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Recap / Justice League S 2 E 17 And 18 Secret Society

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Gorilla Grodd puts together a society of supervillains consisting of himself, Shade, Giganta, the Parasite, Killer Frost, Clayface, and Sinestro. Meanwhile, the Justice League struggles to stay together with team-building exercises.

Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Notably, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl. But Killer Frost and Giganta have a few good scenes.
  • Amazon Chaser: Shade is quite turned on by Giganta, though he's a bit stunned on finding she used to be a gorilla.
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  • And Then What?: Shade has given up his previous ambitions and is happy being an ordinary villain, but Grodd asks Shade what he's going to do when he's too old and decrepit to flee across rooftops from the Justice League.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Superman laments he's had better luck against armies as a solo act because he didn't have to worry about anyone else.
    Hawkgirl: Then why don't you go back to that?
    Superman: You think I haven't considered it?!
  • Asshole Victim: Morgan Edge, who somehow imprisoned Clayface and kept him as property for who knows how long. When Clayface wonders aloud what kind of person would do that, Killer Frost happily tells him that nobody has to worry about Edge anymore.
  • Axe-Crazy: Grodd notes that Killer Frost joined the Secret Society for the sole reason that she likes to kill.
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  • Beware the Nice Ones: After the League breaks up, Flash spends a whole night unsuccessfully trying to find Shade. It ends with him dangling one of Shade's goons out of a skyscraper window, and by this time Flash has gotten fed up.
    Thug: (unafraid) Who do you think you are—Batman?
    Flash: It's been a long night. Just tell me where Shade is, okay?
    Thug: Look, buddy, I know Batman. I once ratted out a counterfeiter to Batman. And believe me, you are no Bat— (Flash suddenly drops him)maaaAAAAAAHHHHHH!
  • Book-Ends: J’onn, in the first storyline, was the last to join the League (not counting Batman’s half hearted assertion that he’s not a “joiner”. Here, he’s the first to walk away.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Grodd is likely the worst offender here in the entire series; he has the entire League at his mercy (or so he thinks) but lets them live until he can do it publicly. J'onn even calls him out on this while still disguised as Clayface.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Matt Hagen and Rudy Jones, aka Clayface and the Parasite, neither of whom had been seen in the DC Animated Universe since The New Batman/Superman Adventures ended. Sinestro also makes his return after previously appearing in an episode of Superman: TAS.
  • Call-Back:
  • Call-Forward: The robots at the training ground resemble Zeta when he first appeared on Batman Beyond.
  • Compressed Vice: The League has never had this much trouble working together before. Handwaved by Green Lantern, who opines that they've been getting by on luck.
  • Complexity Addiction: Grodd’s plan falls apart mostly because of his need for dramatic flair and for an audience to see how clever he is. Had he just let the Society conclusively beat the League in the warehouse, he would have won.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Shade manages to get the drop on Batman during the final fight by revealing he’s been learning martial arts and actually holds his own before he breaks his hand on Superman’s chest.
  • Decoy Getaway: Morgan Edge is a billionaire who tries to avoid assaults on his person by dressing as his manor's chef; the flaw in his disguise, as Grodd quickly notices, is his expensive alligator shoes, something a servant with a chef's salary likely wouldn't have.
  • Divide and Conquer: When the League breaks up, Grodd immediately gets to work picking them off. Flash and then Batman are captured, and Green Lantern is off examining Grodd's spy camera, which leaves the others outnumbered during the ambush at the training ground. By the time Green Lantern finds Grodd's hideout, he's on his own.
  • Evil Plan: Grodd uses his telepathy to play on the League's existing problems, tries to build a villain team that actually trusts each other, and releases Clayface from several hazardous waste containers to be the sixth member of the team.
  • Feud Episode: Grodd exacerbates the personality conflicts within the League to undermine it.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Superman finger-flicks Grodd across a football pitch - and right through the goalposts.
  • Foreshadowing: Hawkgirl abandons her fight with Giganta to assist a downed John Stewart, leaving Wonder Woman to fight alone. It’s a heavy indicator of her feelings for John. She does it again in “Wild Cards,” the episode where they finally kiss.
  • Genre Savvy: With most of the League captured, Clayface suggests killing them now by talking about his old spy movies and how Bond Villain Stupidity always came back to bite the given villain. He offers to simply finish the Leaguers by himself, but Grodd ignores him. We later learn this was actually J'onn in disguise and that he was trying to talk Grodd into giving him the opportunity to free the others immediately.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Flash puts his own spin on it.
  • Hope Spot: Green Lantern nearly frees the others, but then Grodd reveals his mind-reading power immediately tipped him to GL's arrival.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: As ever, what Clayface wants most of all is to return to normal. Grodd offers to give him the best of both worlds.
  • Idiot Ball: When two shapeshifters are fighting, you probably want to make extra-certain that the winner is who you think it is. Also, Grodd trying to handle Superman by himself at the climax may not have been a good idea...
  • Kill It with Ice: Killer Frost. Grodd specifically says he recruited her because she would have ample opportunity to kill.
  • Kill Steal: Batman and Superman both do this to the other members (and each other.) This is the main source of resentment that the other members have towards them. Superman tries to justify it by saying, as the most invulnerable member of the team, every hit he takes is one the others don’t have to endure. The other members bristle at the suggestion that they can’t handle themselves.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: After Killer Frost freezes J'onn and Flash gets him out.
    Flash: Antifreeze, anyone?
    J'onn: (pained) Please, no jokes. Just get her!
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The two women on the Society. Giganta wears a bright pink minidress and is decked with jewelry, is an Innocent Fanservice Girl (unless she was being deliberately flirty with that banana) and sometimes comes across as underconfident. Killer Frost is a tomboyish, brooding, psychopath. They're voiced by the same person.
  • More Than Mind Control: Grodd's plot to weaken the League involves psychically playing on their existing tensions.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Grodd's new telepathic abilities came about as a direct result of Flash messing with his Mind Control helmet during the climax of his first appearance.
  • Never Found the Body: Clayface does not appear in the DCAU after this, so one can assume he did not survive the explosion.
  • Noodle Incident: When last seen, Clayface was being taken into custody by Gotham Police. Somewhere in the interim, his body was split across four containers, and he was kept as a piece of property by Morgan Edge.
  • Oh, Crap!:
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Invoked. As the League vents their frustrations with each other and break up, Grodd reveals that his new mental power has been slyly manipulating them into not holding back their feelings.
  • Pretender Diss: See above.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • After the training ground ambush, "Clayface" both asking Grodd to take care of the League and preventing Sinestro from blasting Green Lantern. It's really J'onn, and he's actively trying to derail Grodd's plan under the radar.
    • When GL says he'd give his life for her, Hawkgirl curtly informs him he doesn't know what he's talking about. She's right, as shown in "Starcrossed".
  • Rule of Threes: Lampshaded by Grodd when Shade says his two previous attempts at a Villain Team-Up didn't work.
    Grodd: (Emerging from the Shadows) What's that old saying? The third time's the charm.
    • The Society fights the League in a group battle three times: at the warehouse, at the training grounds, and at the football stadium.
  • Ship Tease: Grodd's powers cause the League to vent feelings they've been suppressing. This mostly takes the form of arguments, but it also leads to John declaring he'd give his life for Shayera, which clearly throws her.
  • Shooting Gallery: Including a Chekhov's Gun when the 'innocent' target is booby-trapped to take out Hawkgirl.
  • Slasher Smile: Killer Frost shoots one at Morgan Edge, and that's the last we ever see of him.
  • So Much for Stealth: While the villains discuss their next move, Green Lantern sneaks into Grodd's hideout and tries to free the other Leaguers. The others had no idea he was there, but Grodd did because of his mind-reading power.
  • The Social Darwinist: Grodd shows elements of this, attacking the League for "coddling" the weak and arguing to Superman that "superior" beings like them should be in charge.
  • Spot the Imposter: Batman sees through Clayface pretending to be Flash because he overplayed the part. However, the villains don't know until the climax that J'onn replaced Clayface during the fight at the training ground.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Clayface, calling on experience from spy movies he's personally acted in. Grodd retorts that he's not much of a movie-goer. Then it turns out it was just J'onn staying in character.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Killer Frost and Giganta.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Flash is sufficiently aggravated, he won't show it (usually). However...
  • Trust-Building Blunder: The Secret Society has a spin on the traditional trust building exercise, having the faller drop from a 30 foot ledge. Giganta, paired with Killer Frost, warns her that she's heavier than she looks. After the camera cuts away, we hear a loud thud, followed by Frost saying "Ow".
  • Vanity License Plate: The one on Giganta's car reads BIG BONED.
  • Villain Team-Up: Deconstructed. Grodd is well-aware of how easy it is for villains with mutually exclusive goals to turn on each other. He actively promises to give them their personal desires instead of mere money and has them engage in team-building exercises to ensure that they can function as an effective unit.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Giganta evokes this on Superman, stopping him dead in his tracks. Wonder Woman, on the other hand...
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: J'onn and GL cut short the admiring Media Scrum because they're embarrassed over letting Shade escape.

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