A battle between Love and Hate as the Star Sapphires face off against Aya.
What They Say:
Love is a Battlefield – Aya wants to destroy the Star Sapphire’s planet.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While we had Hal and the gang doing a bit of a side story in the previous episode, one that helped to bring the guys together in a needed way after recent events, the series gets back to the new main storyline which is Evil Aya. Her shift to taking control of the Manhunters and purging herself of emotion was definitely unexpected when it happened and it opens up a new path for the character and the series. But what makes the most sense, at least in terms of her first big move as the head of this new Manhunter family, is to strike at the Star Sapphires since the entire basis of their power is the emotion of love. Making a stand against them would certainly send a wide ripple effect across the various sectors.
Her attack on the planet goes well at the first, as her Manhunters take down quite a few of the warriors there, but it’s the dialogue that makes things clear. While the queen talks about how real understanding of love would make Aya understand the reality of love, it’s Aya’s statement that love is corrosive that hits the most. And that she intends to remove this belief from the universe that the Star Sapphires have cultivated. The show allows some interesting conversations to be had among the Star Sapphires, who herself has continued to modify her appearance and now looks positively evil. Shifting her white parts of her body to black makes it all the more striking with the green. Everything about her has hardened up and it’s made very, very clear here.
To complicate things, Aya brings Carol Danvers to Zamorra from Earth in order to plead loves case, which is amusingly awkward with some great little lines when she first appears. The fact that love is a part of an action science fiction superhero series still kills me and that it’s done so well, as Aya intends to have Love and Hate fight each other in order to show who is truly stronger. And Aya’s method is hilarious in its own way as she frees Atrocitus in order to fight for Hate while she sets Carol to fight for Love. Carol at least doesn’t have to fight just as a human though as she gets a power ring to become a Star Sapphire again, but Atrocitus gets his own ring as well, making for an evenly matched pairing. Though for Carol, it’s all new and pretty damn scary when you get a fully powered up Atrocitus.
The second half of the episode focuses largely on the right, though it should be over quickly since Carol’s not exactly skilled here. She’s doing her best and it’s fun to see how she handles things, though there’s something to be said for and against how she uses the rings special power to bring Hal that to fight. What helps salvage it is that she doesn’t bring him there to fight for her, but to fight with him. But Atrocitus is not one to be dealt with lightly, which is the main problem here since he was the big bad before and wrapping things up here quickly could diminish what came before. Thankfully, they manage to sidestep that problem well enough while making it an engaging fight with sacrifice, love and more figuring into it all in a way that plays to the larger strength of the series and the large cast of characters that’s been introduced throughout it.
The series does some really fun stuff here and it shifts gears to an even higher level towards the end as Aya realizes what he real mission should be, which is removing all life from the universe. That isn’t a surprise considering the crowd she’s hanging around with and the adaptive nature of her programming that allows her to make these leaps, though one could imagine she’d think of it sooner. The focus on the Star Sapphires continues to make me far happier than I should be, since it brings something to the genre that’s rarely done and never used in such a strong way. The inclusion of love in the series and its place among all the other emotions is well played and important, especially considering the way so many shows for so many years never even wanted to tackle the subject since boys would consider it icky. While everything else focuses on just action, anger and other things, we get a far more well rounded show here and it pays off here, being a properly modern and progressive way of dealing things, even if it doesn’t alter the overall course of events. There’s a whole lot to like here and just one more episode in a long line of fantastic episodes of this series.