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:
A rogue Amazon gets on the Justice League’s radar after a series of robberies. When Superman finally catches up with her, she throws something at him that causes him to become violently ill. Shortly thereafter, Flash, Green Lantern, and others begin falling sick, too.
Hawkgirl investigates on Themyscira. She learns that the rogue Amazon is named Aresia – an orphan who was adopted by the Amazons when she washed ashore on their island amidst some ship’s wreckage. On the island, she learns that Aresia has been covertly studying germ warfare. The episode ends as a plague that seems only to effect men begins to spread widely.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Copperhead uses his tail to choke a guard unconscious. He reports to someone else that he is down. Just then, we see Star Sapphire, Solomon Grundy, The Shade, Tsukuri, and another woman who looks Amazon joining him. The Amazon appears to be in charge. She tells Copperhead that his work was well done and then she asks Grundy to get the door. He does and he manages to get past the door’s security with a giant fist. Inside, two more security guards tell them not to move. The Amazon tells Tsukuri to deal with them. The martial artist female baddie does exactly that – deflecting bullets with her sword before finally knocking the two men out. The Amazon announces that they are behind schedule and gives the order to The Shade to cover the rest of them as they go inside. They find something under a spotlight inside. The Amazon says that this is what they have come for. Her henchmen do not know what they are stealing and do not care as long as they get paid.
As they leave, we see that Batman has been watching them from a distance. He ties up Copperhead with a gun that shoots a rope at the snaky villain. This distracts both Copperhead and The Shade for long enough that Batman can rappel down to both men and knock them both out simultaneously with each of his feet kicking both of their heads.
The Amazon is surprised and Star Stapphire says she will take care of this. She fires a pink laser at Batman. However, he manages to avoid her blasts and he uses a museum mirror to reflect her blast back at her. When she goes down, Grundy rushes at Batman. Grundy destroys the mirror in Batman’s hands and begins swinging fists at him. Batman throws a Batarang at the giant zombie. Grundy catches it in midair. Unfortunately for Grundy, the weapon was electrified and he falls to a heap on the ground. Tsukuri attacks Batman next. He is a better martial artist than she is and succeeds in flinging her into a wall where she collapses, unconscious. The Amazon is all that remains. She runs but he lassos her.
Batman: Not so fast. Who are you?
Woman: I answer to no man. [breaks ropes] Not even you.
She then throws Batman violently around the room until he lands hard and stops moving. As she leaves, though, we see that Batman managed to pull some jewelry from her during their fight. It falls from his hand as the Amazon leaves.
Elsewhere a crowd of people gather outside a store window to watch Wonder Woman – in costume – in a clothing store. She walks over to a make-up booth where a woman is trying on lipstick. The sales clerk and the other customer ask Diana what she thinks about the lipstick.
Wonder Woman: Why would anyone want to cover up their natural beauty?
Other customer: Easy for you to say, Miss Cheekbones.
After having some perfume sprayed in her face, Wonder Woman goes outside. A woman is in a car honking at a man in a large green van. He will not move his van though, despite her insistence that she is late to a doctor’s appointment, because he is on a break. Grumbling about men. Wonder Woman picks up his van and lifts it into the air so that the woman can go. As she yells thanks to Wonder Woman, the hero sets down the van. She knocks on his window. He fearfully rolls it down and she tells him to mind his manners next time. As she says this, Batman emerges from shadows nearby and tells her that they need to talk. He shows her the jewelry and says that it is an Amazon design. She agrees about the design but dismisses the idea of an Amazon being involved saying that the jewelry could be a forgery. She also says that Amazons never leave the island and that they do not steal.
Batman – looking at Diana, an Amazon who left the island – replies “never” in a disbelieving way.
Elsewhere, the still unnamed Amazon woman is meeting with her team of thieves. She is now targeting $25 million in jewels. The Shade whispers to Copperhead that she is a definite improvement over Luthor. Grundy says he does not want to fight the Justice League. She pats his cheek and offers him an advance on his payment. All of the criminals goggle and lean forward as they see her open a large chest filled with gold and jewels. She gives Grundy a bar of gold.
Hawkgirl arrives at Themyscira. She is talking to Batman on a comms device. He advises her to see what she can dig up and to be careful. She says that she will be. However, she is spotted by Amazonian guards within a few moments, opts quickly to fight them, and is quickly captured. The scene ends with one of them pointing a sword at her saying that she will pay dearly for what she has done.
The criminal jewel robbery is now underway. The Amazon tells the others to meet her at the value and says that she will personally take out the security cameras. A moment later, alone with the security cameras, we see her speak to the Justice League through the camera. She says that at this moment, her friends are robbing the value and that she dares them to try to stop them. The Amazon muses, as she walks away, that her message should get their attention.
When she makes it to the vault, we see that it is nearly cleaned out. She tells them to go but that she has a few things to do before she joins them. Star Sapphire uses her powers to wrap their group – except the Amazon – in an orb and fly them away to freedom. Alone in the vault, The Amazon grabs an enormous red gem stone. Superman suddenly arrives and tells her that she might want to put that back. She tells him that he will have to make her. Superman says that she can have it her way. She wraps his arm behind his back, puts another arm around his neck, and then flings him into a wall.
Amazon: Oh, I intend to.
Superman gets up, says she is stronger than she looks, but says also that she cannot win. She throws something at him that burst into a smoker or vapor. Superman begins coughing. He immediately looks violently ill and can only watch as she leaves.
With cops shooting at the Amazon woman, Diana jumps in front her her and says that is far enough.
Wonder Woman: Aresia?!
Aresia tells Diana that she would love to stay and chat but points out that she might want to check on her friend. She points at Superman as we see him collapse and fall out of the building Aresia just fled from. He lands on his face in a heap. Diana runs to him, turns him over, and we see that he is near death with sickness. Flash and Green Lantern arrive a moment later. Diana explains quickly that they need to track Aresia, one of her Amazon sisters. She tells them that she will take Superman back to the Watchtower. She holds him in her arms and flies away.
Flash asks what they do now and Lantern uses his ring to scan the area. He finds a red powder on the ground and rubs it between his fingers.
Hawkgirl is taken in front of Queen Hippolyta. She tells Wonder Woman’s mother than she is on the island investigating a crime and that she believes the crime involves an Amazon. The Queen notes that this is a serious accusation and asks for proof. Hawkgirl shows her the jewelry that Batman took from Aresia during his fight with her. Hippolyta tells the other Amazons in the room to have her horse made ready immediately.
We see the Queen riding as Hawkgirl flies toward a tower on the island. She tells Hawkgirl that the necklace belongs to Aresia who is supposed to be in the tower in solitary meditation. Then they climb the steps in the tower and reach Aresia’s room, they find that the room is empty and has been unoccupied for weeks. Hawkgirl asks if Aresia did something wrong to be in the room and the Queen says no. She says the solitary meditation was the final step of her rebirth.
Hippolyta: Aresia was not born an Amazon.
The Queen explains that Aresia grew up in man’s world and was from a people who lost a war. She says that the winners were cruel. Aresia and her family fled and made their way onto a refugee ship. She says that on the open water, their ship was attacked and raided by pirates. After the raid, the ship was destroyed. Aresia survived by clinging to a piece of floating wreckage. She washed ashore on Themyscira after which she was adopted by the Amazons, trained to fight, and then magically endowed with Amazon strengths.
Hippolyta admits to Hawkgirl that she often wonders whether or not they did the right thing by adopting her. She notes though that they could not refuse and Hawkgirl agrees. Hawkgirl suggests that they search the room for clues. She finds a chest filled with books. The Queen says that books about the outside world are forbidden due to the potential that they might corrupt them. As Hawkgirl picks up a dusty copy of “The History of Germ Warfare” she says it is starting to look like Aresia may have become corrupted.
On the Watchtower, J’onn tells Diana that Superman’s condition continues to deteriorate. She notes that he is practically invulnerable and she asks aloud what could do this to him. The Martian tells her that there is little data on Kryptonian physiology but also says that he will do what he can to help him. A moment later, Diana gets a call from Green Lantern and The Flash.
Lantern arrives at the Watchtower holding the Flash. She asks what happened and he tells her that Flash collapses. We see Lantern’s face and he says that he is also not feeling well just before he collapses onto Wonder Woman.
In their hideout, Aresia’s criminal gang ask her for answers about what she is up to. She tells them that it is time to show them exactly what her plan is. She tosses a gas-emitting bomb at all of them and they collapse to the floor.
Later on Batman’s plane:
Batman: So this Aresia is not really an Amazon.
Hawkgirl: She’s an orphan. It’s hard to imagine what that kind of trauma could do to a child.
We hear communication through Batman’s jet – all female voices – that runways are full and that pilots have planes that need to land. Another woman says that the channel needs to be kept clear.
In the city, we see chaos. Cars are crashing. A woman is helping an ailing man walk down the road. A team of female firefighters are attempting to put out the flames on a burning building. From the roof of a building, Hawkgirl and Batman look down on all of this carnage.
Hawkgirl: It’s like some kind of plague and half the city’s got it.
Batman: Yes. The male half.
TO BE CONTINUED
As Wonder Woman themed stories go, this one makes sense. What happens if someone takes Amazonian ideology to an extreme? Meet Aresia. Of course, since we do not want to tamper with the idealism of Themyscira generally, our rogue Amazon needs to be from “man’s world” originally.
This makes sense as a story worth teling and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. Here are my story-questions, though:
- If Aresia’s books are forbidden, how did she obtain them on the island?
- How did she leave the island at all without notice?
- How did she design a germ that successfully targets all males – regardless of species – from some old early 20th century human authored books?
Perhaps when Aresia was given Amazonian strength, she was also given some extra smarts, too. Or maybe Part 2 will fill in some gaps. My guess is that I’m just supposed to suspend disbelief on this point. I strongly suspect that Part 2 will be about Diana confronting her own prejudices regarding men.
Within the story, and this is true for any Batman tale, Bruce Wayne takes an absolute beating early in this episode. A short while later, he is fine. Did his suit protect him? Does he spent the rest of this episode with a cracked rib? How much damage can realistically be done to Batman?
Fun casting note: Aresia is voice acted by Julie Bowen.
It’s pretty fun to picture Bowen’s Claire Dunphy as Aresia in this episode. Perhaps Claire was also secretly evil?