Written by John Matta & Matt Weinhold
Directed by Rick Morales
Batman and Katana rely on their instincts as they chase after Professor Pyg and Mister Toad, who are targeting members of the fashion elite as revenge for animal-kind.
Yet another "crime-fighting lesson episode" goes by, as this time Batman teaches Katana the importance of trusting one's instinct instead of making assumptions. The theme of the episode only comes up a few times, but for the most part, the episode is fairly straightforward. Katana learns to use instinct, lowering her guard halfway, then using it right when figuring out Pyg and Toad's scheme was different from what they both believed.
Pyg and Toad are back, and this time they're more sadistic and vicious than ever. While their initial plan of hunting down millionaires and anyone who works for them in "Hunted" wasn't the most merciful way to teach them lesson, they take even more pleasure with their victims by placing them in elaborate death-traps and ultimately using them as little more than distractions for their actual target. Their casual banter juxtaposed with their sadistic viciousness makes them a fun duo to watch, even on a rather simplistic plot.
Batman has some fun character beats to explore. As a running joke, Batman keeps referring to Bruce Wayne as a separate entity that "knows" about yachts and fashion. It really sets apart this incarnation from several others in how far he is willing to keep his identities separate from each other. During his dinner conversation with Tatsu, Bruce reveals that he can't "stop" seeing potential crime everywhere he sees. This is a sad confession that shows that, despite using Batman as a release valve for his crime fighting instinct, he can't escape that trauma of his parents' murder even as Bruce Wayne.
Katana is forced to trust her instincts to stop the villains. Though the premise of having a former CIA operative learn these lessons is a bit suspect. Some of the lectures in general threaten to lower her character down to an immature sidekick, even though she is an adult woman with quite some experience behind her. While being a vigilante has a different set of demands than a CIA agent or a League assassin, the situations requiring her instinct are too basic to differ from those latter positions.
The strongest use of instinct, or rather the lack of, is when she asks Jason Burr for help in the Pyg and Toad case. It's very ironic that she doesn't notice Jason's increasingly bizarre behavior. Then again, the mannerisms by themselves don't directly reveal that he is still under Cypher's thrall and even working directly with Lady Shiva by the end of the episode. The interactions between Tatsu and Jason are at least a bit more natural. Jason actually apologizes for his creepy advances, even if they're not entirely his fault, and Tatsu displays some believable affection towards him.
"Instinct" takes the heroes through a familiar plot to have Katana rely on her instincts. Despite some interesting character moments and the entertainment brought by Pyg and Toad, this episode feels a bit too slow after last episode's wild ride.
- This is the second episode without Alfred and is absence is definitely felt.
- It seems Mister Toad took Professor Pyg's advice in "Hunted" to heart and started wearing a monocle to improve his vision.
- I enjoyed Pyg's version to the classic one-liner from They Live! You know the one.
- The best Easter Egg in the episode was probably the reference to Plastic Man through Cole Plastics. I don't know if that was just a neat DC reference or set-up for Plastic Man, but I really appreciated it.
- This episode is actually the last one that premiered in US Cartoon Network before it was pulled at the last minute.