Recap: Justice League Unlimited S 2 E 13 Epilogue

"The world needs a Batman...and it always will."
—Amanda Waller

Epilogue is the final episode of Season 4 of the DCAU animated series Justice League, and also serves as a Fully Absorbed Distant Finale for fellow DCAU series Batman Beyond.

Epilogue contains examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: Amanda Waller, who did unethical and amoral things to ensure Bruce would have a successor.
  • Arc Words: "The world needs a Batman."
  • Badass Longcoat: An older Terry now sports one.
  • Book Ends: The episode ends with Terry flying past a floating police car, mirroring the opening scene of the first episode of Batman: The Animated Series, "On Leather Wings."
    • This being a finale to Beyond considering how the Justice League first appeared in an episode of that series.
  • Broken Pedestal: It's mentioned in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker that Terry saw his life as Batman as a way to atone for his delinquent past. Here, Terry now thinks that the whole legacy thing is a curse and blames it all on Bruce.
    • Rebuilt Pedestal: However, after his meeting with Amanda Waller, it's clear that he no longer thinks this way. Just take his final lines.
    Bruce: You're a stubborn piece of work, you know that?
    Terry: (warmly) Just like my old man.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Terry fantasizes about chewing Bruce out when he still believes Bruce overwrote his DNA and manipulated his life to make Terry become Batman.
  • The Chessmaster: Waller, who manipulated Terry's early life to send him down the path to becoming Batman.
  • Chocolate Baby: It turns out the reason that red-haired Mary and brown-haired Warren McGinnis have two black-haired sons is because Waller had Warren's reproductive DNA overwritten with Bruce Wayne's, making Terry and Matt both Bruce's children.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The assassin Waller hired to kill Terry's parents is none other than the Phantasm (Andrea Beaumont) from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
    • Terry references the events of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker in his fantasy about chewing Bruce out.
    • Ace from the Justice League episode "Wild Cards" serves as the antagonist during Waller's story about Bruce in his younger days.
    • The future JLU from the Batman Beyond episode "The Call" appear during one of Terry's Fantasy Sequences.
    • When Waller narrates the part of Terry's story where his parents are supposed to be assassinated, it shows the McGinnis family coming out of a theater after watching The Gray Ghost Strikes.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Terry initially feels the mantle of Batman has been a curse, even though being Bruce's son has led him to become a superhero who's saved countless lives, have a second father even after Warren died, and made him the heir to a multi-billion dollar company.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Terry about his murdered father during his fantasized speech to Bruce.
  • Distant Finale: Takes place about 65 years after Justice League and 15 years after Batman Beyond.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even a Professional Killer like the Phantasm isn't willing to kill an innocent boy's parents who've done no one any wrong just to make him the next Batman; after all, she's a vigilante who always did prefer to Pay Evil unto Evil.
  • A Father to this Man: Deconstructed in the final scene since Bruce and his soldier Terry are really father and son.
  • Flashback: Amanda Waller's story of Bruce and the Justice League fighting Ace's Royal Flush Gang decades earlier.
  • Fantasy Sequence: All the black and white sequences in the episode, where Terry fantasizes about chewing out Bruce for his apparent betrayal, quitting being Batman forever, and breaking up with his girlfriend Dana.
  • Friend to All Children: Batman, as the flashback demonstrates.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Serves as the Grand Finale for Batman Beyond even though it's an episode of Justice League.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Terry initially believes Bruce has manipulated Terry's entire life to make him a carbon copy of Bruce. Subverted when it turns out Waller was behind the manipulations, and they weren't as extreme as Terry initially feared. Word of God also confirms that Bruce realized the truth years ago, but never told Terry so the boy could become his own man.
  • Heroic Build: Lampshaded.
    Waller: Why are superheroes good-looking?
  • Heroic Lineage: Terry is biologically Bruce Wayne's son, thanks to Waller using illegal DNA manipulation tech on Terry's father Warren.
  • Heroic Vow: At the end.
    Bruce: I was worried about Gotham. If Batman's not around—
    Terry: I've got it covered. Always.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Terry has refused to marry his lifelong love, Dana, out of fear his enemies will target her. After talking with Waller and learning the truth about his heritage, he decides to defy this trope instead and ask her to marry him.
  • Legacy Character: A Decon-Recon Switch. Terry believes at first he's been cursed to be Batman against his will, only to realize everything in his life, including the choice to be Batman, is entirely under his control.
    Terry: How can anyone be their own man living someone else's dream?
  • Manipulative Bastard: Bruce is accused a number of times of being a manipulative monster who knows what everyone is going to do before even they do. Terry initially believes Bruce was behind his DNA because of this, while Waller presents an anecdote showing Bruce is actually just a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Nature Versus Nurture: A central question of the episode is whether Terry is defined by his bloodline or his upbringing.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Bruce refuses to harm Ace, even though she could kill millions before she dies.
  • Not So Different: As Ace reminisces about the experiments performed on her:
    Ace: They got their weapon; I got cheated out of my childhood.
    Batman: I know what that's like.
    Ace: You do, don't you?
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Waller tries to act somewhat senile in an attempt to avoid admitting what she did to Terry. Terry shows little interest in playing along.
    Waller: Look at all this. A pill for blood pressure, a pill for my diabetes, a pill to replace my pituitary function. I don't even know what this one's for...oh yeah, Alzheimer's.
    Terry: Don't pretend you're some dotty old lady who can't remember anything. I've got questions and you're the only one left with the answers.
  • Official Couple: Terry and Dana, who we find out have been dating ever since high school. We even learn Terry plans to propose to Dana at the end of the episode.
  • One Scene, Two Monologues:
    Waller: Oh, that's okay. I've only had that cup for seventy years. My mother passed it on to me.
    Terry: Guess that's what all this is about. Legacies.
    Amanda: Doubt you can find this pattern anymore. It's real china, not that synthetic stuff.
    Terry: How can anyone be their own man living someone else's dream?
    Amanda: It's been years since I've had enough friends to use the whole set anyway.
    Terry: How can I escape the curse of Batman?
    Amanda: Even so, one missing piece, and the set's ruined.
  • Parental Substitute: Deconstructed; all this time Bruce wasn't the substitute, but the substituted.
    • Warren and Marry McGinnis were chosen to be counterparts for Thomas and Martha Wayne.
  • Reality Warper: Ace's Master of Illusion powers mutate to the point where she can telekinetically warp reality with her mind.
  • Secret Legacy: Terry is actually Bruce Wayne's son.
  • Secret Secret Keeper: According to Word of God, "the world's greatest detective" Bruce had already figured out that Terry was his biological son long before Terry did.
  • Series Fauxnale: "Epilogue" was intended to be the last episode of Justice League until a third season got green-lit. Chronologically, however, this really is the finale of the entire DCAU.
    • Watching on video means you can just save it for last out of the episodes, allowing it's famous final shot to properly book end the series.
  • Shoot the Dog: In the Royal Flush Gang flashback, Waller presents the Justice League with a weapon with which to kill Ace and says it's the only safe option. Shayera (who gets several other Shoot the Dog moments in this series) reaches for it, but Batman takes it instead so he can solve the problem his way.
  • Shout-Out: The Royal Flush Gang's Jack is a samurai. The King, meanwhile, resembles M.O.D.O.K. (who's creator is Jack "the King" Kirby). Their Ten is Bo Derek (as seen in the movie 10) with Prehensile Hair.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die:
    Ace: You were going to try to talk me into fixing what I've changed...before I die.
    Batman: Yes.
    Ace: I'm dying very soon.
    Batman: Yes. (Beat) I'm sorry.
    Ace: Could you stay with me? I'm scared.
    (Batman sits on the swing next to her and takes her hand)
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Waller describes how one of her agents got a blood sample from the original Batman after he was wounded in a fight.
    Waller: Bruce's DNA was easy enough to obtain... He left it all over town.
    Terry: (raises an eyebrow)
    Waller: ...Not remotely what I meant!
  • Telepathy: Ace's Master of Illusion powers also mutate to the point where she can read others' minds.
  • Title Drop: Waller's project to create a successor to Bruce was code-named "Project Batman Beyond."
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Waller reveals Terry's parents had psychological profiles almost identical to Bruce's mother and father.
  • Visual Pun: The Royal Flush Gang according to Word of God.
    • Ten is based on Bo Derek's character in the movie 10.
    • Jack is a samurai (though when he's returned to normal, the animators make him look like Phil LaMarr).
    • Queen, when de-powered, is actually a man, i.e. a drag queen.
    • King resembles MODOK, a Marvel character created by Jack "The King" Kirby.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Micron is absent during the Justice League's battle, though it's possible he was on another mission. Though it's a moot point, since that scene was just something playing out in Terry's head.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ace, who's dying from a brain tumor and with her new Reality Warper powers can murder millions before she does.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Waller ensured Terry's early childhood and DNA would be as similar to Bruce's as possible, only to back down when it came time to kill Terry's parents. Terry's father ends up being killed by chance years later anyway, and Terry goes on to become Batman's successor as Waller had originally planned.
  • You're Insane!:
    Terry: You know what, old man? All those years it turns out everyone was right: You are insane. Being Batman's no honor... It's a curse.