Young Justice Season 2, Episode 17
SUMMARY: Trapped on Warworld where he is being pursued by the Reach, Arsenal makes a desperate attempt to rescue the Team. Meanwhile, Virgil, Ed, Sam, and Tye have been sent by Lex Luthor to rescue the Team. Also, Nightwing and Miss Martian have come to Warworld to rescue the Team. Look, if someone doesn’t rescue the Team, I’m going to be pretty disappointed.
Margaret: Okay, I have to start this off with one main question. WTF is Warworld still doing there?! It is a huge problem for Earth and I get that it is randomly parked there and they can’t find the keys, but surely Dr. Fate can Ankh his way into a parking brake or something.
Syd: I don’t know, for me after the Warworld episode, I kind of thought, “What are they going to do with the new moon orbiting Earth?” And now that I see the answer is, “What can they do?” I think, “That makes sense.” I feel like, left long enough, the Justice League has enough firepower to destroy Warworld, but as it is right now, I can understand not wanting to do anything rash. It was a problem when it showed up, but now that it’s in stable orbit, they have a bit of time to figure out what they’re going to do, especially since they’re on uneasy terms with the Reach and don’t want to jump into an incident with half the League gone (on trial for murder).
Margaret: I am just imagining Aquaman in a constant stream of saving dolphins. “This is finally my time to shine! Where is everyone?!”
Syd: Poor Aquaman. Too bad the important members of the Justice League are on Warworld standing guard – most notably Plastic Man, with his goofy stretch head. Does that help him watch things better, or is that to remind onlookers what his powers are, or does he just like creeping people out? It’s the last one, isn’t it?
Margaret: If anyone is a creeper, it would be Plastic Man.
Syd: Or The Creeper. It’s in his name.
Margaret: Meanwhile, The Reach does not realize that Vandal Savage has set them up with Warworld. They still believe Mongul alone is responsible for what has happened. So, my suspicions from last episode are coming to fruition. There’s totally a rift in what’s going on between the Season 1 and Season 2 baddies.
Syd: While Black Beetle expositions, and you are starting to pull the threads of the plot together, I’m checking out the prisoners that the Reach is keeping in stasis.
Of note is Despero, who we were never told what happened to, but I would have thought the Justice League would have kept tabs on. I know Captain Atom was embarrassed by the events of that adventure, but did they not raise any fuss about the Reach just keeping his body?
Also, Bumblebee is tiny, but wasn’t she full size when she was captured? Does her power activate when she loses consciousness or does the container do that?
Margaret: From all their positions, it definitely looks as if they were caught in stasis at various superhero points. It doesn’t exactly make sense as they should have all been passed out, but I didn’t exactly think it particularly strange. So far, the best thing about Warworld is the Reach had to overextend and play their hand to show that they have a fleet in the ocean, despite promising they only have the one ship.
Syd: We’ll get to the Reach’s PR problems. First, they have to deal with the fact that there is a human who has been running around their newly acquired space station for the past six hours. Roy Harper – the Arsenal one – has been fighting off the Reach’s troops and desperately trying to contact anyone outside of Warworld. You would think he would give that up after a few hours, but when we catch up with him, he’s still at it.
Margaret: What we’ve definitely seen is that Roy has a very big survival instinct to the detriment to all others. I have no idea why he was so readily accepted onto the Team after his trauma. Honestly, I think he should have had some time to recover and yet they’re tossing him into things that would clearly trigger his PTSD….as has happened multiple times.
Syd: I feel like part of it is guilt. When you get down to it, Dick didn’t actually know the young Roy and he was just taking Ollie’s word that he would be ready for active duty. That doesn’t actually seem like a prudent move, except that he feels like he owes it to Roy. The fact that Arsenal was an unknown quantity and that he just went through a horrible trauma was outweighed by Dick wanting to feel like a good guy.
Margaret: I think the main problem here is someone took Oliver’s advice seriously.
Syd: Well said. Back on Earth, the Reach is trying to smooth over their bad publicity with a staged press event, complete with a little girl asking leading questions to allow the Reach to bash the Justice League while building themselves up. Of course, the public doesn’t even know that the core Justice League members aren’t even on Earth to defend themselves.
Margaret: At this point, the little girl drops the Wonder Woman doll and Blue Beetle picks her up onto his shoulder. The squeaky doll is stepped on and they move forward. I get that they’re trying to be dominant here, but that’s some bullshit! Don’t take a little girl’s heroine away from her. It’s not like there’s any prominent lady heroes in the Reach. I get that this is not at all the point, however that really annoys me!
Syd: Speaking of straying from the point, this scene is great marketing for squeaky Wonder Woman dolls. I want one.
Margaret: The Superfriends – previously the Runaways – feel similarly as I do that the Reach should not be taking away female superheroes and have been going around town destroying any mention of the Reach. At one point, astral Tye breaks a Water Tower with Jaime’s face on it. Instead of feeling betrayed by Jaime, he has deduced that the Blue Beetle has taken him over and wants to free him. That’s true friendship, right there!
Syd: Ok, there’s something I’ve been wanting to mention for a while, and now that we have another Static episode, I feel like I should bring it up. On this show, they have Static wearing a baseball cap, consistent with his original character design from the 90s comics, however, I have to note that the hat he originally wore was a Malcolm X hat, whereas this one is unmarked. I have to wonder whether they are deliberately depoliticizing the character or if Malcolm X hats are just no longer an understandable pop cultural touchstone, but finding that out would require me to talk to people under 20 and I don’t know any.
Margaret: I have no touchstone to Static other than that fact that at SDCC I got him as who I would be in Young Justice via a personality test. So, I feel like as his proxy, I just like hats. But seriously, I didn’t know that the X on his hat was a memento to Malcolm X. That’s pretty interesting and a bit weird to not include in the show.
Syd: Huh. Or maybe that extra bit of design would just make the animation difficult. I don’t know. Anyway, on Warworld, Dick and Megan are flying over the surface with Megan psychically scanning for signs of their lost Team and finding nothing.
Margaret: At least Dick finally realizes that something is wrong. Meanwhile, inside the Warworld, Roy is running around and hiding, hitting random buttons on a console thinking that it will somehow contact the Justice League or the Team. Instead, more Reach members flood in. And, honestly, was Dick on this ship recently and thought it was clear? How did the Reach take it over so efficiently without anyone talking about it? Where is the Justice League? It’s like one minute it’s with the Justice League and the next the Reach has it surrounded in a blockade and no one is talking about how weird that is.
Syd: Well, I’m pretty sure the Justice League knows that the Reach is on the station, but they can’t really do anything to stop them from being present. The most they can do is stop anyone from starting Warworld up again.
Margaret: On Earth, the Superfriends are Skyping with Lex Luthor and he tells them to help the Team and go against the Reach. In order to do that, he gives them a Father Box.
Syd: WHAT THE FUCK IS A FATHER BOX? This is so frustrating to me, because it’s not just in this series, but it seems like in so many series that characters show up who have Mother Boxes and it’s never explained what a Mother Box is or what it does or how someone gets one. All they’ve said on this show is that a Mother Box is a living computer, but that raises more questions than it answers. Living how? What is its life cycle? By using one, are the New Gods enslaving a sentient creature? Are they sentient? How else do they know how to execute commands? They can create big discharges of energy or they can teleport people or they can turn a group of five people into Voltron, or they can bring Superman back to life but they only do one of those things in any given story. Can any Mother Box do any of those at any time or is each one unique? Are these capabilities part of their natural function on New Genesis, or do they have to be programmed? How do you program one? Nobody says! I’m sure fans of The New Gods think I’m an idiot, but I’ve been reading DC comics for years and have seen Fourth World concepts so often and I have no idea what any of it is. Recently, DC’s streaming service launched, so I started reading The New Gods. I am one issue in and I’ve figured out there is a theme of duality – there is Apokolips and New Genesis, Orion and Kalibak, High Father and Darkseid, Mother Boxes and Father Boxes. Also, they don’t explain what any of this stuff is. My headcanon is that nobody actually knows what an Anti-Life Equation or an Astro-force is, but they were too embarrassed to ask Jack Kirby, and now he’s dead, so everyone just smiles and nods and goes along with it.
Margaret: I have no idea what a Mother or Father box is or what it is truly capable of doing, however, what Lex tells us is that it can track Kryptonian DNA (why? Who knows, don’t worry about it) and that it can then teleport them toward said Kryptonian DNA (why? Who knows, don’t worry about it). And, well, that’s exactly what it does. It transports the Superfriends right onto Warworld.
Syd: And now the fun begins. It starts when Static immediately surrenders, which it turns out was a ruse to draw the soldiers in for him to clonk them on the head with a manhole cover. Then they adopt Arsenal’s strategy of running, except Ed has the unfair advantage of both teleportation powers and a skateboard. In a tragic turn, the Reach soldiers break his skateboard. How to the max can he be rad now?
Margaret: Meanwhile, as Nightwing and Megan attempt to find the Team in Warworld, they also discuss who is at fault for their current situation. Nightwing feels guilty for not telling Megan about Aqualad and Artemis’ deep cover mission. Megan feels guilty about brain frying Aqualad. While Dick is absolutely right in that he should have figured things out a bit earlier, I’m weirded out about how easily they let Megan off the hook for brain frying Aqualad. Sure, she didn’t have all the facts but she should not be brain frying anyone to begin with!
Syd: Again, this is a guilt thing. Yeah, Megan shouldn’t be let off the hook so easily, but Nightwing isn’t going to come down on her very hard when he knows he screwed up, too. It kind of sucks, because the audience is supposed to just accept that they learned their lessons and move on, which seems like it’s a bit too pat. Then again, their episode order was reduced from 26 to 20, so I would imagine a lot of threads that should have had more weighty resolutions will just be wrapped up quickly now that we’re close to the end of the season.
Margaret: I mean, that and I also feel like having two favorite characters self flagellating at each other is not really fun. I do think it makes sense why they let each other off the hook, but the show itself seems to be fine with going, “Everyone’s bad!” and I get that’s probably because of the reduced order. It’s just a little weird! Either way, they both win and lose the guilt game and the real hero here is BB8 who comes to the rescue and leads them to Superboy.
Syd: It’s just in the nick of time, too, because Black Beetle caught up with the Superfriends and immediately takes out Tye, signalling that shit just got real. The rest of the Superfriends don’t fare much better, but Arsenal shows up and manages to take out Black Beetle’s rockets. I think it’s interesting that Ed doesn’t recognize Roy. I thought superheroes were pretty major celebrities in this world and Roy Harper (or at least A Roy Harper – with Arsenal’s face and a similar costume) was on television multiple times last season as part of the Justice League. Knowing that an ordinary person might not have heard of a Justice League member makes me wonder what exact level of fame these people have.
Margaret: Maybe he just didn’t recognize him outside of the little hat.
Syd: Just as things are starting to unravel on Warworld, the Reach ambassador is appearing on G. Gordon Godfrey’s show, expecting an easy image boost. Surprisingly, Godfrey goes on the attack, confronting the ambassador with questions about his now obvious lies.
Margaret: Ah, if only Fox News was actually like GGG and used facts and updated their approach on things rather than doubling down.
Syd: Well, all that was revealed was that Godfrey is working for the Light, not the Reach. He’s still fear mongering to push a sinister political agenda. So, Godfrey’s show is still exactly like Fox News.
Margaret: True enough, but I think the main point is, Holy shit what is Deathstroke doing on Warworld? He shows up out of nowhere!
Syd: He’s stealing the key. Duh.
Margaret: All the Light’s chickens are coming home to roost and apparently, Deathstroke is their main chicken attack. That made no sense, but I still like the idea of Deathstroke being a large anthropomorphized chicken.
Syd: Keep your fetishes out of this. It seems like all at once – first Lex Luthor, then Vandal Savage, then GGG, and now Deathstroke – the Light’s agents are trying to take the Reach down. That’s a tall order, since the Reach has Black Beetle working for them, and not even anyone in Young Justice’s Team is strong enough to take him out. Fortunately, Roy has the presence of mind to notice that on Warworld there is someone with both the strength and the motive to take on Black Beetle, and that’s why he frees Mongul.
Margaret: Once Mongul and Black Beetle are deep into their fight, Roy and the Superfriends start releasing the Team so they can all escape. Since he had locked the Reach out of the containment room earlier, he warns everyone that they are in for a big fight as soon as the door opens. The Reach will be on the other side and they’ll have to scrape their way through. However, of course, BB8 and Miss Martian have already taken everyone out! And Dick is there, too.
Syd: Yay! BB8 saved the day!
Margaret: From there, Nightwing ushers everyone to the Bioship and offers the Superfiriends a place on the Team should they want it. However, he also tells Roy that he is no longer wanted. Like, I get it. I have – from the first time Arsenal was put on a team until now – said that he should not be a part of the Team. However, dude. Nightwing. Timing. Mabe talk about tossing people off the team once you’re back on Earth? Come on man.
Syd: The Superfriends see this classless move as pretty ungrateful and ditch the Team, taking Arsenal with them. On one hand, now that the Superfriends have proven themselves, I want to see them get recognition. On the other, from their perspective, the same people who had them all locked up in STAR Labs are now abandoning one of their own – who just happens to be the same one who saved all of them. They have every reason not to trust the Justice League or the Team.
Margaret: Totally, however, you have to automatically cringe as you know that Lex is the person the Superfriends are working for and that can’t be any good. That could have stretched on for an episode, but it is immediately resolved when Lex is shown on the laptop and Roy sees who it is that is the Superfriends’ benefactor. What I like is that they trust the people who have proven themselves to them. The minute Roy tells them that Lex is the one responsible for his capture and the loss of the arm they do not argue, they do not distrust him or ask him to prove it. Instead, they toss the Father Box onto the laptop and destroy it. Then, they all go off the grid for, what I assume, will be an adventure that will help out in the end. Also, the Father Box can be destroyed that easily?! (why? Who knows, don’t worry about it)
Syd: I’m sure that would be a huge plot hole if I knew what a Father Box was.
GRADING THE EPISODE
Margaret: I’m at an A for this episode. I like how things are coming together. I wish there were a few more explanations and characters held accountable for their actions, but for the most part things are really starting to ramp up into the finale and I’m all on board.
Syd: I’ll give it an A-. I really like the episode, but it didn’t feel as well crafted as the last one. I am torn between being excited for the story and being frustrated at how rushed it feels. Still, it’s a good episode and all of the character work is excellent and – with the exception of the Nightwing/Miss Martian guilt-off scene – earned.