Episodes 4 to 6 Review
Young Justice: Outsiders
Episodes 4, 5, and 6 deal with the aftermath of the Markovia op and keeps the ball rolling with the overarching story but this week's set of episodes harkens back spiritually to the aftermath of the season one premiere. Yes, there's a bit of a breather with one-off episodic stories but they still matter to the overall season. In a way, similar to the likes of "Welcome to Happy Harbor", "Drop Zone", and "Schooled" except things go a bit more sideways and while lot of hilarity ensues.
Episode 4 "Private Security" is a welcome change of pace from the season opening episodes. Get ready to laugh but also be ready to cry. The episode is really a reality check for some characters and the audience really. These heroes are people, too, and have gone through some traumatic stuff. Some are well adjusted, some aren't. Some find security in themselves, some need it from others. It makes for a fitting 50th episode.
Halo, Brion, and Dr. Jace are in the States under the care of our heroes but there's no real plan in place on what do with them long term. And Dick Grayson is MIA. Picking up on the threads of "Endgame", the season 2 finale (and even all the way back to season 1's "Drop Zone"), the episode really zeroes in on Dick and the choices he's made since taking a leave of absence from the Team after a tough year of being the leader barely into his 20s. The series is in part about growing up, and with Dick, at the core of his story is one of the youngest heroes forced to grow up fast, bond to a team, take up a lot of responsibilities and make impossible choices, and mourn the loss of comrades. Over the past two years, he's been creating temporary teams for one-off ops with the pretext of taking down metahuman trafficking then disbanding and moving onto the next. And all the while ignoring his real issue with losing Wally, a long time friend, and keeping the inner circle small. He seeks out Will Harper for help with an op in Star City but Will wants his back scratched, too, and enlists Dick and his other recruits to help out with his day job. But of course, that goes off the rails, too, and we're treated to an amusing heist story and high speed chase. Though between the comedy bits, the jilting of Dick Grayson is handled very well and sets him up on his very important role this season. Looking ahead, I'm hopeful Artemis will get a similar spotlight episode.
The b story for "Private Security" also picks up on threads from a past season - namely season 1. This one's going to generate a lot of feels for the fans but a revelation with a certain character's condition and the last scene of this story is a heartbreaker so get ready to shed some tears. Though this also brings up some questions about this character going forward and long he or she has... yeah, it's hard not to spoil it so I gotta be cryptic! In hindsight, it feels like this might be one of the sub-plots excised from season 2 for time constraints but it's a welcome sight to see it revisited at last. The acting, the animation for these scenes are a real step up.
Episode 5 "Away Mission" is I'm pretty sure what a lot of fans have been clamoring for - a Team-heavy story. Tensions rise between the New Gods and the Bugs of New Genesis but Earth is linked to it in the form of trafficked metahumans so the Team is recruited by Bear of the Forever People to investigate. But overall, if you love Jack Kirby's Fourth World material, this is your episode!
And like episode 4, there is some welcome levity mostly in the form of Bear, but also it's an important episode that continues some sub-plots and sets up more personal stakes. Another welcome development is we're introduced a bit more to Thirteen, one of the new members of the Team this season. With her power based in magic, she was a unique ability to cause bad luck to others much to our own amusement and she's being mentored by Zatanna. So we'll definitely be seeing some of our returning young heroes take up mentor roles to our newbies. The episode introduces Forager, voiced by Jason Spisak, who is instantly likeable if only to be a lot more logical and less foolish than his fellow Bugs and makes the right call several times. He's definitely in the vein of Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and is instantly likeable. However, things take a surprise turn, and the real threat of the episode is revealed and makes this trafficking storyline very, very personal for Miss Martian. But overall, expect the backstories of one or two DC villains to be tweaked Young Justice style in this episode. And the implications point to some big plans for another planet a lot closer to Earth...
Meanwhile in the b story, Dick makes good on his vow and everyone gathers at Happy Harbor to figure out a plan for Halo, Brion, and Dr. Jace. A nice bonus is we also learn the origin of a new designation and it's also fairly amusing. Under the veil of testing abilities, the story ends with Brion making a choice about what his purpose is following his exile as well as Dick, in choosing to help the strays they've collected in short order.
Episode 6 "Rescue Op" is BIG. I can't over emphasize this show will make fans' brains explode. While the episode begins with some reveals, they're expected but still nice to have confirmed now rather than later. And Dick does have his ego bruised again to hilarious effect. But as the episode reaches its end, be ready to gasp and/or scream at your screen at least 4 times in a row. "Rescue Op" is the kind of episode that's made this excruciating wait since the season 3 announcement so, so worth it. And it definitely kicks open some doors in terms of more questions for developments going on this season and the implications for future seasons of the series (C'mon, DC Universe, you know you want to renew Young Justice already).
The main story comes full circle from "Independence Day". A bunch of kids disobey an adult's direct order and go exactly where they're told not to go but this time they utterly fail and get bailed out. Like the bond we felt between Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash; the bond between Brion, Halo, and Forager is handled very well here. It's not forced upon and happens so perfectly. Cross off another thing from the clipboard of concerns, fellow fans. Another things is the episode picks up on a lot of old bits from the tie-in comics so if you're read them all, your viewing experience will definitely be enriched. Like what Sensei's holding, what someone admits to doing by mistake many years ago, or who makes a last minute cameo. There's also some answers about one of our new characters and it hits really close to home with current events then ends on a satisfying declaration.
The second set of episodes for Young Justice: Outsiders carries the strong season opening and graces us with classic slice of life Young Justice but makes several strong steps forward to continue the main arc. There's a lot of laughs, some emotional gut punches, important decisions made, and even more shocking revelations in this week's set of new episodes. Get ready for a whole ton more food for thought.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5