"Fearful Symmetry" (aka Galatea) is the sixth episode of the first season of Justice League Unlimited, and the sixth of the overall series. It originally aired on September 4, 2004. It depicts Supergirl having disturbing nightmares that she fears are repressed memories of her committing murder.
On a deserted street at night, a man is running for his life, and his pursuer is none other than Supergirl. She corners him, and he swears that he didn't tell anyone anything, to which she replies, "Good. Then you're the only loose end". Before she can act, she is attacked by masked soldiers armed with jet packs and laser guns that can actually hurt her. However, she makes short work of the soldiers, then takes off after the man again. Entering a large building, she is attacked by a bizarre-looking robot, which she fights off with difficulty. The man, having set the robot on her, retreats into a corner. Supergirl gives a cruel smile, and her eyes glow red — then the view shifts to outside S.T.A.R. Labs, from which there is a horrible scream — and in Smallville, Kansas, Supergirl bolts upright in bed with a cry. She is dressed in her nightclothes, but looks at the ceiling and sees she has inadvertently burned a hole in it with her heat vision.
Aboard the Watchtower, Supergirl goes to J'onn for help. He spends a few minutes in telepathic contact with her, and says he frankly doesn't have an answer: he doesn't know much about dreams since he doesn't have them himself, but admits that what he sees of hers is much more cohesive than others he has seen. Kara says the dreams are like memories, and becomes terrified that she has actually done these things. J'onn removes her from active duty for the time being.
Green Arrow consoles Supergirl, but they are interrupted by The Question, who has a different theory — namely, that it's all connected to a massive worldwide conspiracy. Question reminds her that there's a gap in her memory from when she was treated at S.T.A.R. Labs after being injured in Superman's attack on the Earth. Arrow warns Supergirl that the Question is a conspiracy nut, but Supergirl is desperate for answers so the three investigate together.
Both Arrow and Question accompany Supergirl to S.T.A.R. Labs, where she tells Professor Hamilton about her dream. Sympathetic, Hamilton assures her that she never left the lab. Hamilton shows her a surgical robot, a much smaller version of the one in her dream, that he used to treat her, and theorizes that the dream is a sort of defense mechanism from the trauma of being operated on.
As they leave the lab, Arrow appears convinced, but Question is not. The Question is suspicious that the answers came far too easily. They are barely away from the lab when a trio of military helicopters appears and attacks. One drops a robot that attacks Supergirl, while the others disgorge a squad of soldiers that attack Question and Arrow. They manage to drive them off, and Supergirl begins to suspect Question is right. The robot is a Z-8, which the League buys from the military for training purposes. Question reveals that the officer in charge of the Z-8 project was none other than General Hardcastle, who commanded the military response to Superman's attack.
The trio confront Hardcastle, living in forced retirement in the country. Armed and ready for a Kryptonian, Hardcastle appears to be expecting someone to come and attack him, but a lot of what he says seems to confirm Question's theories: for a long time, the military and big business have been experimenting with metahumans, and also that the government has been keeping tabs on the members of the Justice League. Hardcastle himself has been involved with these projects, but whatever is happening now started after he retired. The trio leave, disappointed.
A short time later, someone else enters Hardcastle's home, introducing herself as "Tea" — the spitting image of Supergirl, but with a different costume, shorter hair and more advanced age.
In the Watchtower, Kara startles awake after falling asleep on a desk. Instinctively, she knows that Hardcastle is dead.
J'onn calls Question's quarters with a new lead: a news program is reporting the disappearance of a man named Gilbert Halstrom, whose photograph J'onn recognizes as the man from Supergirl's dream. Arrow and Supergirl are interested in the company Halstrom worked for, a genetics firm called Nuvo-Gen, but Question is more interested in the fact that only one news network had the story.
Question kidnaps the reporter, Lasser, and interrogates him: Lasser says that a girl he's been seeing gave him the story: blond hair, blue eyes, "a real farmer's daughter type".
Arrow and Kara infiltrate Nuvo-Gen and find evidence that they've been experimenting with Kara's DNA. Kara realizes that they've cloned her — she sees file footage of the clone in action during a training exercise that matches her dreams — and she must have some kind of psychic link with the clone. Hearing someone coming, they run into another room and stumble into a holographic chamber simulating Metropolis. Then they are confronted by "Tea", and realize it was a trap: she says that as long as Supergirl has a window into her mind, Tea can't operate in secret.
Kara fights, but is outmatched: Tea is physically older, and thus stronger, than her, and trained as a much more ruthless fighter. Kara is on the ropes, when Question appears, and reveals that Tea herself has been having sleepless nights: the connection runs both ways, and Tea has been receiving insight of what it is like to have Supergirl's conscience — which is definitely a handicap for an assassin. Tea hesitates, giving Supergirl the chance to counterattack.
Elsewhere, a shadowy figure who is watching the fight via camera receives a telephone call, and obeys his instructions, triggering the facility's self-destruct. Supergirl flies Question and Arrow away as the compound explodes.
Supergirl reports to Professor Hamilton that they searched the wreckage, but never found Tea. Hamilton assures her that S.T.A.R. Labs had nothing to do with the clone and signs off, then — in the company of two military officers — Hamilton attends to Tea, who is lying on a bed in S.T.A.R. Labs, badly injured. Hamilton addresses her by her full name: Galatea.
- Supergirl's friendship with Green Arrow was established in "Initiation".
- Green Arrow is still infatuated with Black Canary, as was first seen in "Initiation." They finally got to talk to each other in "The Cat and the Canary."
- This episode begins the Cadmus story arc that is the linchpin of the second season of Justice League Unlimited.
- There are several references to the events of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Legacy", when Superman was brainwashed by Darkseid and attacked the earth.
- General Hardcastle explicitly links Cadmus to the secret government programs that fostered the young metahumans Volcana and the Royal Flush Gang, who appeared, respectively, in Superman: The Animated Series, "Where There's Smoke", and Justice League, "Wild Cards".
- The Z-8 robot which appears here was also used by the Justice League in a training exercise in "Secret Society" and is also the basis for the Zeta robot.
- Green Arrow appears to know Supergirl's secret identity as he said she was hanging out in Kansas too long.
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League Unlimited - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
- When Green Arrow blows up a helicopter, the ensuing explosion features reused footage from the chain of explosions leading up to Darkseid's palace, in the teaser of the Justice League episode, "Twilight, Part I". Some frames of that sequences are used again when Supergirl slams a car at Tea.
- Galatea is a clone of Supergirl. However, she has green eyes, while Kara's are blue. Lasser also described Tea as having blue eyes.
- In the wide shot of the Watchtower cafeteria, Black Canary shares a table with Hourman and Doctor Mid-Nite and appears to be in conversation with them. A second later, she is sitting closer with her back to Green Arrow and working on her laptop.
- "Fluoride" is misspelled "Flouride" on Question's poster.
- Gilbert Halstrom is called "Gilbert Hale" in the credits.
- Question has posters of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and Stonehenge in his room. There is also a poster with the words "I Know" in which the letter 'o' is shaped like an alien head, and another that reads "Got Flouride[sic]?" which lampoons the famous "Got Milk?" ad. Question reveals his theory about fluoride while being tortured by Dr. Moon in "Question Authority". The style of the "I Know" poster is reminiscent of Mulder's poster on The X-Files.
- Question's theory concerning "actors elected to public office" is probably a nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger who was elected the 38th Governor of California almost one year before this episode aired. It may also refer to Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, who was an actor before his rise to public office.
- When J'onn contacts Question, there are four monitors showing Vigilante, Wonder Woman, Elongated Man and the Flash on separate missions.
- Final appearance of General Hardcastle in the DCAU.
- Galatea's look is loosely based upon the comic book character Power Girl. The main differences being with her gloves and boots colored white instead of blue and the lack of a red cape (which is referenced in "Flashpoint" by a small red towel thrown over shoulder).
- In Greek mythology, Galatea was a woman brought to life from a marble statue of the goddess Aphrodite.
- Robert Foxworth replaces Victor Brandt as the voice of Emil Hamilton.
- This episode marks The Question's first speaking appearance and the first of only two times his face is seen.
- The episode's title refers to the first stanza of William Blake's famous poem "The Tyger":
|“|| Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
- The title is also a possible reference to Chapter 5 of the DC Comics miniseries Watchmen, which features the character Rorschach, modeled directly on Steve Ditko's The Question. Also, both in the issue and in the episode, the two characters allude to a penchant for trash cans.
- Question mentions that Lasser's news network is owned by a firm called "Coffee King", a possible reference to the major coffee chain Starbucks and a nod to conspiracies theories about big businesses and their links to the media.
- In one of the odder and more obscure nods of the series, the noted Disney character animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston are referenced when Green Arrow pretends to be a security guard. Arrow (aka Oliver Queen) introduces himself to the other guard via the shortening of his given name — "Ollie" — prompting the guard to inquire, "Where's Frank?" Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston were famously best friends for the entirety of their lives and spent much of their time together.
- Lasser is confronted by a reporter in a straw hat before his encounter with The Question—this reporter's appearance is similar to that of Carl Kolchak, a conspiracy hunter similar to the X-Files' Fox Mulder.
- Lasser claims to have obtained his story from a girl - Galatea - who he describes as a "real farmer's daughter-type", a reference to Supergirl's living on Jonathan and Martha Kent's farm near Smallville, Kansas.
- Question's break-in to the genetics lab—carefully examining the keycard lock, then lobbing a flowerpot through the window—echoes a humorous scene from the 1992 film Sneakers, when Bishop (Robert Redford) listens to a long, involved explanation on how to defeat an electronic keypad lock, then kicks the door open and says "That worked".
- Over the course of Supergirl's fight with Galatea, the top of Kara's costume is torn to expose her cleavage in a manner not unlike Galatea's costume, while Tea's costume is torn to expose her midriff much like Supergirl's.
- It is implied that the shadow figure is Lex Luthor.
|Carl Lumbly||J'onn J'onzz|
|Jeffrey Combs||The Question|
|Robert Foxworth||Emil Hamilton|
|Sam McMurray|| Gilbert Halstrom|
|Charles Napier||General Hardcastle|
|Roger Rose|| Lasser|
Cadmus Agent (uncredited)
Security Guard (uncredited)
|Kin Shriner||Green Arrow|
|Cree Summer|| Radio Singer|
Watchtower Computer (uncredited)
|Nicholle Tom|| Supergirl|
- Black Canary
- Doctor Mid-Nite
- Elongated Man
- Shining Knight
- Wonder Woman
Green Arrow: Don't listen to this guy. Everything's conspiracies with him.
Question: Reaching back to Ancient Egypt, there's been a single cabal of powerful individuals directing the course of human history. But the common man prefers to believe they don't exist, which aides their success.
Green Arrow: This whole trip might just prove the kid shouldn't eat nachos before bed.
Question: (singing) ...Fell in love again, what am I gonna tell my friends? It just happened. You walked in my door, now I don't wanna be alone no more... (breaks into Nuvo-Gen)
Green Arrow: So I think that answered everything.
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