Young Justice Season 1, Episode 12
SUMMARY: The Team investigates the Reach’s farm that they are running with Lex Luthor. There, they are ambushed by Black Beetle, but are saved by a Martian superhero called Green Beetle.
Syd: We start inside of Jaime Reyes, where Karen and Ray have shrunken down to try to extract the scarab. The scarab creates antibodies to fight them off, which is bad news. Also, the Atom and Bumblebee hold hands, which is REALLY bad news.
Margaret: Poor Mal. While I like the Ray Palmer from Arrow, this one just sounds smarmy and boring. I guess without the charisma of Brandon Routh, Palmer is just someone who thinks the sentence, “You see? Most problems can be solved by reducing them to their smallest components” is a badass line.
Syd: He has worse one-liners than Barry, which is saying something.
Margaret: Poor Barry. He’s adorable as Grant Gustin.
Syd: So when they retreat and reembiggen, they meet Dr. Mid-Nite and Bart who are there for the operation. I had to look up who Dr. Mid-Nite was, and apparently he’s blind by day, but has perfect night vision, which is a WEIRD superpower, but the operating room is really well-lit, so what the hell?
Margaret: Wait wait wait. This isn’t just a dumb comic book name? That’s really his made up name? WHY? Why do you both hyphenate and misspell it at the same time?
Syd: Maybe it looks cool and badass in Braille.
Margaret: Meanwhile, once Karen and Ray are extracted, we see that other than the doctor and the two who were Fantastic Voyaging, the only other person in the room is Bart. What is he even doing there? He’s not a doctor nor a family member! If I wasn’t already shipping the two of them, this would totally have sold me. Only loved ones or family members should be in a surgery.
Syd: Well, maybe Bart… yeah, I’ve got nothing. If they aren’t a couple, this makes no sense.
Margaret: Jaime receives the bad news that there is no safe way to remove the scarab. It seems the only way to extract it will kill him.
Syd: Speaking of bad news… or at least people on the news who are bad, G. Gordon Godfrey is still on his bullshit, enumerating the things that the Justice League has kept from the public while being curiously unsuspicious of the Reach, who have formed an alliance with Lexcorp – specifically their farm subsidy in Smallville. I think it’s worth noting that Lex owns farms in his hometown. That reads as more sentimental than I give him credit for.
Margaret: That’s not sentimental, that’s politics. You have to look like you have hometown roots to give people the illusion of hometown pride when you are super rich and live in Metropolis. However, it also gives us our A storyline.
Syd: Nightwing immediately puts together a team to investigate this farm operation. Robin is in command because nepotism, Blue Beetle is along because he’s super-powerful and his scarab might know something about the Reach, Impulse insists on going where Jaime does though he doesn’t specifically state that they’re boyfriends, and finally we have Arsenal who just showed up to the briefing with heavy artillery on his back.
Margaret: I do like that Nightwing does have to tell Arsenal to stop being so extra about his guns. “Only what can be concealed.” Arsenal: You’re not my dad!
Syd: The Team takes a tour of the farm and they brought along Jonathan Kent. I wonder if they called him up and invited him, or if he somehow caught wind of these tours and insisted on going. I feel like it must have been the latter because he embarrasses the whole group by picking a fight with the tour guide about how Lexcorp was going to put people like him out of business.
Margaret: Honestly? I bet they used him for that very reason. Nightwing is quite the disciple of Batman that way. “Hey, invite Clark’s dad, he’ll distract the tour guide with angry questions while you all hide in the bathroom for six or so hours.”
Syd: While the Team is hiding in the bathroom for a frankly implausible amount of time, Sportsmaster confronts the Light about his right to extract vengeance for his daughter’s death. Lex Luthor offers him money as recompense for his loss, but Sportsmaster insists that this is a matter of honor. He should know better than to tell Lex Luthor that there is problem money can’t solve. Lex will never understand that.
Margaret: As soon as his request is denied for Aqualad’s life, he tries to kill Black Manta with an exploding disk of some sort. It’s intercepted by Deathstroke, who we now learn has been hired to replace Sportsmaster. They were already anticipating this betrayal. Honestly, why did they not replace him with Deathstroke before this if that was an option? Not only does he have a cooler name, he seems to be way more competent. Other than that weird white ponytail. What is up with that?
Syd: Maybe Slade didn’t show up earlier due to scheduling conflicts, as I assume was the case with Wentworth Miller, which is why he doesn’t speak in this episode.
Margaret: Pulling his own, “gotcha!” moment, a helicopter blasts a hole in the side of the building and Sportsmaster awkwardly jumps into it. Of course that’s Cheshire piloting to rescue her father from the Light/Reach murder attempt.
Syd: I don’t understand why Cheshire agreed to work with Sportsmaster. Their interactions seem icy at best and I have confidence that she is better equipped to kill off a member of the Light on her own than dragging him along.
Margaret: Back with Black Manta, he is worried about his son and the permanent mental damage Miss Martian did to him. Vandal Savage decides to help out by bringing Psimon aboard to rebuild his mind. According to Savage, Psimon will find every fragmented memory and thought until he knows Kaldur better than his own father.
Syd: Kaldur was raised by his mother and didn’t know his father for most of his life. Psimon probably ALREADY knows him better than Manta.
Margaret: My main thought is that Savage is definitely using Psimon to either spy on the Team or to make sure he is not the embedded spy that we already know that he is. Either way, things look really bad for Aqualad.
Syd: It seems weird to me that Nightwing didn’t have this contingency in mind when he formed the plan to infiltrate a group that he knew employed a psychic.
Margaret: What is really weird is that we still have not yet seen the reaction to Nightwing about Aqualad. We know that he knows what happened, as Beast Boy was so excited to tell everyone on the ship. His reaction to that and Miss Martian’s hand in it has yet to be seen. What is going ON there? Is this one big Nightwing Batman-like plot where at the end we see that he anticipated Miss Martian’s attack on Aqualad? That is the only reason I can think of that we have yet to see what Nightwing thinks of any of this!
Syd: Well, since I can’t spoil anything, we return to the farm, where Arsenal sets off a bomb destroying the crops. What the fuck, Roy? I get that he’s rusty at this superhero thing, but this is the opposite of what a covert operative is meant to do.
Margaret: I can’t tell who I should be angrier at. The obvious answer is Roy. What the fuck! This was a covert mission and he put all of his teammates in danger for what seems to be little use. Yes, he blew up a lab, but they don’t even know the purpose of the lab yet! There could be more they need to find down there. Instead, he decides to think with his grenades and nearly gets everyone killed.
On the other hand, why does Nightwing even think this is a good idea? He knows Roy has a vendetta against Lex and it’s no secret that Lex is behind this farm. Putting Roy on the team is reckless at best and thoughtless at worst. Is this another Nightwing ploy where he knew Roy would do this? I both hope so and don’t. I don’t want to think of Nightwing as this incompetent, but goddamn. WTF on multiple levels.
Syd: Actually, letting a Team member exorcise their own demons by putting them on a mission that they have a personal stake in is kind of exactly how Nightwing operates for better or worse – and mostly for worse in this instance, because Black Beetle shows up to fight the Team.
Margaret: On a personal little mission, yes, I could definitely imagine Nightwing saying, “Go for broke.” However, this is more than that, the whole Justice League and the Earth is at stake. I doubt he’s the type to just say, “Yeah, do whatever” when something so large is on the line.
Syd: Fortunately, the Team also has Bart Allen along to throw tomatoes at Black Beetle and run around him fast enough to thin the air – which he tells the Team he doesn’t breathe. So what does he breathe? Maybe this is irrelevant, but these bug creatures have speech, which I would think requires oxygen – or at least having the capability for speech wouldn’t develop in a species that doesn’t breathe. Even setting aside not addressing what mechanisms his cells operate under that don’t require oxygen, that’s a huge thing to just throw out there.
Margaret: Maybe like the scarab translates for Jaime, it also translates oxygen for the Black Beetle. All we know of the scarabs are from Jaime’s malfunctioning one. There could be a whole slew of things it can do that has not yet been accessed. After all, we know that in Bart’s future it totally gives him scarab abs.
Syd: The Team flees through a cornfield. Jaime and Bart discuss evacuation. Jaime can fly and Bart can run, but Bart isn’t strong enough to carry any of his teammates. That means they have to escape on foot if they aren’t going to leave anyone behind. I kind of like how noble Blue Beetle is in a life-threatening situation.
Margaret: They stop for a moment, only to be set upon by the Black Beetle. On their other side, another beetle – this one Green – appears. Tim automatically assumes it is there to hem them in, but the Green Beetle actually defends them. Deducing from the newcomer’s powerset, Tim realizes that this is a Beetle from Mars, as he has all the same abilities as Martian Manhunter. With this extra help, they’re able to escape. With a calculated blast from divergent sonic beams from two different Beetle Cannons, the Green Beetle levitates Robin and Arsenal while Jaime carries Bart.
Back on the Kent’s farm, they try and figure out more about the Green Beetle and learn that he is able to control his powers because the scarabs attempt to mind control their hosts. The scarab was not at all prepared for the telepathic community that was the Mars homeworld. So, Ba’az A’mon – what we learn the Green Beetle’s name is – was able to take control of his scarab as opposed to the other way around.
Syd: B’arzz O’oomm
Margaret: You know what, fuck Mars. That’s way too many Os.
Syd: There were a couple of weird things about B’arzz’s story. For one thing, that he refers to the device as a scarab – which is the name of an Earth animal. Do they not have an equivalent on Mars, or did he also learn Earth biology when he was studying English? Also, he tells time in Earth years, which must be hard for a Martian to so readily convert. I have a hard enough time converting temperatures to Fahrenheit.
Margaret: Things – we think – work out in the end. The Team heads back to base where Tim decides to cover for Arsenal. Honestly, that’s irresponsible. You should own up to the fact that he’s impulsive and almost got everyone killed. He doesn’t even seem apologetic about it! He’s totally going to do that again if the opportunity arises.
Syd: And it will come up again since the Team is not done dealing with Lex. Lex meets up with Vandal Savage and they talk about how the Team didn’t damage their most essential operation – the manufacture of a Reach branded sports drink with a mysterious additive. This is so much like a first season ending, where the Team wins, but the Light wins anyway.
GRADING THE EPISODE
Margaret: A-. I am frustrated by a few things that seemed to need to happen in order for this plot to take place – like putting Roy on the team when it seems he was clearly not ready to be a part of a group effort – but I like the twists we found along the way. Quadruple O Beetle seems like a good addition and I like that the Team succeeded, but also failed. Lex is always a step ahead, that bastard.
Syd: I’d say B+. It was good, but not extraordinary. I liked everything, but there’s so much unaccounted for. I feel like I should justify why I rated it lower than you, but I don’t actually have anything negative to say. I love the way they set up the Light’s plans, but I will reserve an A until we get more payoff.