Earth-Shattering Kaboom

 

screenshot.pngYoung Justice Season 2, Episode 9

“Darkest”

SUMMARY: Kaldur’ahm and his team infiltrate and explodify Mt. Justice, taking Impulse, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle captive.


Syd: The episode begins with the defiant, rebellious Lagoon Boy imprisoned on the Manta Ship’s brig and chewing out Aqualad for betraying their King.

Margaret: It’s not just the King he’s upset about, but also the Team. He even calls Kaldur your favorite term: “Chum”.

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Syd: Of course, we the audience know that Kaldur is still working with Nightwing, but he is totally willing to drug Lagoon Boy to shut him up, which is pretty sucky.

Margaret: Well, it’s more than to simply shut him up. As Black Manta quickly points out, though he has his father’s utmost approval other of the Light are more wary of him. He has to play the perfect son to gain the innermost Circle’s trust.

Syd: Speaking of trust, aboard the Manta Ship, Tommy and Tuppence Terror are questioning whether they should trust “Tigress,” who now outranks them after being appointed by Aqualad, but whom neither of them have heard of.

Margaret: It’s really weird to see Tommy and Tuppence not in their assumed identity form. It’s a bit of a head jerk. Tigress is, of course, Artemis’ assumed identity who knows how to play with the bad guys and immediately tosses their distrust back in their face.

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Syd: Well, seeing the real Terror Twins is disorienting not just to the audience, but to Icicle Jr., who starts cozying up to Tuppence assuming an established relationship, despite knowing that the “Tuppence” he knew was a Martian in her body. Naturally, she gives him the cold shoulder.

Margaret: Though I have a soft spot for poor Icicle, Jr., he just comes across as desperately creepy in this scene. He doesn’t even care that Tuppence is a totally different person from Megan. He just crushed on her body, so he will continue to crush on her no matter what. Ew.

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Syd: Speaking of teenage crushes, Bart shows up at Jaime’s house, with no regard to their secret identities (which Bart considers a passe concept). I can’t help but wonder if Bart seeing secret identities as old-fashioned was a dig at the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemingly phasing out secret identities – what with Avengers just having come out with the main characters not having secret identities. Am I remembering the timing right?

Margaret: Oh, totally. In the ‘first’ MCU movie in 2008 Iron Man immediately gives up his secret identity. The Avengers movie in 2012 doesn’t explicitly say who has a secret identity or not. We know that Steve Rogers is well known to be Captain America and Thor is…well, Thor. However, we don’t know who knows about Clint, Natasha or Bruce. That’s a good half of the team that might have secret identities.

Syd: There was that brief moment, after the comic “Civil War,” and after the MCU became the biggest thing in movie history, when it seemed like secret identities just were unnecessary baggage and would be dropped entirely. Then it was decided that wouldn’t work for Spider-Man, so he made a deal with the Devil, which I’m still bitter about despite Dan Slott’s run on the series being solid.

Margaret: I have many things to say about that deal with the Devil. It would take an entire other blog to go into. I will boil it down to it just being SO DUMB. WHY DID THAT HAPPEN? Okay. Now back to our regularly scheduled Young Justice. And in that vein, how the hell did no one see Jaime turn into the Blue Beetle right outside of his house and then fly off? That seems like a very good way to be found out, Jaime.

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Syd: Meanwhile, Mal confronts Karen about them not spending enough time together. Karen says she has to put in a few hours in Dr. Palmer’s lab. Mal says he could keep her company. He certainly doesn’t see anything wrong with this.

Margaret: Man, poor Mal. I know nothing about Dr. Palmer in the comics, but in every single show he seems to be used as the romantic other man. This happened with Brandon Routh’s Ray and now with this one. Is this dude actually this much of a lady’s man in the comics? If not, why is that his sole purpose in these shows?

Syd: I always saw him as a really dull guy. The only relationship I saw him in ended HORRENDOUSLY. I feel like after “Identity Crisis,” his niche became breaking up relationships more than being a ladies’ man. If that means a few love triangles along the way, so be it.

Margaret: Okay, so his breaking up relationships is a thing. Got it. On all the CW shows this poor dude dates ladies who then have ‘more popular’ significant others they go back to dating. I always felt terrible for Ray on the DC shows.

Syd: Well, I read “Cry for Justice” and feel like he deserves all the pain he can get.

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Anyway, when Lagoon Boy is delivered to the aliens, they are skeptical of whether he could be used for their experiments as his powers are magical, rather than biological. One of the aliens points out that the Atlanteans’ genes are all sorts of weird, so maybe he is a mutant. I actually have my own questions about that. What does Kaldur even look like under that suit? He has gills and fins, but is mostly mammalian. How does his anatomy even work? What is a half-merman?

Margaret: What! Why?! He doesn’t have a tail! He has fins and gills! That is his half of being a merman. I don’t want to know what he looks like under his suit. He’s my favorite YJ character, just let him be!

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Syd: Ok, so out to the desert, where Jaime and Bart are practicing their powers. Jaime blows some things up, but Bart points out that it is more impressive to create than destroy and makes a self portrait out of rocks.

Margaret: So, this is a date, right? Like, it totally feels like a date. Both of them are showing the other what their powers do, trying to impress the other, connect on an emotional level…this is a typical meet cute. I now completely and utterly ship Blue Beetle and Bart.

Syd: Blue Bartle.

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At that moment, the bad guys show up. Tuppence leaps out of the sky and tackles Jaime. You see, THAT’s why you have secret identities: so supervillains can’t find you and interrupt your date night.

Margaret: Okay, first, it seems like that’s not due to secret identities but some sort of tracker. And second, BLUE BARTLE? That is the most egregious. That’s horrible! COME ON. There’s Blue Impulse. Or Impulse Beetle. Bartle is objectiably a terrible word. The actual ship name is Bluepluse and I love that. How dare you.

Syd: I just checked the Young Justice wiki  and they list the ship name as “Speed Buggy.” Holy shit! The Young Justice fandom is so much better at this than me!

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Margaret: Aqualad comes up in the water to a BB8 that immediately recognizes and trusts him. He puts a strange film over her that makes her run away. What did he do to her?! You know, for being a fake bad guy, he is very convincing in his take down of Mount Justice.

Syd: We cut to Garfield who is watching “Hello Megan,” and even though the scene doesn’t linger on it, I’m kind of saddened by him watching his own dead mother – especially since she has the same face as the sister who is now his legal guardian.

Margaret: She did cut her hair…or whatever a Martian shapechanger would call a haircut. I would like to assume that she did that for Garfield. It’s one thing to emulate the women you idolized, but another to be a big sister to her son. I would like to think that she changed how she looked so that she wasn’t a constant reminder to him that he lost his mother. She is still Megan (Hello Megan) but she is now more than that. Something familiar and yet just different enough to not be a constant sad reminder.

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Syd: The bad guys infiltrating Mt. Justice put the collars that we had previously seen in Belle Reve on Wolf and Superboy to negate their strength. Apparently, they also had one ready for Bart and no one questioned how Aqualad knew that there would be a speedster in Mt. Justice.

Margaret: I feel like that is easily remedied by Aqualad being prepared and thinking Wally might randomly be at Mount Justice. Even if he is retired, Kal knows Wally and Dick are friends. So it makes sense that he would just prepare for that possibility. That just means he has a free collar for Bart.

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Syd: Kaldur pauses at Tula’s holographic shrine before ordering Tommy and Icicle Jr. to leave Superboy alive. It’s a brief, but emotionally charged moment. After a fight with Nigthwing, the villains depart with Impulse, Blue Beetle, and Beast Boy, leaving behind a bomb with a dead man’s switch.

Margaret: As they attempt to leave with Blue Beetle, the Scarab takes over to try and prevent their capture. That’s a worrying thought. Can the scarab take over at any time? Why hasn’t it before? Also, his fight with Kaldur results in the dead man’s switch being tossed from Kaldur’s hand and revealing that it was a bluff. That’s a dangerous thing to do to a man who is playing a double agent.

Syd: Well, that’s the risk that Nightwing took considering he knew Kaldur and Artemis would eventually have to fight the Team, but he had no idea how the scarab actually works. It’s that kind of recklessness that proves that Dick hasn’t entirely Bruce Wayned, which gives me hope for his future.

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Margaret: As they fly off with Blue Beetle, Beast Boy and Impulse, Kaldur tells Artemis to blow up Mount Justice. If Blue Beetle hadn’t have knocked out the trigger, would they have blown it up? He does say it’s on a five mile trigger. That seems a thing to allow people to escape.

Syd: Clearly, Kaldur had no intention of blowing up Mt. Justice. Had the bomb not gone off, he could have played it off so many ways – as an equipment malfunction or that he deliberately disarmed the trigger when he got out of range. He absolutely could have gotten away with leaving the Mountain intact before Blue Beetle blue his cover.

Margaret: Booooooo for that pun.

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Syd: Mal sees the explosion from the city, then swims out to see if there are any survivors. This series hasn’t given him a lot of focus, but I have to say that Mal kicks ass. He finds Nightwing and Superboy floating on Supercycle. I have to wonder if whatever signal Kaldur had given BB8 at the beginning of the invasion had included instructions to save Dick and Conner.

Margaret: Back in the library of the Justice League, Wally comes to confront Nightwing. He’s pissed about the destruction of Mount Justice and has come to question Kaldur’s actual loyalties. He thinks that because Kaldur lost Tula and learned that his dad was Black Manta in a few months that means he actually may be a triple agent. Look, Wally, you spent so much of this episode not being the worst. Stop it. This concern would sound way better coming from anyone else. He already trusted Kaldur with Artemis’ life. This turn around now is understandable but also somewhat tiresome. Everyone who goes into the field risks their lives every day. Come on Wally, I believed in you to not be the worst this season. Keep up.

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Syd: However, it is hard to question the effectiveness of this attack, as Kaldur gets called into a conference call with the inner circle to become a full-fledged member of the Light.

GRADING THE EPISODE

Syd: A? I’ve been giving a lot of A’s recently, but I have to say this episode was exciting. As a side note, after a bottle of wine, seeing the Brain again was a thrill and I thought I was completely over Doom Patrol. This cartoon does things to me.

Margaret: I’m definitely at an A. They destroyed Mount Justice in a way that was incredibly plot and character relevant. Moving a story and shaking characters out of an established place like that is amazing. This whole episode was very character and plot developing.

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