Starcrossed | Episode 50

Aired: May 29th, 2004
Heroes: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, J'onn Jonzz and Hawkgirl
Supporting: General Wells
Villains: Gordanians, Hro Talek, Kragger, Paran Dui and The Thanagarians
Objects: Utility Belt (Binocular, Grappling Gun, Flash Grenade, Gas Ball, and Electric Knuckle), Justice League Communication Link, Nth Metal, Power Ring, Politician Disguise, Hyperspace Bypass Generator, Javelin, and Kryptonite
Places: Washington D.C., World Assembly, Gobi Desert, Justice League Watchtower, and Thanagar
Written By: Rich Fogel
Directed By: Butch Lukic

Starcrossed | Episode 51

Aired: May 29th, 2004
Heroes: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, J'onn Jonzz and Hawkgirl
Supporting: General Wells and Alfred Pennyworth
Villains: Hro Talek, Kragger, Paran Dui and The Thanagarians
Objects: Nth Metal, Hologram, Red Spectrum Technology, Lasso of Truth, Hyperspace Bypass Generator, Giant Penny, Robot Dinosaur, and Power Ring
Places: Washington D.C., Great Wall of China, Metropolis, Daily Planet, and Gobi Desert
Story By: Rich Fogel
Teleplay By: John Ridley
Directed By: Dan Riba

Starcrossed | Episode 52

Aired: May 29th, 2004
Heroes: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, J'onn Jonzz and Hawkgirl
Supporting: Alfred Pennyworth
Villains: Hro Talek, Kragger, Paran Dui and The Thanagarians
Objects: Nth Metal, Robot Dinosaur, Giant Penny, Power Ring, Lasso of Truth, Joker Card, Freeze Gun, Utility Belt (Grappling Gun, Sonar Batarang, Batarang, and Electric Knuckle), and Hyperspace Bypass Generator
Places: Batcave, Wayne Manor, Justice League Watchtower, Gobi Desert, and Washington D.C.
Written By: Rich Fogel and Dwayne McDuffie
Directed By: Butch Lukic


Review written by Aaron H. Bynum

Where to start... The last episode(s) to Justice League are filled with so many unique character relationships and so many abrupt changes in emotion and so many action sequences, it's very difficult to find a starting point in the three episode, ninety minute showing to begin this review. I think I'll start by noting that I've only been a mild, on again off again Justice League fan up until recent weeks with the announcement of Justice League: Unlimited for the fall of this year, where there are many more superheroes and villains planned for television debuts. As much as I like to see Batman drop-kick some foolish criminal and watch the Flash make a wisecrack about someone's attire, every once in a while I was persuaded to lose interest due to the shows tendency to have storyline and character relationship fluidity problems. With so many characters, well... seven main characters, it can understandably be difficult to cram all of their roles into one episode or a two-part episodes and still maintain good continuity amongst their behavioral qualities as congruent with the main plot.

What the finale of Justice League, "Starcrossed," manages to give the audience, is a well-timed and well-directed slice of everything that animation fans respect and love about Superman, Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and the Martian Manhunter. "Starcrossed" spans three episodes in its entirety and in doing such weaves a decent storyline of deceit, misconception, confidence, dishonesty, and faith. There is plenty of drama and suspense, and trust me when I say that there is plenty of action to go around. One of the larger underlying plots to this finale is the relationship between John Stewart and Shayera Hol, or rather, between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. Their relationship at this point is more than a quick glance and a wink every other day on the job, but it's at that level where they give one another quick kisses when no one's looking and go out for Chinese food when the day is done. The drama and romance between the two is certainly integral to the cohesion of the entire Justice League team, and as "Starcrossed" plays out, the relationship between the two could possibly do more harm than good.

The story begins almost just as any other chapter of Justice League would begin, as the group of super heroes are set up at various checkpoints in the Washington D.C. area, making sure that there are no planned attacks from rumored terrorists. It seems that the providence is well covered; but that all changes when an unidentified flying object enters the air space and starts blasting everything in its sights with a couple of plasma cannons just like a child with a new toy on Christmas morning might do. The Justice League tries battle with the mysterious spacecraft, but its electric force field and powerful lasers prove to be more than these intergalactic heroes are used to fighting. Beaten and battered and nearly unconscious, the Justice League watches on as the ship heads towards the White House... And then out of apparently nowhere we find a swarm of spaceships (unlike the one currently attacking). The new ships lay waste and destroy the ship attacking the Earth and land in only a few moments. None of the Justice Leaguers have any idea as to what is going on, and none of them recognize any of the spacecraft that have just tried to kill them all and then save them all, none of them except Hawkgirl that is.

Who are the new arrivals that have come in swarms and have apparently saved the earth from a single ship that was hell-bent on destroying Washington D.C.? They are the Thanagarians, more commonly known as the Hawk People. The leader comes off of the first ship to explain that the earth is in imminent danger of being destroyed by another race of beings, the Gordanians. It is at this point that Hawkgirl is the first to step forward and say that she is thankful for their help. The one in charge of this fleet of Thanagarians is Commander Hro, a guy that's big, tough, handsome, and very ambitious. Following brief introductions Commander Hro tells earth's leaders that the earth will be swallowed up by a terrible evil unless the earthlings enlist the help of the Thanagarians, and that unless a massive force field is built to hold the entire earth everyone is doomed. And one more thing, Hro was/is also the soon to be husband of Shayera.

"Starcrossed" allows for fans of Justice League to become familiar with the background of Hawkgirl and her people. Unfortunately the three episode finale doesn't go too much into the actual culture of the people, but I will say that it sheds some light on their natural levels of determination. The fact that the Thanagarian people are ridiculously strong beings with massive wings on their backs is enough to make anyone curious, but what makes this set of episodes special is that through Hawkgirl, we manage to find a nasty struggle and internal conflict within each of the Thanagarians that has perhaps never been dealt with before.

The reoccurring themes of "never give up" and "always observe critically" and of "teamwork" are indeed staples to the finale. But they are presented here, like they have never been in past episodes. What I mean is that instead of one of the seven going off on a tangent and preferring to work alone (as they always do) only to have another comrade come along and give help; instead of that whole matter, the finale is driven by the fact that in Justice League, the group knows that they cannot succeed unless they work together. The group knows that unless input is given from each and every one of them, then failure is inevitable; the group is already well-acquainted with the fact that giving up and surrendering are never options when the fate of the world is hanging in the balance, and the group also knows to never take anything at face value but to instead analyze and understand anything and everything that occurs in every situation. The level of thematic intrigue of the finale of Justice League works so flawlessly, I wouldn't be surprised if most viewers didn't even notice it to an extent. Granted, there are some repeated lines wherein characters remind one another of their true goal and the steps needed to achieve that goal, but as I see it, the most influential and imperative themes to Justice League are those that are perhaps the most fundamental.

Those are simply the themes that arise from watching them work as a group, not watching the Justice Leaguers work as individuals. For as we all known, each and every one of their personalities varies greatly from one to the other. By the end of the first episode, it becomes clear to Batman (and his always brilliant researching techniques) and the rest of the Justice League team that the Thanagarians have in fact lied to the earth. It becomes clear, on rather uncertain terms at the moment, that the Hawk People are using the earth for their own purpose and do not plan on building a force field at all. The Justice League finale "Starcrossed" continues as through all of this speculation of earth being lied to, they must now seek to find out what the true and honest intentions are of the Thanagarians. Where's Hawkgirl amidst all of this? She's alongside Hro, blindly assisting him, oblivious to the true ambition of the commander. Putting the pieces together, Hawkgirl is quickly branded as a traitor to the Justice League and to earth as well... This leads to what would be a nasty altercation, but that is all put to a halt when all of the six remaining Justice Leaguers are captured.

The first episode shows some action, but in comparison the last two, actually has very little. The first chapter of "Starcrossed" sets the stage, it sets the pace and basically gets the viewers of the animated series acquainted with who the heroes are, who the perceived villains are, who the real villains are, and what the intentions of the real villains are as well. I think that the first episode, although containing enough action to satisfy most fans, is actually a dramatic approach to getting things started. The atmosphere one soon understands is that the earth is helpless against anything and everything unless there's somebody there to protect it; and on top of this ideology, one may also get the sense that it has been this way for quite some time as well. I say this because of a few major points: 1) The first episode is not an event that "just happens" but rather is the point of a series of events that lead up a certain fixed moment in time. Ambassadors know that the word of Superman is more important than the word of a President just as regular town folk appreciate the work of the Justice League on a daily basis. And even though when the Pentagon fires up three ballistic missiles it seems like such a random thing, we the audience still manage to get the feeling that such an event could and would occur should there not be a Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, etc. already there to take down an alien space craft. 2) The first chapter of Justice League, "Starcrossed," is actually an emotional episode based on the premise that as Hawkgirl is seen siding with the Thanagarians, who's intentions at this point are unknown, she is seen as breaking an ethical code, emotive code, and an integrity code as for about five years Hawkgirl has fought with the Justice League. Betrayal is a strong word, and can certainly be applied to someone whom you had considered your ally for five years and then suddenly turn on you in a matter of days. The drama really hits home right before the Justice Leaguers are imprisoned; whereas we see Green Lantern trying to ask Hawkgirl what in the heck is going on. He threatens to hit her with a shockwave from his ring, but lowers his arm and lets his heart get the better of him. Hawkgirl, within a split second, whacks John on the side of the head with her mace, knocking him out cold, only saying in the lightest breath, "I'm sorry John." By this point, Justice League is a developing in to a new area of uncertainty and of problematic ideologies, and pretty fast at that.

Not to say that the first chapter is skimpy with its design or combat at all though, for even within the first few scenes the audience is treated to a unique blend of traditional two-dimensional animation techniques and computer graphics. The Washington D.C. scene has the space ships and shuttles animated with computer graphics. At first I thought it was rather odd, seeing a funny shaped CG vessel on the background of a 2D D.C. But what surprised me was what followed; an aerial shot of the vessel within the atmosphere (CG) and within the clouds (CG) while battling the Justice League (2D) and a set of fighter jets sent by the military (2D and CG). It sounds rather confusing now, but if you watch it you'll understand. If one watches the fighter jets whiz by and get struck down by a plasma beam, the animation is so seamless it looks so good you won't even care whether or not it's animated traditionally or futuristically. When I see a jet go down in flames (in animation that is), I expect it to be dramatic, with reasonable explosions and with the proper physics applied, which to my joy, was exactly what I received. The whole cloudy sky and atmosphere accented by misty winds and such did nothing but add to the natural coolness of a Justice League battle in the sky.

The plot continuity within the first chapter of "Starcrossed" can seem a bit lacking because of its quick transitions from a war-like scene to a peace conference to a construction site to a testing lab to another peace conference. One could argue that there's just too much to jam into a half an hour, but I would argue that the rough-around-the-edges transition between the scenes is necessary in order to get to the "good stuff" so to speak. What I mean is, in order to get to that point where we have simultaneous events and transference between said events, the audience needs to know how those events came to be.

The second chapter of "Starcrossed" is where Justice League producers Rich Fogel, Bruce Timm, and James Tucker really shine. It is at this point that the general plot has developed into more than an overly eager and helpful situation and it is also at this point that the story of Hawkgirl has developed into more than just a discovery of one's heritage, but also into a the beginning discovery of one's self. Again, it's difficult to find a place to really begin interpreting this portion of "Starcrossed" because there is so much to mention. In my notes I have written under chapter two, two words: "very good."

The comment was mostly taken from the scene in which the six Justice Leaguers must find a way to escape the prison shuttle they have been entrapped within. Now, each member is jailed with their exact weakness; Superman has Kryptonite shackles, the Flash is in a gravity machine, the Martian Manhunter is practically unconscious, Batman is shackled, the Green Lantern is shackled (and without his ring), and Wonder Woman is tied up. Hawkgirl is given a quick tour of the shuttle as if she's wandering through a candy factory. Her guide is Lieutenant Kraggor, Commander Hro's number one man... hawk... hawkman, err, whatever. Anyways, Hawkgirl says to feed them properly and whatnot because even though she understands her detaining them as necessary, she still feels some emotional attachment to them. After she leaves and the shuttle takes off, that's when the fun really begins. First we see Wonder Woman being tossed a plate of eyeballs and octopi tentacle and told to eat up. Diana kindly refuses and says to the guard that since she can't eat with her hands as she's tied up, therefore, he should feed her. She says (and in a rather tempting voice too), "Don't be afraid little man... I won't bite." Filled with pride, the dimwitted prison guard pulls out a knife, plunges it into a tentacle and holds it up to Diana's face. What does she do? She bites him, and through the metal glove he was wearing too. Thus begins the plans for escape, and an awesome fight scene with semi-powered super heroes and a bunch of thug body guards of the Hawk People. There's a lot of hand-to-hand combat in the second chapter of "Starcrossed," and since the Thanagarians are tough people, none of the punches received are over exaggerated. People don't go flying across rooms when hit, but instead stand their ground and swing back, it's very enthralling and very fun to watch. Although any fan of superheroes like the Flash and Superman may always know of times when their hero can get out of danger, this time, it's done in style.

Hawkgirl is clawing herself apart on the inside now. She learns of the true reason of the Thanagarians arrival upon earth. Granted, she was originally sent to earth as a scout or spy to figure out a way for her race to conquer the planet, but the manner in which they plan on using the planet is what shocks her. I won't go into detail about all that Commander Hro and the high council of Thanagar had planned for earth, but let me just say that it wouldn't be pretty if it was a real problem today. In any case, Hawkgirl openly confesses that she loves the earth and that she loves the people of the earth. She has come to love and understand in ways that she perhaps never would have been able to had she not come to this planet on the edge of the universe. It is a prime example of a battle between one's true emotional devotion and one's true obligation or duty. Looking back on it, it almost seems as if Shayera was dragged into it all; with her own race of people coming back and then just telling her that she has no say in anything anymore, when in fact she is the reason that they are on earth in the first place. This argument isn't made in "Starcrossed" but is addressed once or twice very lightly. Nevertheless it is an important thematic cue for the series, and interestingly enough within the finale as well. Justice League is a series where it's possible for one's personal opinions within the League to be smothered due to the overwhelming concept of group work, and the same thing perhaps applies here. There is so much importance placed on the overall outcome of the Thanagarian occupation of earth that the effects it will have on people is overlooked, both the effects it will have on earth and the effects it will have on those Thanagarians not so willing to go along with Hro and the council's plans.

It is at this point in the finale that nothing really seems to be going right, neither for our heroes are now wanted men (and woman) from the now instituted martial law the Thanagarians have set, nor for Hawkgirl as she tries to figure out if she owes allegiance to Thanagar and her former beloved Hro or to earth and her beloved John. John by the way has been agonizing over and over since his clubbing over the head at this point, of how Hawkgirl is to blame for the potential fate of earth. Now, the Justice Leaguers are fugitives running from the law and Hawkgirl is being scolded for her leniency towards humans, could this get any better?

Apparently writer and producer Rich Fogel thought so. Probably one of my favorite parts of "Starcrossed" is this next section of the finale, a section where super heroes are boiled down into nothing more than average people. What that means is that in order to avoid being discovered as a Justice League member in uniform, the six must now trot around in everyday clothes. Wonder Woman as a pretty gal with black hair named Diana, Batman as billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, the Martian Manhunter as the human being J'onn J'onzz, the Flash as slightly more than average man Wally West, Superman as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, and Green Lantern as the other average man, John Stewart. The scene where this is decided is an interesting look into how each of the Justice Leaguers perceives one another, and how each of the Justice Leaguers really understands one another as people and not "the hero." The group argues a little bit and also surprises each other a little bit; it makes me wonder if in the fall when the series kicks it up a notch, if the show creators are thinking of banking off of the concept that the heroes perhaps know one another on a personal basis. As opposed to only on a professional basis...

John and his budding relationship with Shayera was indeed something to take note of from the beginning scene of "Starcrossed." Heck, even the title of the finale says it all. Granted, this is couple is much different than the "two star-crossed lovers" expressed in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but the connotations that the word simply holds allows for some interesting interpretations as to how the relationship and romance between the two are to develop as the finale proceeds. What is unique about the finale though, is that even though John feels betrayed by Shayera, he still has a lot of emotions for her. It isn't really fair for his girlfriend to be snatched away by her alien friends who plan to dominate his planet and for him to possibly never see her again. Yet, Commander Hro Ta'ak lost his future wife to some backwoods world called Earth for five years, a time in which she found another person to possibly be the future wife of... So, putting this whole thing into perspective, who's to blame? Hro (an ambitious and sometimes hot-headed man) indirectly lost Shayera to John (an intelligent and unwavering individual), but as the plot unfolds John loses Shayera to Hro. I understand that this makes Hawkgirl sound more like a commodity than an actual person, but it is within this context that "Starcrossed" develops. Believe it or not, there isn't any real sense of "follow your heart" type of ideology here at all, but only the sense of "I'm so confused I have no idea as to what I should do," ideology. I'm not saying that ambivalence rises in such situations, but rather am only clarifying that in situations under which everyone involved thinks that they might have the right solution to a problem... absolutely nothing gets solved.

By the time the third and final chapter of the Justice League finale comes around, we have a couple of teams of Justice Leaguers doing various tasks in order to help set things strait. More notably, try to figure out how to end the militaristic occupation of the Thanagarians on earth and destroy a device they've manage to construct which could possibly lead to the earth's destruction as well. The first chapter had drama and suspense, the second chapter had action and battles, the third chapter in all its glory held a fantastic mesh of everything.

Commander Hro of the Thanagarian fleet is ticked off at the Justice League for escaping the prison shuttle and sends out a horde of Hawk Soldiers to take no prisoners, and Shayera is imprisoned on Hro's ship for sympathizing with the enemy. Interesting note: Hawkgirl is unmasked at this point, and having never seen her unmasked before, I must say that she is indeed a cutie. Diana may have exotic Amazonian beauty, but if you ask me Shayera has a naturally gorgeous face to go with her equally innocent and compassionate heart. In any case, things aren't looking too well on this end of the fight. But on the other end, it would appear as if the fight has just begun. Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Superman head to Hro's ship to take out the control unit for the Thanagarian structure that was built to aid in the overtaking of the human race and earth, while Batman, the Martian Manhunter and the Flash head to the Watchtower (the satellite in space where the Justice League holds meetings). And I guess it's worth mentioning that the Justice League heads to these two locations with plans on taking them by force, no questions asked.

The plot development of the third and final chapter of "Starcrossed" is far from the potentially jumpy version of the first part, and really flows rather smoothly. As I noted earlier, in order to have the scenes where the audience knows that multiple things are going on at the same time, the audience must first know how the characters got into those situations in the first place. By the third chapter, it really doesn't seem like a "third chapter" anymore, but rather some inevitable and impending conclusion to a very long (and potentially sad) story. Written by Rich Fogel and Dwayne McDuffie, the last chapter of "Starcrossed" is unique because it not only brings together everything that had occurred in the two previous chapters, but also because it also must bring everything to a conclusion as well. Although not exactly an easy job, it seems to me that the Justice League writers did a very good job.

There's absolutely no chance for boredom when watching this come to a conclusion because of all of the fighting going on, and there is little chance for one to blink as well, seeing as each and every scene has an important character in it. I believe that this is what Justice League has been shooting for ever since it's premiere on television three years ago, a time when each character has garnered enough respect and diligence to the point where it is a blessing just to see them appear on the screen. One will end up cheering for Wonder Woman as she jump kicks some random Hawk Soldier, one will end up cheering for the Flash as he zips in and out of enemy firepower to land one heck of a punch on somebody. So much is happening in the last chapter of "Starcrossed" it just plain wouldn't make sense to watch it without seeing the first two. I say this not just for the sake of the fluidity of the plot, but because as the first two chapters unfolded the audience was able to grasp a sense of drive and motivation from the characters that was direct and personal; and now that the character personalities are able to act out their motivations, this is where animation really becomes a work of art.

There are roughly three final scenes of "Starcrossed" that are key to the development of the future of the Justice League. (Trust me, there's plenty more than just three within this finale.) Amidst all of the awesome explosions and dramatic music: 1) There is a fight scene between Shayera and the Green Lantern and Hro aboard the Thanagarian ship. The battle has more grunts and gashes, more power and punches and more war-screams and scrapes than any other fight in "Starcrossed." All of the anger and frustration that Hro, John and Shayera hold within the finale comes out at that point, and the fight, to say the least, is spectacular. 2) In order to completely wipe out everything that the Thanagarians set up to use on the earth, Batman decides to drop the Watchtower satellite down on the earth (on a specific site). Unfortunately, the satellite will most likely burn up in the earth's atmosphere. So Bruce decides to guide the satellite down to the earth, manually... and 3) There is a final scene in which the Justice League tries to decide on what to do with Hawkgirl; trying to decide if they should keep her as an ally or to dispel her from their sight. Instead of wanting to hear their verdict, Shayera decides that she's too much of a burden for the heroes, and resigns from the Justice League. John goes to talk to her, trying to make sense out of her once betrayal, trying to make sense out of the mixed feelings that the Justice League has over her actions, trying to make sense out of his own emotions towards a woman he loves, and trying to make sense out of what he is going to do, now that she's gone. Shayera flies off and leaves John standing there, with tears in his eyes; and even without really saying goodbye, it looks as though she's exiled herself from everyone she's known and loved for the past five years. The ending to "Starcrossed" is neither really satisfying nor is it heartwarming in any respects. It's the end of one era of Justice League and the opening up of another. Each of the three aforementioned scenes test the courage, integrity, heart and soul of the Justice League; and when each of the scenes begins, the audience will most likely have doubts about how the perceived event may end. "Starcrossed" is such an epic story it almost makes sense for it to end on such a cliffhanger.

The fact that the Flash openly wonders to the group about the closeness about the Justice League in the future is an honest testament to the thin ice that the group will be skating on as they attempt to rebuild. Shayera says that she's resigned form the Justice League and departs to some unknown place... There's absolutely no possible way of guessing where she went either, considering that the only person who watched her fly off and away was her former lover John. Will Hawkgirl ever return to the Justice League? Will John Stewart ever find someone he can love and cherish as much as he did Shayera? And in that same seam; will the Green Lantern ever be as emotionally secure and psychologically confident as he once was, now that Hawkgirl is gone? And in regard to the overall cohesion throughout the whole Justice League, will they all ever fully trust one another again now that they've been through this fit of supposed betrayal?

There's very little to dislike about the finale of Justice League because there are so many well-produced and well-written and well-animated scenes that anything even remotely flawed can easily be overlooked. Take for instance whenever Wally West makes a wisecrack at somebody; of course, it's either received as ridiculously uncalled for or just plain funny. In the context of "Starcrossed" though, any comic relief is helpful, and all of the characters come to realize that as the story plays out in its entirety. Even batman smiles once or twice... well, he's under the guise of Bruce Wayne, but he still has the Batman mentality going on. As far as what it is that makes him smile, and as far as what it is that makes him say "Don't be" in reply to someone saying "I'm sorry," I won't go into. I could go on forever about that scene, but since I respect the Batman I'll just let end it there. In any case, it's like I said earlier, just when there's something one may think to critique one may find oneself realizing that the flaw is perhaps an advantage in another context. Interestingly enough, just as one would think that there are some roles of super heroes in this finale of Justice League that are underused, there in fact isn't one Justice Leaguer that doesn't get enough face time. "Starcrossed" works well in that it involves all of the characters in a definable manner under which the audience is easily capable of seeing and understanding everything that goes on, without the slightest chance of misconception or dislike.

The music is fantastic and dramatic, and is paced so well with the action and whatnot that you probably won't even recognize your heart racing. There's nothing really awkward about the music to this finale and it doesn't eerily standout as the music for most television shows so blatantly do nowadays. When combined with some solid animation as well, Justice League looks better than ever and should certainly pull in more fans by the time its new season arrives in August of 2004. Although heavy in the first episode there are still elements of CG in the second and third chapters of "Starcrossed," and yet, it happens on a frequent basis so there's no feeling of peculiarity. In addition to aspects of the finale that cannot be overlooked I guess I'll readdress the aspect of combat, fighting, hand-to-hand battles, and etcetera. Watching the finale, you really get a sense of the pain that even super heroes must face when they get hit with an energy mace, or cut on the arm with an axe, or punched in the face, or blasted with plasma cannons. Not all of the battles that the Justice League fights are winning battles, but all of the battles are great to watch nonetheless.

The level of thematic intrigue and insight only heightens by the end of "Starcrossed," and Justice League begins again a new set of battles against unwelcome forces. I don't really think that there's a presence of evil with a capital 'E' in the finale, seeing as there are multiple themes of; inevitability, the harsh realities of war, and so on, but I do sense that the line between what Good is and what Evil is, can be blurred if not rendered completely useless. When there is no distinction between Good and Evil, what does a real hero do? Only time will tell.