"The Terror Beyond" is the forty-first and forty-second episode of Justice League. When the Justice League learns that Aquaman helped Solomon Grundy escape from the authorities, they discover an approaching threat to the world, one which Hawkgirl knows well.
At the docks of an unnamed city, the army corners Solomon Grundy. He fights back with everything he has, but the army was prepared for him. However, Aquaman arrives, riding a sea-serpent, and covers Grundy, promising to help him.
Taken someplace, Aquaman offers Grundy gold if he helps him with something. They enter a room and are greeted by Inza, who summons Doctor Fate. Fate explains that he needs Grundy's help in a ritual they are about to perform, but they need to know how Solomon Grundy came to be. Grundy has no memories of his past life, so Fate preforms a revelation spell to learn...
Decades ago, Cyrus Gold was a wanted gangster. However, a deal with mobster associates turned sour, and they killed Gold. They cursed his body with a powerful gris-gris which took his soul, and dumped his body in a swamp filled with mystical properties. The magical forces did not sit well together, and after several decades, Solomon Grundy was born, cursed with greed, unaware of what he wanted.
The spell reveals the truth to both Fate and Grundy, and Grundy now remembers his past. Fate says that Grundy will be able to help, but Grundy no longer wants the gold. Instead, he wants his soul back. Grundy offers to do whatever they want if they help him reclaim it, and Fate promises to do everything in his power to find it for him.
Back at the docks, Superman saves a soldier from being crushed by a tank. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl show up and also offer their help, but after Aquaman's appearance, the commander isn't so eager on superheroes. Deciding to investigate, the Justice League heads to Atlantis. En route, they see a cruise ship being attacked by a massive sea-creature of unknown species. The creature is able to harm Superman, but Hawkgirl manages to drive it off with her mace.
Reaching Atlantis, the Leaguers are taken to Queen Mera. Hawkgirl skips pleasantries and demands to know what the sea-creature was doing, where Aquaman is, and why the Atlantean navy is on full alert, implying that they may be preparing for a war on the surface world. Insulted at Hawkgirl's rudeness and mistrust of Aquaman, Mera says that he's with Dr. Fate and will speak to the League at his pleasure, ending the audience. On the Javelin 7, Superman and Wonder Woman criticize Hawkgirl's abruptness, but Hawkgirl points out that it got them a lead. This leads Superman to conclude that the sea-creature was magical, as only that, red sun radiation, and Kryptonite can hurt him.
Heading to Fate's home, they find no doors. Superman can't penetrate the walls, so Hawkgirl smashes it with her mace. Finding the interior rather oddly designed, the Leaguers come across Fate preforming a spell on Grundy, using Aquaman's Trident. The Leaguers try to stop it, but Inza throws up a force field. Hawkgirl's mace is able to pierce it, knocking out Inza, and the Leaguers are able to disrupt the ceremony. Fate and Aquaman tell them to leave, but Grundy simply attacks them. Irritated by the noise, Fate sends Superman and Grundy to Egypt, while Wonder Woman and Aquaman are sent to Easter Island. Hawkgirl remains to fight Dr. Fate. In Egypt, Superman is able to overcome Grundy, while Aquaman defeats Wonder Woman by dragging her underwater. The victors take their defeated opponents back to Fate's home, and engage each other, which Superman emerges victoriously.
In the battle between Fate and Hawkgirl, she is able to use her mace to break through his magical attacks. Suddenly, she recognizes the runes on the floor are Thanagarian symbols and demands answers. Superman and Wonder Woman return with the unconscious Aquaman and Grundy. They demand answers, when suddenly, a tear in the empty space within the room opens, revealing a massive, hideous, cephalopodal creature. Fate finally reveals that that's what they were trying to prevent.
As the creature hovers above them, Dr. Fate tries to cast a spell to banish it away. The creature attacks, but Hawkgirl assists Fate, also speaking the incantation. Fate explains that his spell only bought them some time, and is curious as to how Hawkgirl knew the incantation, and she explains that it's something like a prayer on Thanagar. Superman and Wonder Woman demand answers one more time, and Fate conjures up an image, while he and Aquaman explain...
Thousands of years ago, Atlantis floated above the waves, ruled by sorcerer-kings. In the reign of King Poseidon, the ancient world came under attack by the Old Ones, extra-dimensional beings who were preparing the way for their master, Icthultu. Poseidon drew upon nearly all of Earth's ambient mystical energy to create the Trident, which destroyed the already present Old Ones and sealed Icthultu's portal. However, it also caused Atlantis to sink beneath the waves by draining the energy that kept Atlantis above the water.
Now, the Old Ones are trying again. Fate was using Grundy and the Trident to cast a spell which would prevent Icthultu from returning. Wonder Woman and Superman oppose this, calling it torture, but Hawkgirl says that it's more like a sacrifice. She explains that the ancient Thanagarians once worshiped Icthultu, who in turn gave the primitives culture. Grundy also insists on going through with the ceremony, but Superman and Wonder Woman refuse without another way. Hawkgirl says there is: go to the Old Ones world and kill Icthultu. Though incredibly risky, Grundy wholly supports the idea, and Fate agrees that it may be a more effective solution. Aquaman refuses, however, saying that if they aren't going to cast the spell, he is to be returned to Atlantis. Fate sends him home, and asks Inza to remain to help Fate find their way back. The Justice League, Fate, and Grundy head for Icthultu's realm. Fate tells them to stay together, as earth and sky are not always parallel in this realm.
In Atlantis, Aquaman appears in his throne room before Mera. The couple greet each other, then Aquaman orders his war council to be summoned when he realizes that he cannot hear the creatures of the sea, for they are gone. Outside the city, a tear opens, and a swarm of Old Ones head through...
In the other realm, Superman and Wonder Woman are still shocked that anyone would worship Icthultu. Hawkgirl explains that Icthultu gave them agriculture, science, philosophy, even the Nth metal. However, after a time, they stopped worshiping Icthultu, they now worship no one. Suddenly, the group are attacked by the Screaming Hands, but they are able to defeat them. They notice a large swarm heading for a fissure, and Superman and Wonder Woman head to slow them down aided by a spell from Fate.
Near Atlantis, Aquaman leads the Atlantean Navy against the Old Ones. He calls for help from sea creatures, and his call is answered.
In the other realm, Hawkgirl, Fate, and Grundy find Icthultu. He recognizes Hawkgirl as a Thanagarian, and decides to speak with her, while ordering his minions to destroy Fate and Grundy. Hawkgirl is uninterested in talking to Icthultu, revealing what they paid for his favors – the souls of ancient Thanagarians. Hearing that Icthultu steals souls, Grundy becomes convinced that Icthultu has his, and manages to force his way inside Icthultu.
Elsewhere, Superman and Wonder Woman are barely able to hold their own against the Old Ones, when they begin retreating. Aquaman arrives through the fissure, and the two Leaguers place an asteroid in the fissure, which Aquaman seals with the Trident.
Meanwhile, Grundy has gone on a rampage within Icthultu, damaging membranes and veins, injuring the monster and allowing Hawkgirl to get free. Making his way to Icthultu's brain, Grundy fights a creature that is guarding it, managing to destroy the beast, but he is mortally wounded. Hawkgirl races to his side, and he asks her to find his soul. Hawkgirl flies over Icthultu's brain, but the beast is confident that she won't attack, saying he has faith in her. Hawkgirl agrees, and strikes her mace into the brain, killing Icthultu. Heading to Grundy, she comforts him in his dying hour, saying that his soul is waiting for him on the other side. He dies smiling, knowing that he finally gets his reward.
The next morning, the Justice League, Dr. Fate, Inza, and Aquaman hold a funeral for Solomon Grundy. Hawkgirl doesn't understand why Solomon Grundy was so calm at the end, but Aquaman attributes it to faith, saying 'You're not supposed to understand it. You just have it.' The gravestone simply reads 'Solomon Grundy Born on a Monday'.
- Superman's familiarity with Dr. Fate and his tower comes from his first encounter with them in the Superman: The Animated Series episode, "The Hand of Fate".
- Solomon Grundy would be resurrected in the Justice League Unlimited episode, "Wake the Dead", which also shows a continuing association between Aquaman and Dr. Fate.
- Hawkgirl notes that modern Thanagarians bow to no outside authority. In "Starcrossed", it is shown just how true that is.
Home video releases
- Justice League - Season Two (DVD)
- Justice League - Season Two (Blu-ray)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- In the teaser of part I, when Grundy is hit by a missile, the ensuing explosion is reused footage from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, when the console that the Jokerz tried to steal blows up.
- When the General tells the League that Solomon Grundy escaped with one of the Justice League's "friends", Superman asks "who", but his lips mouth "what".
- Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and J'onn J'onzz do not appear, making this the only episode of Justice League where only three members appear.
- This is the first episode in which J'onn J'onzz does not appear in at least part 2.
- Aquaman's line "If you want to live, come with me!" parallels the line spoken by T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to the teenage John Connor (Edward Furlong) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This line, with the clauses reversed, was first said by Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in the first installment, but it was not until the sequel that it became notorious.
- When trying to break free from the sea monster's tentacle, Wonder Woman invokes Hera to give her strength, to which an annoyed Hawkgirl asks if she has to say that all the time. This is of course a humorous reference to Wonder Woman's regular exclamations. However, in actual fact, up until this episode Wonder Woman has only said it three times:
- While trying to bring an Imperium walker down with her lasso in "Secret Origins, Part II".
- En route to Themyscira, trying to gain courage to face her mother after a long absence from the island, in "Paradise Lost, Part I".
- And while trying to halt a plummeting missile in Gorilla City in "The Brave and the Bold, Part II".
- None of these occurrences happened with Hawkgirl nearby, so her aggravation means that Wonder Woman has said it on plenty of other undocumented occasions. Curiously, this is the last time Wonder Woman says this phrase (see list of Wonder Woman's exclamations).
- While casting his spell using Grundy and the Trident, Dr. Fate invokes the Lords of Order, supernatural entities with professed godlike powers that appear in DC Comics.
- The Old Ones were inspired by H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.
- The inscription on Grundy's headstone reads: "SOLOMON GRUNDY—BORN ON A MONDAY", the first two lines of the children's nursery rhyme that gave the resurrected Cyrus Gold his name.
- The team of Aquaman, Dr. Fate, and Solomon Grundy parallel The Defenders, a Marvel Comics superhero team:
|DCAU Team||The Defenders|
|Dr. Fate||Dr. Strange|
|Solomon Grundy||The Hulk|
- Grundy even goes so far as addressing Dr. Fate as "stupid magician", Hawkgirl as "Birdnose", and Aquaman as "Fishman", which is what The Hulk called Dr. Strange, Nighthawk and Namor respectively. After saving Grundy in battle, Hawkgirl makes another Hulk reference: "Excuse me, Hawkgirl smash", mirroring Hulk's most famous line "Hulk smash". The Commander who was chasing Grundy has a passing resemblance to Hulk's enemy General "Thunderbolt" Ross.
- In Part II, Hawkgirl's real name is revealed as Shayera Hol.
- Oded Fehr replaces George DelHoyo as the voice of Dr. Fate.
|Susan Eisenberg||Wonder Woman|
|Oded Fehr||Doctor Fate|
|Mark Hamill||Solomon Grundy|
Solomon Grundy: Birdnose helps Grundy? But Birdnose and her friends hate Grundy!
Doctor Fate: Be on your guard.
Icthultu: Speak to me, child of Thanagar.
Grundy: Do you think Grundy's soul is waiting for him?