The Matt Signal Beyond – Episode 40: Where’s Terry?

Plot summary: When Terry goes missing, Bruce makes a rare trip out of Wayne Manor to try and track him down, reluctantly accepting help from Max.

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: ‘Where’s Terry?’

Original Air Date: September 23rd, 2000

Directed: Kyung-Won Lim (4)

Written: Stan Berkowitz (12)

Somehow, someway, this is the only on-screen kiss depicted between Terry and Dana. Dude literally makes out with Melanie Walker twice as many times as his girlfriend.

This episode marks a surprising return of the T’s gang from ‘Joyride’ as well as the VR Rooms that Spellbinder corrupted in ‘Hooked Up’.

Terry’s suit now contains a built-in rebreather. Would have been handy when he almost drowned in ‘Lost Soul’.

Recap

Terry, Dana, Max and Howard go and see an old movie. Dana rightfully gives him shit about rarely doing anything with them at night, but says she understands it’s because of his job.

On his way home, Terry spots a shady individual in a hat and trench coat so decides to stalk them through the subway, heading down an active tunnel…

The next morning, Mary McGinnis asks Matt if he’s seen Terry, as his bed hasn’t been slept in. Likewise, Dana and Max wonder about his absence from school. Even Bruce can’t raise him via their radio link.

Worried, Bruce drives to Max’s to ask if she knows his whereabouts. She tells him about Terry’s last known whereabouts and then reluctantly allows her to tag along as he goes to investigate the subway.

We see Batman, in costume, buried under a pile of rubble. Dak, a child runaway is unenthused about his presence, insisting he leave immediately.

Nearby, the mysterious figure Terry was following is revealed to be Ollie, Shriek’s assistant. Shriek confirms he caused the cave-in that buried Terry in order to prevent the discovery of his new lair.

Shriek unleashes another seismic shock, collapsing even more of the tunnel. Terry tries his radio, but Dak delights in confirming no signals can be received this far down.

The two bicker while Terry digs an opening big enough for the boy to fit through, trusting him to get help… but he immediately runs into Shriek.

Back topside, Bruce and Max spot Terry’s backpack being worn by a member of the T’s gang. Bruce gets jumped trying to get information, but Max comes to his aid. He interrogates one of the gang in private.

He continues to try and convince Max to go home, eventually taking matters into his own hands by tricking her into distracting the subway workers, letting him slip past them while she’s detained.

Dak tricks Shriek into flooding the tunnels with water from Gotham River, freeing Terry and allowing him to rescue the kid. Shriek goes to pick the bones, but Bruce arrives and knocks him out.

Terry tells Bruce that Dak is going back to his family and learns of Max’s detainment. He sneaks back home and convinces his mother that he simply leaves for school early and has started making his bed.

Best Performance

Chris Mulkey was such a good casting for Shriek, giving him a quiet, sinister vibe. Like… he’s just Some Guy, but he’s a little bit dangerous, ya know? Still, easily his weakest performance of the three.

Eli Marienthal tried to not be a typical annoying child but didn’t quite succeed. Cree Summer was great as always, but needed a little more material to work with.

So it’s between the two Batmen. Will Friedle was pretty good, looking past Dak’s irksome qualities to try and be kind to him, but I think I’d give the rare nod to Kevin Conroy. He’s often limited to a small handful of lines of exposition and occasionally some grump, but when given more to do, he can still bring it like this. His insistence he’s still That Dude, demanding Max go home and trying to show no fear to The T’s don’t jive with reality, but his conviction is unwavering. He also gets to dryly mock the villain before taking him down.

Ranking

I’m furious with Stan Berkowitz for not taking the concept of this episode further and keeping Terry’s location a mystery to the audience until the end. Tell me you wouldn’t rather have seen Bruce and Max playing detective for 15 minutes, with the plucky young genius thawing the icy billionaire’s heart. They’re the only two people who know Terry’s secret, and there’s actually been an interesting dynamic developing in the background wherein Terry sometimes chooses Max over Bruce for help, so there was plenty of fertile ground for storytelling. Plus I personally enjoy when a main character gets sidelined for a one-off episode and turns the spotlight over to their supporting cast.

Instead, Terry gets to hang out with a moderately annoying child who idolises some of the villains he’s taken down and constantly tells him how stupid he is. There are more irritating kids in cartoons, but Dak is far from endearing. Aside from removing any tension whatsoever from the titular mystery, Terry’s escape sort of takes care of itself too, with Bruce getting to be the one to knock Shriek out.

I’m being critical of them taking a different path than the one I wanted, and for a child character being annoying, but the episode is still mostly entertaining. What little Bruce & Max stuff we got was fun, and I loved that he knew he was unable to physically make her leave him alone so let her tag along. Likewise his overconfidence in being able to handle the T’s alone meant she had to save him, but in a beautiful touch, we see how shaken up she is after the incident, but shrugs it off when Bruce returns. Super messed up (read: extremely funny) that Bruce seemingly accepts he needs Max’s help and puts his trust in her to save Terry… only for her to actually be the bait so he can go be hero. Shriek caving in tunnels to trap Terry made for some decent cat and mouse games too.

  1. Meltdown
  2. Eyewitness
  3. Babel
  4. Final Cut
  5. Disappearing Inque
  6. Spellbound
  7. A Touch of Curaré
  8. Shriek
  9. Rebirth Part I
  10. Bloodsport
  11. Splicers
  12. Zeta
  13. Armory
  14. Hidden Agenda
  15. Lost Soul
  16. Earth Mover
  17. Black Out
  18. Dead Man’s Hand
  19. Where’s Terry? (NEW ENTRY)
  20. Sneak Peek
  21. Rebirth Part II
  22. Once Burned
  23. Big Time
  24. Revenant
  25. Untouchable
  26. Sentries to the Last Comos
  27. April Moon
  28. Heroes
  29. The Eggbaby
  30. Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot
  31. Mind Games
  32. Hooked Up
  33. The Winning Edge
  34. Ascension
  35. Joyride
  36. Golem
  37. The Last Resort
  38. Plague
  39. Payback
  40. Rats

Villain Watch

Shriek (Chris Mulkey) (third appearance)

Farewell, sweet prince. While this is easily his weakest showing, I’m still sad to see the final appearance of one of the Big Four. Something I’ve appreciated about him is that his status quo and gimmick have slightly changed with each outing. We never really learn what he’s trying to achieve from his secret tunnel base though, which is a shame.

Likewise, I think he ends up looking a bit of a chump compared to his first two at bats, being tricked by a child and then taken out by an old man. On some level, I agree that it’s nice for Bruce to take down one or two villains throughout the course of the show, but I’d rather it was something other than walking up behind him and hitting him with his cane.

Down one spot, I guess.

The T’s (second appearance)

I didn’t rank the Jokerz’ rivals in their first appearance in ‘Joyride’ because I assumed they’d never be back, and they didn’t really do much other than get attacked. They don’t do a huge amount here either, but they did try and beat up Bruce Wayne.

I’m glad the writers came up with another gang to flesh the world out a little, and they have a cool design to make them distinct from the Jokerz, but there’s really nothing else to them.

  1. Inque
  2. Curaré
  3. Shriek
  4. Mr. Freeze
  5. Spellbinder
  6. The Jokerz
  7. Derek Powers/Blight
  8. Stalker
  9. The Royal Flush Gang
  10. Armory
  11. Ian Peek
  12. Repeller
  13. Earthmover
  14. Willie Watt
  15. Dr. Cuvier (and pals!)
  16. Mad Stan
  17. Robert Vance
  18. The Terrific Trio
  19. Karros
  20. Bullwhip’s Gang
  21. Charlie ‘Big Time’ Bigelow
  22. Simon Harper (and the Sentries!)
  23. The Mayhem Family
  24. Payback
  25. Agent Bennet
  26. The Brain Trust
  27. Kobra
  28. Dr. Stephanie Lake
  29. Howard Hodges & General Norman
  30. Paxton Powers
  31. Jackson Chappell
  32. Cynthia
  33. Falseface
  34. Mr. Fixx
  35. The T’s (NEW ENTRY)
  36. Ratboy
  37. 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, is on hiatus until Moon Knight begins. I miiiight drop a column or two before then, but given I did an accidental racism last time, I probably won’t.

Published by

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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