"Remote Control" is the third episode of The Zeta Project. It first aired on February 10, 2001.
Ro and Zee visit the Sorben Institute, looking for its founder, Dr. Donald Tannor, hoping for a lead on Doctor Selig. They find him — and a young boy named Bucky, who is wreaking havoc on the local technology with an advanced remote control. They catch him having an argument with Dr. Tannor, insisting that he only wants to prove the controller works, ultimately leading to his being banned from the premises. (Zee only confuses things by misinterpreting a what-did-you-just-say question from Dr. Tannor and perfectly mimicking Bucky's voice.) Noting that they clearly have some things to hash out, Ro takes just enough time to ask Dr. Tannor to look up Doctor Selig.
It turns out that Selig only worked there years ago, making Sorben another dead end. Ro shrugs it off as Zee apologizes, then points out a way he can make it up to her. By that evening, through Zeta's unlimited cred card, they're spending the night in an expensive hotel, and Ro — not used to real beds, period — is loving it. Zee turns off his disguise and powers down to recharge on his hydrogen fuel cells, causing a noise similar to snoring, forcing Ro to place blankets over him to block it out..
Meanwhile, Bucky analyzes security footage of Zee, suspicious of his uncanny voice-mimicry. Using security footage from both the Sorben Institute and Dyron Aerospace, he sees past Zeta's "Zee" disguise, finding a federal warrant for his arrest, leading him to the NSA and Project Zeta. Scoffing at an "access denied" screen, he starts hacking.
Back in the hotel room, Zeta loses control of his motor functions, moving around with no control over where he's going. He finally leaps out a window, takes a car and drives away with Ro helpless to do anything but chase after him on foot. Finally, he appears in Bucky's room, finding him working the controls and celebrating that he now has "[his] own infiltration unit".
Bucky looks Zeta over, disappointed that he has apparently thrown away most of his weapons, but pleased all the same and refusing to let him leave using the inductance controller. He has no intention of turning him over to the government. Instead, he's still suspicious about why Tannor is keeping his distance from the controller, and keeping Bucky himself away from the award ceremony. He plans to throw a wrench into the proceedings, and considers Zeta the perfect tool to do it.
The next day, Ro finally catches up and manages to track the pair (stepping through at least one Zeta-shaped hole in a fence) to the 8th Annual Innovation Awards. Bucky is using Zeta's holographic disguises to sabotage other people's entries — not that he has one of his own to promote, he just enjoys doing it. Ro catches Bucky in the act of ruining the exhibit of Michaels and confronts him, just as Dr. Tannor (hosting the show) takes the stage and presents "his" invention: The Inductance controller. Angry over having his invention stolen, Bucky sends Zeta after the scientist, swinging at him with his circular saws activated.
Ro saves the doctor and pulls him backstage, running down a hall and explaining in brief what's going on. Tannor insists that the controller is his, but Ro doesn't seem to buy it. Meanwhile, Zeta pleads with Bucky not to force him to hurt anybody, to no avail. The chase continues to a locked door, where as Tannor unlocks the door, he seems suspiciously inexperienced with "his" invention, barely able to tell Ro (holding his controller) that to control Zeta, she would need his schematics. Ro runs to Bucky's room, loading up Zeta's blueprints, while Tannor flees for his office.
Zeta finally breaks through the locked door, quickly closing in on Tannor with Bucky close behind. Against his will, he corners the doctor, who pleads for his life, and is forced by Bucky to admit that he stole his invention, that he's stolen every invention he's taken credit for. Even after this, Zeta is faced with orders to finish Tannor, when he suddenly stops. Ro is at the door, with Zeta's blueprints uploaded to Tannor's remote. Both of them, now wielding equal control, circle the twitching robot as they argue and struggle to pull him away — until Ro suddenly switches up her Controller's commands, causing Zeta to fall back into Bucky, knocking him down and breaking the controller.
Bucky admits that he wasn't actually going to hurt Tannor, and only wanted to scare him... to which Zeta responds by reactivating his saw blades, advancing on Bucky and repeating the statement incredulously, forcing Bucky to promise never to do that to him again. Hearing this, Zeta admits that he is smart. Donning his "Zee" hologram, he tells him to stay that way. As Ro and Zee return to the road, Ro remarks that she'd forgotten Zee had it in him, and asks what they're going to do with the remaining controller. Zee responds by crushing it and throwing it away.
- Ro refers to her family for the first time when Dr. Tannor asks if her parents know where she is, and she bitterly calls that the "wrong question".
- During his analysis, Bucky checks security camera footage from the Sorben Institute against footage from Zee's visit to Dyron Aerospace, as seen in "His Maker's Name".
- When Bucky searches Zeta for his weapons and finds their compartments empty, Zeta mentions he threw them away, an act he was seen doing in his premiere episode on Batman Beyond in the episode by the same name.
Home video releases
|Diedrich Bader||Zeta / Zee|
|Julie Nathanson||Rosalie "Ro" Rowan|
|Stuart Pankin||Dr. Tannor|
|Sandra Horse||Dr. Willow|
|Earl Boen||Event Judge|
|Steve McGowan||Event Official|
Bucky: Face it, Zeta. You were built to do one thing: Search and destroy. Or is that two things? Whatever, try not to fight it.