Recap: Justice League S 2 E5- 6 Only A Dream
In the middle of a prison breakout, a former Lexcorp employee named John Dee overdoses on an experimental machine, giving himself the power to trap a person inside his or her own worst nightmare. Dubbing himself Dr. Destiny, he goes on a rampage to punish those he believes have wronged him, including the League.When Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, Superman, and Flash fall victim to the new supervillain, it's up to Batman and Martian Manhunter to track down Dr. Destiny and save their partners, before it's too late.
This episode contains examples of the following tropes:
- Acid Reflux Nightmare: Flash initially thinks that he's having one of these. Unfortunately, he's wrong.
- And Call Him George: Superman accidentally kills Jimmy Olsen by hugging him during his nightmare. It wasn't pleasant for either of them.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: the Leaguers have to engage in a fight with Dr. Destiny while Batman tracks him down in the real world.
- Buried Alive: Hawkgirl's nightmare.
- Creepy Monotone: Dr. Destiny.
- Daydream Surprise: the opening sequence is a daydream of John Dee's.
- Determinator: Bats, as usual. Despite having already been awake for three days straight, he forces himself to do it again while hunting down and fighting Destiny. He even lampshades this in a conversation.
Destiny: You're not like them. You don't have any special powers.
Batman: Oh, I have one, Johnny. I never give up.
- Dies Wide Open: Superman sees one of his friends die like this in his nightmare.
- Dream Weaver
- Dream Walker: fortunately, Martian Manhunter can do this.
- Dynamic Entry: Superman makes one into Green Lantern's nightmare, shooting in with fist outstretched and decking Destiny with a single punch.
- Evil Gloating: Destiny does this at various points in the episode.
To Flash: The fastest man alive, always leaving people like me in your dust. But now you're stuck in high gear, and you're going to be here, alone, forever.
To Martian Manhunter
: You can't help him
- Foreshadowing: The barrier J'onn encounters when trying to enter Hawkgirl's dream. His inability to read her mind will come up again later.
- Fright Death Trap: Destiny's powers work on the same principle as the "Scared Stiff" variant—with the exception that you don't have to be in poor health for it to work.
- From Nobody to Nightmare Lord: guess who.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Lois does this in Superman's dream, accusing him of "hiding something", right before her death.
- His Code Name Was Gary Stu: Destiny in his opening daydream.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: While trying to inject Batman with a sleeping drug, Destiny accidentally doses himself. Then he falls victim to the same powers he's been using on the League all episode.
- I'm Your Worst Nightmare: Destiny tries to use this line on Batman, but the Dark Knight is having none of it.
- Karmic Fate Worse Than Death: At the episode's conclusion, Dr. Destiny falls victim to his own powers. The last we see of him, he's lying in a hospital bed, staring hollowly and humming "Frere Jacques." Who knows what he's seeing...
- Must Have Caffeine: Batman doesn't normally use stimulants, but during his hunt for Destiny, he decides he needs some coffee.
(plunks down some cash) Gimme a triple. NOW!
- Lap Pillow: Flash falls asleep with his head in Hawkgirl's lap.
- Mind Rape: Courtesy of the bad doctor.
- Missed Him by That Much: Batman calls Superman to warn him—just a few minutes after he falls asleep.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Well, he gave himself the title; it wasn't granted by an authority.
- Never Sleep Again
- Nothing is Scarier: the episode never shows what Dee did to his ex-wife; the screen simply cuts from him threatening her in the dream world to the real world, where she is thrashing and screaming in a sleep from which no one can wake her.
"And now that I'm a doctor, I think I'll perform some surgery."
- Personal Horror: Poor Superman has a hefty dose of What Have I Done? in his nightmare as he betrays his self-image as The Cape in the most horrible way possible — by killing three people who have always stood by him.
- Pinch Me: Flash recognizes that he's in a dream a few minutes after Dr. Destiny shows up and believes that his alarm clock will wake him up.
Flash: Huh? This isn't supposed to happen.
Dr. Destiny: That's because this time, there isn't going to be a wake-up call.
- Power Incontinence: Green Lantern, Flash, and Superman all fear suffering from this in differing ways. Lantern fears that he's become nothing but the ring's wielder, alienated from all of humanity. Flash is terrified of going too fast and being alone for the rest of his life. Superman fears losing control and destroying the very people he wants to protect.
(to his neighbors): Where are you going? What are you all afraid of? Flash
: I was afraid this would happen. I'm gonna live out my life in the time it takes you to tie your shoes. Please, somebody, say something! Superman
: I started with no power at all. Then I kept getting more. What if it never stops?
- Pre Asskicking One Liner: Delivered by proxy. Subverted in that the attack didn't take.
Dr. Destiny: You're good, but I'm better.
Camera cuts to show Superman rocketing in with an outstretched fist.
- Primal Fear: Dr. Dee forces the claustrophobic Hawkgirl into a dream of being buried alive.
- Psychic Static: Batman uses the song "Frere Jacques" to keep Destiny from completely invading his mind.
- Race Against the Clock: Batman and Martian Manhunter have to save their fellow Leaguers before Destiny kills them. Unlike in many cases, they do manage to save all four victims, but it's a close thing.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder: Flash's nightmare, before things go From Bad to Worse. First he's sitting and watching a cartoon of himself with a group of kids. Then, when he goes to the refrigerator to get them a snack, there's a giant frog sitting there. When he informs the kids that there's no food, they start biting at him. Flash resorts to Super Speed to get away from them, and...
- Role Reprisal: Dana Delany and David Kaufman return as the voices of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.
- Scream Discretion Shot: When Superman's out-of-control Eye Beams kill Lois Lane. He hear her shriek, but the camera is focused on Superman's face, so we don't see the results...fortunately.
- Self-Deprecation: Superman happily greeting Jimmy as "my pal" and then accidentally crushing him to death. This is a knock on the infamous "Superman's Pal" episode, which Bruce Timm and other carryovers were regretful about even years later.
- Slap Yourself Awake: Batman punches through the Batmobile's window to keep himself conscious.
- Sleep Cute: Flash and Hawkgirl, before things went pear-shaped.
- Special Person, Normal Name: In fact, it's a plot point. Destiny's real name is John, something he hates because it's not special enough. Once he gets his powers, he proves that the man behind the name is anything but common.
- Tear Off Your Face: Destiny does this when confronting his ex as part of embracing his nightmare powers.
- Time Stands Still: The Flash's worst fear.
- Troubled Fetal Position: Flash when he cannot escape from his nightmare; Superman after his out-of-control powers have killed Perry, Lois, and Jimmy.
- "What Do They Fear?" Episode: for the Leaguers.
- Your Worst Nightmare: As previously mentioned, this is John Dee's superpower. And boy, does he exercise it.