"You Scratch My Back" is the fifth episode from the first season of The New Batman Adventures and officially reintroduced two major characters: Catwoman (and her alter ego Selina Kyle, who was revealed to be a brunette), and Dick Grayson as Nightwing. The ever-manipulative Selina uses her feminine wiles to entangle the young and eager Mr. Grayson, but Batman and Batgirl are not so sure about the veracity of her motives.
On top of a water tower, Nightwing spies on a man making his rounds and is joined by Batman and Batgirl who ask what's going on below. Nightwing explains how they're gun smugglers from South America. At that moment, a truck pulls up and a forklift rolls out of the back, which is Nightwing's cue to leap into action. He rises from his crouched position and raises his arms, activating the glider wings attached to his costume. Nightwing leaps from the tower and swoops down into battle.
Nightwing glides in to knock out two goons. Suddenly, another goon runs out from behind some crates and shoots at Nightwing. However, Nightwing is much too fast for the thug and hurls one batarang to disarm him, then two more that pin the man to the crates. The forklift driver then tries to run Nightwing over. As Nightwing hops upon the front forks with ease, the thug immediately realizes that the lumbering piece of machinery is nowhere near a match for the agile hero; he pulls out a pistol and opens fire at point-blank range. With lightning-fast reflexes, Nightwing dodges the bullet, grabs hold of the fork, and swings around the side, knocking the man out of his seat and onto the ground. As the forklift races towards the dock and into the water, Nightwing jumps off in the nick of time. With a smile of satisfaction over a job well done, Nightwing dusts himself off, unaware of the danger behind him.
One of the gangsters has recovered, picked up a piece of lumber, and is charging at Nightwing. In spite of the fact that Nightwing is distracted, the thug's attack fails as Batgirl swings into the fray and kicks the thug into the crates. Nightwing isn't impressed and claims to have seen the thug coming and he could have handled it by himself. While they argue, another goon comes up and Batgirl easily deals with him in the same manner, further aggravating Nightwing. Finally, a third thug gets up and runs for it, with Nightwing giving chase. The thug runs right into Batman and stops in his tracks, but when Batman makes no move to apprehend him, the thug slowly starts to creep away and then bolts. As Nightwing continues the chase, someone else intervenes. Catwoman, observing what is going on, decides to enter the fray. Just as the thug is about to escape, he is thrown out, bound and gagged, from behind the crates. Catwoman shows herself, then blows a kiss and disappears into the night.
The next night in Dick Grayson's home, Barbara has some concerns. She wonders why he didn't seize Catwoman, but he claims that she has turned over a new leaf and was only was trying to help. Dick divulges that there are rumors of a big smuggling shipment arriving very soon to Gotham. Without debating it further, Nightwing fires up his motorcycle and heads out for another night of patrol.
Nightwing arrives at a position overlooking a penthouse suite, where a man with a hook for a hand is looking out into the city from his terrace. "Enrique El Gancho", Catwoman says smoothly, startling Nightwing. She continues to say that this 'Ricky the Hook' was a Colombian enforcer. Nightwing resists her offered assistance, but she edges her way in anyway, insisting she has changed. She eventually gets Nightwing's approval. Then, without so much as a warning, she takes the lead, leaping down towards the terrace and leaving Nightwing scrambling to keep up. They creep into the house and soon access shipping schedule documents on a computer. Just as Nightwing finishes copying the documents to disc, in comes the Hook with two goons; Catwoman has vanished, leaving Dick to believe he has been set up. However, Catwoman has not abandoned him, and swoops down to knock out the two gunmen. Enrique is caught by surprise and Nightwing uses that to his advantage, punching him as hard as he can. It wasn't enough, though, as Ricky gets up again. Selina takes her turn to try, but it merely buys them a little time and they have to flee. The gunmen pursue them and the unlikely duo have no choice but to dive into a pool below. Thinking quickly, Nightwing flings a batarang, seemingly getting them out of the tricky situation. Three more men come looking for them, but the pair's reflexes are faster than the gunners' trigger fingers, and they manage to escape.
Back in the alley, Nightwing and Catwoman agree that as a team, they did very well and should continue. Nearby in the darkness, however, Batman is listening to every word.
At Selina's apartment, she is on the couch, talking to her cats when she notices Batman in the room. He warns her to stay away from Nightwing. She insists that the grown Boy Wonder can take care of himself and make his own decisions. Entering behind them is Nightwing, who is not amused to find his mentor getting involved in his affairs. Batman chooses to leave their combined displeasure, trusting Nightwing's instincts.
Getting down to business, Nightwing tells Selina that he's found something on the files he downloaded from the mobster's computer. Nightwing deduced that the big shipment he has been hearing about is going to come in later that night. As Selina makes an advance - ostentatiously about teaming up - Nightwing spots a miniature Bat-tracer on her whip. Below, they spot Batman and Batgirl in the Batmobile waiting for them to move. Nightwing takes this to mean that they don't trust him after all. Catwoman places the tracer on her cat Isis, telling her to 'have a night on the town'. The feline runs off, with Batman and Batgirl chasing her instead. Nightwing and Catwoman then set off to the dock.
At the docks, Nightwing and Catwoman slip quietly on board the ship. The duo waste no time in reaching their target destination, a large storage area in the hull. With the aid of a crowbar, Nightwing cracks open a wood crate labeled 'FRUIT' only to find it really contains a priceless antique artifact. Unveiling a nearby large, covered object, he reveals yet another artifact, this time of monolithic proportions. He tells his partner about his discovery, but she couldn't care less: she's across the room smashing some smuggled votive statues on the floor. In shock, he dashes over to ask what's going on. Catwoman finally reveals the truth; she was after the Cat's Eye Emerald all along. Catwoman had secretly stashed it in the smuggled cargo, knowing it would eventually reach Gotham. With Nightwing's help, she was not only able to ascertain the precise time the ship would dock, but she also retrieved the gem with ease. Nightwing is not amused. A scuffle between them ensues and the more experienced Cat traps the bird in a heavy net.
Just then, Batgirl and Batman make their presence known. Batman uses his batarangs to free Nightwing and leaps down himself, trapping Catwoman between the two. Nightwing, feeling cocky, walks over to Batman and confirms that Batman was right all along: Catwoman led them directly to the emerald. Selina is shocked and livid that the Bat Family out-conned the con artist. Even as they argue, three pairs of armed men surround them, and then the Hook himself. Batgirl quickly tosses three smoke bombs below, giving the two heroes and the thief a chance to get away. Under the cover of the smoke, Batgirl, Batman and Nightwing make easy work of the goons, and all that's left are Catwoman and El Gancho. Nightwing points out the Hook and tells Batman, 'He's all yours' before pursuing the fleeing Catwoman.
Batman and the Hook face off. Enrique swings his hook, ripping through Batman's costume and drawing blood. Grimacing in pain, Batman holds his wound; Enrique seizes the moment and lunges at Batman, who ducks his swipe and grabs the Hook. With all his strength Batman lifts him up, tossing him across the room into a crate. Batman is on top of Enrique in a moment and they exchange punches, leaving Batman on the floor. Just as Enrique thinks he has the advantage, the Dark Knight grabs a nearby fire extinguisher and uses it to block Enrique's swinging hook. The canister is punctured and the contents of the device burst out, spraying the Hook in the eyes and face. Enrique stumbles backward, disoriented, groping for something to prop himself up on. But his hook finds disaster as it tangles in a chain that triggers the release of a giant crate atop him. He tries to sit up, but it is more than he can handle, and he keels over and passes out.
On deck, Nightwing catches Catwoman trying to escape in a motorboat. She takes off, but Nightwing sprints to the end of the ship, then leaps into the air. Using his costume's gliding capabilities, he manages to keep pace. Catwoman tries to use a flare gun to take him out, but he dodges the first strike and dive-bombs her as she prepares to fire another shot. Catwoman fires the second flare as Nightwing lands, accidentally shooting her own boat and causing the fuel tank to catch on fire. As they speed toward the massive propeller of an ocean liner, the two struggle until the last moment, when Nightwing grabs her and jumps into the water. Nightwing manages to stay afloat on a piece of flotsam as he holds onto an unconscious Catwoman. Batgirl arrives with the Batboat to pick them up. Nightwing gratefully smiles and tells Batgirl he's always happy to have some help.
- Though Selina's new hair color is left unexplained in the series, Batman: Gotham Adventures #4 sets up the "Lost Year" for Catwoman: she was originally black haired, and dyed her hair blonde. After she found out the brand she used was involved in animal testing, she permanently scarred the firm's owner, Amy Mercedes, and never dyed her hair again.
- Though he had appeared as Dick Grayson in "Sins of the Father", this is the DCAU debut of Nightwing.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Four (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Best of Batman (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- When Catwoman's escape boat blows up, 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.
- The civilian shipping schedule includes the HMS Bounty. HMS is a prefix only used by the Royal Navy, and military ships do not appear on civilian schedules.
- Catwoman tells Nightwing, "This partner thing is new to me", even though she's worked with Batman multiple times, and once with Batgirl.
- The shipping schedule contains the names of several famous ships:
- Blood is shown twice in this episode, which was a rare sight when the episode was made. Enrique El Gancho cuts Batman's arm and has blood running from his nose.
|Kevin Conroy||Batman/Bruce Wayne|
|Adrienne Barbeau||Catwoman/Selina Kyle|
|Loren Lester||Nightwing/Dick Grayson|
|Tara Charendoff||Batgirl/Barbara Gordon|
|Sal Lopez||Enrique El Gancho|
|Joe Lala||Gun Runner #1|
|Steve McGowan||Gun Runner #2|
|Michael David Donovan||Gun Runner #3|
Batman: Not bad.
Enrique El Gancho: (referring to Nightwing) What have we here? Batman Lite?
Selina: I thought I felt a chill.