"Plague" is the twenty-first episode of the second season of Batman Beyond. It depicts the return of Stalker. The evil organization Kobra has a plan to unleash a deadly super-virus onto Gotham City unless they are paid 10 billion credits in ransom. In order to carry out their plan, they hire the mercenary Falseface to smuggle the virus into the city. With nowhere else to turn to, the NSA enlists the aid of the Stalker to find and stop Falseface. Now Batman finds himself in an uneasy alliance with his enemy.
Terry, Dana, and Chelsea wait for Nelson's return from Saint Denis at the Gotham Airport. Nelson goes to customs, and the agent finds a vial of an unidentified green fluid. Nelson claims he not to know anything about it and suggests that it was snuck into the bag while he was in the bathroom. The customs agent appears to believe him and lets him go while confiscating the vial. After Nelson leaves, the agent turns the vial over to a Kobra agent and reveals that he's capable of changing his face as if it were made of clay.
Nelson catches up with the group and heads out but Stalker intercepts him before he can reach his car. Stalker snatches Nelson and carries him to the top of the building. Threatening to kill Nelson, Stalker demands to know where the glass container ended up. After getting what he wants, Stalker unceremoniously releases Nelson and searches the airport.
Batman soon arrives and attacks Stalker, who claims doesn't want to fight. Batman doesn't believe him but Agent Bennett arrives and says that Stalker is telling the truth. He explains Stalker is working for the NSA to track down Falseface, a mercenary working for Kobra. He explains that Kobra intends to release a lethal super-virus onto the city unless paid a ransom of ten billion credits. The virus had been tested on a small island community and eradicated all life on the island. With no other way to track Falseface, they turned to Stalker for help.
Reluctantly, Batman joins up with Stalker with Bruce assuring him that it's necessary. Going through his leads, Bruce suggests the duo checks the Muscle City Sweat Shop where they discover Kobra agents preparing for the virus' release. Batman insists that they quietly observe the agents and plan their next move, but Stalker impatiently attacks the group. Batman scolds him for his recklessness and points out they can no longer interrogate the agents for information. Fortunately, they find a disk with a floor plan for Gotham Manufacturers Plastics.
Out at the company, a security guard walks into the security room and disables the guard. Falseface then disables the security system and lets Kobra in. Inside, Falseface marvels at the unmarked creds and learns that Kobra intends to coat them with the virus. Every time that the creds are passed from hand to hand, the virus will be transmitted. Batman and Stalker arrive and fight the agents. During the fight, however, the vial is nearly smashed open and Stalker is deterred from capturing Falseface in concern for Batman failing to save it. Fortunately, he manages to hit Falseface with one of his tracking grenades and Batman manages to prevent the virus from being unleashed. However, Kobra One explains that they infected Falseface with the virus as a backup and since he's left the building he can easily evade capture and will infect others.
Stalker and Batman go after him and find him. Unfortunately, Falseface fails to believe Stalker that he's infected and disables him with a taser. Batman continues on after Falseface but temporarily loses sight of him. Fortunately, Falseface tries to imitate Nelson, a disguise that Batman can easily see through. A fight ensues and takes the combatants into a factory. Falseface starts a fire, then attacks Batman with a length of pipe. Batman can hold up his own but there is an explosion and he is trapped under a falling ventilation duct. Falseface prepares to kill him but suddenly falls over in pain. Batman explains that the virus has taken hold. Despaired, Falseface runs away. Unable to free himself, Batman believes himself to be doomed but Stalker arrives. Much to Batman's surprise, Stalker refrains from killing him and instead releases him. The two escape to find that Falseface has collapsed. Batman asks Stalker why he saved him, and he explains that it was just so that he and only he would be the one to kill him when the time is right.
- Batman refers to the events of "Bloodsport" saying that Stalker hunted him down. It also shown that Stalker escaped the oncoming train, but it is not stated how he was captured.
- Batman recognises Agent Bennett at the airport, having previously dealt with him in "Zeta".
- Stalker spots Falseface with phosphorus powder, the same way he tracked Terry in "Bloodsport".
- Although Agent Bennett explains what Kobra is, Batman should already be familiar with them, as it is later shown in "Unmasked" how he faced them around the time he was just starting out.
Home video releases
- This episode takes place at the end of spring break but "Quality Time" will say the previous episode took place in August. (This is itself an inconsistency as the school is still open in "Zeta").
- When Stalker drops Nelson from the building, he falls on his car, and merely rubs his head. Considering the height and the way he landed, Nelson should have been more seriously hurt.
- Batman binds Kobra One with a rope around his arms. However, moments later when he appears again, he is tied up with three sets of rope around his arms, wrists and ankles.
- An inhabited island near Saint Denis had been wiped out during Spring Break, but neither Terry or Nelson (who was at Saint Denis during the outbreak) are aware of it until Bennett mentions it.
- Batman should have been able to lift the debris. In "Heroes" and "A Touch of Curaré", he was also wedged under heavy objects and still managed to elevate them with relative ease, given that his suit provides neuromuscular amplification. Here, strangely, he doesn't even try. He could also have used his thrusters or grappling guns from his forearms to extricate himself.
- It is later shown in "Unmasked" how after Batman foiled one of Kobra's operations, Kobra One took his life by jumping into a snake pit, yet here he is alive and well. The manner in which he survived is left unexplained.
- Introduction of Kobra into the DCAU.
- It's implied that Gotham's population is in the range of 12 million people.
- This is Agent Bennett's only appearance that does not involve Zeta.
- While the real-life NSA are just a signals intelligence agency, in the timeline of Batman Beyond and The Zeta Project, they are consistently shown as an all-purpose counterterrorism force.
|Will Friedle||Terry McGinnis/Batman|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne|
|Seth Green||Nelson Nash|
|Kerrigan Mahan||Kobra One|
|Lauren Tom||Dana Tan|
|Rachel Leigh Cook||Chelsea Cunningham|
|Sean Donnellan||Sports Announcer|
|Jeff Harlan||P.A. Announcer|
|Joe Spano||Agent Bennett|
Falseface: You think my face looks bad? Wait till I'm done with yours.
Falseface: (In pain from the virus) Impossible. After all I've done, Kobra wouldn't... they couldn't...
Batman: You risk your neck to save me.