It has been an incredible week for fans of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Last weekend during the episode "Loss" we witnessed the beautifully tragic and emotional sacrifice of Aya only to discover later in the week that the series is not getting a much deserved renewal. Devoted fans that we are, we have launched a campaign to rescue both Green Lantern and Young Justice using a number of different social networking avenues, but while the Cartoon Network has clearly heard our passionate calls for them to change their course they are operating in full spin mode, trying to deflect criticism of their boneheaded move towards enthusiasm for their future plans for the DC Nation block of programming. That then brings us to the next installment of the animated series, the jaw dropping, awe inspiring "Cold Fury".
With Razer safely on board the Interceptor the crew prepares for a retreat, unaware of Aya's fate. Hal in fact never considers that Aya could really be destroyed and his own sense of loss immediately manifests itself by lashing out at the already wounded Red Lantern. Kilowog serves as the level headed one when the Science Director manages to put her Guardian sized foot in her mouth. I loved how Hal admonishes the female Guardian once he puts his own shock aside to focus on the bigger picture.
|Tensions run high in the face of great loss|
Josh Keaton and Kevin Michael Richardson get a bit more to do in this episode and their conversation in the subsequent scene on the bridge was a wonderful reminder of what a veteran Kilowog is as he's sometimes made to play the lesser role, but here he realizes that while Hal is hurting and questioning himself Hal needs to quickly come to terms with Aya's loss and be the Green Lantern he's meant to be.
As the Manhunters slowly catch up to the Interceptor Zilius Zox summons back up from Ysmault, but while Shard is on its way the Science Director makes her own play by trying to wrest control of the Manhunters from the Anti-Monitor. I thought it wonderfully revealing that she had been tampering with powers that the Guardians had abandoned long ago, further casting doubt on the Guardians intentions. Rick Morales' strong direction is supported audibly by Frederik Wiedmann's excellent score resulting in a powerful sequence of events that leads to another "death".
I put death in quotes for a reason because we really aren't sure what happens to someone when they are blasted by the Anti-Monitor. From what we've read in the comics there's certainly a bit of history between a particular female Guardian and the Anti-Monitor and it wouldn't surprise me if producers Jim Krieg and Giancarlo Volpe were looking at this bit as a seed for a potential Blackest Night story line. I think it was Giancarlo who at one time addressed that famous event and said that he felt that they had a way to execute it properly in the show's format. Given this week's announcement it's all the more sad to see what could be if only the knuckleheads in charge of things at Cartoon Network cared about the value of what they have.
|The death of the Science Director has some interesting implications if we were going to get more seasons|
The following battle sequence between the Red Lanterns and the Anti-Monitor takes the feelings of desperation and multiplies them, and watching Shard go up in pieces was one of those "I can't believe they did that" moments that seems to be the new norm for the second half of this season. And if we thought Atrocitus was mad before, he's really not going to be too happy when he finds out Zox totaled his car!
There's of course a lot of fan conversation about Aya's return, Razer's reaction to her and what happens next. Ernie Altbacker really delivers a superb script for this episode, capturing the rawness of Razer's loss and then his conflicted emotions upon Aya's reappearance. Both Razer and Aya are in the same place, not quite capable of understanding everything they feel and put in a position where not knowing enough about themselves causes them to make some regrettable choices. They are both growing up in a universe that won't wait for them to fully mature, trying to do the best they can with the time they have and sometimes failing miserably.
It would be easy to question the decision to bring Aya back the very episode after she "died", but while returning her later might have been a more dramatic payoff her return here while the emotions are so raw in the characters, and anyone in the audience emotionally committed to them, that the shock and joy in her return provide an even greater emotional boon. It's also needed to act as a catalyst for what's too come and if not done now we as viewers wouldn't have quite the same emotional rollercoaster ride that's waiting for us.
|Aya's return was perfectly dramatic and set us all up for another emotional fall|
Jason Spiak's performance as Razer is excellent in conveying his conflicting emotions, not loving himself enough to ever fully love another and afraid to take the chance again. Grey DeLisle brings a youthful naivete quality to Aya who herself is struggling to process emotions that she was never meant to feel and finding them more powerful than she's capable of handling in the dire situation in front of her. While Hal would love to help both of them he's also been put in a position of having to focus on the immediate concerns of the moment and it all comes to a head when Aya takes Razer's off hand advice literally.
And like that the episode reaches a crescendo and while the Anti-Monitor is destroyed we're left with something far more tragic and dramatically epic than what we started with. There's a new threat in the universe and overcoming it will carry a heavy price for the crew of the Interceptor. This series has reached a high point and there are only six episodes left for the series unless the powers that be come to their senses. "Cold Fury", in addition to summing up fans' feelings right now, is another stellar effort by everyone involved. And while my rating scale only goes to the five lanterns I'm giving it, it's so much better than that.