"Sneak Peek" is the eighteenth episode of the second season of Batman Beyond. It depicts the near-revealing of the secret identities of Batman. A mysterious man who is completely intangible is stalking Gotham, recording secrets wherever he can find them. These secrets are later displayed on a tabloid news show The Inside Peek by Ian Peek. Terry thinks the show is great until he finds that his secret will be revealed as well.
Reporter Ian Peek introduces another episode of The Inside Peek where he reveals the secrets of Gotham's elite. He prattles on about how the trainer of a heavyweight boxer is flirting with the boxer's girlfriend, how Rocker Jamie Jerald is illegally getting spliced, and, for the headline story, Paxton Powers's indecent behavior at a private party.
Matt McGinnis eagerly watches this last segment, but his mother shuts off the television. Terry, nearby, tells his mother to lighten up since it's just entertainment. She retorts that he'd think differently if it was him on the show.
Later that night, a crime boss, Jimmy Lin, sneaks into City Hall for a meeting with D.A. Sam Young, to secretly testify about his gang's activities. Lin is anxious that he will be found out, but Sam assures him that they are completely alone. Neither of them know that Lin has been followed into the building by a mysterious man seemingly composed of flashing blue and black matter, capable of passing through walls. Unnoticed by either man, the mysterious figure films Lin's testimony, until Sam sees him and summons a guard. The mystery man manages to disable a guard, then Batman arrives. He attacks, but all his punches seem to pass through empty air while the mystery man is perfectly capable of hitting Batman. Finally, the man starts a fire and escapes, entirely unharmed by the flames. While Batman is down, the man touches a device on his belt, switching off the blue and black energy field and revealing himself to be the reporter Peek.
In physics class at school, Terry learns that solid matter is mostly composed of empty space, and asks if it's possible for some objects to pass through others. His teacher, surprised at Terry's sudden interest, explains that most scientists believe that to be impossible, but there was one who thought otherwise. Later, Terry talks to Bruce, who reveals that the man worked for Wayne Enterprises: Nabuo Taka, a research scientist who believed he could "phase" molecules to allow them to pass through solid matter. However, Taka can't be the mystery man, as he died in a fire years ago.
The Inside Peek comes on again and Peek reveals the events of the previous night, telling about Lin's meeting with Young. Terry realizes the connection and heads out to see Peek. His show finished, Peek starts having stomach pains. Batman confronts him at the studio, but Peek denies any knowledge. However, before Batman can further interrogate him, Lin and a gang of thugs enter and try to kill Peek. Batman stops them but loses sight of Peek, who escapes and plants a camera in the Batmobile. Unaware of the camera, Batman returns to the Batcave, talks to Bruce and removes his mask. All of this is caught on the spycam by Peek.
The next morning, Terry is woken up by Matt who alerts him on news about Batman. Getting up, Terry sees a teaser for Peek's latest episode, revealing footage of the Batcave, including blurred out images of himself and Bruce. Peek promises to reveal the secret identity of Batman and his mentor later on the night edition of the show. Terry receives a call from Bruce, who has found the spycam, but can do nothing to stop the show from airing. While Terry blames himself for their situation, Bruce accepts the fact that their identities are going to be revealed, but is annoyed that someone like Ian Peek had to be the one to expose them.
At Peek's office, he has trouble with his stomach again and gets medicine to soothe the pain. He then notices Batman's sudden arrival and invites him inside, but addresses him by his real name, startling him. Peek reveals upon discovering Bruce Wayne's involvement, realizing Terry's identity was simple and proceeds to question him that Bruce Wayne was the original Batman. Ignoring his questions, Terry reveals that while he doesn't care what happens to himself, he demands Bruce be left out of this, considering all he has done for Gotham. Peek realizes how much Bruce means to him but still refuses, then mockingly asks for an interview, causing Terry to leave.
Terry returns home and finds that, along with the rest of Gotham City, both Matt and Mary are excited about seeing the show. Mary brushes off her earlier remark, as Terry ironically convinced her "it's just entertainment". Meanwhile, as Peek is getting ready for the show, he takes a tablet for his stomach pains, but it seems to have gotten worse by now. He looks down in horror and sees that his body is partially "phased" even without the belt.
At Terry's home, his mother and Matt are getting ready as the show is just about to begin. Terry, however, deciding it's best they learn the truth from him first, confesses that he's Batman. However, his mother and brother just laugh. The show starts to air, but is abruptly postponed. While Matt and Mary are disappointed, Terry becomes suspicious and discreetly telephones Bruce, but there is no answer, so he goes to investigate.
Bruce appears at Peek's studio in response to an urgent summoning. Peek says his body is slowly becoming completely intangible even without the belt and asks Bruce to use his company's resources to find a cure. Bruce states that there are other companies, but Peek states that Bruce's had Nabuo Taka, causing Bruce to question what he had to do with the situation. Peek then confesses that he was the last to interview Taka before he died, but Bruce denies that Taka would've talked to someone like him. Peek tells him he's a resourceful man and that he has all his research and his belt. This makes Bruce realize that Peek not only stole the belt, but he was also the one who started the fire that killed Taka. Peek admits it and shamelessly defends his actions saying he had to have it in order to kick his career into high gear. Disgusted, Bruce refuses to help him, and Peek threatens to expose both him and Terry. Bruce sees his body further deteriorating and keeps walking, aware that time is not on Peek's side. Desperate, Peek tries to give back the footage of the cave by throwing it at Bruce's feet, but he still refuses. Enraged, Peek attacks and nearly kills Bruce but Batman arrives and saves him. Peek continues to fight and raises a gun, but his finger, and then his whole hand, become intangible, followed shortly by his entire body. Still at the mercy of gravity, Peek sinks through the floor, yelling for help. Batman gives chase while Bruce picks up the disc containing the spycam footage.
Batman just manages to reach the lowest basement level as Peek is sinking through it. He tells Peek to control his solidity so he could pull him up, and it seems to work at first, but he loses control and helplessly sinks into the ground. Bruce arrives and explains that in his phased state, Peek will likely keep right on falling until he reaches the center of the Earth, remarking that "it's about as inside as you could get".
Home video releases
- When Peek ignites a fire, the resulting explosion is reused footage from the scene of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest, Part III" in which two Wayne/Lex T-7 droids blow up after Batman electrocutes them.
- When Bruce calls Terry about Peek's upcoming broadcast, the Robin suit's insignia is red when it's supposed to be yellow.
- When Terry tries to reach Bruce on his phone, the emblem on the Nightwing costume displayed in the Batcave is red instead of blue.
- Mr. Freeze's cold gun is visible in the Batcave, even though it was destroyed by Inque in "Disappearing Inque".
- During the "Sneak Peak" of Jimmy Lin and Sam Young's meeting, the footage is different to what Peek recorded. During the meeting that peek recorded, Jimmy is seated while Sam is leaning on his desk, but the footage that is shown on TV shows Jimmy and Sam discussing while both standing.
- This episode is another example of what is sometimes called the "Ghost Paradox" in science fiction and fantasy: if a person is rendered completely intangible by scientific means, he should logically be unable to stand on a floor, breathe air (which is a gaseous matter) into his lungs, or speak; yet Peek is shown doing all of these things. Also, if such a person ceases to be tangible matter, then gravity would have no effect on him. If gravity were the only force acting on Peek, he would not simply come to rest at the center of the Earth. Instead, he would accelerate as he approached the center and then shoot to the exact opposite point of the Earth from where he started, only to be pulled back towards the center and reach the point from where he started. This effect would continue indefinitely, assuming frictional forces can no longer act on him.
- It's never specified at what point when Taka's research into vibraspace took place. Even before Bruce retired as Batman, the series Justice League Unlimited already establishes that matter phasing technology existed when Bruce Wayne was active.
- The character model of the boxer is the same as Clayface's human disguise in the The New Batman Adventures episode "Growing Pains".
- The scene where Terry confesses to being Batman was used for several TV spots promoting the show on Kids WB.
- Jimmy Lin isn't alone in not wanting to face tax evasion charges. In The New Batman Adventures episode "Joker's Millions", even the Joker didn't want to face the IRS.
- The camera used by Peek is similar to that used by Terry in "The Last Resort".
|Will Friedle||Batman/Terry McGinnis|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne|
|Clyde Kusatsu||Jimmy Lin|
|Paul Winfield||D.A. Sam Young|
|Michael McKean||Ian Peek|
|Dave Walsh||Stage Manager|
|Ryan O'Donohue||Matt McGinnis|
|Teri Garr||Mary McGinnis|
Terry: Come on, Mom. It's just entertainment.
Terry: I'm saying that you, or someone who works for you, figured out a way of moving through walls.
Bruce: Peek isn't really a criminal — unless being a reporter counts.
Bruce: I always assumed I'd be found out sooner or later. It's just galling that a piece of garbage like Peek had to be the one.
Terry: I don't care what you do to me. But he doesn't deserve this. He's done too much for this city to wind up in the middle of a media circus.
Terry: I thought you said it wouldn't be entertaining if you were on the receiving end.
Terry: What's gonna happen to him?