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"Big Time" is the forth episode of the third season of Batman Beyond. It depicts the first appearance of the villain Big Time. An old friend of Terry's, Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow, is released from prison and meets up with him. Remembering that both he and Charlie were arrested for the same crime and that his own sentence was short due only to his age, Terry feels he owes his friend. Terry manages to get Charlie a job at Wayne-Powers. Meanwhile, a rival company, Agrichem, is sending out hired thugs to capture a sample of the growth hormone, Cerestone. Things get even worse when Charlie reveals his true nature and is bathed in the chemical himself.
Out on the streets of Gotham City, a Wayne-Powers truck carrying several canisters of Cerestone is tailgated by a much larger truck. The driver of the larger truck jokingly tells them to "stick 'em up", to which the drivers simply get annoyed; however, the larger truck opens revealing a grappling gun that pulls them in. The guards are taken in and a single thug, Karros, breaks his way into the truck with a cutting laser. The guards are thrown from the truck, but Batman arrives and engages the thugs. During the fight, a canister of Cerestone is popped open, forcing the thugs and Batman to retreat.
Later, Terry talks to Bruce on the phone about Cerestone and learns that it's an experimental hormone used to accelerate plant growth and that a rival company, Agrichem, is seeking to steal the formula. He identifies Karros as the leader of mercenaries. Terry's conversation is cut short when he hears Dana angrily rejecting the advances of a blonde man that doesn't seem to care that she's not interested. Terry comes to the rescue but is surprised to see that the man is Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow, an old friend of his. Terry introduces Charlie to Maxine and Dana, who remembers him and is wary.
Later, Terry and Charlie talk about the way things have turned out. Charlie mentions to Terry that he has an opportunity for a big "job" and offers Terry to come in on it. Terry promptly refuses; however, Charlie isn't about to let him simply walk out and tries to talk him into it. Terry still refuses and tells Charlie to grow up. It seems that he's more successful than Charlie, who says that in order to go straight, he needs a break.
Terry goes to Bruce, who immediately refuses. However, Terry manages to talk him into it. He calls up Charlie and tells him the good news. Charlie readily accepts the job and is immediately congratulated by Richard Armacost, an executive at Agrichem. Karros, however, isn't too sure that Charlie is ready for the big time.
Charlie starts his first day of work and immediately gets into trouble. A guard, Captain Rubens catches him trying to move a computer terminal. Charlie claims that he just dropped a disk behind the mainframe and gets the guard to help him move the computer. All of this proves to be a ruse so that he can get a shot of the captain's hand print.
Back at the Batcave, Terry catches Bruce looking up the files on Charlie. He is appalled by Bruce's distrust until he find out that Charlie spent time with Armacost, an executive at Agrichem. Terry suddenly realizes that Charlie used him.
The next day, Karros explains that they made a glove from the guard's palm print, which should enable them to bypass security. He gets angry and calls Charlie "Thumbalina" when he doesn't immediately respond. Charlie is upset and appeals to Armacost to discipline Karros, but he brushes it aside. Outraged, Charlie warns Armacost that he's doesn't feel he's being properly repaid for watching his back in jail. Armacost tells him that he is by trusting him with a big job.
Charlie leaves the Agrichem building and finds Terry waiting for him. He informs him he knows what Charlie's up to and tells him off for using him. Charlie tries to defend his actions by telling him he offers to let him in on the heist but Terry tells him he can't let him pull it off. Charlie refuses to listen, claiming that with the people he's working for, he can't stop even if he wanted to and tells him he's still as shortsighted as ever. He storms off, unaware that Terry has left a bat-tracer on his suitcase.
That night, Charlie waits in a Wayne-Powers warehouse and assaults a guard with a taser. He then uses the special glove to open the warehouse door, letting Karros and other thugs in. The gang goes for the canisters of Cerestone, but Batman reveals himself they start shooting at him. Karros shouts to Charlie to get the canisters and hurls a grenade at Batman. Unfortunately, the grenade causes a canister to fall over and its lid to loosen. Charlie tries to save the canister but it bursts open and he's bathed in the Cerestone. Meanwhile, the fight continues and Karros manages to bury Batman in planting soil. Sirens are heard and the gang runs, leaving Charlie behind. Charlie manages to grab onto the getaway truck and leaves with them.
Later in an alley, Karros blames Charlie for the failed heist and demands that he pay 40,000 credits for the loss. Charlie is unconcerned at first, claiming that Armacost won't allow anything to happen to him. Karros says that he doesn't care what Armacost thinks and tells Charlie he better get him the credits or he'll pay dearly. After Karros leaves, Charlie discovers that something is wrong: his hand swells to an unnatural size then goes back to normal.
The next day, Terry, Dana, and Max leave school and find that Charlie is waiting for Terry. He explains his plight and begs him to get the money from Bruce. Terry refuses, telling Charlie to turn himself in. He refuses to go back to jail but his rant is cut short when he starts to feel immense pain and runs off.
That night, Terry explains to Max his history with Charlie: When he was fourteen, Terry was trying to cope with his parents' divorce and out of anger, he would committ petty crimes with Charlie, who was eighteen at the time. Charlie then got the idea to prove himself to a gang by pulling off a heist and Terry went along with it. This got both of them arrested, but since Terry was underage, he was sentenced to Juvenile Hall for three months while Charlie was sent to prison for three years, which is why he's been rolled around with guilt ever since Charlie came back. Max tries to tell Terry that he doesn't owe Charlie anything, but Terry insists that Charlie is his friend and he has to do something to protect him.
Meanwhile, Charlie suffers the full effects of the Cerestone and is turned into a large, hulking creature. Ignorant of Charlie's condition, Karros heads off to Agrichem and demands Armacost pay him for the failed heist. Suddenly, they hear a tape rewinding and discover that Batman has recorded their conversation. Just then, Charlie, now calling himself "Big Time", crashes into the room. Both Karros and Batman try to stop him, but Big Time's strength allows him to disable them both. He continues to advance on Armacost, believing that the transformation is his fault. He carries Armacost out to the side of the building and prepares to drop him, but Batman ties him up with his grappling rope. However, before Batman can further disable Big Time, Karros attacks him. After a brief fight, Karros accidentally cuts out the balcony from underneath himself and falls from the building. Big Time manages to break his restraints and attacks Batman, who pleads with him to stop. however, Big Time continues the fight, deciding that he'll finally gain respect. Batman has no choice but to fight back and sadly punches Big Time out.
In the morning, a newscast reports that Big Time has been taken to jail and Karros is in the hospital. Dana tries to comfort Terry telling him that it was for the best that he remained away from Charlie. Though Terry claims to agree, he's still deeply hurt.
- This episode finally reveals why Terry spent three months in Juvie. His criminal record had been alluded to in "A Touch of Curaré", "Revenant", "Rats" and "Eyewitness".
Home video releases
- This episode was produced before "Ace in the Hole", but it aired much later. This is why Terry has no knowledge of Cerestone and acts like this is his first encounter, while in "Ace in the Hole", he knew what it was.
- The claws that Karros equips reappear on his abdomen in the next shot and all subsequent shots where he's using them.
- Charlie's eye color changes from blue to black between shots when he first meets with Terry, and then again at his apartment.
- The glove that Karros gives Charlie in Richard Armacost's office covers Charlie's wrist, but when he puts it on at the Bio-Chem research lab it almost goes up to his elbow.
- In the closed captioning Cerestone is spelled "Sarastone", but the canisters have the former spelling printed on them.
- Charlie was wearing a glove on his right arm when he was exposed to the Cerestone, which explains why that arm did not swell up when he mutated into Big Time like his left one did.
Terry: Dana, you remember Charlie?
Charlie: Ease up, Tiny. You only have that nice life because of me. You owe me for playing your part down.
Bruce: No. I can't risk it.
Karros: You sure you're ready for the big time, kid?
Max: You're not going to bring him to his senses. He needs to do that on his own.