This week, Peter learns of a potential betrayal when Doctor Octopus attacks SHIELD and Oscorp.

So the past few entries in ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ have been flights of fancy, one shot stories and for the most part I’ve been dying for them to return to the faint semblance of main plot they have. And this week, it paid off with the return of both of USM’s most complex villains – Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn. It starts off with Peter trying to have a normal evening playing video games at Harry’s mansion when suddenly something comes exploding through the wall, showering the living room in debris. Harry runs to get ahold of his dad while Peter slips away to put on the Spider-Man costume. Through the wreckage, a mysterious figure steps out, and one Peter never expected to see- Iron Man. He continues his assault when Norman Osborn shows up, armed with a magnificent semi-automatic with two guns attached. Obviously, Harry has never seen this side of his father, but it seems to answer some questions about his secretive, closed-off nature.

Peter makes a pit stop to Stark Tower, trying to find out why Tony would attack Norman Osborn, when he finds that Stark Tower is also thoroughly trashed with some sort of device decrypting all of her personal files. Tony walks out, saying that his armory was broken into, and his best suit stolen. He returns the Iron Spider suit to Peter and the two do battle against whomever has stolen the suit. SHIELD intel gets Stark and Osborn in the same room, which is, in a word, ugly. Osborn accuses Stark of attacking him, Stark tells Osborn he’s a hack, and it devolves into a shouting match when Curt Connors interrupts with some surprising findings. He shows them some modifications made to the Iron Man suit, namely, a bionic tentacle. Of course, Peter points out that this must belong to Doctor Octopus, about whom Osborn feigns ignorance, especially when his identity, Otto Octavius, is revealed. Osborn recalls when Octavius was his protege at Oscorp, but was “killed” in an accident.

Before they can plan their next move, Doctor Octopus attacks the helicarrier, kidnapping Harry and promising to have his revenge on Osborn. Spider-Man manages to get him cornered, ordering Osborn to get his injured son to safety, but Octavius begins to tell Peter about the things that he and Osborn have been doing to him for months – attacking him, studying him, trying to perfect his powers. Osborn claims that Octavius is lying, and considering Peter’s past run-ins with Octavius, he seems inclined to believe him. Osborn swears on his own life and Harry’s life that he would never do that (dang) and Peter, with help from Iron Man, takes Octavius down and turns him over to SHIELD custody. Peter tells Osborn that while he’s grateful for the help, he’ll be keeping an eye on him.

Doctor Octopus and Norman Osborn have always been this show’s most well-drawn characters, mostly because the show treats them with 100% respect and dignity as opposed to, well, pretty much everyone else on the show, and episodes that feature their escapades are always a shade darker and a shade better than most, playing with very few cutaways or slapstick jokes, and relying on their storytelling and what they’ve set up in previous episodes. I keep waiting for Osborn to make a real strike against Spider-Man, or become the Green Goblin, but considering Curt Connors still has both his arms, it’s clear that they’re not moving too quickly on the villain end of things.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Adrien Pasdar returns as Tony Stark, and admittedly, I found his work here to be miles better than his first entry towards the beginning of the season. I liked their exchange at the end. “See you next time, kid.” “But that would mean another team-up!” “Yeah, I know you hope so.”
  • Tom Kenny really does fine work as Octavius, as does Steven Weber as Osborn. It’s a shame that the tone of the show doesn’t usually fit their nuanced performances.
  • This show has used Harry as a hostage more than any other character (like, say, MJ). I find it a little refreshing, actually.

Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘I am Spider-Man‘.