Spoiler: Everyone is the Traitor

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 25

“Usual Suspects”

SUMMARY: While tracking down Cheshire, the secrets that Artemis, Miss Martian, and Superboy had been keeping from the Team come out. More importantly, the audience finally finds out the identity of the mole(s).


 

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Margaret: The episode opens on a speech by Superman inducting five new members into the Justice League. We see that those five are Dr. Fate, Atom, Icon, Red Arrow and Plastic Man. Superman even makes a dad joke about “Truth, Liberty and Justice” with Justice being in the name.

Syd: I kind of like that they excluded “The American Way” from Superman’s motto without any fanfare, considering the unfortunate implications of it being added in the first place. We discussed that back when this was a Supergirl blog, didn’t we?

Margaret: Honestly, I’m not sure if we actually did. I know how much you hated the S being a symbol of hope, though.

Syd: Right, the S on his chest stands for “Superman” and he fights for Truth, Tolerance, and Justice. I’m kind of an originalist like that. However, I’m fine if he isn’t actually as fast as a speeding bullet, as I am convinced that nobody involved in creating the character fully considered how fast bullets actually are.

Margaret: I, honestly, like that far better than “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” It makes it sounds like if anyone other than an American is in trouble Superman would shrug and tell them he can’t help them because they’re not American. Or he’d take over their country in an FBI coup. Either way.

Syd: Well, we had to make sure Superman ain’t no Communist.

Margaret: Obviously not! In the following scene, Rocket is annoyed that Icon got inducted when she did not. The rest of the Team is excited for Roy making it to the Justice League, paving the way for the rest of them.

Syd: They’re also all for Billy remaining in the League, which you would think would be a more controversial issue, considering he IS ten.

Margaret: Also, he lied about it. When your only defender is Batman, you know you are probably in the wrong.

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Syd: Fortunately, we are distracted by the Atom receiving his membership card and then falling down under its weight. Teehee! He’s tiny! You’d think he’d at least be full size for the cameras, but that wouldn’t be funny at all.

Margaret: That was pretty adorable, you have to admit! Back in the library, Robin says that Red Arrow will never be called a sidekick again. Rocket takes issue with that, saying that the sidekicks are who she looked up to.

Syd: Good for Rocket, sticking up for sidekicks as aspirational figures, considering that’s kind of what this series is predicated on. Also, good for this show for immediately shipping her with Kaldur, since shipping is the other thing this series is predicated on.

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Margaret: During the discussion, Robin receives a transmission. Whatever it is, it leads to them all leaving before the inductees return to the library. Icon is disappointed Rocket isn’t there to congratulate him. Batman is suspicious.

Syd: Batman is always suspicious. Anyway, Cheshire was spotted boarding a plane in Asheville, transporting Ivo’s science experiment from two episodes ago. Robin thinks that this is the Team’s responsibility to clean up, considering it was a team member whom he and ESPECIALLY Wally hold responsible for that mission’s failure.

Margaret: In the bioship ride over, Robin recaps one of their old missions and talks about the Injustice League that they captured. They still believe that they are still behind everything and that their allies are the ones that have stolen the case.

Syd: Well, they’re technically correct in that the ones behind everything are allies of the Injustice League. They’re just thinking of it backwards. Also, we don’t know how much they know about what was stolen from STAR Labs or what the Light has done. When watching the episode, it was nice that they didn’t belabor every detail and went through things very quickly, but when analyzing it now, I realize that there are a lot of details that are missing.

Margaret: Yeah, though that makes some sense as they simply do not know it as characters, so a Robin knowledge recap would be lacking those details. It generally just seems to be a bit of a quick refresher course of what the Team believes has happened so far rather than any true knowledge of the Light. A bit of, “Hey, remember, viewers, you know way more than these characters do!”

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Syd: So, when they come across Cheshire’s plane, it has crashed and Megan presumes there are no survivors. On the ground, as they investigate Robin and Aqualad explain that they have essentially cut all other authorities out of the loop on this case because they feel that this is their unfinished business. This is possibly the most reckless thing they have done.

Margaret: It’s very reckless. In the vein of what we as viewers know, but the Team does not, Artemis’ upset expression when she sees that Cheshire’s plan has crashed, though she doesn’t actually say anything. It’s matched by her relieved smile when she sees that Cheshire is actually alive. I like that, though it is subtly done, Artemis’ emotions were strong enough to be shown on her face – something that doesn’t often happen with her. She tends to keep her cards close to the chest and her expressions closed off.

Syd: Of course Jade being alive is in a way bad news for the Team, but good news for the audience, because it means a big fight scene is coming. But first, comes quite possibly my favorite joke of the series. The Riddler announces, “I am flora, not fauna. I am foliage, not trees. What am I? … I …” So that Robin can finish the thought, “Ambush.”

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Margaret: Being the avid lover of wordplay, I’m not surprised that Robin is the one to get the Riddler’s joke. This being a trap, a large energy shield is lowered over them and a bunch of fighting mooks appear on the cliffs. Where did they all come from? Who are they, even?

Syd: I wonder about the Light’s hiring process. I’m assuming these are mercenaries, maybe assassins that Ra’s Al-Ghul already employed. But what was their mission briefing? “Stand by this plane crash. Hopefully the teen sidekicks will find it”?

Margaret: Right! This wasn’t even a broadcast meant for the Team. It was on the Justice League radio, which Robin co-opted. It’s a huge risk to just have a huge team out in the tundra somewhere hoping that someone shows up.

Syd: So maybe they expected to face the Justice League? Which is hilarious, because the Riddler’s team would’ve gotten completely curb stomped.

Margaret: Exactly, I can’t imagine they were actually waiting for the Justice League. If they were, having the Riddler and Cheshire there makes no sense. It’s the Team that’s on the lookout for Cheshire and the case, not the Justice League.

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Syd: The big fight scene starts and Superboy uses his last shield to fly ahead of everyone and fight the Riddler’s Hulk analog. I have to say, it’s moments like these that I’m glad we’re watching a cartoon. I shudder to think what this fight would look like with CW’s fight choreography.

Margaret: CW actually has some really good fight choreography if it doesn’t involve Supergirl. As soon as flight was introduced to the mix, it didn’t seem like they could handle it. Arrow, though, has some really fun action sequences.

Syd: I wouldn’t know. But I’ll bet they don’t have the full-on anime-style superpowered blowouts like this.

Margaret: They do not! But I saw something similar in one of the Matrix movies where Neo super-power punches Agent Smith and so I know that it looks pretty disturbing in live action.

Syd: Fair enough. I still think this stuff looks better drawn.

Margaret: Totally agreed. Conner’s superpunching causes an avalanche that nearly kills Artemis, but Cheshire pushes her out of the way to safety. It’s a nice sister moment, honestly.

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Syd: Ok, that is something we’ve missed since switching from Supergirl.

Margaret: The sister moments? Yeah, agreed. I did like that one of Kara’s most important relationships was with her sister. That was a far less contentious relationship, too. They were supportive of each other. Here, Cheshire saves Aretmis’ life and then says, “We’re sisters, I don’t want you dead.” Yay sibling bond?

Syd: Well, I do like how this show acknowledges that Cheshire is an unsavory character, and we don’t have to pretend that Alex isn’t toxic just because Kara likes her.

Margaret: Yeah. Alex was by no means a good character. I just liked that there was healthy female support.

Syd: I’m not arguing with that. And Young Justice does have the female characters being supportive of each other. I guess you can’t have everything.

Margaret: They do! But the women are not as often paired up or shown as that relationship being the most important to them. Either way, it was a nice moment between sisters.

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Meanwhile, Conner has used his flight and laser eyes in front of everyone, causing Robin to shout, “Superboy, you’re flying!!” So, the cat is out of the bag on his advanced powers.

Syd: It’s sad because it looks like the Team is doing well for itself independently of Superboy. Though, maybe without the shields, the Team would have trouble holding off a Hulk? Anyway, the main villains are apprehended and the Team returns home. Batman, does that thing where he half reprimands them before congratulating them on a job well done. You would think he would be pissed off at them for going off half-cocked unaware of the danger that awaited them, but I guess that’s what he would have done.

Margaret: This is a dude that trained a nine year old to get revenge on the person who killed his family, so Batman really has no leg to stand on when it comes to charging in despite the danger. I’m sure he thought he had really trained them well. After all, they hacked a Justice League signal and then went off to do their own thing because they thought it was best they do it themselves. That’s totally the Batman MO.

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Syd: In addition to apprehending criminals, they also recovered the case with the Starro chips in it. Neither Batman nor Icon can identify a Starro, so I guess it’s unknown in this world.

Margaret: The rest of the Leaguers leave so they don’t miss the Induction party, leaving the Team alone. Somehow, Lex knows that Conner is out of Shields and using his super hearing offers him more if he joins him on Santa Prisca. The next scene, of course, shows him meeting Lex there.

Syd: Oh, but that’s not all! When Conner surmises that Lex is behind the Injustice League, he instead discovers that the conspiracy is larger than he thought – and it apparently involves Artemis, who arrives by a helicopter driven by Cheshire.

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Margaret: Artemis claims that the hero thing wasn’t working out and joins her family – Cheshire and Sportsmaster. Shortly thereafter, the bioship arrives and Megan descends, horrified to see Conner and Artemis there, thinking Queen Bee revealed her secret. That means there would be three people who were the mole in the Team. That’s way too much! It’s clearly a build up to something else.

Syd: Funny you should mention that. At this point, we flashback to Superboy coming clean to the Team about his shield use and his… unconventional parentage. So now they know that his father Lex has been giving him superpower steroids.

Margaret: This leads to Artemis also spilling her own secrets about her family – finally showing us that her mother was Huntress, her father is Sportsmaster and her sister is Chesire.

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Syd: I love that she pulls up images of her family in full supervillain regalia – meaning that they had to do a full design of Huntress’ costume just for this one frame of one scene.

Margaret: During the action sequence, Conner is held locked in place due to his trigger words of ‘Red Sun’ and Artemis reveals herself to be playing both sides by protecting him. Queen Bee orders Megan to take Artemis down and it seems as if she will, by telekinetically picking her up.

Syd: Oh no! Megan was the real mole… OR WAS SHE? Because then we flash back AGAIN to Megan telling her teammates about Queen Bee’s blackmail attempt, which required her revealing to them her natural White Martian form.

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Margaret: Everyone is taken aback, but Kaldur asks her if she truly thought they were all shallow enough to reject her because of her form. Due to her upbringing amongst the Green Martians, she couldn’t take the chance that they – and Conner in particular – would find her disgusting and therefore not accept her.

Syd: Then Conner holds her hand and tells her that he actually had known the whole time – since they had mind melded in Bialya. He just thought that she would tell the Team when she was ready. This is the sweetest damn thing.

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Margaret: It really is! I love this reveal and how it is handled.

Syd: Ok, so now we know that none of those three are really the Mole, we find out that Superboy was just playing possum, as Megan had psychically removed his programming. That means that the huge fight can begin with another round of Superboy vs. the Hulk. I mean, we’ve seen that before, but what’s really exciting is BB8 fighting Bane.

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Margaret: There’s also the family fight where Artemis fends off Cheshire and Sportsmaster. It’s really nice to see both the individual fights as well as the Team working to help one another and work as a very cohesive unit.

Syd: We also get a couple of moments of trademark Young Justice grossness, with Bane grotesquely pumping himself full of venom, and then Robin electrocuting him right in the head hole. In the meantime, Lex and Bee take off in a helicopter. Rocket flies after them, but is called back to help with the fight on the ground.

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Margaret: This leads to Kaldur and Rocket using the Apokaliptan weapons to take down DC Hulk and the Sportsmaster. Cheshire – still free – leaves her father to be captured in a truly every woman for herself moment. Hooray! Everything is great! This must be the triumphant end of the episode, right?

Syd: Sure, all we have left is the welcoming party for the new members of the Justice League, so we cut to the Watchtower.

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Margaret: Nothing can go wrong there! Just like we expect of Batman, he is not actually at the party, but is analyzing the biotech. Because no matter what the occasion, he has to be a killjoy.

Syd: Roy shows up to put one of the chips on Batman’s neck, which then burrows underneath his cowl and apparently through his skin and takes over his mind. The two enter the teleporter room, where the entire Justice League has assembled to bow before Vandal Savage. Roy looks around confused and asks Vandal, “I was the mole?”

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Margaret: Of course the guy most vocal about FINDING THE MOLE was the actual mole. It’s like the people who are cheaters and are always paranoid about their spouse sleeping with other people because they know just how possible it is.

Syd: Look, we don’t have a full explanation. I still think the mole was really Wally.

Margaret: Wally is, of course, the worst. But that doesn’t mean he’s the mole! Sometimes someone can just be the worst without other implications.

GRADING THE EPISODE

Syd: A. It really felt like the whole season was building to this, and the ending was satisfying while still making you feel like you have to watch the next episode.

Margaret: I’m at an A, too! I liked the fake outs and the fact that the team actually confided in each other rather than everyone finding out too late. I was worried going into this that the reveal of the mole would just piss me off, but it actually just made everything far more intriguing.

 

 

 

 

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