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Two bases lost in the span of a week.

Watched "Cornered" today which builds up on the theme of Earth being brought to the attention of the galaxy as focus shifts to the crumbling relation between the League and the public as the Reach's influence grows. And of course Despero showing up and wrecking the Hall of Justice. The Reach and their Ambassador mark a different kind of conflict for the series and one that our heroes aren't used to dealing with, Public Relations. Last episode the Reach were able to beat the heroes to the punch by revealing themselves before the Team could and now they're revealing the hero's secrets in order to cast them in a bad light. The Ambassador himself is a also a different kind of central antagonist, Lex is a guy you love to hate but the Ambassador you just straight up hate. So unbearably smug and conniving that by the end of the episode you just want to see Captain Atom punch him right up into the stratosphere.

Despero marks kind of a middle ground in terms of antagonists for the season, undoubtedly dangerous but able to be taken down given the right circumstances. The problem of the episode being that these aren't the right circumstances as most of the Team and the League's heavy hitters are cut off from the conflict, Zatanna neutralized early on and M'gann in a bad spot since last episode's revelation. But it also highlights several of the Team's strengths as well, Mal's quick thinking and willingness to put himself in danger helps buy the others time to regroup. And Superboy? Well...he's gotten his bell rung by the strongest villains and heroes in his time, kinda like Lieutenant Worf in Star Trek. But one thing that's often overlooked is that stubborn nature of his allows him to get back up again no matter how often he's smacked down and even repay those injuries. Again, like Worf.

The fallout of the Reach's arrival, the affect on the abductees and the revelation
of what Impulse told Blue is explored further here. I like that once more we see Black Canary using her counselling skills on the kids, many of whom were likely imprisoned for months. This is something that will be explored later on but I do have to mention Virgil's testimony and as bad as things were for him he was lucky enough to have his Meta-Gene activate as other kids weren't so lucky. And I can't help wonder what would've happened with Nightwing if one of the abducted Team members wasn't a meta or if the Reach wasn't interested in the teens who already had their Meta-Gene activated...

Some Final Thoughts: Fun Fact: When Despero made an appearance in the series Justice League he was voiced by Keith David. As the wiki pointed out, Despero's ship resembles the ships used by the Jem'Hadar from Deep Space Nine, and I can't believe I never noticed that before. While innocuous at first, the decision to keep the abductees at STAR Labs will take a darker turn later on as Virgil wonders aloud when he'll be able to just call up his family and let them know he's okay.

For a series that emphasizes secrets and lies, it's a little surprising that Jaime would toss that out, spill the beans on Impulse and ask the League to get the Scarab off him. Mal taking on the role of Guardian was to be expected since Jim retired from the part but still interesting considering DC tends to focus on his other superhero identities. And finally we see the steps of M'gann and Conner rebuilding their relationship at the end of the episode, as well as the deterioration of her and La'gaan's.

Acting MVP: Phil LaMarr totally steals the episode, L-Ron is delightfully obnoxious as this kind of robotic fly you want to swat away and unbearably obnoxious as the Ambassador who you want to see taken down a peg.

DC Profiles: L-Ron (named after L. Ron Hubbard) was a robot who occasionally served as an assistant to the Justice League International and actually had his mind swapped with Despero.

Despero is a recurring foe of the Justice League and one the more dangerous enemies. Possessing strength that allows him to battle multiple Leaguers at once and mental abilities that have only been matched by Martian Manhunter. Curiously, he's often depicted in his more humanoid form rather than the hulked out version here which can transform into.

Favorite Lines:

Blue Beetle: Tye!
Scarab: Hold Jaime Reyes! The Tye Longshadow does not know us in this form.
Blue Beetle: Time to stretch! Yep, gotta keep limber.

Black Canary: Virgil, I know you've been through a lot but I'd still like to ask you a few questions about your abduction.
Virgil: Well here's one, why am I on camera?
Black Canary: To make sure I remember what you say. I'm speaking to everyone to provide counsel but to also find out exactly what happened. And hopefully gain insight as to why the Reach chose you.
Virgil: I don't know why they chose me, but I know they wanted to break me.
Black Canary: Why do you say that?
Virgil: [picks up a paperclip and starts playing with it] The tests. They started out small, little...static shocks, but they kept upping the juice. Till it felt like I was being...eaten by lightning. Still, I was one of the lucky ones. The alien creepazoids didn't seem to like the results they got from some of the other kids. Kids I never saw again. Look w-when can I go home? My family's probably worried sick.
Black Canary: It won't be long. For now, i-if you'd wait in the hall.
[Virgil tosses the paperclip down and the others spill out of the cup and cluster around it into a ball]

Mal: Nice. Perfect cover for our new digs. On the outside, I mean it's down right nasty.[Cut to the interior]...And it's nasty on the inside too.

L-Ron: Greetings and salutationisms, Earth champions! I am L-Ron. Majordomo to the great master and you are my prisoners.
Captain Marvel: This is Plastic Man's April Fool's joke, isn't it? Okay Plas, heh, you got us.
L-Ron: No, I have you. [L-Ron activates a pyramid force field which envelops the Hall of Justice] Though, not for myself of course. Rather, I hold you at the behest of my master who seeks to prove himself against Earth's greatest warriors. [Despero teleports in front of Captain Marvel and Zatanna and immediately kicks Captain Marvel into the Hall's atrium] Let the cage match, begin! No fooling!

L-Ron: Allow me to introduce my master...the warlord, DESPERO! Gladiatorial champion of ninety-two star systems (working on ninety-three now). He has come to this backwater planet seeking a challenge to prove his superiority to all life forms. It's quite the complimentism, you really should feel honored.

Blue Beetle: What'd you tell her, ese?

Impulse: About you betraying mankind and causing the reach apocalypse? Heh heh. Nada, amigo. See, I have no idea what actually turns you. For all we know, the league finding out, could be the very thing that makes it happen. So I say, we say nothing to no one.
Scarab: This is good. Now kill the Impulse so he cannot change his mind.
Blue Beetle: [to Scarab] Keep quiet!
Impulse: Exactly. Stick with me, Blue. I'll keep you from feeling the mode.

Guardian: Your fight is with me, alien. I am Earth's Guardian. Its greatest champion. Its secret champion.
L-Ron: He is not listed in the Krolotean database, master, but their records may be incomplete.
Guardian: Miss Martian, take the others and leave. This is my fight alone.
Miss Martian: [Telepathically] Mal, what are you doing?
Guardian:[Thinking] Keeping ugly busy, at least until you and Superboy get a better idea.
Miss Martian: uh-As you command Guardian.
L-Ron: Did you see how she bowed to him? [gasps] This "Guardian" must be Earth's true champion! Finally master, a battle worthy of your prowess! [Despero growls in satisfaction]
[In the elevator Superboy regains consciousness]
Superboy: What happened? Where's Mal?
Guardian: [Thinking] About to play the most important game of keep-away in my life. So, how about you guys figure out a plan B? Fast. Alright, freak. I could incinerate you with a look but you hurt my friends. So I'm going to teach you a lesson instead!
L-Ron: Use cautionism master. We don't know this one's abilities.
Guardian: Strength of the Earth and power of all mankind, I summon you! [Despero and L-Ron pause, looking confused] Well, I'm waiting. Give me your best shot. [Despero charges towards him and Guardian vaults over him, sending him through a wall] Thank you Black Canary.

L-Ron: Cheaters! Sneaks! Frauds! You will all suffer for your crimes! [His body unfolds a whole arsenal. Then Billy Batson leaps atop of him]
Billy: Let's try this again. SHAZAM!

Black Canary: Beetle?
Blue Beetle: I'm sorry. I've been hiding something, but I can't... I just can't.
Impulse: [Rushing in] Uh, blue, blue, blue. What happened to keep quiet?
Scarab: Stop Jaime Reyes. This is a tactical error!
Blue Beetle: No, time for the truth. Impulse says that some time in the future I betray earth and bring on a Reach Apocalypse. That's not a future I can live with. So whatever it takes, get this Scarab off me.

Matthew
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

First, in the name of insomnia and end of semester crunch.
Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]