of light against darkness. Of good against evil. Of...meat."
The Tick

The Tick is a 2016 Amazon Studios original series based on the comic book by Ben Edlund.

In a World… where superheroes have been a thing since a huge space object plunged into the Tunguska River Basin back in 1908 during what became known as "the Dawn of the Age of Superheroes", mild-mannered (if mentally troubled) accountant Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman) is following what he believes is the secret trail of The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), an infamous super-villain many believe was already killed years ago by Superian (Brendan Hines), the first superhero.

Arthur comes to the conclusion that the Terror is running The City from underground. However, as he tries to blow the lid off the conspiracy, things take a turn for the bizarre when he inadvertently sparks the interest of a big, blue, nigh-invulnerable, shamelessly hammy and rather enigmatic superhero who calls himself The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz). But can Arthur and The Tick really save The City from its own seedy underbelly? Or are the two of them (especially Arthur) truly in over their heads?

This take on The Tick appeared as a part of Amazon Prime's Fall Pilot Season of 2016 in August 19, 2016 and was picked up for a full series on September 27, 2016. The series premiered on August 25, 2017 and was renewed for a second season on January 17, 2018.

On May 16, 2019, Amazon announced that the show was canceled.

Obviously this series is not in continuity with the 2001 series of the same name, though Patrick Warburton does return in the role of producer, and that show's executive producers had their credits carried over.

This show contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

  • Achilles' Heel:
    • The Tick is helpless if his opponent grabs his antennae.
    • Arthur's suit is a component of Project Achilles, a weapons system specifically designed to assassinate Superian.
    • Dr. Karamazov uses this exact phrase to describe Superian's vulnerability to Big Bismuth. Hence, "Project Achilles".
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Much like the previous live action series, Arthur is much slimmer than he is in the comics and cartoon. His suit also looks a lot more slick and technological, rather than the embarrassing bunny suit it usually is.
    • Similarly Dot is far more attractive than the cartoon version.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Tick uses his famous battle cry of 'Spoon' right at the end of season 2. Though he does curiously examine a spoon at one point in the first season, he never seems to consider taking it on as a battle cry, leaving newer fans just a bit confused. Not that the phrase ever made much sense to begin with.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The Terror in most versions is a walking old people joke with his best days behind him. In the show he is shown to be a frighteningly effective criminal mastermind even as a wrinkled corpse of a man, and is even quick on the draw with a poisoned knife.
    • Arthur's suit is a far more impressive piece of hardware. Not only is it bulletproof with a slew of other features, it was designed to help kill Superian. Keep in mind that in the cartoon, he could be put out of action if his wings got wet.
    • Arthur's sister Dot, as well. She's a paramedic and a medical student who looks after her troubled brother and stitches up wounded baddies on the side. And in season 2, she develops some minor precognitive abilities.
    • Despite a bare few seconds of screentime, Thrakkorzog appears far more impressive than his comic and cartoon counterpart. Though the original was large and physically strong, here they've been upgraded to a a full-on Eldritch Abomination with the mysterious powers that come with it.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Arthur has always Jumped at the Call before but in this universe is deathly afraid of and opposed to superheroism. Probably the result of having his favorite superhero team murdered in front of his eyes after they accidentally kill his father.
  • Affectionate Parody: The series is one big love letter to every superhero trope imaginable, but in particular targets the recent trend of live action series that take a more grounded approach.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Miss Lint" killed off two henchmen that she first heard using the name to make fun of her electric powers turning her into a dust magnet. The Terror convinced her to turn it into a name people would fear.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Tick's biology is a mystery even to himself. He doesn't know if he's organic or robotic, terrestrial or alien, and he doesn't even know if his distinctive blue "suit" is clothing or a part of his body. He's surprised to learn that his antennae are highly sensitive to the point of being an Achilles' Heel. It's also implied that he's stronger than any hero AEGIS have ever assessed, since he breaks a strength tester machine that's calibrated to overpower whoever it tests.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Arthur's stepfather, Walter, who fluctuates between moments of lucidity and being oddly fixated on the condition of people's feet.
  • Crapsack World: The City starts out as an awful, awful place, especially compared to prior adaptations. It does get better, though, once The Tick and Arthur start fighting back against the criminal element that have been going unchecked since the Flag Five's deaths.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Arthur's stepdad Walter cannot say a word without building sentences upon sentences of non-sequiturs and anecdotes, mentioning even the most trivial of circumstances and makes his entire sentence structure tedious to listen to. He is also very concerned with people's feet note  that every time he meets Arthur his first conversation with him leads back to that subject. When they are about to be kidnapped, and Walter and his wife's heads are bagged, about to be taken by the Terror's goons, a scream of "Walter!" has him unleash some serious hand to hand combat, swiftly defeating four of them essentially blindfolded in the time it takes Arthur to taser two.
  • Dare to Be Badass: A major theme of the series is The Tick encouraging Arthur to surpass his limits and become a hero.
    • Ms. Lint also gets this from her former boss, The Terror. He's disappointed that instead of taking charge like he expected she would after his supposed death, she basically shut down and settled for being The Dragon to a chump like Ramses. At the end of their conversation, he tells her, "You're evil incarnate! Act like it!"
  • Darker and Edgier: Even compared to the early comics. The City might as well be Gotham. Averted with the Tick himself, who's campier than ever.
  • Death by Origin Story: Arthur's dad, who died the same exact day as the Flag Five did when Arthur was a boy. Counts as a First-Episode Twist.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Pretty much every character, due to the death of OG supervillain The Terror. Arthur, Ms. Lint, and Overkill all felt empty until they came to the realization he was alive.
  • The Hero's Journey: Deliberately invoked in regards to Arthur's journey to superheroism. The Tick even name-drops it while trying to convince Arthur to be a hero.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Arthur has trouble utilizing his suit's features due to it being set to Urmanian. In the penultimate episode of Season One, Dr. Kamarazov sets it to English, which lets Arthur properly control it.
  • Incoming Ham: When the Tick attacks the bad guys at the docks.
    Tick: Wicked men! Wicked men! Look at you beetling away at your dung hill of contraband! I am the Tick, and I say to you: Stop your evil ways!
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Given how dark the rest of the show is, the Tick is probably the nicest and most polite version he's ever been.
  • Large Ham: The Tick. And he's loving it, mind you.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Tick makes numerous references to Arthur's narrative arc including name-dropping The Hero's Journey, the "Monomyth" and the Call to Adventure, and at one point mentioning that they need to "advance the plot".
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Miss Lint adopted the alias after overhearing some of the Terror's henchmen making fun of how her electric powers make her attract dust and other debris, and the Terror encouraged her to make it a name people would fear, instead of taking it as an insult.
    • Overkill, a government assassin who went rogue, and uses his skills to take down criminals in a most violent manner.
    • Sage The Supernumerary has a, well, supernumerary nipple. Which grants him magical powers.
  • Malaproper: The Nigerian bodega owner's grandmother Ouma likes to feed The Tick tuwo shinkafa, which he is unable to remember how to pronounce. In episode 6, he calls it "Tupac Latifah".
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Lobstercules, revealed soon after Arthur discovers It Can Think.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the mooks dismisses a bulletproof suit after claiming it "looks like a goddamn bunny suit." A running gag throughout the various Tick stories is that Arthur's moth suit is mistaken for a bunny suit.
    • The scene where The Tick tries moving (and breaking) objects around Arthur's apartment in an attempt to find a trigger that reveals a secret lair hearkens back to the cartoon's first episode where Tick does the exact same thing in the exact same place. Same also happened in the first episode of the 2001 series.
    • Shortly before the above scene, the Tick also quotes the cartoon version of himself saying "You're not going crazy, Arthur. You're going sane in a crazy world!"
    • The possibility that the Tick may be a figment of Arthur's imagination can be a nod to the origin story of the comic book version of The Tick, which had him escaping from a mental institute.
      • At one point Arthur even asks the Tick if he's an escaped mental patient.
    • Arthur's bulletproof super-suit does not cover his face. Hardly seems like a coincidence that his catchphrase in the 90's animated series was, "Not in the face!"
      • Said word for word by the Tick (regarding Arthur) in the season 1 finale.
    • When Ms. Lint is asking the Tick why he won't die from her electrocution, he says "Because I don't wanna!"
    • At one point The Tick describes answering destiny as "like the inside of bread." This is also a reference to the animated series.
    • After having met a "killer" robot is contemplating whether or not he might be one as well, staring at a shiny polished spoon going "Spoon", again, this is in reference to the Animated Series.
    • While not seen, Superian and the Terror's final battle involved his Spider-Tank, which served as the character's base and primary weapon in the comics and animated series.
    • In season 2, the Man-Eating Cow is mentioned in a news ticker on TV.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Arthur and his family's surname is Everest.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The Tick is highly resistant, if not outright immune, to nearly everything that's been thrown at him so far, and he name-checks this repeatedly.
  • No-Sell:
    • The Terror's goons shooting the Tick to absolutely no effect other than Tick mildly rebuking that the ricochets are their fault.
    • In episode 6, The Tick gets hit with a grenade launcher blast. It fails to even knock him off his feet, causing him to refer to the attacker as "Impolite!"
    • When Tick and Overkill first fight, Overkill slides a small bomb under Tick, it launches him up towards the ceiling of Arthur's office, with Tick giddily proclaiming it delivers "quite a kick." Punching and kicking has no effect whatsoever, and Overkill is only able to defeat Tick by grabbing his sensitive antennae.
  • The Paralyzer: When Overkill promises Tick he'll stop killing people, he has to rely on the next-best thing.
    "You get the 48 hour Coma Punch."
  • Phrase Catcher: "They found his teeth," or something to that effect whenever someone brings up the possibility that the Terror is still alive. It's no surprise then that when The Terror returns, he sports a bunch of gold fillings.
  • Precision F-Strike: The word "fuck" is used no more than two times per episode. At least in season 1.
  • Product Placement: Bottles of vitaminwater recur throughout the show, being the Trademark Favourite Food of one character. An Amazon Echo Dot voice-controlled speaker appears in episode 6.
    The Terror: Alexa! Play ominous music!
    Alexa: Shuffling a playlist for ominous music.
  • Retool: The pilot was much darker and bleaker when compared to the rest of the episodes that followed.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Arthur begins to worry that the Tick is actually his Split Personality, he walks down the street to an instrumental version of The Pixies song 'Where Is My Mind?'. It's also the name of the episode. The original song plays prominently in the finale of Fight Club, a film which famously has the twist that the two main protagonists are one person. It could also be a reference to Mr. Robot, which similarly featured an instrumental version of the song shortly after a Split Personality revelation of its own.
    • Overkill's Truth Serum is sodium amberthiessen. Actress Tiffani Amber Thiessen played Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell and Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210.
    • To Whiplash. The Terror is seen practicing his drumming and his mentor comes out and yells that he's "dragging". Oddly, however, The Terror wants his mentor to be more abusive to him.
    • To The Twilight Zone. When The Tick is ripping his way into the T-ship, The Terror exclaims that there's a gremlin on the wing.
    • To My Dinner with Andre. The episode title "My Dinner With Android."
    • When the Tick thinks he may be a robot, he says he's "more than meets the eye".
    • When Overkill mentions "Big Brother" (referring to AEGIS), Dot responds "What, the show?"
  • Shown Their Work: Celecoxib and amisulpride, the drugs Arthur's on, really are used to treat schizophrenia.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Danger Boat considers himself a male, and is infatuated with Arthur, and he actually wonders if this means he is homosexual because it is derived from the word "same" in Greek and he and Arthur are not the same at all.
  • Soviet Superscience:
    • The Urmanian BʞR-6000 police robot.
    • Most of Dr. Karamozov's experiments.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Tick does this from time to time. Oddly, they are often from 30 years ago, even though he doesn't claim to have any memories prior to meeting Arthur.
    The Tick: I'm more than meets the eye.
    The Tick: Choosy choosers choose destiny.note 
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Both The Tick and The Terror.
  • Stylistic Suck: Subverted and Justified: Superian's spaceship is just an enlarged hunk (albeit a very pretty one) of bismuth. Mocked when "big bismuth" turns out to be an in-universe substance in its own right.
  • Spotting the Thread: Arthur realizes who the Big Bad of Season 2 is when he notices Doctor Agent Hobbes isn't worried at all about sitting with his back to the window that Overkill shot Rathbone through, and quickly deduces that the reason he isn't afraid of Overkill is because he's controlling Overkill.
  • Super Registration Act: Superheroes are typically registered with the government agency AEGIS, and there's a 28th Amendment that superheroes can invoke to prevent law enforcement from unmasking them.
    • Subverted in that registration is voluntary, not mandatory, but required if you want the protection the 28th provides. Arthur doesn't legally have standing to invoke his "28th amendment rights" because he's not a registered superhero. Fortunately, he gets away with it because the cops involved decide he isn't worth the hassle of checking with AEGIS.
  • Take That!:
    • Arthur's deskmate Jergen, who believes that the Very Large Man is a government hoax and uses terms like "liberal elite", "snowflakes" and "fake news", is one towards nerdy, condescending right-wing conspiracy theorists.
    • Derek, with his man-bun and Kombucha t-shirt appears to be one to urban hipsters.
    • One of Superian’s bad ideas to get people to like him again is to throw all the world’s nukes into the sun.
  • Talking Animal: Onward, aka Midnight, a canine superhero who is shown being interviewed on TV about his new book.
  • Talking with Signs: Superian tries this to communicate with the VLM.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: The Tick is a more benevolent example, as his insistence on inserting himself into Arthur's life saves it on more than one occasion. He even follows Arthur to his stepfather's birthday party against his wishes, where he is a perfectly polite and well behaved guest. He even becomes fast friends with Arthur's stepdad, and other than Arthur and Dot, the rest of the party seems charmed by him.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Key emphasis on "thou" as the Tick is fine with his opponents accidentally killing each other while he's fighting them.
  • Truth Serum: Overkill injects Ramses with sodium amberthiessen after capturing him in the sixth episode of season one. It makes him extremely pliable... and more than a little loopy.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: People have a tendency to take the Tick for granted, thinking him to be a regular superhero because of his geniality and lack of overt menace.
  • Wham Line: In the end of "Fear of Flying", after Miss Lint finds The Terror alive and well in her apartment.
    The Terror: Hello, Janet. Miss me?
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: In the first episode, the Tick plows through dozens of henchmen during a fight which indirectly causes a massive explosion. The following episode reveals that some of the thugs he fought are severely cut up, bruised, and burnt with some of them suffering from PTSD from almost dying in the blast. As they are criminals, they can't go to a regular hospital and the Back-Alley Doctor (assisted by Arthur's sister, Dot) is portrayed somewhat sympathetically for treating them.
    • On the other hand, in a flashback, The Terror was pretty indifferent when Miss Lint fried a couple of their own "flamethrower guys" during a mission.
    The Terror: I don't put the best guys on the flamethrowers.

    Season One 
  • Aborted Arc: The Tick possibly being all in Arthur's head lasts for two episodes before he's confirmed to be very real, and starts being openly acknowledged by other characters.
  • Aerith and Bob: Among the Pyramid Gang's members are Frank, Dennis, Imhotep and Khufu.
  • Answer Cut: Played with. Overkill, who has hinted at a past relationship with Lint, tells Dot that he has issues with physical contact. Dot wonders aloud who could have caused that. Cut to Lint.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "What are you going to do about it?" Arthur is asked this twice. Once by his sister, and a second time by a dream version of the Tick.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Terror creates a virus that blinds a group of heroes, has his goons murder said heroes in front of a very young Arthur, then slurps down the rest of Arthur's ice cream.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Urmanian language, seen in Arthur's moth suit, and in the Urmanian deli, and elsewhere, includes Latin and Cyrillic characters, some randomly reversed Latin characters, and even a few Thai characters for good measure.
    • When the Urmanian Secret Police arrive at the deli, Dr. Karamazov's associate shouts out "Urmanian Apoletiti” which one can assume (with at least some confidence) is the pseudo-Cyrillic-indo European—with-slice-of-Latin-and-Thai-letters word for “police”
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Played for Laughs with the subplot involving the Very Large Man, a gardener exposed to radioactive chemicals. While being a threat to the surrounding environment enough to warrant military intervention, he appears stark naked and mostly confused, even as Superian tries to talk him down.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: From the first seconds of the pilot, the Tick's easily distractable nature is on full display, his grandiose narration stopping dead in its tracks as the Big Bismuth meteor soars into view over Earth, en route to its fateful landing on the Tunguska River.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Dangerboat's first attempt at translating the instructional video contained in Arthur's suit is confusing and inaccurate; he explains that it was the best Urmanian translation module he could find.
    Dangerboat: [translating] "Now you are proud to sacrifice with haircuts, skeleton Urmania..."
    Overkill: Dangerboat, what the Hell?
    Dangerboat: It's the best Urmanian-to-English program I could find on the Net!
  • Brick Joke: The Very Large Man mentioned in the third episode makes his startling on-screen debut in the fourth. Naked.
    • A news report mentions that honeybees are dying off. Later, The Terror mentions offhand that killing the bees is a side project of his.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: When shooting Tick with a grenade launcher only manages to annoy him, Ramses then takes takes aim at an oncoming city bus. While Tick and Arthur rescue the passengers from the bus as it teeters on the edge of an overpass, Ramses and his men use this time to escape.
  • The Cameo: Whoopi Goldberg appears as herself talking to Superian in her (fictional) talk show Whoop!.
  • Card Board Prison: When Overkill is moping someone else was the one to send the Terror to prison, Dot comforts him by pointing out that he's bound to escape before long, giving Overkill another chance.
  • Cerebus Callback: Of the Mythology Gag variety. Arthur meekly murmurs 'not in the face' as the Terror pressed a gun to his forehead.
  • Cliffhanger: Episode six ends with Arthur being kidnapped by the Terror, who yells "Cliffhanger!" as the screen goes dark.
  • Destination Defenestration: At the end of the third episode, The Tick is thrown out a window by Overkill. Despite the height of the fall, he's completely okay after hitting the ground.
    • In the second episode, the Tick throws Arthur out of his apartment window so he can escape with the wing suit. Arthur fails to activate the wings in time and winds up falling on top of a car.
  • Dirty Communists: The Urmanian government plots to get rid of Superian because his perennial observation of their science program prevents them from doing any really bad stuff.
  • Dissimile: The Tick tells Arthur at one point "You're alive as a daisy!" While daisies are indeed alive in the biological sense, it's not the analogy most would go for.
  • Do Wrong, Right: The Terror, mentoring Miss Lint:
    The Terror: Ya don't kill people because they call ya names! Ya kill people because it's fun!
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot is far bleaker than the rest of the season, emphasising just how crime-ridden The City is, and how hopelessly damaged Arthur is after losing his father. The Tick not only has a different (less polished) costume, but is repeatedly implied not to be real at all. Interestingly, all of these elements are at least addressed: the villains are still vicious, Arthur lampshades the costume change, and Tick being real is treated a minor plot twist.
  • Evil Feels Good: The Terror. With great huge slabs of ham.
  • Evil Is Petty: The Terror takes time out of superhero-slaughtering to mock Arthur's hate and fear, and eat Arthur's ice cream.
  • Evil Stole My Faith: Midnight,note  after losing his superhero companions — including the aptly-named Christian Soldier — at the hands of the Terror, had a Crisis of Faith and decided that There Is No God... "only dog."
  • Faceless Mooks: The Terror's goons wear skintight black and red costumes, complete with masks and goggles.
  • Foreshadowing: During the scene where Arthur spies on shifty crooks loading suspicious gear, one of the bigger goons mocks a bulletproof suit, thinking it "looks like a goddamn bunny suit". Longtime Tick fans would know this becomes Arthur's signature moth suit.
  • Foreign Queasine: Face meat, an Urmanian delicacy. Beef face, pork face, even owl face.
  • For the Evulz: The Terror. Oh so much. Killing innocents, torturing scientists, peeing in cola, devising a plan to get rid of superheroes, stealing ice cream, the Terror does it all and all because it amuses him.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The VLM.
    • Subverted with Superian, who chides a general for using the term instead of the VLM's real name.
  • Hands-On Approach: Subverted when Dot and Overkill are practicing firing guns. Overkill is standing behind her and lists the different ways to improve her accuracy. Dot gives consent to Overkill to physically correct her form. Overkill doesn't understand the directive and confesses he has issues.
  • Ironic Echo: Once Arthur and the Tick have finally defeated the Terror's plans and have him cornered, Arthur tells him he's "got nothing", just as the Terror said the same to him on the day he killed Arthur's father.
  • Kick the Dog: You have to expect The Terror would be a Jerkass, but just to really show off how unbelievably evil he is, after he killed the Flag Five, and after their ship crushed Arthur's father after the Terror crashed it, the Terror calmly walked towards young Arthur and stole his ice cream, then laughed in his face about the whole thing.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Once they finally team-up The Tick, Overkill, and Arthur respectively take up this dynamic. The Tick believes that destiny is telling Arthur they need to go bring the Terror to justice, Overkill wants Arthur to go with him on a suicide mission to kill him. Arthur himself wants to just take the information to AEGIS.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Superian and Big Bismuth.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • The Tick's costume inexplicably and dramatically gets redesigned from the first episode to the second even though there's only a few seconds' time skip between the two. Arthur makes a note of it. When it's redesigned again for the second series, it's briefly acknowledged as the Tick "moulting" and never brought up again.
    • While Jergen is ranting about how he thinks the Very Large Man is a hoax, he mentions that the lungs of a 200-foot-tall adult male shouldn't be able to take in enough oxygen to keep him alive.
  • Never Found the Body: Everyone except Arthur is convinced that The Terror died at the hands of Superian after all that was found of The Terror was his teeth. Guess who's returned and replaced his teeth?
  • Pet the Dog: When Miss Lint returns to her lair, covered with the dust contained in the vacuum from Arthur's parents' house, Derrick starts cracking jokes about how she's making a mess, and should put some newspapers like he was housebreaking a puppy. When she threatens him to stop joking her voice cracks in anger, to which he politely replies if she needs a towel to clean herself, she responds, "yes," she would like a towel.
  • Robotic Reveal: Played for Laughs. Superficial similarities to another robot briefly convince Tick that he is a more advanced model, and he's delighted at the idea.
  • Ruritania: Urmania, which is repeatedly portrayed as a Fake Russian Commie Land (although clarified to not be Russia, but bordering it, which still suggests a former Soviet bloc country). The "Urmanian neighborhood" and deli has a distinct Eastern European feel.
  • Secret Ingredient: The Terror secretly owns a cola company, which he has been adding a "secret ingredient" to. Seeing as the plot towards the end involves the powerful chemical Big Bismuth which is poisonous to his arch-nemesis Superian, it's set up that the cola is laced with it. It's not. He reveals his secret ingredient is that he's been peeing in it.
    • In Season 2, his former company now offers a new flavor advertised as urine free. They also offer an original flavored drink. note 
  • Secret Police: The Urmanian one is sicced on Karamazov.
  • Sequel Hook: In the first season's finale, although The Terror is beaten, Dot points out that he's likely to break out of detention at some point. He also claims that his goal isn't to Take Over the World, but to take the world back before Superian freezes him. Lastly, Midnight cautions Arthur that his heroic actions mean that "Big Brother is watching" now, and ends with him being observed by an AEGIS drone.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out!: Subverted; Dottie explains to one of the Pyramid gang that she's patching that no, you don't have to get the bullet out, just repair the damage done.
  • Where It All Began: The Season One finale ends with Arthur confronting The Terror in the very place that they first met. Not only does Arthur face him without fear, but he is able to save a father from being crushed by The Terror's ship.
  • You Watch Too Much X: Dot tells the manager of the roller derby rink he watches too much TV, when he tried to take the bullet out of a Mook who got shot when his partner shot Tick, and the bullet ricocheted off him. She then mentions that in reality, a bullet is not extracted, but the wound is patched up, and the bullet left inside.

    Season Two 
  • Almost Kiss: Played with in the final episode when Dot and Overkill are reunited; for a moment she appears to be thinking about kissing him, but then she goes back to hugging him again instead.
  • Analogy Backfire:
    Tick: Well you know what they say, third time's a charm, chum.
    Arthur: Or a strikeout!
  • Ascended Fanboy: Arthur has become this with being accepted as a true superhero and being asked to join AEGIS along with the Tick. The Tick, by contrast, is decidedly unimpressed with AEGIS.
    • Dot starts training to be a superhero herself.
  • Brick Joke: In season 1, Walter is shown to have a habit of asking people how their feet are. When Tick finds out in season 2 that Walter is not who he claimed to be, he says "My feet don't feel so good."
  • Broken Pedestal: Arthur has this happen to him regarding both AEGIS and other superheroes. While he doesn't lose his faith in either completely, he pretty much comes away with the opinion that they're not that much more together than him and the Tick.
    • A more serious one happens with Superian as the majority of the Earth slowly turns against him both because of his failure with the Terror (that mostly just causes some minor criticism) and then completely due to his mismanaged attempts to win back their love.
    • Lint loses all respect for The Terror when she finds out that he has no grand plan. No greater scheme and that all his evil over the years have just been random evil acts for the sake of evil.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: To the point of being a Central Theme. Arthur finds out the vast majority of superheroes and villains are every bit as quirky as himself. They're fully capable of fighting crime and saving the world but they're all a bizarre bunch of weirdos.
  • Can't Default to Murder: After The Tick saves Overkill's life, Overkill decides his life now belongs to The Tick, as The Tick being Nigh-Invulnerable means there's no way he can repay him in kind. Tick decides to cash in the debt by ordering Overkill to stop killing people, who is horrified and disgusted but still forced to agree. In a later episode, Dot points out that she too has saved Overkill's life and uses that life debt to erase the no-kill order.
  • Captain Ersatz: AEGIS for SHIELD (it's a direct translation, for one thing). They even make a Lampshade Hanging during their introductory video by using the term shield multiple times.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The Terror is this compared with the Duke. Both are villains previously believed to have been killed (the Terror with Superian and the Duke with Overkill) and have been operating in secret for years.
    • The Terror is a regular person, albeit one with a large organization including a loyal dragon (Ms. Lint), access to technology and the funds for his operations. He also, in his bizarre way, encourages his minions to think for themselves and to strike out on their own, as he admonishes Ms Lint for not doing so. His organization is loyal to him, if either out of fear or true respect. He is also extremely hammy and loves evil for the sake of evil.
    • The Duke operates with a similar large organization, access to technology and has the funds to continue their operations. The Duke, aka Hobbes, differs with his motivation and personality. While the Terror is evil, Hobbes views himself as a Well-Intentioned Extremist mixed with Fantastic Racism toward Categories. He doesn't believe AEGIS does enough to protect the world and is willing to mind control people to serve him and protect the world as he views it for the greater good. He does not have a loyal dragon and instead relies on mind control, on Lobstercules, and appealing to their baser natures, with offering Ms. Lint technology and fame. He relies solely on himself and operates in secret, tricking AEGIS as a whole. Much like the Terror, Hobbes is a regular person but while the Terror had backup plans in case things failed, Hobbes does not, allowing Arthur to knock him out easily after his mind control scheme fall through. Also, Hobbes is a very unassuming, quirky person and is the opposite of hammy, allowing him to continue his operations in secret with no one the wiser. While the Terror loves the spotlight, Hobbes prefers operating from behind the scenes.
  • Dance Party Ending: In the final scene of the final episode, Dot and Overkill have themselves a two person dance party in the lobby of AEGIS headquarters.
  • Denser and Wackier: While "The Tick" as a series does not shy away from absurdity, Season 2 escalates it, bringing in more superheroes with varying powers, more Superian highjinks, Atlantean lobster people, and a brief appearance of Eldritch Abomination Thrakkorzog.
  • Differently Powered Individuals: AEGIS has a category system to rank superheroes, therefore everyone uses the term "categories" to refer to superhumans.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Superian reenacts the "first flight" love scene from Superman: The Movie with E. Morgan Pearl (while reciting the words from Maureen McGovern's "Can You Read My Mind?" ("Just a friend from another star...") in his Inner Monologue. It's played for drama when Pearl (who Superian didn't bother to ask permission from first) is terrified of being dragged through the air at breakneck speeds.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Rathbone has one under the hatch on his chest. Thrakkorzog, to be exact.
  • Fantastic Racism: A large part of the second season deals with certain individuals feelings towards Categories.
  • The Heart: While still definitely the brains of the duo, Arthur comes to embody this over the course of the season due to his empathic nature and lack of natural superpowers. It has positives and negatives:
    • On the positive side, his empathy allows him to connect with Lobstercules and convince her to prove she is sentient. It also wins over Rathbone as he views Arthur the brains to the Tick's brawn.
    • On a more negative note, Superian begins seeing Arthur for therapy, in spite of Arthur's protests that he is in no way a qualified therapist. Arthur's advice keeps on backfiring because of Superian's ego, leading Superian to nearly risk time travel and hurling the planet into space.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Ms. Lint/Joan of Arc. Although there are hints it may stick after joining the new Flag Five.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The rendition of "Scotland the Brave" for the AEGIS anthem.
  • Illegal Gambling Den: There is a gambling den running in The City, requiring a thousand dollars for entry, which is utilised by major criminals and also the retired hero Flexon. Arthur goes undercover as shady character "the accountant" to get information on the a gang of bank robbers the Donnelley Brothers, even ending up playing poker with their leader. The entire operation is shut down by Ms. Lint, posing as a hero called Joan of Arc so she can take out her rivals with immunity.
  • It's All About Me: Superian has this attitude regarding the controversy regarding him. He's less concerned about any criticism of his actions being justified than it's happening at all.
  • Nice to the Waiter: At the first meeting of the new Flag Five, each hero has an official binder placed in front of them by a silent, nameless lackey. None of them acknowledge these people except Arthur, who thanks his and shakes his hand.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Superian's problems with his image would have probably gotten better on their own if not for the attempts to "fix" them that just make them much worse, like carving an homage to himself in a mountain.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • What does The Tick, who normally is overly positive and hopeful and spouts off flowery heroic nonsense, have to say when The Terror puts a gun to Arthur's head? A gravely serious threat:
      Tick: If you pull that trigger... I will hurt you.
    • Joan is very worried when Walter leaves her a brief note saying he has to go away, because Walter normally communicates solely through a Rambling Old Man Monologue.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: When Superian is feeling unappreciated by humanity, he uses his eye beams to carve Devil's Tower into a sculpture of himself holding a limp human figure, in an effort to remind humans of all he's done for them.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: AEGIS owns an enormous robotic arm designed to test the level of a prospective hero's Super-Strength. The doctor laughs off the idea of anyone actually beating the machine, as it's specifically designed to feed them back their own strength — the test is how long they can hold out before it wins. The Tick... breaks the machine.
  • Sequel Hook: In the Season 2 finale though Rathbone is alive again, there is the matter of the 'thing' that appeared out of his black hole heart. Also, the end of the episode just before Superian decides to turn back time a gigantic alien spaceship appears over him stopping him from doing so.
    Voice from ship: Fugitive 11-X. Assume the position.
    Superian, actually scared and surprised: Oh, shit!
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Saving Superian from the Terror in the first season. As he makes a Face–Heel Turn at the end.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Superian shouts out to the various Donner Superman films: showing E. Morgan Pearl what it's like to fly in a recreation of Superman's first flight with Lois in the first movie (resulting in Pearl, not consulted beforehand and thinking Superian has gone berserk, shrieking in terror the whole way); suggesting throwing all of Earth's nuclear weapons into the sun (which actually happened in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; and finally deciding to see if he can reverse time by flying around the Earth so fast that he reverses its orbit — fully aware that, if he gets it even slightly wrong, every living creature on the planet will be sent hurtling into the void of space.
    • The Tick calls the lobster-themed, yet-to-be-named Lobsterculeus "Lobstrocity".
  • Skyward Scream: Crossed with Say My Name:
    Pearl: [stranded on top of a Mayan pyramid in the Guatemalan jungle] ...SUPERIAAAAN!!!
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The AEGIS agency set up to register and keep track of superheroes is constantly derided as an ineffectual nightmare of red tape by anyone who's had any dealings with them.
  • Wham Line: THRAKKORZOG!
  • Wham Shot: In the season two finale, with a giant alien spaceship appearing over Superian on the moon just before he is about to attempt time travel.
    Voice from ship: Fugitive 11-X. Assume the position.
    Superian: Oh, shit!