This is the big one, this is the one with the most perplexing moral dilemmas. This is the one where we talk about…Starcrossed.
Oh my gosh, this was the episode/movie that changed the whole series. For better or for worse is debatable, but it made Hawk Girl go from less-prominent-character and GL’s love interest, to one of the most important characters on the show.
All we know about Hawk Girl’s backstory comes from this episodes, since all she tells us before was apparently a lie. She is from the Planet Thanagar, she’s a soldier, her mission was to investigate Earth and its defenses.
Now, Shirara Hall (Hawk Girl) didn’t mean any harm by this, she thought it was in order to help Earth. That her people were going to defend it and themselves from their enemies the Gordanians.
All too soon she finds out she was wrong. Her people’s real intent was to use Earth to build a hyper-space bypass, that is a kind of force field, to protect themselves, in the process turning earth into a caramel apple of a planet. Which would destroy all life. They seem amazingly cool about this, never thinking of the fact that Earth is full of people, who are conscious like them and who have feelings.
The problem is, by the time Shirara discovers this plan, she’s already betrayed her friends’ weaknesses to her people. A thing she felt kind of bad about already and now realizes was a huge mistake.
So she takes the plans for the death star (sorry, bypass) to the Batcave, where she figured they’d be after they escaped, and gives it to them. They aren’t too happy to see her, even GL, who’s still sore from the fact that she had a fiancé she never told him about, and that she sucker punched him after an appeal to him for trust. But she gives him his ring back.
After which she gets caught and imprisoned.
To make a long story short, the Justice League does some majorly awesome battle with the Thanagarians, which really shows the best of everyone; Wonder Woman sets Shirara free, reluctantly; and Shirara and GL shut down the bypass. Then Shirara decides to resign from the League before they can vote her out (though we find out later that thanks to Superman, they voted her in.)
I think I’ve told this story before anyway, but I haven’t told how it affected the show and the League both.
Wonder Woman was the angriest about being betrayed. She and Shirara never got along all that well. Flash said it was because they were so much alike, and I have to agree. Wonder Woman also left her home in order to help Earth, the difference was it never came down to defending one or the other. This similarity never seems to occur to Diana, and even if it does, she must dismiss it because she never made the wrong choice. Though she never had to make such a terrible choice as Shirara either.
This really is Diana’s worst moment. And she brings it out in Shirara also, Hawk Girl never admits she did anything wrong. She tells GL (John) that she did what she thought was right when she betrayed them, and she did what she thought was right when she helped them. Perhaps, being a military man, John sort of understands this kind of thinking, but Diana doesn’t. And the others don’t either.
Hawk Girl’s betrayal acts as a crucible for the other members of the League. Each of them deals with it differently and shows they’re true colors. Superman says he doesn’t know if he could ever really trust her again, but he votes in her favor anyway. John stays out because he think he can’t judge fairly (Justice, remember.) The Martian, whom I haven’t got to yet, must have voted in her favor, and he always seemed to empathize with her more because his whole planet died too. Flash, whom everyone loves, is ready to put the whole thing behind him permanently. He never brings it up again, he never acts like Shirara did anything. We know he wanted her to stay. Batman must have voted against her, which is no surprise, he barely trusts anyone anyways. We never really hear how he felt about what she did, but he acts angry…for him. Wonder Woman thinks she doesn’t deserve a second chance.
And that’s the moral dilemma we are left with at the close of this episode. Even if we all could figure out if Shirara made the right choice in turning on her own people, we still have to decide if she should be forgiven completely, and if she should stay.
Here’s my two cents:
Hawk Girl is the most complex character the show came up with. She had Batman beat for that. She is scary, many people say, but also compassionate and gentle at times. Fiercely loyal, yet she has divided loyalties. Committed to doing what’s right, but she does wrong thinking it was right. Should she have known better? Yes. But so should we all.
Basically, I side with her. I think the bitterness and unforgiving nature that a lot of the League displayed when she finally returned to it was a far worse crime than what she did. They were never the same. Superman became more controlling. GL became more emotionally confused. Flash stayed Flash.
But Wonder Woman surprisingly learned something in the end. She was the most unforgiving at first, and later she tells Shirara, in kind of a snooty way, that she forgave her a long time ago. Shirara replies “Did I ever ask fro your forgiveness?” Both of them are proud, but Shirara does remind Diana that not everyone caters to her opinion. At the end of the day, they learn to have mutual respect for each other, and Shirara realizes that Diana actually does care about her in her own we-don’t-get-along-but-I-love-you kind of way.
I think the writers handled the situation poorly, but notwithstanding, Shirara is an amazing character, who has to make tough choices, and gets little appreciation for them and little mercy.
And I never knew who Hawk Girl was before that show. She’s pretty unforgettable once you’ve seen it.
I think that sums it up. Until next time–Natasha.