Justice League Unlimited

Season 2 Episode 22

Wild Cards (2)

Aired Saturday 10:30 PM Dec 06, 2003 on Cartoon Network

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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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.
  • 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...

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.