"Splicers" is the first episode of the second season of Batman Beyond. It depicts the trouble Gotham faces when a new fad arrives in the form of "Splicing". After a scientist, Dr. Abel Cuvier, introduces a system of combining animal DNA with human DNA; it becomes a trend amongst the young people of Gotham. However, D.A. Sam Young works to outlaw the practice and is marked for death by Cuvier. Now Batman must deal with people enhanced with animal capabilities.
Out at Hamilton Hill High School, students excitedly gather around Chelsea, eager to see her new decoration. She removes her sunglasses and reveals that she now literally has cat eyes. She passes out business cards from the Chimera Institute, a company that can splice human DNA with the DNA of animals. Terry's a little skeptical with the controversy amongst the crowd and it's mentioned that the city is trying to shut down the operation. Dana brushes off his concerns and tries encouraging him to keep an open mind. Later, in the Batcave, he and Bruce are watching a vidcast, in which Dr. Abel Cuvier, the head of the Chimera Institute, tries reassuring everyone that splicing is safe, reversible and beautiful. Bruce also expresses his concern, believing that a problem will arise from this.
The next morning, Terry is scared out of bed by his brother Matt wearing a wolfman mask and gloves. As Terry chases his brother out of his room, the latter tries asking his mother if he can get spliced. His request is refused. Terry tries jokingly referring to Mary's tattoo from her "wild years", to which she insists is very different from "having antlers stuck on your head". Matt further teases Terry by saying that he's already a donkey. He is spared retaliation as Terry is late for school.
On a vertical train, a newscast shows that D.A. Sam Young is working to stop the practice of splicing as it causes an increase in aggressive behavior. As if to drive the point home, a teenager that has been spliced with ram DNA smashes the television screen. Another teen who has been spliced with snake DNA then joins him. They stir up some trouble, proclaiming that splicing is the future, but Terry fights them, earning applause from the bystanders. As security comes in, the spliced teens promise that all will be spliced and they run off, causing trouble along the way.
Looking to investigate, Terry takes Dana to the Chimera Institute. While she is shown the possibilities, Terry notices that the two teenagers that he faced earlier have arrived, demanding to see Cuvier. In his lab, Cuvier decides that he won't allow his practice to die and sends his thugs to kill Young. Batman watches the scene from high above using the Batsuit's cloaking, but Tigress detects him by smell and they capture him.
Batman wakes up a bit later to find himself shackled to a metal ring, with Cuvier injecting something into him. Cuvier explains that Batman has been spliced with some DNA that he saved especially for him and that splicing will "literally change the world". Batman breaks his bonds and attacks Cuvier, but becomes woozy because of the effects of the DNA in his system as his splicing starts to take effect. Though Cuvier attacks him with his claws, Batman manages to fly out of the lab before heading in the direction of Sam's house to save him.
Out at Sam's house, Barbara tells Sam he should relax but he is determined to put Cuvier out of commission. The three spliced thugs arrive and attack. Barbara is able to fight off Tigress but she and Sam are soon captured. Fortunately, Batman arrives and attacks the thugs. Strangely, he says nothing, and the only sounds to come out of him are growls. He violently attacks the thugs and starts foaming at the mouth. The spliced trio leave, thinking the out-of-control Batman will finish their mission. Realizing that he's becoming too great a danger to Sam and Barbara, Batman snaps out of his rage and leaves the house in a hurry.
At the Batcave, Bruce has just finished making an antidote for splicing when he gets a call from Barbara who tries to warn him of Terry's condition. However, Bruce becomes distracted when he notices Ace growling, signaling trouble. Terry arrives now greatly resembling the Man-Bat. Ace attacks him and is hurled away. Terry then attacks Bruce who only manages to escape thanks to Ace's intervention. After escaping, Bruce hits him with a dart filled with the cure for splicing.
When Terry awakens, his suit is badly damaged, and he learns that Cuvier spliced him with an overdose of vampire bat serum and that Sam survived the attack. Now that Cuvier has committed an act of aggression he's wanted by the law but has gone into hiding. Bruce deduces that Cuvier will be much more dangerous now and they need to stop him. He then notices that Terry still has one of Cuvier's claws stuck in his suit from the fight at the lab. This isn't necessarily of any use to Bruce or Terry, but Ace just might be able use it to find him.
Using the claw to keep Cuvier's scent, Batman (with his suit repaired) has Ace track the evil doctor to a taxidermy facility. Once again, Tigress detects his smell and the thugs attack. Batman fights them, while Cuvier injects himself with several doses of DNA. After a short fight, Batman manages to cure his attackers and heads out to face Cuvier.
However, when Batman reaches him, he discovers that Cuvier has further mutated himself into what he claims to be a “true chimera”, that is, a mix of several animals; particularly, a hawk, a tiger, and a snake. Cuvier's new mutated form proves to be a formidable opponent but Batman grabs several more tubes of DNA and injects them into his enemy. Cuvier mutates even further into a giant creature that no longer resembles any living being. Now even stronger, he captures Batman and prepares to eat him, but Ace intervenes. Unfortunately, Ace is also captured by the creature but Batman manages to save him. Afterward, the creature hits a power cable and ignites some gasoline. Batman and Ace escape, and Cuvier is presumably killed by the ensuing explosion.
Later, Barbara thanks Terry for his help, but advises that he give up being Batman, which he still refuses. He says that though the rewards are small, sometimes they are worthwhile, as he pets Ace, who finally shows some affection for Terry.
- Though this may be Splicing's introduction to the general public, there have actually been several occurrences of it before. Notable instances include the Batman: The Animated Series episodes "On Leather Wings" with the Man-Bat, "Tyger, Tyger" with Garth, Tygrus, and Selina Kyle, and "Moon of the Wolf" with Anthony Romulus. Having had much difficulty with all these experiences as the original Batman, Bruce knows all too well how dangerous splicing is and how it must be stopped.
- Terry suggests to Dr. Cuvier to check himself into Arkham. It is stated later in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker that a new Arkham has been built, with the old one now a burial ground for the Joker. Also, in that movie, Terry would refer to Ace again as "Good, Bad Dog"
- Terry putting more of the splicers into Cuvier after he transforms into a Chimera mirrors how Jackson Chappell had been defeated in "The Winning Edge", being overdosed of the item that gives them their strength. Unlike Cuvier, Jackson overdosed by accident. This might be how Batman got the idea of injecting more of the splicers into Cuvier.
Home video releases
- Batman Beyond - Season Two (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Batman Beyond – Tech Wars and Disappearing Inque (DVD)
- According to the episode commentary, Will Friedle was given a copy of the Batman: The Animated Series episode "On Leather Wings" to help his performance as another man-bat.
- Cuvier was intended to be the son of a lab assistant of Kirk Langstrom's, according to episode co-writer Evan Dorkin.
- Throughout the episode, everyone mispronounces the word "Chimera", speaking it as it is written. Since the word is of Greek origin the pronunciation is different; a more accurate pronunciation of Chimera would be "KAI-mera".
- After Batman gets spliced, he starts to grow fangs. But when he is punching Ramrod, he appears to have his normal human teeth again.
- Debut of Maxine Gibson.
- A portrait of James Gordon hangs over the fireplace in Sam and Barbara's library.
- Terry calls Ace "Wonder Dog"—an obvious reference to Ace the Wonder Dog, the German Shepherd that acted in several films and films from 1938 to 1946.
Teenager: Splicing is like establishing myself as an individual, you know, just like all my friends!
Matt: Hey Mom, can I get spliced? I want to be a real wolf man for Halloween!
Ramrod: We tried to kill DA Young, but Batman...
Batman: Good bad dog.
Ramrod: No! I'll never go back to being a nobody!
Dr. Cuvier: Look at me! The abilities of the entire animal kingdom are at my command! What can one blind little bat do against that?
Batman: Don't touch my dog!