Episode #24 - This Hostage Earth
Original Airdate - June 12th, 2011
The end begins! As Thor and Iron Man work to find a way for Thor to return to Asgard, the Enchantress makes her move. The Masters of Evil mobilize all across the world preparing for an invasion the likes of which Earth has never seen. Because unless the Avengers can stop itů the armies of Asgard are coming to Earth.

Written by Michael Ryan
Directed by Sebastian Montes
Review by RoyalRubble
Media by Marvel Animation

Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil lead by the Enchantress continue their plans for world domination, after obtaining the magical Norn Stones from the Norn Queen Karnilla. More villains have joined the Masters of Evil since the last time we saw them, including the Living Laser, Chemistro and the Grey Gargoyle (who according to the Enchantress was lost on the battlefield on Asgard, though that might be only half-true). Their plan is to use these Norn Stones to break the walls between the Nine Realms and bring forth magical Asgardian armies to conquer the Earth. So they all split up and set up a Norn Stone in seven different locations, each spot being a weak spot between Midgard and another one of the Asgardian Nine Realms.

Lots of great continuity nods this episode: Iron Man has found a way to help Thor travel back to Asgard by using a device to generate a wormhole between the two planes (as Thor asked him to do in the episode "Ultron-5"); all they need to find is a suitable weak spot where to set up this machine. Another neat little moment is when Captain America mentions he has seen a machine like this back in his time, where it also worked (see "Meet Captain America"). Thor explains there are supposed to be eight such spots on Midgard, each one leading to one of the Asgardian Nine Realms, and all are connected by Yggdrassil, the Tree of Life (or just "Big Tree", as the Hulk calls it). Seeing there are disturbances at seven of these spots and they are seven Avengers (Ant-Man has left the team, despite Wasp's pleads), they split up and each head out to a different location. Iron Man's "Avengers Disassemble" line was an appropriate and amusing way to start the adventure. But at each location they also find one of the Masters of Evil, protecting the Norn Stones and awaiting them to get their revenge (maybe except Wonder Man, who still doesn't feel like a "true" villain). I wasn't expecting Thor's enemy to be Baron Zemo himself (I was thinking Zemo would rather fight Cap again). But it works out anyway, as Zemo is aided by the Enchantress and Thor has some history with her. Zemo trying to betray Amora was pretty obvious, but his plan failed in the end.

The fight scenes were great as usual. I especially liked Hulk's battle with Skurge the Executioner, that was awesome. It was probably my favorite fight from this episode, even if it was short. And Hulk kept the axe, pretty cool. Wasp versus Abomination was also cool, and I didn't expect Ant-Man to follow her and help her in the fight. Hawkeye continues to get some of the best or funniest lines on the show. His short talk with Chemistro was great; "How can you not remember who I am? You punched me in the face!" (see "Breakout Part One"). Hawkeye also accidentally (or was he doing it on purpose?) calls him Paste-Pot Pete and the Hypno Hustler. I've never heard of the second one, but then again I never knew about Chemistro either before this show. Iron Man's and Captain America's fight scenes were great as well, but compared to the others, weren't really that special. The real "fun" starts as soon as the Asgardian forces (including from Frost Giants, pixies, elves and ghosts) arrive on Earth, and the Avengers have to fight them as well. And then at the end, following Thor's advice to destroy the Norn Stones all at once, all the Avengers are absorbed by the energy of the Stones and disappear from Earth's surface, as Jarvis states. We have no idea what exactly happened, but one thing is for sure: Loki was involved in all of this. Thor awakens back in Asgard, only to see Loki sitting on the Throne...

Seeing as we are approaching the season finale, I hope the next episodes reveal how Loki was somehow involved in pretty much everything the Avengers (and especially Thor) had to go through back on Midgard, while his plans continued to unfold in Asgard. Apparently he has taken control over Asgard, and I have to wonder whatever happened to Odin. Speaking of which, whatever happened to all the other Avengers, other than Thor? Hopefully everything will be revealed soon, as I'm definitely looking forward to the next episodes. This show hasn't disappointed me yet, and I'm sure the next episodes won't either.