The Matt Signal Beyond – Episode 49: Curse of the Kobra Part II

Plot summary: Kobra’s plan is finally revealed; to raise the earth’s temperature and transform humanity into dinosaur hybrids. Yep!

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: ‘Curse of the Kobra Part II’

Original Air Date: February 10th, 2001

Directed: Dan Riba (13)

Written: Rich Fogel (10) (story) & Stan Berkowitz (15)

Kairi knows that Bruce was Batman, but it is unclear if Sensei Yoru confided in her, or if she learned by other means. Conversely, Bruce and Terry have no idea Zander is with Kobra despite ‘Driver’ working for both.

It may shock you to learn some of the science in this episode is wildly off base, such as many dinosaurs being warm blooded and it not being possible for a rift to reach anywhere close to halfway to the earth’s core.

Zander’s plan is similar to Darkseid’s in the Superman: The Animated Series episode, ‘Apokalips… Now!’ Likewise, the thing that binds his arms and legs during his flashback is almost identical to one Darkseid uses on Superman in that same episode.

Recap

Terry regains consciousness in the Batcave with a concussion and cracked ribs. Bruce obtains Zander’s phone number from Kairi and uses it to find his home address. They also seem shocked that he’s affiliated with Kobra for some reason.

Max awakens in a luxurious bedroom, attended by two servants, who redressed her while she was unconscious. Yay. She tries to escape but gets recaptured by a dinosaur man.

Dragged before Zander, wearing ceremonial snake garb and sitting on a throne, Max thinks fast by getting him to explain more about himself.

He reveals that he was artificially created by Kobra to lead them and tutored in the art of strategy, martial arts, weaponry… and splicing (by Dr. Cuvier himself!) Oh, and he wants to turn humans into dinosaur hybrids…

Batman infiltrates the building and finds Max almost immediately. She fills him in on Zander’s plans, including using the thermal bomb from Part I to raise the earth’s temperature for the “cold blooded” dinosaurs.

Unfortunately the building they’re in is actually an airship which takes off. Kobra attack, with Terry finally defeating ‘Driver’, and a shadowy figure assisting Max, who Terry orders to wait in a locked room.

Terry confronts Zander on the bridge, where the Kobra leader splices himself and tosses Batman around. However the thermo-bomb won’t activate, because the shadowy figure disabled it.

It turns out Kairi snuck aboard as well in full ninja gear, taking out Kobra members left and right. She and Terry battle her prize pupil.

The fight damages the ship enough that everyone has to evacuate, with Max having already found an escape pod. Kairi lags behind, and when Terry tries to go back for her, she forces the pod door closed, staying behind to continue fighting Zander.

Later, in Kairi’s dojo, Bruce and Terry commemorate her sacrifice. Terry and Max remark on how nice the cold weather feels. Ya know, because of Kobra wanting to raise the earth’s temperature?

Best Performance

Even the voice cast are worse in Part II! Cree Summer’s dialogue is dramatically reduced. Will Friedle is mostly just wincing to sell Terry’s cracked ribs. Kevin Conroy and Takayo Fischer have the briefest of exchanges. If the eulogy had been longer I might have gone with Conroy, but it’s two words.

Alexis Denisof almost has to win purely because he does what feels like 90% of the talking. But he’s worse than last time, too.

Screw it; let’s go with Xander Berkeley as Dr. Childes, the downtrodden voice of reason who Zander constantly cuts off.

Ranking

Again, I rank two-parters as separate episodes, which likely hurts their overall ranking potential, as the first part tends to feel incomplete and the second part usually fails to pay off the setup.

This episode doesn’t just fail to pay it off, it completely changes the tone and abandons some of the more interesting elements of the first part. Don’t just take my word for it though, as Bruce Timm expressed disappointment with how this second part followed on from the first.

Honestly, what was the point in all of Terry’s training with Kairi? ‘Driver’ defeated him so badly that Bruce decided he needed to go to her dojo, and then beat him up even worse in their rematch. The payoff for all of that is… Terry quickly beats him with some grapple-hook trickery and tosses him aside without a second thought. No new fighting style? Special technique? Not even a philosophical lesson? Weak. Sauce. In her final Kairi repeats the same advice she gave him at the start of their training… and he simply never does anything with it!

They even blew right past an opportunity to make more of their own continuity, with Dr. Cuvier relegated to the briefest of cameos. It’s cute that they included him at all, but I would have liked to have seen more of his training, and perhaps show some form of disagreement between Zander and Cuvier over methodology.

Instead, we get the most formulaic of episodes, with even Terry’s injuries not factoring into events much beyond it hurting when Max hugs him. They easily find the Kobra base, Terry might as well have teleported directly into Max’s cell, he wins round 3 against ‘Driver’ in record time, and then the final confrontation is shockingly boring given it’s Batman and an old lady ninja against a dinosaur man. Heroic sacrifice, tribute cut short for time, episode over.

This might be the biggest gulf in quality in any Batman two-parter.

  1. Meltdown
  2. Inqueling
  3. Out of the Past
  4. Eyewitness
  5. Babel
  6. Final Cut
  7. Disappearing Inque
  8. Spellbound
  9. King’s Ransom
  10. A Touch of Curaré
  11. Shriek
  12. Rebirth Part I
  13. Bloodsport
  14. Splicers
  15. Unmasked
  16. Zeta
  17. Armory
  18. Hidden Agenda
  19. Lost Soul
  20. Earth Mover
  21. Black Out
  22. Dead Man’s Hand
  23. Where’s Terry?
  24. Sneak Peek
  25. Rebirth Part II
  26. Once Burned
  27. Curse of the Kobra Part I
  28. Big Time
  29. Revenant
  30. Untouchable
  31. Sentries of the Last Cosmos
  32. April Moon
  33. Heroes
  34. The Eggbaby
  35. Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot
  36. Mind Games
  37. Hooked Up
  38. The Winning Edge
  39. Ascension
  40. Joyride
  41. Golem
  42. Ace in the Hole
  43. The Last Resort
  44. Plague
  45. Payback
  46. Rats
  47. Speak No Evil
  48. Curse of the Kobra Part II (NEW ENTRY)
  49. Betrayal

Villain Watch

Kobra (Alexis Denisof/Xander Berkeley/Gary Sturgis (fourth appearance)

Sigh. They were doing so well! The badass main henchman is reduced to an afterthought. Zander’s nuanced character is replaced with that of a generic mwahaha villain. The only shred that remains of his Part I incarnation is he wants Max to be his Dino Queen because she’s the only person he knows who tells him no… which is messed up in all kinds of ways this show is not equipped to deal with.

The dinosaur splicing is pure lunacy, but not in a way I’m mad about, given they have a recurring in-universe plot device to facilitate it. Zander being ostensibly the only one who can talk seems a function of needing fight banter, and it’s incredibly lame that he is yet another villain who beats themselves by… *checks notes*… making it too cold.

And back down they go again!

  1. Inque
  2. Curaré
  3. Shriek
  4. Mr. Freeze
  5. Spellbinder
  6. Derek Powers/Blight
  7. The Royal Flush Gang
  8. The Jokerz
  9. Stalker
  10. Talia/Ra’s al Ghul
  11. Armory
  12. Ian Peek
  13. Repeller
  14. Earthmover
  15. Willie Watt
  16. Dr. Cuvier (and pals!)
  17. Mad Stan
  18. Robert Vance
  19. The Terrific Trio
  20. Deanna Clay
  21. Kobra
  22. Karros
  23. Bullwhip’s Gang
  24. Simon Harper (and the Sentries!)
  25. The Mayhem Family
  26. Payback
  27. Agent Bennet
  28. The Brain Trust
  29. Paxton Powers
  30. Charlie ‘Big Time’ Bigelow
  31. Dr. Stephanie Lake
  32. Howard Hodges & General Norman
  33. Jackson Chappell
  34. Cynthia
  35. Falseface
  36. James Van Dyle
  37. Mr. Fixx
  38. Winchell
  39. The T’s
  40. Ronny Boxer
  41. Ratboy
  42. Major
  43. 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.

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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