Recap / Justice League Unlimited S 2 E 5 The Balance
Continuing from Task Force X, Tala, under the instruction of Felix Faust, works to reactivate the Annihilator golem that had been stolen from the Watchtower. Unfortunately, Felix betrays her and possesses the armor himself, which he then breaks out of Cadmus and heads towards Themyscira to exact his revenge against Hades.
Meanwhile at the Watchtower, Flash and Wonder Woman have dinner together to do a little catching up, but things get awkward as it was revealed Flash also had a dinner scheduled with Shayera at the same time, secretly setting it up for the two women to patch things up with each other. It didn't go so well, unfortunately, as their relationship was still pretty sour.
At the infirmary, Wonder Woman sees Martian Manhunter forcibly strapping down Etrigan, Dr. Fate, and Zatanna, who have gone crazy due to Faust's break-in at Tartarus as it began affecting all magic-users. Wonder Woman then gets a surprise visit from Hermes, who gives her a message from Zeus to go to Tartarus and restore Hades to the throne as Faust's usurping has caused a chaotic imbalance. Knowing she can't do this with her current gear, she resorts to breaking into Shayera's room to steal her Nth metal mace, but gets caught. Shayera states that things must be desperate if Wonder Woman was actually doing that, but then tells her that only she can wield it, so if Wonder Woman wants the mace's power, she comes along as well.
This episode includes examples of:
- Call-Back: Felix Faust reappears since Paradise Lost where he is now a disembodied spirit seeking revenge against Hades for killing him. Also marks the return of the Annihilator golem made for Ares back in Hawk and Dove, and now in the custody of Cadmus in the previous episode, Task Force X.
- The Cameo: The Demons Three appear fighting over some food in Tartarus. When Abnegazar is nabbed by the heroines for some interrogation, Rath and Ghast stay behind and each try to claim the food.
- Casanova Wannabe: Flash plays himself off as this after the disastrous lunch with Wonder Woman and Shayera.
Flash: "I had dinner with two women at the same time! 'Cause I'm a stud!" (smooshes his hand in his mashed potatoes)
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: All of the Leaguers with magical powers are affected by what Faust does to Hades. Jason Blood/Etrigan is left unable to control his transformation and sounds like a raving lunatic, but he's actually accurately describing why this is all happening.
"The gates of Tartarus swing both ways! The balance tips towards chaos! Usurper! Fiend!"
- Deadpan Snarker: Abnegazar is voiced by Wayne Knight, so this was to be expected.
Shayera: One more answer, and it better be the right one.
Abnegazar: Or what? You'll kill me? Gosh, I might end up suffering eternal torment as punishment for my sins. Oh, wait, I already am!
- Enemy Mine: Wonder Woman and Shayera had to team up with Hades to fight against Faust.
- Exposed to the Elements: Wonder Woman states she doesn't feel cold in the arctic area of Tartarus despite her skimpy attire. Lampshaded by Shayera.
Shayera: "Of course. The princess doesn't get cold. The princess doesn't even sweat in the fire pits of Tartarus."
Wonder Woman: "I do too sweat!"
- Genre Blind: After just talking with him about his disdain at being trapped, Tala follows Faust's advice on a spell that will allegedly improve the Annihilator, completely oblivious to how the spell's words clearly point to being an evocation for his freedom.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: While interrogating Abnegazar for Faust's whereabouts, Shayera plays bad cop and threatens violence. It's not effective since Abnegazar is already dead, but then Wonder Woman realizes the new power her lasso has and uses it while calmly asking questions.
- Heaven Above: This episode has Hawkgirl, an alien from a planet that only ever worshipped Eldritch Abominations, scares away Hades' minions, beings who work know for a polytheistic god, by pointing up to the sky to she works for capital-g God. Looks like the "sky=God" trope is literally universal.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: What befell Hades when Faust broke into his domain. Once the ruler of Tartarus, now strapped to a rock in the arctic areas slowly pecked at by vultures.
- Large Ham: When some demons panic after mistaking Shayera for an angel due to her wings, she plays the part for all it's worth. Ironic as her people are atheist.
Shayera: "That's right! I'm an ANGEL! You can mess with me if you want to, but I don't think you want to mess with the Boss!" (points upwards as the demons quickly flee)
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Hades to Diana. Shayera calls BS and suggests Wonder Woman to use the Lasso of Truth on him to prove if he's lying or not, but doesn't go through with it since to her, it really doesn't matter either way.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Faust's actions in Tartarus throw Order and Chaos out of balance, which afflicts all magically sensitive heroes on the Watchtower with raving agony.
- Not So Different: Flash mentions this is the reason why Wonder Woman and Shayera can't seem to get along well, which appalls them.
- Power Limiter: Hippolyta reveals because Diana stole the Wonder Woman outfit, her full powers weren't realized. She removes them for her before charging into Tartarus.
- Wonder Woman tells Faust that the Annihilator Armor has this, that it is powered on rage, so as long as she doesn't fight him, he's powerless. Unfortunately, she gets struck back hard, before Faust revealed he removed that limiter long ago.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Faust's motive in storming Themyscira and Tartarus, to exact revenge on the Amazons and on Hades himself.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Wonder Woman returns to her home despite her banishment back in Paradise Lost in order to stop Faust and return Hades back to power in Tartarus. At episode's end, Hippolyta invokes this as she offers hospitality to her daughter and Shayera after restoring balance to chaos.
- Threat Backfire: When Wonder Woman and Shayera try to interrogate a demon.
Shayera: One more answer, and it better be the right one.
Demon: Or what? You'll kill me? Gosh, I might end up suffering eternal torment as punishment for my sins! Oh, wait, I ALREADY AM!
- The Unreveal: Hades claims that he helped Hippolyta sculpt Wonder Woman but was sealed away before she was brought to life. Wonder Woman doesn't care to find out if that's the truth or not because she knows who raised her.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Annihilator is viciously powerful and has its old weakness removed, but it still can't take a pounding from Shayera's mace.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Faust initially died at Hades' hands due to Loophole Abuse when reviving him in exchange for magical knowledge. Now, Hades struck a deal with Faust to let him use the arcane library as he sees fit. Faust accepts the deal, but seals away Hades anyway, a nod to what had been done to him prior.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Faust uses Tala to free himself from the mirror, and in return traps HER in it since he needed a substitute in order to escape it in the first place. Of course, he never bothered to mention this important little fact to her.