SPOILER ALERT! This is a full episode recap, so if you want to avoid spoilers, please watch the episode before reading this.
We finally catch up with the Justice League members that were brainwashed by Vandal Savage and sent on a destructive rampage on the planet Rimbor, who are now on trial for those actions. Superman attempts to convince the court that the heroes are innocent, because they were being mind controlled. In reference to the corruption of the planet of Rimbor (if you know the comics, Rimbor could be described as Obi Wan Kenobi would say “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”), two Kroloteans in attendance wonder why the Justice League hasn’t simply bribed the court to set them free, as it seems is the norm.
The trial is interrupted by breaking news that The Reach have taken a foothold on Earth. Having been on Rimbor the past several months, J’Onn J’Onzz is unaware of The Reach, but John Stewart telepathically reveals that they are alien conquerors and they were so powerful that it took the entire Green Lantern Corps to subdue them and they were forced to sign a treaty that forbid them from setting foot on another planet… unless they are invited. (Way to go, Earth!) He also states that should The Reach be invited onto a planet, no Green Lantern can ever return there.
In the stands, a shadowy figure (Vandal Savage) whispers in the ear of another shadowy figure (Mongul), implying that this could give The Reach an advantage when it comes down to who rules the galaxy. Mongul gets up and angrily storms out, while Savage grins smugly. Just what is his angle here?! What is his grand scheme? I don’t get it!
Mongul’s Deathstar-like space station approaches Earth and The Reach Ambassador orders him to retreat, but of course he refuses.
Elsewhere, Green Beetle gathers Captain Atom, Adam Strange and Nightwing and reveals schematics of War World, stating that it is slightly smaller than the moon. It is constantly under repair by worker drones and secured by defense drones. The craft is powered by an ancient Crystal Key. Mongul controls War World’s every function via his headset.
Mongul himself is revealed to be an ousted alien warlord, dethroned and banished from his planet. His plan now is to conquer the rest of the galaxy before returning to reclaim control of his homeworld.
In Ivy Town, Mal who has been struggling to get his girlfriend Karen (Bumblebee) to pay any attention to him, is relieved that the pair finally have some time off, but that comes to a halt when Karen spies War World in the sky. It is quickly revealed, via news broadcast by Cat Grant, that War World’s presence in our sky is already effecting our gravitational pull and causing tidal waves. Aquaman is shown attempting to aid where possible.
In another broadcast, The Reach Ambassador holds a press conference where he lies and states that The Reach only have one ship on Earth and that it was designed for exploration and diplomacy and therefore has no offensive weapons.
Speaking of diplomacy, Captain Atoms offers to negotiate with Mongul, but the alien warlord refuses, stating that having The Reach on Earth makes the planet too dangerous. Mongul deems that it must be destroyed and tells Atom that if he knew what they were in for with The Reach, he’d thank him for putting them out of their misery. He then launches his assault firing a powerful energy cannon.
Doctor Fate intervenes, magically teleporting the energy beam into another dimension and then back, at the cannon itself, destroying it. A barrage of missiles is similarly destroyed by Fate, assisted by Rocket. Captains Atom and Marvel, along with Green Beetle then join the fray, destroying as many energy cannons as they can with their various powers. This all provides a distraction for The Team to sneak on board, cloaked by Blue Beetle’s scarab.
The Team splits into squads, with Alpha Squad (Superboy, Wolf, Wonder Girl and Arsenal… why do they keep bringing that crackpot along?) headed toward Mongul’s command center, Beta Squad (Blue Beetle, Impulse and Beast Boy) in search of the Crystal Key chamber and Gamma Squad (Mal/Guardian, Bumblebee and the Super Cycle) attempting to cut off War World’s power core. Batgirl and Robin, in the Bio-Ship form Delta Squad and are simply laying down cover fire outside alongside the Justice League.
At the United Nations, the Ambassador notes how ironic it is that The Reach are rooting for the heroes, because their diabolical plans depend on Mongul’s defeat.
The Squads are quickly attacked by flying, diamond-shaped drones firing laser beams at them. Mal takes the opportunity to make a jab at Bumblebee stating that “At least the big alien death moon notices when I’m around!” Bumblebee reacts, “Was that a slam at me? In the middle of a mission?” To which Mal replies, “Woman, when are you ever not in the middle of a mission?”
Alpha Squad reaches the bridge and have their usual fight scene where each member takes on the big bad guy solo only to get tossed aside. (It’s called team work, kids! It’s also called repetition, animators!) Once the young heroes are defeated, Mongul fires ALL of War World’s weapons on Earth at once!
The Reach calculate that with The League (notably Dr. Fate) and the Earth’s military defenses, that still leaves 23% of Mongul’s offensive strike to get through, enough to destroy one hemisphere. The Reach decide they have no choice but to deploy 2/3rds of their hidden forces, which while successful in stopping the missiles, are destroyed in the process.
While Super Cycle covers them, Mal and Bumblebee head toward War World’s power core, but Mal can’t help but make another pointed comment in Bumblebee’s direction. The pair bicker, but when Bumblebee goes in to cut the power, under his breath, Mal mutters, “Good luck, beautiful.”
Elsewhere, Beta Squad find the Key, but it is heavily guarded by drones.
Bumblebee gets frustrated that every time she cuts a power connection, it gets rerouted. Mal responds to reroute the energy someplace useful and Karen gets an idea.
The throne room suddenly lights up with power… too much as Mongul’s control headset fries! War World powers down and the attack drones fall to the ground, useless.
Mongul himself is badly staggered by the power surge and Alpha Squad take him down with minimal effort. Wonder Girl securely binds him with her Magic Lasso.
Bumblebee grows to normal size and she hugs Mal. Meanwhile, Blue Beetle (remember now, he’s under The Reach’s control) takes the Crystal Key..’ “for safe keeping.”
Robin and Batgirl land the Bio-Ship to pick up the others. The heroes all celebrate their victory. Mal tells Bumblebee that she saved the day, but she insists it was his idea. He also humbly states that she is destined for greatness and that he understands that she has outgrown him, but she admits that she has taken him for granted and that he is the reason she does what she does.
Once Alpha Squad arrives, Blue shows his new true colors, attacking his allies. Since he has the element of surprise, he quickly takes out most of them. Mal throws himself in front of Bumblebee shielding her. Robin manages to leap to safety thanks to his agility. Arsenal freaks out and refuses to be captured again and throws open an airlock, but the only thing that gets sucked into space is the Super Cycle (in Sphere mode). Blue Beetle shuts the airlock and confronts the heroes still standing. He quickly takes down Robin and Bumblebee, but Arsenal puts on an oxygen mask and makes a run for it, leaving the rest of The Team in Blue Beetle’s… and The Reach’s clutches.
With only a few more episodes left in this season… and this series (sniff! sniff!), things are really ramping up. We check in with the Justice League members on trial on Rimbor, not to mention a glimpse of Vandal Savage on Rimbor as well. What is that guy’s plan?
Blue Beetle’s storyline is moving quite quickly. Just a few episodes ago, viewers discovered that the seemingly benevolent Green Beetle was secretly working for The Reach and tricked Jaime into letting him access his scarab, bringing Blue Beetle into The Reach’s control. Now, so quickly Blue turns on his teammates! And what about Arsenal? Will the gang’s loose cannon actually prove to be their savior, assisted by the Super Cycle? (You know it getting sucked out the airlock wasn’t just a throw-away!)
Mal and Bumblebee are probably the least recognizable characters on this show, and neither has really carried a storyline. But I like their subplot. It’s relate-able. And with the M’Gann/L’Ghaan/Superboy story on hold, it’s kind of the only romantic subplot going right now. Unfortunately, this show has such a huge, sprawling cast that many of the newer characters are very shallow and under-developed. While Impulse and Blue Beetle have certainly emerged as important characters, for instance, Batgirl and Wonder Girl have barely registered any personality yet. But, I guess we have a few more episodes, so there’s still hopefully room for growth.
So what do you think? Do you have any idea what Vandal Savage is up to? What do you think of Blue Beetle’s betrayal? Which characters deserve an episode devoted to their development? Please leave a comment below!