Episode 7 Review
Young Justice: Phantoms
Tigress, Cassandra Savage, and Onyx make their move on Santa Prisca and try to rescue Orphan from the League of Shadows while still operating under the mystery of mole 3.0. However, Oracle makes up for what Tigress lacks in enough suspicion, as she remotely and covertly aids her. Meanwhile, Oracle's to connection to Orphan is unveiled and answers an unanswered question since this series's return. Elsewhere, Miss Martian searches in vain for someone to blame for the death of Superboy. Both leading women grapple with their own unsolvable problem in the aptly titled episode, "The Lady, or The Tigress?"
Miss Martian has moved on from the grieving stage and scarily confronts Ma'alefa'ak and his group. However, he tells the truth and denies he knew of any Kryptonite in his gene bomb. Miss Martian reads his mind to confirm the horrifying truth: there's no one for her to blame. No outlet for her grief and anger. She's so taken aback by this unsolvable problem that Ma'alefa'ak slips away. Come one Martian Manhunter, you were right there. The next gut punch comes from Hawkwoman, who calls in from the Watchtower to confirm all Kryptonite is accounted for, and therefore all leads have been exhausted. Obviously our saboteur isn't going to come prancing out of his Time Bubble singing show tunes so Miss Martian is totally crestfallen, no doubt choosing herself to blame. She opts to return to Earth with Martian Manhunter and is so numb when Em'ree asks to come with them to bond with her sister and learn about Earth, she barely reacts. And equally crushing, M'aatt and J'ann couldn't serve their role as parents and comfort her and may well never see two of their children ever again. While it's no surprise that this arc revealed just how down Beast Boy and Miss Martian are, there's still the intrigue of what impact does the saboteur's intervention and thus Beast Boy and Miss Martian's survival mean for the timeline? Or even the survival of the Martians? And now Em'ree moving to Earth.
Oh, and how the merry mind games continue in Tigress' arc. In hindsight, what a tell it was when Tigress tells Cassandra she needs to stop thinking like a Shadow if she really wants to be free of them and her father, Vandal Savage. The truth unfolded so beautifully in this episode. It was one of the most intriguing and satisfying arcs of Young Justice ever and still have an episode to go! Oracle then provides that caveat of what the real goal of this whole farce: to steal data from the Justice League's computers. And Lady Shiva had her own goal of getting her daughter Orphan back. Also thankfully, Oracle isn't just inserted into the story for no reason nor just to be Tigress's Jiminy Cricket. It is again perfectly laid out in beats of what her stake in this op is. But to mess with our mole theories, they throw in a patent trust montage with Cassandra and Onyx saving each other as the trio traverses through the island. Then just before the finish line, Cassandra reveals she was a mole and taking a page out of the Team's handbook, used a glamour charm to make it look like she took a beating from her father, while holding the nanotech from "Infiltrator" to steal intel from the League computer in Green Arrow's vault! Surrounded, it looks as if Cheshire has arrived to tip the scales and save the day... nope, they are pinned in front of Orphan's cell by more Shadows and Lady Shiva – who gives them an unsolvable problem: surrender or die.
The execution of the main story was near perfect. Classic Young Justice if that's even a thing to call it. Sure, there's still an episode left and as Tigress notes, Onyx could still also be a mole. Plus, the nagging question of how will they get out this. Ideally, Halo booms in the Arrow and Bat Families and many a Shadows's butts get kicked and everyone gets home safe and sound. Will that happen? Nah, probably not. As the episode title is a hat tip to Frank R. Stockton's "The Lady, or The Tiger," there is no right choice to solve the problem at hand. Dead is dead. Surrender, even worse for them. What other value do they have to trade? Continuing from last week, I'm still convinced this will end in a sacrifice. Batgirl's sacrifice in the flashback further cements my thoughts. Cheshire will offer to rejoin the Shadows in exchange for immunity for her family, namely her daughter Lian, and for Tigress, Onyx, and Orphan's safe passage off the island. And again, like last week expanded on season one's "Homefront" and a cheeky callback to the mole arc, we got another unexpected return to season one with Shiva's use of Dr. Roquette's utility fog nanotech. Plus we get some extra sprinkles with the shout outs to Penguin, Two-Face, Jason Todd, Hawkwoman's first name being said for the first time in the series I believe, and of course, what I'm about to get to: the flashback.
Again, I loved that Oracle and Orphan didn't just show up in this arc to be window dressing. Their roles had a purpose, their connection had depth and emotion, and an unanswered question bugging fans since Outsiders premiered got answered. We found out how Barbara Gordon got crippled. The Joker was involved but not how you think. Thankfully. Again, smartly and adeptly, it's all tied to an event from season one. Joker finds out he was a pawn in the Injustice League fiasco and doesn't take too kindly to the revelation so he opts to blow up delegates in the United Nations headquarters. It was a treat to see Bat Family Version Team Year Eight in action. But things don't go so well. Batgirl spares Orphan from a life of killing by taking the strike from her blade that was intended for the Joker. And in that moment, they become sisters. Oh yeah, and we get to see Joker get the tar beaten out of him by Batwoman, Spoiler, and Robin.
"The Lady, or The Tigress?" centers on Tigress and Miss Martian both facing an unsolvable problem but as we learn, Batgirl solved hers with a sacrifice that changed the trajectory of her life yet she still fights the good fight and was able to turn a foe into an ally. The penultimate episode brings lots of twists and turns, revelations and out right shockers, as well as making us wish the next seven days goes by really fast. Stay whelmed.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5