The Team is on the hunt for Red Tornado, determined to find out once and for all whether the robot was the mole – even if it means kidnapping their new friend Zatanna and dragging her along on their quest!
T.O. Morrow is working on a disassembled Red Tornado, as Brom Stikk checks on Red Torpedo and Red Inferno. Morrow talks to Tornado, prattling on about the return of the "Prodigal Son." He thanks the android for making their "family reunion" possible and mockingly wonders whether he has questions, but all Tornado can do is listen and helplessly watch, because his voice box has been turned off.
Captain Marvel tends to every whim of an injured Wally—who isn't shy about taking advantage of Marvel's eagerness—while his teammates do battle in a training simulation. Black Canary compliments everyone on a very productive week, but Artemis notes that it doesn't apply to Wally, who reminds her he was injured on the fight against the Injustice League. Canary says how she enjoyed being their den mother of the week.
At that moment, Zatara teleports in and gives clearance to his daughter, Zatanna. He makes the introductions and Robin eagerly cuts off Miss Martian to introduce himself, and then introduces the Team. He asks her if she's joining them, but Zatara stresses that it's merely a visit. The Team psychically wonders why the Justice League still has them on probation, and remarks that at least Red Tornado trusted them more than their current supervisors. Superboy lashes out about how Tornado betrayed them and almost got them all killed. Realizing what's going on, Zatanna interrupts their telepathic conversation, compelling Superboy to confront Black Canary. She explains that the League is searching for all the Reds as well as T.O. Morrow, which is strictly League business. Zatara suggests they give Zatanna a tour of the Cave and Captain Marvel is eager to join them. Superboy asks him to take Wolf outside for some exercise instead, and promises they'll join him later. During the tour, Robin is taken aback at Zatanna, who walks in with a new outfit. She expresses little interest in being given a tour, and Aqualad declares they are actually going to hunt down Red Tornado. Artemis is concerned about Zatanna telling on them, but the newcomer suggests that they "kidnap" her. This show of deception impresses Artemis.
They sneak out of Mount Justice in a camouflaged Bio-Ship, flying over Captain Marvel who is unsuccessfully trying to play fetch with Wolf. Canary calls them aboard the ship, and Miss Martian says they are showing Happy Harbor to Zatanna and they'll be back soon. Zatara is uneasy about this, but Canary allays his concern, saying they are trustworthy kids, but she clearly doesn't believe her own words.
Meanwhile, Robin postulates that since Batman is searching for Tornado and Morrow in every logical place, then they need an illogical alternative—a really "dumb idea". Everyone turns to Kid Flash, who happens to have one.
In his lab, Brom Stikk turns Red Inferno and Red Torpedo on, while Morrow is copying and downloading Red Tornado's memory file. As he does this, he tells Tornado a story.
- Many years ago, a "brilliant scientist" built his own superhero to infiltrate and destroy the Justice Society of America. This hero was Red Torpedo, an android able to control water and programmed to think he was human. However, his program was crude and he didn't fit in. So, the "scientist" built a second android—Firebrand—but her heroic personality wounded up getting herself killed in an attempt on Jay Garrick's life. The "scientist" kept on trying and built Red Tornado, a self-ware android who was successfully inducted into the JSA. Alas, Tornado too was afflicted with a heroic programming—now combined with a "Pinocchio" -like desire to be human—which prompted him to betray his creator.
Despite all this, Morrow declares that the "scientist" refuses to give up.
Meanwhile, Morrow has just finished downloading Red Tornado's memories, and reveals his latest creation—Red Volcano. He tells the other Reds that this new android is programmed to simply destroy the League, after being imbued with all their memories. Morrow believes that the "scientist" has finally built a machine that transcends the need to be human, thus precluding any "Pinocchio complex". He activates Red Volcano, who immediately goes up to his creator and smashes his remote control. Morrow pleas for mercy, but Red Volcano claims that per his programming he has no concern for humans and rips off Morrow's arms. As it turns out—and much to Volcano's surprise—Morrow was also an android. He turns around to find that Brom Stikk has sneaked away, and concludes that just as Morrow said, "humans are annoying."
En route to Morrow's lab, Aqualad orders the Team to turn off their communicators, as the League will soon find out about their visit to Ivo. Zatanna is questioned about the potential of her powers, and explains that she cannot simply summon easy and convenient results, such as teleporting them to Tornado's location or even Morrow to a prison cell. Superboy can no longer damper his rage and impatience to destroy Red Tornado for his betrayal, but Aqualad is not so convinced, and claims Tornado should be given a chance to prove that he is more than a weapon designed by someone else. Remembering his own origins, Superboy backs down.
Red Volcano tells his siblings that he has all of their memories and plans to enact Morrow's plan: to activate a semi-dormant super volcano beneath Yellowstone. Volcano was bestowed with the power to activate it in three stages, killing millions and trapping the survivors in a cloud of ash. While humanity struggles to survive, they will build an army of androids to repopulate the world. Ivo calls Morrow from Strange's office, and Volcano impersonates his creator's voice. Ivo warns him that the young heroes found out his location and are on their way, supposedly without the League's knowledge. This turn of events pleases Red Volcano, who looks over to Red Tornado.
The Team lands and goes into stealth mode. Aqualad suggests that Zatanna stay behind, but she refuses and conjures herself a costume. Red Volcano watches as the Team approaches and orders Red Tornado to prove his loyalty by killing them. Outside, Robin determines the location of the base and Red Tornado attacks them with powerful whirlwinds. Miss Martian asks why he is doing this, but Tornado remains silent and besieges them with an array of tornadoes. Miss Martian telepathically relays a message to the Team and Aqualad takes Tornado head on. Tornado knocks him and Superboy down and repels Artemis's arrows. Kid Flash counter-attacks with a tornado of his own while Miss Martian sneaks up from behind, but the android subdues them both. Zatanna tries to cast a spell but Tornado knocks her out.
Red Volcano arrives and compliments Red Tornado for his performance, reminding him that he has all his memories and a next generation processor, so he knows his next moves beforehand. He reveals the message for the Team to "play dead" that Tornado has blown in the sand, and a battle ensues. Red Tornado retreats, but Miss Martian doesn't believe he would betray them again. The Team attacks Volcano with all they've got, but the android is able to fend them off, because thanks to Red Tornado's memories he can anticipate their moves.However, Zatanna casts a spell on him, remarking that Tornado didn't know her. Enraged, the android activates the volcano.
In Morrow's lab, Red Tornado attempts to enlist Red Inferno and Red Torpedo to defeat Red Volcano. Inferno fails to see a reason to help save humanity as they are no longer humans, and Tornado points out that they were never humans, but they were heroes.
Meanwhile, Red Volcano sets off the second stage of the eruption and the Team tries to take him out before he begins stage three. He repels their attacks and subdues Miss Martian. Zatanna conjures multiple illusions of Kid Flash to allow him to rescue Miss Martian. Suddenly, a pillar of water throws Red Volcano into the lava pit and Robin assumes it was Aqualad, but he points to Red Torpedo. The three Reds attack Red Volcano and hold him under the molten lava. Before melting together with his self-sacrificing siblings, Volcano declares that their father would be very disappointed, and begins stage three. Superboy pulls Red Tornado from the lava before he completely sinks.
As the volcano begins to erupt, Kid Flash urges Red Tornado to vent the pressure to divert a nuclear winter. Robin locates the pressure locus and Artemis blows open three openings. Red Tornado flies above the volcano and creates a massive tornado and siphons the ash cloud into space, thus averting the volcanic eruption. Red Volcano's carbonized hand sticking out from the solidified lava dissolves in ash.
In Morrow's lab, Robin and Kid Flash switch on Red Tornado's voice box. He ascribes his siblings as the saviors of humankind and Aqualad determines that he was never the mole. Tornado explains that he had left the Team to protect them from further attacks and find Morrow. When Superboy asks why he volunteered to be their den mother, Red Tornado explains that he was the pragmatic choice because he has no second life. They figure that he wanted to become more human and couldn't do it by hanging out with the League. Tornado doesn't know whether all that is accurate, but he admits that has come to care about the youngsters. Superboy remarks that he is "practically a meat bag already", which reminds Tornado of an impending affair.
After being fully repaired, Red Tornado tracks down his true, bedridden creator to an undisclosed location. In spite of him being evil, Red Tornado considers T.O. Morrow his father and vows to tend to him, because "it is the human thing to do."
On their way back to Mount Justice, Zatanna says she enjoyed her "kidnapping" and Robin is hopeful that it was the first of many, but Zatanna is afraid that her father will ground her for life. Meanwhile, in the Cave, Zatara declares that his daughter is grounded for life and will never be a member of the Team. Captain Marvel walks in and desperately asks if the Team is coming out to play.
The title may come from the assumptions the Team made about Red Tornado wanting to be more like a human, or because Red Tornado saves "humanity" as he calls it, when he stops a level 3 volcano from erupting.
Cast and characters
- Aqualad compares Red Tornado's situation to "the Weapon", the name used for Superboy by Cadmus and The Light in "Independence Day" and "Fireworks".
- Kid Flash still has a broken arm from the Team's encounter with the Injustice League from the previous episode.
- The Justice League (and later the Team) are still searching for Red Tornado since his "betrayal" in "Homefront".
- Hugo Strange became the new warden of Belle Reve Penitentiary in "Terrors".
- This is the first episode in which someone other than Miss Martian calls Superboy by his new civilian name, "Conner".
- Main title clips:
- Number 16: The Team decides to start their own investigation into Red Tornado, as the League has had no apparent results on October 10, 16:58 EDT.
- The cover identities of Red Torpedo and Red Inferno are actual Golden Age heroes. Red Torpedo was James Lockhart, a Quality Comics hero who became a member of the Freedom Fighters. Firebrand was Danette Reilly, member of the All-Star Squadron.
- Firebrand is "killed" at the site of 1939/1940 New York's World's Fair. In the comics, the World's Fair played a large role. The Perisphere and Trylon was the headquarters of the All-Star Squadron, and DC published two special comics in 1939 and 1940, featuring a lot of heroes, like Superman, Wildcat, Zatara, and Batman. Sandman debuted in the 1939 issue.
- Red Volcano refers to humans as "meatbags", a term popularized by the robots Bender in Futurama and HK-47 in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
- The photograph of the Justice Society matches Doctor Fate's official artwork, also seen in his promotional playing card released at the San Diego 2011 Comic-Con.
- Red Tornado says that he is not sure if the Team's words are accurate, but they may be true. This is reminiscent of King Arthur's line "all things are true... few things are accurate" in the Gargoyles comic "Rock and Roll", written by Greg Weisman.
- This episode is featured on Young Justice: Dangerous Secrets.
|Trulb tuo S'worrom eurt noitacol!||Blurt out Morrow's true location!|
|Emit ot yrt tuo eht wen kool!||Time to try out the new look!|
|Etaerc a... a... dleihs dnuora ym!||Create a... a... shield around my!|
|Emoks [sic] emoceb a dlofdnilb!||Smoke become a blindfold!|
|Ekoms dna srorrim... Etaerc Dik Hsalf snoisulli!||Smoke and mirrors... Create Kid Flash illusions!|
- The closing credits showcase the billing for "Failsafe".
- When Zatanna first enters the Cave, her knee socks are missing.
- Zatanna's backwards spell that blindfolds Red Volcano is mispronounced "Emoks", instead of the correct "Ekoms".
- When Red Torpedo is reactivated by Brom, his chest color is inverted with the upper part of the T being red and the red panels between yellow.
- T.O. Morrow compares Red Tornado's return with The Parable of the Prodigal Son, paraphrasing Luke 15:11-32.
- T.O. Morrow calls his failed Reds "Pinocchios", after the wooden puppet who wanted to become a real boy, created by Carlo Collodi in his 1883 novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio.
- For complete answers to the questions in this section, click here.
- Professor Ivo contacted T.O. Morrow to warn him about the Team with Hugo Strange standing next to him. Is Ivo also affiliated with the Light? (Answer)
- Who is the real mole? (Answer)
- Did the real T.O. Morrow act on his own initiative to destroy the Justice Society of America, or did he do it at someone else's behest?
- How is Professor Ivo capable of eluding telepathic probing and which telepath did he face before?
Zatanna: I can't tell. Not if you kidnap me.
Robin: So, I'm trying to be nonchalant here.
Robin: And I bet you've got some good ones. Oh, sorry. That might've come off a little too Wally.
Superboy: See? Practically a meatbag already.
Robin: So, good kidnapping?
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