The Tick, Arthur, and Batmanuel must attend court after a battle with the villain Destroyo, who is arrested after his car is discovered to contain nuclear weapons. However, The Tick is confounded by the court system, and after Destroyo gets all of the evidence ruled as inadmissible, The Tick insults the judge and is sentenced to a night in prison for contempt of court. Batmanuel and Arthur are thus left to fend for themselves against whatever Destroyo might send to kill them. In prison, The Tick bonds with his cellmate while trying to make sense of his plight. Meanwhile, Arthur and Batmanuel cower for their lives while trying to find evidence for the case, and after staving off a ninja, manage to contact Destroyo’s childhood ballet instructor. He explains that Destroyo was ridiculed as a boy for being an overweight ballet dancer, and the next day, when Arthur is at the stand he reminds Destroyo of his most scarring memory, causing the villain to snap. The Tick then bursts from his seat and defeats Destroyo; sending him to jail.
This was an excellent episode of this short lived series that mocked the superhero genre and idolized at the same time. This episode is unique amongst the series and indeed this sub-genre of superheroes. In previous episodes the superhero life was used as a subtext for something else such as in “Arthur Interrupted” where being a superhero is akin to homosexuality. This episode actually tackles what life in the real world might be like for a superhero. It deliberately labels superheroes as nothing more than vigilantes because they operate outside the law and goes to show how incompatible bring a superhero is with the justice system. It also takes a shot at the justice system too such as how bureaucratic red tape can see villains go free even when the evidence is quite literally in front of them.
A real positive of the episode is that everyone gets a great line or scene. The Tick as a whole proved very generous in its portrayals of its main cast in each episode but this one especially. Nestor Carbonnell is particularly on form as the out-of-his-depth Batmanuel trying to protect Arthur from Destroyo’s henchmen. You would never see Batman quaking like he does in Arthur’s apartment during the whole attempted assassination scene. I loved how another ninja is killed by a sidestep move off a roof (I am of course referring to Shredder in the original TMNT movie). Carbonnell deliver’s his lines brilliantly and the scene where Arthur’s mother calls on the phone is comedy gold.
The key to this episode’s greatness is probably Kurt Fuller’s performance as Destroyo. He is a wonderful guest star who really throws himself in to the role and as such he steals every single scene he is in. Watching him and Liz Vassey in their Silence of the Lambs style scenes is wonderful as Destroyo’s efforts to weaken Captain Liberty’s will actually backfires and turns her into his own torturer with her needy ways. Its good that we see motivation for his actions in that he is a bullied child who has become the bully.
This episode was yet another example of how this show never got the break it deserved but with rumours of a return who knows; maybe Destroyo will return?