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:
Central City completely disappears along with Flash and Green Lantern who were there at the time of its disappearance. J’onn, Diana, Batman, and Hawkgirl investigate and find that an energy shield surrounds the place where the city once stood. Batman learns that the exact same energy signature is present on Africa. When the Justice League arrives in Africa, the four heroes are ambushed and arrested by Gorilla City’s police. In Central City, Flash, Lantern, and Solovar are wearing devices that protect themselves from mind control and they go in search of Grodd. They soon find him.
Grodd uses a mind control helmet to encourage the now enslaved citizens of Central City keep Flash, Solovar, and Lantern occupied while he escapes. He escapes to a military base where he uses mind control to launch nuclear missiles at Gorilla City. Grodd brings down Gorilla City’s shield just before firing them. Flash and Solovar fight Grodd while Lantern chases the missiles. He stops two but cannot get to the other two in time. In Gorilla City, the heroes escape prison just in time to stop the other two missiles from hitting the city. Flash – unbeknownst to Grodd – rewires his helmet and then tricks him into using it. The rewired helmet damages Grodd’s brain enough that they can stop him. The episode ends with peaceful relations between the Justice League and Gorilla City. It also ends with Grodd in captivity but angry about it.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Martian Manhunter is aboard the Watchtower. He suddenly yells out for Diana and Hawkgirl. When they ask him what is the matter, he tells them that Central City is gone. They remember that Green Lantern and Flash were in Central City and attempt to call them. They receive no reply. Green Lantern, Flash, and Solovar wake up. They are each surrounded by the green nimbus from Lantern’s ring. Lantern asks if Flash is still under mind control. Solovar places a silver band on Flash’s head and says that this should protect him. A moment later, Flash wakes up and realizes that he cannot remember what he has been doing recently. He knows that he must have been under Grodd’s mind control.
Flash: Oh man, not again. What did I miss?
GL: That dumb ol’ gorilla got away.
Lantern decides that they need backup and attempts to call Watchtower. He gets no reply and realizes that his comm link is offline. Solovar directs them to look outside. In the sky, they see an enormous shield. Flash asks what it is and Solovar explains that it is just like the shield that protects his city. He says that nothing can get in or get out.
Lantern walks not far away to the machine generating the shield and he blasts it with his ring. Nothing happens. When Flash marvels at that, Solovar tells him that gorilla technology is highly advanced.
Outside, J’onn, Diana, and Hawkgirl are in a jet approaching where Central City once stood. J’onn notes that it is as if the city never existed. Suddenly the jet alerts them of a proximity alert at 12 o’clock. J’onn says that he sees nothing.
Diana: Batman designed this ship. If its censors say that something is there…
The jet crashes into something invisible. J’onn yells at the two of them to hang on and he safely crash lands the jet in an empty field. After they exit the jet, he tells Diana that her trust in Batman’s engineering skills is well placed. Hawkgirl wonders aloud what they hit. Diana walks over and finds an energy field with her hands. J’onn tries to phase through it but fails. Hawkgirls swings her mace at it and is electrocuted for her trouble.
Flash, Green Lantern, and Solovar walk through a completely empty Central City and discuss why they are not seeing any other people. Solovar urges the other two to be quiet and they begin to hear faintly, and then louder, a crowd of people gathering. As the three of them approach the crowd, we hear the people chanting Grodd’s name. Grodd is standing before them.
Solovar: It’s too late. They’re already under his control.
Flash: Uh, how many of these headbands you got left?
Flash: That’s not gonna be enough.
Diana is speaking with Batman. He tells her that he has analyzed the data she has sent him. She asks if he knows how to penetrate the shield and he tells her no. However, he says he has found a similar energy signature to this one in Africa. J’onn asks if the city could have been transported there and Batman replies that it would not be likely. However, he encourages them to investigate and sends coordinates to their on-board GPS. He tells them that he will rendezvous with them in Africa.
Back in Central City…
Grodd: People of Central City, the age of hairless simple-minded humanity is over!
He goes on to tell them that humans are slow, ugly, immoral, and possess an unpleasant body odor. Flash takes umbrage at being called slow and starts heckling Grodd from the crowd, drawing the super-villain gorilla’s attention. He points out the intruders to the multitude of people under his mind control. He instructs his minions to destroy the intruders.
Lantern uses his ring to carve a large trench between themselves and the mob before flying into the air and declaring his intention to go after Grodd. When the mind-controlled police fire guns at Lantern, Flash speeds over and takes their guns from them. The distraction from the mob attack is enough to allow Grodd to escape.
J’onn, Diana, and Hawkgirl join Batman in Africa. When they arrive, he tells them that there is no question that this energy field is identical to the one in Central City. As they are investigating the shield, a gun rises from the grass behind them an electrocutes them. They wake up handcuffed and inside Gorilla City. As a one-eyed gorilla begins to interrogate them regarding who sent them, we see Batman, hands cuffed behind his back, attempting to pick the lock.
Elsewhere, Grodd and Dr. Sarah Corwin arrive on a military base. Grodd mind controls the security and asks him to provide directions to the missile control room. The security complies, calling him Lord Grodd. Inside, Dr. Corwin tells Grodd that the launch codes are accepted and that the nuclear missiles are at his command. Grodd tells her to enter targeting coordinates. He tells her to commence firing sequence at Gorilla City.
In Central City, Flash carries Solovar to get away from the encroaching mob. Lantern flies down and meets them. He informs that Grodd got away but says that if the evil gorilla used his rocket bike that he can use his ring to follow Grodd’s trail.
Later, they arrive at the military base. The guard tells them to halt in the name of Grodd. Solovar incapacitates the guard before he can do anything, but a moment later the base’s alarm sounds. Lantern recognizes the sound as a launch alert. We see four missiles flying into the air. Lanern says he will go after the missiles and he instructs the other two to stop Grodd.
Inside Gorilla City, the one-eyed gorilla is still interrogating the Justice League. Just as the gorilla is about to hit Hawkgirl, Batman yells no. He has freed himself and fires a rope at the gorilla to bind his arms to his sides. He quickly frees the others and they escape. Gorilla security pursues them on rocket bikes. They catch up with the four Justice Leaguers at the city’s shield wall. As they all arrive the shield goes down. A gorilla on a rocket bike instructs the security leader that defense scanners have detected four missiles heading their way. The security leader gives the instruction to evacuate the city. Wonder Woman offers to help them. When the security officer asks what help they could possibly be, Hawkgirl tells him to just watch.
In the skies, Lantern destroys one missile. He has three more to go.
At the military base, Dr. Corwin tells Grodd that missile one has been deactivated.
Grodd: What happened?
Flash: [from the doorway] Best guess, it was my buddy with the power ring.
Solovar tells Grodd that he is under arrest for crimes against Gorilla City. Grodd replies that in five minutes there will not be a Gorilla City.
Green Lantern disarms another missile. However, the explosion knocks him out. He falls from the sky.
In the military base again, Dr. Corwin tells Grodd that missile number two is now deactivated. We can see on her map that Lantern and the two remaining missiles are over the Atlantic Ocean. Solovar tells Grodd that it’s over – leading Grodd to punch him. As Grodd is atop Solovar, Flash drums on Grodd’s head. pushing his helmet over his eyes. Enraged, Grodd fixes his helmet and attacks Flash.
Flash: You want a piece of me Chuckles? Come on.
Lantern is falling to the ground on the African continent. A moment before hitting the ground, he wakes and stops his fall using his ring. He chases the missiles but with Gorilla City now in sight, he knows that he is too late. J’onn suddenly flies in front of one of the missiles. It phases through him but while this is happening, he removes the components from the missile that allow it to explode. It crashes harmlessly to the ground.
Hawkgirl spits a missile in two with her mace. She strikes the back end of it again causing it to explode. The front end of the missile, the end with the nuclear material, remains. It flies toward civilians on the ground. Wonder Woman flies as fast as she can to catch up to it. From the front of the missile, she tries to slow it down. Batman watches this with concern.
Wonder Woman: Hera, give me strength!
Her boots grind against the dirt as she slows the missile and it stops. A cloud of dust and dirt fly into the air as Batman arrives to check on her. We see a deep trench carved through Gorilla City with Wonder Woman missing beneath the now stopped and unexploded missile. Batman furiously pulls rocks out of the way searching for her. J’onn and Hawkgirl arrive. The local gorillas watch also. J’onn places a hand on Batman’s shoulders. Batman slumps his head down in defeat.
Then suddenly Wonder Woman pushes the missile off of her to the amazement of all who thought she had died. She is holding the component of the missile that causes it to explode in her right hand. She then crushes those components.
Wonder Woman: The Fates were kind today. Your city is safe.
Batman and Wonder Woman both notice his muddied hands. He hides them behind his back. She kisses him on the cheek which causes him to blush.
In the military base, Dr. Corwin tells Grodd that missile number four has been deactivated. Furious, Grodd tells Flash that he will rent him limb from limb. He jumps at him but Flash jumps out of the way. Grodd lands head first into a video screen display. Flash taunts him and offers to take off his anti mind-control headband if Grodd takes off his helmet. Flash then throws his headband on the floor as Solovar shouts no at him.
Grodd smiles and calls Flash a fool.
Flash: Oh yeah? Well you’re… naked.
Grodd tells Flash goodbye. However, a moment later Grodd’s helmet short circuits and electrocutes him. He collapses to the floor.
Dr. Corwin: What have you done to him?
Flash: Simple. When I pushed the helmet over his eyes I also crossed some wires.
She tells Flash that he has just destroyed the greatest mind on earth. Flash tells her that she will be okay now that she is free from Grodd’s mind control. Corwin tells him that Grodd never used that on her and that she loves him.
Flash: Internet romances, huh. Go figure.
Sometime later, Solovar tells Flash, Lantern, J’onn, Diana, Hawkgirl, and Batman that he can never repay them for what they have done. Flash asks what will happen to Grodd. Solovar shows Grodd, holding a banana, and pushing a tire swing while drooling with a blank look on his face. Solovar says that the helmet completely wiped out his mind.
Flash: [to Lantern] Not bad, huh? I outsmarted a super genius.
Lantern: I guess you’re not as dumb as you look.
As the episode ends, we look once more at Grodd. His eyes are filled with rage.
This was a really fun episode just as long as you don’t think too hard about how crazy all of this would drive the United States’ government.
- Flash redeems himself and outsmarts Grodd.
- Lantern took out two nuclear missiles on his own.
- Wonder Woman reminded everyone that she’s a demi-god.
- Wonder Woman and Batman have… romantic sparks?
- Grodd and Dr. Corwin have… romantic sparks? A full blown love? (Interspecies dating was not a direction I thought this episode would go.)
One of the story-telling contrivances from the full two part arc is that Flash is occasionally dim-witted. Or if you don’t want to think these episodes went that far, then at a minimum he has a sometimes dangerous lack of impulse control. I call that a contrivance because despite being the consistent comedic relief, these flaws are not typical of his personality. Hitting on pretty girls? Snappy one-liners? Childishness? Sure. Running into danger without asking questions first? Not so much.
Part two redeems the flaws from Part 1. He thinks ahead when he pushes down Grodd’s helmet. We do not see the payoff of that typical Flash silliness until the end when we learn that it was not silliness at all – or at least it was not solely silliness. Part 2’s Flash is the real character. Michael Rosenbaum does a fun job delivering several funny lines throughout. My favorite was Flash insulting Grodd by pointing out that he is naked.
Wonder Woman had the big moment at the end. I think we’re supposed to see that and think of her power levels as being near equivalent to those of Superman. The fight she had with Superman a couple of episodes ago also allude to that equivalency. It’s particularly fun in the format of this show because Justice League introduces her as something of a newbie. All of these more seasoned crime fighters are seeing this newcomer and thinking, “wow!”
Batman probably should have known that she was going to be fine. However, he might not have fully understood the limits of her strength and power until this episode and this moment. Now he knows. Nevertheless, he was the only one of the heroes trying to dig her out. That is kind of bizarre when you consider that Lantern, J’onn, and Hawkgirl all have super strength. J’onn couldn’t search for her telepathically or phase through the crash site and find Wonder Woman? He just shows up and puts a hand on Batman’s shoulder as if to say, “she’s dead, bro.”
When Wonder Woman gets out of the rubble, she knows – or she should know – her only true ally in the Justice League (at least those in this episode) is Batman. I… do not mind the romantic direction the show takes those two characters. It makes sense that Wonder Woman would be attracted to Batman. He’s a true warrior. He’s noble. He’s braver than everyone else in the league inasmuch as he keeps up with them without any super powers. She’s also clearly impressed with his mind generally (which we saw early in the episode where she tells J’onn that Batman’s censors should be trusted above J’onn’s lying eyes.)
Batman obviously cares about Wonder Woman. He was digging frantically through the rubble to find her. But I think he would have done that for any of them. The Dark Knight cares about saving lives. I’m looking forward to seeing where this story goes.
As villains and concepts go, Grodd and Gorilla City are extremely silly. It would take a LOT more story set-up to sell that in a live action setting. But at least in an animated format, the story works and I enjoyed it. We are obvious not done with Grodd, either.
One other note from this episode that was fun for me: Phil Morris did the voice work for the one-eyed gorilla character that was somehow a police detective and an army general all rolled up in one. He did a tremendous Martian Manhunter portrayal, in a live action format, on Smallville.