This Young Justice: Outsiders review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Season 3 Episode 25
Young Justice uses the second to last episode of the season to take a break from the endgame and look back at how far the team’s come. The result is one of the strongest episodes of Young Justice season 3.
The episode follows two stories and sprinkles in some setup for upcoming episodes. One sets up the final episode: Brion and Tara’s brother sneaks to Hollywood to see them and tell them that he’s trying to find a way to get them back into Markovia. The other storyline focuses on Cyborg and Halo, having defeated Granny Goodness and closed off the Apokalips storyline for the season. They’re babysitting Lian for the night with Beast Boy when Metron shows up and kidnaps Mother and Fatherbox (and Lian gets caught in the boom tube). He booms them to the Source Wall and lays on some heavy foreshadowing for next season. Lian has the time of her life floating in space and hearing Cyborg and Halo make Mother/Fatherbox noises when they try and talk. It’s fairly insignificant, but it’s a pretty enjoyable interlude in an otherwise pretty heavy episode.
In yet another story, Forager is having a tough time deciding his path forward. With Mantis and the forces of Apokalips defeated, he has the ability to return to his hive on New Genesis, but he also wants to stay on Earth with his “new hive.” But he doesn’t feel like he can truly be himself on Earth because he needs to keep his Fred Bugg glamor charm on to pass as human. So Superboy takes him to visit Geranium City, where he meets Mayor Dabney Donovan, who turns out to be Dubbilex using his psychic powers to make the entire population of the town appear human. This is actually where all the genomorphs hid after Cadmus fell. They built a city for themselves, and hide in plain sight while subtly guilting Superboy for not doing more to help them.
This was…unexpected. On a lot of levels. First of all, this was all out of the blue – there was no hint of Superboy having trouble with his identity, and it never occurred to me to think of what happened to the genomorphs after they were freed from Cadmus. Using them to further Forager’s story and push Connor into making a pretty substantial change next episode was interesting and a nice way to move forward by looking back. I was also not expecting a lecture from a psychic alien about the relative value of systemic change versus helping individuals. So if you’re looking for clones raging against neoliberalism…Young Justice, folks.
Seriously, this could have turned into a conversation about secret identities and masks. I think it’s to the show’s credit that it didn’t. That’s well-trod territory, something that literally every Batman writer and most Superman writers eventually explore. Systemic injustice is a much more interesting and unexpected critique, one I think the writers did well to poke at, and I’m glad this is the direction they went.
The last major storyline focuses on Will Harper and Artemis, who are on a date. They unfortunately do NOT go to the Bone Zone like I expected in my notes because, as they kiss, she freaks out about not getting any closure with Wally. So she grabs Zatanna, who brings Rocket and Miss Martian for emotional support, and demands to be reunited with Wally. Z pushes back with all the clear and smart and well-known warnings about raising the dead, and instead offers to give her an evening in limbo with his soul. Of course, she jumps at the chance.
This storyline is messed up in only the way Young Justice can be. Like the Superboy/Forager storyline, it looks back to move Artemis forward. Rather than pushing nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, it uses our fond memories of characters who have passed to help develop Artemis as a person. She lives a quick life with Wally in Limbo, seeing him again, moving back in with him, getting pregnant, and having a baby. Then the show makes her give all of that up. Wally forces her to acknowledge that none of it is real, and that he loves her so much that he wants her to move on. So she gets her closure.
Of course, this is Young Justice doing Young Justice things, so at the very end we find out that it was just Zatanna putting Artemis in a psychic trance and letting her subconscious do all the work. So they now have a quick and easy way to undo the growth, and also another dark secret that is being kept by three teammates. It wouldn’t be this show without some secrets.
This was a genuinely emotional, sweet episode that takes a lot of time to remind you of the world these characters have inhabited for almost a decade and of their potential power. It was an excellent episode.
OUTSIDER TRADING TIPS
-Geranium City doesn’t exist in the comics, and I’m fairly sure it doesn’t have an equivalent. Young Justice has never been afraid to just put the wild shit from the books in the show, so if there was a city for clones and Cadmus monsters in the comics, it would be in here.
-Dabney Donovan does exist in the comics, though. He’s a real bastard – head scientist of Cadmus, cloning expert and creator of Dubbilex. He was also featured in the Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen animated movies as one of Superboy’s creators. Those movies are excellent and you should watch them when you have time.
-I really loved how John Stewart put the genomorphs down on what would become Geranium in a Green Lantern construct-ark.
-Artemis’ line when she comes out of the trance is “The spirits have done it all in one night!” That’s a Scrooge line from A Christmas Carol, in case you’ve never lived through a Christmas with a television before.
-I’m also very glad Will and Artemis didn’t happen. I think Will spoke for all of us when he said it would be “too weird.”
-Count Vertigo also breaks Baron Bedlam out of jail and he stages a coup in Markovia. This pays off next episode, and I’ll talk more about it there. There’s more Luthor/Trump stuff and I really don’t like it.
-Watch the credits all the way through. The credits sequences in both of the last two episodes pay off a season’s worth of jokes. They’re really funny.