Episode 5 Review
Young Justice: Phantoms
Artemis Crock has finally moved on with her life and is at the top of her game: teaching literature at a university, dating, leading the Team but old wounds reopen when she learns of the death of Connor Kent. She is spurred on to make one more push to help the one person beyond help, her sister Jade and repair the family. Jade, however, seeks death rather than life and heads to Infinity Island to confront the man who put a contract on her life for betraying the League of Shadows, Sensei. Things get more complicated when Tigress has to deal with two defectors from the League and sticking to her ideology and giving both the benefit of the doubt.
In a brilliant but perhaps not coincidental move, the next story arc shifts back to Earth and centers on Tigress. And Tigress happens to be someone who can empathize with Miss Martian's plight on Mars: losing the love of her life and being part of a dysfunctional family. Also as someone who has gone through the trauma and gained some sense of closure last season, Artemis is the perfect audience surrogate to process the apparent and untimely death of Connor. After a month of going numb, she decides it's time to try and redeem Jade and make the family truly whole. Figures at the same time, Jade would be barreling towards a certain death. As the title of the episode implies, a "Tale of Two Sisters" and the next couple episodes will test the limits of both Artemis and Jade, one in the light and one in the darkness. Though instead of a city, it appears it is a family that stands to go through a resurrection or renewal of sorts.
The episode succinctly revisits the childhood flashback seen in season one's "Homefront" and expands on it, finally showing us what was the straw that broke the camel's back. Jade stood up to Crusher Crock on Artemis's behalf only to be struck. Jade internalizes Crusher's words and from that point, lives by the credo of only looking out for herself. However, in the present, Sensei easily defeats Jade and Talia al Ghul has her b.s. detector dialed to maximum. She calls out Jade for abandoning Lian even! But of course, the writer gave the comic book aficionados something to giggle at: Talia claims she would never give up her son Damian. Then it becomes very obvious Jade isn't so willing to die and runs off when she gets a message that Lian is in trouble. Ever the gracious host, Sensei leaves an open invitation for her to return when she's ready to live.
The episodes also treats us to a bit of an Arrow Family focus starting with Arrowette and Arsenal getting the drop of defector #1, Onyx. For one, it's a sight for sore eyes for Arrowette to finally get more development. Also, it was wicked cool to see she's using that optical User Interface introduced last season, that's really similar to Spyral's Hypnos 2.0 spy tech in the comics, to select her trick arrows. And of course, Roy with his arsenal of weapons and wise cracks. The banter between Will and Roy Harper was really on point and entertaining. Roy making fun of another mole arc only to get elbowed by Will! The banter and callbacks were the one shining light of humor in an otherwise serious and dreary point in time for the heroes. It was also a pleasant bonus to have Terra and Orphan along, too. The latter could also easily use more spotlight and development. Plus in a blink and miss moment in the cold open, it appears one more of the rescued meta-teens chose the hero life and Mist is now a member of the Team.
Then we have the literal embodiment of game theory with Onyx and Cassandra both claiming to be defectors from the League of Shadows come seeking sanctuary from the Team. And while the Team has become the poster child for reforming lady shadows and an ambush by the League does little to sway opinion, everyone but Tigress and sort of Arrowette automatically finds it fishy. Onyx claims Cassandra is playing a role in a plot hatched with Lady Shiva to implant herself on the Team as a mole. Cassandra claims Onyx was sent by the League to sabotage her efforts to break free from her father, something Tigress and Spoiler are all too familiar with. However, Terra knows Onyx lacked the killer drive to be totally ruthless and Cassandra is a diehard loyalist of her father. We've seen the latter in "Evolution" last season but we also saw what she saw, Vandal Savage killing her sister Olympia over her senility. So should the audience believe Cassandra because of that more than the new character we hardly know? Or are they both liars and this is all a big smoke screen so the League or the Light can pull off an operation in Star City undetected? I'm sure Orphan's idea is to just chop both their heads off...
After the events of "Involuntary," suffice to say it is no surprise that the new arc begins on a downer but still leaves viewers intrigued with a lot of burning questions: Can Jade Ngyuen be redeemed? Can Onyx or Cassandra be trusted? Will Artemis be forced to break the rules? Why does Will put the cup of orange juice in the same place every morning?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5