Synopsis

We open on Dr. Connors giving a lecture to Eddie, Gwen, and Peter on the meaning of scientific exploration and how it is the duty of scientists to found the connection between all things in the world and then deeper explore these interactions. The backdrop of this lecture is a tank full of eels and stingrays that have been genetically modified to yield high amounts of bio-electricity. The tank itself is full of a viscous liquid which Eddie Brock affectionately calls “sludge” which maximizes the amount of energy produced. Unfortunately, the experiment is proving too efficient and produces more electricity than the lab can handle. For that reason ESU electrician Max Dillon has been brought in to update the power grid.

Before Dr. Connors can continue to lecture the students his wife Martha comes in with their son Billy and informs him that due to the lateness of the hour she needs to be getting him home. She also adds that he should consider letting their two interns go as well, since it is a school night. Curt agrees and sends the two home leaving himself, Eddie, and Max in the lab. As Peter leaves with Gwen an alarm goes off on his phone, and he informs Gwen that he has set the alarm to remind him he is running late and that he should call home.

Back in the lab, Max is having difficulty with the installation and sets his drill atop the power station. Unfortunately his jerking of the stuck part causes the drill to fall on the control panel and starts a power surge. Max goes to pick up the drill and is hit with a huge electric shock which arcs and throws him in the side of the tank of genetically modified sea life. The impact causes the tank to break and covers Max in the “sludge” as he passes out. He is rushed to the emergency room because of this accident.

The next morning Spider-Man slings through New York talking about how this situation might be too much for even his spider powers. Of course it is just a misdirect as he is talking about getting to school on time, which he fails to do. Sneaking into class he overhears Flash Thompson talking about Spider-Man and jumps to the conclusion he has been found out. In fact Flash is speaking of The Daily Bugle offering money for pictures of Spider-Man. Peter is upset that his idea has been stolen, but quickly gets over it when he sees he has gotten yet another A+ on a test. We also see that fellow student Liz Allan has gotten a D-.

Back at the hospital Eddie Brock waits to see the prognosis on Max. Curt comes out with a doctor and say that he will live but just barely. Rather than try to explain this statement they decide to show Eddie what has happened to his friend. It turns out the shock of electricity combined with the “sludge” caused Max’s body to generate Bio-Electricity. In fact it is producing such a high amount that he must be kept in an insulation suit or risk doing serious damage to those around him.

At the high school, Peter’s science teacher stops Liz Allan and explains that he would like Peter to tutor her so she doesn’t fail his class. Upset at the prospect of being forced to spent time with a nerd like “Petey” she suggest that Flash tutor her instead. The teacher is not amused by this prospect and dryly explains that the hope if for her grades to rise not continue to fall.

At the hospital, Max is coming to grips with the side effects of his newfound abilities, the primary being that the electromagnetic field his body produces means he can’t even watch TV. Eddie tries, unsuccessfully, to cut the tension with a joke, and Max says his plans are ruined and runs out of the hospital.

Meanwhile, at the Silver Spoon Café, Peter is attempted to teach Liz abou Biology, but all she wants to do it, all she wants to do is text. Enter Max Dillon trying to buy a cup of coffee and frightening the patrons with his appearance in his insulation suit. In spite of the stares and whispers he succeeds in buying a cup of coffee, but his conditions makes it impossible to drink. His anger getting the better of him, he causes the lights in the shop to explode with an electric surge, and flees the scene. Peter sees hi running and assumes he must be a thief and ditches Liz, telling her he has better things to do. This confidence seems to excite Miss Allan as Spidey kicks into action.

Despite Max just wanting to be left alone, Spider-Man engages him in battle and removes his helmet. This act causes Max to get angry and he defends himself again the wall crawler by using his powers. The fight continues until the Aunt May alarm goes off and Peter has to call and explain he’ll be late again. In the time it takes for Peter to make the call Max flees and Peter notes that Electro has gotten away.

The next day at school, Gwen approaches Peter and tells him about the accident with Max. This sends Peter into a guilt spiral about how he acted the night before. In an effort to alleviate said guilt Peter decides to apologize for his dismissal of Liz and offers her another chance at him helping her. He tells her if she’s interested she should meet him at the ESU science lab later that night.

While, Peter Parker is learning the subtle art of impressing a girl by not letting her walk all over you. Max is attempting to just go home. Waiting outside his house however are the same pair of police officers who helped save Norman Osborn from the Vulture and the doctor from the Emergency Room. The doctor calmly tries to get Max to come back to the hospital for treatment but when he declines the male officer gets mouthy and Max loses his temper again. He realizes that the only person who can help him is Dr. Curt Connors and flees the scene.

Peter, Gwen, and Eddie are working at the ESU lab, discussing possible ways to help Max. Peter suggests putting Max into a similar tank as the sea life to help syphon off the excess electricity. Dr. Connors dismisses this since Max isn’t biologically equipped to live underwater, and Eddie adds that introducing Max to water could have dire consequences. Before this lecture can continue Liz Allan shows up ready to be tutored.

Peter apologizes for Liz showing up, but Dr. Connors says that it is fine and Peter can tutor the girl because he has to do something in his office. This prompts Peter to give his version of the good doctor’s speech from the beginning of the episode. Meanwhile Curt is preparing to inject himself with more of his crazy lizard serum. Martha interrupts the act, and Curt begins to explain himself, however before he can get past genetically altered lizard solution, Max shows up at the lab.

Demanding a cure, Max threatens to hurt all present. Peter feels this will be the end of his secret identity, but luckily Eddie tries to stop Max to give Peter time to get the girls out of the lab. Once they are clear Peter goes into hero mode, and joins the fray. He begins by trying to apologize for his actions the night before but Max dismisses the gesture and christens himself Electro, after what Peter called him the night before. Peter does his best to draw Electro’s attention to allow Eddie and the Connors to get out of the lab. Once they are clear he decides to try and let Electro burn off the excess electricity.

The plan doesn’t go as expected and soon the fight has been brought out into the quad where rain is falling. Spider-Man dons a rubber glove he grabbed from the lab and uses t to land some hits on Electro. Soon the fight is brought to an on campus radio tower which Electro charges with electricity. To make matters worse the Aunt May alarm goes off and Peter has to explain why he is going to be late for a third night in a row. Aunt May is none to pleased and Peter hangs up the phone and declares he will be grounded, then quips that being grounded might not be the worst thing considering his current situation. At that time he makes note of the pool that is located a few buildings over, and remembering what Eddie said would happen if he introduced Max to water he sends him through the ceiling and causes him to burn off the excess electricity and knocks him out.

The next day, Peter is having a conversation with Liz about the night before. Peter thinks that a friendship may be blossoming here, before the jocks come back and he is brought back to Earth. He joins up with his own Ron and Hermione and laments that he thought he had actually gotten through to Liz.

As a coda we join the Connors cleaning up the lab after the attack. Curt picks up his injection device which had been struck by a stray bolt of electricity by Electro. He pockets the device as he and Martha leave the lab.

REVIEW

Now this is why I really love this show. The second episode is such a beautifully streamlines piece of television, that seamlessly moves from set piece to set piece telling two separate stories. The best part is when the two tales intersect and we see exactly why Peter Parker must keep his identity as Spider-Man a secret. I also really like that Electro has this thin connection to Spider-Man which adds an extra level to the proceedings.

The best part of this episode though is the fact that it paints Spider-Man as the bad guy. He just happens to see a man run from a coffee shop and assumes the worst. Then he is so obsessed with the fight that he completely fails to listen to his explanation.  Having Spider-Man act in the gray instead of making the proceedings black and white, makes everything seem that much more believable.

The other great bit is that we saw Curt Connors serum get hit with the electricity and now we are left wondering what such an event may hold for future episodes. I also like how subtly they allude to Gwen’s existing attraction to Peter, as well as Liz’s growing attraction to him. It’s there just enough to be noticed and adds that much more to the universe.

I have to admit that this is a great episode and I completely understand why it supplanted my memories of the first episode since they were aired together when the show premiered. I must say I was a bit unsure if I would want to actually continue with reviewing the series, but after watching this episode I am again reminded why I love this show so much.

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