The big news here is that we learn a little more about Terry's past in "Big Time." We all knew the kid ran with some law breakers before he met up with Bruce Wayne but now we know the details -- one of Terry's chums was an older kid named Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow. When Terry was 14 and Charlie was 18 they both took part in a robbery. While Terry was slapped on the wrist and sent to juvey, poor Charlie spent the next three years in the big house -- prison. Now that Charlie's out and Terry's Batman, well, it's safe to say that things have changed. When Charlie tells Terry that he's hooked them both up for a big job, you know Charlie ain't talking about something their mothers will be bragging about when they meet up in the dairy aisle.
The big job turns out to be robbing Wayne Powers Research of a new, high-grade genetic plant growth fertilizer. The stuff's highly toxic, though... so you just know that some of it's gonna spill on Big Time Bigelow. When it does, Charlie becomes Gotham City's newest freak -- a bad guy short on brains but long on angry muscle.
I've got to mention that the voice actors on "Batman Beyond" are really impressive. Not just because they're name actors but because they're really cast to perfection. I've already noted the change from Stockard Channing playing Barbara Gordon to this season's Angie Harmon. "Big Time" featured three actors who played their parts perfectly. Stephen Baldwin gave Charlie just the right amount of "friendly loser" to make us feel for Terry when he realizes his old pal hasn't gone been scared straight by his time in the pen. Robert Patrick guests as Richard Armecost, a man Charlie shared a prison cell with who masterminds the plan which has Charlie attempting to steal the plant food. And the highly respected, and always in demand, William H. Macy plays Karros, a merc with Wolverine-like steel claws who Armecost counts on to make sure things run smoothly. That's an impressive cast for a show which airs on Saturday mornings, eh? "Two Guys, A Girl, A Slice Of Pizza and Whatever" wishes they had a cast that good. But I digress...
Overall, "Big Time" was good without becoming great. The story's a bit too typical and once Charlie becomes a freak it ends after one big fight. I would have liked to have seen one more scene between Charlie and Terry but without Charlie realizing his friend is the Bat, well, it probably wouldn't have done much anyway.
That final fight, though, between Charlie (who's now a mutant freak), Batman and Karros was pretty intense. You gotta love three guys brawling when none of them are working together -- it's a three for all! Karros winds up going for a long, painful dive off a high-rise office building and Batman gets lucky when Charlie seems to just run out of energy while standing in the rain. It's something Terry must have remembered from horticulture class -- never overwater your mutant plants. Ross Brooks once killed a cactus. Now he only grows sea monkeys