After a fierce battle with what look like flaming samurai, Green Lantern Corps member Kilowog crash-lands on earth saying that that Katma Tui, John Stewart's former trainer and girlfriend, is MIA in enemy territory. John goes to investigate the planet of Kalanor, which is a barren desert inhabited by terrified townsfolk ruled over by the god-king Despero.
John is captured and taken to Despero, who explains that he got his power from the Flame of Py'tar, a giant fireball that Despero stumbled across in the wilderness when an earthquake opened a crack in the ground. Despero's third eye, which previously made him an outcast, is able to channel the flame's power to deadly effect. Despero thus believes himself the Chosen One tasked to bring all worlds under Py'tar's light.
Despero orders John thrown into the Flame of Py'tar, which is now kept in a pit in his palace. To make things worse, his executioner is none other than Katma Tui. However, she's actually a spy working with a Kalanoran resistance movement, which teleports John to their secret hideout. Kilowog, Hawkgirl, Flash and the Martian Manhunter all show up to help, and decide that the best way to deal with the Flame of Py'tar is to throw a carbon bomb in it. Just as they're about to do so, however, Martian Manhunter senses that the Flame is actually a sentient being and telepathically reaches out to it. Through J'onn, the Flame tells the Kalanorans that it's actually the life force of Kalanor which had been suppressed long ago, and then imprisoned by Despero. Now freed, it turns into a massive tree that spreads all over the planet, restoring the world's once-thriving ecosystem.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: At the start of the second episode, Despero's Py'tar-powered troops attack the rebel base.
- Attack Hello: Katma Tui greets John Stewart by punching him in the face and demanding to know what he's doing there.
- Baleful Polymorph: Once the Flame of Py'tar turns on Despero, his mooks — including the ones attacking other worlds — all turn into trees.
- Big Damn Heroes: When Despero's troops attack the base, the Kalanorans are outmatched and John's ring suddenly stops working. All seems lost until Kilowog and three members of the Justice League show up out of nowhere and drive Despero's troops out.
- Big Eater: Flash was already established as a big eater because of his souped-up metabolism, but in Kilowog he meets his match. Their shared fondness for food becomes a Running Gag.
- Bland-Name Product: The ice cream that Flash and Kilowog find in John Stewart's freezer is "Bob and Terry's".
- Culture Police: When John first arrives in Kalanor, he spots some cops busting a frightened citizen for smuggling books. Apparently, all books are illegal.
- Double Entendre: When John puzzles over his suddenly non-functioning ring, Katma says that his problem must be mental, so she'll have to train him again.Katma Tui: Look, you have two choices: let me help you retrain your mental disciplines or you can live with your emerald impotence.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Despero, courtsey of Keith David.
- Extreme Omnivore: When offered a pint of ice cream, Kilowog swallows it package and all. Later when Flash shows him John's videocassette of Old Yeller, Kilowog also mistakes it for food and eats it, declaring it "delicious."
- Eye Beam: Despero's seems to be a cross between a laser and a Mind Control ray.
- Faux Horrific: When the Flash and Kilowog go into John's apartment looking for his ring battery, the camera turns to them exclaiming shock when they encounter a mysterious being — it turns out to be John Stewart's elderly landlady, who herself believes the two to be evil aliens and attacks them with a broomstick.
- Genius Loci: The Flame of Py'tar is apparently Kalanor's ecosystem, which is a single sentient being.
- A God Am I: Although theoretically subject to the Flame of Py'tar, Despero acts like this towards his subjects.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: A member of the resistance movement later gives up hope, and betrays them by giving up their location to Despero. When Despero asks him what he has to gain from such betrayal, the Kalanoran cites this trope. Amused, Despero accepts him among his forces.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Implied when Despero captures John, Katma and Hawkgirl near the end.Despero: The wings give her an exotic quality, wouldn't you agree? I don't think I'll put her in the army. I have just the place for her: As one of my personal attendants.John Stewart: Don't even think about it!
- La Résistance: The Kalanorans form an underground resistance movement to Despero's rule.Green Lantern: I should've guessed...There's always a resistance, isn't there?Shiftler: "When there's oppression, there will always be", I believe the saying goes.
- Levitating Lotus Position: Despero sits this way when he's hanging out in his throne room. Martian Manhunter adopts it at the end, as Green Lantern is transporting them out in his ring-bubble.
- Mythology Gag: Katma mentions Kyle Rayner (another Green Lantern from Earth in the comics, and the original Green Lantern from Superman: The Animated Series) while arguing with John.
- Old Flame: Sparks are still flying between John and Katma when they reunite, though they ultimately go their separate ways again.
- Percussive Maintenance: The resistance teleporter's fluctuating power levels are stabilised by a timely punch.
- Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: John's first encounter with Despero somehow messed with his head, leaving him unable to use the ring. Katma starts retraining him, and he ultimately recovers himself just in time to save her and Hawkgirl.
- Religion of Evil: Despero's cult suggests one, but the entity they're worshipping isn't evil, and eventually turns on them.
- Shout-Out:Katma Tui: It's time to relearn what you've learned.John Stewart: Now you sound like Yoda.
- Teacher/Student Romance: One happened between Katma and John while she was training him.
- Third Eye: Despero has one in the middle of his forehead which channels Py'tar's power. Curiously enough, when Martian Manhunter is channeling Py'tar he develops one temporarily.
- Unwanted Rescue: Katma sees John's rescue attempt as an insult to her self-reliance and a danger to her undercover operation (and in fact, she ends up having to rescue him).
- When Elders Attack: While Flash and Kilowog are searching John's apartment for his battery, John's little old landlady comes in and, perhaps alarmed by Kilowog's appearance, thinks they're alien invaders and starts whacking them with her broom. The Flash jokes that they should call her if they ever need a replacement for Hawkgirl.
- When Trees Attack: How the Py'tar strikes against Despero and his men.
- World-Healing Wave: When the Flame of Py'tar is finally freed, it unleashes a wave of greenery across the planet in this manner.
- You Have Failed Me: An especially nasty example. After the mooks fail to capture the rebel base, their officer asks Despero what he must do to atone. Despero tells him to go out into the desert with no provisions and not return until he gets a vision from his lord. After the mook thanks him for his mercy and leaves, Despero says that the officer won't be back. So, he basically planted false hope so that the guy will die a more lingering and soul-crushing death.