Sunday, 30 September 2012

Young Justice: Invasion - Episode 8: Satisfaction

And after a lengthy break, Young Justice is back!

Before we begin the recap, here's a brief synopsis on what we've missed.

- Bart Allen has returned from the future under the guise of being a temporal tourist, when in actuality he showed up to prevent his grandfather, Barry Allen, death, under the hope that it will stop the titular alien invasion. It doesn't work.

- Superboy and Miss Martian broke up after he disapproved of her using her powers to mindwipe villains, and when he complained she attempted to erase his complaints from his mind. Since he has some resistance to mindcontrol now, this made him dump her. They still have feelings for each other though, which is something that made MM's new boyfriend, Lagoon Boy, somewhat insecure. 

- Roy Harper and Cheshire got married and had a kid, and they eventually found the "real" Roy, who had been kept in cryogenic suspension after getting kidnapped by the Light shortly after beginning his superhero career.

- The Light have been kidnapping human runaways and sending them to an unknown alien ally with the intention of them discovering the Metagene, the thing that allows humans to have such a wide range of superpowers.

- Also, Artemis and Wally West are an item, and together with Aqualad, who is undercover in Black Manta's, his father, organisation they faked her death so that she could spy on the Light as well. In this same operation though, it resulted in Lagoon Boy being kidnapped by the Light, as the alternative was allowing him to be murdered by Black Manta's hired goons.

All up to speed? Right, let's go!


- Recap: The story begins in Star City, in the Royal Memorial Hospital to be exact. Not entirely sure if that's a reference to anything though. Real!Roy has woken up, and he's not happy that life appears to have continued on without him, including the formation of the new team and Ollie growing a goatee. Clone!Roy tries to make him feel better, but Ollie, with his typical lack of focus seems more surprised that he doesn't like goatee.

Real!Roy yells at Ollie for missing the point, which is something that the older two have been dancing around for some time now. He wants to know what happened to him, why there's another version of him, and where his arm went. Clone!Roy asks him what he remembers before he found him in Tibet. Real!Roy, okay I'm just going to call them RR and CR unless only one of them is in an episode, says that he was investigating a LexCorp shellcompany that they suspected was illegally selling weapons to North Rheelasia (the North Korea stand-in from season one) but he got jumped by some of Lex's goons, and that's the last thing he remembers. Ollie slowly admits to RR that they did grab him, and that he was kidnapped eight years ago, something that naturelly shocks RR. CR says that they amputated his arm so that they could have an endless amount of DNA for their human cloning experiments, which causes RR to twig as to why there's an older version of himself wandering around.

Ollie explains that the Light spoonfed him clues as to the location of CR, while at the time he thought that he was doing detective work. By the end of three months of searching he was so happy to find, what he thought was, his sidekick that he didn't question it. RR then accuses CR of stealing the last eight years of his life, which quickly causes Ollie to point out that he'd spent the last three years of those searching for him. Which causes RR to turn his rage on Ollie, saying that that means that he must have given up on him by that point then. CR offers to leave, as he doesn't want to come in between the two even more than he already had, but RR begrudgingly admits that CR hadn't done anything wrong as he didn't ask to be created, but the fault lies with Ollie for giving up on finding him. He calls Ollie useless and yells at him for leaving him in Luthor's hands for eight years, telling him to get out. RR then tells CR that he needs time to process this, leading to CR looking for Ollie, who is in the hospital chapel being depressed.

Ollie says that him being a mentor is a curse. Considering what happened to Speedy, Red Arrow and Artemis, he says, the three of them are a poster for the "Stay Away from Green Arrow Club". CR says that he might not have shown it over the years, but he never felt that way, and he's sure that Artemis didn't either. He tells Ollie that he's a good man, and that he needs to get back in there, as RR needs him. They rush back to RR's hospital room, apparently for Ollie to apologise, only to find that he'd escaped through the window. Why is it that people seem to rarely escape from hospitals via the actual door? Anyways...

Title sequence.

At Mount Justice, Nightwing, Conner and Herald are talking about how Aquaman and his men are searching the world's oceans for Lagoon Boy, but he admits that there is a lot of ocean and the world is kind of huge. He also admits that he wants Aqualad's head of a platter for what he did to Artemis, which causes Nightwing to run off. Conner asks where everyone's gone, and is told that the girls are in the showers, but the rest are in "the Grotto". The Grotto appears to be the Team's hall of the dead, as there are statues of Aquagirl, Ted Kord (!!!) and Jason Todd (!!!!!) there, as well as a new one of Artemis. They appear to be having a memorial service, which everyone is being respectfully sad for... except for Bart, who is loudly eating a bag of crisps. Bart asks why the dead heroes don't have a huge memorial statue in the Hall of Justice, and Jaime explains that Captain Atom told him that they League neither want or need a shrine to their fallen, but he personally thinks that they just don't want a reminder that they're not immortal. He points out that a lot of people seem to think that he's actually Ted Kord in a new costume, and that the world won't know about Kord's heroic sacrifice.

Bart tries to cheer him up by saying that he's at least carrying on the Blue Beetle tradition, which causes Jaime to go on a little rant. Sure, he's carrying on the tradition, but in comparision to Tim, who has Batman, Batgirl, Nightwing and the previous Robin to look up to he doesn't really have much of a legacy. Even Bart, he points out, has only been around a couple of minutes and he's already got three Flash mentors that came before him, but he never was able to actually meet Ted personally face to face. Bart takes pity on him and decides to start hanging out with him, though he apparently needs to borrow money in order to do so.

Over in Gotham, Wally and Artemis' mum are leaving some flowers at her grave. Aw, turns out that Lian is Artemis' middle name! She thanks him for coming with her to do this, and she says that it has been a terrible couple of days. She says that Artemis' death has affected her even more than losing her ability to walk, going to prison and Cheshire becoming a supervillainess, and that she doesn't think that she would have survived this without Wally being around. Meanwhile though, it seems that Cheshire and her dad are watching the other two from some distance away. Cheshire laments that she wasn't able to keep her sister safe, and that she will kill Aqualad to avenge her death. Sportsmaster points out that she's missing the point, that Artemis' death is ACTUALLY an insult to their professional reputations (whut). He says that Black Manta's son can't kill Sportsmaster's daughter, not without running it by him first, and he can't let it stand, otherwise people will think that he's a punk. He says that Cheshire can have Aquald, but HE wants to kill Manta for the insult.

Back in Star City, RR is on the run, and from the looks of it the morphine is starting to wear off. He gets to one of his and Ollie's old hideouts, and after the biometric scanner identifies him as Red Arrow he comments on how unoriginal CR is. He goes inside, and the base seems to be filled with an oddly large number of guns. RR mutters about how Ollie appears to have kept his Speedy outfit, though he doesn't know whether he did it out of nostalgia or just plain laziness. An alarm goes off, tells him about the approach of Ollie and CR. CR tries to get in, but the computer gets confused regarding how Roy can be both inside and outside the base at the same time and tries to start a lockdown, but Ollie manages to override it. They get inside, only for Roy to be all tooled and costumed up. RR apologises to Ollie, before saying that he can't let him stop him, and thne blowing up the base just as he teleports out. The sprinklers put out the fires, and CR quickly uses the surviving computers to find out where RR went... which turns out to be Metropolis. They quickly put together that he must be going to get revenge on Lex Luthor for ruining his life, while Luthor will just kill him.

In Metropolis, Lex is lamenting that planning an alien invasion is causing a surprising about of paperwork. He notes with mild interest that RR seems to have abandoned his hospital bed, just before RR fires a missile at him from the building opposite, commenting how modern weapons tech makes it easier for a one-armed man to fire a bazooka than put on his trousers. In Ivy Town university, it seems that it's now Conner's 6th/22nd birthday and that he's dating Wendy now. She jokes about how he looks exactly the same now as the day they met, which makes him get depressed even though she says she meant it as a compliment. Amusingly Conner's idea of a disguise appears to be adding a jacket to his outfit, which is kind of worse than Clark and his glasses, but I'm getting off track. Wendy points out that she always knew when it was his birthday because Megan would throw huge parties for him, which makes Conner even more depressed as Wendy is the only one that remembered this year.

Meanwhile, in Dakota City, Megan's being depressed because this is the only year where she hasn't thrown Conner a birthday party (literally). Zatanna tells her that it really isn't her job to do that anymore, and it turns out that they're in town for Rocket's bridal shower. It turns out that the depression keeps on coming, as Megan reveals that she and Artemis bought their present for Rocket together. This makes Rocket question why they're throwing the shower now considering everything that happened, and Artemis says that that Artemis would want it that way. Captain Cold happens to prove that he has terrible luck, by chosing to stand on Rocket's house before attempting to rob the bank across the street...

Lex has managed to survive the rocket attack that gutted his office though, thanks to his customised desk(tm). He quickly grabs a suitcase from the safe behind said desk before walking briskly to safety with Mercy the robobodyguard. Lex tells his men to kill the "would-be corperate assassin" across the street, only for CR to jump him in the carpark while they're distracted. RR gloats about how easy it is to predict what Luthor would do despite him being so smart, and tells Mercy to disarm herself. Only to be surprised when it turns out that she's a robot, while shoots RR's gun away with her armcannon. Luthor continues to be smugs while she advances on the former sidekick...

Back in Dakota City, Captain Cold carries out his attack, only to find himself up against the combined, and pissed, forces of Batgirl, Wondergirl, Bumblebee, Rocket, Miss Martian, Black Canary and Zatanna. Captain Cold immediately surrenders, commenting that he's completely doomed before doing so. The superheroines agree, and then beat the tar out of him anyway. In Metropolis however, RR's supervillain encounter isn't going as well. Although he's managed to injure Mercy (who... bleeds?) he's still no match for the robobodyguard. Luthor takes the opportunity to start monologuing about the Arsenal that RR has brought with him, saying that although he appears to have brought a lot of gun, he's more importantly proven to have the greatest weapon of them all, the resources of his own mind. He compliments him on how he was able to outmanoeuvre him, while RR manages to defeat Mercy via stealth and explody things in an actually pretty good action sequence. After defeating her bing blowing up her arm (she grunts in pain and appears to be knocked out, is she a cyborg or has Lex built her to Simpsons joke standards?), Lex actually shows concern for her. This gives RR the opportunity to wrap his arm in the same explosive take he used to disarm Mercy.

RR says that exploding Lex's arm will be the perfect revenge for what he did to him. Lex says with irritation that they gave RR painkillers before they cut off his arm, RR's methods appear to be more "violent". RR mutters about how people reap what they sow, Lex concedes to this, but asks whether RR is willing to deal with the harvest. At which point a good dozen of Lex's men show up and point machineguns at RR. Luthor says that vengence is a sucker's game, and that it really doesn't get you anywhere at the end of the day. He goes on to say that ever since he was found in Tibet, he suspected that RR would come to get him eventually, so he brought something for this eventuality, kicking the suitcase he brought from his safe over to him. Whatever is in there surprises RR, causing Lex to smugly ask him whether what he wants is revenge... or satisfaction?

Ollie and CR eventually show up, and are dismayed by the fire coming from Lex Tower, in addition to all the emergency crews. RR comes out of the carpark, and tells the relieved pair of heroes that he didn't go through with killing Luthor. CR asks what's in the case, getting the response: Satisfaction. It's apparently a robotic arm even more advanced than the one Lex gave Mercy (ohhhh, she IS a cyborg, not a robot after all!) and that it's powerful enough to ensure no one ever puts him on ice again. This new attitude understandibly worries CR and Ollie, and ask him if he's alright. RR says that he's better than alright, but that Speey died eight years ago, and that he's now going to go by the name Arsenal...

- Review: Well, this was certainly an interseting plce to bring the show back. On the one hand, it was incredibly continuity heavy, which could have lost a lot of new viewers, but considering a lot of the episode was spent explaining to Real!Roy what happened to him, the audience would be kind of clued in as well.

This was a deeply poignant episode in a lot of respects, in addition to Roy having to deal with with his new disability and lost eight years, the theme of loss was also carried on and explored in numberous other ways. Most prominently with the friends and family of Artemis mourning her apparent death, but also Conner celebrating his first birthday alone(ish) due to his break-up with M'gann. The various reactions through the various relationships were all superbly handled, from M'gann trying to live life according to Artemis' example to Artemis' mum's quiet despair to Sportsmaster's bizarrely sociopathic reaction (he murdered my daughter, that's an insult to me personally on a professional level!).

Lex Luthor was awesome, as he's managed to be in all of his episodes thus far. Managing to be vastly different from not just his regular comicbook personas but also his most prominent cartoon portrayal before this, in Clancy Brown's performance in Superman: the Animated Series. Smug, oddly friendly and very, very clever, the YJverse version of Lex manages to be a lot of fun without sinking into the obnoxious zone that such a character could quickly descend to.

The recognition of Jason Todd was extremely surprising, despite the previous mentions of Aquagirl and Ted Kord. The conversation between Jaime and Bart on the subject of hero legacies and the mortality of people in their profession was definitely a high point, not just in the episode but in the series over all. In fact the episode's handling of death was actually really well done overall, and not really something I'd seen in an American cartoon before. Bravo.

Hopefully the rest of the run of YJ:I continues along these lines.

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