"Meltdown" is the fifth episode of Batman Beyond. It depicts the return of Mr. Freeze. Tired of having to use a suit of plastic skin that can crack at any time, Derek Powers decides to try having a healthy body cloned from his original damaged one. However, the procedure is first tested on Mr. Freeze. At first, it seems that the procedure has worked and Victor Fries tries to lead a normal, peaceful life. Unfortunately, Victor Fries soon discovers that the procedure is a failure and the people he once trusted have betrayed him. Seeking revenge, the evil personality of Mr. Freeze is born again.
Out at the Gotham Docks, Batman tests the water and discovers that it’s ripe with radiation. The reason soon arrives and a bunch of men in lead suits arrive to unload canisters of radioactive waste into a barge. Batman takes on his stealth mode and starts attacking the crew. Being able to move virtually undetected, he easily defeats the crew and stops the evidence from being removed. Batman then goes after the group’s leader, and using the man’s cell phone, he discovers Derek Powers' involvement.
Derek, at this time, is trying to buy out a company and using the underhanded tactic of using a late hour negotiation. Unfortunately for him, when he hears from Batman, his skin starts to crack and he has to give up the negotiation for the time being.
Back in his laboratory, Powers complains about the fact that the skin hardly lasts any more but there is nothing his doctors can do. However, a new doctor, Dr. Stephanie Lake approaches Powers and tells him that she can clone him a new body and put his mind into it. This body would be healthy, since she would screen out the mutation. Powers is intrigued, but Dr. Lake says that she wants to test the procedure on someone else. Namely, Mr. Freeze whose disembodied but immortal head has been kept in a Wayne-Powers vault for the last fifty years.
The procedure is performed on Mr. Freeze and he soon finds himself in a new, healthy body - one that, miraculously, is able to feel heat and cold like a normal person. Things seem okay, but Bruce is suspicious of both Fries and Powers and tells Terry to tail Fries. Terry does as told, but sees that Fries is a decent enough man and is unneeded until a sniper tries to kill him. Batman stops the attack, but the sniper cries that "the monster’s gotta die." Mr. Freeze had previously killed this sniper’s family and he now seeks revenge. Fries decides that he's done enough damage to the sniper, and sets him free, vowing to make amends.
Later, Fries announces that he's starting an organization called the Nora Fries Foundation so that he can help the people he once hurt. After the announcement, Fries starts to notice that he's feeling hot. He leaves the studio and feels even more uncomfortable from the heat. However, it soon starts snowing, and he immediately feels better, proving that he’s starting to revert to his previous condition.
Fries returns to Dr. Lake and she informs Powers of the incident. Dr. Lake tries to do away with Mr. Freeze. Powers wishes to biopsy Fries' organs and Dr. Lake decides that to do that, she'll have to kill her patient. Without warning, she seals Victor inside a cell and turns up the heat, but he escapes. Bruce tells Terry to keep an eye on Wayne-Powers because he believes that Mr. Freeze will be back. His prediction proves to be true, and the building is soon covered in ice. Mr. Freeze arrives in a suit more powerful than any he had built before, with improved protection against bullets and cold guns built into the gauntlets. Freeze corners Powers and Dr. Lake, and freezes them both in icy coffins, which traps Powers, but kills Dr. Lake. He then goes out and fights off some guards, making his way towards the main power generators.
Unknown to him, back in the hallway, Powers unleashes the full heat of his body's radioactivity, shedding both his icy prison and his artificial skin.
In the generator's control room, Mr. Freeze sets the systems on overload. Batman appears, pleading with him to stop, as he will only cause more suffering. Freeze refuses, saying that he plans to end his own life by going up with the building - no matter how many others are killed in the explosion. Batman tries to stop him, but Freeze attacks and captures him. Then Powers appears, and bombards Freeze with radiation, hot enough to be felt through the suit.
Batman frees himself from his icy prison and attacks Powers, who introduces himself as "Blight." As the two fight, Bruce warns Terry that suit won't be able to protect him from such high levels of radiation.
As the fight continues, Blight manages to get Batman down and is about to kill him when Mr. Freeze intervenes and hits Blight with a supercharged cold gun blast, sending him rocketing out of the building. Batman manages to stop the system overload, but the room starts to collapse from the weight of all the ice generated.
Freeze has been horribly wounded by the radiation burn, but tells Batman to stay back. Batman wants to save him, but Freeze blocks his way with a wall of ice, forcing him to exit the complex before it explodes, ultimately killing Mr. Freeze.
Powers's doctors retrieve him from the pond where he landed.
Later, Terry mourns the recent death of Freeze and decides that Bruce was right about Freeze being evil. However, Bruce admits that Terry was also right about Fries being a good man.
- This is the first appearance of Derek Powers as Blight (not including the first look at his glowing skeletal form in "Rebirth, Part 2"). However, despite his clothes being the same, Terry does not connect Powers with Blight until several episodes later, in "Ascension."
- Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis/Batman
- Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne
- Linda Hamilton as Dr. Stephanie Lake
- Michael Ansara as Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze
- Sherman Howard as Derek Powers/Blight
- Lauren Tom as Dana Tan
- Tress MacNeille as Miss Winston
- Joe Spano as Sniper
- Corey Burton as Barge Captain
- Stuart Pankin as Key Negotiator
- John Rubinow as Doctor #1
- Written by Hilary J. Bader
- Directed by Curt Geda
- Music by Lolita Ritmanis
- Animation by Koko / Dong Yang
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