Written by Mark Banker
Directed by Sam Liu
Batman, Tatsu, and Alfred must keep a scientist named Jason Burr safe from the League of Assassins, who want to abuse his revolutionary technology for their own ends. Along the way, Tatsu’s past begins to haunt her.
This episode finally places Tatsu on the spotlight as we see her in action and facing off against Silver Monkey and a few ninjas from the League of Assassins. Not only do we see her take part in the fight scenes and even team up with Batman, but we learn more about her contrasting morality to him by being wiling to kill when she gets the chance. It’s not a significant surprise, as we can assume from her background in the CIA and apparently in the League that she has killed before. It sets up an interesting dynamic with Batman for when they actually partner up and also acknowledges the implications of her using a katana while fighting crime with a non-lethal hero like him.
She also gains a “love interest” in Burr, whom they’re trying to keep safe inside Wayne Manor from Silver Monkey. He develops a crush as she tries to protect her, and it seems unrequited for the most part. She smiles at a couple of his jokes but beyond that, she switches from being strictly professional to rightfully irritated. Burr comes off as too pushy to cheer for, but at least a fun, non-Shaggy performance by Matthew Lillard remedies that a bit.
Silver Monkey makes a stronger impression as one of the major operatives of the League. He’s ruthless, professional, and has a flexible sense of honor he strangely sticks to. He sports one of the more successful redesigns in the show, particularly when it comes to his creepy mask. His conversations with Lady Shiva are also the first hint of a larger story arc forming, which is a nice refresher from the Villain of the Week plots.
Batman doesn’t do as much beyond his interactions with Tatsu and taking care of ninjas in bikes, but his arrival to Wayne Manor is a great moment, particularly with the Bat-Computer predicting his probability to break into the house alive and Batman stating that he needs to get a new security system after that. It’s a good display of Batman’s arrogance and perfectionism. Alfred also finally fires a gun after four episodes in quite a memorable moment. It feels appropriate and organic for him to do so. It’s better than the panic that was unleashed when the show was unveiled and Alfred was revealed as a gunslinger.
The action scenes are memorable and fast paced. The assault in Wayne Manor is a great set-piece that surprisingly hasn’t been used much in other Batman tales. It makes sense for a billionaire like Bruce Wayne to create a security system surrounding his home, and it was used to great effect.
“Safe” is a very strong episode that features non-stop, exciting action while establishing the character relationship between Batman and Tatsu before they officially partner up. Add in a threatening villain and the promise of a larger, overarching threat and it becomes the best episode of the series so far.
- Lady Shiva’s ending scene, particularly the white spotlight and her lack of concern about the mission going awry, reminds me a lot of Young Justice‘s usual end scenes with the Light. Thankfully, we didn’t get any flak about “JUST AS PLANNED/VILLAIN SUE!!!” with this as the latter series did.
- Speaking of those scenes, Silver Monkey totally killed that ninja, right? You can tell by the way they’re dragging him out. It’s a subtle way to have on-screen deaths on the show. Glad it can still sneak moments like that considering the gun situation.
- “He’s not my type.” Bruce, if you were trying to joke, why did you make it sound more flirty than intended?
- Alfred looks so much better with a bowler hat. He should rock that more often.
- “You’re never completely safe.” Sheesh, way to make one paranoid.
- Pay attention to Batman’s motorcycle chase with the ninjas for the always-reliable Wilhelm Scream.