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"Task Force X"

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Justice League Unlimited episode
Task Force X
"Task Force X"
Airdate: May 21, 2005 (USA)
Production Number: 17
Airdate Order: 17
Animation Services by: DR Movie Co., LTD.
Teleplay by: Darwyn Cooke
Story by: Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by: Joaquim Dos Santos
Episode images (6)

"Task Force X" is the fourth episode of the second season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 17th of the overall series. It originally aired on May 21, 2005. Unusually, it is told not from the perspective of the Justice League, but from that of a covert operations team employed by Project Cadmus to raid the Watchtower.

Plot

At Belle Reve Correctional, Floyd Lawton, aka the hitman Deadshot, is being led to execution, displaying defiance for his fate, even towards the priest. Upon entering the execution chamber, however, it is to find another man who hands some official papers over to the warden. After reading them, the warden orders Deadshot to be released and handed over to the newcomer.

On the drive away from the prison, Lawton's savior introduces himself as U.S. Colonel Rick Flagg who wants Deadshot to assist in a top-secret mission. Flagg also reveals that miniature devices have been infiltrated into Deadshot's body and will kill him if he does not cooperate. The mission is a simple break-in and theft - from the Justice League's Watchtower HQ.

They arrive at a warehouse formerly used by Lex Luthor and thus very secure against super-hero surveillance. Lawton is introduced to the rest of "Task Force X": explosives expert Bette Sans-Souci, a.k.a. "Plastique"; inventor George Harkness, a.k.a. "Captain Boomerang"; and planning expert Temple Fugate, a.k.a. "The Clock King". With the exception of Flagg, they are all criminals being offered amnesty in exchange for their services.

The plan is to infiltrate the Watchtower disguised as members of its support staff, at a time when only three major obstacles are aboard: Green Lantern John Stewart, Captain Atom, and J'onn J'onzz. Flagg warns the other members of Task Force X that there is to be no unnecessary killing. While the others go to the tower, Fugate will stay at base coordinating their progress.

The first phase goes off perfectly: The squad ambushes a group of four Watchtower staff members before they are teleported up. Once there, Flagg uses a device in a pair of prop glasses in order to cause a computer to break down thus enabling them to proceed without a security check.

Deadshot and Plastique then head to the lower levels and into the generator room, while Flagg and Boomerang make their way to the high-security storage area. Plastique sets off a bomb on the reactor to cause a diversion from Boomerang's breakthrough into the vault. There, Flagg takes control of the "package": a powerful combat robot called the Annihilator.

The damage to the reactor causes a radiation leak and an evacuation is ordered. Captain Atom flies down to contain the reactor explosion and reports to J'onn that it was done intentionally.

Deadshot and Plastique sprint up to join Flagg and Boomerang and together they and the Annihilator make their way to the bridge. Along the way, they are stopped by Shining Knight, Vigilante, and Atom-Smasher, but manage to defeat them with the Annihilator's help. Reaching the bridge, they are confronted by J'onn, who easily defeats them until the Annihilator literally tears him in half, disabling him long enough for the team to reach the transporter. J'onn recovers and defeats the Annihilator, but Plastique gets him to stand back by holding a bomb above the throat of an unconscious Atom-Smasher, and he is forced to allow the others to mount the transporter platform.

Just as Plastique is about to join them, Captain Atom arrives and tackles her and one of her bombs goes flying. Deadshot detonates it with a shot from his pistol and, in the confusion, three of Task Force X and the Annihilator transport away. Plastique is left behind, severely wounded. J'onn checks the transporter console, which has been sabotaged and blows up before he can trace the coordinates.

Flagg turns the Annihilator over to Amanda Waller and Tala of Project Cadmus. Before leaving, Waller commends Flagg, telling him his father would be proud of him. Deadshot bids everyone a cheerful goodbye, but Flagg decks him with a punch and informs him that he is to serve in Task Force X for five years before he can go free, otherwise he can go back to prison for execution. Deadshot snidely asks Flagg how Waller is blackmailing him, to which Flagg gives a sneer of contempt and states that he isn't being blackmailed at all: He is a patriot who serves his country loyally.

Aboard the Watchtower, J'onn has discovered that Vance, a member of the bridge crew, passed inside information to Cadmus, using an anti-telepathy device to mask his thoughts. J'onn is tempted to wipe Vance's mind, but Stewart tells him it would be pointless since Vance has already leaked everything he knows, and they can't trust any of their staff now.

Continuity

Background information

Home video releases

Production inconsistencies

  • The handcuffs on Deadshot are too loose.
  • High-profile executions such as that of a super criminal usually have an audience. However, the viewing gallery for Deadshot's execution is empty.
  • In DC Comics, Belle Reve Correctional is a fictional prison located in Louisiana, but Deadshot is being executed by means of a gas chamber. Louisiana executes by lethal injection, before which it used the electric chair. To be using a gas chamber, Belle Reve would have to be located in Arizona, California, Maryland, Missouri, or Wyoming. These states use the chamber as a secondary method of execution which prisoners who meet certain criteria (the date of their sentencing, for example) can elect to use.
  • When Flagg inserts the security code before being interrupted, he types in "622". When he then goes back to finish it, the sequence reads "6-22".
  • When Deadshot and Plastique are first shown running up the stairs during the evacuation, they approach a closing door. Beyond the door is another which is already closed. When they slide under the closing door, they end up in a corridor with a bend and no sign of the other door.
  • Shining Knight's sword is knocked from his hand during the fight, but after he is locked in the other room, his sword is back in its sheath.
  • Vigilante has one rope coiled around his left shoulder. However, when Captain Boomerang cuts off his lasso ensnaring Flagg, Plastique, and Deadshot, Vigilante still has a rope coiled around his left shoulder.
  • When last seen in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Time Out of Joint", Fugate had white hair, yet here he is portrayed with dark brown hair.

Trivia

  • With the exception of Rick Flagg, each member of Task Force X belongs to the rogues gallery of one of the members of the Justice League in the DC Comics:
Hero Rogue
Batman Deadshot & Clock King
Flash Captain Boomerang
Captain Atom Plastique
Green Arrow Clock King
  • The appearances of Clock King and Deadshot mark the final times that villains from Batman's rogues gallery are used in the DCAU. Copperhead, Blockbuster and KGBeast do appear in Season 3, but they escaped the Bat-embargo due to the fact that they are not as well known as other villains.
  • This episode debuted on Canadian YTV on April 14, 2005.
  • J'onn J'onzz is called "Martian Manhunter" by another character (the Clock King) for the first and only time on the DCAU, though the name had appeared in the credits of "A League of Their Own, Part I".
  • Task Force X is another name for an organization most commonly referred to in DC Comics as the Suicide Squad. However, censorship rules prohibited the use of the word "suicide" on children's television, so the other name was used.
  • In DC Comics, Belle Reve Penitentiary is a fictional prison used by the comics Waller as the headquarters and main recruiting grounds for the Suicide Squad. Similar to Arkham Asylum, it is a sanatorium specially equipped to house metahuman prisoners.
  • Waller makes a reference to Rick's father, in the comics a World War II veteran and a member of the original Task Force X.
  • First and only time Deadshot's face is seen.
  • On special feature Cadmus Exposed, the producers stated that the episode began as a fairly conventional story, but it didn't click until they decided to tell it largely from the perspective of Task Force X, rather than the League.

Cast

Actor Role
Phil LaMarr John Stewart
Watchtower Personnel (uncredited)
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
Prison Guard (uncredited)
Adam Baldwin Rick Flagg
Michael Rosenbaum Floyd Lawton/Deadshot
Vigilante (uncredited)
Watchtower Personnel (uncredited)
CCH Pounder Amanda Waller
Chris Cox Captain Atom
Shining Knight (uncredited)
Warden (uncredited)
Watchtower Personnel (uncredited)
Juliet Landau Bette Sans Souci/Plastique
Tala (uncredited)
Alan Rachins Temple Fugate/The Clock King
Priest (uncredited)
Donal Gibson George Harkness/Captain Boomerang
Jamie Alcroft Vance
Esposito (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Deadshot: (as his handcuffs are unlocked) What if I don't want to go with him?
Rick Flagg: Then you can go and take your seat, tough guy.


Deadshot: What do you want, exactly?
Rick Flagg: You're gonna do something patriotic, convict.
Deadshot: Groovy. Who do I kill?


Deadshot: An expert with nothing to lose... this must be some nasty business.
Rick Flagg: A little B-and-E, a little grand larceny. No big deal.
Deadshot: Right. What's the target?
(Flagg hands him a dossier)
Rick Flagg: Justice League headquarters.
Deadshot: Always did want to die for my country.


Clock King: I've scheduled your visit for when they're at their weakest.
Captain Boomerang: Define "weakest", please.


Rick Flagg: Okay, Plastique, you're setting the charge, and Superman walks in the room.
Plastique: You said he wouldn't be there!
Rick Flagg: Last minute change in the duty roster. Superman's got the drop on you, what do you do?
Plastique: Before or after I change my shorts?


Deadshot: I thought he was gonna wet himself when you mentioned the Martian. He couldn't let us through fast enough.
Plastique: That was nothing. I almost lost it when this bonehead set off the metal detector.
Captain Boomerang: Seventy-five cents is seventy-five cents. I'm supposed to throw away money?


Deadshot: Uh, excuse me, Mr. Lantern? For six weeks now, my wife's been after me for Hawkgirl's autograph. You wouldn't know where she's at today, would you?
John: (stonily) Haven't seen her.
Deadshot: Ok. Thanks anyway.
(John leaves)
Plastique: You are a very bad boy.
Deadshot: Tell me you didn't love it.


J'onn: Ask yourselves: is being in here with me what you truly desire?


Deadshot: C'est la vie.


Waller: You really think we can do something with this?
Tala: An invulnerable juggernaut forged by the gods? Oh yes, Ms. Waller, most definitely.


Waller: Rick, you're a good soldier. Your father would be proud.
Rick Flagg: Ma'am.


Deadshot: Most fun I've had since my last root canal.


Deadshot: Tell me, Colonel, what's Waller got on you?
Rick Flagg: Not a thing. Some of us don't have to be blackmailed into serving their country.


Previous episode:
"The Doomsday Sanction"
Cadmus Story Arc Next episode:
"Clash"



Previously produced episode:
"The Doomsday Sanction"
Episodes of
Justice League Unlimited
Next produced episode:
"The Balance"
Previously aired episode:
"The Doomsday Sanction"
Next aired episode:
"The Balance"

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