Spoiler Alert! This is a full episode recap, so if you want to avoid spoilers, please watch the episode before reading this.
Following Aya’s possession of the Anti-Monitor (last episode), the Interceptor is thrown through space and drained of almost all its power. The Lanterns’ personal Power Rings are also nearly depleted. Suddenly, the ship is sucked into a planet’s gravitational pull and plummets downward toward the surface. Razer hooks his battery, which still has a little energy left, to the engine and they manage to land safely but not securely as their windshield is heavily damaged. Hal explains that it will take ten hours for the main battery to recharge and says they can just “hang out til then,” but Razer scans the atmosphere and reveals that it is mostly methane. Just then, the windshield shatters, flooding the ship with the poison gas. Their rings have enough juice to protect them, and Hal spots a settlement, enclosed in a dome, in the distance. When they try to fly toward it, however, they discover their rings are too weak as they fall from the sky onto the rocky surface.
They must hike on foot, with the settlement being 25K away. While they jog, Kilowog chants a Lantern boot camp rhyme, like the Marine Corps does when running. Hal chimes in with his own improvised verse, but Kilowog says that it doesn’t rhyme. Hal says it does in his language, when Kilowog states that their rings translate each others languages but doesn’t make them rhyme.
Upon reaching the citadel, they find it populated by short, sharp-toothed aliens who don’t seem to care for Green Lanterns as they open fire on them. (If you’ve seen Galaxy Quest, think about the short sharp-toothed aliens in that.) The Lanterns flee, once more on foot, and take shelter behind a rock formation. When Kilowog tries to formulate a plan, he slips into his native language. Suddenly, his uniform fades and he is left wearing his traditional garb. Also faded is his life support! Hal tries to save him, only for his uniform and life support to fade as well. Both Lanterns drop to their hands and knees, gasping for air.
Fortunately, Razer still has a bit of juice left and shields them. He can also still understand and be understood by the others, forcing him to “translate” for them, which he generally bluffs. They spy a caravan of tanks and both Green Lanterns hatch the same plan, to slip under the last vehicle in order to sneak into the citadel. Hal jumps the gun, though, which nearly results in Kilowog getting left behind, but Hal pulls him aboard just in time.
Once inside the walls of the structure, they find a secluded alcove and Hal says they just need somewhere to hide out for four hours until the ship’s main Battery is recharged. Just then, Razer’s energy fades, leaving him in his civilian attire and most unfortunately, now none of them can understand the other two.
Kilowog spies three of the aliens on patrol and grabs Hal and Razer, attempting to hide them, but instead they stumble into a bar full of aliens and they must flee. The three cut to the side, avoiding the mob and encounter a shady alien who offers them a ride in his ship in exchange for… whatever they have. Hal can only offer keys, gum and his cell phone. Kilowog is carrying a handful of grubs! Razer then pulls out dagger after dagger after dagger. Hal’s phone lights up with a picture of Carol and the alien decides she is what he wants. Kilowog simply knocks the alien into the wall, just as the angry mob locates them. So they simply steal the ship, but Hal and Razer fight over who should pilot it, snatching the wheel back and forth. Despite the rocky ride, Hal almost gets them to safety, when a tank cuts them off, sending the ship spinning out of control.
Hal tries to formulate a plan, seemingly forgetting that they other two cannot understand him, so they charge forward only to get taken down by the aliens. They find themselves trapped in a cell, connected to a huge arena, where they soon find themselves facing a towering “Rancor”-like monster. Once more, hal tries to tell the others what to do, only for them to not understand and charge in doing whatever they want. After getting tossed around, Hal faintly hears the metallic oath “No man escapes The Manhunters.” He quickly spies a Manhunter head, among many other heads, attached to the monster’s bandolier. Hal realizes that he can understand it because it’s powered by Green Energy, which could potentially be used to power up their rings.
Phase two of the tournament finds the heroes hoisted aloft on large platforms… which gives them an even better vantage point from which to procure the Manhunter head. Still not quite getting the whole “They can’t understand you” thing, Hal launches into an inspiring speech, but then Kilowog just picks him up and throws him at the monster. Razer and Kilowog then use the creature’s own whip against it, tangling its feet. Hal can’t quite reach the Manhunter’s head… until the creature grabs him and prepares to eat him. He recites the Green Lantern oath, just as the monster drops him into its mouth!
The creature chomps down, but then Hal in full uniform, glowing with energy emerges and flings the head to Kilowog, who recites the oath in Bolovoxian and is also transformed. He tosses the head to Razer who simply flashes his Red Ring, indicating that it’s worthless to him. (More on this in a bit.)
Hal and Kilowog let loose with the ring constructs which seemingly stun the monster, who stands still… until Razer flings the Manhunter’s head at it. It seems to bounce harmlessly off the creature’s skull, but then a moment later, the behemoth crumbles to the ground. With their translators back in action, they understand when one of the aliens asks, “What have you done to mother?” The heroes take their leave.
Razer appears, suited and powered up again, explaining that his Battery recharged itself. Kilowog repairs the Interceptor’s windshield, while Hal tries to credit their success on his “pep talk.” Razer and Kilowog play along, but later reveal they didn’t understand any of it, as they take off.
Hmmm. I’m not sure how to take this episode. On its own, it’s more than entertaining. I don’t give props to the voice actors enough, but Kevin Michael Richardson (Kilowog) and Jason Spisak (Razer) do a truly admirable job here, delivering almost all of their dialogue in completely made up languages Boloxovian and Volkregian respectively! That’s going above and beyond any way you slice it, so kudos there!
This episode was very humorous. The fact that the characters couldn’t understand one another generated some funny moments, although fact that Hal kept forgetting and kept launching into these diatribes got a bit tired. (I get it, though, you can’t just have the characters not speaking for 30 minutes.)
Not that there wasn’t one very pleasant character moment that many might miss. When Kilowog tosses Razer the Manhunter head in order to power up, Razer gives him a snarky look and holds up his Red Ring. The subtext that some may miss is the implication that Kilowog and presumably Hal simply consider Razer one of theirs… an adjunct Green Lantern. It’s very subtle, but was actually touching, despite the humorous nature in which it was delivered.
My critique is just that this felt like a throwback episode. The last few episodes have been emotionally packed and have been building upon this season’s major story arc. This episode makes reference to that and fits, technically, but it’s a stand alone episode. If you removed it, I doubt you’d notice it was gone. The idea of the characters’ rings losing all power and them being unable to understand one another is great… maybe it should have been employed sooner? It just sort off felt off after the dark events of the past few episodes.
So my feelings are mixed. This was an entertaining episode and once again props to the voice actors. But it felt like a hiccup in the overall story line.
How did you feel? Did you enjoy “Babel?” Comment below!