The Walking Dead, “Clear”A loose end ties everyone in knots this week as the episode picks up with Rick, Carl and Michonne driving to an unknown destination. As a sign of their determination, or how far they have traveled from their humanity, they blow right by a lone survivor hiking on the road as he screams for help.
At the scene of a car wreck Michonne slows down to get a look at a walker trapped under a bus only to get the car stuck in the mud. The noise of the wheel spinning draws zombies who surround the car. The trio keeps their cool to the point of being disaffected and after Rick blows one clear from short range with his revolver the scene cuts them scrounging for something to get the car free. Perhaps knowing she is in earshot, Carl complains about Michonne being along on the mission when Rick made it clear that she is not wanted. The hiker from before appears in the distance, but they drive away again before he gets close.
It turns out their destination is Rick's old police station, but the place has been cleared out and only a few loose bullets remain. Rick decides they are going to check for guns elsewhere in private homes and business that Rick had licensed in his police days. Heading downtown they pass a pile of burned bodies and end up following a path marked with spray painted arrows. They discover a downtown filled with barricades, caged animals rigged with booby traps and pointed sticks. When they stop to watch a walker stumble into a trap, it is sniped by a masked gunman on the rooftop who demands Rick drop his weapons. Quickly forming a plan with their hands up, they duck out of the line of fire opening up Michonne to go after him. She gets up there but the gunman slips away and charges down Rick with his rifle until Carl gets the drop on him, shooting the assailant in the chest. Rick is glad to be alive, but upset at Carl not following the instruction to go back to the car. Examining the downed attacker, Rick discovers that he is armored, still alive and is in fact Rick's old friend and neighbor Morgan Jones.
Rick, whose plan was not to stick around long, now wants to find out what happened to Morgan and his son. Taking Morgan past his booby trapped welcome mat and staircase, they find a ridiculous amount weapons (including automatic weapons and grenades) and crazy writing all over the walls in chalk including a note saying that his son Duane turned. He's also still got the other end of Rick's two-way radio from the first season.Michonne wants to stick to the plan to take the guns and leave, but Rick wants to talk to Morgan first when he comes to so he zip-ties him to his cot. While they wait Michonne eats some of Morgan's food (she notes that the mat did say 'Welcome') while Carl discovers a chalk map of the town that reveals that his childhood home has burnt to the ground.
While they wait, Carl proposes that he make a run to a nearby baby supply store to get a crib for baby Judith and Michonne offers to go with him obstinately to help carry it back but wordlessly between her and Rick to look after the boy. Outside, Carl tries to ditch Michonne after sending her after a zombie, but Michonne catches up and implores him to reveal the real mission he is on.
Back inside Morgan's, Rick monologs to Morgan's seemingly unconscious body, but Morgan is secretly awake and goes for a knife he has under his bed. The old neighbors fight with Rick trying to get Morgan to recognize him and Morgan ranting madly that Rick is a dead man wearing his old friend's face. Morgan even gets a stab into Rick's shoulder, but in the end Rick gets the upper hand, pointing his gun at Morgan's head. The crazed lone survivor begs for Rick to kill him.
After the fight, Rick only gets through to Morgan after bringing up the subject of the two-way radio. Morgan rants that he followed their agreement and turned it on every day but Rick wasn't there. Rick apologizes profusely, saying the circumstances pushed him out of the radio's range. Morgan then asks if he found his family and after sharing Lori's fate Morgan tells his story. It turns out he was never able to use the gun Rick gave him to kill his undead wife. Then on a food run with Duane, his 'wife's' appearance shocked Duane long enough to leave him over to getting bit. Morgan then had to finish his family himself. Broken by the experience, Morgan is now dedicated to his system of “clearing” Zombies and his philosophy that this new world will kill both the good and the bad, leaving the weak like him to inherit a ruined world.Meanwhile Carl and Michonne arrive at the King County Cafe, where Michonne understands Carl's need to go inside the dusty restaurant filled with dormant zombies, so she decides to help. Using one of Morgan's caged rats as a lure, they sneak in and around to the bar. Carl takes a picture off the wall above the bar and they almost sneak out successfully, but a rat that got loose draws zombies to them. They fight their way out, but Carl drops the picture. Carl wants to go back for it, as it is a photo of Rick, Lori and Carl in happier times so that one day baby Judith can know what her mother looked like, but Michonne insists she go back in herself and off screen she ninjas in and brings it back along with a particularly obnoxious piece of kitsch as a joke.
Back inside, Rick offers to take Morgan back to the prison, but Morgan susses out that the prison is threatened since they are taking a load of guns. Morgan thinks it's suicide to bother to fight for anything since something is going to kill them anyway. Rick accuses him of cowardice but speechifies that Morgan can get his head on straight by joining Rick's Group. Morgan instead returns to ranting that just wants to get 'clear.'
Soon after Rick meets up with Carl and Michonne outside where Morgan is resetting his traps and collecting the corpses. Carl stops to apologize for shooting him, but Morgan ominously warns him about ever being sorry. As they load the car, Carl gives Michonne his approval for the group, and she confides to Rick that she sees things too, and used to talk to his dead boyfriend.
They drive away, watching Morgan roll his cleared bodies to the burn pile and when they get back to the crash site they pass the mutilated body of the lone hiker. This time they stop, though just long enough to take his pack.
Back Issue Notes
-Zombie Kill of the Week: With their car surrounded, Rick starts the clearing procedure by telling everyone to cover their ears, cracking a window a smidgen, and blowing a golf ball sized hole in a zombie's head. It was good advice since hearing damage, like headshots, does not heal.
-In the comics, Morgan runs into Rick again but not until after the Prison Saga where he is also in a fragile mental state since Duane had turned in the intervening period as well. He travels with Rick's Group for a while where he has a brief relationship with Michonne.
Young Justice, “Intervention”On the War World, Black Beetle is still battling with Mongul until Green Beetle comes to his aid to place the space-tyrant back into a stasis cell. They then recap the fact that they have lost the Crystal Key and therefor need to seize the Key Chamber to protect it from whomever now has the Key. However The Ambassador isn't willing to openly fight the Justice Leaguers that have been guarding the room.
In the Bludhaven warehouse base, the team is convinced by Impulse that Jaime needs to be rescued from The Reach's control. The next day sees him, Earth's new hero, the Blue Beetle take down Toyman's giant robotic, bank robbing, wooden solider then giving an interview with Cat Grant. It's here we learn that Jaime is in even less control then previously thought, as The Ambassador is controlling both his voice and movements remotely.
Sending Jaime's body home to keep up his cover, The Ambassador controlled Blue Beetle is ambushed by Batgirl who gets a line around his leg just long enough to allow Impulse to run it up and scramble the Scarab temporarily by vibrated his hand into it. Blue Beetle is down, but not for long, as he is able to 'staple gun' both Batgirl and an at-speed Impulse. Just before The Ambassador has Jaime kill his friends, Robin, Zatanna and Rocket arrive with the real plan: a combination of an energy reflecting bubble from Rocket and a sphere from Zatanna to cut off The Ambassador's control.They take the captive Blue Beetle back to The Light's base in Bialya. After quickly disposing of what's left of The Fearsome Five, Zatanna starts working an a spell that reconstructs an ancient Blue Beetle themed temple the base was built around. While Rocket holds Blue Beetle in place and Zatanna casts, Green Beetle arrives to kill them all.
With Wonder Girl's help, they are able to hold Green off long enough for the climax of the spell and just before it triggers, Impulse uses his speed, WG's lasso and a blast that Green Beetle fired himself to push him into range of the spell as well.
With a flash of blue light both Jaime and B'arzz O'oomm are freed of The Reach’s control, but still retain their powers. On the way back to their base, the team not only retroactively explain their plan, but reveals the history of the Scarab on Earth; that ancient magic was used to contain it, until it was found by archeologist Dan Garrett who used its power to fight crime then willed it to his protege Ted Kord upon his death. Ted discovered its alien origins and decided not to use its power but still be a hero. When The Light realized the Scarab’s connection to The Reach, they tried to take it for themselves. Ted died defending it from both Sportsmaster and Deathstroke and instead it fell into the custody of Jaime Reyes.
Queen Bee herself only appears after the heroes have left to apologize to her subordinates for forcing them to throw their fight against the team, it turns out it was necessary for The Light's plan against The Reach to work.
Meanwhile, Miss Martian breaks the heart of Lagoon Boy with a “it's not you, it's me,” that might make one think she's the cold blooded one. She doesn't say it to Lagoon Boy, but it's clear she wants to get back together with Superboy, but he's off on a date with Wendy Harris.
Back Issue Notes
-The first two Blue Beetles are introduced formally and with origins and stories about their adventures that largely match their comic book originals though not their fates. Infamously Ted Kord did not die in an explosion, but was shot in the head by a former friend turned villain (still, it was while on a solo investigation). Jaime instead found the Scarab after it fell from the Wizard Shazam's Rock of Eternity where it was regarded as an object of magic, in classic example of Clarke's Third Law.
-The Scarab-sealing ancient sorceress summoned by Zatanna is likely Isis, an Egyptian 'goddess' who's spirit at least is known to be immortal and can bestow nature-based powers on the possessor of her amulet.
-The Toyman depicted here is likely the classic version, Winslow Schott, who has pestered the Man of Steel with giant robots since the 1940s.
-Wendy Harris is the name of one half of the Wonder Twins from Superfriends. She and her brother appeared in Teen Titans before the New 52 reboot, where their dog turned out to be a demonic entity that ate her brother Marvin and crippled her. It was thus revealed that the villain Calculator is her father, and she became a support-staff hero to Stephanie Brown, Batgirl, as Proxy, a sort-of sidekick to Barbara Gordon's Oracle.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series, “Scarred”
While the Aya-Monitor snacks on another world, Hal and his team are getting read the riot act on Oa by the rest of the Guardians. Hal pleads for information about the Guardian scientist known as Scar's notes on Aya's development for a clue to defeating her, but the Guardians take him off the case. But like any good (space) cop, he's going to see it though it to the end.
Breaking into Scar's office they eventually stumble into her secret underground lab where her real work is done not only in secret but in the untranslatable lost original language of the Guardians. Entering a Guardian's private quarters sets off a silent alarm but fortunately the sympathetic Syad is the first to respond and confirms that a map they found is legitimate.
Taking the Interceptor there, the team barely escapes a hoard of giant space-dwelling carnivores by burning the last off noming on their hull by entering the atmosphere of the targeted planetoid. On this world, apparently made totally out of basalt, they quickly find Scar's hidden base compete with newly scarred Scar herself.
She humblebrags that her unlocked ancient Guardian powers allowed her to teleport away before the Anti-Monitor consumed her (though a scar was left). Informed about the Aya situation, she describes the process of her development of the AI. Her work was unsuccessful until she harnessed a piece of the living being of pure willpower that resides inside the Central Battery.With that living fragment, Aya was born, but she quickly grew out of Scar's control, learning her secrets. After shutting Aya down, Scar disabled her emotions and installed her as the Interceptor's AI, not knowing that her interactions with Hal's team would reawaken her feelings.
With the clue that Aya is a being of Will, Hal surmises that they can use the Yellow Crystals of the Spider Guild's prison to drain her energy so they can 'fix her.' With a giant yellow missile in tow the team, plus Scar, goes to where the Aya-Monitor is having a planet sized lunch.Razer flies out to try and reason with the rogue AI again, as well as distract her so Hal can get into position. However, just as they get into range, Scar fires the missile while Razer in still in the blast zone. Not only that the explosion is much, much larger than Hal planned it to be. Thinking Razer dead, Kilowog attacks Scar but is no match for the Guardian who restrains both Kilowog and Hal, revealing in a villain speech that she always had her ancient powers.
Unfortunately, the Aya-Montior was not killed in the bast and instead rams the Interceptor, breaking its windscreen and almost blowing the team into space. A disappoint Scar teleports away. With the Aya-Montior ready to destroy them all, LAMOS, the replacement AI, sets itself and the Interceptor up for a Kamikaze attack, shoving it and the Aya-Montior into ultra-warp space.
Hal, Razer and Kilowog are left floating in space, and thinking they might be out of options to stop Aya.
Back Issue Notes
-Best Construct Award: Faced with a locked door to Scar's office, Hal conjures up a green credit card (Oan Express?) to try and pick the lock but it turns out the door only takes hard currency in the form of Kilowog's hammer.
-Sitting on the shelf in Scar's office is the Book of the Black, an evil tome that holds the secrets of the Black Lantern Corps, a force comprised of the dead dedicated to exterminating all life in the universe. Scar would eventually become their 'Guardian' figure.
-Scar mentions a lifeform that lives inside the Green Central Battery. This is the creature known as Ion, a being of pure willpower. Each of the colors has an 'avatar' like this that can possess a ring bearer, influence it and increase its power.