Young Justice Season 2, Episode 8
SUMMARY: The 15 year-old Roy Harper seeks revenge against Lex Luthor for kidnapping him and amputating his arm. Meanwhile, Rocket has her bridal shower and Wendy uses the occasion of Superboy’s birthday to flirt with him.
Syd: This episode starts in the hospital where Li’l Roy has been for the last month. He sums up what has happened in the eight years he has been missing, including the alien invasion, the Young Justice team, and Oliver’s goatee, leading to my favorite line of the series – “You don’t like the goatee?” Ollie has his priorities in order.
Margaret: One of the best and worst things about Ollie is that he’ll always go for the joke. That’s great to break the tension, but at a time like this it’s just sort of tone deaf.
Syd: He really doesn’t know how to apologize for taking in the clone, and then, when he found out that he’d been tricked, not going to look for his original partner. I’m not sure to what extent Green Arrow’s actions were at fault, and to what extent Red Arrow went above and beyond what was expected – to his own detriment.
Margaret: I can see it from both points of view. To Oliver, he did try looking for Speedy for awhile, but already believed him dead. Why would Luthor keep alive the original Speedy after getting what he wanted? To Roy, he needed to assuage his immense guilt at knowing he took over someone else’s life and then also was only created to betray the people to which he felt closest. For Speedy? He was kidnapped, experimented on and mutilated, only to be told that everyone except the person who took over his life gave up looking for him. The whole thing is messy.
Syd: Still, as understandable as Speedy’s anger is, and him yelling about Green Arrow being useless seems more than fair, I was weirded out by him passive aggressively referring to “the clone” with Red Arrow right in front of him even as he said he didn’t blame him. I guess every Roy has a knack for lashing out and alienating people.
Margaret: Right. I mean, even if this is Speedy and not Red Arrow, Red Arrow got that chip on his shoulder and horrible attitude from somewhere. The Light just highlighted it to make him easier to manipulate.
Syd: And while Roy externalizes his anger, Green Arrow turns it inward, blaming himself for everything.
Margaret: Oliver thinks he’s a horrible mentor, as bad things happen to everyone he has ever mentored. It’s a harsh viewpoint…but he’s not exactly wrong? Something terrible has happened to each and every one of his proteges. Of course, it could be stated that he trains proteges well enough that they’re perfect targets for bad guys who want competent pawns and people who will fake their deaths to go undercover. I doubt he’d take comfort in that, though.
Syd: My theory is that Ollie judges success by number of remaining limbs. He’s just upset that Batman has him beat on that front.
Margaret: Back at the Cove, Mal, Conner and Nightwing are scanning for all the water havens where Manta and Aqualad would have taken La’gann. Mal makes the comment: “That’s a lot of water.” The Earth is about 71 percent water, that’s a lot of ground to cover.
Syd: Nightwing pulls the patented Bat-vanishing-while-someone-is-talking-to-you and the scene transitions to the grotto, where the Team keeps memorials for their dead teammates, including Jason Todd, Ted Kord, Tula, and now Artemis. Bart marvels that they keep the memorials hidden instead of having giant public statues at the Hall of Justice. Jaime speculates that the Justice League presents a veneer of strength and doesn’t want to draw attention to members being killed. That’s so dark. I can’t even imagine the conversation that led to that decision.
Margaret: I wonder how much of that is Jaime and how much is the influence of the much darker leaning Blue Beetle. Jaime might even know more about it if he had a mentor. He – rightfully – laments the fact that almost everyone else in the Cove has someone to teach them. Tim has the Batfamily, Cassie has Wonder Woman, even Bart has three other Flashes to learn from, but the only person who could teach him more about the Beetle is dead.
Syd: Jaime even mentions that because he has the same superhero identity as Kord, people assume they’re the same person. That’s a weird quirk of secret identities. I wonder if people know that Nightwing had a former identity, or if he just showed up in Bludhaven and people assumed he was a new superhero. Along the same lines, do people know that Batman has had three Robins? Do they notice that Robin never seems to age, or more accurately, that his age periodically regresses?
Margaret: I just like to imagine that the people of Gotham and Bludhaven just know that Batman likes to keep around a young sidekick and every once in awhile they change out. Like that gag from the Dinosaurs. “We’re gonna need another Robin!” Meanwhile, Huntress and Wally are visiting Artemis’ grave. She thanks Wally for being so attentive to her, as this has been the hardest few days of her life. It’s immediately clear that Wally feels guilty about keeping Artemis’ secret, but he has to do it. I feel so bad for Huntress, who was so supportive of Artemis and so desperately trying to keep her from following in the footsteps of her husband and eldest daughter. She thinks she failed her.
Syd: Speaking of the outlaw members of the Nguyen-Crock family, Sportsmaster, Cheshire, and Lian are watching from a safe distance. Cheshire vows revenge against Aqualad, but Sportsmaster says that’s not looking at the big picture. He thinks that Black Manta’s son killing his daughter is a professional discourtesy, and he should have been consulted about this. Of course, that’s insane, but I’ve given up trying to understand Sportsmaster.
Margaret: His superpower is sports, Syd. He thinks there are rules and penalties!
Syd: You’re right. He has to give Manta a yellow card or whatever dumb metaphor he’d use.
Margaret: NO! It’s a red card to eject a player from the game! A yellow card is just a warning!
Syd: You see, this is why I could only be a Sportsbachelor at best. Anyway, Speedy has fled the hospital and gained access to Green Arrow’s hideout, which uses retinal scans for identification. His first comment is insulting the name “Red Arrow.” You know what, Roy? We already know that’s the best you could come up with after three years of thinking about it. And your own codename just prompts a lot of jokes that you should have been the Flash’s sidekick.
Margaret: Also, every time he makes fun of Roy, he’s really just making fun of himself. It’s a self-burn at a very deep level. As he’s taking stock of the place, Oliver and Red Arrow show up on the monitors, as this is the only stash that Green Arrow has kept up since the days of Speedy. Roy leans forward to retinal scan and the building locks down as there is already a Red Arrow inside. Shouldn’t they have known about this precaution and in thinking Speedy was inside, have Oliver do the retinal scan? That just seems incredibly careless to me.
Syd: Well, this situation never came up before. Maybe Ollie didn’t know how the computer would react.
Margaret: I mean, Ollie knew that Batman had a hand in these systems and if he thinks Batman didn’t plan for the event of his own clone trying to steal his stuff, he has sorely underestimated Batman’s paranoia.
Syd: When they get inside, Speedy has already gathered up some weaponry and is teleporting to Metropolis, leaving behind a grenade and his funny little Robin Hood hat. I kind of love that Roy thinks throwing the hat on the ground is the ultimate disrespect to Ollie, and it’s kind of too bad that he didn’t know that Red Arrow had beaten him to the punch on that gesture by five years.
Margaret: The grenade blows up the zeta tube portal, but Red Arrow is able to find out that he Zeta’d to Metropolis, which can only mean he’s after Lex Luthor for revenge.
Syd: The scene shifts to Ivy Town, where Superboy is going to college. It seems it’s Superboy’s birthday and Wendy has surprised him with a party hat. This is Superboy’s first year alive that Megan hasn’t thrown him a party, so Wendy has taken it upon herself to fill that void. My point is, I totally ship it.
Margaret: It’s weird that the show tosses Wendy in as if she is someone we should automatically know on sight and name. I definitely did not remember her from Season 1, but I could figure out from context clues that they were classmates together. I’m not sure I’m a fan of tossing in someone from their class who seems to just want to fill the void of Megan. That makes her feel like a replacement rather than a true love interest, but I do like that she thought to celebrate Conner’s birthday.
Syd: I saw on a fansite that this ship is called “Neverland,” because she’s named Wendy and he never grows up. Isn’t that cute? Anyway, I will assume that they did the math correctly and March 21st is in fact 16 weeks before July 4th. I’m not going to check. Also of note – Ivy Town?! That’s what they named the place he goes to college?
Margaret: I’m sure they thought it was a cute reference. Elsewhere, Raquel is having a bridal shower. I had no idea she was engaged or getting married – nor even who it is she’s supposed to marry – but I’m glad that everyone gets to celebrate something rather than mourn. They do a nice toast to Artemis when Megan brings up that her gift is actually from the both of them. And then it segues back to Rocket’s nuptials.
Syd: Across the street, Captain Cold picks exactly the wrong place to stage a robbery, as everyone at the bridal shower is ready to do battle with him in seconds and he immediately knows he’s screwed. It’s a cool moment with an accompanying guitar sting. Why do they have a flamenco soundtrack? Never explained.
Margaret: A fight that is not quite so cut and dried is between Speedy, Lex and Mercy. He shows up on the roof outside Lex’s office and decides to simply rocket launcher him. Quick, simple, deadly and he only needs the one arm to do it. Lex seems to be saved only due to his forward thinking to the extent of making a rocket launcher proofed desk. Oh Lex, never change.
Syd: Lex retreats to the parking lot, where Roy catches up with him. Lex, obviously, doesn’t engage Roy in combat, leaving that to Mercy. Their fight is super intense, accompanied by heartbeats on the soundtrack.
Margaret: They continue fighting all over the parking lot, using cars as their shields and weapons. It’s not so much about strength as outsmarting and maneuvering the other person, which makes for a really interesting fight dynamic. Roy ends things by roping Mercy’s arm in what looks to be an attempt to control her cannon, but it turns out that he tricked her. The rope is actually detonation cord and he immediately ignites it, blowing up her arm and putting her out of the fight. Then, he wraps some around Lex’s arm, claiming this is true revenge: an arm for an arm.
Syd: Well, technically, two arms for an arm, as there is no way Mercy is using that arm again. Anyway, Lex remains perfectly calm and even jokes that it isn’t a fair trade, since he gave Roy anesthesia. I notice that he addresses Speedy as “Mr. Harper,” and obviously he knows Roy’s secret identity – and Jim’s – but I have to wonder how many other identities he’s sitting on.
Margaret: Well, those two certainly make sense as he kidnapped the masked heroes and then cloned them. So, he knows their very DNA, he could certainly find out their secret identity. I imagine he knows everyone’s identity that went through Cadmus.
Syd: Actually, that’s a reasonable assumption. It just seems strange that he doesn’t seem to have utilized this knowledge – at least not in an overt way.
Margaret: He’s Lex Luthor! He’s not overt. Even running for president is not his actual evil plan!
Syd: Good point. He has deals for everything, like for instance, if someone is threatening to blow up his arm, he bargains for it with a secret suitcase. Speedy asks how he can know that the suitcase isn’t booby trapped, and Lex replies that he doesn’t, knowing that being coy like that guarantees that Roy’s curiosity will compel him to open the suitcase and make a deal for what’s inside. It would be hilarious if the suitcase just blew up and killed him, but Lex had other plans.
Margaret: Green and Red Arrow run up to the smoking LexCorp. Green Arrow is terrified that he’s too late and has failed Speedy another time. However, a smirking Speedy exits the garage with Lex’s case in his hands. He shows them that he did not kill Lex, but instead got a weaponized arm like Mercy’s. Does he for one second think that thing is not booby trapped? I mean, he’s accepting a gift from Lex Luthor. Come ON Speedy.
Syd: As I mentioned last season, what made you think that Roy Harper was smart? Anyway, the real gift that Lex gave him was not just an arm, but an idea for a new name, which, as we’ve established, is something Roy struggles with. From now on, he will be known as Arsenal.
Margaret: Oh, Speedy.
GRADING THE EPISODE
Syd: I’ll give this an A. This has the best Arrowverse scenes of the series. I could have done without the bridal shower, since it was largely unexplained, but the main plot was good and I liked Jaime and Bart’s scene.
Margaret: I’m at an A, too. That voice actor for Roy had to pull a lot of double duty this episode. I liked to see how alike Speedy is to Red Arrow. It makes sense, as he’s a clone, but it’s interesting to see how their similar attitudes are taken in different ways. I can totally imagine Roy of Episode One, Season One acting like this if he found out the same information, but it’s great to see him interact with someone who is essentially both his older and younger self. I like the dynamic.