Batman Beyond S:02 Ep:03

 Episode title: Joyride

Original air date: October 2, 1999

Despite being a background presence since the first episode, strangely it has taken the show runners until now to actually find something for the shows resident biker gang “The Jokerz” to do outside of being a general nuisance to the citizens of Neo-Gotham.  Of course this is not say they are making themselves less of a pain to Terry as this week as they steal a prototype military vehicle (hard to tell if it’s supposed to be a plane or a car in this timeline)  and head off on a joyride.  Worse still is the fact that the vehicle is powered by an unstable nuclear reactor which is currently set to go critical.

Opening with a group of Jokerz initiating their latest recruit which not only sees them dressing the recruit in their trademark clown garb and heading off towards a mine, which frustratingly is as far as they get before opportunity lands the military vehicle in their lap. More so when their torches highlight a skeleton seemingly dressed in Joker rags, making me wonder what exactly their initiation process involves.  Now having stolen the vehicle though the Jokerz here being piloted by “Scrab” who clearly fancies himself as the leader, even though “J-Man” appears and who we have until now assumed to be the supposed leader of the Jokerz mainly due to him modelling his appearance on the Joker whose legacy they continue to maintain through their own brand of mischief. This power play also adds an interesting angle to the episode, especially when the vehicle gives Scrab a sense of unstoppable power which he wastes little time taking advantage of as sets out with plans to take down the rival gang “The T’s” who make their first appearance in this episode.

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The Vehicle gives the Jokerz more of an even footing against Terry, as only further highlighted by the fact they easily get their asses handed to them on the sole attempt they do try to battle Terry outside of the craft, though I do like the spiked bag that Dottie attempts to hit him with. Still inside the vehicle they not only give Terry a real challenge as they manage to not only destroy the bat mobile but also one of Terry’s wings, which does come with the unexpected bonus of seeing Terry rock an old school batarang and rope for the first and only time.

An unsurprising fast paced episode in which the action comes in spades, while also one of the rare occasions in which Terry is left to resolve things by himself, with Bruce literally phoning in his assistance this week with a single command of “So stop them” and that’s all we see of him the whole episode…geez thanks Bruce. Of course Terry isn’t completely on her own thanks to receiving support from the vehicle’s creator Dr. Price who is not as much of a lab confined nerd you’d expect but rather surprisingly turns out to be a Nick Fury style badass even engaging in a game of chicken with Scrab. Its only more of a shame that they couldn’t find a way to write her into future episodes. Still as a one shot character she really makes for a welcome presence and covers for the lack of involvement from Bruce who seemed more concerned with whatever it was he had under his microscope.

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I loved the idea of the Jokerz hijacking a military vehicle so as it gives them such an undetermined edge, especially when they frequently manage to destroy several pieces of Bat-tech throughout the episode, while the climax put Terry in a rare position of danger were it could truly be the end of his bat career. Still for a one shot episode it gives a few new smaller elements to flesh out Neo-Gotham, while finally making the Jokerz seem more of a viable threat than they had been previously even though their look and obvious homage to a major villain it would be assumed that they would be used in a more prominent role.

Next Episode: Lost Soul


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