Play by Play
As the episode opens, we are treated to the origin of B'wana Beast. He was drinking from a watering hole in Africa- a contaminated, radioactive watering hole. After he's done flashing back, we rejoin him on the Faceless Hunter's ship. B'wana is locked in a machine that can amplify his powers and operate as a behavior modification device. It's a multi-tasker!
Faceless (and apparently nameless) Hunter tells B'wana that he wants to bring out the 'Real' B'wana Beast.
Back on Earth, the heroes are cleaning up the Starro mess. Everybody is accounted for except Aquaman, but until everything is secured, they can't stage a rescue of B'wana.
On the spaceship, B'wana tries to reason with Hunter. After all, Starro is dead, so it's no threat to the Hunter's homeward. The Hunter responds unexpectedly- that was not the nature of his bargain. His deal with Starro involved the destruction of his homeward, not it's salvation.
So much for the Silver Surfer origin…
Hunter explains that the device that B'wana is imprisoned in will siphon his powers and allow Hunter to exploit them. B'wana doesn't take too kindly to being made into a weapon, so he breaks free and actually gives Hunter a pretty good fight before being subdued rather forcibly.
Captain Marvel finds Aquaman, still possessed by a Starro Spore. Aquaman gives the heroes quite a bit of trouble before hitting the water. Batman tazes him, bro; and he rejoins the ranks of heroes.
Meanwhile, Hunter uses B'wana Beast's powers to merge and revivify the Starro spores into a Kong sized merge creature that immediately starts a rampage. Captain Marvel tries to use the old solution to their Starro problem to the new StarroBeast, and fails. As the heroes throw all kinds of energy at it, the Beast grows and absorbs their life-force, causing them to age and wither. (In a bit of an in-joke, Captain Marvel ages into a caricature of Fred McMurray. CC Beck's inspiration for Captain Marvel's appearance in the original comic books was… Fred McMurray.)
It is quickly apparent that overfeeding it isn't going to work, and it is draining heroes faster than Geoff Johns can reinvent them, so Batman sends Booster Gold to fetch the Metal Men. Unfortunately, Doc Magnus is the new ride for a Starro spore, and tells them to beat up Booster. Skeets (Booster's robot) reprograms the Metal Men, and they join the attack.
The only way to stop the monster is by rescuing B'wana Beast. Batman sets off to infiltrate the Hunter's ship, and after walking through an Easter Egg filled trophy room (Original Braniac, Golden Age Hawkman and Gleek, the Wonder Twin's monkey, anyone?) The Hunter and Bats mix it up while the Metal Men run a diversionary attack on Starro-zilla. Batman eventually imprisons the Hunter, and asks B'wana if he can control the Starro-beast. B'wana pushes his power beyond its limits, destroys the Starro construct and tears himself apart in the process.
The heroes gather at B'wana's memorial, where a giant statue of him is revealed. A sunbeam strikes it just so….
Wow. I did not see that coming.
Batman:TBATB has always been a kid's show- much lighter than it's cousin, Batman:TAS. But even the gold standard of Batman animated shows never showed a hero dying onscreen. Suddenly, the show has a discernible theme (not as in music, as in literary theme). It's all about what it means to be a hero.
I thought that the history of heroism at the beginning of the last episode was a waste… it wasn't. In context of the sacrifice of B'wana Beast, it makes perfect thematic sense.
Aquaman's title for this episode:"The Time the C-List Heroes Barely Save the Day" is telling. There are no unimportant heroes in this episode- in this show- some may be more 'super' in the powers department, but what really counts is the content of their character. B'wana is a kind of weird and silly hero, but he is very much a hero.
Oh, you will probably want to watch next week's as well. Assuming they show it, it should be an episode featuring three Flashes…..