Warning: This is a full episode recap, so if you don’t want to read any SPOILERS, please watch the show before reading this.
Artemis returns to action in order to protect the launch of an Earth/Mars communications satellite, in support of her bestie Miss Martian. Wally/Kid Flash is unhappy but she replies, “What could go wrong?” (Well, um this.) Actually, they don’t even beat around the bush. They cut ahead to Artemis lying on the ground, Nightwing frantically trying to administer CPR, before finally declaring her dead.
The next scene cuts back to Mount Justice and Mal stating that both Impulse and the original Roy Harper will wind up being their responsibility. (Both arrived last episode.) Nightwing explains that at least for the time being, Bart is living with Jay and Joan Garrick and that Roy is still in a hospital in Star City. M’gann and La’Gaan enter and La’Gaan is scarfing down crab cakes, which he apparently has never had. They are giggling and flirting, which irritates Superboy. La’Gaan notices and directs a verbal jab at him. Artemis arrives and after greeting everyone, Nightwing begins their briefing.
At Cape Canaveral, Carol Ferris is holding a press conference alongside Martian Manhunter while Superman watches from above. (But wait aren’t they… Yes, yes, wait for it.) G. Gordon Godfrey interrupts asking if anyone asked if Earth wants more communication with aliens. Martian Manhunter explains that the two worlds are adjacent and they need an open communication to form an alliance to protect them both. He then abruptly flies off. Godfrey is angry and even points out that Superman wouldn’t even take any questions. The two heroes fly off and it is revealed that they are really Miss Martian and Superboy in disguise, masking the fact that eight of Earth’s mightiest heroes are off-planet. (See the episode ‘Alienated.’)
Lagoon Boy is upset at being forced to patrol underwater. “And so I’m stereotypes as the water guy again.” He is jealous that M’Gann and Superboy are assigned to patrol the skies together. He does a rotten job and completely misses the arrival of Kaldur’ahm and a small army of Black Manta’s soldiers.
Nightwing says that he knows Wally isn’t happy, but it’s nice to have Artemis back. She admits it’s nice to be back, which is what Wally was afraid of.
Things are tense on the Bioship. Miss Martian says their breakup was his idea. (See the episode ‘Earthlings.’) Conner accuses her of abusing her psychic powers, “Ripping intel from the minds of your victims with no concern for what it does to their psyches!” (Also, see ‘Alienated.’) M’Gann defends her actions, “They’re not victims. They’re the bad guys!” She points out that the intel she gathers is used to defend the entire planet. Superboy strikes a low blow comparing her actions to those of super villain Psimon. She gets indignant and says that if he feels so strongly, why hasn’t he told anyone. He says that he hoped that he mattered enough to her to get her to change her actions. He then reveals that she tried to manipulate his mind into forgetting how upset he was at her. She apologizes, but Conner asks if she is “sorry you did it or sorry you got caught?” He also points out that almost as soon as he broke up with her, she was with La’Gaan.
Speaking of, Lagoon Boy (finally) spies Black manta’s troops, stationed at an underground platform. He says he is going in solo, but Nightwing tells him to wait for backup. When he mentally hears Superboy volunteering and calling him a rookie, he bloats up to his tank mode and charges in. The Manta troop at the controls activates the missiles and deploys a group of villains to the surface to attack the satellite rocket.
Nightwing asks Superboy if he has a rebreather, but Superboy says La’Gaan failed to restock. Nightwing orders Miss Martian to gill up and back up Lagoon Boy instead. She reconfigures the Bioship for manual flight. (Oh that’s how anyone can fly that thing.) She grows gills and a mermaid tail and dives below the water. Superboy uses the Bioship to disrupt the surface assault by Manta’s men.
Meanwhile, Carol Ferris orders the rocket launch to be moved up. (In a cute nod, she is dressed in violet and has matching lipstick.) Kaldur’ahm takes down Lagoon Boy and orders a missile be launched at the rocket. Superboy narrowly prevents it from striking its target, then stops a second missile.
Artemis hatches a plan. Realizing that the Manta troops’ helmets are designed to enhance vision underwater, she launches a bright flare arrow into the sky, blinding them all. This allows she and Nightwing to escape the blast zone near the rocket.
The Manta troops present Lagoon Boy to Kaldur, saying he should have the honor of killing him, but instead he says he is a nice specimen for their new partner. He orders all their missiles be fired and takes charge of the ground assault personally.
Superboy handles the missile, while Nightwing and Artemis make short work of Manta’s men. At one point, Nightwing spots a soldier drawing a knife and coming up behind Artemis. Before he can get to her, though, her combat instincts kick in and she takes the henchman down.
Miss Martian realizes that Lagoon Boy has been captured, but Nightwing tells her that the missiles are her priority. Superboy is having trouble stopping all the missiles and when the last one is launched, Miss Martian must use her telekinesis to reroute it back to destroy the Manta Ship.
On the surface, Kaldur attacks Nightwing and Artemis with a water construct. The rocket launches, but Kaldur fires a tiny missile at it, which Artemis intercepts with one of her arrows. Kaldur attacks his former teammates, knocking Nightwing aside. Then, once up close to Artemis, he forms a water sword and stabs her with it! “Welcome back,” he breathlessly mutters.
Nightwing catches her, while Kaldur orders his men to move out. “The mission is a failure,” he states, when suddenly the rocket explodes. They escape as Superboy and Miss Martian join Nightwing who is administering CPR. (Is that how you save a stabbing victim?) Superboy says he can’t hear her heartbeat and Nightwing pronounces her dead.
Kaldur’ahm returns to meet with Black Manta and admits their victory was luck. His men didn’t destroy the satellite. Black Manta reveals that this was a test and that he installed a bomb with an altitude sensor days beforehand to see if Kaldur would take credit for destroying it. Black Manta tells Kaldur he is proud of him and that he is ready for the next level.
Back at Mount Justice, the team is distraught over the loss of Artemis. Superboy wants to console Miss Martian, who has suffered two losses, yet holds back. Luckily her kid brother Beast Boy is there for her. Mal asks where Nightwing is and Superboy says he went to tell Wally.
But in reality, he is in Bludhaven hiding in a warehouse. He hears a noise and asks, “Wally?” “No.” Stepping from the shadows is Kaldur’ahm! Before either of them can say anything, Wally enters. And so does Artemis!
It was all a ruse. Nightwing reveals that none of the rest of The Team or The League are aware of their actions and may never forgive them if they learn the truth. Kaldur states that Manta trusts him and is moving him up the ladder, closer to The Light and their unknown partner. Nightwing acknowledges that Kaldur has been forced to make impossible decisions, like allowing the Croloteans to die to save The Team. Kaldur vows to save La’Gaan. Nightwing then gives Artemis a magical necklace courtesy of Zatanna that disguises her appearance except to the four of them. Kaldur takes the disguied Artemis with him. Nightwing tells Wally that the hard part is over, but Wally replies, “It only gets more dangerous from here.”
Well, first thing’s first, I’m glad Artemis isn’t really dead! They really set it up to look that way, though, with Kaldur’s icy “Welcome back” comment. But when it was revealed that Kaldur was indeed working undercover, things started to feel a bit predictable. I’ve never really bought his turning evil act. He was too good a guy in the first season, to suddenly run over to the dark side with the relish he’s displayed in recent episodes. And it really didn’t seem to make sense to kill off a beloved character like Artemis. (Now Lagoon Boy, I could live without. Just sayin’.)
I liked the reference to the missing Justice Leaguers, but we could really use an update on their status. Crime must be going CRAZY over in Gotham City!
So the mysteries deepen. Nightwing has hatched a plot so undercover that not even the Justice League knows about it. How will that pan out? Now that Artemis is joining Kaldur in Black Manta’s service, what more will be uncovered? How did you feel about this episode’s reveals? Comment below!