SPOILER ALERT!  This is a full episode recap, so if you want to avoid spoilers, please watch the episode before reading this!

Sayd visits Zilius Zox, the successor to Atrocitus as the leader of the Red Lanterns (Prime Magistrate to be exact) on Ysmault in the Forbidden Zone, but Zox is upset that the actual leader of the Guardians, Appa Ali Apsa is not present.

Also en route is Hal’s team, but Razer asks that they make a detour to his homeworld, Volkreg.  As he observes the destruction from its alien conquerors and thinks of his deceased wife, Ilana.  He doesn’t notice Aya following him.

Bleeze pulls Zox aside and says that they shouldn’t trust the Guardians and suggests they kill Sayd.  Meanwhile, the wave of blue anti-matter continues washing across space and as it passes through Ysmault, it reactivates one damaged Manhunter, the robots responsible for the planet’s destruction.  Sayd spies the revived Manhunter and in a panic, rushes to distract Zox by playing to his ego, namely suggesting that they erect a monument to the Red Lanterns.  Zox runs with the idea, planning to erect hundreds of statues of himself to “inspire” the troops.

On Volkreg, Aya reveals her presence to Razer but offers to leave if she is intruding.  He grabs her hand and tells her to stay.  He shows her that life is returning to this once dead planet by plucking a blue flower and giving it to her.  They share an extended gaze before Razer attempts to go in for a kiss, something that has long been building on this series, but they are interrupted by Hal telling them they need to leave for Ysmault immediately.

Sayd immediately greets them but is livid when she spies Aya, telling the others that that program was terminated because Aya acted outside of normal parameters.  Hal defends her, though.  Sayd, still angry, gives Hal the coordinates of the Manhunter she saw earlier and wants them to care of it quietly, fearing that if anyone else on Ysmault witnessed it, they would blame the Guardians and plunge right back into war.

They follow the coordinates but the Manhunter is gone and headed toward a populated area.  Luckily, it is so damaged that its offensive weapons malfunction, allowing Hal and the others to try and stop it before anyone sees it.

They fail, however when Razer crashes into Zox, then spots Hal and Kilowog battling the Manhunter.

Without Zox to attend, the planned banquet breaks up early and Sayd boards the ship to find the dismantled Manhunter and a captured Zox in a containment cell.

Aya detyects the Anti-Monitor and an army of Manhunters and they head toward an asteroid field.  Sayd explains the origin of the Anti-Monitor, which was built by a renegade Guardian named Chrona, who designed him to be the ultimate being.  The only way to stop him, was to send him into the parallel Hal visited in “Steam Lantern.” The Anti-Monitor is using his anti-matter to “eat” The Maelstrom, the large asteroid belt.

Hal tries to convince Zox that the Guardians are not in control of the Anti-Monitor or the Manhunters, when the Anti-Monitor detects them and deploys his robot army.  Hal, Kilowog and Razer respond, with Aya making a point to tell Razer to be careful.  Despite this, Razer gets separated from Hal and Kilowog and Aya must go after him, despite Sayd’s stern warning not to.

Hal and Kilowog return to the ship and Zox and Sayd both tell them to leave Razer and Aya behind.  Of course Hal refuses and uses the ships computer to try and locate them.

Things look bad, though, as Razer is completely outnumbered and the Manhunters have him on the ropes.  Just before three of them can blast him, Aya swoops to the rescue.  But just as they are reunited, Aya realizes that they are directly in the Anti-Monitor’s energy beam’s path.  She pushes Razer away to safety just as the blast strikes her.  Her body immediately starts to disintegrate!

Razer tries to save her, but it’s too late.  Aya tells him that she now understands the meaning of regret, that neither made the move when they both were clearly in love with the other.  Then, her green energy body fades away, leaving just empty pieces of her armor.  Razer caresses her helmet, when suddenly the Intercepter approaches and roughly snatches him, knocking the helmet from his hand.  I reaches out for it, just as all of Aya’s armor are engulfed in the Anti-Monitor’s energy.

That’s the end?  Pretty abrupt!  No wrap-up.  I guess we’ll see the reaction to Aya’s destruction next episode.

I love Aya!  She’s my favorite part of the show and her slow-burn romance with Razer is one of the emotional highlights!  So, obviously I’m upset by this turn of events, but I’m just hoping that they figure out some way to bring her back.  I’m not sure how this will effect Razer.  I hope he doesn’t go back to his angry days when he first joined the Red Lantern Corps!

Overall, this was a good episode with a lot of heart.  We finally saw Razer and Aya drifting together.  They almost kissed!  Things were looking good, then THIS had to happen!  Argh!

One thing I would like to address is the Manhunters.  Sometimes, they’re so powerful, all of the heroes have to combine their powers to defeat just one.  At other times, one hero alone can wipe out several in one blast.  That’s inconsistent.  It drives me crazy, actually.  They need to really establish just how powerful they are and stick with that.

So what did you think about the death of Aya?  Or anything else that happened in this episode?  Please leave a comment below!