"Speak No Evil" is the sixth episode of the third season of Batman Beyond. It depicts the appearance of an intelligent gorilla, Fingers, in Gotham City. When a roaming gorilla sends people into a panic, Batman quickly comes to the rescue but notes that the gorilla's much more intelligent than it should be, including the ability to speak English. After learning that the Gorilla is simply trying to find the man who kidnapped his mother so that he can get her back, Batman agrees to help him track down the poacher.
A lone figure travels through the alleyways of Gotham and people are immediately panicked at his appearance. Elsewhere, Terry, Dana, Max and Howard are walking up to the library. While Howard wonders aloud why libraries are still in existence, Terry hears a scream in the distance. Taking the cue, Maxine tells Howard that she wants a Bee Fee burger. Howard argues with her and Terry finally acts fed up and says he'll go get one himself.
Batman flies out to a group of frightened people and they point out the lone figure: a gorilla. Batman walks up to him trying to keep him calm with a soothing tone. However, the gorilla becomes a little agitated and starts to walk away. Batman then jumps on the gorilla. This proves to be a mistake as the gorilla becomes enraged, hurls him off and runs through the streets. The gorilla makes its way to the train station and hitches a ride on a train. Batman tries to catch onto the train with a grapple but the gorilla knocks the rope off. When Batman tries to fly after the train he discovers that it’s too fast and the gorilla gets away. While Batman watches the gorilla's escape, a couple of men run up calling out to "Fingers". The men tell Batman that they're zoologists at Gotham University and the gorilla was a test subject of theirs. During their tests Fingers went crazy and escaped. Batman tells them to have the police set up an ambush but Fingers recognizes the police and escapes into the park.
Later, Batman tells Bruce about Fingers' escape into Gotham Park. Bruce isn't too concerned since gorillas don't tend to attack unless provoked. Batman, however, is concerned because Fingers knew not to step on the third rail and got onto the only fast train leaving the station. This behavior leads him to believe that the gorilla is smarter than a normal gorilla.
Bruce grants Batman permission to follow up on his suspicions and Batman goes to Gotham University. While in the zoology lab, he searches the cabinets and finds methyl glycose: a key ingredient used in splicing. Just then, the zoologists return arguing about their scam. Batman reveals himself and confronts them with the evidence. They explain that they were doing unsuccessful intelligence experiments on Fingers and were on the verge of losing their grant money. In desperation they spliced human DNA into Fingers and this is what caused him to go crazy. The zoologists tell Batman that things are even worse than he knows: they used enhanced DNA and Fingers will only get smarter.
Morning comes and a newscast announces that the Gotham Zoo has just received an abandoned white leopard cub from "world-renowned animal conservationist James Van Dyle". Fingers sees the newscast and becomes very angry. He destroys the vid-screen then speaks his first words in English: "Van Dyle".
After nightfall, Fingers re-emerges into the streets and Batman is instantly after him. Fingers tries to evade Batman and climbs up a building under construction. Batman tries to sneak up on him using his stealth mode, but Fingers can smell him. Fingers manages to disable Batman but instead of killing him he simply asks why humans can't just leave gorillas alone. Batman insists that he's only trying to help but Fingers doesn't believe him. He believes Batman to be the same as the doctors and Van Dyle—they just want to put him in a cage. Batman asks who Van Dyle is and Fingers tells his story: years ago, in Africa, when Fingers was just a baby, Van Dyle and several other poachers captured Fingers' mother in a net. They were separated and Fingers never saw his mother again.
Batman insists that not all humans are alike and that if Fingers is telling the truth, Van Dyle is a poacher and will be arrested. Fingers is more concerned with discovering the whereabouts of his mother. Batman offers to have Van Dyle arrested if Fingers stays hidden. Fingers agrees to wait, but only until dawn.
Batman heads to The Wildlife Way Station, Van Dyle's supposed "animal preserve". Batman remembers how his father took him there as a kid, and is disgusted to know it is really a front for poaching. In stealth mode, Batman observes one of Van Dyle's men removing a subcutaneous radio transmitter from a young animal, proving that it was in fact taken illegally from the wild (where it was tagged with the transmitter by a genuine conservationist). Unfortunately, Van Dyle's artificial eye is able to see Batman even when he's in stealth mode and he knocks Batman out with a taser.
Meanwhile, Fingers grows impatient and hitches a ride on a police unit. He rides along until he reaches Gotham Studios and calls a taxi from there. Believing Fingers just to be an actor in costume, the Taxi Driver is unconcerned and takes him to the Wildlife Way Station.
Batman wakes up to find himself in the lion's cage and the lions aren't happy to see him there. Fortunately, Fingers arrives and rescues Batman before the lions are able to do any serious harm. Frightened by Fingers's appearance, the poachers grab their guns and start firing at him. They ignore Batman, which proves to be a mistake as Batman manages to disable them. Van Dyle, however, is still standing and prepares to shoot Batman but Barbara shows up and confronts him with the poaching charges. Van Dyle claims to be on the level and points out that there's no evidence against him. However, Fingers comes out of hiding and confirms that Van Dyle is a poacher. He explains what Van Dyle has been doing but Van Dyle still denies it and tries to run. Batman manages to stop him but Van Dyle hits him with a taser. Enraged, Fingers attacks and demands to know where his mother is. Van Dyle claims not to know, as he doesn't keep track of his sales. Furious, Fingers starts to throttle him but Batman points out that he's acting like a human. Refusing to be human, Fingers releases Van Dyle.
Later, Fingers is taken back to his homeland and Bruce offers to remove the human DNA from his system. Fingers refuses, as he knows that there will be more poachers and he intends to protect the animals from them. Terry is wary because Fingers knows their secret but, seeing a kindred spirit, Bruce is unconcerned.
Home video releases
- The title of this episode, as well as its protagonist, refers to the pictorial maxim "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" embodied by the three wise monkeys. "See No Evil" was used for an episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
- First time the Batmobile has been shown to have stealth capabilities.
- The Gotham Studios logo is similar to the Warner Brothers logo.
- The man that Fingers frightens away in the park seems to be the same one Batman saved in the train in "Hidden Agenda". He also makes a cameo in "Rats" and "Countdown".
- Though produced before Justice League, Wayne's reference to gorillas being more intelligent than most people presume may have been a reference to his numerous previous encounters with Grodd.
- Fingers' rooftop escapades appears to be a nod of the head to King Kong.
|Will Friedle||Terry McGinnis / Batman|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne|
|Cree Summer|| Maxine Gibson|
Frightened woman (uncredited)
|Max Brooks||Howard Groote|
|Sean Donnellan||Virtual Anchor|
|Reiner Schöne||James Van Dyle|
|Robert David Hall||Fulton|
|Lauren Tom||Dana Tan|
|Angie Harmon||Barbara Gordon|
Fingers: Why can't you leave us alone? What have we ever done to you?
Taxi Driver: It must be hot in that costume.
Fingers: She was my mother!