Young Justice Season 2, Episode 7
SUMMARY: The Team is onhand to protect the communication satellite being launched between Earth and Mars. The launch is disrupted when Black Manta’s troops attack. Then Kaldur stabs Artemis, seemingly killing her.
Margaret: The episode opens with Godfrey talking his general shit about aliens and the fact that a satellite is being launched between Earth and Mars. To him, it’s bad enough that aliens are on the planet, but now they’re going out to contact more. It pulls back to show Wally watching the program, who does not seem to like it.
Syd: Artemis is on her way out, going to join the Young Justice team for a mission, and Wally disapproves. Artemis says that it’s no different than him helping out the Flash when Neutron attacked. Wally doesn’t think it’s the same at all, while being careful not to mention exactly what the mission is and give away anything to the audience. Artemis says, “What could go wrong?” leading to a cut to 10 hours later and Nightwing pronouncing Artemis dead.
Margaret: Geez Artemis, you should know by now in the superhero business that you never ask what can go wrong! That’s practically just asking for terrible luck.
Syd: So back to 10 hours ago, in Mt. Justice. Conner and Mal are frustrated that the Team is no closer to finding out who the Light’s new partner is and that with Bart and Li’l Roy, they have two new people to look after.
Margaret: Much to Megan’s delight, the zeta tubes announce Artemis arriving into the Cove. She runs forward to hug her, asking after Wally who is ‘very Wally’. I assume that means he’s still an ass, but Artemis probably doesn’t see it that way.
Syd: I think seeing that someone is an ass and loving him are not mutually exclusive.
Margaret: True enough! I just love how supportive Megan and Artemis are of each other. They’re clearly still friends and respect each other. It’s a really nice moment.
Syd: After a scene to establish that Lagoon Boy is super jealous of Superboy, Nightwing begins the mission briefing. The Team is going to oversee the launch of the communications satellite. Nightwing expects there to be trouble, as there are some Earthlings who do not support increased communication with Mars. Megan is disheartened, but Artemis tries to comfort her with a “Not All Earthlings.” In fact, Nightwing is personally coming along for the mission, which is something he apparently hasn’t done for a year.
Margaret: The action then cuts to a press conference with J’onn J’onzz, who we know is actually off word, and Carol Ferris is attempting to explain why the Mars satellite is a good thing. When taking comments from the crowd, she attempts to call on Cat Grant, starting, “Miss…” And then Godfrey steps in, completely cock blocking any actual question with his own agenda. Carol is forced to acknowledge him, going from “Miss…” to “Godfrey.”
Syd: There are a couple of Easter eggs in this scene that I should mention. Carol – Hal Jordan’s boss/romantic interest – is dressed all in violet, which is the color of the ring she ends up wearing and power she wields as a supervillain. Also, in the background, you can see Jimmy Olsen, and, though it isn’t Mehcad Brooks, it’s good to see him again.
Margaret: I will say, I am not the biggest DC fan, so I may be biased. But if Jimmy Olsen is not Mehcad Brooks? I’m way less interested.
Syd: J’onn fields Godfrey’s question and explains that their intentions are larger than just communications, but an alliance between Earth and Mars that would be helpful if there are alien threats outside our solar system.
Margaret: J’onn flies off before he takes too many questions and Godfrey points to the distant Superman in the sky that refuses to get closer. In this, he may actually be right about a conspiracy theory. The Team has been impersonating the nine that have left the planet to try and present a stronger front. Conner – dressed as Superman – is offended that Megan has to use her telepathy to make it look like he can fly. I have a feeling this is going to bite them in the ass.
Syd: In the water, we see La’gaan patrolling outside the launch site. He complains to Nightwing about always doing the aquatic missions, even though that it clearly what he is best suited for. The true nature of his objection is not so much that he doesn’t like swimming as he doesn’t like Megan spending time alone with her “Super Ex-Boyfriend” as he puts it. And I just checked, My Super Ex-Girlfriend came out in 2006, so that wasn’t a contemporary reference even when this episode aired.
Margaret: Well, Atlantis is a different country! Maybe they had to translate it for the ocean and they just got Super Ex-Girlfriend there. It might be a very timely reference for La’gaan.
Syd: Good point. Anyway, Artemis tells Nightwing that Wally is worried that the thrill of superheroing will be too alluring and she won’t ever be able to entirely quit.
Margaret: Her exact wording is, “He’s worried I won’t give it up till my dying day.” Which is really just a cheap shot for this episode. Whether Artemis truly lives or dies, that seems to be deliberately playing at heartstrings.
Syd: Onboard the bioship, Megan aggressively tries to engage Conner in conversation, which apparently had been very difficult for them since the break-up. Conner doesn’t like how Megan has been using her psychic powers – even going so far as saying she’s behaving no better than Psimon, which is pretty hurtful – and here is where we find out that he has intentionally been covering for her with Nightwing and the Justice League. He had thought that their relationship would rein her in – until she used her powers on him.
Margaret: It turns out the reason that Megan and Conner break up is that she pulled a Willow on him – trying to make him forget that they were arguing. What the actual fuck Megan?! I was rooting for you! Megan is my favorite character and this is really worrying and horrible for me. I was worried about her life choices, but now it all becomes crystal clear. Man, none of this is okay. While I was hoping Conner and Megan would get back together by the end of this? No. No, I can’t condone that in any way now. Megan is now his mental rapist. That makes La’gaan’s taunting of Superboy all the worse to me. Ugh.
Syd: Speaking of La’gaan, he has discovered Black Manta’s troops preparing to attack the launch. He rushes into combat, despite Nightwing’s orders not to. Conner had offered to back him up, and La’gaan was not willing to accept help from his rival. This is why office romances are always trouble.
Margaret: La’gaan does the really dumb thing, which is starting the fight before everyone is in place. It puts everyone on a back foot and causes Megan to turn over control of the bioship to Conner as she grows gills and jumps into the ocean to back up her boyfriend.
Syd: Look, I know this episode is an emotional roller coaster, and we found out some really disturbing things about Miss Martian, but I still have to say that MerMegan is the cutest. She is like Phoenix and The Little Mermaid rolled into one. She is the apotheosis of every redheaded cartoon character.
Margaret: While that may still be true, I still have to say, “WHAT THE FUCK MEGAN” for quite awhile. Elsewhere, Nightwing and Artemis are fighting the goons on the beach, realizing that they are on the very burny side of the launch pad. Artemis, getting back into the swing of things, realizes that the bad guys’ suits are susceptible to light because they are attuned to see in the dark water. A flare arrow is deployed and the full blown fight scene is now underway.
Syd: La’gaan, predictably, is immediately overwhelmed. Instead of killing him, though, Kaldur decides to turn him over to the aliens for their metagene experiments. Back on land, we get a slow motion scene of a Manta trooper ALMOST stabbing Artemis, because the episode knows that we are waiting to see how she dies and is entirely fucking with us.
Margaret: There is a very awesome artistic moment that involves Kaldur using the ocean to crash water shaped animal into Artemis. It seems very Avatar: The Last Airbender, which must be why I like it. Then, however, he delivers the perfect bad guy line – “Welcome back” – and stabs Artemis with a water blade, apparently killing her.
Syd: Kaldur calls off the mission, since the satellite has already launched and it seems he has failed, but just as he does, the satellite blows up, which he apparently didn’t see coming. The manta troops vacate.
Margaret: We meet up with the media that was en res to find out how Artemis dies here, learning that Kaldur is the one to kill her. It seems to cement Kaldur being a bad guy – something I was holding out hope that there was an explanation for him not to be – and that Artemis is dead, as Conner cannot hear her heartbeat.
Syd: Back underwater, Black Manta congratulates Kaldur for blowing up the satellite, but Kaldur corrects him that he failed to destroy the satellite and its destruction must have been a fluke accident. Manta then revealed that he had planted a bomb aboard the satellite days ago and he was testing to see that Kaldur would not take credit for a success he had not accomplished. Kaldur had passed the test and proved his loyalty and honesty – and certainly nothing in the last few minutes of this episode will contradict that.
Margaret: The one real cheap trick of the episode happens now. We see Dick looking at the picture he took of him and Artemis in Season 1 and reiterating, “We’ll laugh about this some day.” Clearly it’s supposed to make us think this is him reminiscing about a dead Artemis – something that is almost immediately contradicted. Even if it is him thinking about the complicated future, it really seems like a deliberate fake out, which I don’t appreciate. Immediately, we see Kaldur and then Wally and then Artemis, revealing what we already hoped – this was all a big ruse. Kaldur isn’t a bad guy, Artemis is not really dead. This has all been a big con. In a flashback, we see that Kaldur doesn’t actually stab Artemis, the blade curves around her and she takes some sort of pill to make it seem as if her heart stopped.
Syd: It’s interesting to me that the first time we see Artemis’ death, we only see Dick doing CPR and saying, “She’s dead.” The second time, we have Conner confirm, “I can’t hear her heartbeat.” Watching this with someone who didn’t know the twist, I was thinking at the beginning, “Margaret’s going to figure out that she isn’t really dead,” but if they had included Conner’s line, that would have eliminated that doubt.
Margaret: Well, as we know now I still definitely shrieked, “THEY KILLED ARTEMIS?!” right as it happened, so the surprise landed. But, I’m actually very glad they didn’t add in Conner’s confirmation line in the beginning. Knowing what we know now, I feel as if I needed that niggling doubt that Aremis could be saved or things might not be as they appeared. It helped make the ending land for me. If we had Conner confirm that Artemis is dead in the beginning, then we repeat that confirmation later, Artemis’ reveal of being alive would have felt kind of cheap, or like the show was deliberately tricking the audience, not the Team.
Instead, I kept looking for loopholes and ways for Artemis could survive. It subconsciously implanted the idea that Kaldur may be a double agent because I was so distraught over the idea that he might have killed Artemis, despite the fact that before this I was convinced that he was truly evil. But, then Conner confirms, “I don’t hear her heartbeat” and I truly did think she was dead. Afterward, in the warehouse, instead of anger that I was betrayed, I was merely relieved that she was alive. Even thinking back on it now, I’m not angry at the deception. I think I could have been far more annoyed had it been set up from the beginning that she was ‘confirmed’ dead by Superboy.
Syd: There’s so much I like about the setup for this scene. That callback – “We’ll laugh about this someday” – although it’s not mournful in exactly the way we thought, is still portentous and layered, not just because so much could still go wrong and Kaldur and Artemis are headed into very real danger, but because they have betrayed the trust of their closest friends. As Nightwing says, “They may never forgive us.”
Margaret: It still feels like a bit of emotional manipulation there, though I do get there are other actual explanations for it.
Syd: In order for Artemis to infiltrate the Light, she needs a new identity. To that end, Nightwing slips on an enchanted necklace that he got from Zatanna that will make her appear to be a completely different person. Of course, to Wally, Dick, and Kaldur, she still looks the same. That’s so weird to me, because if they already know her fake identity why would they have to see her as Artemis? AND if the spell hadn’t worked, how would they know before it was too late?
Margaret: I am really at a loss for words because Wally has been in this episode for awhile and I have yet to think he is the worst. Or even close to being the worst. What is going on?! Man, this can’t be good. I’m feeling like this is edging toward ‘Redemption Equals Death‘ for Wally. Then again, I thought Wally was going to die last season just due to my own guilt of hating him.
Syd: I think that’s wishful thinking on your part.
Margaret: It is not wishful thinking!! I do not like Wally, but that doesn’t mean I want him to die!
Syd: With the big twist behind them, Dick comments, “We’re through the hard part.” Dick, you idiot. You’re sending two of your friends onto an enemy base and you are the only member of the Team who knows about it. How is this not the hard part?
Margaret: Despite Dick not wanting to be Batman, there are times when he is just so Batman. To him, the hardest logistic part is over. Somehow the emotional part didn’t even occur to him. Quick, Dick, get checked. You caught a horrible case of the Bruce Waynes.
GRADING THE EPISODE
Syd: A. It’s hard to judge the merits of the episode, because how you feel about the episode is pretty much just how you feel about the last couple of scenes, but the ending was great, it makes me feel better about the season so far and where it’s heading, and the way it was timed was impeccable.
Margaret: I’m at an A, too. The very deliberate decisions of how this episode was framed and what information was revealed when is so very interesting and masterful. It’s just a very well put together and pivotal episode for Season 2.