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Recap / Justice League Unlimited S 1 E 5 This Little Piggy

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The enchantress Circe transforms Wonder Woman into a pig as revenge against Diana's mother. Batman and Zatanna work together to return her to normal, while trying to find the escaped "Wonder Pig."

This episode includes examples of:

  • Art Evolution: Zatanna's post-BTAS redesign (which was briefly seen in an archival photograph in Batman Beyond's "Out of the Past") is further revamped for her debut on Justice League.
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  • Author Appeal: Paul Dini, Zatanna, you know how it goes.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Circe appears to be asking for Batman's Secret Identity in payment for her restoring Diana, but it's actually his secret singing talent.
  • The Comically Serious: Batman is, well...Batman. He ends up singing the blues at a club.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Batman and Wonder Woman are staking out the Penguin's Iceberg Lounge.
    • The song Batman sings, "Am I Blue", has appeared in the DCAU before. Barbara Gordon's roommate has a record of it playing in the background in a scene in Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero.
  • Deal with the Devil: Played for laughs Batman realizes that only Circe can lift the spell on Diana.
    Batman: What would I have to give to make you lift your spell on Diana?
    Circe: Well, now you're getting interesting. I want something from you that's very precious. Something you've worked very hard to conceal. Something when gone, you can never regain. Something soul-shattering...
    (cut to Batman at a mike)
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  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Both Zatanna and Circe end up enjoying Batman's "secret".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A non-fatal, played for laughs example - to get Circe to undo her spell on Wonder Woman, Batman does something he'd never normally do; sing in front of an audience.
  • Hidden Depths: Who knew Batman was such a good singer?
  • I Gave My Word: Circe gives her word she would leave Hippolyta alone. That meant she could turn Wonder Woman (Hippolyta's daughter) into a pig, as she never promised not to harm her. She plays this straight later when she changes Wonder Woman back after Batman does as she requests (which is simply her idea of fun), despite her being clearly more powerful than Zatanna and Batman.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Part of how Batman explains to Wonder Woman why they can't date. His enemies would try to get to him through her. Wonder Woman immediately crushes the head of a stone gargoyle.
    Diana: Next?
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  • Just Friends: Zatanna lampshades the trope regarding herself and Bruce, despite previous Ship Tease between the two. Her willingness to help Bruce restore Wonder Woman without any sign of jealousy (Zatanna points out that Batman/Wonder are more than just friends) shows Zatanna may be playing it straight.
  • Lady in Red: Circe sports a rather fetching red evening gown for her big musical number.
  • Longer-Than-Life Sentence: In return for her help in finding Circe, Medusa gets 300 years taken off her sentence in Tartarus, moving the projected date of her release up to 4010. She's not exactly thrilled.
  • Loophole Abuse: The terms of Circe's parole from Tartarus prevent her from gunning for Hippolyta. However, the parole doesn't specify anything about Hippolyta's daughter.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As usual, Batman. He is clearly worried about Wonder Woman, yet remains (or tries to) his cool, collected self.
  • Lighter and Softer: The episode is rather goofy and lighthearted by the show's usual standards.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Circe is an attractive immortal sorceress who not only sports a miniskirt in her regular costume, but also dons a skintight catsuit when posing as a robber, and then a red evening gown for her musical performance.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: When B'wana Beast arrives to help Batman and Zatanna, he first examines Zatanna from the feet up. The exchange provides the page quote.
    B'wana Beast: (staring at her legs) B'wana Beast. How you doin'?
    Zatanna: My legs are is the rest of me. (points to her face) Up here.
  • Powerful and Helpless: Circe cannot be defeated by Zatanna's magic or Batman's fighting skills, so he decides to negotiate by giving something up instead, and it works.
  • Reaction Shot: Just as Circe casts her spell on Wonder Woman, the camera pans to Batman's horrified reaction.
  • Ship Tease: In spades between Bruce and Diana. Batman all but confesses to Zatanna that he has feelings for Wonder Woman.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During Zatanna's magic show, the rabbit she plans to pull out of her hat is named "Bugs".
    • (Maybe...) When Lynda Carter guest-starred on The Muppet Show, it included a skit which featured Miss Piggy as "Wonder Pig", which Diana once gets called here.
    • When Zatanna briefly crushes Circe with a levitated piano, the camera holds on a shot of her outstretched feet in red shoes, bringing to mind another witch crushed under a heavy object.
    • Circe's green outfit here closely resembles the outfit of Marvel Comics' "Sersi" (as designed by Jack Kirby) instead of anything that DC's Circe has worn.
    • One of the abattoir workers that grabs Pig!Diana remarks, "That'll do, pig."
    • According to Bruce Timm, one of the inspirations for the episode was the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (specifically the subplot of Buffy briefly getting turned into a rat). Timm thought the episode was going to end with the Buffy Rat kicking the ass of the cat that was trying to eat it, but of course it didn't. So Wonder Pig deflecting bullets with its bracelets was inspired by how Timm felt that Buffy episode's climax should have played out.
    • Another inspiration was, well, Bewitched, and it's fairly obvious.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Zatanna's assault on Circe is rather cartoonish, especially the part with the piano.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Zatanna averts this with quite a bit of prejudice towards Circe, who tries to threaten the "trickster" three times.
  • Who Dares?: Circe tries to do this. Zatanna doesn't let her.
    Circe: Insolent trickster! You dare to strike...[hit with a chair] You dare to strike...[hit with a table] You dare to strike...[is covered with a tablecloth, yanks it off] QUIT IT! Oh no... [slammed by a piano]