"Hard as Nails" is the season premiere of the third season of Static Shock. It first aired on January 25, 2003.
In Gotham City, the police arrest a group of thugs that have been apprehended by Batman. In amongst the crowd of spectators is a girl in a red hood, with silver skin. She runs through the streets, unaware that Static is watching her from the rooftops.
He calls after her, but a startled Allie Langford continues to run. Static gives chase, eventually stopping her in a park. He pleads with her to come home, but she claims that she is no longer Allie, but "Nails". She shoots her metallic claws at him, but he uses his powers to throw them back. They miss, and Nails pushes a nearby lamppost, which takes him out long enough for her to escape. He then remembers how this whole thing began ...
In a basketball court in Dakota, Virgil, Richie and their friends are playing basketball. Allie walks by, noticing in her make-up mirror that her make-up is fading, revealing her silver skin underneath. As she hurriedly tries to fix it, Virgil runs in front of her to stop the basketball from hitting her. He and Richie ask her where she has been lately, but Allie storms away. As she passes the net at the end of the court, one of the kids scores a basket, causing the backboard to fall towards Allie. However, she is unharmed when the backboard shatters against her. The kid tries to console her, but she pushes him away, before trying to gather the blueprints she dropped. She angrily snatches one from Virgil, and when Richie suggests a trip to the nurse, she tearfully says "I wish..." before leaving.
Inside the school building, it is shown that almost every single locker has been destroyed, with large claw marks everywhere, and Richie notices that Allie's is the only locker that is untouched. Daisy then tells them that Allie has run away from home, to which Virgil asks if Allie has any family in Gotham. She tells him no.
In the school library, Virgil checks the computer Allie was using earlier, and finds out that the blueprints are for Gotham City. He then notices an email account that Allie had set up, with two e-mail addresses for "Ceres" and "Thalia", and a web address for the "Bang Baby Outreach" clinic, which claims to help people struggling with their abilities. Realizing that Allie is a Bang Baby, and knowing the dangers of talking to someone on-line, Static decides to go to Gotham and find her.
In Gotham, Nails makes her way through the city, losing her cloak when it gets caught on the edge of a rooftop. As she senses someone nearby, she warns them to leave. However, she is restrained by a wire, and as she falls to the ground, she discovers who is following her: Batman.
Static then appears, offering to take Nails off his hands. Batman refuses, saying that he knows why she is in Gotham, and who she is planning to meet. Poison Ivy then appears, and uses her pollen seeds to trap them both within fast-growing trees. Static's powers prove ineffective against this trap, as Ivy helps Nails to her feet, claiming that it is "a fitting end for such wooden hearts". Harley Quinn then calls out to them from a blimp above, saying that bad jokes are her thing. Before Nails can leave, Ivy insists they are here to help, before using her plants to carry them both up to the blimp.
After the trees fully consume them, Batman bursts out of his using his grapple. After breaking Static free, he remotely calls for the Batwing.
Meanwhile, in an abandoned factory, Nails finds out that Ivy was posing as Ceres (the Goddess of the Harvest) and Harley as Thalia (the Muse of Comedy). She refuses to work with criminals, until they remind her that they are all she has. Ivy then tells her that, as a chemist, she has developed a successful cure for the Bang Baby syndrome. However, as it is an expensive cure, Nails will have to earn her share of it, and she reluctantly agrees.
In the Batcave, Static awakes to find Alfred Pennyworth extracting thorns from his arm. Static asks him who he is, to which Alfred replies that he is Batman. Unconvinced, Static thanks Alfred for his help before making his way to Batman, who is working on the Batcomputer. Batman asks him how he is, referring to him by his real name. Static is stunned, until Batman reveals that he dropped his student ID. Static then asks after Robin, and Batman states that he is "with the Titans.
Static insists that Allie is, at heart, a good girl, but Batman disagrees, as she left them to die. Static pleads for Batman to give her a chance, as she is scared and confused. Batman agrees, but states that if she gets out of control, she will receive the same fate as Harley and Ivy.
Out at sea, Ivy controls seaweed to take over a large ferry. From the blimp, Harley throws down a bomb, which clouds the deck in gas, knocking out the entire crew. Touching down, Ivy tells Nails that it is now her turn to contribute.
Below deck, Nails bursts a door open, to a room full of crates. Breaking one open, she is shocked to find solid gold bars inside. She claims that she did not want to be involved in this big a crime, but Ivy reminds her that she has to pay the price to get the cure. Despondently, Nails helps to carry the boxes out.
Below Wayne Manor, the Batwing flies out of the cliff-face. Inside, Batman tells Static to remove his blindfold. Static is unhappy about Batman's lack of trust, but reneges after Batman threatens to let him out over the sea. They make their way to Gotham City, where the Bat-signal is shining. The Commissioner informs them both that seaweed is blocking the bay, stopping all shipping activity, including the federal gold transport.
Back on the ship, Nails is carrying crates onto the blimp. As she notices that they appear to be stealing a lot of gold bars, she refuses to do any more. Ivy then suggests they conclude their business, throwing to Nails the vial containing the cure. Opening the vial, Nails comments on how it smells like nail polish, to which Harley admits that it is. She then uses her glove gun to knock Nails into the sea.
Before the two can leave, the Batwing appears. A grapple is shot down below the water to save Nails, while Static makes his way down to deal with the villains. Harley proves herself a formidable foe, by easily avoiding his electric bolts. However, he then sends electricity bolts over every inch of the deck, which eventually converge on Harley, taking her out.
However, Ivy then sets her seaweed upon him, which Static is unable to fight. Just then, Nails frees him, as Ivy makes a run for the blimp. As she flies off, Nails shoots her nails, which bursts the blimp, causing Ivy and the crates to fall towards the sea. Batman is able to save Ivy, and drops her beside Harley.
Nails then approaches, looking for revenge. Static uses his powers to keep her at bay, warning her that if she does this, she will spend the rest of her life running from the likes of him and Batman. Nails stands down, and as Batman restrains the villains, Nails asks Static why he bothered to come after her. Static says it's the least he could do for a friend, before suddenly vanishing. Batman muses that "the kid's got style..."
Back in Dakota, in a hospital, Allie undergoes treatment that allows her to control her change into "Nails" at will, as part of a program being paid for by Wayne Industries. Bruce Wayne comes to check on Allie, and is introduced to Virgil, who comments on his generosity as they leave the room. Bruce says that he had heard of Allie's problems, and he believed that she had earned some trust. Just then, Alfred appears having brought the car around, and as Virgil makes the connection, Bruce states that "she's not the only one..."
- This episode marks the second encounter between Batman and Static since their first in "The Big Leagues". However, in this encounter they became aware of each other's true identity, while in the first they didn't.
- When Static dismisses Alfred's claim of being Batman, Alfred comments that he'd like someone to believe that just once. This refers directly to the The New Batman Adventures episode "Old Wounds" in which he tells Barbara that he is Batman, as he sees her in the Batcave.
- This episode marks Poison Ivy's first appearance since her supposed death in The New Batman Adventures episode "Chemistry". No explanation was given of how she survived the destruction of the yacht.
- At one point in this episode, Harley says to Ivy, "Okie dokie, Poison Oaky!" When the two first met in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Harley and Ivy," Harley called her "Poison Oaky".
- Batman makes a Teen Titans reference when Static asked him where Robin was. He then says that he'll meet them soon, which could be another reference to when Static joins the Titans in the Teen Titans comic books.
- From this episode on, Static wears a new costume and Virgil wears new street clothes.
Home video releases
- No director is credited.
- The officers of the Gotham Police Department wear Dakota PD uniforms rather than their own gray and blue.
- Nails throws five claws at Static, but he throws seven or eight back at her.
- In Virgil's flashback, Allie is putting make-up on over the patch of metal. Her eyes are open, even though the powder puff is hitting right next to one of her eyes.
- After Bruce Wayne reveals that he is Batman to Virgil, Virgil's collar is miscoloured
- While Harley and Ivy are generally unchanged from their The New Batman Adventures appearance, Harley now has bells in her hat that jingle every time she moves her head. Oddly enough, by the time of her appearance in Justice League, the bells are absent.
- As Batman frees Static, an electronic version of the Batman: The Animated Series main theme plays.
- Batman now flies the second Batwing. In Batman's first crossover episode, "The Big Leagues", he flew the old one.
- Using Alfred as a means to reveal Batman's identity is used in reverse on The Batman episode "Vertigo" where Green Arrow sees Alfred in the Batcave after having seen him as Bruce Wayne's driver.
- During their face-off, Harley calls Static "kid kilowatt". 'Kilowatt' is the name of another DC comics hero who is also a Teen Titan.
Harley Quinn: Don't flatter yourself, Kid Kilowatt!