Justice League Unlimited

Season 3 Episode 13

The Once and Future Thing: Time, Warped (2)

Aired Saturday 10:30 PM Jan 29, 2005 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
204 votes

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Episode Summary

In pursuit of a time-travelling thief, Batman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman arrive in a futuristic Gotham City twisted horribly awry by alterations to the timestream, and must join forces with the future Batman and the Justice League Unlimited.

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  • And so we end the third season...

    The third season ends with a two-parter and quite a bang. We get the return of the main characters from two other WB series - the future Batman of Batman Beyond and Static of Static Shock. Neither of them really contribute a lot here and perhaps significantly, both of them get killed.

    The more interesting parts are the meeting of the two Bruce Waynes, present and future, and the info about John Stewart and his possible/alternate wife-to-be, Shayera/Hawkgirl. Also, Lord Chronos/David Clinton becomes a major threat while in part 1 he was more of a contrivance to set up a Wild West episode. And we get a cameo from a Silver Age favorite - Hal Jordan, the original Green Lantern of Oa.

    We also get the upgraded Jokerz from the movie Return of the Joker, and Michael Rosenbaum (finally) returns to the series although not playing the Flash. Amusingly, he's given top billing in the credits as a guest star despite the fact his character didn't really have much more dialogue than anyone else.

    The plot borrows heavily from the comic book maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths as the universe is threatened by a cloud of white non-existence, people from different times mix, and the League confronts a giant hand creating the universe at the beginning of time.

    Overall there are a lot of touching/tragic moments, some humorous moments well woven into the major crisis (to speak), and some nice characterization of the regulars. It's not a huge epic season-ender, perhaps because of the limited 13-episode season (this seems like a better half-season episode), but it's satisfactory overall.

    Which brings us to the season as a whole. Out of 13 episodes, three were essentially comedies. They had their dramatic moments and major threats and all, but Kid Stuff, This Little Piggy, and Greatest Story Ever Told were basically light-hearted fare.

    Initiation basically set the stage for the "new" League and had some good moments, but was basically a set-up episode.

    For the Man Who Has Everything was properly dramatic for Superman being "tortured" with his greatest desire, but the new one-part half-hour format probably hurt the show the most with this episode. There wasn't enough time to appreciate the impact of Superman's and Batman's visions.

    Hawk and Dove was probably the dud of the season. We had two heroes of little interest either of their personalities or their superpowers and a "coping with her anger" subplot badly tacked onto Wonder Woman.

    That leaves the rest of the season, fortunately mostly in the latter half, which were a significant improvement and maintained a more consistent "heroic" tone. Fearful Symmerty gave us the Question and the real start of the government-conspiracy subplot. The Return gave us the Atom and Lex Luthor (and the verbal exchanges between the two) and Amazo as a threat worthy of an assembled League, and the reintroduction of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.

    Ultimatum continued the goverment-conspiracy and gave us the Ultimen, a takeoff on the Superfriends that worked and gave us some interesting moments. Dark Heart gave us another reason to see why the League needed to assemble and the return of the Atom, although the threat wasn't that interesting. Wake the Dead gave us the return of Hawkgirl and more of Aquaman and Solomon Grundy, as well as interesting characters with Vixen and a heroic Amazo.

    And finally the two-part season finale, although a bit lacking in the assembled League (this could easily have been a season 1 or 2 story), gave us a look at both the past (literally, and the comic book history) and a further look at the future.

    So I'd say roughly nine of the episodes were well worth watching, three were average to mediocre, and one was a real dud. Not the worst record ever for a series. Hopefully this season filtered out some of the chaff (like Hawk and Dove) and let the writers/producers practice their techniques. By the end of the season they seemed to be more sure of what they wanted - hopefully that'll manifest in Season 4 (which starts right away next week - 2/5/05) with a more consistent tone in the episodes and the improved emphasis on the "guest" heroes - the ones like Vixen, the Question, Black Canary, Wildcat, Green Arrow, Vigilante, Shining Knight, and whoever else they have scheduled to appear.

    Which brings us to the characters. How'd they fair this year? Well, the Flash disappeared entirely except for some brief dialogue-less cameos. Whether Michael Rosenbaum was too busy or the producers just didn't want him isn't clear. It's true that his role as the "conscience" of the League seems a little strained once they expanded to fifty. But his disappearance remains a bit irritating.

    Hawkgirl only gets one major appearance - it's nice the producers gave some time for the storyarc to play out, but it might have been better to move her "return" episode up in the season then give us one more episode with her.

    J'onn gets a lot of screen-time but he's now the coordinator of the team and gets nothing to do. Given the range of his powers and the convenience with which he's been knocked out in the past, it's hard to tell if Carl Lumbly was too busy, the producers wanted a centerpiece for the organization, or they just felt the character was too much to put into stories and outshining other characters.

    Green Lantern gets six major episodes and a lot to do - he's now really the "veteran" League member. He also gets to have some "fun" in Kid Stuff, a romance, and a chance to see his future and his son. Overall he gets a lot to do.

    Wonder Woman makes five appearances but other then a very short anger-management story arc which she quickly recovers from (in Hawk & Dove), not much there.

    Superman also makes five appearance but other then dealing with his fantasy live in For the Man..., not much there.

    Batman really gets the lions share of the attention this year: he plays a role in 7 episodes, also gets to see his future, deals with his own demons via a hallucinatory plant, revisits his childhood, gets a chance to sing, and trades verbal reparte with Aquaman and Green Arrow.

    Fearful Symmetry and Greatest Story... really don't feature any of the "old League" in a significant manner. So what about the newcomers...?

    Supergirl makes two major appearances and has one whole story devoted to her, essentially (Fearful Symmetry). Some good personality touches and she really gets more to do than her "cousin" Superman.

    Green Arrow also shows up twice and looks to be returning heavily in the upcoming fourth season. He's played both the rebel and the determined friend, and looks good when he's on-screen.

    Captain Atom really only shows up once, making the Atom is the other "break-out" multiple-appearing superhero. John McGinley gives the hero much more power and character through his voice performance then you'd expect, and the writers wisely gave the Atom the primary focus in both stories he appeared in. Good use of his powers, both shrinking and smarts.

    The Question, with a new take as a Fox Mulder type with a superhero schitck, looks to be anothe popular character with at least one return appearance in the new season.

    Vixen looks interesting and her relationship with Green Lantern should keep her on-screen until they resolve the Hawkgirl subplot. Zatana gets an expanded selection of powers and could return depending on what happens with Batman. His popularity probably means we'll see her again.

    Booster Gold gets a whole story devoted to him and gets at least some development.

    For all the work the other 'new" heroes got by the writers, the only other major characters, Hawk & Dove, failed miserably. Once you get past the gimmick of casting the guys from The Wonder Years, there really wasn't much there, there.

    So overall the expanded roster seems to have worked. There's still a lot of heroes that should get some time, and unfortunately some may never get more then background appearances. Hopefully that'll change as the series continues.moreless
  • Batman, Green Lantern & Wonder Woman travel though time to stop a thief.

    Some pathetic guy travels though time stealing stuff to please the wifey. He bites off more than he could chew when he steals Batmans utility belt, and gets caught! Now WW, GL and the Bats are after him! AND, we get to see Batman in a cowboy hat and boots! SWEET!! I really loved this episode although time travel is a bit over done in the JLU animated series. (Even GL expressed his exaustion of time travel! haha) However, this was fun to watch and had good action scenes, and a little romance too.moreless
  • Without following any DC comics "canon" completely, this story is a great parody of just how twisted the world of super heroes has been in the modern era.

    Chasing through fluid time, Justice League members confront Chronos in a version of the future Gotham City.

    A lot of these cartoons were overly ponderous and took themselves too seriously, but some were clever. It was tougher to find clever as the series moved into too many characters and its new guitar power chord theme song. But overall, I most like the Timm shows when they poked fun at the DC comic universe, plagued for over 20 years by more time shifts, reality merges, and rebooted characters than you can shake a stick at.

    Therein lies the strength here, I love the idea of a character who acts like the Anti-Monitor (a comic character) but instead, is motivated because he has a wife who nags him. Batman is particularly funny as his hard-bitten modern image (so beloved by modern comic readers) is hysterical when played against an even more bitter version of himself from "Batman Beyond". The brief appearance by Hal Jordon is good too, especially as he mutters overly "heroic" words rather than twisted Parallax angst.

    Any episode that can tell a good story and make fun of "Crisis on Infinite Earths", "Zero Hour", "hypertime", "Infinite Crisis", and its own origins is good for me, a guy who quit buying comics in 1972.moreless
  • it is up to batman and green lantern to stop a time travelling maniac from rewriting history

    this is a personal favorite of mine, since it featured the future of the justice league, in the person of future batman, warhawk and static. this is a comendable episode because it gave a twist to the love story of Shayera and Green Lantern, that they actually have a son! a very funny scene is when batman meets the future bruce wayne. it's just sad how the league ended up dismantled by the enemy. i wouldn't agree it would be a fitting season finale, though, but it is a very good series. time travel is always one of the best plots in the comic book world.moreless
  • this was great episode.

    this episode is about the second part of once a future thing, it's about the batman, green lantern, and wonder woman chasing an inventor in the future and they get help from the future batman, and static shock as they fight him, this had a great plot, this is a great episode.
Phil LaMarr

Phil LaMarr

Green Lantern/John Stewart

Susan Eisenberg

Susan Eisenberg

Wonder Woman/Diana

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy

Batman/Bruce Wayne

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • During the first fight scene between the Jokerz and the JLU, we see that the whips used by the DeeDees are extremely effective against GL's constructs. So why, when confronted with a labyrinth construct, do the DeeDees not slash away with their whips?

    • During part 1, Bruce Wayne's eyes were blue. In part 2, when we see the older Bruce's eyes, they are brown.

    • People and events shown here contradict what has been shown for various other WB series, but in fact are internally consistent (sort of) since it's established that what we're seeing here is an alternate timeline, rendering other time travel and crossover stories providing a glimpse of the "real future" irrelevant to what we see here.

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Green Lantern: The Green Lanterns have a legend - no one can see the beginning of time. It's a universal law.
      Batman: Write (Chronos) a ticket.

    • Chronos: How could you betray me, Enid? Everything I've done, I've done for you.
      Enid: Don't blame this on me. I just wanted you to assert yourself – not destroy the universe!

    • Static: The miracles of modern medicine – 65 is the new 30.

    • Static: Wow. Batman playing "good cop."
      Green Lantern: Everything's relative...

    • Batman: Sometimes the old ways are best.
      Terry: It's not going to work. You don't know your way around here. Things have changed.
      Batman: Are criminals still superstitious and cowardly?
      Bruce Wayne: Yup.
      Batman: Good enough for me.

    • Chronos: Skedaddle! Time is money! Actually, "time" is the non-spacial continuum in which events occur linearly, usually in the direction of increased entropy. But the clowns seem to relate better to the "money" thing.

    • Chronos: Do you know what killed the dinosaurs?
      Bonk: Uhh... no, sir.
      Chronos: Well, Chucko does, and unless you want to find out firsthand, you go finish off the Justice League.

    • War Hawk: What are you supposed to do when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?
      John Stewart: Plant your feet.

    • (John Stewart turns into a white guy)
      Hal Jordan: Wha...?
      Static: John...?
      Hal Jordan: Hal Jordan. Another time shift. I'm up to speed. Carry on.
      Terry: Okay... I'm starting to get a migraine.

    • Chucko: (surrounded by dinosaurs) You think I'm scared? I'll be running this dump in a few years! (meteorite hits) Oh fooey...

    • Chucko: I'm sorry.
      Chronos: "I'm sorry," what? Everybody...?
      Jokerz: Sorry, Lord Chronos...

    • Static: Shayera was one cranky pregnant lady. Although to be fair, if I laid an egg that big...
      War Hawk: He's kidding, Dad.

    • Terry: Batman – Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne – Batman. Or...have you met?
      Both Bruces: Not now!
      Terry: Great. What did they use to call it? Stereo?

    • Bruce Wayne: Surprised to see me?
      Batman: A little. I'm more surprised I've lived so long.

    • Dee Dee #1: Look, Dee Dee – another Green Lantern.
      Dee Dee #2: He's much cuter then the last one we killed, don't you think, Dee Dee?

    • Ghoul: And that's everything I know!
      Bruce Wayne: Everything...?
      Ghoul: I wet my bed until I was 14!
      Bruce Wayne: Losing my patience...

    • Bruce Wayne: I can't believe I was ever that green. This is how you interrogate someone.

    • Ghoul: Hard to believe somebody as stupid as you ever beat the Joker.
      Batman: Maybe I'm smarter than I look...

  • NOTES (8)

    • Character bios: Batman of the Future, Static, The Jokerz, Chronos

    • This episode wasn't completed by the ending of YTVs Season 3 airing, so they replaced both parts with "Initiation" and "For the Man who has Everything."

    • When the Redcoats say "Fire at will", they're looking at the future Batman Beyond Batman, who is played by Will Friedle. Presumably an in-joke - they must want to get rid of the actor as well as Batman.

    • Previews at the end of this episode are from the upcoming episodes "The Doomsday Sanction" and "Task Force X" - the latter show The Suicide Squad (Deadshot and Captain Boomerang) and Ares' battle robot from "Hawk and Dove".

    • Other heroes that appear without dialogue: Vibe, Dr. Light, Mr. Terrific, Booster Gold, Stargirl, Gypsy, Supergirl, and Shayera/Hawkgirl.

    • Phil LaMarr reprises his role as Static from Static Shock but is not credited. Peter Onorati reprises his role as War Hawk from the Batman Beyond episodes starting with "The Call (1)" Will Friedle reprises his role as Terry McGinnis, the future Batman from Batman Beyond. Michael Rosenbaum, Melissa Joan Hart, and Don Harvey reprise their roles as Ghoul, Dee Dee, and Chucko respectively from Return of the Joker. Adam Baldwin, Adam Baldwin, who had previously played Jonah Hex in "The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales (1)", takes on the role of Bonk, previously played by Henry Rollins. Dee Bradley Baker takes on the role of Woof, previously played by Frank Welker in RotJ.

    • The full title is shown on a single screen this time.

    • For the first time the pre-credits sequence is nothing but a "Previously" of the previous episode.


    • The Hand of Destiny
      The hand seen at the beginning of time is the Hand of Destiny. In the comics this hand was seen by those who tried to look back to the creation of the multiverse. It has been revealed that the "Hand" belongs to the omnipotent being known as "The Presence." In the comic series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Anti-Monitor tried to replace his own hand for The Presence's as he tried to remake the multiverse. Other references to the Crisis include the white mass of energy that comes from the sky and erases everything it touches, and the confused colonial soldiers and mammoths that appear in The Colosseum. All of these appeared in the Crisis.

    • JLU Computer Screen:
      The graphics on the JLU's computer screen (as Bruce Wayne analyzes the timeline) are the same as those seen in The Matrix when outsiders read Matrix code.

    • Chucko: I'll be running this dump in a few years!
      This is practically the same line that Gabriel Yulaw says at the end of the movie The One when he is tossed through a portal and stranded in a barren landscape by folks with superior ability to travel through time/space.

    • Chucko: Laser saber
      Chucko's two-bladed red-tinged laser saber is the same as the light saber Darth Maul wields in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.