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Recap: Superman The Animated Series S 3 E12- 13 Legacy
Superman's absence ends with him returning to conquer the Earth in the name of Darkseid. Although Lois manages to break the brainwashing, the Man of Steel's reputation is shot and he goes to confront Darkseid.

This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Darkseid rewrites Superman's memories.
  • Cat Up a Tree: After Darkseid brainwashes Superman into attacking Earth, Supes end up being captured by the military and held prisoner in a facility built by Lex Luthor. When Superman asks for a chance to prove himself, a General sarcastically asks if he intends to do it by rescuing a cat from a tree.
  • Downer Ending: Superman has finally defeated Darkseid, free of the brainwashing that forced him to lead an invasion of Earth, and he tosses Darkseid to the masses of Apokolips for judgment, freeing the planet after eons of slavery. However, instead of dethroning their oppressor the people of Apokolips raise Darkseid to their shoulders and carry him off to heal, begging for his recovery. As they leave, Darkseid speaks one final line to Superman: "I am many things Kal-El, but here, I am god." Unable to defeat Darkseid, even after physically crushing him, Superman returns to Earth where he has lost the trust of humanity and will be feared and hated for years to come. At least he has Lois and Jimmy's support and the issue of the public's trust of him is resolved in the later Justice League continuity.
  • El Cid Ploy: Kara uses the Superman Robots to make the people of Metropolis believe Superman is still around.
  • Karma Houdini: Due to the series being Cut Short, it ended with Lex Luthor never significantly punished for any of his schemes, along all his suspicions of Superman seemingly publicly vindicated. What's more, while Supes does give Darkseid a pretty brutal beating, in the end, he is still the ultimate ruler of Apokolips, his legions of subjects as devoted to him as ever.
  • Never My Fault: Emil Hamilton justifies siding with Luthor by blaming Superman for threatening his life at the end of Superman: The Animated Series. The reason Superman had threatened him is because Hamilton had initially refused to help save a wounded Supergirl's life due to Superman being treated as a criminal due to him being temporarily Brainwashed and Crazy and was more concerned about saving his own ass than helping someone he'd previously called a friend.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The final 10 minutes see Superman completely storming Apokolips and taking down all its defenses in retaliation after everything Darkseid has put him through in the past several episodes.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • The darkest version of this trope imaginable. Darkseid is about as evil as you can get and treats his slaves horribly. Yet even after Superman beats him and throws him down to the slaves' mercy, they pick him up to treat him. Why?
    Darkseid: I am many things Kal-El, but here I am god.
    • Jimmy Olsen. His loyalty to Superman never wavers, not even after Darkseid's brainwashing him has made him a pariah to most of the planet. Although (understandably) reluctant to approach the Brainwashed and Crazy Superman, when the hero returned to normal, Jimmy was one of his only friends. When asked for his opinion by a news crew, he vehemently retorts, "Superman's saved the world a million times. We owe him another chance!"
  • Wham Shot: the episode opens with an Alien Invasion, the forces of Apokolips against an unnamed planet. The leader of the invaders takes his helmet off... and it's Superman.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Darkseid brainwashes Superman and turns him against humanity in the series finale "Legacy." If Superman wins, then Darkseid can claim Earth without having technically broken his treaty with New Genesis, since it was Earth's own hero that conquered it. If Superman is defeated, then one of Darkseid's enemies is destroyed and Earth is laid to ruin in the conflict. If (as actually happens) Superman eventually breaks free of the brainwashing, he's still led an army against Earth under his own banner, greatly compromising their faith in him as a defender.
Superman The Animated Series S 3 E 8 Supermans PalRecap/Superman: The Animated Series    

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