|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, and will then be destroyed. 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 while 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". The version of himself (which has been developing inside his human host) is separate from the versions which were destroyed in The New Batman Adventures "Knight Time" and Justice League "Twilight".
- Lex Luthor realizes that Brainiac is responsible for curing his Kryptonite-induced cancer that was first diagnosed in Justice League "Injustice For All" and gave him super-strength, both of which effects were shown in "Question Authority".
- Brainiac also refers to Luthor his brief collaboration with and betrayal by Darkseid in Justice League "Twilight".
- When Luthor learns Brainiac intends to dispose of him, the former launches into a manipulative speech about latter's ultimate purpose which causes Brainiac to change his mind and spare Luthor's life just like when Lex used the exact same tactic the last time he was facing certain death at the hands of a powerful, conscienceless adversary in Justice League "The Return". Both times it worked.
- The remains of the Dark Heart reappear after the episode of the same name.
- John Stewart and Shayera Hol's dopplegangers refer to the traumatic events of Justice League "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 Justice League "A Better World" will repeat themselves in their dimension.
- 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 Justice League "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 "Flash and Substance".
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (Blu-ray only)
- Dwayne McDuffie stated that in the first draft of this episode, Clark Kent was going to reveal his identity to Lois Lane. 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 Justice League "Twilight, Part I".
- The flashback that recreates the scene from Superman: The Animated Series "Ghost in the Machine" shows Brainiac blasting Luthor with a yellow beam, but 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. But on the next shot, he backs up to Amanda Waller despite her being nowhere to be seen before.
- When J'onn J'onzz 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 Replica 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.
- 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 Stewart striking the Android Replica 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.
- After the Flash hits Luthor/Brainiac for the second time, Luthor's right arm bare and straps of Brainiac's armor on the 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/Brainiac 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.
- This episode marks the final time that all seven of the founding Justice League members fight together as a team. Although they all fight in "Destroyer", they are 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 shoots Brainiac's face on Lex'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.
- When Luthor/Brainiac creates seven androids to fight the Justice League, Brainiac has them originally resemble his own likeness but then Lex has the constructs morph into the Justice Lords from Justice League "A Better World".
- Hawkgirl has actually hit John in the head with her mace before. Once at the end of Justice League "Starcrossed, Part I", and once on Static Shock "A League of Their Own, Part II" (where John was coincidentally under Brainiac's control).
- Flash says he's going to paint his logo on the JL conference table. This is a nod to the DC Comics where the Justice League members have their respective logos painted on the back of their chairs at the conference table.
- The Android Replica Flash looks like the Reverse Flash from the comics.
- The Android Replica J'onn J'onzz 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 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 "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).
Waller: (after watching Brainiac regenerate the wounds) I'll be dipped.
Flash: (as Brainiac begins to digitize the others) I am so willing to wait my turn.
Lex Luthor: I can show you a purpose beyond the fulfillment of your programming.
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 Replica Green Lantern: (firing at Green Lantern) We loved the traitor! Loved and lost her. FOREVER!
Flash: You lose.
Luthor/Brainiac: Looks like the Question was right all along: I kill you and then Armageddon, right on schedule.
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 separate 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 League. This is the end.
Batman: Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?
| 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:|