Peter Parker must battle the Vulture when he attacks a high school science demonstration.
|The following treatment is adapted from "Horizon High, Part 1," written by Kevin Shinick. The original episode can be viewed at YouTube here
Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Adrian Toomes/Vulture; Harry Osborn; Spencer Smythe; Alistair Smythe ; Liz Allen; Flash Thompson; Randy Robertson; Max Modell; Anya Corazon; Chief Watanabe; J. Jonah Jameson; Robbie Robertson; Aunt May
A violent raid is in progress as a trio of well-armed MERCENARIES are trying to bust out of the bank that they are robbing: POLICE fire back. High above, PETER PARKER in his beta Spider-Man costume is psyching himself up to intervene. He is nervous about taking on professionals, and unsure whether it's the right thing to do, for even though he means to take his powers responsibly and use them for good, he's not sure he's ready to jump in at this level. But when the thieves break out using a van, he leaps after them. He is unsteady, but by busting through the roof of the cab and seizing the wheel, he steers the van into an accident. But as he is about to pull out the thieves, THE VULTURE (ADRIAN TOOMES) swoops down and disables him with a sonic scream.
Spider-Man is thrown off by the Vulture's intervention, but he rallies long enough to hold him at bay until the police arrive. The Vulture causes an accident that endangers policemen and thugs alike, and escapes when Spider-Man pivots to save them. But Spider-Man can at least congratulate himself that at least the Vulture did not escape with the loot. Rather than stay for the police, Spider-Man races off for a much more important meeting.
Back in his street clothes, Peter meets his best friend, HARRY OSBORN, at a coffee shop, where the latter is watching TV footage of the attack by the Vulture and his battle with the masked vigilante; Peter joins him and is proudly comments on the Spider-Man's performance (without admitting it was he himself) until Harry stops him short with a different interpretation of the footage: It looks to him, Harry says, that the guy in the bug-themed pajamas is one of the thieves and that the Vulture was stopping him and the other robbers. Peter quickly changes the subject to the day's plans. Peter and Harry attend different school—Peter goes to Midtown High while Harry attends Horizon High, a school for the academically gifted—but there is a slot opening for a new student at Harry's school; Horizon staff will be presenting at a special Midtown assembly that day to recruit candidates. As part of the recruitment, Horizon will be demonstrating a student project, one that has been put together by Harry and his lab partners. Harry hopes that the project will impress his father, NORMAN OSBORN, the president of Oscorp, who has been recently riding his case about his academic performance. He also hopes that Peter can win the position at Horizon so they can attend school together again. Peter is eager for that too, though he wonders if his Aunt May will be able to afford it.
As they leave, Harry is intercepted by SPENCER SMYTHE, who asks Harry to ride with him to Midtown while pointedly not inviting Peter along. Spencer is one of Oscorp's chief researchers, and he is also the father of ALISTAIR SMYTHE, who is another student at Horizon and is part of Harry's study group. Peter, meanwhile, is intercepted by FLASH THOMPSON, who says he was sent by class president LIZ ALLEN to make sure that Peter got to Midtown on time to help prep the assembly.
In the car, Spencer tells Harry that he knows he and Alistair don't get along, and that Alistair is jealous of Harry; he asks Harry to be patient with Alistair, who has been moody and erratic since his mother left them. Spencer also informs Harry that Harry's father, will not be able to attend the assembly, which angers Harry. Spencer offers Harry his best wishes, and also gives him a metallic good-luck pin to put on his vest.
At Midtown, Flash delivers Peter to Liz and RANDY ROBERTSON, the school's webmaster. (It is or should be a running joke in every episode with Flash Thompson that he will quietly deliver—no braying or bullying**—a docile Peter to some location by carrying Peter there tucked under his arm. So it is here: Flash carries Peter into a school auditorium under his arm, and set him down without comment.) As the four students set up the auditorium, Peter brags about Harry's project, which is a vibranium-powered generator, and he talks (to the annoyance of Flash) about various possible applications for it, including cloud-formation and rainmaking. His enthusiastic recital is overheard by Alistair Smythe, who is wheeling in the reactor; Alistair belittles Peter's knowledge, and also wonders why his lab partner, Harry, is sharing its details with a student who doesn't attend Horizon. Alistair's partner, ANYA CORAZON, defends both Harry and Peter; and Randy suggests that Peter write an account of the upcoming demonstration for the school's news site. (Note: At some point in the dialogue it should be mentioned casually that Anya plans to exhibit the reactor at the upcoming Stark Expo.) As Harry joins them, he and Alistair exchange snide insults about the relative cost of their wardrobes.
As MAX MODELL, the Horizon headmaster, opens the presentation to the assembly, Spencer, alone backstage with the reactor, swaps out one of the miniature fuel rods in the reactor for one that he draws from his own backpack. (They should be of different colors.) The presentation begins (with Harry wistfully eyeing the place where his father should be sitting) but quickly goes wrong with the reactor starts to malfunction. It emits vibrations that start a fire, and the school authorities quickly order an evacuation. Peter races to the stage to help, but is interrupted when the Vulture crashes through a window. The Vulture dives at the place where Norman Osborn would have been sitting, then circles the auditorium before spotting Harry; he swoops down and carries Harry off in his clawed feet. Peter is left torn between attending to the malfunctioning reactor and chasing after the swiftly disappearing Harry.
Peter is able to reconfigure the reactor so as to cause a condensation that puts out the fire, and then he is able to shut it down. Anya and Alistair, who have been evacuated with everyone else, return to brush him away, which is fine with him because he wants to chase the Vulture. But Max Modell steps in to demand who "the young genius is" who handled the crisis. An antsy, almost frantic Peter quickly explains what he did and why did it, and begs leave to go, but Modell insists on making a note of his name and on getting information off his ID badge because, he says, Peter would make an excellent student at Horizon. (Anya and Alistair both frown at this.) Peter, in an agony, is finally able to escape.
Meanwhile, the Vulture is perched on a rooftop with Harry. Harry, despite his surprise and fear, recognizes the Vulture as "Dr. Toomes" of Oscorp, and demands to know what he's doing. Toomes explains that the Vulture suit is a project he's been working on for Oscorp, and that he is due to demonstrate it to Harry's father, but that his supply of vibranium (which powers it) has been cut off. Is that why he tried to steal vibranium this morning? Harry asks. Toomes retorts that he was trying to stop the thieves—okay, and maybe also steal the vibranium from them. Harry: Does Toomes want the vibranium out of the reactor back at Midtown? Toomes doesn't know what he's talking about—he only wanted to demonstrate the suit to Norman while he still had some vibranium to use—and when hears that there's a malfunctioning vibranium reactor at Midtown, he grabs Harry up to return, saying that they need to disarm it and they'll talk about who gets the vibranium later.
Then Spider-Man shoots the Vulture with webbing, knocking Harry loose from his grip. Both the Vulture and Spider-Man dive to catch Harry, but Spider-Man catches him in a spiderweb, so the Vulture swoops off back toward Midtown. On retrieving Harry from the web, a surprised Peter gets an earful from Harry, who accuses him of being a criminal. The abashed Spider-Man promises to take Harry back to Midtown.
At Midtown, Alistair Smythe has the reactor off in a corner and is attempting to retrieve the vibranium rods from it when the Vulture swoops in. Alistair also recognizes Toomes—who accuses him of "doing your daddy's dirty work"—and refuses to turn the rods over to Toomes; they fight in front of a perplexed crowd. Spider-Man, with Harry, arrives to break it up and incapacitates both gladiators just as the police arrive. CHIEF WATANABE takes charge when two of the cops identify Spider-Man as the vigilante who saved them in the first fight with the Vulture. He and Harry wildly protest Toomes's innocence, and Watanabe asks Peter his opinion. Spider-Man stammers uncertainly, at which point Watanabe orders him to remove his mask, telling him that his word is worthless, so far as she's concerned, unless she knows who he is.
Spider-Man shoots a web at the ceiling and darts up and away. The Vulture rockets after him. Across the rooftops of New York they race, Spider-Man desperately dodging and weaving and doubling back as the Vulture tries catching up despite his rapidly diminishing fuel reserves. Toomes calls Peter a coward and a crook as they race along; Peter insists that he isn't a crook, but that he can't unmask because it wouldn't be safe for him, which cements Toomes's accusation that he's really a criminal. Peter runs out of web fluid at the same time that Toomes loses the last of his fuel; they both fall through the roof of a dark, crowded warehouse.
Back at Midtown, Harry is wildly protesting Toomes's innocence and the masked man's culpability; Chief Watanabe assures him there will be a full investigation. "Speaking of investigations": Max Modell steps forward with a fuel rod in his hand, and says that it was what caused the accident. But it couldn't have been an accident, he says; only sabotage would explain the kind of mistake that would put the wrong kind of fuel rod into the reactor. Who could be responsible? Easy to find out, he says: the saboteur will still be contaminated by the fast-decaying radiation from the rod. He takes out a detector, and finds that both Harry and Alistair (and himself, from handling the rod) are contaminated. He sadly announces that both students must be suspended from school pending a full investigation.
In the warehouse, Peter and Toomes play cat-and-mouse, with Peter getting blasted from the wall or ceiling by the Vulture's sonic scream each time he tries going high. Toomes questions Peter in the dark, asking if he is one of "Warren's projects", and that's why he won't unmask. Or maybe he's working for Spencer Smythe, insinuates Toomes, sent to sabotage his Vulture project after Smythe got his vibranium supply cut off. Peter insists he doesn't know what Toomes is talking about, and that he only means to protect his family, who can't know what he's doing or what he is. Toomes says he doesn't believe him, and asks how he can live with sending an innocent man to jail simply to protect his own anonymity. They have moved outside by now, but Peter, broken by the accusation, doesn't flee, but steps out in front of Toomes. He's about to unmask when a police helicopter appears over head and drops a net on the Vulture as Peter somersaults away.
At police headquarters, Peter (now back in his street clothes) waits anxiously outside Chief Watanabe's door. Harry and Alistair soon exit; Harry waits for Peter while Alistair hurries away. Peter asks if he can speak to Chief Watanabe about the Vulture's case; Harry asks if Peter knows something about it, and before a reluctant Peter can confess that he's the spider-vigilante, Harry says that his father has already gotten Toomes sprung on bail, and that the chief thinks that all the charges against him will be dropped. A relieved Peter follows Harry outside. He runs into Randy Robertson there, who is with his father, ROBBIE ROBERTSON and the iron-lunged J. JONAH JAMESON, who is raving about the clicks and ratings and page views he's going to get out of the footage of the fight between the Vulture and the "Ant Boy." Peter corrects him: It was supposed to be a spider, not an ant. Jameson tells Robbie they better get the name right if they're going to make any money off the vigilante.
In a car, Spencer upbraids Alistair for getting caught: he did his part, he tells his son, in getting some of the incriminating compound onto Harry in the form of a stick-pin. Alistair sulks that Norman will just get Harry off anyway, the way he gets Harry everything he wants or needs. Spencer retorts that he himself has sacrificed much for Alistair, but that his son is too incompetent to do anything with it.
The next morning, as the TV reports that Toomes has been released with no charges filed for the time being, Peter is leaving for school but is intercepted at the door by Modell, who says he wants to offer Peter the open position at Horizon. Aunt May tells Peter to run inside and get himself a tie and jacket; as he complies Peter calls Harry to share the good news. Harry congratulates him, but reminds him that he won't be at Horizon as long as he's suspended. Peter says Harry will be back soon enough after the investigation, but Harry, who is standing just outside his father's business office, tells him that his father has other ideas.
** Character note on Flash Thompson: He should not be characterized as a braggart, a bully, a loudmouth, or a showboater, and he should not notably excitable, even in a fight. Though he is impatient and contemptuous of Peter—which he expresses by carrying Peter under his arm when the two are heading to a common destination—he does not abuse or needlessly humiliate him. Flash should be characterized as the strong and silent type and in no way should be portrayed like Biff Tannen or other classic "jock-bully" stereotypes. Peter for his part suffers Flash's contempt with quiet aggravation.
Commentary: "That Spider-Man Project"
Next: "S01E02 "Here Be Dragons""