- Recap: The episode begins with the ever brilliant G. Gordon Godfrey complaining on his show about how Ferris Aircraft has spent billions of dollars on creating a communications satellite to improve relations between Earth and Mars. He complains about the fact that Earth has enough problems with aliens already without going out of our way to talk to them, at our expense, etc. etc. Meanwhile though, Wally West isn't happy. This is because Artemis has decided to go on a mission with the Team once again, after the pair of them had decided to retire from active superhero work. She points out that he'd only put on the Kid Flash costume again a couple of weeks back to help out with Neutron, but he tries to dismiss that as a situation where he was actually needed. Artemis says that she's needed in this case too, and jokes "Besides, what' sthe worst that can happen?" Cut to her being given CPR by Nightwing later on during the mission, where it's appears that she's just died. Oops.
Later, or before, in Mount Justice, Cal (Herald) is annoyed at the discovery of Impulse and the realy Roy Harper, as he knows that they're going to become their responsiblity at some point or another. Conner asks Dick if he's had any progress with finding out who the Light's new partner is, and Nightwing begrudgingly says no. The mood is broken by Lagoon Boy and M'gann, the former of which apparently is amazed by the latter's crabcakes, and is now loudly eating them, to Conner's annoyance. Lagoon Boy appears to notice how they're bugging Conner, and then decides to fire a snarky comment at M'gann's ex for no reason. Urgh. Conner goes off in a sulk, just as Artemis arrives, which means that this takes place before she dies then, obviously. The team greets her enthusiastically, including Lagoon Boy, who she apparently hasn't met before. Now she's here, Dick fills them in on the mission, namely they have to go down to Florida to protect the Ferris satellite launch from any sabotage attempts.
A little later in Cape Canaveral, the countdown begins for the launch. Oddly Superman and J'onn appear to be present, huh. Carol Ferris is holding a press conference while the long countdown begins, just as GGG hijacks it to talk about what an idiot she is for wanting to speech to aliens. J'onn interupts his rant to his viewers by claiming that the satellite means that they'll be able to improve relations and possibly even defend each other from outside threats if necessary in the future. This manages to shut GGG up some, and Carol agrees with him, before J'onn flies off. This kind of abrupt end to the conference is apparently enough for GGG to complain about how Superman isn't taking any questions and how J'onn's superhero name sounds really ominous. Cut to the two superheroes, who apparently are actually M'gann and Conner, who she was leviating with her TK to create the illusion of him flying. Conner complains about having to wear a traditional superhero outfit. Meanwhile, LB has some complaining of his own to do, about how he's been "stereotyped" as the water guy, while M'gann is flying around in the skies alone with "Mr Super Ex-Boyfriend". Wow, he really is an asshole isn't he? He makes this complaint even after Dick said that he's in the ocean so that they have all the bases covered in this instance (Artemis and Dick on land, LB in the sea, and M'gann and Conner in the sky). Shortly after this though, LB misses Black Manta's men prepping a missile platform on the ocean floor to fire at the lauch platform, probably because he's too busy obsessing about less important things.
Later, the heroes are taking the opportunity to have a breather while they wait for whatever if is happens. Nightwing admits to Artemis that he must not be Wally's best friend right now, which Artemis admits is kind of true. He's apparently worried that the rush of returning to superhero work will get its hooks into her, and she'll end up doing it until the day she dies, which she admits is sort of true. Meanwhile, M'gan and Conner are having an awkward moment, where the reason for their breakup is revealled. Namely he was concerned about how she's been abusing her powers to extract information from the minds of her victims while leaving them in a catatonic state, and he hoped that he mattered to her enough to make her stop, but the last straw was when she attempted to tamper with his own mind to make him forget why he was mad with her. She apologises for trying to do that, though he asks her whether she's upset that she thought that it was a valid option, or that he found out and stopped her before she could do it. He talks about how, after all they'd been through together, she thought he wouldn't recognise the sensation of her mind in his (this makes her begin to cry) and how he didn't think that he was so replacable, as she quickly hooked up with the "Rebound from the Black Lagoon" shortly afterwards.
Meanwhile, Rebound Boy finds the Black Manta's men and their missile launchpad. He calls it in, and Nighwing tells him to wait for back-up. But hearing that Conner was coming along to help "the rookie" out, LB decides to just flip out and go call Leeroy Jenkins on the supercriminals instead. The attack from LB just causes the bad guys to accelerate their plans though, with them attacking the rocket by land and sea now. Conner isn't able to assist LB (who is using one of Black Manta's men as a shield from their weapons fire) due to M'gann not bothering to restock the team's rebreathers (implictly so that she could spend more time with LB) and she has to go and assist her bf instead while Conner provides support from the bioship. LB is eventually knocked out by BM's men, Aqualad specifically, and a missile to fired at the rock, which Conner manages to intercept and destroy, which he then manages to do to the second. Carol and the mission control guys see the battle taking place on the beach, and she decides to start the launch early to narrow the window for the bad guys to destroy the satellite. This unfortunately means that Nightwing and Artemis are trapped in the blast zone, as the fire from BM's men means they can't get over the last wall to safety on the beach. Artemis then remembers that the bad guys have visors set to see underwater, so she's able to temporarily blind them with a flare arrow so she and Dick can jump to safety.
While the battle rages on above, LB is brought before AL, whose men say he should have the honour of killing, but instead AL has him packed up to be given to their mysterious Partner instead. He tells his men to spam the launchpad with missiles, on the reasoning that they can't deflect them all, while he goes to lead the land assault himself as Dick and Artemis are managing to easily cut their way through their troops. M'gann shortly afterwards sees her bf being loaded into BM's main craft, but Nightwing reminds her of the mission priority and she uses her TK to send a missile back at their platform, blowing it up. The shockwave leaves her unable to rescue LB though, and he's taken away by AL's men. Meanwhile, back on land Kaldur is using waterbending to good effect fighting his former friends, keeping up the "Grrr, I'm evil now!" persona from his previous appearances.
Just then the rocket finally manages to launch, causing AL to make one last ditch attempt to destroy it via a mini-missile fired from his exosuit, but Artemis manages to destroy that missile with a rocket-powered arrow of her own. Immediately after this though, Kaldur smashes Nightwing out of the way, before fatalling Artemis through the stomach with a water sword. He then tells his men to retreat, as their mission is a failure, but just as he says it the Ferris Rocket explodes for seemingly no reason, to the shock of the launch crew and even Kal. They make their escape, just as Conner and M'gann come back to run to Nightwing and Artemis as she lays dead in the sand, blood and everything. Conner says with visible distress that he can't hear her heartbeat, and eventually Nightwing has to stop doing CPR, as it's doing no good.
Later, in the Atlantic Ocean, Kal is meeting up with his father's own, much larger ship. BM congratulates AL for the success of his mission, though Kaldur admits that it was a success purely by luck as his team failed to destroy the missile on their own. BM corrects him, saying that actually he himself had planted a bomb with an altitude sensor on the rocket days ago, and the mission was instead to a test to see what Kal would do in defeat, and if he'd managed to destroy the rocket himself then another such test would be arranged down the road. Manta says that since Kal didn't take credit for a victory that wasn't his, as well as killing a former teammate and capturing another, it proves he's got the qualities he's after in his men, and that he's been allowed up to the next step in his villainous training of villainousness.
Back in Mount Justice, the team are in mourning for Artemis' death and Lagoon Boy's capture. Cal mutters about how Nightwing should be here, but Conner says that he's gone to break the news to Wally, which causes a look of sympathetic understanding to flash across their faces. Shortly afterwards, in a warehouse in Bludhaven, Nightwing is met first by Kal, then by Wally, and then surprisingly of all, Artemis. It appears that the entire thing was a ruse to get Kal further into his father's organisation, though Nightwing says that their plan might have worked a little too well, as both the League and the Team are in mourning, and that they'll possibly never forgiven them for this. Dick points out that LB wasn't supposed to be captured and that the rocket wasn't meant to be destroyed though, and Kal admits that in taking their deep undercover role he's had to make a lot of uncomfortable choices to keep up his role. Like having to chose between saving the lives of the aliens several episodes back from the bomb or saving his friends from the same fate. Dick then gives Artemis a necklace that would disguise her face and voice from anyone but the four of them, so that she can join Kal in going deep undercover in BM's organisation. Artemis asks how he was able to get a magical item from Zatanna that does something so specific without revealling their secret, to which he admits that they have some "history", getting a playful nudge from Wally in response. Artemis says a tearful goodbye to Wally, and goes off with Kaldur for her ultrasecret mission, and Dick says that the hard part is over, now that she's on her way into the bad guy's group. Wally bitterly says that he's fooling no one with this reasoning, and that from here on it'll only get more dangerous...
- Review: *Claps* Well done, creative team, you've managed to handle three things that have managed to rile the audience thus far in the season, namely: Conner and M'gann's breakup, Kaldur's fallen hero status and the long rumoured death of Artemis, with a surprising level of smarts, emotion and internal logic. Bravo.
Okay, for the actual review, I was actually very pleased with it and would definately put it among the best of the season so far. The characterisation between Artemis and Wally came across as very natural, as did Nightwing's interactions with pretty much everyone. The fact that they included Wally in on the ruse does actually make a level of internal sense, as if they didn't he'd probably go all Roy and attempt to find Kal and get revente or something. As is, I have a feeling that M'gann's mindwiping folk trip... will have kind of unpleasant consequences if she were to come into contact with Kal in the near future.
The explanation for Conner and M'gann's breakup was kind of telegraphed in advance, which kind of makes an internal kind of sense from a certain stand point. I mean, better that they implied why they broke up first rather than them suddenly dumping M'gann's gradual "it's okay if they're bad guys" attitude on people. It was good writing that they actually showed that Conner and M'gann were both sad of this turn of events, but that M'gann still actually cared for LB despite of this. Similarly Lagoon Boy actuing like a jealous jerk for most of the episode could be explained by him being aware that Conner and M'gann still have some kind of feelings for each other, and his insecurity about this fact. Though him being an unreasonable jerkface also makes the fact that he's abducted not that big a deal since he's also really, really annoying.
The reveal that Kal wasn't as evil actually seems to make a kind of internal sense, as the way the character is established within the show prior to this season didn't seem to be the kind to go evil, even if his female friend who he was in love with died and it turned out that he was his king's enemy's son. Though despite it being out of character for him, the villain origin would still have sounded reasonable to the majority of the DCU's villains. Interesting to see that the personality traits that make Kal an effective hero also are seen by Black Manta to be the traits that would make him a successful villain as well. Also interesting in the episode being a test to see how Kal deals with failure, since the last major appearance of BM resulted in him throwing a hissyfit and exploding the mission objective when he was faced with defeat.
Looking forward to where the show is going from this point on.