SPOILER ALERT: This is a full episode recap, so if you want to avoid spoilers, please watch the episode first.
We start off this episode in an underground chamber where The Reach and The Light hold a summit which The Light requested. The Ambassador quickly voices grievances, questioning how the Young Justice and Justice League members were able to gain access to the Scarab Chamber which was supposed to be under the control of The Light’s member Queen Bee. This camber was also where Zatanna freed Blue Beetle from The Reach’s control. (Last episode.) The meeting is a tense one. Kaldur’ahm tries to explain, but Black Beetle cuts him off. Vandal Savage and the Ambassador try to remain civil but their distrust is barely contained. Kaldur explains that The Light had no way of knowing that The Reach had sent a scarab to Earth so long ago, nor could they have known that Earth magic could override Reach technology. His tone is quite accusatory. Scientists turns on Ambassador, saying she had wanted to study the scarab before they put it back on line. She quickly realizes her place and apologizes.
Black Manta however, says she was right to question her master’s tactics and states that The Light has provided The Reach with everything they’ve asked, yet they’ve let everything slip through their fingers. Ra’s Al-Ghul tries to steer the meeting back to a more productive path, but does point out that The Reach’s approval ratings are at an all-time low and their drink, which was key to enslaving the human race is not selling. Vandal Savage and Black Manta point out that the teenagers The Reach empowered rescued The Team and all of the young heroes were allowed to escape under The Reach’s watch. Kaldur adds that they also lost control over both Blue and Green Beetle.
The Reach counter that Black Beetle has been ordered to kill both Beetles so that they can reset their scarabs and attach them to two other host bodies. Ambassador states that per their agreement, The Reach now posses the Earth and that The Light are simply their favored agents.
This sets off Black Manta, who refuses to be a slave. He and Black Beetle arm themselves, while Deathstroke also readies himself for battle. Black Beetle smacks Manta aside and Deathstroke and Tigress leap into battle. (This might be a tiny blooper, but Deathstroke was seen reaching for his sword, but when he actually attacks, it’s with his bo.) The Reach sends its troops to join the fray. An energy blast nearly strikes Ra’s Al-Ghul, but Tigress deflects it, but is knocked backwards into him. She apologizes, but Ra’s eyes are focused on the crystal necklace she wears, given to her by Zatanna to mask her identity… does Ra’s recognize it? Uh oh!
Before things get too out of hand, Kaldur comes between his father and Black Beetle, reminding them that they are supposed to be allies. The Ambassador agrees, thanks him and orders Black Beetle (begrudgingly) to stand down. Kaldur is worried that Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, John Stewart and the others should be returning from Rimbor soon, but Vandal assures him that they will be convicted thanks to bribery. Ambassador reminds them that the Green Lanterns will not be allowed back on Earth thanks to the treaty they made with the Guardians thousands of years ago and the fact that UN Ambassador Tseng has officially welcomed them to Earth.
The Ambassador assures them that they will be able to turn the tide of public opinion, but Ra’s Al-Ghul isn’t listening. He walks over to Tigress, rips off her necklace and reveals her identity as Artemis! The villains quickly realize that since it seemed that Kaldur killed Artemis, that this was all a ploy and that he too must be lying to them. Ambassador orders Black Beetle to kill them, but Deathstroke guns them both down first. Black Manta cradles his son, but Aqualad tells him he’s already won. In his hand he holds a holographic device and issues a “from beyond” revelation that The Light has actually been manipulating The Reach from the beginning, drawing them to Earth by sending the Justice League on its rampage on Rimbor. They have secretly been sabotaging The Reach from the start and are responsible for the public turning against them. They kept the four super powered teens out of their clutches and neutralized their drink so that it would not enslave humanity. Vandal Savage, Ra’s Al-Ghul and the rest were using The Reach to elevate Earth’s standing in the galaxy in hopes that in a “survival of the fittest” way, the Earth, ruled by The Light, would eventually rule all of The Milky Way.
The Ambassador lashes out in fury, threatening to destroy the Earth with War World, but Vandal Savage scoffs stating that he has the Crystal Key. Aqualad and Artemis then reveal that they aren’t really dead and were just seeking this bit of information. Vandal Savage questions Deathstroke, whose sword suddenly floats up to Savage’s throat… it’s Miss Martian in disguise. Suddenly, several of their teammates leap into the room, surrounding the villains. Included is a returned Kid Flash. But The Light is prepared as the entrances quickly seal themselves and the ceiling opens. In pour a boat-load of ninjas!
Vandal Savage is livid and orders the “children” be killed, singling out that Superboy is the one who would present the most problem. Aqualad remains unfazed, marveling that the villains still underestimate them. One ninja rips off his costume to reveal that he’s Blue Beetle and he takes down a bunch of The Reach’s guards with his sonic disruptor. Lagoon Boy and Beast Boy also reveal themselves as part of the ninja crew. Chaos breaks out! Kid Flash sets off several smoke grenades as the heroes take on the villains. During the course of the fight, Impulse, Wonder Girl and Robin also are shown to be in ninja disguises.
Vandal admits he has underestimated the young heroes… “But no more.” Klarion the Witch Boy appears and turns Deathstroke’s sword into a fire dragon, disabling Miss Martian and allowing him to whisk Vandal away to safety. Black Beetle calls him a coward. When Ra’s Al-Ghul states that the heroes have no jurisdiction here, Black Beetle impales him with his razor sharp gauntlets. Ra’s man-servant Ubu grabs his master’s limp form and they make an escape (presumably to the nearest Lazarus Pit).
Black Manta and Kaldur face each other, both struggling with their loyalties. Kaldur admits he has seen Black Manta’s noble side, but as long as he sides with the villains, he has no choice but to oppose him.
When the fire dragon threatens to devour the weakened Miss Martian, Lagoon Boy, the boy she recently broke up with, leaps to save her. After he destroys the dragon, the share a tender moment before they must lunge back into battle.
Kid Flash and Impulse are reunited and Wally tells Bart that once this invasion is over, he and Artemis are going back into retirement and he wants Bart to carry on as Kid Flash, which delights the younger speedster.
Black Manta unleashes his full arsenal against his son, warning him that he will teach him to be “ruthless.” Kaldur then cuts loose with his water-manipulation powers, defeating his father. He asks if that was ruthless enough for him.
Blue Beetle captures Ambassador and Scientist. Black Beetle tells Ambassador that he is no longer fit to lead and leaves him, while taking Scientist, who he states may still be of use. The pair flee the scene.
The heroes are triumphant! Kaldur laments that he had hoped to end the entire affair that night, but the other heroes tell him they are victories, having perhaps crucially crippled The Reach and having split The Light in half. Beast Boy is thrilled that Artemis is alive and that Aqualad isn’t really a traitor. Even so, Kaldur looks at his father’s unconscious body and is clearly conflicted.
On War World, The Reach’s soldiers are teleported away. Vandal Savage Boom Tubes in and makes short work of Black Canary, Black Lightning and Captain Marvel, sending them back to the Watchtower, where Nightwing was just in the process of handing over leadership to the team back to Kaldur. They spy War World flying off into space, but Nightwing wonders if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
On Earth, Captain Atom presents holographic evidence that The Reach’s goal was always conquest and General Tseng renounces The Reach’s welcome on Earth and orders them to leave, indicating that the Green Lantern Corps should be on its way. Black Beetle angrily vows to destroy the Earth before they can be forced off.
Okay, this may have been THE biggest episode so far! This entire season has been leading up to this, Aqualad and Artemis’ undercover mission, the strange, back-stabby treaty between The Light and The Reach, the Reach’s attempted invasion, Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage’s machinations, even the manipulation of the Justice League, in an effort to handicap the team and vanquish their most threatening members into outer space. Everything came out in the wash this episode! The Reach and The Light’s agreement is clearly destroyed, with the Earth rejecting The Reach entirely. Yet, Vandal Savage has seized control of War World. What does he plan to do with it, though? I think Rimbor factors in.
This episode really satisfied! Finally, Aqualad and Artemis’ undercover mission paid off, shattering the alliance between The Reach and The Light. The villains are on the run now, for a change. There are still a few loose ends that need to be wrapped up, the fate of Tye Longshadow and his allies and the trial of Superman and the rest, but in all, what a great episode that helped cap a lot of ongoing story lines! Heck, even just the reunion between Kid Flash and Artemis has been a long time coming and the excellent interpersonal bits, like the conversation between Wally and Bart and the tender moment between Miss Martian and Lagoon Boy… all really NICE character moments! This episode left nothing to be desired!
What did you think? Were you satisfied with this episode? Leave a comment below!