Thursday, 7 March 2013

Young Justice: Invasion - Episode 18 Recap and Reaction


Recap: The episode begins once more upon War World, where Black Beetle and Mongul are still fighting after the events of the previous episode. Green Beetle shows up, puzzled by BB's need to fight purely for the sake of fighting, and easily reimprisons Mongul by working together with his counterpart. Huh, I wonder who is in the cell above Mongul? Can't say I recognise him. Realising that his fight with Mongul must have been some kind of distraction, BB and GB head to where the crystal key to War World is kept, only to find it stolen. BB says that their priority must now shift to protecting the key chamber, to prevent whoever stole the key from using it to take over WW. GB points out that the Justice League have already occupied the chamber to prevent exactly that from happening, and since the Reach Ambassador doesn't want a direct confrontation with the League at this point in time, they have to settle for just patrolling the perimeter of the chamber instead. BB indicates that he isn't exactly happy about having to take orders regarding NOT using violence against his enemies, can't see if this will lead anywhere.

The Team make it back to Bludhaven, and Bart says that although he understands why Nightwing would want to make retrieving the key a priority, what they really should be focusing on should be finding Jaime and deprogramming him from the Reach's mindcontrol. Dick seems to agree with him, and it seems that they're planning to use Jaime's being awarded a medal for saying the world from WW as the opportunity to launch their "rescue".

Title Sequence

Later, in Metropolis, the Toyman is using a giant robot toy soldier to rob a bank via steal an entire vault in one go... as you do. He's stopped, however, by Jaime who does it in the most showy, posing-for-the-camerasy way possible. The fact that he seems to be doing it for the look of the thing doesn't go unnoticed, as one man in the crowd yells about how he almost got someone killed and how the Reach stink. It turns out that in response to the increase of negative publicity caused by the reveal of the Reach's secret war fleet, the Ambassador has decided to use Jaime to boost their profile by fighting Earth-based crime. While he and the Reach Scientist are watching Jaime talk to the cameras via a feed from his eyes, RS says that really they should be lucky to have any good publicity at all considering the damage done by Godfrey's show last episode. The Ambassador tells her that she worries too much, before hijacking Jaime's voice to make him say stereotypical hero dialogue while posing like an idiot. All the while though, he's watched by Batgirl and Impulse, waiting for their opening.

Over in Atlantis, M'gann meets up with Lagoon Boy to take him back to the surface world since his leg's now healed. He's naturally pleased to see her, but MM saying that they have to talk naturally causes him to start worrying.

Later in El Paso, Jaime is heading home, which is something he dreads as it means that he'll have to watch himself being controlled by the Ambassador pretending to be him. Khaji Da tells him that it is necessary to keep Jaime's family's safe, which is something that the Ambassador agrees with. Safe from who is the thing that is left up to interpretation. Suddenly he's grappling-hooked by someone, and that person turns out to be Batgirl. The Ambassador/Jaime asks her why she's doing this when she knows that it'll only hold him for a few seconds, and Jaime mentally begs her to flee before he's forced to recapture her or worse. Bart uses the time, however, to run up Batgirl's cable and viberate Jaime's jetpack apart, making him crash into the street. Babs tries to knock out Jaime with anaesthetic gas, but is nailed to a tree with Jaime's staplegun thing. Bart tries to fight him some more, but is knocked out himself in the process. With the two heroes down, Jaime prepares to leave, but the Ambassador says that since there are no civilians around they should take advantage of the situation and have Jaime murder Babs and Bart while they have the chance.

Before he can do so though, he's suddenly encompassed by a forcefield bubble created by Rocket. Khaji identifies it as such, and begins hammering on it. A tactic that baffles the RS as the scarab should know that this will only make the bubble stronger. He's told to use the tactic he's been taught to circumvent this attack, only for Zatanna to show up and use her magic to make the forcefield even stronger. Strong to the point that Khaji has to tell the Ambassador (oddly smugly) that it doesn't know how to get out of it. The Reach Scientist, in response to the Ambassador's earlier smug hubris, comments about how well the situation seems to be going.

In the Atlantic, M'gann seems to be in the midst of trying to bring up with LB... who isn't taking it well. She explains that in the weeks she was in captivity on Black Manta's submarine she'd gained some clarity, and that when they got together it wasn't so much because she loved LB, but more that he made her feel better about herself. Staying with him for those reasons would be unfair to him due to being selfish, so M'gann says she has to take responsibility and break things off. LB says that that might be how things started, but what matters is what they might become. And when she says that they won't mean any more to each other that they do right now, LB outright accuses her of wanting to break up with him to get back together with her old boyfriend. M'gann rebuffs this, saying it isn't about Conner or LB, it's about herself.

Presumably quite some time later, Batgirl, Zatanna, Rocket and Impulse have brought Jaime back to the underground bunker that Queen bee was using earlier in the season. Why... I don't know yet. Predictably they're immediately jumped by the numerous Light-affiliated villains from the last time they were there, but the heroes manage to hold their own, mostly due to Zatanna being awesome. Anyways, it turns out that underground temple that the complex was partially built into actually has some magical significance, and that Zatanna is going to ask the... gods or spirits or whatever for assistance in bringing Jaime back to normal. I'm tempted to say Shazam... but I don't think that'll be right either, maybe it's where Ted Kord or Dan Garrett found Khadji originally, and it's where whatever caused him to manfunction happened. And considering the amount of scarab imagery around the place, that's possibly what the Ambassador and RS think too. Luckily for them, and unluckily for the Team, Green Beetle shows up to kill them and retake Jaime.

With Zatanna and Rocket occupied keeping Jaime locked down, it's up to Bart and Babs to hold off GB, which they have some success in to begin with, due to GB having a fairly simple weakness (fire, and lots of it) despite how overpowered he is. But before he can move in to outright kill the heroes, Beast Boy, Bumblebee, Wondergirl and Robin show up to kick his ass. With GB incapacitated by WG's lasso of truth, the RS tries to get the Ambassador (who apparently also has remote control of GB too) to call Black Beetle, but since he can't leave his post on War World, he tries to fend off the heroes by himself. While this is going on, Zatanna seems to be given a power-boost by some beetle-related spirit woman, who rebuilds the ruins of the underground temple, and manages to cure both Jaime and GB at the same time. Yay!

Once the ritual is complete, they confirm that Jaime and GB are back in control of their own bodies, and we get a look at what Green Martians look like in this canon. Eek. Khaji tells Jaime that it didn't particularly like being under the control of the Reach either, indicated earlier by it seemingly rebelling by following its commands a little too precisely, and Jaime believes him, aw. GB meanwhile is still in some shock, considering this seems to be the first time he's had control over his body in possibly decades. He is also overcome with emotion and gratitude for his freedom.

On the way home, Jaime asks the Team how exactly they know how to free him and GB, considering that temple wasn't even in the Reach's databanks. Batgirl explains that she found it the last time she and the Team were in the complex, and after she'd noted the blue scarab imagery, she'd taken photographs etc. of the hieroglyphs and taken them to Dr Fate. Nabu, having lived through a lot of Ancient Egypt, was able to translate the ritual and explain that it was how they managed to free a human host from the scarab's control thousands of years ago. Since the ritual involved magic of human origin Dr Fate, a Lord of Order, wouldn't be able to replicate it, so he prepped Zatanna how to do it instead.

While that side of things was going on, Batgirl and Robin hacked the files of Ted Kord's company to find out more about the Scarab, and found that, yes, Dan Garrett found Khaji in the temple and it fused with him the same way that it fused with Jaime. Dan assumed the Scarab to be an artifact of magical origin and used it fight crime as the first Blue Beetle (yes, all three are canon in this show, AWESOME). Eventually he died and left the scarab to his protege, Ted, who quickly found out that it was actually alien tech, not magical. Since Ted didn't want to let some alien device fuse to his spine, he instead decided to lock it away and study it instead. Later Ted realised that the Light wanted to take the scarab and put it back into play, but he died keeping it safe from an attack from Deathstroke and Sportsmaster. This was the explosion that threw the scarab out of Ted's building for Jaime to pick up and become fused with it.

Jaime asks why they didn't just tell him all of this earlier, and Zatanna says that it took months to translate the ritual and to get it to work with her magic, and they couldn't let Jaime know incase the Reach found out and destroyed the temple in advance. Jaime is naturally impressed by all of this, not least because Bart was in on it and managed to keep his month shut. Impulse says that preventing Jaime from going evil was his main reason for coming back to the past, so he was willing to keep his mouth shut in order to make sure that happened. They let Nightwing know what happened, and he in turn tells M'gann and a sulking Lagoon Boy. M'gann asks if Conner is around, as she needs to talk with him, and Nightwing says that he's gone out with a date with Wendy Harris... which makes M'gann look a touch... disappointed.

Back in Bialya, Queen Bee is inspecting the ruins while her henchfolk all all dejected. It turns out that she had deliberately told them to throw the fight against the Team, as it seems that she wanted to see if the ritual would work (makes sense, if they knew what the scarab was before meeting the Reach via the temple then they'd want to know if they can switch it off). Now that they have confirmation, Bee says that now the Light's plans for the Team, the League and the Reach can now progress according to schedule...

Review: Although there were parts of this episode that felt a touch rushed, it did have a number of things that I really liked. One was Zatanna, Batgirl and Rocket getting a chance to do something, as they'd become somewhat sidelined with the huge amount of characters and storylines that the show is sorting out as it draws to a close.

The second thing I liked was how the episode had something that I've come to love about the show, it's sense of both its own history and the history of the characters, something that's become lost in the reboot. Seriously, a united origin for Jaime that ties in both Dan Garrett AND Ted Kord? Awesome.

Thirdly, I like how the Light's plans are coming a bit clearer now, in the sense I can grasp what they're up to without feeling that they're just pulling stuff out of their collective asses. My guess is that they're going to put their own mystics and magicians to work somehow weaponising the ritual from the temple, and somehow add the Reach's technology and power to their own.

There were some nice character moments between Jaime and Khaji, M'gann and LB, and Zatanna and her teammates, which were nice to see despite the frantic pace of the first three quarters of the episode. The breakup was also handled better than I thought that it would be, in that it didn't exactly leave either party entirely in the right but neither was entirely in the wrong either.

Overall a good episode, and from the looks of this clip of episode 19, it looks like things are going to start ramping up really, really fast.

Not sure why Black Manta is talking in third person though.

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