Episode title: A Touch of Curaré
Original air date: May 15, 1999
While Barbara Gordon has certainly been a presence in the Batman Beyond universe since the start, the show has played its cards regarding her missing years pretty close to their chest and it’s a hand which this week they finally decide to play as Gordon’s husband and Gotham’s D.A. Sam Young who is currently set to testify against an international arms dealer soon finds himself marked for death by the “Society of Assassins” who have despatched their best member Curaré to assassinate him.
Despite assuming the position her father was best known for holding, this episode only further highlights the differences in their approach to the work, as despite being a former costume vigilante she is quick to outline that she has no plans on being as liberal as her father was when it comes to costume vigilantes warning Terry to stay out of police business when she makes a surprise appearance at the bat cave. It is kind of surreal to see Barbara Gordon being so keen to follow the letter of the law especially with her wild child past. It should be noted at this point that the DC Animated universe opts (perhaps wisely) to skip over the events of “The Killing Joke” which saw “The Joker” paralysing her after he shoots her in the spine. The DC animated universe as confirmed by “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” decided to rework the timeline for something more kid friendly and in doing so explaining away why Barbara Gordon is walking around unaffected by her time as a costume vigilante.
This episode equally serves to explain what happened to her relationship with Bruce, as she hints at a complicated love triangle between herself, Bruce and Dick Grayson which saw Dick Grayson leave only for Barbara to choose to stay with Bruce, only to ultimately realise that Bruce could never stop being Batman. It is of course times like this which it helps to not be up to speed on the history of the comics as no doubt as minor as these changes might be and despite slotting well into the animated universe I can see this being the kind of thing which would aggravate the fans of the comics.
Curaré is yet another great villian, while tieing nicely into the Batman history with assassin organizations, with Bruce having his links to the “League of Shadows” and Curaré provides Terry with his. While seemingly blue skinned this is supposed to be body paint, while her weapon of choice being a laser sharpened scimitar and throwing knifes which really sets her apart from her villainous contemporaries and despite being in this futuristic world of laser guns it seems to make little difference in stopping her. It’s also interesting to note that all of Terry’s toughest foes to date have all been women, though Curaré never uses her feminine charms to her advantage and even chooses to remain mute bar the occasional grunt of moan making this an easy payday for voice actor Melissa Disney who is credited for voicing Curaré.
Despite the attention paid to filling in the gaps between the original series and this series the episode still manages to include several great action sequences including a rather fitting slaughterhouse set finale, which considering how little anyone seems to faze Curaré only seems a fitting location for her to stalk Barbara and Sam. It also serves to allow Barbara to prove that while she might have hung up her Batgirl costume, she can still throw a mean Batarang.