CREDITS: Written by Hilary J. Bader; directed by Butch Lukic.
REVIEW: To make Inque work, you need your very best animation house, and Inqueling certainly doesn't disappoint on that score. The goopy, flowing shapeshifter effects are just gorgeous, the complex fight scenes are filled with crazy beats - including Terry sawing Inque in half! - and there are even some creepy horror moments, like Inque's apparent dissolution at the end, first bubbling, then turning into an inky version of a skeleton. Very, very cool action. And if this was all it was, I'd still be giving it my recommendation.
But they also build Inque up by giving her a daughter she had to abandon because the authorities were after her, a daughter that's been having money trouble and is a bit of a swindler. Just how much is something Inque learns the hard way after showing up to ask Deanna for help after she is betrayed by a ruthless client called Winchell. It's not a good day to be Inque, let's just say, because Deanna betrays her too, spiking her mother's life-saving mutagen with deadly solvent just so she can claim her accounts. The daughter may have outdone the mother in terms of greed, but she's definitely an apple off that particular tree. I love that Terry sows the seeds of paranoia in Deanna at the end, making sure she never gets a good night's sleep, seeing Inque in every shadow. I'm less enamored with the reveal that Inque does indeed seem to be alive, as the paranoid ending works better if it's left ambiguous. (Future episodes will confirm Inque's survival, but Deanna is never heard from again, so...)
The episode once again includes a scene of relationship strife between Terry and Dana, and I'm wondering if we'll actually see this subplot resolved this season. There's a moment where you think she might be jealous of Max, which would make sense even if it's baseless, but we're later told Dana is okay with Terry spending so much time with Mr. Wayne because he needs a father figure. Do they want to draw angst from this or don't they? I can't tell.
IN THE COMICS: There is a shot in the episode that seems deliberately evocative of Bane breaking the Batman's bat (with Inque and Terry in the roles).
SOUNDS LIKE: For Deanna Clay, they got Azura Skye; she was Jane on Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane, and Fiona in American Horror Story: Murder House. Peter Mark Richman (Three's Company, Dynasty) plays Winchell.
REWATCHABILITY: High - Great animation and an episode that deepens what is probably Batman Beyond's best villain.