"Once Burned" is the twentieth episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts the return of Ten. Desperate to rob the Derby, a high stakes poker game held in Gotham City, Ten finds herself running into trouble with both the criminal players and Batman. After explaining that she is only trying to save her family from the Jokerz, she manages to convince Batman to help her try and free them. However, having been betrayed by Ten before, Batman is wary of her. Meanwhile, Melanie Walker meets up with Terry McGinnis and the two share the same troubles as Batman and Ten.
Up on a Gotham Sky-Rise Apartment, a group of poker players grumble about the indecision of one of their players, Bennie. The conversation indicates that they are all criminals. Bennie claims he hears someone outside and sends his goons to check. While searching, the goons are assaulted by Ten.
The game continues, and Ten tosses her own exploding card onto the table, taking the bet money. She quickly tries to make her getaway but her card glider is shot and destroyed. Trapped, she hides from the angry gang while the shooting attracts Batman's attention. Batman arrives and throws the take over to the players but they continue their shooting. Using a gas bomb, Batman manages to distract the players long enough to allow himself and Ten to escape.
Terry tells Bruce about the incident and learns that he got too close to the Derby: a high stakes poker game that's been around since before Bruce was Batman. Bruce believes that Ten only went for her greed. Terry insists that she was only desperate but Bruce chalks it up to his youth and naivety.
Later, Terry returns home and discovers his family are away at the beach. Terry then enters his room where he finds Melanie waiting for him. Terry is less than happy to see her, still hurt from when she left him. Melanie understands he if hates her, but states she didn't have a choice as it was either him or family, but Terry claims that there is always a choice. She asks to remain here until dark. Terry is reluctant to help her but she claims that the Jokerz had kidnapped her family and want the money from the Derby for ransom. Terry tries to call the police, but Melanie stops him, revealing that the Jokerz threaten to kill them. They are soon interrupted when Dana calls up and reminds him of their study date. However, Terry decides to tell her that he can't study with her for now. When the call is over, Terry and Melanie share a passionate kiss, proving that Terry's willing to trust Melanie and that a part of him still love's her.
That night, Melanie and Terry talk where Melanie tries to apologize for what happened between them, Terry however, tries to explain that things have changed since the last time, by trying to inform her about his relationship with Dana. Melanie becomes worried and asks if he doesn't have feelings for her anymore, but Terry admits he still does. Terry and Melanie are just about to kiss again, when Terry's family arrives home and Melanie takes this as a sign to leave, before leaving Melanie thanks Terry and gives him quick kiss goodbye before setting off. Concerned over Ten's fate, Terry calls up Bruce and claims that he wants to take the night off to study with Dana. Later, Terry calls for Max's help to learn the location of the Derby. Max now understands why Terry had cancelled his plans with Dana, revealing she had recently spoken with her, Terry is worried she'll tell her, Max assures him, but admits she is curious about what he's doing. Terry admits that he's helping a "friend", Max can see that there is more between them and advises Terry that he has to choose between her and Dana before leaving. Terry then heads out to stop Ten.
Batman arrives to find Ten preparing to rob the Derby once again. Though he insists that she stops, she refuses. After a brief struggle, Batman catches Ten and learns of her motives. Deciding that theft isn't the answer, he takes Ten to the Jokerz hideout so that they can rescue her family. While making their plans, Ten gives Batman a letter for Terry and the two move in. The duo is soon discovered by the Jokerz and is attacked. During the fight, Ten escapes leaving Batman behind. Unaware of Ten's desertion, Batman finds a sleeping member of the Jokerz and learns that they are unaware of the Royal Flush Gang's abduction. The gang catches Batman and he is in a bad situation until the batmobile arrives and he manages to escape.
Ten goes back to the Derby and proceeds to rob the game, this time managing to escape. She goes to a warehouse and tosses the ransom to a figure shrouded in the dark. However, she soon discovers that the figure is King. Ten is confused and asks for the Jokerz whereabouts, King reveals there never were any Jokerz and admits this plan was a "family thing". Ten is still confused until Queen appears and reveals this was a test to prove Ten's love for them. They congratulate her, but Ten is devastated by their actions, now realising they don't love her, pointing out if they did, they never would have done this or made her choose between them and Terry. King tries to defend their actions, stating she was too young at the time. Ten rebuffs their excuses, realising they were afraid she would leave them and finally sees they only think of her as an accomplice, never their daughter.
Batman soon arrives and is attacked by the gang while Ten runs off. The fight doesn't go well for Batman until the poker-playing gangsters arrive and start shooting in revenge for the robbery. The Royal Flush Gang attempts to escape, but they soon discover that Batman also called in the police. Both the Royal Flush Gang and the poker players are caught and arrested. Meanwhile, Ten disappears into the shadows.
Later, Terry and Dana go to a dance club and he soon finds the letter that Ten gave to Batman. Dana notices the letter and tries to ask about it; however, deciding to put Melanie behind him and move forward with his life, Terry throws out the note without even reading it.
- Melanie recalls and ultimately regrets having to choose between Terry and her family in "Dead Man's Hand".
Home video releases
- Batman Beyond - Season Two (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Batman Beyond: Crush (VHS)
- When Lula shoots at Ten after her second break in, her gun changes shape and size between shots.
- The Joker that teases the splicer has the torch in his right (yellow) hand in the close-ups, but in his left (black) hand in the wide shots.
- When Terry gets off of the phone with Dana and Melanie leans in to kiss him, her right arm moves through his body.
- Sarah Douglas replaces Amanda Donohoe as Queen's voice. Douglas played the Kryptonian supervillainess Ursa in the first two live-action Superman films, and also replaced Leslie Easterbrook as Mala's voice for her second appearance on Superman: The Animated Series.
- In the Jokerz's hideout, there are many Jokerz from previous episodes:
- J-Man from "Rebirth, Part I", "The Winning Edge" and "Joyride"
- Dottie from "Rebirth, Part I", "Golem" and "Joyride"
- Smirk from from "Rebirth, Part I", "Golem" and "Joyride"
- Spike from "Rebirth, Part I", "Golem" and "Bloodsport"
- Scab from "Rebirth, Part I" and "Joyride"
- Coe from "Rebirth, Part I" and "Joyride"
- Trey from "Hidden Agenda"
- Tayko from "Hidden Agenda"
- Weasel from "Rebirth, Part I" and "Hidden Agenda"
Bruce: Ah, to be young again... And gullible.