"Rats" is the twenty-second episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts a rough patch in the relationship of Dana and Terry that leaves Dana in a rather dangerous situation. Fed up with his constant absences, Dana leaves Terry, only to be intrigued by a message pledging devotion to her. She soon finds herself kidnapped by a disfigured boy whose short temper could easily be the death of her. Terry soon finds out about her disappearance and tries to find her.
An ominous newscast speaks of Gotham's "secret shame": giant man-eating rats. These rats are blamed for several disappearances. Max states they are nothing but an urban legend and a way for media to get more attention, but Chelsea seems to believe them. Dana however is more concerned with the fact that Terry has stood her up again. Terry arrives and tries to patch things up but she refuses to listen. Terry apologizes claiming Mr. Wayne needed him again and doesn't blame Dana for being mad. However, Dana reveals she is more than mad as she has tried to be patient with him and while Terry replies she has been great as she has always been there for him, Dana points out that she doesn't feel that way in return as she has only received broken promises and dates, claiming that Terry cares more about his job than her.
Terry reminds her that he has responsiblites now since his father died as his mother and brother depend on him more and asks what does she want. Dana reveals she would like someone who will be there for her and leaves. Terry tries to go after her, but Chelsea advises him to give her some space and leaves. Max admits to Terry that it's a shame he can't tell Dana the truth. When Dana reaches her car, she finds a white rose and a note saying, "I'll be there for you". Assuming the rose came from Terry, Dana begins to change her mind.
Later that night at his house, Terry and Matt are relaxing until the phone rings. Matt answers and reveals it's Dana and soon Terry sends him out of the room. Terry and Dana talk, where reveals he didn't expect to hear from her, Dana says the rose changed her mind which confuses Terry, revealing he didn't send Dana the rose. However, Dana doesn't notice and instead arranges a date for them at Rhino's Chili, Terry assures he'll be there and Dana promisies to wear the white dress he likes, ending the call. Terry is happily surprised and soon Matt appears and begins teasing him about his relationship with Dana, but soon leaves when Terry forces him out of the room.
At Dana's house, she is dressed and ready for her date with Terry. She says goodbye to her father, who believes she is leaving for a study group. When Dana reveals she is meeting Terry, her father disapproves of their relationship as he knows of Terry's past, believing that Dana could be with someone better. Dana assures her father that Terry's trouble is in the past, while also mentioning his job. They are interrupted when they notice a shadowy figure outside, Mr. Tan goes to seek the intruder, but finds nothing. Mr. Tan again expresses his concerns, but Dana assures him and leaves for her date.
Meanwhile, Terry heads out to meet Dana but he receives a call from Bruce alerting him to Mad Stan being on a rampage. Knowing his responsibility must come first, Batman confronts Mad Stan, who believes that Gotham is falling apart due to an information overload, in the library and the two start to fight.
While Batman and Mad Stan fight, Dana waits in front of Rhino's and eventually decides that she's been blown off again. Angrily leaving the scene, she come across another rose with the “I'll be there for you” message. As she reads the note, she is approached by two giant rats that slowly advance on her.
Dana wakes up surrounded by white roses. Looking around, she finds herself in an underground room filled with shelves of junk items. A rat-like boy greets her and tells her that his name is Patrick and that this is his collection of things that people don't want. Dana soon comes across the giant rats again, but Patrick shows that he can control them and that they are his friends.
Back at Terry's house, Terry calls Dana and apologizes. Soon afterwards, there is an insistent knock at the door. Terry answers, and is soon assaulted by Dana's father who demands to know her whereabouts. Terry is taken aback, but now learns that Dana is missing.
In the sewers, Dana learns that Patrick ran away because people called him "ratboy" and he sought to quit being teased. Attempting to escape, Dana offers to take Patrick to Rhino's for some chili, but he refuses to let her go and heads off for himself.
Meanwhile, Terry has told Bruce about Dana missing and is out investigating her disappearance. He comes across Rhino's where patrons are escaping in droves. Inside, Patrick is busy ladling chili into take-out containers for him and Dana. Batman discovers Patrick's giant rats and a fight ensues. Patrick hears them and quickly packs up the chili and escapes with the rats, mentioning Dana as they leave through the backdoor, which Terry overhears, and follows them into the sewers.
Back at Patrick's hideout, Dana searches through his collection and finds a flashlight. With the light in hand, she searches for a way out, passing by several barrels of toxic waste which were presumably the source of the giant rats.
The journey through the sewers proves to be an ordeal for Dana. Unable to negotiate several obstacles, Dana falls into sewer water and soon finds herself trapped in a pit, along with a huge colony of regular-sized rats. Despite their small size, the rats are aggressive and attack Dana. Fortunately, Patrick arrives and scares the rats off.
Later, they return to Patrick's dwelling. Patrick notices Dana isn't eating and asks if something's bothering her, Dana angrily snaps at him for his kidnapping and for having rats as friends. Angered by her words, Patrick now sees that Dana isn't any different from the other people, having believed she would understand him better. Dana then questions if he's done this before. Patrick reveals in the past, he's kidnapped people similar to Dana's problems and tried to give them a home in the sewers. When Dana asks what happened to them, he pulls out a whistle and says "They don't make fun of me anymore", implying that he murdered his previous victims, and blows on it.
The rats, both giant and regular, advance on Dana. Patrick grabs her and reveals she shouldn't have made fun of him, but, before he can attack her, Batman arrives. Dana tries to question Batman as to how he found her, but he brushes it off and warns her to stay behind him while he fights them off. The rats begin to advance in Batman and soon they quickly overwhelm. Dana rescues Batman as she takes a hockey stick and sets it ablaze. The two manage to ward off the rats long enough to escape. During the escape, Dana drops the lit hockey stick into the toxic waste, causing an explosion and Dana to fall unconscious. The fire quickly catches up, but Batman manages to save himself and Dana and they safely get back to the surface.
Later as fireman and news reporters arrive at the scene, Dana is sitting an ambulance. Terry arrives and begins apologizing to Dana for not being there for her, blaming himself for what happened to her. Dana cuts him off, simply saying shut up, causing Terry to slightly worry. However, Dana instead hugs Terry, needing comfort after her ordeal. Terry the begins to take her home. As they walk away, the card with the flower given to Dana by Patrick blows away with the wind.
- Dana's father alludes to Terry's criminal record, the details of which will be revealed in "Big Time". The first time it was mentioned was in "A Touch of Curaré".
- Mad Stan appears for the first time in this episode, but deducing from Bruce and Terry's exchange, Batman has had previous off-screen dealings with him.
- An action figure of Magma from the Terrific Trio is part of Patrick's collection, as he states that it is something no one wants, this episode occurs after the episode "Heroes" as the Trio has been discredited.
Home video releases
- Batman Beyond - Season Two (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Batman Beyond: Crush (VHS)
- Batman clearly cuffs Mad Stan's left hand, but, after overthrowing Batman, Mad Stan's left hand is cuffless in all subsequently shots.
- Although shoeless and with limited clothing, Dana runs straight through burning flames in Ratboy's lair as if the flames weren't there.
- Introduction of Mad Stan.
- This is the only time Dana's father is seen.
- The man sitting next to Terry on the train seems to be the same one Batman saved in "Hidden Agenda". He also makes a cameo in "Speak No Evil" and "Countdown".
- In one scene a toy monkey identical to the dolls seen in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun" can be seen in Patrick's collection.
- Mad Stan's rant about "information overload" is similar to that of Spider in Johnny Mnemonic. Both characters are portrayed by Henry Rollins. Mad Stan's appearance seems to have been modeled off Rollins.
Batman: Keep it down, Stan. We're in a library.
Batman: (after Mad Stan throws him into a wall and he lands on his back on the ground) For this, I'm missing a date?
Batman: Big rodent problem.
Batman: Let's blow this mouse house.