This Young Justice review contains spoilers.
Young Justice: Outsiders Episode 4
The first episode of the second batch of Young Justice‘s return is mostly transitional, and while it’s got a lot to like, there are a couple of issues that I’m worried point to a bigger, structural problem that may develop with the show.
When we left our team (not to be confused with The Team), they were kicking ass in Markovia to rescue a bunch of kidnapped kids and the newly powered crown prince. “Private Security” sort of picks up where they left off, but it jumps around in time a little. There are three different thirds of individual good episodes, but there are a couple of tacked on plots that feel like mandatory check ins, and the way they’re paced out doesn’t integrate at all.
Everybody’s back from Markovia and looking for Dick, and if you’re worried that’s a euphemism, the show knows this and plays it for laughs. The people who were saved by Superboy, Artemis, Nightwing and Black Lightning in Markovia – Brion, Halo and Dr. Jace – are back in the States, each with a different host: Brion is with Superboy and M’gann; Halo with Will Harper, Artemis and Lian; and Dr. Jace with Jeff in Metropolis. Dr. Jace and Brion’s stories are almost afterthoughts through the episode. She wants to help him grow into his powers, and he’s mad like Superboy was. Both plots could use a little more space, but there isn’t much room left by the other stories.
We’re also seeing flashbacks to what happened after the end of the last episode to explain why we’re where we are, but they’re not terribly effective. Nothing that gets explained feels significant enough to be worth cutting away from the current action. The present time stuff is self explanatory enough and more interesting, so that’s only harmed by the breaks. And one of the main stories of the episode is really hurt by the busted up pacing.
Artemis, unsure of what to do with Halo just brings her with to what turns out to be the one hour each year when Nabu lets Zatara take the Helm of Fate off so he can spend time with his daughter. This is really sad, but it’s also really effective at giving us a chance to get to know Halo, who’s proving to be a terrific character. She’s picking up on a lot very quickly. Her “We are here for this part” line is so perfect. Unfortunately, this section doesn’t get enough space to breathe because of all the jumping.
The main story of the episode is basically farce and it’s amazing. Dick brings Roy and Guardian to Star City to enlist Will for a mission breaking up a local kid trafficking ring. But before they do that, Will ropes them into working a day for him at his private security firm guarding a shipment of Goode Goggles, which Brick and his crew try and steal. We’re then treated to an extended fight scene on the PCH as Nightwing and the Roy Harpers (Arsenal, Red Arrow and Guardian) battle Brick’s crew either in the cabs of 18-wheelers or standing on the trailer. This whole sequence is played for laughs, and it reminds me a lot of a Jackie Chan movie in that the fight choreography is both crystal clear and also designed for laughs – Dick ruins a flashlight on Brick’s face, and there’s a running gag with Will’s clipboard that’s terrific. It also serves as a window into where Dick has spent the intervening two years since the end of Invasion and, thanks to Will rhetorically knocking some sense into him, reoritents him for the rest of this season. It too is derailed a bit by the pacing, but it’s still such a fun plotline that it’s hard to stay bothered.
And while one episode doesn’t necessarily point to a trend, I’m wondering how much they wrote of the show knowing that episodes would drop three at a time every week. The check-in nature of the episode has me worried that this might become a recurring device that dampens the enjoyment of the entire week’s run because it’s structured ineffectively. But that’s a minor, overblown worry and even with these niggling complaints, it’s still a very good episode with a lot to like.
Outsider Trading Tips
– The main plot of this episode – Dick can’t figure out what to do with a couple of kids who just got dropped in his lap – is basically the same plot as the first four episodes of Titans.
– Full confession: I just rewatched both seasons of Young Justice and I had to look up who Jim was while I was watching before I remembered. That’s just a sign that I’m getting old and my brain don’t work so good as it did befor.
– I know big dogs don’t live as long as small ones and he’s probably *wires up supercomputer to handle the math for him* 9 years old by now, but I’m VERY WORRIED about Wolf, guys. According to Connor, he sleeps all the time.
– Probably not intentional, but doesn’t the gear shit on Will’s SUV look like Titans Tower?
– Crispin Freeman does terrific work as Red Arrow, Arsenal and Guardian. I know he’s probably not talking to himself in the booth, but it feels that way a few times in the episode. They’re all distinct characters just from the voice work, even though they’re all clones.
– G. Gordon Godfrey has made an appearance this season, and I think the Goode Goggles are a reference to G. Godfrey Goode, another alias for Glorious Godfrey, the Apokaliptian god based on Billy Graham who fought the Forever People and created the Justifiers.
– Dr. Jace makes a reference to Brion’s “Geo Force” inheiritance in a flashback, which gives us both his name and is a pretty big hint at Terra.
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