CREDITS: Written by Stan Berkowitz; directed by Dan Riba.
REVIEW: Ostensibly the PSA episode of the season, its message about conservation, essentially that poaching is bad, is rather on the nose, and comes by way of flashbacks showing baby gorillas quivering in fear before the Great White Hunter(TM). This would have been a plot for Stalker, had that villain actually been devoid of honor and respect for nature. Instead, James Van Dyle fills the role, with the added benefit for a cybernetic eye (which looks like an ugly open wound, if you ask me) that can see through Terry's camouflage. Guy's thoroughly evil, one single note played over and over, his cruelty not even exclusive to animals.
His downfall comes at the hands of Fingers, an escaped, genetically modified gorilla whose intelligence keeps growing until it can speak (and take cabs, amusing), though one wonders if an ape can give testimony in court. It's Fingers who gives Batman an ultimatum - bring the poacher to justice or there will be more terror in the streets - but it's Terry who reminds Fingers of Man's murderous nature, preventing the great ape from killing Van Dyle in revenge. Fingers refuses to be unspliced and vows to use his brains in the jungle to fight poachers, a vigilante like the men who helped him. An interesting new member of the Batman Family, in a way.
Visually, this is a rather ordinary episode. It has its moments - some hard hits, the Gotham Studios looking like the WB, the early POV shots hiding Fingers from view - but a lot of the action amounts to people firing guns and tasers. The episode doesn't really try to do anything new.
SOUNDS LIKE: Malachi Throne plays Fingers; he previously played the Judge and was on a couple of key Star Trek two-parters. Van Dyle is voiced by Reiner Schöne, Dukhat on Babylon 5. The two scientists who created Fingers have notable voices too. One is James Eckhouse, Jason Priestly's dad on 90210; the other is CSI's Robert David Hall.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Straightforward fare with an obvious message. Well executed but largely unremarkable.