Episode #20 - A Knight of Shadows, Part 1 Original Airdate - September 20th, 2002
Morgaine le Faye is an ancient sorceress who is assisted by the demon
Etrigan in her quest for the legendary Sorcerer's Stone. The Justice
League must stop Morgaine le Faye before she captures this object that
would give her the power to rule the world.
Episode #21 - A Knight of Shadows, Part 2 Original Airdate - September 27th, 2002
The Justice League team up with a demon to prevent the evil Morgaine le
Faye from finishing her quest to find the Sorcerer's Stone - a legendary
object that greats great power.
Media by Bird Boy
Review by Bleu Unicorn
Written by Keith Damron
Directed by Butch Lukic
Music by Michael McCuistion
Animation by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD.
Kevin Conroy as Batman
Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman
Carl Lumbly as J'onn J'onzz
Michael Rosenbaum as Flash
Michael T. Weiss as Jason Blood/Etrigan
Oliva D'abo as Morgaine Le Fay
Pam Grier as My' ria 'h
Soren Fulton as Mordred
W. Morgan Shepphard as Merlin
Dave Thomas as Harv Hickman
Michael Gough as Professor Moss
Jim Meskimen as Knight
Cam Clarke as Paramedic
Jim Wise as Bouncer
Screen Grabs, Part 1
Pans, Part 1 Screen Grabs, Part 2
Pans, Part 2
Centuries ago, Jason Blood allied himself with Morgaine le Faye, helping
her ransack King Arthur's castle. For his treachery, the wizard Merlin
cursed him, turning him into Etrigan, the Demon. Since then he has been
forced to bear the eternal weight of hunting Morgaine, who's sole desire
is to make due on her promise to give her son Mordred his own kingdom.
After Morgaine's magically animated knights attack Batman and Jason,
Etrigan reveals her plan to use the fabled Philosopher's Stone to take
over the world. Our heroes quickly jump into action to try to find the
Stone before Morgaine, but not before J'onn succumbs to her trickery. In
the end, Morgaine's mind control takes over - and J'onn himself brings
her the Stone, hoping she will make good on her promise to restore Mars.
Where "Secret Origins" gave us the background story of the Martian
Manhunter, this episode arc goes much deeper into his personal feelings
and inner turmoil. Etrigan's warnings that Morgaine would dangle a
person's deepest desires in front of one's face go unheard, but they are
all too true. For a man who has lived completely alone for over 500
years, it was almost heart wrenching to watch the agony J'onn goes
through when he realizes the small glimpses of his family are completely
illusions, conjured by Morgaine. The desire to be with his loved ones is
so great that his usually stoic demeanor is thrown aside and he explodes
physically a number of times. Etrigan, who's own approach to the
situation almost asks for the attacks, seems to find J'onn's desire to
be with his loved ones as a weakness - even going so far as to tell the
other Leaguers that he is "tainted" and "untrustworthy."
The concept of being without one's loved ones is used throughout this
episode, besides focusing on J'onn himself. The scene where J'onn tells
Batman that no one can understand how it feels to never be able to see
one's loved ones again certainly hit home to Batman, and anyone familiar
with Bruce Wayne's past, though it is completely over J'onn's head.
Then, at the very end when Jason admits the error of Etrigan's ways,
apologizing for his own brashness and insensitivity. After witnessing
the tragic events that Jason's undergone, one easily can see how much he
truly sympathizes for the Martian. I would have liked to see Superman's
input on all of this, but as he was absent from this episode, that did
not occur. However, I am sure he is yet another example of this concept,
as evidenced in numerous other instances.
Morgaine's character, while a very formidable and interesting villain,
does deviate quite a bit from her Arthurian roots. While this may sound
strange, it actually works very well in this story's context. Jason gave
up everything for her - and she turns around and backstabs him with the
worst betrayal. Etrigan's obsession with making her pay for her evil
ways, while understandable in his character, was almost irritating at
times. His constant harping over J'onn was at times both insensitive and
almost cruel - not to mention overly harsh, but still very consistent.
His lack of rhyming was a letdown, but after careful thought, I came to
the realization that I would rather have a non-rhyming Etrigan and keep
the fantastic fighting scenes, than the other way around.
Speaking of the fighting, this episode contains some of the best of the
lot. For once we get a glimpse of some of Martian Manhunter's other
powers, instead of just phasing through stuff and shape shifting. During
his battle scene with Etrigan, aside from some wonderful dialogue, J'onn
not only petrifies himself, but also exhibited a "Blob" like ability.
I definitely think that the best part of this episode arc was in the
dialogue. Not only were there some terrific lines that fit the scenes
perfectly, the timing itself of the lines was superb. J'onn's poignant
pleas to Etrigan to give him the Philosopher's Stone really tug at the
heart, for instance. The voice acting was at its very best in this
episode, as well. Which seems odd to say, since I've grown so accustomed
to the high level of the acting, but after viewing so many episodes
where I felt even Conroy was off at times, its a pleasure to say this
one hits the mark perfectly!
Going along with that is some excellent animation, definitely some of
the better of the first season. The transformation scene in the
beginning of Jason into the Demon looks marvelous and works so very
well. In addition, the action scenes in both parts were quite possibly
flawless. Flash's maelstrom was executed beautifully and really looked
like super-speed, as apposed to him running fast in slow motion.
For an episode that really had its focus on emotion, some very memorable
and comedic scenes were some of my favorite parts. Harv Hickman as an
obvious parody of Hugh Hephner was hilarious and Flash's reaction to the
mansion and the models was perfectly within character. Wonder Woman's
reactions were also completely on par, showing her own distaste and
impatience with the male population.
With such a glowing review, it is almost surprising that I have gripes.
Granted they are few and far between, they are still mentionable. I'll
start with a minor nitpick, as much as it pains me to do so, but
Batman's overuse of his batarangs against Morgaine was literally
laughable. Seriously, did he really think that would stop her, when
Etrigan's magic couldn't? The story, while a superb one in my opinion,
seemed a bit contrived, even for a mystical-based premise. Having
Etrigan's creation revealed was a grand treat, but nothing is explained
about Morgaine herself, or Mordred. I would have liked a bit more
history or explanation of Morgaine's past and how she came about her
mystic abilities (why does she wear that mask now?). My largest gripe
would focus on Mordred. Etrigan clearly states he has pursued Morgaine
for centuries, which would mean no one has been time traveling, so why
is Mordred still a child after all this time? And were they in some kind
of time-warp, since Morgaine had no idea what a computer was? Which
seems inconsistent, since Mordred is clearly seen playing a video game.
Overall, the wait for this episode's premiere may have been agonizing,
but I found it to be completely worth the length of time. It is one of
the most balanced and character-driven episodes thus far. Unlike many of
the other Justice League episodes before it, we get a more in-depth
glimpse at a character, behind the superpowers and heroic deeds. It is a
change I was glad to see and truly made this a memorable story arc.