For those who haven’t followed the series up to this point, Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Kilowog have been stranded in distant space, on board their sentient space craft which can manifest itself as a cute female artificial intelligence construct with full Green Lantern powers, which Hal has affectionately dubbed Aya. They are also in the company of reluctant ally, Red Lantern Razer.
They are attempting to return to Oa, home planet of the Green Lantern Corps, but it’s a long journey. One running plot thread is that along the way, they will encounter various new beings who will be entrusted with the powers and responsibilities of Green Lanterns. Last episode, they met Princess Iolande who due to her position as ruler of her planet was unable to accompany them on their trek, but vowed to aid them when the time came.
(This is a full recap, so if you are allergic to spoilers, please watch the show before proceeding.)
Kilowog and Hal struggle a bit over discipline and protocols. Aya locates an errant Green Lantern ring on a planet that is five minutes from being struck by an asteroid! Hal and Kilowog channel their power rings through the ships cannons to create a barrier, but it isn’t enough and Aya turns on the ships rockets to help push back. It’s too much for the ship’s systems and KIlowog argues that they have to stop, but Hal insists they keep it up. Finally, their ring crafted dam shatters. Aya reveals that they have bought the planet six hours, but Kilowog is angry that Hal disobeyed regulations. Now they have depleted a large amount of their rings’ power. Aya admits that risking two seasoned Lanterns in order to find an untrained novice might not have been the best idea. “One Green Lantern can make all the difference,” Hal firmly insists.
They land on the planet but unusual seismic activity makes it difficult for Aya to pinpoint the ring, but she knows they are in the right vicinity. They meet three castaways, General Zartok (voiced by WB vet, the excellent Clancey Brown), female Drusa and large, silent Gru. Kilowog recognizes Zartok’s Moon Staff as belonging to the defenders of Thalius Prime, brave soldiers that won an epic battle against the Cardonian Horde. After Zartok agrees that he and his people will help find the Green Lantern on the planet, Kilowog eagerly agrees to pair up with the General. Drusa shatters Hal’s ego by requesting to team up with Aya, so she can talk to another girl. Hal thinks he’s losing his game. Razer attest, “There is no Green Lantern here,” and strikes off on his own, leaving Hal to work with seemingly near-mindless Gru.
As they meander through the forest, Hal chatters away, teasing that on his home planet, Gru was probably a great orator or storyteller. Gru then gestures Hal over, before seizing him and flinging him into a chasm! Hal is then engulfed in stone! He is entirely covered, even his face, save his hand. As the stone engulfs his right hand, his ring glows and suddenly the stone falls away.
Kilowog tells Zartok it’s an honor to be in his company and asks him to tell him the story of the battle of Thalius Prime. “It’s an honor to be in the presence of a true warrior,” Kilowog gushes. This makes Zartok question Hal’s worthiness. By this point, I think most viewers should have picked up on where all this is going and it’s not good!
Cut to Drusa and Aya exploring a desert environment. Drusa compliments Aya before faking a twisted ankle. Aya offers to make a splint from local resources, but Drusa says she’d feel better if Aya took her to their space ship for medical attention. (Of course she would!) Aya naively agrees and scoops her up and flies back to the ship.
In the forest, Hal thinks he’s found Gru, but when he approaches, it appears that the alien has been encased in stone. Hal touches him and he falls apart! He wasn’t only covered in stone, he turned to stone!
Meanwhile, as Zartok is regaling Kilowog with his tale, Kilowog tells Zartok that he hopes he is the Green Lantern they are seeking.
Aya sets the supposedly injured Drusa down. She gets back up with no sign of injury. She quizzes Aya on a few questions about the ship before walking to one console in particular. Aya tells her it is her “main access panel to her CPU chamber.” Drusa slaps an override disc on it and shuts Aya down, then takes over command of the ship.
Razer finds himself taunted in the jungle by a mysterious, but not hostile being. Fans of the comics will immediately recognize him as Blue Lantern St. Walker! I LOVE ST. WALKER!!! He is voiced gloriously by Phil Morris! Razer discovers a graveyard of downed space crafts. St. Walker arrives and tells him they all belonged to very bad beings who committed many terrible acts. “Their paths led to their destruction,” St. Walker cautions, urging Razer to examine his own path. “I am St. Walker. And you are?” Razer snarls, “About to kick your smug rear!” St. Walker winces. “That is not a pleasant name. Not in the least.”
Hal continues soaring over the planet, when the trees in the forest below him part, forming a path. He shrugs but goes with it.
Meanwhile, Zartok wraps up his tale of the battle of Thalius Prime with the declaration, “We would have won that day, if my battalion hadn’t been captured.” Clueless Kilowog replies, “But you did win. The Cardonian Horde was defeated.” Zartok replies, “Precisely.” He then lunges at Kilowog wielding his Moon Staff.
Hot-head Razer lashes out at St. Walker, declaring “Taste the power of my rage!” St. Walker easily avoids his burst and blithely retorts, “Rage has no real power. Or taste for that matter.”
STILL Clueless Kilowog points out, “The Moon Staff. Only the defenders of Thalius Prime carry that weapon.” Zartok boasts that he pried it from a fallen defenders cold hands as a trophy.
Razer keeps blasting at St. Walker who, with his hands behind his back, leisurely sidesteps his attacks, all the while trying to caution him to examine his attitude and direction. He leaps into a tree, which Razer blasts. As it falls, St. Walker easily steps down the tumbling branches, then catches a melon and tells Razer he should try it. “Very sweet,” he mentions, nonchalantly.
As Kilowog and Zartok battle, Zatrok laments that his soldiers followed his orders to the letter. “Blind loyalty is better than honor or bravery!” he declares, which makes Kilowog realize his earlier argument with Hal was perhaps a bit wrong.
St. Walker strikes a pressure point on Razer’s neck and paralyzes him. He reveals that he possesses the Green Lantern ring Aya had detected earlier. “You’re the Green Lantern,” Razer concludes. St. Walker smiles and replies, “No, I follow a different path.” He leaves the ring with Razer and departs, just as Hal arrives.
Zartok gains the upper hand in his fight with Kilowog. He is about to spear him with his Moon Staff, when Kilowog throws dust in his face and then sends him flying. But he lands on the wing of the Green Lantern ship, which is now under Drusa’s command.
They fire on Kilowog, injuring but not killing him. Drusa asks about Gru, but Zartok basically says who cares about him and orders her to leave the planet. Kilowog pursues them and Hal and Razer join him. Hal and Kilowog latch onto the ship with their power rings, but Drusa maneuvers it so that they are flung into a rock formation. Suddenly, similar rock formations begin jutting up from the ground, into the ship’s path! She successfully dodges them, until one sends them spiraling out of control. Trees spring up to cushion their impact, before they crash into the ground.
Razer arrives and kicks them off the ship, before crushing Drusa’s disc and restoring Aya. Hal and Kilowog imprison Zartok and Drusa, but Hal is confused as to why the ring didn’t return to Oa to be assigned to a new champion. He throws the ring up and says “Go back to Oa,” but it falls to the ground. The asteroid is close to impact and he orders the others to leave without him. He seems to have figured something out and starts drilling through the planet’s crust. The others join him. “I ordered you off this rock!” he states. Kilowog replies, “I’m disobeying orders.” Lesson learned!
They drill a deep fissure, into which Hal drops the ring. A powerful green energy blast launches skyward and blows up the asteroid, before encircling the planet and forming a Green Lantern logo. Introducing fan-favorite, Mogo the living planet! “For countless millennia, I have trapped evil-doers on my surface,” he explains, referencing the crashed space craft Razer discovered earlier. He takes Zartok and Drusa into custody. St. Walker, from a distance, observes and smiles.
This episode was a delight for fans of the comics, with TWO fan favorites making their animated debuts, St. Walker and Mogo! Kilowog observes that these new Lanterns they keep finding are a pretty motley crew and I actually really like that idea. A living planet. A princess that can’t leave her planet to accompany them? It’s all very fun. The story was very well constructed, with Kilowog starting off very by-the-books, before learning that sometimes chances have to be taken. I liked Hal getting his colossal ego bruised a bit when Drusa chose to team up with Aya over him. I did not pick up on the clues that Mogo was their quarry, despite all the clues, the rock assault, the trees parting, the rock formations flying out of the ground. Looking back, of course it’s obvious, but it wasn’t until Hal dropped the ring into the chasm that it clicked for me. Just very well paced and structured, with just enough foreshadowing and clues along the way.
And I just adore Aya! I need an action figure of her like NOW!
The regular voice cast is fantastic, but I gotta say, the guests this episode just killed it! Clancey Brown, Lex Luthor from the previous DC shows, is just phenomenal as General Zartok! The only flaw, I suppose, is that his voice kind of gives away they fact that he’s going to turn out evil very early on. But then again, that was kind of obvious from the set up. Phil Morris likewise plays St. Walker with just the right amount of sophistication and Zen calmness necessary! He went above and beyond! I know from now on, when I read the comics, when I read St. Walker’s dialogue, it’s Phil Morris’ voice I will be hearing in my head!
I didn’t love the pilot for this series, but I think it’s shaping up nicely! I have very much enjoyed the last few episodes.