|Justice League Unlimited episode|
|"Divided We Fall"|
|Airdate:||July 16, 2005 (USA)|
|Animation Services by:||DR Movie Co., LTD.|
|Written by:||Dwayne McDuffie|
|Directed by:||Joaquim Dos Santos|
|Episode images (10)|
Inside LexCorp, the seven founding members of the Justice League and Amanda Waller have just been treated to the bizarre sight of Brainiac emerging from inside Lex Luthor's body. But no one is more surprised than Luthor himself. Brainiac explains that he inserted a microscopic copy of himself into Luthor's body when he forced Luthor to build him a new body inside LexCorp years earlier. Since then, he has grown steadily, until Luthor was, for all intents and purposes, acting under his control. As a by-product of his occupancy, Brainiac cured Luthor's Kryptonite poisoning and gave him his mysterious super-strength. The last act Luthor was to accomplish was to transfer Brainiac's consciousness into the "more suitable" android body.
Having had enough exposition, the League attacks, but the Luthor/Brainiac hybrid knocks the League and Waller out of the building. Superman fights the hybrid, but it is able to convert the building into mechanical constructs, with which he overpowers the League, planning to digitize any individual knowledge they have, then delete their physical forms. But J'onn phases free of the restraints and smashes Brainiac's body, freeing the League. As his final move, Brainiac converts the entire top of the LexCorp tower into an enormous skull-like robot ship, and attacks again. However the combined power of Superman and Green Lantern destroy the ship.
It seems the threat is over, but Batman immediately claims the fight was too easy, and the League realises the attack was only a diversion and Luthor/Brainiac is nowhere to be found. Under Brainiac's control, Luthor is walking along a sewer several miles away, looking to find a place where he can stop and repair himself. Brainiac makes it clear that he regards Luthor as only a temporary vessel, which Brainiac will digitize and then destroy, per his programming. Luthor points out that Brainiac's programming is devoid of purpose: Its ultimate end is simply for him to digitize, and then destroy the entire universe, with nothing afterwards. Brainiac will have fulfilled his purpose and cease to function. Luthor says he can show Brainiac a higher purpose by providing him a trait he lacks: Imagination.
In conference with Waller, the League deduces that since Brainiac's body is entirely nanotechnological now, thus, he will go to Cadmus to harness the power of the Dark Heart. They call for backup, but the League teams on the ground are too far away, and the Watchtower cannot send help, as the Javelins were all wrecked in the Ultimen attack, and the teleporters are still down. Batman concludes that the seven founding members are all that are left.
Sure enough, as soon as they arrive, Brainiac and Luthor have done just what they feared and absorbed the Dark Heart's nanotechnology. Newly empowered, a new entity is created: a true fusion of Luthor and Brainiac, which has created a machine that will enable him to instantly absorb, and then destroy, all the knowledge stored on Earth, and then the universe, except they will now be able to re-make the universe to their liking.
To fight the League, Luthor/Brainiac conjures up android replicas of the Justice Lords, each of which battles its counterpart and goads him/her with their worst fears and insecurities: Superman, the fear in normal humans that his power inspires; Green Lantern, his heartbreak over Shayera; Shayera Hol, her status as an outcast on both Thanagar and Earth; Flash, his immaturity compared with the rest of the League. They are all resistant to the goading, and defeat their doppelgangers. The League then successfully destroys the machine, but Luthor/Brainiac is still too powerful for them. All of them are knocked unconscious by energy beams except for Flash, who dodges the attack, though it does knock him off-balance. Luthor/Brainiac creates guards out of nano-tech and prepares to kill Flash in a manner similar to how President Luthor killed Flash on the world of the Justice Lords, but Flash vibrates free of his restraints, and is left standing alone against Luthor/Brainiac.
Luthor/Brainiac taunts him, and Flash hesitates, then streaks away. Luthor/Brainiac begins reassembling his machine – and then Flash hurtles at him from the opposite direction, having run so fast that he's circled the globe in only a few seconds, and hitting Luthor/Brainiac with enough force to tear away a chunk of "their" android armor. Flash makes his fastest run ever, circling the world faster and faster each time, hitting the fused villain harder and harder each time. Then Flash stops, his body crackling with the speed energy he's tapped into, and applies his vibrating hands to Luthor's Brainiac armor, tearing it completely away, and leaving Luthor naked and helpless at the bottom of a crater.
As the League regains consciousness, Flash stands, unsteady, and then fades completely away, to the horror of his teammates. Luthor gloats that he had indeed killed the Flash. But now is the moment of truth for an enraged, grieving Superman: He seizes Luthor, and his eyes glow red. Wonder Woman moves to intervene, but Batman stops her as this is Superman's decision. Superman's eyes return to normal and he releases his grip on Luthor. At the end of the day, Superman is not a Justice Lord – No matter how much he wishes he could do what that one did at this moment.
Then J'onn shouts that Flash is still alive, and he can sense Flash telepathically. Shayera reaches in the direction J'onn is pointing, and her hand touches a portal to some other dimension, the "Speed Force", into which Flash has been taken. Shayera seizes his hand, all six Leaguers form a chain with Batman as the anchor, and it takes all their combined strength and will to pull Flash back into reality. Flash mentions if he ever goes that fast again, he won't be able to come back. A short distance away, a relieved Waller tells the President to call off the air strike against Brainiac.
The next day, Superman addresses a crowd in Metropolis, including the members of the expanded League, the Watchtower support crew, the press, and various citizens. He says the League has been guilty of arrogance, and has alienated the people it was trying to protect. That being the case, the founders have decided to disband the League, and decommission the Watchtower: "This is the end".
In the silence that follows, the founders begin to dismount the stage – and Green Arrow steps forward and delivers his own compelling speech to Superman, telling him that no matter what, especially after their victory against Luthor and Brainiac, they are still heroes and needed greatly, particularly Superman.
This speech is greeted with applause from the crowd. Superman turns to Batman, who smiles and gives the Man of Steel an encouraging nod. It is a turning point for Superman: After so many years, he feels he has finally regained the trust he lost when he attacked the earth under Darkseid's control. Happily bowing to the crowd's pressure, Superman agrees that the League will stay in service, but they will have to make changes to ensure they remain in touch with the people, and will start by opening an embassy on Earth.
As Superman goes on, Batman excuses himself and throws a verbal wink to Green Arrow, who has justified Batman's reasons for recruiting him in the first place.
That evening at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent drops in on Lois Lane as she is finishing her story on the League. He is surprised to hear that she's using the adjective "ambivalent", and she shoots back that her job is to be as tough on Superman as she is on any subject, but only because he himself has set such high standards. After all, she finishes, "he's only human... You know what I mean".
- The episode picks up directly from the events of "Panic in the Sky".
- Brainiac refers to the events of the Superman: The Animated Series episode, "Ghost in the Machine". According to him, the version of himself that has been developing inside Luthor is separate from the versions which Superman destroyed in "Knight Time", and in Justice League, "Twilight". He also refers to his brief collaboration with, and betrayal by, Darkseid.
- Luthor realizes that Brainiac is responsible for curing his Kryptonite-induced cancer (first diagnosed in Justice League, "Injustice For All"), and giving him super-strength, both of which effects were shown in "Question Authority".
- When Luthor learns Brainiac intends to dispose of him, he launches into a manipulative speech about Brainiac's ultimate purpose, which causes Brainiac to change his mind and spare Luthor's life. Luthor used the exact same tactic the last time he was facing certain death at the hands of a powerful, conscienceless adversary in "The Return". It worked then, too.
- The looks Lex has the Brainiac constructs morph into are of the 6 Justice Lords from the Justice League episode "A Better World" and a Flash construct with the colors inverted and bands added on the arms and legs in style with the Justice Lords' costumes.
- The remains of the Dark Heart reappear after the episode of the same name.
- John and Shayera's dopplegangers refer to the traumatic events of "Starcrossed", when their relationship was broken by the Thanagarian invasion, and Shayera's actions made her a pariah to both humans and her own people.
- Luthor/Brainiac refers to Question's pet theory in "Question Authority" that the events of "A Better World" will repeat themselves in their dimension.
- Although Brainiac reappears in three episodes of the final season of Justice League Unlimited, it is unclear whether this version is a hallucination of Luthor's (with Luthor having been driven insane from losing Brainiac), or if Luthor still shares a mental link with Brainiac, as they did when they were merged together.
- Green Arrow comes full circle; when he was first recruited in "Initiation", he believed the League was too focused on "big" threats for him to be compatible with it; now he sees that the world needs the League, and, by keeping everyone honest, shows that the League needs him.
- Although Flash has almost single-handedly saved the world at least once before, in "Eclipsed", it is his actions here that seem to finally earn him the full respect of his teammates — witness Batman's grudging agreement to show up at the dedication of the Flash Museum in the subsequent episode "Flash and Substance".
Background information Edit
Home video releases Edit
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (Blu-ray only)
Production notes Edit
- Dwayne McDuffie stated that in the first draft of this episode, Clark was going to reveal his identity to Lois. however, they were explicitly told not to do it. Bruce Timm has gone on record to support the final product.
- When Brainiac's skull-shaped craft opens fire at some buildings, the ensuing explosions feature reused footage from the chain of explosions leading up to Darkseid's palace, in the teaser of the Justice League episode, "Twilight, Part I".
Production inconsistencies Edit
- The flashback that recreates the scene from Superman: The Animated Series episode "Ghost in the Machine" shows Brainiac blasting Luthor with a yellow beam. However, in the original episode, the beam was blue.
- When Brainiac's tentacles attack John, he walks backward and the street behind him is shown to be clear. However, on the next shot he backs up to Amanda Waller, who was nowhere to be seen before.
- When J'onn contacts the Watchtower, Superman is to his left at the same level. In the next shot, Superman is standing up, and kneels down.
- When Superman is knocked back into a vat by the android Superman, he crackles with electricity, yet there is discernible reason why as he doesn't crackle until after hitting the vat and it is merely dented without exposing the inside.
- After the Flash hits Luthor for the second time, Luthor has his right arm bare and straps of armor on his left one. After the Flash hits him and he rolls over, the straps of metal switch arms (considering the switching can be tracked to have occurred at the exact moment that Luthor rolled over, this is likely a computer glitch).
- During Superman's speech, the position of the heroes in the crowd changes between shots:
- Vibe is firstly seen standing next to Rocket Red and behind Black Canary. However, when the crowd starts applauding, he switched places and is next to Black Canary.
- Fire is firstly seen behind Elongated Man and far away from Doctor Mid-Nite. But when the crowd applauds, she's standing right next to Doctor Mid-Nite.
- Booster Gold is standing right next to Doctor Light. When the crowd starts applauding, Doctor Light disappears and he is standing next to Zatanna, Metamorpho, and Crimson Fox, who were nowhere to be seen before.
- Doctor Mid-Nite is initially to Waverider's left and in front of him. After Green Arrow's speech, Doctor Mid-Nite is noticeably behind Waverider. In the next long shot, Doctor Mid-Nite in front of Waverider again.
- Zatanna is firstly nowhere to be seen. But in the subsequent shots, she's standing behind Doctor Light.
- Mr. Terrific is initially standing to Fire's right, but when the crowd reacts to Superman announcement, he is now standing to Fire's left.
- On the DVD set, this episode has an unfortunate audio glitch, right after Wonder Woman suggests to Superman they switch partners, the sound shifts to a loop of John striking the Android Hawkgirl with the mallet. This glitch is only verified on the English audio track, however. ) The HD version of this episode on iTunes no longer has this issue.
- This episode marks the final time that all seven of the founding Justice League members fight together as a team. They all fight in Destroyer, but spread out in several locations across the world.
- The title of this episode is taken from the phrase "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" first coined by John Dickinson.
- Brainiac's face on Luthor's stomach and the 'Head' ship are based on the character's 1980s pre-Crisis incarnation.
- Though a different shade, Lex's green head with Brainiac's symbol on his forehead is similar to how Brainiac looks in Mainstream Comics.
- After Amanda Waller shoots Brainiac's face on Luthor's stomach, the bullet holes close up in a way reminiscent to that performed by the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
- Flash calls Brainiac/Luthor "The Thing with Two Heads", alluding to the movie of the same name.
- Hawkgirl has actually hit the real John in the head with her mace before. Once at the end of "Starcrossed, Part I", and once on the Static Shock episode "A League of Their Own, Part II" (where coincidentally, John was under Brainiac's control), which Shayera called "a light tap".
- Flash says he's going to paint his logo on the JL conference table. This is a nod to the DC Comics, in which the Justice League members have their respective logos painted on the back of their chairs at the conference table.
- The Android Flash looks like Zoom, the Reverse Flash from the comics.
- J'onn J'onzz's android replica is the only one whose destruction is not shown.
- Batman quotes the famous Latin phrase, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes", attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal, and variously translated as "Who guards the guardians?" or "Who watches the watchers?" This is a tribute to the Alan Moore comic, Watchmen, which grapples with the darker side and ethical duties of superheroes, and used the catchphrase "Who watches the Watchmen?" in its promotion.
- The machine that Brainiac comes "prepared with" is very similar to the machine he builds in Static Shock, "A League of Their Own". Both, as Batman claims, were "too easy" to destroy. The design of the machine on this episode is used for the design of the Brainiac controlled Brainiac 5's ship in the Legion of Super-Heroes TV Show two-part series finale episode "Dark Victory".
- Flash's apparent death by being lost to the Speed Force while trying to stop a villain from using a giant cannon to destroy the world is a possible reference to the death of Barry Allen in Mainstream Comics during the Crisis On Infinite Earths.
- The Earth is approximately 40,000 kilometers in circumference; based on that figure, the speed of Flash's runs is approximately:
|1st Run: 10 seconds||4,000 km/second|
|2nd Run: 9 seconds||4,444 km/s|
|3rd Run: 11 seconds||3,636 km/s|
|4th Run: 5 seconds||8,000 km/s|
|5th Run: 1 second||40,000 km/s|
- This is still slower than the speed of light (approximately 300,000 km/s, or 186,000 miles per second).
|Maria Canals|| Shayera Hol|
Android Hawkgirl (uncredited)
|Susan Eisenberg|| Wonder Woman|
Android Wonder Woman (uncredited)
|Phil LaMarr|| Steel |
Android Green Lantern (uncredited)
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|George Newbern|| Superman|
Android Superman (uncredited)
|Michael Rosenbaum|| Flash|
Android Flash (uncredited)
|Clancy Brown||Lex Luthor|
|Dana Delany||Lois Lane|
|Robert Forster||Mr. President|
|CCH Pounder||Amanda Waller|
|Kin Shriner||Green Arrow|
Uncredited appearances Edit
Amanda Waller: (after watching Brainiac regenerate his wounds) I'll be dipped.
(As Brainiac begins to digitize the others)
Lex Luthor: I can show you a purpose beyond the fulfillment of your programming.
Brainiac: I have learned from my encounter with Darkseid that organic beings cannot be trusted.
Superman: My X-ray vision can't penetrate the walls, but I'm seeing a rapidly growing heat signature in the infrared range.
Superman: I know you're in there somewhere, Lex. Fight him!
Android Superman: (attacking Superman) We've lost their trust! The people are afraid of us! Power corrupts after all, and who has more power than Superman?
Android Hawkgirl: (attacking Hawkgirl) Do you think there's a single person on Thanagar or Earth that doesn't despise us?!
Android Green Lantern (firing at Green Lantern) We loved the traitor! Loved and lost her. FOREVER!
Superman: (To his Justice Lord android replica) I'm NOT like you! I'm NOTHING like you!
Luthor/Brainiac: Looks like the Question was right all along: I kill you and then Armageddon, right on schedule.
Superman: (To Luthor, after Flash's apparent death) I'm not the man who killed President Luthor. Right now, I wish to Heaven that I were, but I'm not!
Flash: I can never go that fast again. If I do... I don't think I'm coming back.
Superman: This is the hardest thing I've ever had to say: I'm guilty, we're guilty of the sin of hubris. We had the best of intentions to be Earth's guardians, to keep you safe, but we failed you. We look down at the world from our tower in the sky, and let our power and responsibility seperate us from the very people we were supposed to protect. No one should ever be afraid of us. For that reason, we're decommissioning the Watchtower. The energy weapon up there is already gone. We're taking down the station as well. There's more. We want to thank the members of the Justice League for your courageous service, but in the future, you'll all have to act as independent agents. We're not going to be an army anymore. As of right now, we're disbanding the Justice Leauge. This is the end.
Batman: Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?
Lois Lane: I've been as tough on the Justice League as anyone, especially on Superman. That's just because he's always set such a high standard. I'm gonna cut him a break. He's only human. You know what I mean.
| Previous episode:|
"Panic in the Sky"
|Cadmus Story Arc|| Next episode:|
| Previously produced episode:|
"Panic in the Sky"
| Episodes of|
Justice League Unlimited
| Next produced episode:|
| Previously aired episode:|
"Panic in the Sky"
| Next aired episode:|