Episode 6 Review
Young Justice: Phantoms
Artemis Crock is no closer to figuring out if Cassandra Savage and Onyx are telling the truth or not so she manages to convince Jade Nguyen to help her. Things take a dangerous turn when the League of Shadows infiltrates Green Arrow's Vault and make an ultimatum. Meanwhile, Beast Boy is withdrawn in his room at the Hub as Wonder Girl continues to lead the Outsiders in his absence.
While it's no surprise that Jade has no interest in settling down again, there was thankfully still a flicker of good in her. She is still fiercely protective of Lian and decides to help after Artemis points out the League of Shadows broke the rules and tracked her to the house where her daughter lives. In absence of Miss Martian and Martian Manhunter, Tigress calls on Looker to probe the minds of Cassandra and Onyx. However, she only gleans they both seem sincere though Orphan points out Shadows are trained to thwart psychic readings. Artemis waits for Jade at their meeting spot on a park but her new boyfriend Jason Bard happens to be taking in his evening job with his pet dog Holly. Jade arrives and can't help but have her fun. Once Jason departs, Jade reveals her contacts never heard of Onyx – leading her to conclude she's either a nobody or a ghost. Artemis shares her lack of progress and oddly Jade never heard of Orphan. Jade offers an easy solution: kill them both. Naturally, Artemis refuses and convinces Jade to come and interrogate them.
Orphan refuses to leave the Vault and is made privy to Cheshire's involvement. Things get heated when Cheshire senses Onyx is using every Shadow trick to deceive her. Tigress again states no one is being killed and suggests Cheshire move back in to keep an eye on Lian. Shadows Black Spider and new addition Rictus invade the Vault and attack. The girls put up a fight but Lady Shiva knocks out Orphan and takes her hostage, telling Tigress to exchange Cassandra for her on Santa Prisca or she dies. Cheshire is skeptical and drops a bombshell to Tigress that Orphan is Lady Shiva's daughter. She refuses to help anymore and leaves. Tigress departs for Santa Prisca on the Super-Cyle with Cassandra and Onyx in tow.
Artemis's arc continues with flashbacks to her youth that underscore her tumultuous relationship with her older sister, Jade. It's revealed that after she ran away from home, Jade has been periodically returning in secret for supplies. She comes in through her bedroom window and finds Artemis in a sling and nursing a black eye. However, Crusher Crock eventually find out and forbids her from stocking up. Luckily, he has no idea the two sisters talk in code to each other. They meet up on the roof when he's gone. However, Jade doesn't return to pay her back so she can restock. Crusher finds Artemis on the roof and decides to train her in one armed boxing.
The first of the character to show up post-Mars arc is none other than Beast Boy. Almost a month after Superboy's untimely death, things are not looking on the up and up for Beast Boy. Saturn Girl's fix wasn't a magic wand that fully healed him, as she pointed out while she took on the guise of Miss Martian. And unfortunately, it appears he hasn't taken her advice and sought out help. Instead, he's more or less sequestered himself in his bedroom at the Hub. Even with the threat of a hurricane possibly enhanced by Weather Wizard, he still offers an excuse of still suffering from jet lag from the Javelin. Even Windfall notices how long he's been inactive but Wonder Girl decides not to probe further. Close to midnight, Garfield comes down to the living room alone and watches a rebroadcast of King Brion issuing his open border policy to metahumans who need sanctuary. He turns it off before Perdita's segment comes on and returns to his room. He lies down and listens to a Superboy Fan Memorial on his phone.
The notion of old habits die hard continues to be prevalent heading into the second part of this arc. Leaning to being pragmatic, Artemis keeps Jade around by leading with Lian potentially being in danger in light of current events. Artemis knows she can't get through to her any other way at this point. The flashbacks highlight how Artemis always comes through but Jade... not so much and this is smartly used in the present. While Jade helps gather intelligence Artemis would never have been able to and interrogates both Cassandra and Onyx, she outright refuses to get involved in the prisoner exchange. Yet, she uses the same "mad as a hatter" code that she used in the flashback – hinting this may not be the last we've seen of Cheshire and she could be a wild card appearance on Santa Prisca next episode. Or will she? She didn't show up to pay back Artemis (and gave her a rather naughty book to read). Still, a whole episode that was essentially about Artemis and Jade and further explores their dynamic felt like a long time coming. It was a welcome sight to say the least. But as the episode's title "Artemis Through The Looking-Glass" implies, like "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found", the episode is appropriately about two mirror opposites and running backwards.
I loved the stalemate from the interrogation. You get a feeling that Artemis found a trump card in her sister: a former Shadow that knows all the Shadow tricks backwards and forwards. Instead, both defectors seemingly rebuff her efforts with all too familiar scenarios. Cassandra offers a storyline of a selfish and abusive father fracturing her hopes of a real family. Onyx touts Jade as the one who gave her hope to escape from the Shadows and says something familiar, recruited by Sensei under the promise she would be trained to be the best version of herself. As if a mirror was held up to her, it was riveting to see Cheshire's anger and frustration boil and simmer more and more with each scene until she pops and takes it out on Onyx. The interrogations also carry over a story progression from last season: Deathstroke and Lady Shiva took the lead over the Shadows and relocated headquarters from Infinity Island to Santa Prisca, not to mention a neat little name drop to DC hero Amazing Man as well as bring up a seemingly innocuous still shot of the Team fighting Manta Troopers from last episode and reveal here there was more to it. But I think one of the juiciest callbacks was that look of shock when Cheshire sees Shade extract Lady Shiva and the others. As we know, she was the one who liberated Shade, last season at the end of "Triptych," from the control of Simon Stagg. And there was also the revelation to Tigress that Orphan is Lady Shiva's daughter, something most of us, the audience, knows from the comics but was never addressed until now and adds to the recurring theme of dysfunctional families.
As I'm sure others were for the past week, I was chomping at the bit to see if this episode would reveal who Artemis's new boyfriend was. If you weren't spoiled by checking the audio descriptions last week, this episode indeed reveals his name is Jason Bard. And in fact he technically appeared once before on this series. Back in season one's "Failsafe," Jason was one of the Marines in the simulation. Jeff Benett also returns to reprise the voice role. There's the visual reveal that Jason is an amputee and later admits he is ex-military. Further neat little nods to the comics, he reveals he's a private detective and working on a degree and becoming a college professor. Those in the know are aware in the comics, he was a private detective with a degree in Criminology. Jason's line about how his ex fixed him and Artemis up when she dumped him for her ex is also an amusing nugget for comic book fans. In the comics, he was a love interest of Barbara Gordon. Filling in the dots, on Earth-16, they were an item as well but she started dating Dick Grayson again as the end of season 3 implied as much. I loved Jade in this scene. How could a Cheshire Cat not take a chance to poke fun at her sister with a little innuendo. To cap it off, Jade invoking the Wicked Witch and Artemis half-jokingly telling Jason run was a lovely bit of humor in an otherwise serious storyline.
I didn't expect anyone from the Mars arc to show up but in hindsight, it was a brilliant move. Whereas Tigress is working through her grief by her tried and true formula of helping others, we are given a stark contrast with Beast Boy. He doesn't exactly have a formula and has accumulated tragedy after tragedy with his multiple families. Withdrawn, morose, and wallowing in his room. Not even a massive hurricane threat can jilt him out of his depression. The question remains of who or what will help Beast Boy move on or will he come out of it himself? I suspect Wonder Girl and the rest of the Outsiders will have to stage an intervention sooner or later. The mystery of what's going on between him and Perdita makes little head way either other than the fact that he can't even watch a re-broadcast of her. Garfield's segment does address Brion Markov's current status and builds on the final moments of last season: he has an open border policy on metahumans and is using Markovia as a sanctuary state. This is no doubt seeding an upcoming storyline with our heroes eventually coming to blows with our puppet-on-mental-strings Brion and likely a Light-backed metahuman army.
"Artemis Through The Looking-Glass" centers on the Crock sisters, day and night mirror opposites of each other, and expands on their storied past at long last while taking Tigress' current predicament with Cassandra Savage and Onyx to the next level. However, the police interrogation suddenly morphs into a prisoner exchange which will no doubt put trust and benefit of the doubt to the test with deadly repercussions. Tigress heads into enemy territory with two enemies, who may or may not both betray her, and no back up. Or does she?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5