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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Justice League: "The Enemy Below, Part II"

Season One, Episode Six: The Enemy Below, Part II
Written by:
Kevin Hopps
Directed by: Dan Riba
Original Air Date: December 10, 2001

The previous episode of Justice League ended with Aquaman the victim of a palace coup, orchestrated by his brother Orm.

Orm, disgusted over his brother's supposed "treachery" by trying to live in peace with the Surface World, has taken this opportunity to take over and launch an attack. Mera asks if her husband has returned, by Orm lies to her, telling her that his brother is probably dead.

Mera is horrified when she learns Orm has stolen her son--under the guise of protecting the royal heir--but Mera quickly realizes something is very, very wrong.

Moments later, the JLA arrives, and Orm has his army fire at them:
The JLA makes quick work of the Atlantean attack ship, but when a series of depth charges are set off, they knock all the heroes unconscious.

They wake up in chains, each of them wearing some sort of mental control device that Orm controls, subduing them all--even Superman. Orm chains them to a wall in an antechamber, and it begins to fill with water.

Mera watches all this from afar, and takes matters into her own hands, taking out two of Orm's flunkies with a giant mace:
She frees the JLA before they drown (well, three of them drown), and tells them what has happened, that her husband and son are missing.

We then see where they are: both of them--father and son--are chained to a cliff face. Orm blasts the hunk of rock they are hanging from, hoping to make their deaths look like an accident. As Orm leaves, the rock wall begins to crumble:
Aquaman tries to pull himself free, but cannot. He then grabs the metal "A" belt buckle he wears, sharp as a razor. He uses it to hack at his chains, but it does no good. Finally, as he sees his son begin to slip from his blanket, Aquaman decides the only way out is...through his own hand!:
Moments later, Aquaman arrives with his son in his arms, and one hand less then he had when Mera saw him last. The JLA is stunned at what Aquaman has done, but he states it was the only way to save his son.
An Atlantean surgeon works on Aquaman, and the JLA gets news that the Polar Ice Caps are beginning to melt due to an extreme rise in temperature. Aquaman says that this is the work of his brother, who has stolen an Atlantean "doomsday" weapon, built under Aquaman's supervision as a last resort.

The JLA begins to leave, and Aquaman is ready to join them:
The JLA arrive with Aquaman in tow, and Orm and his army are there to try and fight them off.

The Atlanteans are, for the most part, no match for the JLA, but their numbers are so vast that it takes all the JLA's efforts just to fight them off. Aquaman leaves that task to the JLA, deciding to go after his brother personally.

He smashes his way into an ice cavern containing the doomsday weapon, and he and Orm have it out:
While Aquaman and Orm fight, Batman and Green Lantern get inside the machine and try to shut it down--Orm has set off the weapon's reactor, making it unable to be stopped. After Orm zaps Green Lantern, Aquaman decks Orm, knocking him several feet back onto a small ice bridge.

The ice bridge collapses under Orm's feet, and he hangs on by grabbing the edge of the cliff where Aquaman is standing. Orm begs for mercy, but all Aquaman is concerned about is his trident, which Orm had appropriated.

Orm can't hold on any longer, and plummets to his...death?:
Batman gets the machine shut down, ending the threat to the ice caps

Back in Atlantis, some of Orm's men beg for forgiveness, and Aquaman tells the traitors to get out of his sight. Disgusted by his own blind hatred for the Surface World, Aquaman recommits to finding a way to live in peace with the rest of the world.

Superman states it won't be easy. Aquaman agrees, but looks at his family and says, "I know...but some sacrifices are worth it."
...the end!

This episode is probably the best example of the old phrase, making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. As I have stated too many times in the past, I was never a fan of the whole hook-for-a-hand look, but Justice League presents the best possible, most bad-ass reason for it to exist than I could ever imagine.

I mean, wow: Aquaman cuts his own hand off to save his son. If you have to do the whole hook-for-a-hand thing, this is the way to do it.

Scott Rummell makes a fine Aquaman, and he would return to the show a couple times more as the Sea King, and we'll cover here on the Shrine sometime in the near future...


David J. Cutler said...

Still my favorite episode from the first season, but I always wished Orm's armor could have been a *little* more Ocean Master inspired.

Still though, very nicely done.

Chris said...

Apparently the voice of Mera was supplied by Kristen Bauer who plays vampire Pam in True Blood!

Earth 2 Chris said...

Yeah, the whole "hand for a son" thing was just flat out awesome. What dad WOULDN'T give his life (let alone his hand) for his son?

Much better than the DCU comic version.


Unknown said...

I'm in agreement. Even though I prefer Silver Age Aquaman, this rendition of "arrogant Arthur" managed to demonstrate true nobility and heroism that was seldom seen during the moody hook and beard era. JLU did a great job with redeeming this incarnation of the character.

Orin's dad said...

This was one of those episodes that was simply moving. The way Aquaman sacrificed for his son...wow. I remember watching that and thinking, in the same situation I would do the same thing. As Earth 2 Chris said, what dad worth his salt wouldn't do that? This was a great rendition of the Sea King.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

It was all kinds of heroic. In fact, when I first saw it I remembering thinking it was one of the top 10 superhero moments I'd read or seen.