"Critters" is the second episode of the second season of The New Batman Adventures.
Out in a convention hall, microbiologist Farmer Brown proudly displays the results of his research: a giant sheep. He believes that having giant animals will help to end world hunger. However, the sheep becomes irritated by the flashing cameras and escapes the cage. The animal then goes on a short rampage in the hall, only to be stopped when Bruce throws a curtain over it, causing it to blindly rush forward and stun itself by bashing into the wall. Farmer Brown then gives the sheep a sedative, and the incident is over for the time being. Commissioner Gordon complements Bruce on his quick thinking and Bruce fibs that he was actually trying to escape through the window. As Farmer Brown and his daughter look on worriedly, the press begin snapping photos of the sedated sheep.
Later, Farmer Brown is summoned to court over the incident and is ordered to remove all giant animals from Gotham and his experiments terminated. Farmer Brown pleads with the judge, claiming stopping his experiments will ruin him, but the judge has no sympathy. Farmer Brown is outraged and decides to show them some real monsters...
A year passes and Bruce is on a date that isn't going so well. An elderly woman at the next table suddenly screams that there's a bug and points to a giant praying mantis. Several more arrive and start attacking the cafe. Bruce attempts to smack one with a chair while his date runs away. After the bug dismantles the chair, Bruce slips away. At this point, the bugs move on to the rest of the street. The police arrive and start shooting at the bugs, but their exoskeletons are too hard for bullets to penetrate. Batman arrives and tries using pesticides on the bugs, but they have no effect. The bugs corner him, but they suddenly fall apart and the incident is ended.
Batman takes a head from a mantis and analyzes it. He discovers that the bugs were genetically altered to be immune to poison and that they fell apart because they were meant to self-destruct after a certain point of time. He explains to Batgirl and Robin that it was all a preview for worse things to come.
Back at Farmer Brown's farm, his daughter Emmylou is told to "prepare the livestock to go to market."
A giant cow and bull are unleashed on Gotham and are soon met by Batgirl and Robin. Giant chickens are also unleashed into the skies of Gotham and attack a police blimp. Batman arrives wearing his jet wings and confronts the chickens. The police are fortunate enough to land on a building roof, and the chickens take off after Batman.
Meanwhile, Batgirl and Robin deal with the giant bovines. Batgirl manages to stop the cow by hurling bolas onto her hind legs and getting her caught in wet cement. The bull attacks a china shop and Robin provokes it by waving his cape like a bullfighter. The bull charges after him and crashes into a building. Batgirl then drives a cement truck in behind it, trapping the bull.
While this goes on, Batman continues to flee the giant chickens and catches two of them in nets. However, the third chicken manages to evade the nets and chases after him. This one is caught when it crashes into a vat of hot barbeque sauce and is burned.
Back at the Police Station, Batman talks to Commissioner Gordon about the incidents. Just then, a genetically engineered goat arrives and demands fifty million dollars in cash without any intervention.
Bullock is led to the docks by the goat and delivers the money, but then the goat headbutts him off the side of the boat. He grabs a rope hanging off the side of the boat and manages to make it to Farmer Brown's hideout, but is caught and thrown to a mutant pig. Farmer Brown checks the money and discovers that it's just a bunch of green papers with a single bill of real money on top. He also discovers a bat tracer on the money and realizes that Batman is coming.
Batgirl and Robin arrive just in time to knock out the pig with tranquillizer darts and save Bullock. Emmylou confronts Batgirl and proves to have super strength provided by beef steroids. She easily manages to stop both Batgirl and Robin. Meanwhile, Batman fights Farmer Brown who is using an electrified pitchfork. Batman seems to have the upper hand but surrenders when he sees Robin is being threatened.
Farmer Brown locks the heroes up in the silo, which is actually a rocket carrying unhatched giant mantises. The silo is launched towards Gotham while Farmer Brown and Emmylou head for an escape boat. A mantis hatches and attacks the group, but it focuses on Batman, who tricks it into breaking the door open. Everyone escapes the silo and Batman drives an armored truck into the silo, causing the truck to explode. The silo/rocket launches with the burning truck but then explodes in midair, destroying the bugs and foiling Farmer Brown's plans. The debris from the rocket land on Farmer Brown's boat and the two are left in the water. They are arrested shortly afterwards.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Four (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- When Farmer Brown's missile blows up, the resulting explosion is reused footage from the scene of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest, Part III" in which two Wayne/Lex T-7 droids blow up after Batman electrocutes them.
- One of the bugs slashes its arms at Batman, but ends up hitting the truck of Pest Away. In the next shot, the now ripped off arms are no longer visible.
- In one scene Batgirl is shown to bind the hind legs of a giant cow using bolas. However, in the next scene both the cow's front and hind legs are shown to be bound.
- It seems strange that after Bullock is knocked into the water, fully clothed, and also overweight, he's able to swim fast enough to catch up with a powered boat.
- In the commentary, Dan Riba and Paul Dini mention that although fans didn't like this episode, they did.
- This is one of the few episodes in which Batman is shown willing to kill, albeit with insects.
- During the rampage of Farmer Brown's animals on Gotham, the bull that Batgirl and Robin were fighting crashes into a china shop, and wrecks it. This is a sight gag of the common idiom "a bull in a china shop".
- Robin calls the same bull "Ferdinand." This, and the bull's design are references to Ferdinand the Bull from the children's story, "The Story of Ferdinand".
Robin: That's a lot of bull.
Robotic Goat: (making the ransom demand) No tricks, no surprises, no Baaaaaaaatman.
Farmer Brown: Check your shoes for what the cow left and check your money. Two solid rules.
Batgirl: Now that's purty.