Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 5 Schooled
Now that Netflix has uploaded season 2 of Young Justice it’s the best time to rewatch the series, especially as doing so might mean Netflix picking the show up for a third season. (Though if you live in the UK like me you have to watch it through Amazon Prime and just share around posts about it). This Re(af)Watch series is not quite a review, more of an opinion piece about each episode as I rewatch them. Covering all 46 episodes of the show, and hopefully any beyond that. Continuing on with episode 5 Schooled
Episode synopsis: Superboy helps save some people on a bridge and has an awkward talk with Superman. He’s pretty angry over being brushed off by Superman, again, and it doesn’t help that he gets tossed on his ass by Black Canary during their training session; just to prove that his powers don’t mean squat in a fight if he doesn’t how to fight. Batman then gives them their latest mission, to be security for trucks transporting the Amazo robot to Star Labs. The Amazo robot just got through kicking the asses of the Justice League and copied their powers, so the League is indisposed and can’t help. The trucks get attacked, Professor Ivo gets to reassemble his Amazo robot, and Superboy gets to destroy it using his brains rather than his anger. And the episode ends with him getting more training from Black Canary. Somewhere in the middle Batman and Superman get pie while Bruce has the parenting talk with him about Superboy.
This was a Superboy heavy episode. He pretty much had to have one given his anger issues and his issues with Superman it was best to address them early on. Rather than leave them in the background for a long time. None of them got solved, but they were dealt with and developed more. No easy fixes for these problems.
The cold open was fun, Superboy and Superman save a bridge in Metropolis while Bruce observes. We got to see Superboy’s inexperience as he helps and even some shy awkwardness over talking to Superman. Despite all the anger and rage over it Superboy still wants Superman’s approval and that overpowers his anger in that moment. He was in Metropolis anyway, so it’s not a leap to suggest he was there hopping to run into Superman and then maybe talk to him. He probably didn’t have a plan other than ‘go there and see what happens’ and he got lucky.
I’ve just realised I haven’t talked about the Zeta Tubes yet. They are an effort to combine together a lot of the DC lore, so things are coherent and fit together better. Zeta Beams were used as a means of interplanetary travel for Adam Strange, and the Justice League used teleporters to get to and from their orbiting space station. So the show combined those two things and made Zeta Tubes the way the League gets around the world so fast, they’ve got Tubes installed in secret locations all around the world. So they Zeta around a lot, and Superboy can easily go from his home into Metropolis and back again without any need to explain how he did so. It’s a cool little thing that solves a lot of problems since it lets the story take place anywhere in the world rather than confining it to one city.
Another neat thing was just seeing Wally and Kaldur play holographic airhockey before Superboy came back. It was a little thing, but the cave is a home and a “club house” for the Team, so seeing them have fun with it was good. They’re not going to be training all the time, so of course they’ll play around with the tech.
The Black Canary training was cool though, even sporting an injury from the Amazo fight she can still kick their butts. She has some good words about acting and reacting in a fight, and how you should always be in control in a fight. She’s had to be a great fighter as there’s a lot of supervillains that are bigger and stronger than her, so she fights smarter than them. Then she puts Superboy in his place, by knocking him on his ass, when he dismisses her training since his strength makes him a living weapon. Interesting that he still thinks of himself in Cadmus terms.
Then there’s Superman, and his issues. I kinda wish the diner scene between Bruce and Clark had been longer, but it was satisfying none the less. It was good to see Bruce try and talk some sense into him, even funnier was seeing the fan reaction to this. Yes Batman, who has adopted many kids, is a better father than Superman. It’s not really that shocking yet it’s not something that’s played with that much. When confronted with his cousin from Krypton, his last blood relative, he shoves her in an orphanage and leaves her there. That’s straight from the original Supergirl comics. So he’s not the best parent, doesn’t even want to be a parent. But people can’t seem to accept that Superman is not perfect, and they are still pissed over this.
Clark is still disturbed by Superboy’s creation, DNA taken without his consent was made into a living weapon and they still don’t know the full extent of Cadmus’ doings. So to him Superboy is a reminder of this violation, and it probably hurts to think about it let alone be around the living reminder. That’s not to excuse his actions here, because he’s still acting in the wrong, but to just explain his very human reaction. He even rationalises that he wouldn’t be a good parent, that Superboy is better off under the League’s care than his. Hell Superboy probably is living in a better home than Clark has with his reporters salary, but that’s just another rationalisation. If the League wasn’t there then he’d probably suck it up and take care of Superboy, but because he has the League to lean on he’s using it to dodge that responsibility. He has to sort out his issues first, his subconscious fear of being a father, and figure out where Superboy fits into his life. If he can’t deal with being a father then maybe he could shift away from the idea that Superboy is his son.
And then there’s the fans claiming this “ruined the great relationship between the two” to which I say, relationships don’t appear out of thin air. They have to be built. We are currently seeing the building blocks of that relationship rather than the completed structure. I haven’t had time to research this but I’m fairly sure their relationship in the comics didn’t come fully formed either. Both these characters have to grow first before that relationship can happen. We will see it form, eventually. But right now we’re in the early stages.
Amazo is an old bad guy for the League in the comics, but here he’s brand new and he’s certainly a tough one for them. Taking 4 hours for them to defeat the robot, that’s a long drawn out battle. He definitely seems more robotic in this incarnation, with his mimicry also coming with robotic alterations. Like his mouth opening up to use Black Canary’s Canary Cry, or his arms extending with long cables when using Martian Manhunter’s shapeshifting. It was cool to see that in there rather than Amazo just using the power with no alterations, he’s a robot and he looked the part. I’d imagine if Ivo ever made more he’d make improvements and they could come out looking a little different and less robotic like the comics. But that’s just speculation.
His creator, Professor Ivo, is more of an odd one. He’s pretty eccentric. Then again what do you expect of a scientist who makes a robot to copy the powers of the Justice League and fight them, and who did it just to see if he could. It was probably most telling when he had the chance to escape scott free on the train but instead sent Amazo to finish Superboy after punching him into the Gotham school. Then he came to watch Amazo kill Superboy. Peter McNicol brings the right amount of self-assured crazy mad scientist to the role, he is absolutely perfect. His robot monkeys were a fun little thing to see, a nice variation on the robot lackeys we usually see in cartoons.
The defeat of Amazo was a neat little tie-in with the Black Canary training from earlier. They weren’t in control of the fight, and probably couldn’t be with just Amazo, but since Ivo was there Superboy could start acting rather than reacting. With Ivo telling the robot to protect him rather than kill the heroes they were both on the defensive. So it was easier to trick Amazo to go intangible so Superboy could stick his fist through Amazo’s head. A nice way to have them beat Amazo without minimising how hard it was for the League to beat him.
There was some other cool little moments in this episode, like Bruce opening a bust to access his Bat-costume just like in the 60s Batman TV series. Or Robin and Kid Flash feeling like they had to change into their costumes while heading after Superboy. Ivo calling them “poor copies” when he’s made, essentially, a copy machine. There’s Superboy having small reactions to M’gann/J’onn and Robin/Batman talking, and there was nothing big or special about those talks either. They were just there for them in a way Superman isn’t for him. There’s the kinda cool moment when M’gann grows some extra arms to fight with, and it freaks people out since one grows out of her head. Then there’s the arrow that saved Wally’s life, it’s more funny in hindsight that it happened to save Wally rather than any of the others given his connection to its owner. And Batman and Green Arrow’s little look towards each other when they see the arrow. That’s something you definitely need to read the tie-in comic to get the full story behind it.
There was no Light coda this episode. So this is another villain plot that didn’t go ‘just as planned.’
Robin’s word of the episode: “Aster” from “Disaster” and the opposite of it.
Wally’s souvenir: “Speedy’s” arrow.
Quote of the episode:
“Definitely disaster. Heavy on the Dis.” Robin.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“And that’s not your arrow.” Robin to Green Arrow.