- The Stranger narrates recent events. He, Red Tornado and Terra had dispersed Child's pillar of fire and quieted the volcano, when Vandal Savage appeared via a Boom tube. He tells the Stranger they have work to do and, with a small smile, the Stranger whisks himself and Savage away with his cloak.
Klarion, in possession of the school bus, honks his horn to attract the heroes' attention, telling them he had been looking for them everywhere. The children and Charlie run out of the bus, thinking they have found safety, but the sight of Doctor Fate erupting out of the ice fist Child had trapped him in scares the children back aboard. Zatanna says they had thought Child had killed Klarion, but he clarifies that she killed Teekl, his anchor and best friend. Fate notes that Klarion now uses the bus as his anchor. Zatanna is pleased; now Fate and Klarion can work together. Fate does not trust Klarion, and neither does Zatanna, but now they need each other. Klarion doesn't like it either, but with Child backed by the Chaos Lords they have no choice. Reluctantly, Fate agrees, and Klarion has everyone board the bus, ready to set off and find a new cat. As they leave, Isis and Ice emerge through a scarab portal to deal with the pillar of fire.
Garfield sits alone in the Hub, scrolling through the news feed on his phone, when he is surprised by the arrival of Perdita. Gar asks why she is there, and she explains she came to see him, even bringing him some of his favorite food. Gar claims to have just eaten, and goes to fridge it, as Perdita looks on with concern.
As the bus flies outside of time and space, Fate asks if the plan is clear, but Klarion insists the plan won't work is he doesn't get a new familiar first. Charlie questions whether the magic map provided by Fate will actually get them where they need to go. Thirteen tells him Fate is good at giving directions, and asks about his ten years spent traveling through time and space. Charlie says it only felt like a few hours. Penny Randall needs to pee, and Zatanna tries to comfort her, telling her they will send them all back to their own time. Mary wonders whether they can trust Klarion. Zatanna tells her they can't, but have no choice. Klarion interjects that he can hear them, but Zatanna carries on; they must still be ready for whatever he might pull. The children scream as the bus jolts and comes to a stop at its destination...
...the Old Salem Animal Shelter.
- The Stranger continues his story, explaining that he summoned the Lords of Order and Chaos to meet with Savage. Savage notes that while the Lords governed the balance between order and chaos throughout the universe, it was he who had allied with Klarion and begat Doctor Fate and so maintained the balance on Earth. Child had upset that balance, and was ready to destroy the world; an unnecessary tragedy. Speaking through the Stranger, the Lords blamed Savage, claiming his alliance with Darkseid had made Earth into a significant front in the war between order and chaos.
Back at the animal shelter, Zatanna and her students present Klarion with a number of cats from the shelter, all of which he rejects. Klarion explains that the cat is supposed to look for him, when they all notice a kitten rubbing itself against one of the bus's tires. Khalid picks up the cat, and Klarion prepares to name it. After some deliberation, he picks a "totally original" name; Teekl. Marking appear on the cat's fur as they bond, and Klarion de-possesses the bus and reassures his human form. Fate urges them onward and summons a portal. Zatanna tells Charlie and the children to stay, promising to return and send them home. Assuming the world survives, Klarion notes.
Fate, Zatanna, Klarion and the Sentinels emerge at the ruins of the Tower of Fate. Zatanna immediately casts a glamour to make her and her students invisible, before Fate conjures a summoning circle. Teekl yowls, amplified by Klarion, and Child and Flaw appear in the circle. Child notes Klarion's stubbornness, and that partnering with Fate only proves that she is right to consider him a tool of Order. Child fires an ember at him, but it is easily destroyed by Klarion and Fate.
Garfield and Perdita enter Gar's bedroom. Perdita eyes the mess warily, and tells Gar she has missed him. She tells him she knows it must have been hard to lose Conner, and offers to help him through it, noting her own experiences of loss.
Back at the Tower, Child exchanges blasts of energy with Fate and Klarion. Flaw absorbs Fate and Klarion's blasts, and Child uses their own power against them, creating a pillar of fire. Inside the glamour, Mary draws power from the pillar. when Child is distracted by the pillar shrinking, Khalid casts a spell on child, splitting her body into four parts; skin, muscle, organs and bone. Child notes that that would have been very effective were she human or fighting alone, but with the Chaos Lords's backing she easily reconstitutes herself, removes Zatanna's glamour, and claps out an energy wave, knocking Zatanna and her students to the ground.
- The Stranger continues to describe Savage's summit with the Lords. Savage argues that his alliance with Darkseid will end with a final conflict between Earth and Apokolips. Shoudl Earth fall, the Anti-Life Equation shall consume all, virtually ending Chaos, and thus making Order moot. The sacred balance would be forever lost, and protecting that balance, not victory, is the Lords's true purpose. The Lords of Order agree first, with Chaos following. The Chaos Lords will withdraw their support for Child, though not remove Child herself. Savage is satisfied.
Back at the Tower, Child's pillar goes out and she swoons. Klarion can also feel it; she no longer has the other Chaos Lord's power. Child is confident she still has enough power to deal with her opponents, and conjures fire rain. Zatanna puts a shield up over her and her students. Child orders Flaw to kill the mortals, and with Zatanna maintaining the shield, Mary takes him on, calling upon the power of Zeus to blast him with lightning, but only serves to slow his approach. Fate declares that the tide has turned, but Child sends out a shard of earth, impaling Klarion. Klarion insists he is okay, so long as Teekl is safe. Enraged, Child declares neither the cat nor anyone is safe, conjuring tendrils of energy from her back, which she uses to ensnare Doctor Fate. With Flaw drawing closer, Mary needs more power and begins to pull the life force from her teammates and the forest around her, causing birds to fall from the sky. The tactic draws admiration from Child and Klarion, but Traci calls for Zatanna to stop her. When Mary stops drawing power to focus on a nearing Flaw, Leroy whips Traci with his tail, bringing Traci to a realization; she sees Flaw's flaw lit up by Mary's blast. Mary manages to push Flaw back, but he picks up a rock and throws it at her head, knocking her out.
Back in Gar's bedroom, Perdita receives an alert on her phone; she sees Gar has left Space Trek 3016. He tells her he needed a break. She asks if he had taken a break from the Outsiders too, since they were out in action and he was here. He confirms he has, so she doesn't need to worry about him anymore. Perdita asks if they are on a break, one he did not tell her about. Gar is silent. Perdita notes she has been calling and texting, all Gar had to do was pick up his phone. As she reaches for his phone, she knocks over a box on his bed stand, sending pills scattering. Gar says they are just to help him sleep, but Perdita says it's his way of checking out, of pushing everyone away. She tells him he needs help, but Garfield tells her he doesn't. Perdita tells him he loves her, but if he won't let her help him or help himself, she won't watch him self-destruct. Garfield shows her the door.
Back in Salem, Child is ready to finish things, and blasts both Fate and Klarion. Flaw moves toward Zatanna and the Sentinels, but Traci rushes out to him. She notes he is very powerful, but with only the tiniest of laws; wouldn't it be bad luck for that flaw to spread? She casts a spell, and Flaw's flaw grows, sending cracks throughout his body until he shatters. Child is immediately consumed in magic flames and reverts to her diamond form before ascending to the heavens. The fire rain stops, and Zatanna drops the shield. Klarion removes the rock spear, leaving a gaping hole in his torso. But Klarion likes it, and Teekl climbs inside. Klarion teleports away after atypically childish farewell. Zatanna and Khalid congratulate Traci, and Fate admits that the students surprised him, demonstrating great potential. Zatanna agrees.
Fate and Mary put out the flames from the fire rain, as Zatanna turns from a discussion with Traci and Khalid to address Mary. Traci and Khalid are in shock.
Later, Mary is furious, demanding to know why the other students are getting rewarded while she is not. Zatanna explains that it is not a reward, and that Mary is just not ready for it, is too much like "him". That she is too attracted to power, without caring where the power comes from. The argument draws the attention of Fate, who demands to know what is being discussed. Reluctantly, Zatanna describes her plan to have Fate alternate hosts between herself, her father, Khalid and Traci, with each acting as host for one week out of four. This would give Fate a continually fresh host, and allow the hosts a life of their own. Fate notes that Mary is powerful, but Zatanna says she is not ready. She offers to work with her more, but Mary is incensed and demands to be sent home to Fawcett City, which Fate does. Fate agrees to Zatanna's proposal, but there is one more that must be convinced; Fate removes his helmet, and Zatara instantly declines, saying he took the helmet to save his daughter from the curse. Zatanna tells him he did it to protect her as child, but he is missing her whole life, and his own. She is ready to share the burden. Zatara relents. Khalid then takes Zatanna aside. He tells her that he is on board, that his uncle Kent was his hero and that like her he has a family obligation to take on the Helmet of Fate. But he also questions why Zatanna allowed Mary to do what she did only to penalize her after, whether Traci really understood what she was getting into and whether she would be able to put aside her altruism in favor of protecting the balance. He also asks if Zatanna had planned this all along, taking on protégés with the explicit intention of using them to free her father. Zatanna does not answer him, instead going to Traci to tell her that she is not obligated to do this, but that she is 18 and can make her own choices. Traci is in. Khalid volunteers to take on the helmet first, giving Zatanna and Zatara time together and Traci a chance to discuss the matter with her father. He dons the helmet, becoming Doctor Fate.
Inside the helmet, Nabu, with Khalid at his side, asks why the Stranger has told them what they already know. Stranger says they need to know, but Fate is unimpressed and has no intention of thanking Savage for cleaning up his own mess. The Stranger admits the situation did begin with one mortal, but it was not Savage, not an act of Order or Chaos...
- In Manhattan, Zatanna tells her students not to let some constructive criticism get them down and pauses thoughtfully, before telling them that they are her best students.
...it was the contemplation of an act of love, the Stranger continues. At the Tower of Fate, a tearful Zatanna hugs her father.
Back at the bus, Zatanna urges Charlie and the children to seek help for the trauma they have experienced, and gives Charlie a card with Dinah Lance's phone number. Fate is ready to send them back so he can rebuild his tower, but first Zatanna wants to see what they have been through. She casts a spell and touches the bus, and gasps as she sees their journey flash before her eyes. With that done, Fate teleports the bus away.
Klarion possesses the school bus and teleports it away. Moments later, it reappears from Fate's ankh. Charlie and the children cheer, as Penny asks if she can go to the bathroom now.
Back at the animal shelter, Fate bids Zatanna goodbye and leaves through a portal. Zatanna is still shaken by what she saw from the bus. Her father asks is she is okay. As she sees the bus flying though a strange blue dimension, she hears Conner's voice calling out for help, and sees his blue spectral form, with three large gashes on his chest. Zatanna tells her father that she thinks she saw Conner's ghost, and that he wasn't at rest; he needs help.
Mary sits outside a phone booth, crying, as an ominous voice talks to her. The voice tells her that her friends are only jealous of her, that they deny her power to make themselves look more impressive. The voice tells her there is no need to obey their rules, to follow the advice that was all a ploy to keep her small. The voice urges her to say "the word". Mary whispers "Shazam", and a bolt of lightning strikes.
The episode follows the arc's backward titles scheme, this one translating into "Break My Heart!". This refers to Thirteen breaking Flaw by expanding the flaw that was in his chest, and to Mary Bromfield's heartbreak when Zatanna excludes her from her plan to provide Doctor Fate with alternating hosts.
Cast and characters
|Usman Ally||Khalid Nassour|
|Greg Cipes||Garfield Logan|
|David Kaye||Vandal Savage|
|Vanessa Marshall||Black Canary|
|Kevin Michael Richardson||Nabu|
|Deborah Strang||Granny Goodness|
|Hynden Walch||Perdita Vladek|
|D.B. Woodside||Phantom Stranger|
|Angel O'Day (picture)|
|Marie Logan (picture)|
- This episodes comes full circle with the first episode of this arc, in which Phantom Stranger called upon Vandal Savage, whereas now it's the other way around. Stranger even points this out.
- Charlie Daggett is perplexed to see Doctor Fate and learn he is a member of the Justice League. This is due to Charlie having been missing from his timeline since "Schooled", by which time Fate had been dormant for 65 years. Charlie also missed his return in "Misplaced" and subsequent induction in the League in "Auld Acquaintance".
- Perdita has a visible scar on her chest from her heart transplant in "Coldhearted".
- Vandal Savage alludes to his partnership with Klarion, which was officialized in "Nomed Esir!", and siring of Nabu, as established in "Teg Ydaer!".
- The Lords of Order blame the current predicament with Child on Savage's partnership with Darkseid, which dates back to the 12th century, as seen in "Evolution".
- Child reiterates that Klarion is a tool of Order because of his alliance with Doctor Fate. She had made the same accusation in "Nomed Esir!" because of his millennia long alliance with Vandal Savage.
- Perdita asks Garfield about his quitting Space Trek 3016 in the previous episode. She also tells him he hasn't been returning her calls. In "Teg Ydaer!" he got a call that was left unanswered because he was passed out from his prescription pills.
- Mary Bromfield's attraction to magic was foreshadowed in "Nomed Esir!", when she was drawn to the three magical artifacts in Jason Blood's reliquary, and in "Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!", when she reached for Child's Pillar of Fire.
- Zatanna alludes to when her father put on the Helmet of Fate to replace her as Nabu's host in "Misplaced".
- When Zatanna sees into the School Bus's journey, she glimpses scenes from "Schooled", "Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!", "Private Security", "Revelation" and "Odnu!".
- Mary Bromfield sits against the same derelict photo booth that Billy Batson tried to use to Zeta-Beam to the Watchtower in "Misplaced".
- Number 16:
- End credits scene: Black Canary has a therapy session with Zatara at the Watchtower, discussing his time bearing the Helmet of Fate along with how the children and bus driver have been coping after the last 10 years.
|Latin||Thirteen: Vitium incremento!||Flaw expand!|
|Arabic||Khalid Nassour: Bismillah.||In the name of Allah.|
|Zatanna||Ruomalg, edih eht Slenitnes!||Glamour, hide the Sentinels!|
|S'hanid drac.||Dinah's card.|
|Wohs em rieht yenruoj!||Show me their journey!|
- Where is Conner being held?
"Kaerb Ym Traeh!"