SPOILER ALERT! This is a full episode recap, so if you don’t want to read any spoilers, please watch the episode before reading.
Green Lantern is back! This episode opens with the introduction of a new threat– one that could surpass Atrocitus and his Red Lanterns from Season One. Comic fans will instantly recognize the armored form of the Anti-Monitor, as he materializes in space and visits the scorched remains of the planet Biot. The planet’s meager defenses are completely ineffectual against him and he emits a pulse that revives the deactivated Manhunter robots, the Guardians’ first attempt at policing the universe.
Hal Jordan returns to Earth and visits Carol Ferris with the good news that he and his team prevented the Red Lanterns’ invasion attempt. She reveals that she knew he’d succeed, but not whether or not he’d survive. Hal expects everything to go back to normal, but Carol has had to move on, having hired a replacement for him at Ferris Aircraft. They are interrupted by a news report about an emergency downtown. Hal wants to continue their discussion over dinner, then takes off.
A crane on top of a skyscraper is collapsing. Hal saves a construction worker, but the crane collapses and falls toward him. He whips up a giant hand, but another emerald energy beam catches it first. Enter Guy Gardner, looking like a ginger Mister Incredible. He restores the crane and welds it back into place while the crowd below cheers. A news reporter, Vinessa Swelter, approaches him and identifies him as “the ginger Green Lantern” and dismisses Hal as “some other Green Lantern.” Hal tries to defend himself, but Guy literally shoves him aside and gives the reporter his number. Hal muses that Guy must have been a “temp” to replace him while he was in deep space. Guy says that he is, in fact, Hal’s replacement. Guy asks Hal if he wants to join him for hot wings.
Elsewhere, the Anti-Monitor’s energy pulse reaches Earth. In a frozen tundra, an archaeologist, Noam Chilton, is examining a strange artifact when he is confronted and apparently killed by Manhunters.
Over wings (strangely while still wearing their white gloves), Hal laments being fired twice in one day. Guy tells him having a relationship is his problem. He then encourages Hal to tell the Guardians off. Hal contacts Appa Ali Apsa, who treats him as chilly as usual, but when Appa sees Guy he warmly greets him and even invites him to taste some delicacies with them later. (Guy also calls him “Apster.”) Appa signs off and Guy says he has to run. Hal still wants to sort out who is in charge of Sector 2814, which devolves into a Power Ring peeing contest.
They sling construct after construct at each other, knocking themselves all over the landscape. They stop when they spot Vinessa reporting from the glacier (in California? They have those?) where the Manhunters attacked Prof. Chilton. Guy zips off and Hal follows behind. Guy calls Hal his sidekick and tells him to wait outside while he enters the strange cave to investigate. Of course Hal goes in as well, but Guy sets off a bobby trap that almost nails Hal. Guy yanks him to safety just in time and Hal begrudgingly says “Thanks.” They keep searching then find Chilton’s body.
Hal’s ring deciphers some markings that translate to “No man escapes the Manhunters.” He recaps to Guy (and any new viewers) that the Manhunters were the Guardians’ first attempt at a police force for the universe, but they went rogue and determined that criminal element included any life force with emotion. This drove them to destroy an entire planet, Ryut, home of Atrocitus who then went on to create the Red Lantern Corps to seek revenge on the Manhunters’ creators.
They are then attacked by three Manhunters. Guy, once more demonstrating his true heroic nature, shoves Hal out of harm’s way, then attacks the robots. He blasts one, while the other two converge on Hal, who holds them back with an energy barrier. Guy tells him he may want to go on offense, when his Manhunter recovers and blasts him.
The pair hold off the Manhunters, but that’s all they can manage. Hal spies another booby trap button and hits it, dropping a spiked ceiling on the two Manhunters attacking him. He then blasts the one hammering away at Guy’s force field. “Follow me!” he shouts. All three Manhunters recover and pursue them. Hal sets off another trap but it barely slows them down. Finally, Hal causes a cave in that seems to contain them. (But judging by how resilient they were up to this point, that seems exceedingly unlikely!)
Hal contacts Salaak and informs him about the Manhunters. Salaak is sceptical but, like Appa, gets excited when he sees Guy, so Hal cuts off their communication. Vinessa arrives and Hal seals Guy in a giant Mason jar, then takes credit for stopping the Manhunters. Suddenly, the robots break free, scan the humans and detect emotions. They attack.
Hal tells Vinessa to escape, then he and Guy stand their ground, but these robots are incredibly tough. From a news helicopter, Vinessa films the battle in hopes it will land her an anchor position. Suddenly, one of the Manhunters attacks her chopper. Hal pries it loose and once more orders her to leave the area.
One by one, the Manhunters break away from the battle and swoop toward a nearby town. Hal traps one of them and Guy blasts it with everything he’s got. Luckily, it’s enough and the Manhunter explodes. They armor up and once again, working together, destroy another one. Then finally, they destroy the last Manhunter. Ah teamwork! Looks like they’re friends! They fist bump, then Guy wraps Hal in a bear hug… all the while Vinessa is still filming.
After the battle, Hal’s cell phone rings. (He literally appears to pull it out of his ass. Where else is he going to carry it in that skin-tight body stocking?) He quickly realizes he’s missed his dinner date with Carol. Sure enough Carol breaks up with him, because he has a higher calling and she doesn’t want to get in the way or sit around waiting and hoping he will find the time to devote to her. Guy offers some condolences and says at least Hal has people that care about him. He then goes too far and asks for Carol’s number, causing Hal to punch him in the face.
Hal is then summoned by Salaak to report to Oa, where the Guardians reveal that he is being relieved of his duties as Green Lantern of Sector 2814. Hal angrily almost quits, before The Guardians elaborate that he has been promoted to Honor Guard and will now patrol all of Guardian Space.
This episode was a stark change from last season which took place almost entirely in desolate space. This was the first episode (I think) that took place almost entirely on Earth. None of the usual supporting characters appeared. No Kilowog, Razer or Aya. Instead, we get more Carol, who went from loving and supportive last season to emotionally drained and defeated. That’s really too bad. I really enjoyed her apperance last season and thought she made a smart, level-headed character that nicely balanced the brasher Hal. And while I missed the other supporting characters, I’m sure they’ll be back soon and enjoyed this breather on Earth.
That said, I think this may be the last we see of Earth for a while. Hal’s new position will presumably take his adventures back into space. The introduction of the Anti-Monitor and Manhunters clearly indicate they will take the place of the Red Lanterns as this season’s major threats. I’m sort of intrigued, but I’m not sure how well these personality-free characters can stack up in the long run. Atrocitus and his minions had motives and emotions. These robots don’t.
The biggest news, though, is the inroduction of Guy Gardner. Hal tends to be a cocky alpha male, then here comes a guy that out-alphas him! Guy struts around with more than a passing resemblance to Buzz Lightyear with his giant lantern jaw (no pun intended) and boxer’s nose, pointing to his althetic past, with all the confidence in the world. Yet twice he places Hal’s safety above his own, revealing that he’s not just some arrogant jerk and that he does have a hero’s instincts. With Hal zipping off to Guardian Space, I’m not sure how big a part Guy will play in upcoming episodes, but I’m positive this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him.
What do you think? What kind of start is Green Lantern: The Animated Series Season Two off to? Leave a comment below!