"The Last Resort" is the sixteenth episode of the second season of Batman Beyond.
While patrolling the skies of Gotham, Batman goes over a few updates on school events with Max. Just then, Batman hears sirens blare and sees a renegade truck giving the police a lot of trouble. Batman intervenes but the truck is stronger than the Batmobile and the driver is flying like a madman. Fortunately, Batman manages to stop the driver: Sean Miller, a student in Terry's history class.
Later, the chase forms part of a commercial for a new rehabilitation clinic for troubled adolescents. The clinic's founder, Dr. David Wheeler, reminds parents that new laws are imposing strict punishments on the parents of truants, and assures them that his methods can help troubled kids become normal and well-adjusted again.
The clinic proves to be so popular that soon Hamilton Hill High School is nearly empty of students. One of Terry's classes has only eight students left. Chelsea is sure that the clinic is to blame, and sends a protesting e-mail to Principal Nakamura, calling this new solution "un-schway". Nakamura calls Chelsea's father about the email, and Mr. Cunningham seizes on the excuse to enroll Chelsea in the clinic. Knowing that Chelsea is not necessarily troubled, Terry, Max and Dana are suspicious at how readily the clinic admitted her, and Max and Dana both agree that someone should look into the ranch, with Max casting a meaningful look Terry's way.
At the clinic, located on a ranch on the outskirts of the city, Chelsea wanders around and is rudely greeted by Sean, who is already trying to pick a fight, accusing her of talking about him behind his back. She tries to leave him by going to a friend of hers, Adam Stepnik. However, Adam is totally unresponsive to her and she notices that he's painting a blank canvas using a brush with no paint. Sean sneers that Adam is still under the effects of the "ISO". Before Chelsea can get answers as to what "ISO" means, the students are herded into "class" by Vincent, the head guard of the facility.
That night, Batman starts his investigation of the clinic, eavesdropping through the wall using his fingertip mikes. The class consists of the students being forced to stand for hours on end, listening to Dr. Wheeler yelling at them that they are worthless and he is the only one who can help them. The students are not allowed to leave for any reason, not even to go to the bathroom. A boy tries to speak up, begging to go back to his room so he can sleep, and Wheeler orders Vincent to drag him away to the ISO as punishment. Bruce identifies Wheeler's methods as a form of brainwashing, used by cults and sometimes on prisoners of war. Disgusted, Batman leaves, but his foot trips a laser and triggers the alarm, forcing him to evade the security guards led by Vincent who is piloting a mobile pod. He eventually escapes by throwing down a smoke bomb and then using the Batsuit's cloaking device to hide against a nearby tree.
Back in the Batcave, Terry says they have enough evidence to go to the police and have the clinic shut down, but Bruce reminds him that he would have to explain how he got the suit's recordings which he cannot do without revealing their secret. So Terry decides to go undercover in the ranch as himself.
The next day, Terry enters the ranch to pay Chelsea a friendly visit, carrying a plastic video camera that slips through the gate's metal detector. Unfortunately, the desk guard, Vincent, confiscates his backpack with the Batsuit in it.
On the way in, he passes a boy named Donnie being visited by his parents, who is begging to be taken away from the ranch. Terry is told by another guard that Chelsea cancelled their appointment, but doesn't believe it. Fortunately, at that moment, Donnie breaks down and tries to escape through the gate, distracting the security guards long enough for Terry to slip inside the entrance to the main facility, where he hides in an air duct when the guard comes back.
Seeing Chelsea pass, he pulls her aside, and is horrified at the state she is in. She reveals that she hasn't been sleeping much, and she says that she was told that Terry was the one who canceled their appointment. He takes out the recorder and she describes the abusive conditions at the ranch, and explains what the ISO is: a sensory deprivation tank that blocks out all feeling and sound, making the subject feel totally isolated. Reaching the end of her control, Chelsea breaks down crying and begs Terry to get her out of there. Now that he has the evidence he needs, Terry promises to help her as soon as he can return with the police.
But as he's about to leave the ranch, Sean stops him, trying to pick a fight. Terry keeps going, but Sean attacks him, bringing both Wheeler and his security guards. Sean is sentenced to the ISO, and Terry is searched, turning up the camera. Terry is taken prisoner as well, yelling at Wheeler that once the parents find out about him, they're going to shut him and his ranch down. As Wheeler and Vincent talk, Wheeler says that if anyone comes for Terry, they'll destroy the camera and it will be nothing but his word against Wheeler's in court, but if no one comes, they will do away with him. When Vincent expresses how Terry will not be easy to kill because he is a fighter, Wheeler tells him that they'll just have to "take the fight out of him" by putting him in ISO alongside Sean.
That night, Sean taunts Terry through the wall between their cells, describing the horrible experience he's in for. However, Terry convinces Sean to cooperate with him so that they can escape from the ranch.
Morning comes and the two are taken to the ISO chambers, but at Terry's signal, they attack the guards and manage to escape with the help of Adam, who takes Vincent out with his easel just as it looks like he has Terry on the ropes. Sean gets hold of the master keycard from the downed Vincent and uses it to release all the students from their cells. While the security guards are trying to round up the students, Terry retrieves his backpack from storage and suits up. The guards continue to overwhelm the students and begin to throw tear gas bombs as they try to escape. The guards are about to set off another, but Batman appears and single-handedly defeats the guards with the students cheering him on. However, Vincent suddenly appears and zaps Batman with an electric staff, but Batman quickly recovers, disarms Vincent and takes him out easily.
Batman then hears Dr. Wheeler pleading for mercy, and sees Sean dangling him off a high wall, intent on revenge against him for trying to put him in ISO. Batman pleads for Sean to stop, saying that he's now redeemed himself by freeing the students and helping shut the ranch down, and that he's a hero. Sean laughs this off and drops Wheeler, forcing Batman to save him. Sean is then apprehended by the guards.
The students run outside, where the police and their parents have arrived. Most of the students reunite with their parents, but Chelsea gives her father the cold shoulder, showing that she still hasn't forgiven him, much to his sadness. Wheeler and his guards are arrested. Terry and Bruce watch sadly as Sean is also taken into custody. The ranch may have been a fake, but that doesn't change the fact that there are still troubled kids in the world.
- Terry alludes to "Terry's Friend Dates a Robot" and "Meltdown" when he makes a joke about chasing "renegade synthoids" and "living heads".
- Jurgen and Blade have broken up; in "The Eggbaby", they are back together.
- This is not the first time that the legitimacy of evidence obtained by Batman has been called into question. It was previously alluded to in "Heart of Ice", where Batman uncovered a security tape of Ferris Boyle committing a double homicide while his fate afterwards was not shown, and in "Trial", where Poison Ivy was sent to Arkham Asylum instead of Stonegate since she was captured by Batman and not the GCPD.
Home video releases
- When Bruce points out that taking the recording they have to the police isn't plausible, Terry's Batsuit is seen in the display case with a blue emblem.
- Principal Nakamura reports Chelsea's e-mail to her father, whereas as headmaster of the school, he should somewhat agree with her protests, since he would be losing fees as a result of absent students.
- This is the first episode in which Terry does not throw a Batarang.
- There are some similarities between this episode and the original Star Trek episode "Dagger of the Mind", in which an outwardly respectable psychiatrist is using torture and hypnosis to force his version of "right" thinking on his patients.
- Rachel Leigh Cook replaces Yvette Lowenthal as the voice of Chelsea.
- Bruce shoots down Terry's idea of going to the police because the recordings from the Batsuit's microphones are inadmissible as evidence; oddly, in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry gives such a recording to the police when Jordan Pryce is arrested. However, Bruce points out that he'd have a hard time explaining where he'd gotten the recording as the reason.
|Will Friedle|| Terry McGinnis / Batman|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne|
|Rachael Leigh Cook|| Chelsea|
Donnie's mother (uncredited)
|John Ritter||Dr. David Wheeler|
|Sam McMurray|| Chelsea's Dad|
|Cree Summer||Maxine Gibson|
|Lauren Tom|| Dana Tan|
Girl in clinic (uncredited)
Terry McGinnis: Let me see if I got all this: Jurgen is breaking up with Blade so he can see Chris, but Chris is interested in Eric, who doesn't want to date anybody. Now wait a minute, that doesn't sound like Eric to me.
(As Batman listens in through his fingertip microphones)
Terry: What do we need more evidence for? You taped the feed from my fingertip mikes, didn't you? All you gotta do is take it to the authorities.
Chelsea: The sleep thing's just the beginning, Terry. He's trying to break our will, turn us all into little robots. Wheeler's got this thing they call "ISO". Short for isolation. It's total sense deprivation -- no light, no sound. He uses it on the kids who don't get with the program. It...It... (starts breaking down) Terry, you've got to get me out of here!
(As Vincent and another guard are taking Terry and Sean to ISO)
(Sean is holding Wheeler over a long drop)
Bruce: I got worried when you didn't come back.
Bruce: I hope you don't think this place was typical.