Young Justice Season 2, Episode 13
SUMMARY: Tigress “kidnaps” Miss Martian and “coerces” her to repair Aqualad’s mind. Green Beetle “disables” the Reach’s connection to Jaime’s scarab. Everything works out?
Syd: We start in the Atlantic Ocean. Artemis’ narration is catching up first-time viewers on where the plot is. For her part, she regrets taking her mission. She was happy living a completely non-superhero life with Wally, but maybe she wasn’t as happy as she thought, considering how ready she was when Nightwing called on her.
Margaret: She feels like she’s losing herself and that the only time she’s reminded is when she looks in the mirror and sees her own reflection. I know they never really go into it, but it does make me wonder what exactly she’s had to do as Tigress. She’s obviously trusted by the group to a certain extent, so has she murdered people? That seems like it’d be the standard evil outfit initiation.
Syd: That does seem like an odd detail to leave out, if it did happen. But, then, that is also exactly the kind of plot detail that this show would spring on us as a surprise.
Margaret: There has to be a bit more of a reason that she feels as if she’s losing her identity rather than just looking different and being called by another name. For someone like Artemis, it would make sense that she’s been forced to do things she’d never agree with to keep her cover and that’s changing her. In any event, interrupting her thoughts, Black Manta calls in Tigress to inform her that Psimon is going to fix Kaldur’s mind – It’s weird that she’s relatively new to the crew but he trusts her with that relatively covert information.
Syd: Manta does explain why he wanted Artemis present – he has noticed that Kaldur has a special relationship with her that he doesn’t have with the rest of their team and assumes that she and Kaldur are having a secret fling. Honestly, the fact that Black Manta is so nonchalant and even seemingly approving of this is a nice touch. Despite being evil and ready to murder, he really cares about his son’s feelings.
Margaret: He really is the nicest villain we’ve met so far. Evil, but caring. It strangely works. Speaking of mind links, Megan is being reluctantly talked into reading Green Beetle’s mind in order to ensure he is on the up and up. Even with his express approval, she is totally against doing this and worries she might hurt him.
Syd: Back at STAR Labs, B’arzz smiles to put the Team at ease, which has the opposite effect because his smile is so creepy and unnatural. Apparently, smiling to be friendly isn’t a thing on Mars. I wonder how long Megan spent practicing her Earth facial expressions.
Margaret: I don’t trust this guy mostly because of that smile. Also, he’s offering up information to Megan and is quick to read HER mind without her express permission. While Megan – sifting through the offered information – declares him on their side, without a proper probe, it’s possible he’s hiding things.
Syd: In the middle of this scene, we’re treated to a commercial for the Reach’s new sports drink. This is so fucking nuts-o-tron. What do the normal earthlings think about this strange race of creatures who came to Earth to sell sugar water? How is this a plausible cover for their evil scheme? Also, Godfrey is just there, in the commercial, giving his celebrity endorsement. Couldn’t they have gotten a less controversial public figure, like the Joker? People love him!
Margaret: From the last episode, we do know that the public are aware that the Reach and Lexcorp are working together in order to grow ‘better’ food on farms. I imagine people would approach it much like they approach all passing fads and big things: corporations using sudden celebrity to make money. People on this world are used to aliens and things being weird and suddenly blowing up around them. What’s weirder to me is using Godfrey as their other celebrity endorsement.
The other thing is how out of date that commercial looks. It feels like a late nineties commercial and this episode aired in 2013! You’d think Lex would have a better ad agency to make this work. He could definitely afford McGarryBowen or Wieden+Kennedy. Come on.
Syd: Well, the creators of this show came from animation and comic books, not advertising. Maybe that’s what modern advertisements look like in this dynamic superheroic world.
Margaret: That does make sense! I also think it’s an interesting idea that in a world with brightly colored superheroes, visual styles and advertising are stuck in the brightly colored and vibrant 90s feels. It would make sense that advertisers would try and emulate or tie themselves to ideals/color schemes that they think would sell their products.
Syd: As B’arzz informs them, the sports drink has a secret addictive additive that over generations will make the population docile and less able to rebel. Of course, the season isn’t long enough for that to play out, but it also serves as a marker that will help the Reach trace metagenes. This information squares with the toxicology analysis that Barry ran, which makes Dick confident that B’arzz is not hiding things from them. It’s too bad Batman is off-world. There’s no way that would be enough to gain his trust.
Margaret: I can’t tell if they are trying disarm us with Green Beetle and his ‘aw shucks I don’t know Earth expressions’ or if they are trying to make us like him more, but I thought it a very weird slip up that he mistakes ‘taking all the cards off the table’ rather than putting the cards on the table. It immediately made me wonder if he was going to try and start to take members of the Team off the table.
Syd: It kind of makes me sad that this won’t be a twist, but it would be hilarious if it turned out that B’arzz was actually a metahuman doing a Martian impression.
Margaret: ….that makes absolutely no sense.
Syd: Yeah, that’s probably why they didn’t go with it. Anyway, I find this whole “I don’t understand your Earth ways. What is this thing called ‘kissing’?” thing cute. You know what I don’t find cute? Psimon. That guy is creepy as fuck. And now we go back underwater to spend more time with him.
Margaret: He’s ready to start piecing Kaldur’s mind back together and Artemis has to think fast as to how to stop him from finding out all of Kaldur’s secrets. She quickly shoots him with a poison dart that starts to immobilize him. He, of course, starts to attack Tigress and mind reads her. Now knows Tigress is Artemis and that she poisoned him with a poison made by Sportsmaster before passing out. Dude is always getting immobilised. I’d feel bad, but he’s a total creep.
Syd: To borrow a phrase from Nick Mason, Psimon got Professor Xed. Powerful psychics are so hard to work with in big stories, they have to be incapacitated quickly and frequently.
Margaret: It’s a real sloppy move to poison Psimon with a drug that is proprietary to Sportsmaster. All they have to do is run a toxicology on that and work backwards to find out something hinky is going on. Not to mention the fact that Psimon was also sloppy in that he could have just said all of that outloud and Artemis would have been found out.
Syd: Oh yeah. That was dumb. Good thing he was careful not to ruin the plot.
Margaret: Black Manta rushes in to try and figure out what happened and Tigress, of course, replies that she has no idea. He suddenly went crazy and asks if it is possible Miss Martian planted some sort of programming in Kaldur’s head that would short circuit any telepath that attempts to fix him. That means that the only person that can fix Kaldur is Miss Martian herself. Artemis offers to kidnap her and bring her back. Black Manta agrees, but as he doesn’t wish his son’s supposed paramour to be injured on the mission, he insists that she take Deathstroke with her as backup.
Syd: From here, we cut to the zeta platform in Chicago, where Lagoon Boy confronts Miss Martian about her being distant and moody ever since their fight with Aqualad. Before he gets any answers, the two of them are ambushed by Tigress and Deathstroke. Here is where we first hear Slade speak and I have to say I hate Wentworth Miller’s doofy muffled mask voice – it’s as bad as Tom Hardy’s doofy muffled mask voice.
Margaret: I’m fine with it, but it also makes me miss his Captain Cold. That’s prime DC villain Wentworth Miller to me.
Syd: Yeah, and Miller is no Ron Perlman. They really should have just had him play Deathstroke in everything, because he’s perfect.
Margaret: Aw, I liked Manu Bennett as Deathstroke. And while I never saw Justice League, I really like Joe Manganiello. The new Teen Titans Go! movie has Will Arnett as Deathstroke, which just made me ask outloud, “Why is Lego Batman dressing up as Deathstroke?!” I guess any of those could have worked!
Syd: Oh my God! If he secretly turned out to be Lego Batman, that would be a great twist! Anyway, Artemis tells Megan that she needs to fix Kaldur’s mind, but first they have to make the fight look convincing. Slade and La’gaan are given no psychic prompting, so Slade breaks La’gaan’s leg.
Margaret: Yeah, they make absolutely no safety nets for La’gaan. Knowing Deathstroke’s attitude, it’s entirely possible he’d just murder him and be done with it. Poor La’gaan, no one cares about his well-being.
Syd: Back on the Manta Ship, Megan is unsure if she is even able to fix someone’s mind. It’s kind of creepy that she hasn’t even considered if she would be able to undo the damage that she so callously does to people. Artemis asks to go into Kaldur’s mind to help, which Megan reluctantly acquiesces to. Of course, Aqualad’s mindscape is actually a seascape and Artemis starts choking until Megan tells her that they aren’t really underwater, which I find hilarious, because technically they are.
Margaret: Once Artemis realizes that she can breathe, they are immediately attacked by Kaldur’s subconscious protections: Tula. I really like that even though his mind is totally broken, he still remembers Tula perfectly and she protects him.
Syd: Meanwhile, in a hospital on the surface, La’gaan insists that he go after Aqualad, or at least that Conner should. At this point, Nightwing explains that Aqualad is actually working for him and that Megan’s kidnapping was a setup.
Margaret: Why the hell is he explaining everything now? Things aren’t really much different from before. Even if Megan’s kidnapping was a setup, they will still have to rescue her. Tigress can’t let her go without blowing her cover. It makes little sense as to why he comes clean now. He should have told them at the beginning of the mission or just kept quiet and tied La’gaan down to ensure he didn’t do anything stupid.
Syd: Dick has really been falling down on the substitute-Batman job this episode, especially in the departments of knowing everything and being prepared for everything. Like, when Conner tells him that Megan mindwiped Kaldur and that’s what she had been freaking out over for the past week and a half – and that’s probably why Artemis kidnapped her – and Dick has this expression of utter shock on his face. So, to answer your question of why we never saw Nightwing’s reaction to what was going on with Megan – he didn’t even know.
Margaret: How is that even possible? Beast Boy shouted it to the rooftops on the ship Nightwing was on after that fight. Was he just not listening? It’s not that big of a ship. This seems like a weird oversight.
Syd: It’s possible that he didn’t put everything together. It wasn’t established how much he knew about Megan’s psychic powers. Maybe he still thought they were mostly harmless, like you did in the first season.
Margaret: First season she wasn’t tearing apart Kroloteans’ minds until they drool in front of people. How has no one thought to bring that up or talk about it to her team leader? I don’t know, it’s still a very weird oversight to me. It’s not just Conner and Garfield who has seen her do it – people who would either protect or think the best of her – but Justice League people saw her do that, too.
Syd: Only her uncle who falls into the same category as Garfield and Batman who has a habit of not telling people things. Even if you would assume that Batman thinks of Miss Martian as a danger, he has precedent of hiding things until his suspicions are confirmed. I am willing to let this slide.
Margaret: If he was still on the planet, sure. But I have a hard time believing before he left on his who-knows-how-long space voyage he wouldn’t give Nightwing some idea of what he saw. There are explanations as to why people might not have said things, but it still feels like we have to bend over backwards to explain why no one put anything together or even had a suspicion that isn’t Conner. Especially when we have a well established and incredibly smart detective on the Team. It just feels like a narrative step backward.
Syd: Back in Kaldur’s mind, Megan is freaking out, but Artemis finds Kaldur. Unfortunately, Artemis is finding it hard to communicate since Kaldur is thinking in Atlantean. Artemis mentions that she studied Atlantean in high school but doesn’t remember it well. I think that’s cute and very relatable.
Margaret: I find it weird that Atlantean is something people would take in high school. I imagined it more of a freshman college course.
Syd: Oh, maybe. She said “Freshman Atlantean class” and I thought high school. But it would make sense either way in a world where Atlantis is just a country, only underwater.
Margaret: Is it really that large/influential as a place that it would be in mandatory high school and up there with Spanish/Latin/French? It feels like it would be something offered in a wide range rather than in something that is way more narrow. And also, does that mean there hundreds and hundreds of Atlantean high school language teachers?
Syd: Aquaman’s domain is said to be all of the ocean. Atlantis could very well be huge. We aren’t really given a sense of scale. Pun intended.
Margaret: There’s a very creepy part where Kaldur has no face and is pulled toward a dark whirlpool where it seems likely it would consume the last of his conscious mind. However, Artemis is able to save him. The most relatable part of the exchange is Megan’s total surrender to Tula’s attack because she feels as if she needs to be punished. She just keeps saying she’s sorry and that she deserves it.
However, once Artemis brings Kaldur back – with his face back! Progress! – they decide that together they can rebuild his mind. And one wrecked statue at a time, that’s what they start to do.
Syd: Back in the non-astral plane, Black Manta awakens Artemis who tells him, “I was lost in thought.” That’s the kind of clever line that I love this show for. However, it makes sense that she might have been a bit bored, since they had apparently all been motionless in that room for six hours. Megan tells Manta that repairing Kaldur’s mind will take days at least. In private, Manta tells Artemis that Megan is to be killed once her work is done, very casually, as if that is a simple mundane task.
Margaret: Did he order Artemis to do it? I thought he just said they were going to kill her once Kaldur was fixed. Didn’t have to be Artemis. It would make way more sense for Deathstroke to just blow off her head with the collar once Kaldur’s brain fixed. I guess that’s just unpredictable murder dad.
Syd: Yeah, pretty much. On the surface world, B’arzz fixes Jaime’s scarab so that he has full control over it and the Reach can’t activate it. Jaime is naturally overjoyed, but Bart seems unnaturally worried.
Margaret: After Megan pronounces Green Beetle on their side, the two discuss the nature of their scarabs. Jaime wants to ensure that the scarab can never take him over again and asks how B’arzz controls his. The answer is his shapeshifting. He could do something similar for Jaime, but there is no guarantee and it could be life threatening. Jaime insists it be done.
For a procedure that was supposed to be life threatening, we get very little focus on it. Plus, they’re doing it in the middle of the street?? That does not seem at all surgically sound. So, I would be worried, too, if I were Bart. The scarab has been doing a lot of translating and helping Jaime – will it continue to do that? Also, how do we know it’s fixed and not just sleeping? It’s a very rash declaration. Plus, I still just don’t trust the Green Beetle.
GRADING THE EPISODE
Syd: I’m giving this one an A. It was a lot of fun and hit some good emotional beats. Other than that dumb ad, it was a pretty solid episode.
Margaret: I’m at an A-. I really like delving more into Artemis’ state of mind now that she’s undercover and also seeing that they will hopefully fix Kaldur’s brain. However, I still can’t really accept the Nightwing thing. It’s still a good episode, I just feel as if that’s a slight slip in narrative.