Justice League Unlimited

Season 2 Episode 22

Wild Cards (2)

Aired Saturday 10:30 PM Dec 06, 2003 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
154 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The League manage to defuse the Joker's bombs and defeat the four active members of the Royal Flush Gang...but the Joker has an Ace in the hole as he executes his real master plan.

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  • A Turn for the Dark

    The beginning of this episode starts much like part 1 - there's a general sense of fun in bright cheery Las Vegas, the Justice League are having some problems but basically pulling it out. They've defused the bombs successfully, the Joker is daunted but still making with the comedy routine and then...*bang* things go very, very dark.

    First you've got the Batman/Harley scene where Batman points out that the Joker is basically replacing Harley with a child in his "romantic" affections. Anybody keeping up with the Michael Jackson scandal and allegations that came out shortly before this episode originally aired should be creeped out.

    Then Harley confronts the Joker who proceeds to beat her. Granted, their relationship has always been a violent love-hate one, but this one goes into actual straight-out physical beating. There's no joy buzzers or hyenas or anything - he just slugs her.

    Then Ace cuts loose with some particularly horrific imaging - snakes coming out of a man's mouth and another man melting.

    And then Batman arrives and ends up vomiting (again, not something you'd expect to see in, say, a Super Friends episode) from nausea, and the Joker proceeds to sadistically beat him up. Again, there's no veneer of comic book gimmicks to cover this up - the Joker kicks, punches, and beats Batman up in as direct and vicious a manner as one ever sees in mainstream American cartoons, and over the course of several long, painful seconds. There's also no miraculous, "Well, I've been beaten 20 or 30 times, hard enough to have a couple of dozen bones broken, so I'll jump to my feet and fight as if I'm unharmed." The Joker-beating looks and feels painful.

    And then Ace turns against her father-figure and drives him into drooling imbecility before taking off for a rather ambiguous ending. She's still out there, and she's still dangerous as a ticking time-bomb.

    None of this bad, but it definitely shows once again how Justice League is in many ways the most "adult" cartoon going these days - certainly the most adult mainstream "heroic" cartoon. People die as we've seen in the past, and here people get viciously beaten and villains put the moves on kids below the age of consent.

    For the characters themselves, the Royal Flash Gang remain mostly ciphers, although there's a nice mix: Ten's confidence, King's sudden reconsideration when he finds out how loyal Ten is, and the childlike Ace. Jack gives Batman a good fight, so it's good to see someone can make Batman break out a sweat. Superman and Flash initially made a rather poor showing here, so it's nice to see them cut loose and take down the bad guys even if you have to wonder why they were holding back in part 1.

    Batman is...Batman. He engages in psychological warfare (as he did in Injustice for All) to get Harley to lead him to the Joker, and when Superman is a gibbering wreck from a televised glance, Batman is going full-force against Ace's direct mental assault and the Joker's physical beating, and still managing to pull out a win.

    That leaves Hawkgirl and Green Lantern. Hawkgirl rushing off is in character, and it's nice to see Batman acknowledge and casually "forgive" her at the end. And we finally, finally! get the culmination of the Hawkgirl/GL romance and the first glimpse of Hawkgirl's face as we find out she's wearing a helmet. Even this relationship is a little "darker" - within an hour of the episode airing there were already complaints on DC Comic's message boards about "How dare they have an interracial relationship on a cartoon show?" It looks like the Xmas special will continue with this, and then we'll finally get a payoff in Star-Crossed to end out the season.

    Overall, this was one of the best episodes in a great season, and it managed to hold together as the conclusion of two parts - something they (and many other shows) don't always manage to do. We know from part 1 that there's more going on with Joker and Ace then just the bombs, and here we find out the full extent of the Joker's master plan and how close it comes to success...and the terrifying nature of what that plan is. The ending isn't rushed and there's no missing pieces - the only open thread is what happened to Ace, and she's dangerous enough that leaving it hanging on this note was the proper thing to do. As long as they don't forget her in the future...

    In fact, there's a lot going on in part 2 (defeating the Gang, Batman vs. Ace) and everything gets wrapped up, but it's still not rushed and we get enough time for the GL/Hawkgirl scene. Excellent timing on the writers/director's part.moreless
  • Joker has laced Vegas with bombs, most of which are duds, but the REAL bomb will create quite a crater. The Royal Flush gang distracts the Justice League from reaching it in time, but the Joker's REAL plan has yet to be revealed...moreless

    As good as the first part of this episode was, the second part is even better. I've often seen two-parters where the only reason for creating a second part was because they had such a great cliffhanger for the first, but didn't really know how to finish. This episode is an exception. The setup has been pretty pedestrian: bombs, Vegas, stop the madman in time, but through the grace of Joker's commentary, and occasional glimpses of Ace, we know all along that something bigger's brewing. Is it ever! The depiction of Joker here is excellent (but, as always, still not crazy enough - how CAN you get it right on Saturday morning TV?) and his ultimate scheme is, well, perfectly Joker. This show has really grown up from the old SuperFriends days.moreless
  • Onse again, Joker is a genius.

    This episode is just as great as part one. Joker is still funny as always. And for what i can see the Joker almost beaten Batman. So i give 9 out of 10 for the clown prince of crime for coming up with such a genius plan.

    The Justice League is having a hard time getting rid of the bombs while the Royal Flush Gang keeps stoping them from doing so. I like the way Batman made Harley feel jealous with Ace when Batman told her that Joker(or Mr. J) likes her more. Of course the flashback of Ace's past was quite cool. I was sad seeing how Ace got taken away from the parents and making her wear that band thing to make her go blur. But it was nice that Ace returned in Epilouge. She was such a great character.

    The episode also revealed that John Stewart and Sheraya Hol have feelings for each other. And also John took off Hawkgirls's mask and kiss was a nice touch. But i think the funniest part is that old lady at the games room. She dosen't even know that the league was there. So far its a awesome episode.moreless
  • A continuation of "Wild Card part 1." The Justice League is still trying to disarm all of the 25 bombs and deafeat the Royal Flush Gang. However the Joker has yet another trick up his sleeve.moreless

    The episode starts up with Hawkgirl searching the rubble of the blown up casino, looking for Green Lantern. She finds his without a pulse. She uses her mace to shock him. That starts his heart up again and he is okay.

    Superman is still fighting Ten, which is kind of ridiculous. Superman finally punches him half-way across town. Now he can disarm the bomb, after wasting five minutes fighting Ten. Why didn't he just do that in the first place?

    Hawkgirl leaves with Green Lantern, telling Batman that he needs medical attention.

    The funniest lines in this episode are given to the Joker. That is what makes this episode great. The Joker is one of the funniset and clever villians in this series.

    Flash is the one to find the last bomb. He begins to disarm it, but is attacked by King. "You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?," King says. Flash responds with something like, "Well, yeah, I did." Flash seems to win the battle, until Ten shows up. Together, King and Ten beat up the Flash.

    Superman comes to the Flash's aid. He tells them that they must be as crazy as the Joker. For, if they try to beat Superman, they will die in the explosion.

    King gets smart and leaves. Ten taunts him, and is met with a blow from Superman. Flash regains conscienceness, and tries to disarm the bomb.

    The Joker plays with his mind and the Flash runs off with the bomb. This puzzeles everyone, until they realize that the Flash has taken the bomb and thrown it somewhere else.

    The Joker applauds the Justice League for foiling his bomb plot. He tells the viewers that there are about 60-70 million people watching his program right now and that was the point all along. To get as many people watching. Now they will all be witness to his greatest joke ever.

    The Joker spins Ace around. Ace's powers are that she can make someone go insane just by looking at them. Joker is imune to all of this because he is already crazy.

    So, now everyone watching is going insane, including Flash and Superman. The writers of this episode even try and make the real viewer think they are going crazy. They do this by putting a mouse-like human walking in the background in one scene.

    Batman finds the Joker, but falls victim to Ace's mind control. This allows Joker to give Batman a major beating.

    However, Batman pulls out the headband that controls Ace's powers from the Joker's jacket.

    Once Batman does this, Ace is mad that the Joker would keep that.She walks over to confront him and uses her powers to make Joker go into an insane catatonic state.

    Meanwhile, at the watch tower, Green Lantern is in the medical bay and is being treated by Hawkgirl. He wakes up and says that they have to talk. He says that she knows how he feels about her and that he knows she feels the same way. Hawkgirl sits down and says that they are too different and that they can't be worried about each other in a battle if they had a relationship.

    Hawkgirl sighs and says, "Just look at us." Green Lantern says that he sees a man and a woman. That's when he goes to take her mask off. She hesitates, but lets him. That is when they kiss and how the episode ends.

George Newbern

George Newbern

Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El

Maria Canals

Maria Canals

Hawkgirl/Shayera Hol

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy

Batman/Bruce Wayne

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Flash/Wally West

Phil LaMarr

Phil LaMarr

Green Lantern/John Stewart

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Batman tells Flash how to disarm the bombs in Part 1 he gives him the strict order to disconnect as: blue, yellow and black-striped - red, black, and yellow is assumed last. When Superman disconnects his first bomb, he disarms it in the order: yellow, blue, yellow and black-striped, red, and black.

    • When Batman noticeably pukes while encountering Ace, the next shot shows nothing on the floor in front of him.

    • If Ten feels no pain, he should have made no noise when struck by Superman.

    • John's eyes are black at the end. We know they revert from green to black when the power is drained from his ring. His eyes stay green when he takes it off like in In Blackest Night. So did John's ring run out of power in that explosion?

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Green Lantern: Hey.
      Hawkgirl: Hey. Go back to sleep.
      Green Lantern: Not sleepy. Besides, we've got things to talk about.
      Hawkgirl: It can wait.
      Green Lantern: Not any more. I'm tired of waiting. You know how I feel about you.
      Hawkgirl: John...
      Green Lantern: And I know you feel the same way.
      Hawkgirl: It's not that simple. John, this can't go any further.
      Green Lantern: Why not?
      Hawkgirl: It's crazy. We work together.
      Green Lantern: So? Gives us something in common.
      Hawkgirl: We can't be worrying about each other when we're fighting the bad guys.
      Green Lantern: Too late for that. What else you got?
      Hawkgirl: We're... so different. I mean, look at us! Just look at us.
      Green Lantern: I see a man, and a woman.

    • Joker: Much as I'd enjoy watching my boys pummel the Flash, I've learned from hard experience that it always pays to keep an eye on Bat-guano!

    • Superman: Give it up, kid. There's no way you can beat me.
      Ten: I don't have to beat you. I just have to slow you down until the bomb blows.
      Superman: Hold that thought. (punches Ten into the air, disarming the bomb before he lands) Now, where were we?

    • Joker: Even you can't disarm one of my bombs in time!
      Flash: Shut up!
      Joker: What kind of retort is that? You're not even trying!

    • Joker: Let's go back to watching Green Lantern croak - that should cheer me up.

    • Superman: That was quite a stunt you just pulled off.
      Flash: I know. Can't wait to catch the rerun.

  • NOTES (3)


    • The Joker: (singing) Big old Bats is falling down... on the ground...
      This is a parody of the traditional nursery rhyme London Bridge is falling down, which goes:
      London Bridge is falling down,
      Falling down, Falling down.
      London Bridge is falling down,
      My fair lady.