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"Flashpoint"

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Justice League Unlimited episode
Flashpoint
"Flashpoint"
Airdate: July 2, 2005 (USA)
Production Number: 23
Airdate Order: 23
Animation Services by: DR Movie Co., LTD.
Written by: Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by: Joaquim Dos Santos
Episode images (7)

"Flashpoint" is the tenth episode of the second season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 23rd of the overall series. It originally aired on July 2, 2005. It is the second episode of the four-part finale of the Cadmus story arc.

Plot

Inside Cadmus, Captain Atom takes on Superman. In addition to his super-strength, Captain Atom can produce red sun energy blasts that weaken Superman. As they fight, Huntress takes Question out of the building and calls the Watchtower for an emergency teleport.

Captain Atom gives it everything he's got, but is no match for Superman's strength. Superman is forced to give him a severe beating, coming dangerously close to cracking his containment suit, before Captain Atom finally stays down. When Cadmus doctors arrive to see to Captain Atom, Superman tells them to back off. No one tries to interfere as Superman carries him out and back to the Watchtower.

Superman visits Question in the infirmary, who confesses that he was afraid Superman was coming close to killing Luthor. Superman insists that that would be impossible, but Question reminds him that Cadmus have been remarkably effective in bringing out his worst side.

Superman tells Supergirl the truth about Emil Hamilton, and together they storm up to the bridge, ready to assemble a team to go down and smash Cadmus before they make another move against the League. J'onn J'onzz and Green Arrow remind them exactly why they can't, because they are committed to upholding the law, and Cadmus may actually be a legitimate, albeit secret, branch of the government, which on its own commits crimes. Furthermore, such action is precisely why ordinary humans fear the League.

Working in his laboratory at LexCorp, Lex Luthor receives a call from Amanda Waller about the break-out. She warns him that if Question has gotten evidence to implicate Luthor, Cadmus will cut him loose. Seeming unconcerned, Luthor strides to a targeting computer in his lab that has just beeped ready, and presses "Enter".

The debate aboard the Watchtower is interrupted when the computer announces that the binary fusion cannon is preparing to fire. J'onn tries to override the system, but he is locked out. As a last resort, he tears the circuitry out of the control panel, but the system re-routes. Superman hurtles out of the station and to the mouth of the cannon, but is a split second too late: the laser fires down at the Earth's surface.

Down below, people are going about their daily lives, but pause when they see the sky light up: the beam lances down and hits an abandoned building marked "Condemned". The building is vaporized, and a massive shock wave ripples out, hitting the surrounding city with the force of an earthquake.

Aboard the Watchtower, the discharge has drained the station's power for a whole hour. Even without sensors or communications, J'onn can tell that the League has fired on Cadmus's headquarters. Flash leads a rescue team down to the surface to help those caught in the shock wave.

J'onn receives an angry call from the President of the United States on a special hotline, but swears that the League was not responsible for the blast. Afterwards, the President receives a call from Waller revealing that the facility that was destroyed was empty. They evacuated an hour earlier because of the break-in by Superman.

Waller advises the President in the strongest terms to order retaliation: the blast (in her eyes) was clearly retribution for kidnapping Question, and the League and the government are officially at war. The President is reluctant to order retaliation, and tells Waller to stand by.

The League is at its best on the ground, rescuing people trapped by the devastation. But things turn ugly as rumors start to fly that the League fired the cannon at the ground.

At Cadmus's new facility, Waller grows impatient and decides it's time to act. She orders a fully operational Galatea to take command of an army of Ultimen clones.

Continuity

  • The episode picks up directly from the events of "Question Authority".
  • There are a couple of references to "Double Date":
    • J'onn J'onzz fired Huntress from the Justice League for insubordination and attempted lethal methods. Because of her dismissal, he initially refuses to comply to her teleportation request until he hears the situation.
    • In the infirmary, Question makes a joking reference to when Huntress referred to him as "ugly" in their first meeting.
  • When Question reminds Superman that Amanda Waller and Lex Luthor have been scheming to enrage Superman, referring (indirectly) to the events of "Clash".
  • Green Arrow reminds Superman that his job is to keep the League honest according to Batman in "Initiation".
  • The fusion cannon was last fired in "Dark Heart".
  • J'onn makes reference to the events of the Justice League episode "Starcrossed" to the President, stating that the fusion cannon was installed on the second Watchtower was to prevent another crisis of the kind that happened during the Thanagarian invasion where Batman had to destroy the Thanagarians' planet-side weapon by taking piloting the first Watchtower on a suicide course.
  • The Ultimen have been ever expanded into an army since their first appearance in "Ultimatum".

Background information

Home video releases

Production inconsistencies

  • When Superman punches Captain Atom unconscious into a wall, the Captain falls off the wall face down, his head towards Superman, his feet towards the wall. But when the Cadmus personnel appears, the Captain is resting in a sideways position.
  • In the infirmary, Question's overcoat appears out of nowhere after he tells Huntress to reach for the aerosol can in the pocket.
  • When Amanda Waller goes up to Galatea, the water bottle towel change positions between shots.
  • Galatea's eyes are blue yet are green in "Fearful Symmetry". In spite of that, this is consistent with the fact that Supergirl has blue eyes.
  • In all previous episodes, Superman always needed some sort of breathing apparatus to be in outer space. But in this episode, he's able to fly through space without one while he was trying to stop the fusion beam. Superman also yells out in space upon catching some of the blast, which shouldn't be possible, since atmosphere of some kind is needed to transmit the vibrations of sound.

Trivia

  • The scenes immediately preceding the impact of the fusion blast pays tribute to the ending of Sidney Lumet's 1964 film Fail-Safe, which likewise ends with scenes of everyday life, interrupted by a rumble that precedes a nuclear explosion.
  • There is also a possible tribute to the controversial "Daisy ad" which was aired during the 1964 U.S. Presidential election campaign, and showed a child picking flowers before the blast.
  • This is the second (and last) time that Question's face is seen.
  • J'onn's security code is revealed to be 004.
  • The Flash's paraphrases Gandhi's maxim "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".
  • At the end of the episode, Galatea throws a red towel over her shoulder when exiting the gym, a nod to the partial red cape worn by Power Girl (Galatea's inspiration).

Cast

Actor Role
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
Man (uncredited)
George Newbern Superman
Michael Rosenbaum Flash
Secretary (uncredited)
Amy Acker Huntress
Little Girl (uncredited)
Clancy Brown Lex Luthor
Jeffrey Combs Question
Chris Cox Captain Atom
Watchtower Personnel (uncredited)
Father (uncredited)
Robert Forster Mr. President
CCH Pounder Amanda Waller
Kin Shriner Green Arrow
Nicholle Tom Supergirl
Galatea
Watchtower computer (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Question: You were right. I am the ugliest guy of all time.
Huntress: Not in my eyes.


Superman: What happened, Question? How did Cadmus get ahold of you?
Question: I went to kill Luthor so that you wouldn't be able to.
Superman: That's not how we do things.
Question: How do we do things, Superman? Your counterpart killed Luthor, this Luthor is scheming to enrage you...
Superman: Doing a pretty good job of it.
Question: Ruining your reputation, turning your friends and comrades against you, creating a superpowered arms race, but you cannot succumb!
Superman: I can shut down Cadmus without killing Luthor.
Question: Carry on, then. If you're wrong, it's not like it's the end of the world, right?


Green Arrow: Batman said I was supposed to keep you guys honest.
Superman: Do I look like Batman to you?
Flash: Actually, you kinda do. Especially when you're all scowly like that.


Green Arrow: Hey, I'm the only guy in the room who doesn't have superpowers, and let me tell you, you guys scare me. What if you do decide to go marching down there, taking care of whoever you think is guilty? Who could stop you? Me?
Supergirl: So you want the government to have a bunch of superhuman weapons just to keep us in check?
Green Arrow: No! I don't know... Yeah! Look, I'm an old lefty. The government must do for people what people can't do for themselves. The people sure can't protect themselves from the likes of us.


Previous episode:
"Question Authority"
Cadmus Story Arc Next episode:
"Panic in the Sky"


Previously produced episode:
"Question Authority"
Episodes of
Justice League Unlimited
Next produced episode:
"Panic in the Sky"
Previously aired episode:
"Question Authority"
Next aired episode:
"Panic in the Sky"

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