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Also, some new questions got answered! A lot, actually - quite a lot of characters (Courtney and the Furies especially) are younger than I'd have pegged them for. It'll be interesting to see how that shakes out. Also, if Traya's 11 now, she'll be 13 in s4, or thereabouts - I wonder if we might see her taking first steps to becoming a hero?
Karrin Blue

The rule of three's a classic for a reason...

Y'know, the thing I remember about this episode is that I really didn't see the reverse-order thing coming. It's such a simple twist, but I completely fell for it. Not everything has to be complicated, I guess.

On the 'when did people get brought in' thing - I think Batman brought the others all in before the League meeting? Jefferson definitely assumes that's the case in Antisocial Pathologies, saying that Batman didn't blindside Kaldur, but that they'd planned it together from the beginning, and neither of them contradict that, and I'm inclined to agree. It also makes Kaldur asking M'gann for moral support take on an extra layer - he's not just asking for her support in facing the League after the disaster on Rimbor, he's asking for her support in carrying out this whole con job, and her response of that he'll always have it then takes on some poignancy (especially considering what he asks her to do in the assault on the Orphanage in the finale arc.)

Wonder Woman is another question, but Barbara does point out later that she's been in space this whole time, and is a fait accompli to everything. I agree it's unsettling, but at the same time, I can see how it'd happen in universe - after all, she's got her hands full directing the war effort against Apokolips, so while they have to keep her in the loop, it's in some ways not possible for her to be more directly involved - which makes it feel more sensible to the homeguard on Earth that they're doing all this stuff without her input.

It's disconcerting, like you say, but at the same time I feel like these are things the show is trying to make disconcerting. These feel like the questions we're supposed to be asking, and blind spots we're supposed to be seeing in our heroes. I still think it's a really interesting move to have Batman be actually, really thinking that the others - most of whom trained under him directly - would only have agreed if they weighed all the factors and decided it was the rational move. It's such an interesting way of showing that a character having high regard for others, and underestimating his pull, can cause issues.

I really would've loved to see all the different ways meta-teen-trafficking is manifesting... When it was announced that that was a theme of this season, I had a lot of ideas most of which I expected to stay ideas, since time's limited and some of them go pretty dark - like shady adoption/foster agencies skimming off kids that're 'unwanted' or simply just 'too old', or lobbyists paid for by private prison corporations pushing to have more teenagers tried as adults, then disappearing them. Maybe it'll be something for S4? Certainly it doesn't seem like something that'll just go away - if anything, I'd expect Apokolips' use of metas to make every other planet start importing metas through groups like Intergang.

I love the use of Cheshire here. I actually have a lot of thoughts on what she's doing in this episode - if you'll forgive some wild speculation, I've been thinking for a long while that (banter with Will and Artemis aside) she really hasn't gone back to villainy, and she knows it, and they know it - rather...

The impression I get is that Jade thinks she's bad for Lian, that she'll raise her daughter wrong, misstep and hurt her like Lawrence hurt the sisters, even without meaning to, so she panicked and ran. But, she's spent enough time around Will and Artemis that she can't return to villainy - she really did go kind of soft. So, she decides to split the difference and fake it, and send intel back to Artemis, much to Artemis' annoyance. Her looking out for Mist and Livewire (I have to think that Jade planned things so that the Gamma squad would have the best shot at freeing them, before they were taken back by Branchwater), then freeing Shade at the end of the episode - Jade in S1 never would've done that, but she's grown, even if she doubts how far she's come. And I love that Artemis doesn't doubt her - her warning that Jade would be like a cornered animal seems to have just been to make sure the kids wouldn't try to come in too, and maybe blow Jade's cover. In the actual moment, Artemis doesn't seem the least bit afraid of Jade, and Jade doesn't even try to posture with weapons - they take their masks off, set down their weapons, Jade shares her information with hardly any teasing and Artemis tells her to just come home already. They're annoyed at each other, but with an undercurrent of trust and care.

Also, hello Cass Cain! Given how important not killing is to her in the comics, I have to think Arrowette's little jab about whether or not she knew or cared that Clayface was Tetch is saying more about Arrowette being unfamiliar with Orphan than it was about Cassandra herself. I also can't wait to find out what's up with her apparent preference for swords over martial arts - could YJ be an AU where Cassandra was trained by her mother in the language of bladework? Or maybe David just tried to give her a more well-rounded education this time.

Also, many congratulations on the podcast!

Karrin Blue

Hey, Congrats on the Podcast.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Congratulations on the "Gargoyles" podcast, Bishansky!
Todd Jensen

Two episodes of "Voices From the Eyrie" recorded. I forget if I've mentioned it here, but it's a podcast started by Jennifer L. Anderson and myself. We're aiming at a September premiere and are hoping to have a backlog when we go. I guess it's sort of the sequel or prequel podcast to "Spectacular Radio".

So far.

Episode One: "Developing the Show" with Greg Weisman and Greg Guler as guests

Episode Two: "Making the Show" with Greg Weisman and Frank Paur as guests.

We're about to move into specific episode discussion, but we'll likely have other surprises as well.

Updates are regularly posted on our Twitter account: https://twitter.com/FromEyrie

Greg Bishansky - [<--- Voices From the Eyrie]

As a reminder, The Disney Afternoon Adventures TPB came out today. Got my copy delivered a few hours ago: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/206-comics-and-graphic-novels/79585890

Thanks Todd, always appreciated.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

MATTHEW - Thanks for another episode review. It's good to have those back.
Todd Jensen

The pieces come together...

Watched "Triptych" today which catches up on a lot of different points, what's been going on with the Justice League and Batman Incorporated, the mystery behind who runs the League of Shadows and the continuing problem with meta-human trafficking. But all of this can't be discussed without bringing up the big reveal at the end, that the League, the Team and Nightwing's group are all being directed from behind the scenes by the "Anti-Light." There's a lot to unpack from this and the more you think about it, the more there is to speculate. Was this all planned from the beginning? Or did Batman reach out to the other team leaders so that they may better coordinate from outside the public's eye and away from the Light's scrutiny? Or did he plan on making a big dramatic scene for resignation while also planning on which heroes he would want in his fold? The season began in July and right now we're in late September, there's been plenty of time for adjustments. Kaldur and Wonder Woman both seemed pretty blindsided by Batman's resignation, but at the same time Kaldur's shown to be a pretty good actor. There's also the possibility that Kaldur was invited along but he wouldn't go along unless his co-chair was involved. Then there's the matter of how M'gann got involved, I'd say it's safe to say that she joined up after "Away Mission."

The nature of this clandestine cadre is an interesting one. Now covert missions have been part of the Team since its inception and given their success it does stand to reason that the other heroes would replicate that. What's a bit more confusing is the fact that several heroes, especially Nightwing, M'gann and Kaldur, know exactly how badly things went when they went behind their friends' backs like this. A lot of people's lives were seriously endangered because as Conner put it, "Nightwing didn't feel like sharing." So while they may have expanded their Circle of Secrecy and put in key members to avoid things like messy overlaps there's still overlooking the personal betrayal that was felt after the reveal of Kaldur's "defection" and Artemis' "death." There's one more disconcerting factor; now on a meta sense the explanation to Wonder Woman at the end is to fill the audience in too. But the fact that she learns all of this after the fact is unsettling if she's supposed to be an equal part of this cabal, and that she's the only one to openly question the nature of their schemes shows that she doesn't seem to be an equal part of this.

That same questioning also brings up some more disconcerting points, ones that will be explored later on. Like the part about going behind their friends' backs to make this whole thing work. Now in order to sell the lie it would be more believable to the public if the heroes believed the split was real. But since 99% of work with a secret identity you'd think the Anti-Light would trust them to help sell the illusion. Batman says in the worst case scenario the League at least has deniability. But that's simply not true. Worst case scenario is that all trust is lost completely, the public loses their trust in the heroes all together, and not just the members of the Anti-Light. And the heroes lose trust in their friends, effectively breaking their fellowship for real. Then there's Bat's response to Wonder Woman's inquiry if he expects her to lie. Batman tells her he expects her to use her diplomatic status to avoid taking the stand; conveniently ignoring her stance against lying by omission way back in "Agendas." And her pointed question to the others about whether their comfortable with lying to the others both their discomfort and silence speaks volumes on that problem.

So one criticism I have, not just on this episode but the season as a whole, is a missed opportunity, one due to limited time. It's established in the first episode that meta-human trafficking is being conducted by the Light, criminal syndicates, first and third world countries and corporations. We see an example of the last one, after it's been dismantled. It's been implied that they've been working the Branchwater case for some time, but from here on out all meta-trafficking is going to be connected to the Light and Apokolips in some way and I feel it's a bit of a waste that to not explore alternative villains. And considering that Branchwater utilized both unique methods for acquiring metas while using individual cells that worked independently of each other, it made for an interesting parallel with the Anti-Light. But alas...

Some Final Thoughts: We get a new power from Halo this episode, white with an intense light strong enough to overpower Shade's own mastery of shadows. One thing I love about this episode is that each segment revolving around the same guy but the different character models fooling you so you think they aren't connected until the end. One neat little detail is the brief appearances of certain characters that set up important plot points down the line. Cassandra Cain (Orphan) and Simon Stagg make a brief appearance here and important heroes connected to them will show up soon enough. Cheshire's own struggle here brings up an interesting idea, was her helping Will find the original Roy Harper and getting his life own track an effort to get him to be a better dad because down the line she knew she wouldn't be a good mother? Something to be explored later on. Also, looking at the credits list, I think this might be the episode with the largest cast per episode. And we get a future plot point with the device stolen from STAR Labs and what Dr. Stone was working on...

Acting MVP: Dwight Schultz is an amazing character actor who totally steals the scene as the Mad Hatter. First time I saw this I wondered why they didn't get Peter MacNicol to reprise the role from the Arkham series before I remembered he was already in the show as Ivo.

DC Profiles: Doctor Moon is a genius surgeon (a Nobel Prize nominee) who happens to be completely amoral. He hires out his skills to other villains by patching them up after fights or experimenting on metas.

Simon Stagg is completely unethical businessman whose schemes have had him cross paths with any number of heroes, especially Metamorpho who he indirectly created. A generally unpleasant fellow, his few redeeming qualities are the fact that he unconditionally loves his daughter Sapphire and his grandson.

Shade was originally a minor villain who fought Jay Garrick back in the Golden Age. In 1994 he was reinvented for the Starman series which gave him a lot more depth. Richard Swift was an English gentleman from the Victorian era, a chance encounter with the Shadowlands dimension rendered him functionally immortal and with the power to summon up the darkness there for all kinds of use. A laidback fellow, he plays the role of villain, anti-villain or ally depending on his whim. Still, he does treasure his past rivalries with older heroes like Jay and has struck a few friendships with them.

Favorite Lines:

Shade: The photo didn't indicate scale. It's larger than I was led to believe.
Livewire: I thought size doesn't matter.
[Shade summons up a shadow that begins swallowing up the Meta Failsafe, struggling as he does. Dr. Stone manages to stay conscious just long enough to to hit the alarm.]
Mist: We're out of time!
[Shade finally manages to vanish the whole device and nearly collapses from the strain]
Shade: That's a lot to swallow.
Livewire: Heh. You got to stop handing me these straight lines.

Dick: Good, we're all here.
Jefferson: All? Where's Conner?
Dick: Mending fences with Megan.
Jefferson: Didn't know their fence was broken.
Artemis: Hmm, it's not so much broken as left unattended for too long.
Jefferson: Ah, right. Lynn and I had fence problems... Before the divorce.
Brion: Must we maintain the "fence" metaphor or can we find out why we've all been summoned?
Dick: Okay. I need you to maintain your cool. We've located someone who might have some intel on the League of Shadows.
Brion: Meaning we'll finally find my sister? That's wonderful.
Artemis: Mmm, not so wonderful. The intel would be from my sister.
Violet: Lian's mother? That's great!
Artemis: Not...so...great. She may not be very cooperative.
Forager: Not very cooperative? That's excellent! [They all stare at him incredulously] Not so excellent?
All: No.
Forager: Forager is good at this game.

Doctor Moon: Get out of here! You have no right -
[Tigress knocks Dr. Moon out]
Cheshire: Oh. It seems the doctor is out.
Tigress: I'm glad you're alive. But I have two questions and one statement. Who is running the League of Shadows now? And from where?
Cheshire: You know I have no loyalty to the Shadows. But I honestly don't know who's running them. I do know they're being run out of Santa Prisca. Happy?
Tigress: Ecstatic.
Cheshire: How's - how's Lian?
Tigress: Oh. Well, that brings me to my statement. Go see your kid!
Cheshire: Come on, sis. We both know she's better off without me.
Tigress: You're her mother.
Cheshire: But I'll always be Cheshire first. See you later, sis. [Shade appears] Hug...hug Lian for me.

Spoiler: That's Tetch? For a Mad Hatter, he's kind of, well, hatless.
Robin: No hats. It's a condition of his parole.
Arrowette: Hmm. Good thing he's not called the Mad Pantser.

Mad Hatter: Now, this won't hurt a bit ,or it may be agonizing. Hard to say. Eh he he ha ha ha ha! [Tetch injects the victim and checks to see the saturation process on a computer screen] Now, let's test it, shall we? Raise your right hand. [The subject does so] Very good. Very good. But too easy. Punch yourself. Hard! [The subject visibly struggles with the command but eventually does so] EH HA HA HA HA [Clayfac enters] Ha ahhh what are you doing here?
Clayface: I had to protect you!
Mad Hatter: From what?! [Robin, Spoiler, Arrowette and Orphan burst in] Oh, oh, oh, oh, Oh, Oh, OH! Yes! Yes! Clayface, protect me! Shield me! [Clayface roars and attacks the heroes] You? Time to go. Now, fol-low, fol-low, fol-low!
[Clayface hurls a shipping container at the quartet who only just dodge away]
Spoiler: What is this place? What's Tetch up to?
Robin: I'll find out. Arrowette, Orphan, run interference with Clayface. Spoiler, go after Hatter.
[Tetch and his captive stop by a console and he presses a switch that lights up some C4]
Mad Hatter: [whispering] Self-destruct button. [The captive looks horrified at that revelation] Well, what part of Mad Hatter didn't ya get?! Now, fol-low, fol-low, fol-low!

Sportsmaster: Oh terrific. [Points a hockey puck at Flash and Captain Marvel]
Flash: A hockey puck? Really?
Sportsmaster: Really. [Blasts the two of them with a sonic blast]

Wonder Woman: So this is a win?
Batman: Largely. What troubles you?
Wonder Woman: This! All of this. Between the seven of us, we're coordinating six teams of heroes. None of whom know we're working together.
Batman: It's what we agreed to, Diana. Taking a page from the Light's playbook. To fight fire with fire.
Robin: We're kind of the "Anti-Light."
Wonder Woman: And that's a good thing? The opposite of light is darkness. Is that what we represent?
Robin: Um. Maybe that was a poor choice of words.
Wonder Woman: Or maybe it wasn't. I don't like keeping the other members of the League in the dark.
Batman: Worst-case scenario, they need real deniability. Do you expect Superman to lie under oath?
Wonder Woman: Do you expect me to?
Batman: If it comes to that. As a princess of Themyscira, I expect you to use your diplomatic status to avoid taking the stand at all.
Wonder Woman: And the rest of you? Are you all prepared to lie?
[The other heroes consider this, Kaldur and M'gann exchanging a look, but all remain silent.]

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Todd: Perhaps Scrooge would be up for such a venture it if served a role in his Money Bin's 'magical defenses' per the 2017 series . . . [SPOILER] "Do ye know how many vengeance curses I have on my head?!" XD [/SPOILER]

Re: the Queue -- Just saw that GregW posted 172 responses today alone (perhaps initially answered during the 'down' days for the site?). Activate the "Wow. Just . . . wow" Spidey memes!

I've got the GargWiki itch again (at least for the Illuminati page), where I added at least one new response and a couple older ones I'm surprised we haven't plugged in yet :)

Gus: "I always forget you're there." Hooty: "I forget I'm here toooooo."

I can just imagine Scrooge making some indignant response if anyone even suggested that he move Castle McDuck from Scotland to Duckburg to "rise above the clouds" (presumably perched atop his Money Bin), protesting the utter expense of it, even if it might restore some potentially useful mythical beings to life.
Todd Jensen

They're also fair employers who pay their employees quite well.
Though Scrooge will gripe and complain even while handing out paychecks and being a good employee won't guarantee Xanatos won't use you as part of an unethical experiment.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Xanatos sends the Nessie sub to eat all Scrooge's ice cream.
Back when I first started at the very beginning, I was always trying to be old and grumpy and important, like you do when you're young.

It could be fun to watch Xanatos and Scrooge in the boardroom. Both are brilliant, Scrooge has a temper and Xanatos doesn't have the... um, temperamental weaknesses that Glomgold or Mark Beaks have.
Greg Bishansky


Thought that recently occurred to me: Xanatos is the second multi-millionaire in Disney animation to have built his fortune upon a small and seemingly insignificant coin. The big difference is that he sold it instead of keeping it.

Todd Jensen