This Young Justice: Outsiders review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Season 3 Episode 26
Young Justice: Outsiders has been up and down. It’s been a lot more up than down, but the negatives of the season are there and undeniable. And true to the entire season before it, “Nevermore,” the season finale, does just about everything narratively that the rest of the season has done before it, and the result is a mixed bag of an episode that’s mostly good with some glaring, grating issues.
The action is clearly in the “good” category. Everyone raids Markovia to unseat Baron Bedlam. Alpha squad is responsible for the frontal attack on Bedlam – Beast Boy, Cyborg, Geoforce, and Terra. Beta squad booms in to take out backup – Nightwing, Superboy, Artemis, Forager, and Halo. Gamma is on the Bioship, stopping Bedlam’s team from executing forces loyal to Brion’s brother.
Luthor and Deathstroke still think they’re in charge of the situation, so they’re going to burn Tara by making her kill Beast Boy on camera. And Black Lightning and Oracle are in her cave with Barbara cluing Jeff in on the plan.
There’s a big to do, and most of the fight time is spent on the family throwdown between Terra and Geoforce against Bedlam. It’s a really good fight, too – not Aang/Ozai Avatar good, but up there. When Brion and Tara get control of the situation, Slade gives her the signal to kill Beast Boy, and that’s when Jeff pops up on their screen telling Luthor and Deathstroke to take a long walk off a short pier. Artemis talks Tara into not killing Gar because letting her choose good was more important than blowing up Luthor’s plan when they first found out about it earlier in the season.
Geoforce then makes Bedlam eat lava.
The show does a good job with the aftermath. It doesn’t make sense on its face that Brion would go that far, even if he’s mad at being betrayed by his sister and his uncle, until we see the newest member of the Light at the end – Bad Samaritan, the adviser to the throne who’s whipping up the crowd to chant for Brion to take over. He’s another character from the original Batman and the Outsiders run by Mike Barr and Jim Aparo, and has subtle mind influencing powers. He gets Brion to ask for power so he can run a soft coup against Gregor and take over Markovia from behind the scenes. The Team and the Outsiders’ reaction to Bedlam’s murder is appropriately horrified, and you can really tell that something’s wrong when he accepts Jace back into the kingdom at the end of the episode.
Young Justice also continues to do a great job with Nightwing. At the end of the episode, he’s the one who gets to call a meeting of the League to lay out all their transgressions, confess, apologize, and then set the team on a better path. He does this by nominating Black Lightning to be chairman of the League, and he wins by acclamation. Again, this is terrific: Nightwing is the best, the connective tissue between so many aspects of the DC universe, and I love that the show gets that.
Unfortunately, the biggest failing of this season of Young Justice has been in its tendency to try and do too much. The League has ALL the goods on Luthor and the Light. They infiltrated The Light’s communications network, blew up their alliance with Apokalips, flipped their operative and thwarted a coup, and The Light’s response is “actually this is good and according to plan.” I might be more inclined to believe that if they had built it up a little more, but at the moment it doesn’t quite add up.
Batman, Inc. has been name dropped throughout the season, and I was screaming when Orphan showed back up. Unfortunately, it was just a meaningless cameo in the end.
And thankfully, this episode brings to a close the Lex Luthor-as-Donald-Trump storyline. I’ve complained about this before, but this last arc of episodes is really obnoxious about it, with him almost getting away with EVERYTHING being presented to the UN by shouting “FAKE NEWS” and “SAD” at Fox and Friends and the United Nations. There are really superficial parallels to draw between the two men, but the biggest difference is Luthor is brilliant and occasionally honorable and not a racist buffoon trying to nuke hurricanes. Painting Trump on Luthor is just trying to force a message that doesn’t work.
Otherwise, the last, best success of Young Justice: Outsiders has been how firmly and gleefully planted in the broader DC Universe it is, and that is best exemplified by how loudly I was screaming at my computer when the waitress with the Legion flight ring showed up at the party at the end. This show loves its source material, loves layering it into what we see on screen for dramatic effect and color, and really loves building out its world with stuff from the books. Or for throwaway gags, like in the end credits, when baby Lobo finishes growing from Lobo’s thumb, then gets stomped and lit on fire by the real Main Man. That’s a great, slow burn gag that builds out of the comics – Lobo can regrow an entire new Lobo from a drop of blood, so even the end where he tosses his cigar into the puddle of gore is the payoff to an excellent slow burn joke.
Young Justice is a great show, a terrific example of the DC Universe on television. Where it succeeded, it did so through smart, confident writing, strong source material, and outstanding acting. Its failures came in large part, I bet, from the mysterious cancellation and half-decade wait before being re-renewed. This season will thankfully return for a fourth season. For all its warts, I’m so glad we are getting more Young Justice.