Aqualad is pinned against the sewer wall by Clayface. He manages to free himself from the creature, but the others are still struggling. Aqualad helps Superboy; the others are able to free themselves. Miss Martian compares fighting it to a Ma'alefa'ak on Mars, and Kid Flash remarks how easy it was, but Clayface is not defeated. He strikes them from behind and trudges off. Batman contacts Aqualad, requesting an update.
Artemis is escorted by two police officers to the local station. She is crudely forced to sit on a bench next to Icicle Jr. After a while, Icicle recognizes Artemis, as their fathers are acquainted. She coaxes him to spill his plans.
Star City August 27, 08:33 PDT
Artemis reports back to Green Arrow. Junior was tight, but wanted to tell more than he could; he trusted her because they were both in the family business. Icicle advised her to petition to be tried as an adult, but Artemis held it off, saying that she would be taken to Belle Reve, considering her background. Icicle only smiled at that. Green Arrow thanks Artemis, but she makes it clear that she never wants to do things like this again—she joined the Team to be a hero, not a snitch. She feels bad, and needs a shower.
Gotham City August 27, 05:38 EDT
The Team tracks Clayface in the Bio-Ship. Robin and Kid Flash change into clean costumes, but Superboy did not bring any, so he has to still wear his muddy clothes. While his teammates form a plan, Aqualad is absent-minded. When called to attention, he agrees with their plan of splitting up without even thinking it through.
Gotham City August 27, 05:40 EDT
In the Batcave, Alfred asks Batman if he actually has a plan to take down the creature. Batman is studying the morphic field of a sample he collected earlier, hoping to find the correct frequency to disrupt the field. Zatara is coming to help just in case there's a magical element. He trusts Aqualad to not let the Team engage Clayface again.
Gotham City August 27, 05:59 EDT
Superboy follows a trail of mud on the floor, leading him to what he thinks is Miss Martian. It's Clayface, however, and the creature easily beats the off-guard Superboy by capturing him inside his body. Disguising himself as Superboy, he contacts his teammates to meet him on his location.
Gotham City August 27, 06:07 EDT
Miss Martian is the first to arrive. "Superboy" claims Clayface got away. By calling her "gorgeous", he manages to distract her long enough to knock her out.
Gotham City August 27, 06:10 EDT
Disguised as Miss Martian, Clayface tricks Kid Flash by offering to kiss him.
Gotham City August 27, 06:13 EDT
Robin is confronted by two Kid Flashes. He figures one of them is Clayface, and asks for them to tell his middle name. What he didn't count on is that they were both Clayface. Robin is attacked from both sides and underneath, and defeated.
Aqualad realizes the stupidity of agreeing with the Team's plan of splitting up against a shape-shifter. He meets "Robin", but sees through the deception in time to parry the attack. He is, however, knocked out by a third fist that comes out of Clayface's belly. He is slammed against a wall and too dazed to get up. As Clayface is about to finish him off, Batman intervenes. He has found the correct frequency and defeats Clayface with a taser.
Aqualad and Batman debrief. Batman is displeased that Aqualad did not have his head on the mission, and forces him to make a decision: either focus fully on the Team or walk away. To Aqualad, it's clear: he'll return to Atlantis.
The title of this issue bookends the allusion to Edgar Allen Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum, from the two previous issues, making the complete title of this arc: "The Pit, the Pendulum... and the Penalty". In Poe's short story, the pit and the pendulum were two torture devices used to break the protagonist, before he underwent the ultimate penalty: death. In this issue, the penalty may refer to the choice Aqualad is forced to take due to his inadequate performance as team leader.