Justice League (Season 1, Ep 10): Paradise Lost Part 1

Hi! Welcome to my episode-by-episode recap of, and reaction to Justice League. There will be no spoilers beyond the current episode. As is my custom with recaps, I will give you a short summary recap followed by a long and unnecessarily helpfully detailed version. My reaction will follow at the end if you just want to scroll past all of the recap.

If you want to see my prior Justice League episode reviews, click HERE:

THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:

Wonder Woman finally decides to return home to Themyscira to face her mom… after running away to save the world. When she arrives, she finds the island burning and the Amazons there turned into stone statues. A sorcerer named Felix Faust has done the bad deed and promises to restore them if she helps him find some ancient magical relics. Wonder Woman relents and does as he asks.

After starting the search on her own, and destroying a museum in the process, Wonder Woman enlists the rest of the Justice League to help her. They recover relics from Central America and beneath a mall in the United States. As the episode ends, we learn that Faust is working with Greek god Hades to obtain these relics and that they are part of the god’s plan to rule the world.

THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:

The episode begins with scenes of people reacting to the arrival of a storm from the ocean. Snapper Carr reports that Tropical Storm Gardner has been upgraded to Hurricane Gardner. Carr reports that Metropolis residents are warned to take immediate shelter.

The scene cuts to a firetruck responding to an emergency in the midst of the storm. Suddenly a stop sign flies through the windshield of the emergency vehicle, it causes the truck to fishtail, and crash through the guardrail of a bridge. The front-end of the fire trucks hangs over the edge while the rest remains on the bridge. They try to escape through the back of the truck but it slides forward and off the bridge. The fall stops abruptly as Wonder Woman lassos the truck and prevents it from falling farther. Superman arrives on the front end of the firetruck and catches a fire fighter who had fallen out. Together, Wonder Woman and Superman gently set the firetruck down on the ground below.

A moment later, everyone hears a little girl calling for help. She is high up on a tree, hanging on to a branch, and calling for her mommy during the hurricane. Just as the entire tree begins to fall, Wonder Woman flies over and catches the girl.

Wonder Woman: I’ve got you little sister.
Girl: You’re not my sister!

Wonder Woman takes the small girl to her front door where her mother is there waiting. As the little girl hugs her mother, her mother asks her why she ran off like that. Mom also says that she does not know what she’d do if anything ever happened to her. They go inside but Wonder Woman watches their door lost in thought. She is so lost in thought that she nearly allows a traffic light, pole and all, to fall on her. Superman carries her out of the way and tells her that she is usually more careful than that.

Wonder Woman tells Superman that she was thinking about how she left her home, Themyscira, against her mother’s wishes. Superman suggests that she return home and set things right. She says it is not that easy. However, she then agrees and says he is right and that she cannot put it off any longer.

Superman: When will you be back?
Wonder Woman: I don’t know.

She then flies away into the thunder storm.

Later, we see Wonder Woman flying a jet and practicing what she will say to her mother upon her return.

Wonder Woman: ‘You look more radiant than ever!’ No. ‘Gone mother? I didn’t go anywhere. I was in my room… alone… for eight months.’ Definitely not. ‘The world was in peril. Would you have me stand by and do nothing?’ Hera give me strength.

Wonder Woman finally arrives at Themyscira and finds it burning. After she exits the plane, she looks around and notices that her sisters have been turned into statues. Suddenly she is alarmed for her mother and flies toward her. As she does, though she does not see, the audience sees the back of someone new in the foreground.

Wonder Woman finally finds her mother. She has also been turned into a statue. As Wonder Woman kneels in front of her mother apologizing for not being there to protect her, she sees a man approaching her from behind in the reflection of a shield lying on the ground. She throws the shield at the man. In turn, he throws magical spells at her. Wonder Woman deflects them with her bracelets and punches him savagely, knocking him to the ground. Before she can punch him again, he warns her that if she harms him, the others will remain as they are. She shoves him back against a wall.

Wonder Woman: Who are you? Talk!
Man: My name is Faust. Felix Faust.

Faust tells Wonder Woman that he came to the island in search of knowledge and that to obtain the knowledge, he must find the fragments of an ancient relic. He tells her that the first relic was on this island and that he turned the Amazons to stone in self-defense after visiting. He offers Wonder Woman a deal. He says that he will turn them back from stone if she helps him find the other missing relic fragments. Wonder Woman asks why she should believe him so he gives her a demonstration and restores her mother from stone. Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman’s mother, opens her now non-stone eyes and sees Diana. She says that Athena hear her prayer. Hippolyta then sees Faust, picks up her sword, and charges at him. He turns her back into stone.

Wonder Woman calls Faust a monster and demands that he give her the amulet whereby he turned her mother into stone. Faust makes it vanish and he tells her that he needs her answer regarding his offer.

Wonder Woman: What kind of man are you?
Faust: A practical one. You have twenty-four hours to bring me the other fragments. Otherwise your unfortunate mother will remain like this forever.

Faust causes an hourglass to materialize and he hands it to Wonder Woman. She asks him where she will find the relics. He tells her that gems he is holding are attuned to the mystic vibrations of the fragments and that the gems will lead the way. She takes the gems from him and gives him a warning.

Wonder Woman: Heed my words, Faust. If you break you word, no magic in the universe will save you from me.

Faust just replies by advising her to hurry. She gets into her jet and flies away. Alone again on the island, Faust makes a magical circle in the air and opens a portal to a place of fire and smoke. A voice from the other side of the portal asks him why he is lingering on the island and Faust replies that he made a change of plans. He tells the voice that he will have someone else risk their neck and bring the relics to him instead of acquiring the relics himself at the risk of his own neck. The voice tells him that if he fails, he will have more than his neck to worry about.

Wonder Woman calls Batman from her jet and asks Batman for background information on a sorcerer named Felix Faust. He asks if she can tell him what is going on but she a beeping sound begins to sound on her jet and she tells him she has to go. After the call, Batman asks their computer to track coordinates on Javelin 7, Wonder Woman’s jet.

Wonder Woman breaks into an unspecified museum and begins to look around. The gems in her hand lead her a decorative jar. As she approaches the jar, she walks through a security system laser and sets off the museum alarm. The windows abruptly seal themselves shut. Wonder Woman breaks open the jar and finds something inside. She picks it up and wonders aloud why Faust would want this.

Her question is seemingly answered, immediately, when an enormous nearby statue comes to life and unsheathes a no-longer-stone sword and lifts it to strike at her.

Wonder Woman: Great Gaia!

She lassos his arm in an attempt to pull him down. He proves stronger than her, though, and uses the lasso to fling her forward. She evades an attack as this happens but the giant status takes the relic from her and closes his fist around it. She pulls at his fingers to open his fist but he casually tosses her into marble pillars inside the museum. The crash destroys the pillars and buries Wonder Woman. The status uses its sword to look for her in the rubble but does not find her. As it turns to walk away, Wonder Woman lifts a boulder from her head

Wonder Woman: I am Diana, Princess of the Amazons. I won’t be denied!

She flings the marble boulder at the statue. The force of the throw destroys the giant’s leg. She punches it furiously and turns the rest of it to rubble as well. She picks up the relic just as Superman arrives.

Superman: Diana, what is going on?
Wonder Woman: This is not your concern!
Superman: When my friends start tearing up museums it becomes my concern. I’ve already alerted the others. When they get here they will want an explanation.

Once everyone arrives Wonder Woman explains the situation and she tells them that of course she does not trust Faust but sees no other options. Flash suggests going back to the island to kick that sorcerer’s butt, but she tells him no, and that men are forbidden from setting foot on Themyscira. She also notes that she gave her word to find the other relics.

Martian Manhunter: I’m afraid that leaves us with but one course of action…
[Wonder Woman braces for opposition]
Martian Manhunter: We’ll have to help you.

Sometime later, J’onn is with Flash and he is holding one of the gems. He is just outside of a Central American pyramid. The Flash is still thinking about visiting Themyscira.

Flash: Picture it. The sun, the sea, hundreds of women just like her running around, and me, the first man they’ve seen in, oh maybe forever. Oh and look what I brought… iced mochas for everyone! Sweet.

J’onn suggests that they should concentrate on finding the relic. Flash says no problem, takes the gems, speeds into the pyramid and out again with a large ceramic jar. He says that was easy just as an earthquake occurs. A giant fire-breathing serpent emerges from the split in the ground.

Somewhere else, Wonder Woman is holding another gem and flying with Superman. They both look down and Superman is must be some mistake. Wonder Woman says that according to the gem the relic is inside. They fly together into the Metro Mall and go inside.

Wonder Woman: It’s like some kind of temple.
Superman: Yes, for those who worship their credit cards.

They walk past a display of female mannequins and Wonder Woman unironically asks how any female could wear such ridiculous garments. Superman scans the mall with his x-ray vision and finds the next relic under the floor. He wantonly destroys mall property, busts through the floor, and brings the relic out.

Wonder Woman wonders aloud why it was buried here and Superman replies that from the looks of it it was buried a long time. Wonder Woman says that someone went to a lot of trouble to be certain these pieces were never disturbed. Suddenly, in a flash of blinding light, both heroes are knocked to the ground. When Wonder Woman opens her eyes, she sees a monstrous living gargoyle standing where Superman was previously.

The camera angle changes. Superman sees a huge humanoid lizard standing where Diana had been standing.

From Wonder Woman’s perspective again, she asks the gargoyle what it did with Superman and she punches it in the face. It punches back.

In Central America, J’onn touches the enormous fire-breathing serpent and collapses in pain. As the serpent attempts to breath fire on Flash and J’onn, Flash spins his arms in circles, at superspeed, and funnels the creature’s fire back at itself. It tries to chase Flash and he evades it in such a way that it twists itself into a knot in its pursuit. J’onn recovers enough to tell Flash to take the relic while he finishes off the snake. The snake lunches for J’onn and he punches it hard enough to knock it unconscious.

Flash: Remind me to never get on your bad side.

Back at the mall, Suerman and Wonder Woman remain under a spell and continue to fight one another, each believing that they are fighting a monster.

Elsewhere, Batman approaches an old man climbing some steps.

Professor Erlich: No conferences without an appointment, see my secretary… [sees Batman]… AHH!

Batman: [hovers over the professor ominously] Tell me about Faust.

Superman and Wonder Woman continue fighting and tearing up the Metro Mall in the process. The fight is relatively even when Superman is finally knocked down and sees Wonder Woman’s reflection in a pool of water and realizes what is happening. The illusion when he sees her is broken. He tries to call out to her but all she hears are the unintelligible cries of a gargoyle monster. Their fight continues, with Superman now much more defensive and not punching back. She finally grabs him by the neck and asks where Superman is. She says that she will not ask again. The monster points at a dressing room mirror. When she looks, she sees herself and Superman in the reflection and the illusion is broken for her too. She sets him down so that he can recover.

Wonder Woman: Superman, I’m so sorry! What kind of horror have we unleashed?

Back on Themyscira, the voice from the fire and smoke asks Faust where she is. Faust asks his lord to try to be patient. The voice replies that he has been patient for over three thousand years.

Faust: Forgive me. I simply meant that the relics will soon be here. I feel it in my bones. And then Lord Hades, the world will be ours.

Hades: Indeed it will, human. Indeed it will.

to be continued

REACTION:

This was a fun episode. We finally get a better look at Wonder Woman’s background and the character’s mythology (which is rooted in Greek mythology.) We get a lot of wanton destruction of museum and shopping mall property. Most of the super-powered members of the league get at least one opportunity to show off their power in a cool way. We even got the fun hypothetical “who would win if Superman fought Wonder Woman” fight. [The answer is that the TV viewer wins and everyone else loses.]

Let’s talk about each of these things one at a time:

  1. Wonder Woman is a full-on Greek in most respects. She worships and venerates Greek gods and goddesses (we see Hera, Athena, Gaia, and Hades all referenced in this episode.) In this sense, the DC movie update of that character is a vast improvement. Gal Gadot is at least from a country bordering the Mediterranean Sea. In many respects, I feel as though the animated version of the Wonder Woman character, here, is the midway point between Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot’s version.
  2. Property destruction… does that generate ill will toward the Justice League? Or can they destroy a shopping mall and a museum, here and there, because they stopped the White Martian invasion? Does Batman pay for the property damage? I don’t know the answers to those questions except for the last one… Batman is definitely bankrolling their building smashing.
  3. In this episode we got to see J’onn just wreck a skyscraper tall snake with one punch. I am fairly certain that this means he is holding back most of the time when he fights. We got to see Flash own that same snake with his super-speed (blowing fire right into its face and twisting it up in a literal knot.) Superman and Wonder Woman also gave us a great power demonstration at the shopping mall. It’s always worth remembering when Superman fights that if he were going all out he’d use that heat vision as a weapon. He almost never does. I am not certain we got either Superman or Wonder Woman going full tilt in this match-up. She wanted the gargoyle to be able to talk, after all.

Our bad guy in this episode is a villain that makes sense against Wonder Woman… the greek god Hades. Hades is working with a sorcerer named Felix Faust. Nothing very interesting happened with these two just yet but I think that will be largely what we see in Part 2.

The two baddies have some pretty notable voice actors. Robert Englund is the voice of Faust. He is most famous for portraying Freddie Kruger in The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Hades is voiced by John Rhys-Davies. He portrayed Sallah in the Indiana Jones franchise. He was also in another well-remembered role…

Funny moments:

  • The little girl calling out Wonder Woman for not being her sister, after Diana calls her “little sister” was funny.
  • The premise of that rescue was funny inasmuch as it feels implausible: the mom who let a toddler wander off in a hurricane… I mean… what was going on at home there? Mom was just waiting at the door instead of actively searching for the girl in the middle of a hurricane? Mom doesn’t even thank Wonder Woman… she just goes back inside?
  • The toddler who wandered off in a hurricane climbed a tree half a mile away? Why? Maybe she wanted to see the storm?
  • Wonder Woman trying to tell Superman to back off after she destroyed a museum…lol:

Superman: When my friends start tearing up museums it becomes my concern.

  • Flash’s mind continues to be in one place even while super-heroing.

Flash: Picture it. The sun, the sea, hundreds of women just like her running around, and me, the first man they’ve seen in, oh maybe forever. Oh and look what I brought… iced mochas for everyone! Sweet.

  • I suspect that Flash is not creating a very comfortable work environment for either Hawkgirl or Wonder Woman. Much of this dialogue would be handled differently if this were written today, I suspect. The year 2001, a mere twenty years ago, does not feel like *that* long ago. But in many respects, it really was a long time ago.

I’m interested to watch and see how Justice League handles Hades in the next episode. Part 1 of this story arc has me hooked.

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