The Rhino interrupts a school dance at Horizon High.
|Characters: Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Alexei Sytsevich/The Rhino; Harry Osborn; The Kingpin; Spencer Smythe; Miles Morales; Anya Corazon; Gwen Stacy; Max Modell; Norman Osborn; Otto Octavius; Raymond Warren/The Jackal; Curt Connors
SPIDER-MAN is swinging on his way to school when he is assaulted by a Slayer. He is fending it off when a desperate HARRY OSBORN calls; Harry too is being assaulted by a robot. As both of them are distracted by talking to each other on the phone, both of them are caught by their pursuers.
Spider-Man is about to be crushed when the Slayer abruptly goes into a self-destruct routine; a cut to a control room shows that it is THE KINGPIN controlling the unit remotely under SPENCER SMYTHE's direction. The Kingpin demands to know what is happening, and Smythe informs him that he (Kingpin) accidentally hit the self-destruct switch. Spider-Man, after wrenching himself free, tears the Slayer to pieces until he finds the internal bomb, which he launches skyward. The Kingpin smashes the controls and curses Smythe for idiotically building a self-destruct switch into it, and tells the designer he won't be paying him (Smythe) the other half of the fee he promised. Spider-Man calls Harry back.
At Horizon, MILES MORALES deactivates the security robot that had cornered Harry, and remarks to ANYA CORAZON and GWEN STACY that he'll have to add Harry's retinal pattern to the machine's memory banks now that Harry has been cleared and will be returning to Horizon; Gwen wonders if that means Peter will have to move into a new lab, and maybe join a new study group. MAX MODELL, entering with Peter, overhears her and says that the friends will have to decide among themselves how to reorganize the study group, as there can only be four of them attached to The Think Tank. Discomfort shows on the kids' faces. Modell tries to clear up the awkwardness by suggesting that they have a celebration to mark Harry's return. The kids suggest various science activities, but Modell says they'll hold a dance that Saturday night, which doesn't please any of them. After they all leave the Think Tank, a janitor, ALEXEI SYTSEVICH, who has been mopping the floor outside, comes in and snoops while cleaning.
The night of the party, Peter meets Harry at his house and tells him about an embarrassing dance that his Aunt May tried executing; Harry confesses he has yet to tell his father that he's leaving OASIS to return to Horizon.
In his home office, NORMAN OSBORN reprimands Spencer Smythe for the failure of the Slayer to capture Spider-Man; Smythe replies that it was the fault of the "fat-fingered fool" for hitting the wrong button, and asking if he will still get his bonus for arranging for the incident. Norman nods but repeats his unhappiness with the battle's results. Smythe asks why Osborn is taking it so badly. Norman replies by asking Smythe if he wonders at the coincidence: Oscorp shutting down Raymond Warren's "Spider Army" project was followed almost immediately by the appearance of this "Spider-Man." He turns on a TV, where J. JONAH JAMESON is ranting about the damage caused by Spider-Man at the Stark Expo, and observes that others too are worried about Spider-Man and what he portends.
Peter and Harry emerge from Harry's room just as Smythe is leaving, and Norman calls Harry in to his office to plead with him to stay at OASIS, saying that Harry should take advantage of everything that Norman can provide; Harry says he thought his dad wanted him to prove he can stand on his own; Norman tells Harry it would humiliate him (Norman) publicly if he (Harry) returned to Horizon. Harry can only promise to think about it; Norman tells him to see if he can talk Peter into moving over to OASIS too—surely Peter's presence at OASIS would help. Alistair Smythe, he adds, will be joining OASIS instead of returning to Horizon, so that Harry will have at least one friend at his new school. Harry does not look pleased at the idea of Alistair being a schoolmate.
At the school, students enter and pass by Miles's security robot without setting it off; they also pass Sytsevich, who slides his mop bucket down the hall without attracting attention. He pauses in front of a door with Curt Connors's name still over it, and with a key card that has Max Modell's picture on it unlocks it and enters. He looks around at the overstuffed room and calls the Kingpin, telling him that he'll need a tractor-trailer if he's going to haul off the score he has just stumbled over.
In the assembly hall, Peter's drone-camera flits and hovers, taking video and pictures. Kids are trying to dance; Miles and Harry try to one-up each other at being bad at the dancing; DR. OTTO OCTAVIUS asks Gwen to dance, but she reminds him that he's there as a chaperone, the same as her uncle, RAYMOND WARREN, whom she thanks again for attending the dance. Intercut such scenes with Sytsevich searching Connors's old office. He drops some equipment, which sprays a fog, blinding and causing him to fall into a more old beakers, setting off a chain reaction that sends him into a transformation.
Peter stops the music to make welcome-back speech for Harry; it is intercut with Sytsevich transforming into The Rhino. Peter yields the microphone to Harry, who reluctantly tells the crowd that although he loves Horizon and everyone there, he has decided to stay at OASIS. The crowd is shocked; then it panics when The Rhino bursts in.
Peter and friends dodge the Rhino, who charges about destroying things. When Miles recalls that rhinos have bad eyesight, Peter uses the disco light to blind it; Spider-Man appears almost immediately thereafter, hurling equipment at the Rhino until knocking him out. Miles, watching this, expresses amazement at Spider-Man's abilities; Harry, with more anger than admiration, admits that it's certainly something to behold. The drone flits about, capturing footage.
Warren and Octavius try to take charge as the kids crowd around the unconscious Rhino; Anya demands to know of Miles why his security robot—which is idling in a corner while actively surveying the scene—didn't try to stop the intruder; Miles is baffled, saying it should have stopped anyone it didn't recognize; Harry suggests that maybe the robot did recognize it; more wisecracks until Peter, running from "calling the police" (he says) suggests maybe it is someone from the school, but somehow transformed. Gwen looks at her uncle, who says he has to check something out, and runs out through the gaping hole in the wall created by the Rhino's entrance. Miles pulls a retinal scanner off the security 'bot, uses it on the Rhino, and determines that it is the janitor. The cops, meanwhile, have just arrived.
Gwen follows her uncle into Connor's lab, which is a mess. She asks what he's doing. He stammers that the thing in the gym is a hybrid, a sort of thing like he and Connors were working on at Oscorp. Connors must have been continuing the research, he says, but there's too much damage to find whatever it was that caused this transformation. As he searches, Warren accidentally jabs himself on something sharp, drawing blood. He tells Gwen he will have to go home to see if there's anything he can use to reverse the Rhino's transformation.
As Warren and Gwen start to leave, they are intercepted by Peter, who tells them that they've succeeded in drawing blood from the Rhino, and offers it to Warren, who takes it both it and them with him.
Back in the assembly, Harry wonders where Peter and Gwen and Dr. Warren went; Miles wonders where Spider-Man got off too. The cops have the Rhino strapped to a gurney, but it wakes, breaks its bonds and, even meaner than before, starts to rampage.
The Rhino gallops about the gym, smashing everything in its path, and shrugging off bullets. Octavius enters in his rig, but is quickly battered into unconsciousness by the Rhino. Harry and some of the students improvise smoke bombs to hem it in. Again, the drone flits about, recording footage.
At Dr. Warren's, he and Gwen and Peter study the blood sample. Warren is almost feverish with worry and excitement, exclaiming over the breakthroughs that Connors has made in the meantime. The kids are more worried about concocting a cure, but Warren has to excuse himself; in the kitchen he runs his hand under water, and is horrified to see it change into a hairy claw. Gwen and Peter call for his help; he shouts back instructions; when they say they think they've identified an enzyme that can counteract the transformation, he tells them they'll find the equipment they need to distill it in the garage. Gwen asks him if he is alright; he tells her he'll be fine, but that the kids need to get the cure made and to the school: "Don't wait for me when you get it done," he shouts they rush to the garage; he stumbles upstairs and collapses on the bed.
In the gym, the battle continues with flash grenades, sound systems, anything to disorient the Rhino; the cops are calling for armored trucks.
At Dr. Warren's, Peter and Gwen have synthesized a cure; Peter tells Gwen to stay and look after her uncle—"He looks sick"—while he returns to the school. Once he's out of sight, he takes off on a web without changing his costume. Upstairs, Gwen searches for her uncle, but shrieks and falls back when she is jumped by some kind of creature. She finds her uncle's torn clothing in the bedroom, and runs outside calling for him.
At the assembly, the remaining staff is cornered by the Rhino when Spider-Man (in costume) swings in; there is a brief battle as he draws the Rhino outside before successfully plunging the cure into him. The transformation reverses, but Sytsevich does not completely revert. Police reinforcements, along with Spider-Slayers, arrive; Norman is with them, and he expresses relief to find Peter (reemerging in street clothes) and Harry unharmed. The others ask Peter where Gwen is. He says she's at her uncle's house, then answers his phone as it rings.
Dissolve to Dr. Warren's house, daytime, the interior in a shambles. Gwen, Peter and their friends examine the wreckage. Gwen says she can't imagine why her uncle ran off. She also can't imagine what that creature was. No one says anything; Gwen buries her face in Peter's shoulder and tells him that she's afraid. Peter assures her that the police will find her uncle.
In a country house hidden away behind trees, CURT CONNORS, looking feverish and very ill, rests on a cot. He looks up at a sound, and recoils as the door opens and THE JACKAL enters. It snarls at him: Don't you recognize your old lab partner Raymond? The Jackal tells Connors that it wants to have a very long and profitable talk about his work since leaving Oscorp.
The above is loosely based on the episode "Party Animals" by Sterling Gates.
Commentary: "Transformative Adaptation"
Next: "S01E07 "House of Sand" "