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:
Superman, Hawkgirl, and the Flash join up with an international band of pilots calling themselves the Black Hawks. Lantern – with his ring out of power – fights alongside Easy Company. Wonder Woman helps Steve Trevor, an American spy, break the code of one of Savage’s comms devices so that the Allies can learn when Savage plans an invasion. J’onn learns that the Savage of World War 2 is communicating with his future self about technology and history in order to change the outcome of the war.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
The episode begins in the middle of a World War 2 battle. Hawkgirl and Flash are assisting the Allies when Flash finds out from Hawkgirl that Lantern was left behind at their last battlefield with no ring. He is upset that she left Lantern. She explains that she had no choice because the soldiers she is carrying needed medical attention. Flash then tells her that he is going back for Lantern and he zooms away.
Just then, Superman flies over and warns her that they have company. Dozens of Savage’s fighter jets arrive.
Elsewhere, Lantern is avoiding gunfire from one of the Axis mega-tanks – with just his soldier skills and no power ring. As Lantern is about to be killed by the tank, the tank officer gets a message on his comms that the Allies are attacking in Sector 5 and that he is to redeploy. The tank officer leaves Lantern and goes elsewhere. Flash arrives and looks for Lantern but does not see him. We see Lantern, a few moments after Flash leaves his area, rise out of a mud puddle covered completely except for his eyes.
Hawkgirl and Superman are defeating the Axis pilots easily. However, they are soon joined also by Allied pilots bearing the insignia of a black hawk’s head in a yellow circle on their wings. Superman sees the insignia and asks Hawkgirl if they are friends of hers. She answers that they are now. A large air battle ensues and the combined powers of the Justice League members and the newcomers overwhelms the Axis fighter pilots.
Wonder Woman drops Steve Trevor in front of an old abandoned seeming building. She offers to stay and protect him. He asks her “what about your green friend” and she replies that J’onn has a way of blending in. Steve Trevor looks Wonder Woman up and down.
Steve: Yeah. Real inconspicuous. Just like you.
He tells her to follow him inside. Once inside, Trevor tells her that he is slated to meet a man named Ernst who is a code-breaker. Ernst is going to tell Trevor how to use a high tech comms device that will allow the Allies to listen in to Axis plans. Ernst is not yet at the rendezvous point so Trevor tells Wonder Woman that they should make themselves at home while they wait.
The battle with Superman and Hawkgirl is over with the Allies victorious. Flash returns and tells her that he could not find Lantern anywhere and that he cannot believe she left him behind. She angrily tells him to come with her and she leads him to a field hospital. She tells Flash to look at the injured men and she tells him that the casualties would have been much worse had they stopped to help Lantern.
Hawkgirl: We had to make a choice.
Flash: Some choice.
Just then, the mysterious bird insignia’s pilots land. We learn that they are called Black Hawks and that they are from a variety of nations – all of whom have sworn to fight the Axis until their homelands are freed. The pilots say that they would gladly lay down their lives for their home countries. Hawkgirl asks how they can help.
Lantern – still covered in mud – meets a group of American soldiers behind enemy lines. One of them asks whether he might be a spy but another says that Lantern is no spy and that he saw him fighting on the battlefield they just left. The commanding officer asks Lantern about his ring and asks further if it is a secret weapon. Lantern tells him “not anymore” before offering to help them in any way that he can. John learns that the group of soldiers have the assigned duty to destroy an enemy airfield. They welcome him to Easy Company.
J’onn is chained to a wall and face to face with Vandal Savage.
Savage: Who would have thought the Übermensch would be green?
J’onn asks him what the term means and Savage explains that they are those who are destined to lead the world. J’onn tells Savage that he thought that was his goal. Save replies that his only desire is peace and progress. J’onn clarifies that he wants those things while he is himself in charge. Savage asks him why not.
J’onn tells Savage that he is from the future – the same as him. Savage replies that he is not from the future but the laptop in his possession is. He tells J’onn that in sixty years, the laptop will be a child’s toy but right now it is the most powerful weapon on earth.
J’onn: Where did you get it?
Savage: A gift to myself.
Savage plays a disk in the laptop and it shows a video message from himself, to himself. J’onn tells Savage that he ages gracefully and Savage smirks and says J’onn has no idea.
Future Savage tells World War 2 Savage that he has discovered a way to send knowledge and information into the past. He shares that he has come to believe World War 2 was the last and best chance to assume full global power. In the recorded message, he offers both the technology contained on and within the laptop, as well as detailed knowledge of future events. J’onn tells Savage that he has seen the future and he says Savage’s plans do not work. Savage asks him in turn how many friends he brought with him and what their powers are.
J’onn: I’ll never betray them.
Savage: We’ll see.
Savage leaves and turns J’onn over to an Axis soldier for “coercion.”
In the abandoned building, Steve Trevor has made a candlelit dinner with a bottle of wine. He tells that it is amazing what the nobility leaves in their cupboards. She asks him how he can think of eating at a time like this and she asks him how he is willing to risk his life. Trevor tells her some things are worth dying for. He also tells her that the war can wait and that they should live in the moment. He sits next to her and holds her hand. Sensing his intentions, Wonder Woman asks “how can we” as Trevor tries to uncork the wine. He struggles with it and eventually hands it to her. As she tries herself, they come under gun fire.
They crawl to a window where a German with a speaker tells them that they are to come out with their hands up as they are completely surrounded. Trevor says Ernst must have been caught. He gives Wonder Woman the comms device and tells her that this is what they are after. He tells her that she cannot let it fall into enemy hands. She asks him what he will do and he says he is going to create a distraction. He kisses her and then tells her to wish him luck.
Steve Trevor runs out of the building, throws a grenade, and rolls for cover. Wonder Woman, enraged that the bad guys are shooting at him, utterly dismantled and destroys the entire enemy unit.
Steve Trevor: Holy Toledo!
Wonder Woman: [Holding Axis soldier by the collar] WHERE IS ERNST?
At the sight of J’onn’s interrogation, the interrogating officer leaves. He tells the two guards that he needs to go and retrieve his specialty tools. After he is gone, they hear a German voice coming from inside the room where J’onn is held. The guard runs inside and finds the torture soldier chained to the wall where J’onn had been.
J’onn is shape-shifted into the body of the officer sent to torture him. As he runs through the facility, he hears soldiers talking. One of them asks the other how a leader can treat his army this way. He notes that the old fuehrer was a little crazy but he at least had respect for his generals.
Superman, Hawkgirl, the Flash, and the Black Hawks fly to “Black Hawk Island.” On Black Hawk Island, one of the pilots tells the three Justice League members about a factory. They admit that they do not know what is being made there but they note that it is heavily protected. The pilot tells the Justice League members that if they can take out the anti-aircraft batteries, they can bring down the factory. Superman tells him that he should consider it done.
John Stewart, ring-less, takes part in a raid. They task him with watching their backs. John initially doe snot see an enemy sniper and it leads to one of the soldiers getting hit in the leg. John notices him a few moments later though and takes him out with a rifle. After the battle, one of the soldiers notes that John is not ‘such hot stuff’ without his ring.
Savage is learning from an Axis officer that his laptop is destroyed. The officer tells Savage that J’onn overpowered the guards and escaped. Savage then says that this means they need to speed up the invasion, called Operation End Game. The soldier tells Savage that they cannot because one of their communication devices is missing and they believe the spy took it. He believes now that the Allies can listen in to their communications.
Savage backhands him and calls him an imbecile.
Wonder Woman is with Steve Trevor. They are at a new location. She tells Trevor that according to their “friend” Ernst is being held in the South Tower. She points to it. He asks if she believes the man was telling the truth and she replies that she can be very persuasive.
Wonder Woman flies Trevor to the Tower and knocks a hole in the wall so that they can find Ernst inside. They find him quickly. As they untie the man, he tells them that they should not have come here and warns them to look outside. As they look through his barred window, they see Savage’s military descending on the compound.
Steve: It’s a trap!
to be continued
Through the first half of this episode, I was feeling irritated at the degree to which the Justice League is being powered down by the plot. Then, abruptly, I learn that they have just been playing it coy.
The scene with Wonder Woman becoming enraged and destroying the Axis unit shooting at Steve Trevor is my favorite scene of the episode. Right up until that moment, I was talking to myself (out loud – yes, I do that) about how dumb it was that she felt threatened by these WW2 fighters. On cue, she wipes them out solo.
It was a similar situation with J’onn. I was annoyed that he was cuffed by Savage at all. Then… he demonstrates that he was only cuffed because he wanted to be. Once he learned what he needed to learn, he escaped destroyed Savage’s laptop.
Conversely, Superman and Hawkgirl were never “powered down” during their air battle. They were going to win that one either way, whether the Black Hawks show up or not.
What do I think of John Stewart powerless and fighting with Easy Company? This is probably the weakest part of the plot. I understand where they are going with letting the military trained John Stewart be powerful without his ring. The Justice League is supposed to be “super” even without their powers. I just find it highly improbable that the Justice League – Superman in particular – would not have located him and picked him up by now.
I mentioned that Lantern’s story arc is the weakest part of this plot. Let me backtrack. The weakest moment of the plot is Savage explaining the secret of his power completely unbidden. I mean… why?
Wonder Woman gets her first on-screen kiss of this show. She liked it. I think the romance between her and Steve Trevor is a bit rushed but I can understand why she falls for him quickly. Patrick Duffy does a great job imbuing the character with a lot of masculine charisma. That said… I think the Wonder Woman / Batman romance story arc is more fun.
So far, this has been a good two part story arc. The pacing is great. I’m looking forward to how this finishes up.