Recap: The episode begins with an admittedly gorgous shot from space of Earth, War World and the debris from the battle two episodes ago. Black Beetle is in a bad mood because the Reach Ambassador refuses to allow them to openly attack the Justice League members guarding the War World Key Chamber, thus rendering the key Jaime stole earlier useless. He complains about how Mongul has wrecked up everything for them, having destroyed over half of their invasion force in addition to showing the humans that they had an invasion force to begin with. The Reach Scientist tells BB not to worry, as the Ambassador has ways of dealing with humans that should lessen the fallout. She also notes that in comparison the human heroes have already lost far, far more (noting the majority of the Team now locked in status pods), and that all things considered things are actually progressing fairly well.
They do, however, have one loose end, that loose end being Arsenal, who is still running around the planet-sized space station while trying to hide from the Reach's guards. He bravely runs away from the bad guys, while trying to radio in for back-up, finding that no one is there to help him out... Yeah, that is partially your own fault dude, just sayin'.
The Ambassador is outside the UN again holding another press conference. This time he seems to be reaffirming how the Reach have managed to help Earth make numerous scientific advances in addition to helping create a new hero in the form of Blue Beetle. He then goes on to say that Jaime saved Earth from the War World entirely on his lonesome, which the crowd don't appear to notice as odd as the Justice League's orbital battle must have been noticed by SOMEONE. A small girl holding a Wonder Woman doll goes up to the alien, and asks why it wasn't the JL who stopped the War World, what with how protecting the Earth being their deal and all. The Ambassador sighs, as if the kid is too stupid to see common sense. He says that the Justice League has a tendency to attract outer space bad guys to Earth, and that maybe this time they brought a bad guy to Earth that was too big for them to handle. The Ambassador finishes off the talk (after rather unsubtly stepping on the girl's Wondie doll) by saying that they're going to give the War World to Earth to help them protect themselves against more bad guys in the future, after they have gotten to a point that the Reach deems them responsible enough to do so, anyway.
Elsewhere, the runaway abductees are going on a vandalism spree against Reach related stores and advertisements. Surely this will defeat their foe! They actually seem to be aware that Jaime isn't in control of his actions, which is cool. Wouldn't want them hating on him for something he isn't responsible for. Lex contacts them, and asks them if they actually want to hurt the Reach in a way that they'll actually notice...
Outside of War World, Nightwing and M'gann are searching for their people with MM's telepathy. They call it a night just in time to miss Arsenal trying to call for help, only to get into an argument with a control panel and run out of ammunition. Back on Earth Lex is explaining what the mission will be, namely, invading the War World via a boomtube and rescuing the captured heroes from the Reach. Ty is somewhat incredulous about this, saying that if the superheroes can't handle the Reach than what can they do. Huh, Asami has different coloured eyes. Neat. Virgil is the first to volunteer to go rescue them though, 'cause he's awesome.. He reasons that the Reach wouldn't expect them to attack, which means that with their powers combined with the element of surprise they might actually stand a chance. Asami asks Luthor how the Father Box works (seems that the others lack of interest in learning Japanese has resulted in her having to learn English). He gives them the instructions, and they're instantly transported to War World, where they were immediately surrounded by Reach guards.
The Runaways pretend to surrender before making easy work of the first lot of guards, but the arrival of more cause them to have to book it fairly sharpish. I think that they might have actually killed a fair few of the Reach guards in the midst of their fight scene, considering the amount who are bounced off far walls or dropped from great heights. Arsenal, now recharged, overhears their battle with the Reach, and begins to follow them as they use the Father Box to lead the way to Superboy and the rest of the captured superheroes.
Elsewhere in the War World, Nightwing and M'gann are searching the loading bay where the Team were abducted for more clues. Nightwing is kicking himself for not noticing that Jaime had been taken over by the Reach, while M'gann says that that's her fault, as she didn't read Green Beetle's mind properly due to her being afraid to use her powers after what she did to Aqualad. This lead to her prematurely trusting GB, which in turn lead to Jaime trusting him too soon too. Dick says that this isn't her fault either, saying that if he'd trusted her with information about AL's undercover mission in the first place than this wouldn't have happened to begin with. M'gann asks him if this is their "Guilt Off", where they try to outdo each other with things that they do. She says that they need to get over themselves, save the Team, and then save Blue, as she says a younger Dick Grayson once said: That's What They Do. There's a metallic noise as something breaks its way into the loading bay from the outside... and it turns out to be Sphere. Yay! It says that it'll take them to Superboy, and they head off too.
On Earth, the Ambassador is being given an update on the Arsenal situtation before he goes onto G. Gordon Godfrey's show. News that the abductees have come back is one of the few things that seems to make the Ambassador loose his cool, as he tells his scientist to send Black Beetle to go out and just kill both problems at once. Back on the War World, Beetle manages to find and defeat most of the Runaways as soon as they manage to find the rest of the heroes in under a few seconds. Ed manages to escape though, and teams up with Arsenal after he manages to break Black Beetle's jetpack with some carefully aimed Reach weaponry.
The Ambassador continues to weeve his web of lies on Godfrey's show, only to be suddenly called out for said lies by the host, who points out the existance of the Reach's invasion fleet that had previously been hidden in the Pacific, which contradicts their claim that they only had one ship on Earth at the time. Wow, you have to give that to Gordon, he might be an ass, but he's an ass with consistancy! The Ambassador tries to blow this off by saying that the fleet helped defeat War World with Blue Beetle, only to be hit with a clip his previous lying press conference. HA! Gordon then begins really laying into the Ambassador about his lies and propaganda, which begins to make the facade slip with the alien as be slowly begins to stop smiling...
Back on War World, Deathstroke boomtubes in and steals the War World Key. Like a Boss! He has the same New Gods tech that Lex has, which makes me wonder if Darkseid will make an appearance soon. Anyway, the Runaways spam Black Beetle with their attacks, knowing that they can't defeat him head-on, but they can work to keep him constantly off balance. Arsenal, meanwhile, manages to free the one person who can realistically defeat Black Beetle entirely on his lonesome. And that person is Mongul, who is more than a little pissed to see a member of the Reach aboard his ship. While he keeps BB distracted, Arsenal and the Runaways free the captured heroes and steal back their stuff. And after they open a doorway, expecting to find it filled with Reach troops, they instead find Nightwing, MM and Sphere. Woot!
The heroes get back to MM's ship, where Nightwing congratulates the Runaways for their work and offers them places on the Team as recognition of their hard work. Arsenal tries to take this time to tell Nightwing about Jaime's defection, only for Karen to point out that Arsenal wigging out, and blowing an airlock in an attempt to kill Jaime, himself and the rest of the Team was what caused them to get caught in the first place. After hearing this, Nightwing promptly kicks Arsenal off of the Team, as this isn't the first time he's pulled something that below the mission for his own selfish concerns. Appalled by this, the Runaways offer Arsenal a spot on their team, reject Nightwing's off and boomtubes away, giving Dick just enough time to see that they had access to New Gods tech. Back in the Runaways' apartment, Luthor congratulates them for a successful mission, leading Arsenal to wig out again for them working with the man who cut his arm off and froze him. He also puts together the idea that the Runaways act as a distraction to draw Black Beetle away from the WW Key while a member of the Light stole it far quicker than he really should, leading to Lex asking him what he's complaining about. After all, they still managed to save the heroes AND managed to strike a blow against the Reach. Luthor dropping the pretense and openly admitting he was using the Runaways causes them to cut ties from him as well, causing them and Arsenal to head off on their own, seperate path unaligned with either the Justice League or the Light.
Review: Well, this was an interesting one. Kudos to the writers for being able to keep me wondering what exactly the game is with the bad guys, even this late in the season. I mean, I know that Greg Weisman plans to keep some plot threads deliberately dangling at the end of the series, in case the show is picked up again, but end this close to the end there really seems to be a bit too much in the air to make for a neatly placed series finale, to me at least. Things like, what exactly are the Light up to and what part does Darkseid and his little troupe play in the procedings? Did they invite the Reach to Earth JUST to weaken the planet enough to make way for an invasion by Darkseid, or are they playing a game which will cause the Reach to be weakened across the galaxy, leading to a wider invasion by the New Gods? Are they trying to isolate Earth from any outside forces beyond ones they had arrangements with? Questions, questions.
Other stuff I liked, I liked that Nightwing and M'gann had enough self awareness to see the angst whirlpools they were stuck in, and attempted to get themselves out of them and get their minds back in the game. Their little moment when M'gann calls up memories of their season one selves was a nice moment to me. The Runways continue to be entertaining, and it's nice seeing Asami get some more characterisation and something to do beyond looking confused and speaking in Japanese.
Arsenal continues to be an irrational crazyman, which makes sense given his post-Cry for Justice-based appearance. His abrupt dismissal makes sense from a certain point of view, but really was just badly timed on the part of Dick there. His feud against the War World's annoying control panels and his admittedly clever plan to rescue the Team were both cool moments though.
Special props go out to Tim Curry's G. G. Godfrey though. Whether or not he's in League with Darkseid or not, it was certainly fun to see him begin tearing into the Reach for their lying, propagandist ways. As I said in the review, he might be kind of a dick, but the fact that he's a dick with consistancy makes him a whole lot more entertaining.