Monday, June 11, 2018

Legion of Super Heroes S02 E06: Who Am I?

"Who Am I?" was directed by James Tucker and written by J.M. DeMatteis. Original airdate: November 3, 2007. Review by Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane.

Mission Monitor Board: Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Lightning Lad, Superman, and Timber Wolf.

Opponents: Imperiex, Persuader, Ron-Karr, and Validus.



Superman and Lightning Lad are battling the Persuader, and quickly subdue him. It turns out to be Chameleon Boy in disguise, who is being tested to see how well he can perform undercover as Persuader to infiltrate Imperiex's army.
The team is concerned that he is not up to the job, but Brainiac 5 has a plan. Brainy shows the team his identify implanter, which will reprogram Chameleon Boy's mind so he actually believes he is the Persuader.
Since the Legion captured Persuader, Brainiac 5 has been digitally scanning his mind, and it is ready to be downloaded. Superman has reservations but Brainiac 5 reassures them that he has an emergency shut off gun, which can automatically restore Chameleon Boy's true self should anything go wrong. Cham agrees.
After the procedure is complete, Cham-Persuader attacks the Legion and they let him escape to seek out Imperiex. Brainy has made sure that they can track his movements. Cham-Persuader finds Imperiex and is forced to battle Validus to prove his worth. He succeeds and is welcomed into the fold. Imperiex takes him on a tour and he is shown a new weapon that will be used in a few days for a planetary invasion.
Brainiac 5 is monitoring their discussions but is interrupted when it is announced that the real Persuader has escaped. He warns the team that Persuader will stop at nothing until he recovers the true source of his powers, his ax, which is currently in the possession of Cham-Persuader.
Shortly, Cham-Persuader awakens from a nightmare to find the real Persuader standing over him, ax in hand. They battle, both convinced that they are the real thing. Imperiex interrupts their fight, and takes them to his scientists, who cannot figure out which is the true Persuader and which is a spy. Just to be safe, Imperiex decides to destroy them both.
As they are taken away, the Legion arrives and attacks. They try to restore Cham with the shut off gun, but believing himself to be the true Persuader, Cham destroys the gun before it can be used. The Legion grab Cham and leave just before Imperiex destroys the entire base.
Although they are concerned about Cham, Superman-X declares that their plan worked because they now know about Imperiex's planned invasion. Brainiac 5 tries to restore Cham's true personality but is only able to return him to his normal appearance. Superman loses his temper and grabs Brainy, angry over what has happened to their friend, before quickly apologizing.

Cham is put in their training room where Superman confronts him in an attempt to convince him of his true identify. He recreates Cham's home planet using holograms, and it clearly has an impact on Cham.
Able to use Computo to scan memories, Superman also shows him their first encounter in which Cham gushed over meeting his hero. Superman is surprised to discover that he himself does not recall that memory.
Superman has Computo scan his memory in an attempt to discover why he cannot recall their meeting. Computo brings up a meeting of the Legion of Super-Villains, which spurs Superman to remember that he is not actually Superman...but rather, Ron-Karr!
The team tries to capture Ron-Karr but he flees. Fortunately, Cham is able to catch the shape-shifting villain. Ron-Karr tells them that he had been programmed to believe he was Superman and was placed among the Legion as a spy. He admits where Superman is being held and tries to convince the team that he wants to help them rescue their friend. He cannot explain why, but he feels ashamed of his past and wants to make amends. Brainiac 5 notes that Superman's decency may still be having an influence on Ron-Karr. Ron-Karr also warns them that Durla is the planet that is about to be attacked.

Meanwhile, Imperiex has brought the captured Superman before him to watch the attack on Durla. He fires a specially built missile towards the planet, but the Legion has already arrived and moves to stop it. Unfortunately, the missile splits into hundreds of smaller ones and the team has trouble stopping them all. Ron-Karr recalls that there is a weakness to the design but cannot remember precisely what it is.  Imperiex arrives and starts to fully erase the implant from Ron-Karr in order to remove the last of Superman's more decent impulses from his mind.
Cham tries to tell Ron-Karr that he can still help them and that he does not need Superman's influence to be a hero. His words appear to fail as Ron-Karr goes with Imperiex back to his ship. However, Ron-Karr suddenly flies back to the missiles and splits one of them in two, which causes it to blow up. It turns out that the one he destroyed was transmitting data to the rest and they all soon self-destruct. The team realizes that Ron-Karr has helped to save Durla, and watches as the former villain flies away.
The team debates whether Ron-Karr had truly reformed or whether he was merely experiencing the residual effects of Superman's personality. Brainiac 5 notes that if he had reformed, it would imply that the potential for evil was in all of them. Superman responds that perhaps who they are is simply a matter of believing in who they can be.
This was a touching redemption story that stood out as one of the best of Season 2. The twist of having Superman really be Ron-Karr in disguise was genuinely surprising and played well off the initial premise of Chameleon Boy's personality-altering mission. Had the show continued, I would have enjoyed a reappearance of Ron-Karr. This episode also nicely continued the development of Cham, who was generally a high point for me in this season. I was not fond of Superman X, but Cham's innocence provided a refreshing counter-point to that darker character.

Next: Unnatural Alliances!

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame the second season of this show wasn't released on DVD.Overall,as demonstrated by episodes like this,it was superior to the first season;and that's despite the presence of Superman-X.

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