SPOILER ALERT! This is a full episode recap, so if you want to avoid spoilers, please watch the episode first.
In the last episode, Hal was seemingly vaporized by the Anti-Monitor. Turns out, he was actually teleported to another dimension! He plummets to a world seemingly based on the Steampunk aesthetic and encounters a fellow who calls himself Steam Lantern, a super persona he created after his world was saved by a Green Lantern in a red shirt with a cape. (Wink! Alan Scott the Golden Age Lantern!) Steam Lantern (aka Gil Broom) is assisted by his brainy girlfriend Lady Catherine, or “Cat” for short, who created their huge zeppelin base, Battling Bathilda, that is referred to as ”lighter-than-an-air-craft.” Steam Lantern and Lady Catherine are fighting for freedom against Duke Nigel Fortenberry, a brilliant scientist who has turned their world into an industrial nightmare policed by towering steampunk robots with TV screen faces bearing Fortenberry’s likeness.
Hal crashes hard into the cobblestone street and attempts to contact his fellow Lanterns. Failing, he explores and notices the Victorian look of his surroundings and its people. He spies Lady Catherine on a soapbox with a megaphone in hand rallying the people to not give in to Duke Nigel’s tyranny, before three of his large enforcer bots clank up the street. Via the monitors on their faces, Duke Nigel orders the crowd to disperse for their own safety and proclaims that he saved the planet. One of the robots lunges a large clamp at Cat, at which time Steam Lantern swoops in with a steam-powered jet pack and a green energy cannon, which he uses to take down the three robots. The crowd cheers!
Steam Lantern urges the people to listen to Lady Catherine, but the robots rise again and Duke Nigel orders the people not to listen to the “radical.” One of the robots seizes Steam Lantern and Hal leaps into action, cutting him free and defeating the other robots.
Gil scoops up Lady Catherine and tells Hal to follow them to their wondrous base in the sky. There, he tells him about the Green Lantern that saved their world and explains that Lady Catherine is the brains of their operation. “I just discovered the “Hardtofindium,” the substance that powers his suit,” he says.
They tell him that their stars had started vanishing from the sky, but Duke Nigel said that he could save their planet if the population would submit to him. He put everyone to work at his factories and used his large robots to enforce his will, causing Gil and Cat to vow to fight back against his rule. Cat then mentions a “space dragoon” that the Duke tried to “frighten” them with. Gil shows Hal a picture of the Anti-Monitor, which he obviously recognizes. When Hal comments how he just fought it, Catherine says that it was Gil that defeated the dragoon and sent it packing to another universe. She then surmises that Hal is from said universe. Meanwhile, Gil seems awfully uncomfortable. He mentions that there may be enough power in Duke’s laboratory to contact Hal’s allies, so Hal decides to sneak in.
Once inside, Hal peaks through Nigel’s telescope and notices that it’s fixed on the sun. Catherine adjusts a phonograph-like device to amplify Hal’s power “transdimensionally.” Hal succeeds in contacting Kilowog and Salaak and tells them to go back to the rift in the sky above Byot… but then, Duke Nigel’s robots arrive! The heroes are easily subdued before Duke Nigel enters in person. Catherine tells him they will never be his slaves, to which he replies, “I only wish credit where credit is due, madam. I saved the world and this man…” motioning toward Steam Lantern, “Stole the credit and my glory.” His speech is interrupted when Hal comes to and zaps him. After he frees his allies, they flee.
Back on Battling Bathilda, Catherine prepares the ship to take them into the stratosphere so Hal can return home, but Hal notices that something is bugging Gil. Gil tells Hal how their universe was dying, thanks to the Anti-Monitor, and how Duke Nigel told the people he could save them and put everyone to work in the factories. Perceiving this as a form of slavery, Gil and Cat created the Steam Lantern identity in an effort to fight back. What they didn’t know was that Duke Nigel had made a deal with the Anti-Monitor. In exchange for sparing their solar system, they would build a ray beam to open a gateway to another universe so the Anti-Monitor would have countless new worlds and suns to feast on. This ray bean was what Duke Nigel had the people working on in those factories. When the Anti-Monitor showed up to be transported away, Steam Lantern made his debut, blasting away, but the enormous creature didn’t even know he was there. At that very moment, however, Duke Nigel fired his ray and teleported the being making it look like Gil had done the deed and the populace embraced him as their hero.
Hal tries to encourage him, but then Catherine arrives and says they’re ready to go. They reach the ship’s upper limit and Hal says goodbye to his new friends. He then flies out and uses his ring to try and open the rift, while on the other side, his allies do the same. Hal gets a boost when Gil joins him, but just then, Duke Nigel in a helicopter-like device arrives and orders Catherine to land Battling Bathilda.
Gil tells Hal to get home then zooms to help Cat. He crashes into the helicopter, but the Duke opens fire, riddling Battling Bathilda with bullets. It bursts into flames and starts to plummet from the sky. Hal is on the edge of the portal, but looks back and breaks away, causing the rift to close.
He takes them to his lab, where his robots keep the heroes restrained. Gil tells Nigel that if he lets Catherine go, he will admit that he is a fraud. Cat tells him not to “lie,” but Gil informs her that “it’s not a lie. He really did save us.” Gil addresses the populace through Nigel’s drones and admits the deception, but shockingly, the people begin chanting “Steam! Steam! Steam!” in support.
The Duke is flummoxed, but Hal breaks free and explains that the people know a hero when they see one and whether Gil knows it or not, he is one. “People would rather fight than crawl. They appreciate his efforts against you.” The Duke is taken aback. He insists that he is not a villain. He points to his robots and explains that they were invented to deliver news in a timely manner. But then he realizes that one of his robots is still grasping Catherine holding her captive.
He looks at his monitors and sees citizens everywhere fleeing in terror from his drones and starts to see that, while he had the best of intentions, his methods were not the best. “I am the villain,” he solemnly states and frees Catherine. Just then, their sun… dies!
Duke Nigel comes to the awful revelation that while the Anti-Monitor didn’t harm their world, he ate most of their sun, prolonging their lives for just a few months at the cost of trillions of lives in Hal’s universe. He declares himself the most despicable man in two universes. He asks forgiveness and Gil and Cat grant it. Cat then asks if they have time for one last tea.
Hal is upset at the passivity of their reaction. Gil then asks Duke Nigel if he can use his device to send Hal back to his universe. The Duke says he can, but it would drain the rest of that world’s power. Hal declares that no one is going to die on his watch.
Hal, Gil and Cat soar upward in a magically repaired Bathilda. Hal’s ring flickers signaling that it is low on power, but Hal plays it off. Duke Nigel says that to create a rift the size Hal is asking for, they only have one shot because the strain will fry his equipment. The Duke fires his ray opening the rift between the universes. Hal adds his power and opens the portal larger and larger until it becomes clear that he plans to transport the entire planet into “our” universe… except he starts to lose power. He manages his plan but loses all power and plummets from the sky. Of course, Steam Lantern catches him. Duke Nigel makes contact with Kilowog while Hal enjoys tea with his new friends.
I absolutely loved the steampunk style on display in this episode. The robots and other devices looks awesome and I loved the character’s old timey British accents.
The plot regarding Steam Lantern’s secret shame was interesting, but a lot of elements weren’t not. The idea of Duke Nigel having the best intentions but going about it entirely wrong felt a little done before. The plot hole of Bathilda suddenly being up and running also bugged me.
Overall, this episode was uneven. I really liked parts of it and did not care for others. What did you think? Comment below!