Justice League Unlimited "Destroyer" Series Finale Talkback (Spoilers)

Rate and Post Your Thoughts on "Destroyer"


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Bird Boy

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This is it fanboys and fangirls: the final episode of Justice League Unlimited airs tonight at 10:30pm (ET)! Get out the tissues...


Episode #39 - Destroyer
Original Airdate - May 13th, 2006

In a knock-down drag out battle on Earth and in space, the power moving behind the scenes of the villains is revealed leading to the most unexpected team-up in Justice League history.

Comments?
 

Alex Weitzman

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Well, since I had this one prepped ahead of time, may as well put it up now.

Destroyer

In all honesty, there is no good way to begin this review. I have the ending in mind already, and I look forward to getting to that. The ending is my immediate response to the episode's finish. But beginning this review is a lot harder, because where do you go first? There's so much context from both a content perspective and a fandom perspective that it boggles. Oh, well. Swimming's always more fun after you just dive in, instead of trying to get used to the water inch by inch.

Perhaps the first thing that should be said is that I have no complaints. None. Literally. I could try to fabricate some, and if I pushed my own mindset into further temperaments that the episode did not naturally lead me into, I'm sure I could come up with something. But that would be false, and extremely unfair. Who has time to complain? After all, just look at Destroyer go. Whew. I'm sure someone will comment about the episode being too big for its britches, that its scope is so massive in possibility and setting that it does not fit a single 22-minute episode. Perhaps, but in possibility, would it even fit a Ken Burns documentary? But again, who has time to think about it? Destroyer makes you match its pace, and for good reason; no matter what your issues are (or, rather, what the characters' issues are), there are way bigger and simpler things at stake. Undoubtedly, there will be some full-season grumbling about this not living up to the emotional stakes and ambiguity of the Cadmus season. As I have expressed elsewhere, I feel it would be disingenuous (and harmful to the previous season) to attempt the same thing twice. After Cadmus, the lines of morality should be as clearly drawn as they are here, or what was the point of going through it? Good is good and bad is bad, and of course, self-interested is self-interested. There are times when it should never be considered as simple as that, but there are also times that it should. The Question would be proud.

And speaking of, love that car. Love that shield throw, Commander Steel. Love that dragon, J'onn. Hell, love it all. Destroyer has a blistering speed and intensity of action all over it, to suggest a level of worldwide war unseen in the DCAU. Parademons are the punching bags that keep on giving, and there's always nothing but satisfaction in the continual face-pounding of those creepy monsters. This isn't an episode for joyously-specific martial artistry (like Joaquin's Grudge Match). This is an episode that needs to make you feel like everybody's involved. The fact that a great deal of clever little bits with each of the characters exercising their skills and/or powers got snuck in is all the more reason to soak in the thrill. I think the real victory of Destroyer's action scenes all around the globe is that we don't get to see every character in action. In Panic in the Sky, every single League member got some screen time in the fight. Not true here, and this time, we've added to the cast of those fighting for Earth. And yet, by virtue of the sheer energy of the episode, it feels like everybody's there and giving their all.

Time must be spent talking about some of the more individual character moments. It wouldn't be a McDuffie script without more than a few great windows into the souls of each of the major participants. Some of the moments are almost guileless in their perfection: when was the last time you can recall Batman running out of batarangs? Which, of course, not only doesn't faze him but couldn't even remotely be reason enough to break non-firearm tradition. Or take the Flash - gotta love him! - and the fact that his suggestions are taken seriously, and thusly, so is he. (Additionally, adding up female attention for Wally this season…..Fire, Linda, Giganta…..hey, Wally's a hit with the ladies. 'Bout time.) The Wonder Woman/J'onn J'onzz relationship, subtle from day one, comes to a marvelous pop of a champagne cork as he returns, and although we spend precious little time with the new Martian Manhunter, the changes are dead obvious and have seeped into every bit of his behavior and vocal tone. And finally in the League, Superman is afforded development almost against him, as his anger begins to twist up anew at the prospects of his two most aggravating foes showing up, only to be left blinking as one problem solves the other. But unlike last season, he remains aware of who can and should take the punches, and who his allies are and what they stand for. His "cardboard" speech is a great release, but I'm even more tickled by its opening sentiment, as Superman pointedly observes how perfect a warrior for the good fight Batman is.

With the presence of the Question last season, paranoia bubbled all around. With the presence of Metron here, though, the real dominant sense is one of unspoken details. He knows more than he's telling, and I feel like Destroyer is the same way. Lex and Darkseid are the key focal points of that suspicion in me. (Watch now as I dive headfirst into great steaming gobs of assumption.) For one, and I don't think I'm alone here, I think Brainiac is responsible for Darkseid's new look. I know there's been some rebuking of that already, but I can't help it. It sure ain't Brainseid; after all, what was that thing about doing stuff twice? But boy, Darkseid's got some new tricks. Lex can't hear the voice of Brainiac any more. And let's not forget his boast about being more powerful than he's ever been. And then there's the question of the Anti-Life Equation. Far From Home actually provides us with the explanation for Lex's survival of retrieving the cosmic treasure; Brainiac 5 is a 12th-level intellect. Which means that the Brainiac in Lex provided him with the way to comprehend it. (It also lends credence to what would appear to be a terribly arrogant statement from Lex about being "overqualified": 12th-level intellect plus Lex-level intellect equals what?) But if that's Lex's way out, it'd have to be Darkseid's way out, too. And that lends credence to something Darkseid said back in Twilight - Brainiac is his "answer" to the Anti-Life Equation. So, I picture Darkseid's Brainiac quota to be just enough to have some fun with, but not enough to take over the mind of a New God. Anyway, that's just one thing. Here's another one - I think Darkseid attacked, and maybe even laid to waste, New Genesis before showing up at Earth. Darkseid's plan is basically to pick up from where he left off during Apokolips...Now!, the big differences being that he's doing it all across the world and that Highfather never tries to stop him. This is a direct breaking of the treaty, as Alive! points out, and leads Darkseid to hint that New Genesis is his first stop. Maybe that line means he's going there after Earth. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. But fact is, we see only one New Genesis inhabitant, presumably from before Darkseid went anywhere from Apokolips, and those guys don't show their faces once after that. With a guy like Metron around, who always looks like he has a secret, I am forced to see it this way.

Speaking of qualities shared between Alive! and Destroyer, I haven't even talked about the existential strength these episodes gain just merely by being what they are. A finale. This was the kind of stuff I was stifling myself from talking about in the last review, saving it for this one. Comic book realities are known for being loosey-goosey with the permanence of their situations. Even the DCAU has some of that. But on the other hand, things often stick in this continuity. If something gets taken back, it's treated like the event it is, like the aforementioned Darkseid and his glorious return. It's one of the reasons this set of television shows is so daring and so good, because it really cares for its beats. So, a finale with Darkseid? A real finale with Darkseid? I mean, this is the cat who basically represents the ability to kill almost anyone he chooses whenever he likes. That means that when Darkseid shoots the Omega Beams at Batman, it doesn't matter that we know he's going to - hell, supposed to - survive. It's a shocker. It's all a shocker, because when you reach the end of a story (or at least what feels like the end of a story; who knows?), the cards are all on the table and anybody's fair game. Hawkgirl's wing gets pierced, and this viewer instantly tenses at the possibility of the Thanagarian wonder becoming a martyr or a victim. It coulda happened. A lot could have happened. A lot did happen in Alive!, and the episode's status as part of the finale means that there's a lot of things that happened in that episode that won't be taken back. Whoa.

So, as a finale, how do I take it? I take it like a miserable fanboy, of course. I'm not going to lie. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that, "Oh, shucks, that was just spectacular and it was just the right place to end it and I'm good with that and now I can move on and yada yada yada…" Of course not. Nothing against Destroyer, obviously, which does the finale job about as excellently as I think anything ever could have. Just because you had a great, fantastic dinner that leaves you full doesn't mean you won't ever want to eat again. Nor do I think TimmCo even wants us to think that we should just call it a night. After all, what is TimmCo? In the dullest of definitions, it is a house of artists. In the most overdone of definitions, it is a house of magic. But I like my take on it: it is a house of entertainers. I've been an entertainer for a long time myself, and I know what they'd want to hear when they leave the stage (for now), and it's a good thing it's true, to boot…

Guys, you left me wanting more.
 

Djm912

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Lex flippin' Luthor.

Wow. Superman REALLY doesn't like him. For the Boy Scout, that's TV-MA level.
 

Djm912

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Darkseid picking up the Daily Planet Globe and crushing S with it.

What a visual. They are definitely going out with one hell of a big ass muthatruckin BANG AND A HALF.
 

Space Cadet

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Well, Superman is getting his butt kicked. Where are the Teen Titans when you need them?!:(
 

Sinsio

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Episode and season review

It seems like the entire third season of JLU has simply been one long fanservice filled with mediocre plotlines and plenty of comic book sourcing and homages. Luckily, Destroyer's storyline has some legs of is own which bring JLU to a open-ended yet somehow satisfying conclusion.

Of course, there is still plenty of fanservice that is easily written off as cornball or cliched by the casual viewer. To the delight of DC fans everywhere, each JL member gets a moment to shine with either a 3 second display of their powers or in the "running off into the sunset" sequence at the end.

Personally, I find the DC villains to be far more interesting than the heroes. I think the reason the finale works as well as it does is because it features the two remaining top villains of the series: Darkseid and Lex Luthor. Pit the two against each other and you have an minimum B rating for the episode.

Throw in
a) Superman meets DBZ moment (I've been holding back, here's my real power, send opponent flying, teleport in front of flying foe and smash into the ground)
b) DCAU-obligatory Superman torture scene
c) superhero & supervillain teamup
d) a completely hardcore Wonder Woman
and you have quite the JLU series finale. What keeps this finale from being truly great is the times when the fanservice stick out like a sore thumb.

A- for the series finale Destroyer. B- for JLU season 3 as a whole.
 

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