Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 10 Targets
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 10, Targets
Episode synopsis: Things are heating up at the peace talks between North and South Rhelasia and Red Arrow barely saves the negotiator, Lex Luthor. He must protect Luthor from assassination by Cheshire and Sportsmaster, but when he sees he can’t do it alone he calls in Aqualad for help. Together they stop the assassination attempts, but it’s Luthor’s bodyguard, Mercy, that gets all the credit. And during the conflict Sportsmaster lets slip that there may be a mole on the Team. Meanwhile it’s Superboy and M’gann’s first day at Happy Harbor High School, with all the drama that comes with it. Then, in the end, it turns out the entire assassination was orchestrated by Luthor and Ra’s Al Ghul, working together for The Light.
I think this is in the list of top favourite episodes of Young Justice. Probably because I really like Red Arrow in this show and the peace talks plot give him a chance to shine. Plus it had the first proper appearance of Lex and Ra’s in this show as well as the continuing awesomeness of Sportsmaster and Cheshire. The Happy Harbor High plot was in it just enough to make it fun without intruding on the main plot. Superboy’s reactions to school were funny and it avoided the usual clichés of high school stories. It also gave Superboy a civilian name, Conner Kent. “Conner” being a name M’gann is fond of and “Kent” is given by Martian Manhunter and M’gann assumes it’s in honour of the late “Kent Nelson.” Martian Manhunter’s little stumble at that reasoning and just saying “of… course” is cute since he obviously didn’t think of a reason for it that wouldn’t blow Clark’s secret identity. I think the rest of the League are trying to respect Superman’s decision about Superboy, but not all of them think it’s the right call. So they try and help when they can. Bruce is obviously doing a lot, and Martian Manhunter thinks he can help out here too without pushing anything. Maybe they’re waiting for Superman to come around and think that’s an inevitability.
Roy’s really stepping up in the solo hero world, from foiling an arms shipment, to rescuing a scientist from the League of Shadows, to stopping an assassination attempt that’s got a global impact. Doing that with no outside help sure is something, he didn’t need anyone to light his way, as it were. Though it was odd how adamant he was that he could handle things on his own, but after his chat/fight with Sportsmaster and Cheshire it certainly changed his mind on that. But he and Aqualad are friends so asking for help from him didn’t hurt his ego too much. I did like how their friendship was done here, they seemed very comfortable and natural around each other. Kaldur was less formal and Roy was not angry but instead more open and pleasant around him.
There was also some flirty banter from Cheshire to Roy here, they have a good playful repartee. She definitely seems to have some sort of attraction to him, though not enough to affect her mission. She wants to flirt and have a good time with him. What was interesting was her change in demeanour when she was broken out of her cell by Sportsmaster. The playfulness is gone from her voice and very hostile towards Sportsmaster, though she’s still a professional about it, so they’re not coming to blows or anything. He’s just someone she has to work with that she hates. There’s a connection there that’ll be explored in future episodes. She also changed her demeanour around Roy after their fight on the roof with Sportsmaster, when the episode cuts back to that you can see in her body language that she might have learned some new things about Roy. Her banter with him at the peace talks after that reflect it too, it’s a fun little thing to see with the benefit of hindsight.
Sportsmaster got to continue showing off how much of a badass he is. Watching his fight scenes was great. He also introduced one of the subplots for this season, the mole hunt. He implies he’s gotten information that was only available from an inside source. Roy asks about it at the end of the episode and Kaldur does agree to a quiet mole hunt so as not to add any disturbance to the Team, especially with baseless suspicions. It’s something you do need to question the source of, why would Sportsmaster imply there’s a mole since that compromises the mole. He wants them to go on a mole hunt, but that opens up the question of why that is. What does he gain out of it. So there’s obviously more going on here. Certainly once this subplot has been resolved this is a good episode to rewatch and see all the little hints and subtle things you might have missed the first time. Because there is enough care put into the overarching story that there are little clues and such that aren’t obvious when you first watch it.
Lex in this was great. He’s appearing to be just a businessman who is motivated by the monetary gain he’d get from the peace talks, but he’s so slimy and snake-like that you know there’s more to this than he’s letting on. He makes a good justification for his involvement too, peace is good for business too. He now has excellent contacts with both governments who could contract his company for any number of things. But Lex Luthor doesn’t seem to make business deals without some ulterior motive behind them. I like how Lex was willing to hire Roy but he turns it down, so Lex gloats that he’s providing his services for free. He seems to like pushing Roy’s buttons, calling him “Speedy” and “sidekick” at the start and given it’s Lex we can guess those weren’t happy accidents but intentional. He enjoys being superior and those jabs were to provoke Roy just because he could.
Then there’s Mercy, who doesn’t speak but leaves an impression that she’s someone who can kick ass and handle herself in a fight. It’s kinda funny that Lex’s entire plan for the peace talks was to get Mercy to show off her guns. In a literal sense. Her arm cannon seems inspired by some Ghost in the Shell cyberpunk aesthetic. It’s the way the arm opens up that seems like it’s taken from Ghost in the Shell, because I’m sure I’ve seen something like it in the Stand Alone Complex series. Mercy also seemed to have more muscle definition in her suit than she normally does. I’m mostly thinking of it in comparison to her Bruce Timm design, and Timm didn’t really do many muscular women. They were mostly skinny, and have their hips cocked out to one side whenever he draws them.
The high school side of things was a fun little diversion to the action main plot. Including seeing more of the superhero culture pop up, since they made the joke of Conner being annoyed that he can’t wear his S symbol shirt but then it looks like half the kids there are wearing superhero shirts. It makes sense that kids and teens are the ones to mostly wear the superhero culture stuff, since that’s what it’s like in real life. I’m reminded of a funny scene from the Superman Adventures comic where someone spots Clark opening his shirt to change into his Superman costume, and the guy just says “Hey Mr Kent, you wear one too?” and the guy opens his shirt to reveal his Superman tee-shirt.
No real major revamped villains this week, but we did get Wendy and Marvin from the Superfriends show up as high school students. I’ve never actually seen any Superfriends episodes, shocking I know, but I do know of them by cultural osmosis. So I have no idea what they were originally like, but they were alright here. They seemed good as just regular high school students. Marvin being the type of guy who’d make his own superhero logo shirt.
Then there’s the classroom scene, where we get co-creator Greg Weisman playing Snapper Carr, former teen sidekick for the Justice League. Another character I’m not too familiar with, but he seemed like a Rick Jones from the original Avengers and Hulk comics. Here he’s grown up and teaching rather than having a job with the League. In the tie-in comics we find out Snapper is the one who compromised the League’s Mount Justice HQ and the Joker, of all people, got in to cause havok. Snapper does make for a good high school teacher here, and we see more of Conner’s encyclopedic knowledge from his learning pod. He speaks so very flat and matter of factly about it. So he’ll probably do well in school, but maybe have to deal with some ‘cheating’ accusations because his knowledge is so encyclopedic it doesn’t seem like it’s from a real person. It’s something he’ll have to deal with and work around so he develops his own knowledge beyond his pod learning.
Then there’s the M’gann conversation about Mars. Because we learn that Martian culture has Green Martians and White Martians, and in the tie-in comics we see there’s Red Martians as a reference to the John Carter of Mars series. In the original comics Mars was populated by Green Martians and the Martian Manhunter was accidentally teleported to Earth with no way to get home. Then that changed to make his entire race killed off due to White Martians, because he clearly needed to be more like Superman. That’s been his origin ever since. I like how this show has gone back to the original story because I think killing off all the Martians gets rid of so much storytelling potential. Even better they remade the White Martians into second class citizens on Mars, rather than them just being “evil Martians.” Even though we don’t see or go to Mars it still feels like a real lived-in culture thanks to touches like that.
Now there’s the Light section you’ve all been waiting for, it’s actually a for real ‘just as planned’ coda. Lex and Ra’s do reveal that everything went exactly as planned, Ra’s sent those assassins to ‘kill’ Lex so Mercy could show off her arm cannon while defending Lex and the delegates. Even Red Arrow and Aqualad were planned for. Now here’s the kicker, was their plan actually evil? They want to unite North and South Rhelasia and even if they went about it by dubious means that was still the end goal. I think this was a bit of foreshadowing that The Light aren’t doing what they do for “evil means” but for what they consider the betterment of mankind. Their goals might be well intentioned but their methods are still morally questionable. They aren’t evil for the sake of being evil. That’s what makes them such good bad guys.
The little things that were nice, hearing Kaldur use Meters instead of Feet. Cheshire’s face now being known, whereas in her first appearance it was something Kaldur wanted to know if Artemis got to see. Conner working on his motorcycle. Conner just turning his shirt inside out to “hide his secret identity” and we get bonus shirtless Conner. M’gann’s expression after being asked to cheerleader try outs. M’gann wearing the same cheerleader outfit that we see in her mind last episode. Cheshire trying to cover herself from saying Artemis’ name by saying “Ar-chery girl.” Lex and Ra’s sharing a drink together after a successful mission for The Light.
Quote of the episode:
“Everyone’s shirt is fine.” Conner.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“I hear you go by Red Arrow now. Heh, more like Broken Arrow.” Sportsmaster to Roy.
“It’s no different on Mars. The White Martian minority are treated as second class citizens by the Green majority. Of course I’m Green, but that doesn’t make it right.” M’gann to Conner.