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"The Terrible Trio" is the first episode of the fourth season of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on September 11, 1995.
Three men wearing masks—a Fox, a Vulture, and a Shark—enter an office building and bust open the safe. They subdue the building security guard, Henry, who is struck by Fox's pretentious speech. Fox even drops a stack of stolen cash into the guard's lap, citing his pathetically low salary. The guard throws it back in Fox's face, and just then, Batman and Robin arrive. The Trio slide down a grapple to a nearby pier and jump into a getaway boat. Landing on the pier, Robin starts to give chase, but Batman yells for him to stop. Fox detonates a bomb-throwing Robin into the water. Batman has to stay behind to rescue his partner, while the Trio's boat speeds away.
Robin is saved, though he's suffered a broken arm. He reads a newspaper story on the thieves, whom the media has dubbed "The Terrible Trio."
A few days later, Bruce Wayne is hosting a charity event at a local country club. As the guests arrive, he practices skeet shooting on the green in the company of three wealthy young men who wear their elitism on their sleeves, particularly Warren Lawford. Warren laments the lack of a real challenge to men like him and his fraternity brothers, Army and Gunther, who've done it all and are still bored with their lives.
The guests include wealthy businessman Sheldon Fallbrook, and his daughter Rebecca, who is also, to Sheldon's disapproval, Warren's girlfriend. Alone with him and his frat brothers, she confesses that she's scared of Sheldon's reaction when he finds out what she spent on her latest shopping trip. Warren breezily writes her a check for the amount, and she thanks him, mentioning that she can credit her father's account while he's out of town. Warren's brothers tease him, but he rejoins with a smile that Sheldon will be paying him back...
That night, the Trio breaks into Fallbrook's apartment and cleans out his wall safe. The Vulture expresses some misgivings at robbing somebody they know, but The Fox scorns this. Then Sheldon appears with a rifle, having not left town at all. As he lifts the phone to call the police, the Trio knocks the gun out of his hand; then Fox knocks him unconscious with a ferocious punch to the jaw. As a bonus, Fox takes Sheldon's diamond stick-pin.
They flee in their car but are pursued by the Batmobile, Batman having heard the robbery report. They try to put him off with grenades, and they are forced to dump the stolen cash onto the street, drawing a crowd of grabbers and forcing Batman to turn aside.
Rebecca visits her father in the hospital, where he still has not regained consciousness. Warren and Bruce also appear. Warren insists on whisking Rebecca away to a retreat in the mountains to relax. After they are gone, Bruce looks closer and sees an imprint on Sheldon's face.
At the mountain retreat, Warren and his fraternity brothers start to comfort Rebecca, who has misgivings about being so far away from her father while he is in a coma. As Warren leans in, the stick-pin falls out of his pocket, and Rebecca recognizes it.
In the Batcave, Robin identifies the mark as being made by a fraternity ring, the same one Warren wears. Batman checks the young men's backgrounds and finds that each of them inherited family fortunes: oil, aerodynamics, and shipping—land, air, and sea. Robin wonders why three such wealthy men would want to commit robberies.
Warren tells Rebecca that the robberies were a game to relieve their boredom. Scared, Rebecca promises not to tell on them, but Warren coldly says they can't afford to let her live. Army and Gunther object to this, but Warren shouts them down, saying they have no choice. He chloroforms Rebecca, and the other two reluctantly go along as they load her body into her car, and push it off a ledge, faking an apparent accident.
However, the car is caught in midair by a grapple from the Batwing. Batman ejects himself to capture the Trio, while Robin pilots the car to safety. Batman subdues Vulture and Shark in short order, but Fox proves to be more difficult. He grabs a snowmobile from a nearby shed and makes a run for it, but Batman eventually catches him down. Warren offers Batman a bribe to let him walk, and when this is refused, he claims that he can easily buy his way out of prison as he is taken away.
Warren is ushered into his cell at Stonegate Penitentiary. He takes in the cockroach-infested sink, and his leering, hulking cellmate, and backs away in terror, only to bump into the bars which have slammed shut behind him.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- There are a few times when Warren's eyebrows change from black to orange.
- When Bruce enters Sheldon's room at the hospital, he turns his head over to see an imprint on his face. Before he came in, however, Sheldon's head was already in this position.
- Dick didn't have a band-aid or a cast on his arm to recover the injuries from the earlier accident as Robin in the beginning as he did later on in this episode.
- While in the hospital, Sheldon was drawn as part of the background and in a conspicuously different and more detailed style, except for one shot where his head was moved.
- Despite Bruce Wayne's hatred for guns, he is shown in the skeet-shooting scene to be quite proficient with them, as well as being a collector of antique firearms as shown in "The Underdwellers."
- Bruce Timm considers this to be the worst episode of the DC Animated Universe.
- Fox's line, "That's where you belong, old man, at my feet!" is similar to what is later said by Darkseid in the Justice League episode "Twilight," "This is where you belong, Superman, under my heel!".
Fox: A valiant effort, stout sentinel, but the game was ours afore it began.
Fox: You want me, Tweety Bird? Come on, then.
Warren: So this is all you do for kicks, Bruce? Charity work?
Warren: Ah, therein lies the problem. After all, what do the rajahs do when there are no more tigers to hunt?
Fox: (after punching Sheldon) That's where you belong, old man, at my feet!
Shark: Aced it!
Batman: Let's go, Fox. You've raided your last chicken coop.