Episode 13 Review
Young Justice: Phantoms
The battle against Child and Flaw reaches its finale and all it took was a temporary but unholy alliance of order and chaos! And Vandal Savage?! As for Garfield Logan... no, yeah, it gets worse for a our green teen phenom. While Dr. Fate and Klarion begrudgingly accept they need each other's help and saves the world, we also see when the offer of help is rejected and the heart breaking consequences that come with it. "Kaerb Ym Traeh!" brings Young Justice: Phantoms to its mid-season finale with it comes resolution, change, surprises, and some jaw droppers!
"Kaerb Ym Traeh!" cuts to the chase right away and our heroes in the North Pole learn Klarion has used a yellow school bus as an anchor to return to Earth. Zatanna quickly sees the benefits a teaming up with Klarion to defeat Child and even Dr. Fate acquiesces to her strategy. And after 3 and a half seasons, it's quite endearing to see Charlie and Penny interact with some heroes about their harrowing plight while Vandal Savage has an entirely different discussion with the Lords of Order and Chaos about Child and in classic Young Justice style, seeding the future of this series. While Savage pins the blame on Child upsetting the balance of order and chaos, the Lords are quick to point out this mess is one of Savage's creation dating back to his alliance with Darkseid. In a way, the Lords are us, the audience, and have been watching and taking in everything so they're not so prone to rolling over for Savage but in an interesting turn, Savage counters it wasn't the alliance that evolved Earth into a significant front in the war between order and chaos, it was Darkseid's search for Anti-Life Equation that threatens the continued existence of chaos and without chaos, order will cease to be as well. And somehow, that works and the Chaos Lords withdraw their support of Child and levels the battlefield at last. As unexpected as Savage's role was in saving the world after he hightailed it to Warworld, it was an even more welcome surprise that the finishing blow was delivered by Thirteen! Yup. Not Dr. Fate. Not Zatanna. Not Klarion. Thirteen and her bad luck magic. Yeah, that thing Zatanna suggested she not rely on so much. Loved that.
As for Garfield Logan, unfortunately his arc does not resolve in this episode. And yes, things get worse instead. Not even a visit from Perdita can jilt Garfield out of his depression. And even worse, Garfield refuses her help after she discovers his stash of sleeping pills, and breaks up with her. What's next at this point? Does he get kicked off the Outsiders? Loses his fortune? As suspected, Garfield's arc last season had him on the highest of highs and he could do no wrong but this season and totally flipped it and he's experiencing the lowest of lows and everything that could go wrong is going wrong. Zatanna's revelation in this episode and Miss Martian's return to Earth in the back half of the season will hopefully signal a positive shift or is the point of this arc to bring Garfield to complete rock bottom before any kind of intervention takes place?
We've still got Garfield's crash and burn to worry about, but there's also the implications of how Vandal Savage's agenda has leveled up now that he seemingly has the ear of the Lords of Order and Chaos in ensuring the long-term balance of their forces. And worse yet, Mary Bromfield doesn't take well to Zatanna's decision to exclude her from being one of the hosts to Dr. Fate and refuses any more training. She refuses to hear Zatanna's assessment that she's still too obsessed with power and doesn't see anything wrong with leeching power off her teammates without their consent. She bails and returns to Fawcett City where she's goaded by the voice of flipping Granny Goodness to transform back into Sergeant. What the heck?!
It's not all doom and gloom. Thankfully, there's a little bit of hope and light in all this. Yes, Child is off the board. Klarion is smitten with his new anchor, a stray kitten he names Teekl. Got to be original. Nabu agrees to a new system of host, a revolving set of hosts that take on the Helmet of Fate for one week at a time. Zatanna gets to a semblance of a life with Zatara again, Khalid gets to uphold the legacy of his late uncle and hero Kent Nelson, Nabu gives Phantom Stranger the business, the Metropolis Elementary School bus gang is returned to their rightful place in the timeline, Zatara gets to decompress, and of course, hope is reignited with Conner Kent!!! Albeit his "ghost" is in some weird limbo that Klarion and the bus briefly visited... there's hope. And what now feels like a long wait until Spring 2022 when season 4 resumes streaming on HBO Max.
Now, in terms of odds and ends. Remember in season two when Blue and Green Beetle were liberated from the Reach? When Zatanna summoned the aid of the goddess Isis? Well, in this episode, guess we got the ever so brief debut of the Earth-16 version of Andrea Thomas because that was definitely Isis in the flesh teleporting to the North Pole with Ice after everyone departed on the Klarion bus! And I suppose it also begs the question of is she a member of the Justice League or she just an ally or temporary ally helping out with the global crisis? Another great call back was Perdita seemingly alluding to the death of her father which we know was an element of the Young Justice-adjacent DC Showcase Green Arrow short where Perdita first debuted in animation. It was also a nice little tidbit to have Thirteen's father briefly alluded to at the end. For comic book fans, Thirteens' father is Doctor Thirteen, an occult superhero known for debunking charlatans but also having history with Phantom Stranger. And lastly, that end tag with Mary. Again, this may ring familiar with comic book fans. In the comics, Mary's gone down a dark path – namely when she shares in Black Adam's powers, in a similar fashion with Granny this episode is corrupted by Eclipso, and becomes a servant of Apokolips in the Final Crisis story arc.
"Kaerb Ym Traeh!" draws the battle with Child to a close, takes Dr. Fate and Klarion to a new status quo, reunites Zatanna and Zatara, and the bus crew get their lives back, but the mid-season finale also increases the stakes with Vandal Savage gaining the ears of the Lords of Chaos and Order, Garfield continues to feed into his self-destruction, and Mary Bromfield is led astray. Vandal Savage and Thirteen may have been the unexpected VIPs of the battle, but looking ahead this season, Darkseid is not to be outdone and still has his eyes on winning the war and the prize that is planet Earth. With danger still ever-present and the machinations of the Light and Apokolips continuing, we can only wait and see what phantoms await Kaldur'ahm, Dick Grayson, and Raquel Ervin...
Rating: 4.5 out of 5