"Hearts and Minds" is the thirty fifth and thirty sixth episodes of Justice League. When his trainer and former lover is captured by a new foe, John Stewart heads off to rescue her. But he soon finds that this new enemy may be more powerful than the Justice League and Green Lantern Corps can handle, even together.
On Ranstad-7, a squad of four Green Lanterns under the leadership of Katma Tui are fighting an invasion force... and they're losing. Backed into caves, four soldiers surrounded by energy assault them, with the energy from the Lanterns' power rings unable to pierce their shields. Galius and Arkkis attempt to break out, but they're killed in action. Katma orders Kilowog to get escape and warn the Guardians of the Universe of how dangerous the enemy is while she covers his escape. Reluctantly, Kilowog leaves.
On Earth, John Stewart and Hawkgirl are making some repairs to the station, but Hawkgirl made the mistake of telling Lantern to adjust them "clockwise", which is actually counter clockwise on Thanagar. Suddenly, an unidentified object is detected on approach towards Earth. Hawkgirl, Flash, and J'onn J'onzz head for the Javelin-7 while John goes to see what it is. Reaching the impact site, John finds Kilowog, barely alive. Kilowog manages to tell John that that "they" got Katma, but passes out before he can say any more. John tells the League to take care of Kilowog, then heads off by himself. J'onn is able to heal Kilowog at the infirmary. Kilowog says that his unit was trying to stop the Legion of the Third Eye, a fanatical cult lead by one Despero of Kalanor. Unfortunately, Despero's forces were powered by something that rivaled even the energy of the Lanterns. Kilowog also explains that not only was Katma Tui John's trainer in the Corps, they were romantically involved for a time. Kilowog is fit for duty, but he needs to recharge his ring, and the only source available is John's power battery.
Meanwhile, John has found Ranstad-7, and the remains of a G-class cruiser. His ring is able to track Katma Tui to Kalanor. Arriving, John finds a desert world with a broken people. Two soldiers are detaining a Kalanorian for having books, and John knocks them out, only for the people to run in fear of him. John decides to go undercover.
On Earth, Flash has taken Kilowog to John Stewart's apartment, hoping that the battery is there. As Kilowog searches, Flash does a little exploring, finds a full quart of Bob and Terry's ice cream and a tape of Old Yeller (both of which Kilowog eats by mistake, declaring both delicious). Suddenly, John Stewart's landlady finds them. Aware of John's day job, she assumes that they're aliens and begins attacking Flash with a broom. Flash compares her aggressive nature to that of Hawkgirl's and mentions that if they needed a replacement for Hawkgirl he would let her know. Kilowog manages to find the battery in a pocket dimension, and the two leave.
On Kalanor, John has tracked down Katma Tui's living quarters. Despite some initial resistance from Radocko, he manages to enter the house and find her power ring. Two guards subdue him and take him to the royal palace. There, he meets Despero, leader of the Legion. Despero explains that once, he was an outcast for his third eye, but while traveling in the desert, he was assaulted by robbers, and was saved by the Flame of Py'tar. The Py'tar foretold that Despero was lead Kalanor into a paradise. Using the Py'tar's powers, Despero took control of Kalanor, and Despero now intends to spread the glory of the Py'tar throughout the universe. John has heard enough and attacks, but Despero's Py'tar given powers are quite formidable, fueled by his own rage and hatred. Defeated, John is knocked to the ground at the feet of Despero's newest priestess — Katma Tui. Despero orders her to sacrifice John to the Py'tar, and she complies. Katma takes John to the Py'tar's central room, revealing the Py'tar to be a massive fire. Despite John's pleas, Katma throws John into the flames of Py'tar.
In a room underground, Radocko and another Kalanorian are working on a matter transporter. Despite some technical trouble, they are able to rescue John Stewart from the Py'tar. The older Kalanorian introduces himself as Shifflet, leader of the Anti-Despero resistance. The matter transporter is not much, but it has saved a few people here and there. It was also made by their newest member, Green Lantern Katma Tui, who enters to see John. An overjoyed John runs to her — and gets a right hook from Katma, who chastises him for nearly blowing her cover. Katma explains that Shifflet and his people rescued her, and helped her get into the palace as a priestess. She knows that Despero is raising a massive force for conquest, but doesn't know the specific plans. John gives Katma her power ring, and they share a passionate kiss.
At the palace, Despero empowers his soldiers with the power of the Py'tar, which they will use to spread the greatness of Despero and the Py'tar across the universe. The Legion of the Third Eye goes forth, as a horrified Katma watches.
At the resistance's base, Katma informs the group that Despero will be able to expand his Legion by bringing in new converts. John decides to mobilize the Green Lantern Corps, and prepares to head to Oa. However, a Legion task force breaches the base. As Katma springs into action, John finds that he can't use his ring. Grabbing a weapon, John gives covering fire as the resistance scrambles for the secondary site. Unfortunately, tanks block them off. The resistance is cornered when the Justice League and Kilowog arrive and help them escape.
The resistance and the League regroup at the secondary site, ancient catacombs with untranslated inscriptions. J'onn is able to interpret some of them, and they indicate that Kalanor was once a thriving ecosystem, instead of the desert world of today. Shifflet does say that there are legends of a paradise, but Radocko dismisses them as ancient drawings. Meanwhile, John and Katma are trying to figure out what is wrong with his ring, but Katma soon realizes that Despero did something to John, who does admit that he feels like something is missing. Katma decides that the only way to help John is to retrain him step by step.
At the palace, Despero reviews the officer in charge of capturing the resistance. Despero orders the officer to go into the desert and await a vision from him as penance. The officer gives his praise to Despero, who informs his minister Krizblack that the officer won't be back. Krizblack asks why the resistance is so dangerous if they are so few, and Despero replies that they could corrupt the movement. Only Despero is voice of the Py'tar, and none may challenge him.
In the catacombs, John is still having trouble concentrating with his ring. He angrily decides to take a break, and vents to Hawkgirl that Katma still treats him like a raw recruit. Hawkgirl says that its common for people to see others as they best remember them, and she says that as someone who knows him in the here and now, she wants him to get back to work, or face her wrath. Meanwhile, J'onn has reasoned that Despero is using the flame of Py'tar to power his Legion, similar to the energy used by the Green Lanterns. The heroes must destroy the flame of Py'tar to defeat Despero, but Katma says that the Py'tar is a self-sustaining nuclear plasma reaction. Kilowog then announces that he can build a carbon bomb which will negate the reaction.
At the palace, Despero is speaking to the Py'tar, assuring that the conquest is going well. Krizblack enters with Radocko, who announces that he wishes to join the winning side and will betray the resistance. Despero orders a strike force to take out the resistance.
At the catacombs, John has given up on retraining, and is arming himself. Katma fears that John will have to be sent back for training on Oa and that Kyle Rayner will take over his sector. Hawkgirl chastises Katma for giving up on him, and gives a few words of encouragement to John. Suddenly, the Legion attacks, and Katma seals off the section of the catacombs that Flash, Kilowog, and J'onn are in. The resistance attack, but the strike force has Py'tar-empowered soldiers with them.
Taken to the tunnels in the palace, Despero decides to work his will on the two Lanterns and Hawkgirl. Despero overwhelms Katma and prepares to do the same to Hawkgirl, considering making her part of his personal retinue. With an act of sheer willpower, John summons his power ring to him, frees himself, and attacks Despero. John and Despero are evenly matched, but John manages to score a symbolic victory by punching Despero's third eye, leaving the imprint of the power ring on it.
Elsewhere, Flash, Kilowog, and J'onn make it to the Py'tar chamber with the carbon bomb. Getting past the guards, Kilowog arms the device and seals the doors. Before he can throw it in, J'onn tells them to stop. The Py'tar is a sentient being, in pain, and hopes to make contact. Before he can further explain, J'onn jumps into the Py'tar. As soldiers, priests, and priestess make their way into the chamber, J'onn rises from the Py'tar, bathed in flame, now sporting a third eye. The Py'tar says that it is the natural life force of Kalanor, which was suppressed eons ago. Despero was to release the Py'tar and let it restore Kalanor's ecosystem, but used it for his own petty ends. The Py'tar offers paradise, but the Kalanorians must reject Despero. The Kalanorians bow down to the Py'tar, as the soldiers cast away their weapons. J'onn falls to the floor as the Py'tar turns into a great tree. In the tunnels, Despero is consumed by a tree, while the Legion soldiers empowered by the Py'tar turn into trees.
On Kalanor, green foliage spreads across the desert. Shifflet declares it a miracle, but J'onn says that it's just the natural state of Kalanor. Katma and Kilowog will remain behind to help the Kalanorians rebuild and readjust, while the League heads back to Earth. John transports his fellow Leaguers home, his will restored. John tells Hawkgirl that some things can't be taught; they can only be learned through experience. When Hawkgirl asks John what, he responds "clarity".
- Katma Tui mentions "that Rayner kid", referring to Kyle Rayner, the first Green Lantern to be introduced in the DCAU in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "In Brightest Day..."
- Flash finds a tape of Old Yeller in John's apartment. Hawkgirl mentions in "Wake the Dead" that it's his favorite movie.
Home video releases
- Justice League - Season Two (DVD)
- Justice League - Season Two (Blu-ray)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Green Lantern: First Flight (Blu-ray only)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: Justice League Masterminds of Crime (DVD)
- In the teaser of part I, when one of Despero's ships blows up, the ensuing explosion is reused footage from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, when the console that the Jokerz tried to steal blows up.
- It's unclear why Kilowog crashed on Earth and how he became injured. When he left Katma to warn the Guardians, he looked unharmed.
- John had put on Katma's ring before he was knocked out, but in the next scene he's no longer wearing it.
- Before gloating over his prisoners, Despero tosses the power rings of Katma and John on a surface next to them. The Green Lantern symbol is sideways on one of the rings. This is corrected moments later, when John successfully summons the ring onto his finger.
- Additionally, as John is retrieving his ring, Katma is seen wearing hers while both are still laying on the surface adjacent to her.
- The title of this two-parter — "Hearts and Minds" — refers to a campaign employed by the US Military to win the popular support of the Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War. The phrase came to signify the way in which a civilization can conquer a country by resorting to its military and public relations skills, as opposed to brute force. The term is also associated with propaganda. In this episode, Despero is depicted as a demagogic leader who recruited followers by use of long and persuasive speeches (winning their "hearts"), and mind control (winning their "minds", in a literal sense).
- The salute the Legion of the Third Eye use to Despero in one scene is the same one employed by the Nazis.
- Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, otherwise known as the Trinity in comics, do not appear in this episode.
|Maria Canals|| Hawkgirl|
|Phil LaMarr||Green Lantern|
|Carl Lumbly|| J'onn J'onzz|
Kalanorian soldier (uncredited)
|Michael Rosenbaum|| Flash|
Arkkis Chummuck (uncredited)
|Kim Mai Guest|| Katma Tui|
|Rene Auberjonois||Galius Zed|
(Flash is searching John Stewart's refrigerator)
Flash: Ah, you must be the mystery woman.
Katma Tui: It's time to relearn what you've learned.
Despero: Go! The conquest begins now! Emblaze in my word and will across the cosmos!
Despero: (After binding Katma to the power of Py'tar) Now, who's next? (He goes over to Hawkgirl)