The Matt Signal Beyond – Episode 30: Final Cut

Plot summary: Curaré hunts down the remaining members of the Society of Assassins, forcing Batman to protect one of them.

After completing the original run of Batman The Animated Series, Matt Waters looks to the future each Saturday and Sunday with recaps of every episode of Batman Beyond, building an overall ranking along the way. Plus best performances, the ever-popular Villain Watch and more!

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Notes

Episode Title: ‘Final Cut’

Original Air Date: February 5th, 2000

Directed: Butch Lukic (9)

Written: Alan Burnett (6) (story) & Hilary J. Bader (7)

Max claims to have always known Bruce Wayne was Batman’s silent partner, despite that seeming to very much not be the case in ‘Hooked Up’.

Another of the five episodes which Bruce doesn’t make an appearance.

Max’s defusing of the bomb perfectly mirrors Batgirl’s in ‘Sins of the Father’, right down to the dialogue.

Recap

A private plane lands to make a minor adjustment before immediately taking back off. The owner expresses his anxiety about being on the ground for even a short time, and his worries are immediately validated, as Curaré sneaks aboard.

Once they’re back in the air she attacks, easily defeating the man’s private security and then releasing a nerve agent that ‘wipes his mind’, before leaping out of the plane and jet-packing away.

In Gotham, a man takes a shot at the Batmobile. Batman lands and ‘Mutro Botha’ introduces himself as the last surviving member of the Society of Assassins.

Botha insists he only wanted to get Terry’s attention and explains that his actions in preventing Curaré from achieving her mission led to her exile and to her hunting them all down. He blackmails Batman into protecting him using a hidden bomb only he knows how to disarm.

Terry orders Max to try and contact Bruce (who is on a business trip to Malaysia) but she isn’t thrilled about being told what to do, so infiltrates Botha’s hotel suite to try and find a clue to the bomb.

Unfortunately Curaré arrives looking for Botha and Max only survives the encounter because the assassin realises she is nobody, but she’s pretty shaken up by it nevertheless.

With his friend in danger, Terry races to help her, leaving Botha unguarded when Curaré attacks. He puts up the smallest of fights but is hit with the mind wipe treatment all the same.

Terry recovers the bomb remote, but only Botha knows the deactivation code. Max researches the device and determines the most likely location for the bomb based on the maximum signal range, places Botha has been, and a discarded cash card she recovered from his room.

The pair search the Gotham Museum of Armaments, but Max is left to finish the search as Curaré attacks Terry (Botha warned she would come for him after she finished with the Society).

With seconds to spare, Max disables the bomb and Terry is able to defeat and handcuff Curaré. The two bond over the experience of saving the city in secret.

Best Performance

Will Friedle and Cree Summer are on top of their games as well, both individually and in selling their endearing friendship. I believe I’ve only declared a tie once before, but I couldn’t choose between these two. Terry refuses to shy away from the pressure of operating without Bruce’s supervision, reluctantly teams up with Botha, and goes through it with Max, who in turn rejects the role of bystander and comes through in the clutch. Hats off to both.

All he’s really doing is putting on a South African accent, but Tim Curry does it well and makes a solid impact on the episode as Mutro Botha. If his role were a little bit larger, I’d give him the nod.

Ranking

Bruce has been missing from a few episodes now, but this feels like the first one to actually make something of that, with Terry forced to put on his Big Boy Pants. He immediately becomes a bit of a prick, ordering Max around and snapping at her for calling him Terry while wearing the Batsuit, something I’m reasonably sure she’s done several times already. He doesn’t go Full Bruce though, as they quickly patch things up and he backs down on his stance she can’t be allowed anywhere near the mission after she proves her immense value.

More than just changing his mind, he puts complete and total faith in her to disarm the bomb, turning the episode’s problem into words of subtle encouragement, “you’re on your own.” I appreciate these kinds of direct comparisons to his predecessor, with Terry simply being a Good Kid every time, and Max just keeps soaring to new heights as a supporting character. You can see why fans wanted her to either become Terry’s girlfriend or to suit up as a Neo Batgirl, especially given the explicit mirroring of a classic Babs moment, and the sweet moment at the end.

That’s before we even get into the dope game of cat and mouse with an exiled assassin seeking revenge against her former employers and Terry, which also owns. I’ll go into it more below, but Curaré rules, and the notion of Batman being forced to team up with somebody he despises to protect them from another villain is tried, tested and certifiably juicy.

  1. Meltdown
  2. Eyewitness
  3. Babel
  4. Final Cut (NEW ENTRY)
  5. Disappearing Inque
  6. Spellbound
  7. A Touch of Curaré
  8. Shriek
  9. Rebirth Part I
  10. Bloodsport
  11. Splicers
  12. Zeta
  13. Hidden Agenda
  14. Lost Soul
  15. Earth Mover
  16. Black Out
  17. Dead Man’s Hand
  18. Rebirth Part II
  19. Once Burned
  20. Revenant
  21. Heroes
  22. Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot
  23. Mind Games
  24. Hooked Up
  25. The Winning Edge
  26. Ascension
  27. Joyride
  28. Golem
  29. The Last Resort
  30. Rats

Villain Watch

Curaré (Melissa Disney) (second appearance)

Every second of screen time for Curaré is designed to make her look like an absolute badass. The Master Assassin remained airborne for three months to protect himself from her, but she still snuck aboard his jet the minute he landed and took him out.

Speaking of which, I assume they went with the mind-wiping nerve agent due to censorship rules around killing (even though she is explicitly an assassin), but what a happy accident, as the all-white eyes were creepy as hell. A fate worse than death you might say.

It’s wild to consider how much mileage they’ve gotten out of this villain who doesn’t even speak in only two appearances, to the point I’m forced to move her up the list by one spot. (Reminder: Mr. Freeze’s ranking in Beyond is based exclusively on his appearance in Beyond.)

  1. Inque
  2. Shriek
  3. Curaré
  4. Mr. Freeze
  5. Spellbinder
  6. The Jokerz
  7. Derek Powers/Blight
  8. Stalker
  9. The Royal Flush Gang
  10. Earthmover
  11. Willie Watt
  12. Dr. Cuvier (and pals!)
  13. Mad Stan
  14. Robert Vance
  15. The Terrific Trio
  16. Agent Bennet
  17. The Brain Trust
  18. Dr. Stephanie Lake
  19. Howard Hodges & General Norman
  20. Paxton Powers
  21. Jackson Chappell
  22. Cynthia
  23. Mr. Fixx
  24. Ratboy
  25. Dr. Wheeler

Plugs

Eager for more long-form coverage of Batman? Why not check out my podcast with Mike Thomas, The Tape Crusaders, which reviewed every Batman movie including Return of the Joker.

My other recap column, Marvel Mondays, continues coverage of Hawkeye.

There Will Be Movies continues Ben & Matt’s look back at the 90s each Wednesday. Somehow we made it all the way to our penultimate episode before featuring any world cinema, but it’s now time to hear All About My Mother.

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Matt Waters

Brit dude who likes both things AND stuff and has delusions of being some kind of writer or something. Basketball, video games, comic books, films, music, other random stuff.

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