Red Arrow is racing through the subway tunnels beneath Washington D.C. after the events of last episode, when Vandal Savage used him to take over the minds of the Justice League. He narrowly dodges one of Green Arrow’s arrows, but an explosive arrow sends him flying backward. The Flash runs up and punches him in the face. Then Aquaman approaches. Red Arrow shatters his bow when he strikes him in the chest with it. Unfazed, Aquaman punches him and knocks him to the ground as a train approaches. Once the train passes, the three heroes realize he’s escaped into a sewer tunnel beneath them.
At Mount Justice, The Team (they never refer to themselves as Young Justice) are happy about their victories in the last episode, but their celebration is short-lived when Batman and Red Tornado, under Vandal Savage’s control, tell them that Red Arrow was the mole. Red Tornado goes so far as to tell them the Roy Harper they’ve known for the last three years is another Project Cadmus clone, programmed with a drive to join the Justice League, which is why he got so angry in the first episode when he and the other sidekicks were delayed in becoming full members, resulting in his walking out, giving up his Speedy identity and becoming Red Arrow. Batman tells them that he had already deduced that Red Arrow was a clone and that his attempt to betray them to Vandal Savage failed. Red Tornado says that they captured Savage, but that Red Arrow escaped. When Robin asks what happened to the real Roy Harper, Batman says he isn’t at Cadmus and that he is probably dead.
Aqualad vows to find the “clone” but Batman tells them, “Negative. Red Arrow is a member of the Justice League now.” He orders Red Tornado to stay with “the kids.” Telepathically, Aqualad tells the others that they will go after Red Arrow, when suddenly Red Tornado shuts down completely. Zatanna senses a low level mystic vibration and reveals she sensed the same vibration from Batman. Robin points out that he called them “kids.” “He never does that!” Kid Flash notices the small Starro/biotech chip in Red Tornado’s hand.
Aqualad splits the team up. Zatanna remembers the time they found Red Tornado’s android “John Smith” body in his room. They hook the two bodies up and attempt to download his consciousness into the android body, but are interrupted by Black Canary. John Smith wakes up and orders the team out of the cave immediately, but Black Canary cuts loose with her Canary Cry!
She destroys most Tornado’s John Smith body and knocks most of the team down. Robin rushes her, but knowing he can’t best her in hand to hand combat, plants a smoke bomb on her. Rocket then traps her in a bubble with the smoke and she passes out. What’s left of John Smith tells them they must abandon the cave. Just as they are about to board the Super Cycle, they hear Icon, Dr. Fate and Captain Marvel arrive. They narrowly beat them out the door, taking both Red Tornado’s inactive body and a captured, unconscious Black Canary. Tornado orders them not to use their communicators and to let the Super Cycle track Superboy, but to mask all transmissions. “Why is the Justice League after us?!?!” Kid Flash asks.
On board Miss Martian’s bioship, Aqualad leads the team to one of Roy’s weapon caches. Aqualad confronts Red Arrow alone. Arrow is obviously paranoid and demands Aqualad tell him something only he would know. He tells him that Tula broke his heart. Roy still seems leery, but lowers his bow and goes with The Team. Back on the ship, Aqualad tells him that Batman told them that he was the mole, which Red Arrow admits. When Superboy tells him about him being a clone, Arrow seems to think that makes sense. He says he was a sleeper agent sent to infiltrate the League. “I think Sportsmaster was my handler. He had a key phrase, ‘Broken Arrow’ that could shut me down. Put me in a hypnotic state.” Sportsmaster used this phrase to steal secrets and add further programming. He thinks that one of the orders he carried out subconsciously was to cast suspicion on Miss Martian, Artemis and Superboy, for which he apologizes.
But when Aqualad, still unaware that the League is under vandal Savage’s control, asks how Batman deduced all of this and foiled his programming, Red Arrow replies, “He didn’t.”
On the Super Cycle, Red Arrow explains that Savage used his Starrotech chips… taken from Starro the mind-controlling starfish alien in the comics, mixed with nanotechnology and magic to take over the League’s mind. “Even my inorganic brain was not immune.” However the process takes .06 seconds to fully complete, allowing Red Tornado to create a fail safe. If he should try to take over anyone else, he would shut down, which is what happened at Mount Justice when he attempted to infect Aqualad.
Red Arrow tells the others that Savage never used Starrotech on him, just Cadmus programming. Had Vandal Savage not paused to bask in his victory, he might have Starroed Roy, but instead, he gave him time to escape. Miss Martian offers to clear Red Arrow’s mind of its programming. Both teams reunite to compare notes. But Black Canary suddenly comes to.
The show then does one of its trademark time jumps, as Black Canary, Red Tornado and Red Arrow teleport to the Watchtower. Black Canary tells Vandal Savage that she re-infected Red Tornado and Arrow. Red Tornado tells him they also infected The Team, who are awaiting reprogramming back on Earth. Savage and Klarion the Witch Boy reveal that Starrotech doesn’t reprogram the mind, it allows them to remote control it. “We know exactly who is infected and who’s not!” Klarion cries, “And none of you are!” Hal Jordan gags Black Canary and ensnares them all.
Like a good Bond villain, Savage explains that the formation of the League confounded his view of Survival of the Fittest, preventing humanity from evolving. He and his associates formed in order to be on the forefront of all advancement: “genetic engineering, bio-chemical engineering, robotics, even techno-sorcery. Not to mention every conceivable method of mind-control.” He plans to rapidly advance Earth’s evolution to become the “center of the cosmos.”
The Team meanwhile has secretly entered the Watchtower. Red Tornado wirelessly bypassed security as soon as he arrived. Artemis and Kid Flash take out Plastic Man and plant their own chip on his neck, presumably to override Savage’s. Superboy and Robin do the same to Hawkman. (Oh are they splitting into couples? Heh!) Zatanna and Miss Martian free The Atom. Aqualad and Rocket take on Captain Atom. Finally, Klarion detects The Team’s presence. Savage orders the entire League be recalled to deal with them.
Klarion then looks at Black Canary, Red Tornado and Red Arrow. “Shouldn’t those three be back on line by now?” Black Canary cuts loose with a Canary Cry that knocks Hal back. She plants a counter-programmed chip on him before he can recover. But suddenly Martian Manhunter, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkwoman, John Stewart and Batman teleport in… apparently via Boom Tube. (Also if this particular gathering of heroes sounds familiar, they were the core team on the ‘Justice League’ animated series! Neat homage!)
Martian Manhunter and Hawkwoman take out Black Canary, but Red Arrow uses a flame arrow to defeat MM. But he is overpowered by Batman. John Stewart captures Red Tornado and Superman and Wonder Woman rip his limbs off! Ouch!
Savage has deduced that the Team has reverse-engineered a cure. “So there’s no point in taking them alive.” Captain Marvel, Icon and Dr. Fate finally return. Invisible, Miss Martian manages to attach a cure chip to Dr. Fate but not the other two. Rocket frees her partner, Icon. Zatanna casts a spell forcing Captain Marvel to say “Shazam” and turn back into Billy Batson. Rocket says it’s too bad “Cure-o-tech” doesn’t work as fast as Starrotech. Aqualad says it’s a miracle Mera and the other scientists were able to formulate a cure at all.
The team takes off, but Zatanna stays behind, with Billy. She attempts to remove her father’s/Dr. Fate’s helmet but fails. “I can save Fate from Savage, but I still can’t save my father from Fate.” Aqualad joins Kid Flash and Artemis, who are battling The Flash, Green Arrow and Aquaman. Kid Flash explains that their mentors aren’t fighting at full capacity, because they are limited by their controller. They use the pressure of opening the cargo bay to send the three adults flying full force, before shutting the door at the last second, slamming them into it. Kid Flash plants “Cure-O” chips on them and Aqualad apologizes to his King.
Wolf helps Robin free Hawkwoman and Rocket surrounds Robin in a force field to prevent Wonder Woman from lassoing him. Rocket then surrounds Wonder Woman in a force field. Robin asks her about her powers and Rocket explains that Wonder Woman’s punching only makes the bubble stronger by adding kinetic energy. Robin plants a chip on John Stewart, but Rocket says she’s stuck detaining Wonder Woman, when suddenly Batman swoops down and attacks.
Batman and Robin fight, while above Superman and Martian Manhunter have teamed up to pummel Superboy. Wolf and the Super Cycle help even the odds a bit. Miss Martian attempts to sneak up on Martian Manhunter but fails. She then morphs into her true White Martian form and mentally forces him to envision fire, allowing her enough time to plant a chip on him, before Superman strikes her down. Then then punches Superboy through several floor levels.
Thanks to Klarion’s control, Batman, like the others, isn’t fighting at his full potential, giving Robin a fighting chance. (Nightwing fans should be pleased that Robin whips out two battle staves at one point!) Batman still punches him down one of the holes created by Superboy. The two boys get together and launch “Plan B.” They pull a “fast ball special” (sorry, X-Men!) and Superboy hurls Robin at Batman, slamming him into a wall and allowing Robin just enough time to plant a chip on his neck. Superboy then grabs Superman and Robin whips out Kryptonite! It weakens both Supers, allowing Robin to plant a chip on ‘Man.
Savage observes Rocket still holding Wonder Woman captive and tells Klarion that it is “Time to go.” Klarion insists they can still take them. Savage replies that they still need the League for “Phase 2” of their plan. Klarion teleports them out just as The Team arrives.
Red Tornado congratulates them just as the computer informs them the clock has just struck midnight on New Year’s Eve and begins playing “Auld Lang Syne.” Kid Flash picks Artemis up and they kiss. Conner and M’gann follow suit. Zatanna grabs Robin and plants one on him. Rocket says “I’m liking this team more everyday” before giving Aqualad a small peck. Red Tornado states that human customs still elude him.
Conner and M’Gann are enjoying the view of Earth… and making out, when M’Gann leaves as Superman arrives. Superman has been awkward about Superboy since he first arrived and has barely spoken to him. Their exchange is a tad awkward, but Superman tells Conner that he and his team did a good job. He asks him about his secret identity, which Red Tornado kind of tricked him into selecting “Conner Kent” allegedly in honor of the fallen Dr. Fate, Kent Nelson. Superman tells him his real name is Clark Kent. Superboy fumbles that he didn’t know and “wasn’t trying to…” But Superman says it’s okay and it suits him. They’re not exactly father and son yet, but this was a huge step in their relationship.
Red Arrow, Robin and Aqualad join Aquaman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Red Tornado and Captain Marvel in a meeting room, where Red Arrow says that everything he knew about himself was a lie. “I’m a traitor. A pawn.” He vows to find the real Roy Harper. Batman says The Guardian is already searching Cadmus for him.
Cut to Cadmus, Ra’s Al-Ghul is having it dismantled and destroyed. The Guardian is in a trance. They are surrounded by seemingly dead clones. They wheel out “anything we might need” including Match and… the real Roy Harper, who is now missing an arm!
Red Arrow leaves with Green Arrow and Black Canary, but the others remain behind. There is still something not right. While under Savage’s control, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart, Hawkwoman and Martian Manhunter (that line up again!) went missing for a full 16 hours. Batman ponders, “16 hours… what did we do?”
This episode was one I think a lot of viewers were probably hoping to see, The Team taking on the Justice League. If I have one complaint about that, it’s that the League are the most powerful heroes on Earth, so I would have liked to seen The Team employing a little more teamwork in their battles. But that’s a small complaint, mostly explained away by the fact that the adults weren’t functioning at full capacity.
Like I said, I loved the homage to ‘Justice League’ one of the best comic-based animated series ever. And the mystery of the missing 16 hours is intriguing!
Even with all the fisticuffs, this episode packed in a lot of emotional developments. Red Arrow has had a chip on his shoulder from the beginning and hasn’t exhibited many other traits. So his emotional maturation this episode really helps grow his character.
The same is true of Superman, of all people, who, quite frankly hasn’t been depicted as much more than a jerk! This resulted in Superboy being all angsty and pretty much a jerk himself! So to have that wall between them start to break down a bit is a welcome advancement. Baby sets are still steps, right?
It’s a tad too cutesy that they’re all couples or potential couples now, though. But I think even more members will be showing up, to kind of throw the balance off. The Team has gelled and now they all trust and like one another. It’s time to shake that up, I think.
All in all, quite an exciting and satisfying episode that only leaves me wanting more! What do you think? Comment below!