Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 11 Terrors
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 11, Terrors.
Episode synopsis: Superboy and Miss Martian go undercover in a maximum security supervillain prison as “Tommy and Tuppence Terror.” They are investigating why four ice themed villains got arrested and wanted to be sent to the same prison. Superboy “befriends” Icicle jr. and learns of their breakout plan, but during the breakout Miss Martian is found out and frozen. So Superboy has to out-think these villains and stop the breakout. Once he’s stopped the breakout him and Miss Martian have their first kiss, finally. With the prison secure again Hugo Strange is now the new warden and the only prisoner who escaped was the Riddler, as per The Light’s plan.
This is the episode the show set up in its very first minute, the question of ‘why did four ice villains attack on the same day’ is answered. It wasn’t just a way to show off the main heroes in action so the audience can see what they’re like and what they can do, even though it could’ve been just that. It was used to set up further plot down the road. That’s what’s great about the show, it takes great care with the overarching plot and doesn’t miss an opportunity to use innocuous details to set-up future plots.
The main meat of the episode is Conner being undercover, and his relationship with M’gann. It was fun seeing him and Icicle jr. being buddy-buddy while he tires to discover more information on the escape attempt. Icicle jr. being mostly interested in how to hook-up with “Tommy’s” hot sister. Icicle jr. is kind of stupid, but in the way where he thinks he’s smarter than he really is. He was easily tricked by Conner into helping him reactivate the prison’s shock collars and stop the breakout, simply by pushing his daddy issues button. Keep telling him that what he’s doing is best for his father, and will let him into his father’s good graces, and he followed along with whatever Conner needed. Conner was certainly using his head more in this episode, manipulating Icicle jr., figuring out how to stop the breakout all on his own, even using his Black Canary training to take down tougher opponents. He was on top form this episode.
The collars are the latest technology introduction that’ll get used down the line. They dampen specific superpowers while also being able to send out an electric shock to incapacitate unruly prisoners. The fact that it can work on anyone to suppress their powers, no matter who or what the nature of the powers are, makes me raise an eyebrow. It seems a little too convenient a storytelling device. However what works in its favour are the limitations that we see here, because limitations make for good and interesting stories. They have to be specifically set for what powers the person has, so if they aren’t set for the exact powers then that person can still use them. In this episode M’gann and Conner’s collars were set for the Terror Twins’ powers, which is super strength, so Conner couldn’t use his strength but still had his super hearing and M’gann had her telekinesis and shapeshifting. Conner even made a very good point when he was bluffing with Icicle sr., it doesn’t pay to advertise all your powers when they’re slapping collars on you. A smart villain would be wise not to mention they have anything that’d help when the authorities put a collar on them. Some things they can’t hide in a fight, like superstrength, but something like telepathy that is easier to cover up. Hell you can fake superstrength and flight with something like telekinesis, so maybe there are villains out there faking what their powers are to give them an edge. We’ve already see Abra Kadabra faked being a magic user, so why not have more villains doing a similar thing.
Also if you think about it the Justice League just sent two teenagers undercover at a prison, with only Red Tornado and Aqualad as backup if things went wrong. No one in the prison even knew the League had any operatives inside. Now lots of bad things can happen in prison, nasty things, and it’s a little scary to think about. It’s also a very Batman thing to do, and he’s the current leader of the League. Let’s just say it’s a very good thing, and lucky, that they were only in their for a day. When The Light called the use of the kid sidekicks to do the League’s “dirty work” a “dark twist” they weren’t kidding.
Conner and M’gann finally getting together was a nice cap for an episode made to pay-off a story point set up from the very beginning. It’s also a little surprising considering how TV shows usually handle relationships. It’s usually a ‘will they/won’t they’ for quite a while and they eventually get together, or announce their feelings for each other, at the end of a season. For dramas sake, and it’s a big pay-off moment for the final. There is a ‘will they/won’t they’ with Wally and Artemis that follows that pattern, but here I’m glad we got one couple to break that pattern. It means more time to explore the two together in a relationship, so it’s not just ‘we get it, they like each other, hook-up please’ for a season. Or in Wally and Artemis’ case it’s ‘when are these idiots going to figure out they like each other.’ It’s not the most original or best relationship storytelling, but with the current live-action TV shows doing lots of ‘love triangles’ and really stupid relationship stuff I’d prefer how Young Justice handled it.
I suppose the revamped villain goes to Icicle jr. this time, even though we saw him at the start of the first episode. Fun fact about Icicle jr., in the comics he hooked-up with Artemis and they had a child together. Though I don’t think they ever interact in this series, but they do have one scene together in the tie-in comics. There were also a few other new villains in this episode, but they were all in prison orange jumpsuits. So when we see them in full costume I’ll make a post about them. I did like how a lot of the villains we saw in the prison were ones that had been captured over the course of the show. So we see our heroes have had an impact and the villains don’t just suddenly reappear a few episodes later even though they were captured. Though now the villains have an advantage on that front.
The Light’s coda in this episode was another ‘just as planned’ moment, that’s two so far. They didn’t get the breakout they planned but they control the prison now. Hugo Strange is their go to guy for any incarcerated super criminal they need now. That is a pretty big victory for them. A breakout means lots of criminals running around, some of them getting caught again, but controlling the prison means easy access to them all. The Light can pull them out and put them back without anyone being the wiser. That’s certainly their style. And while not necessarily a ‘big distraction’ moment, the breakout plan was set for when all the League were busy dealing with problems elsewhere.
The Riddler’s escape is more of a puzzle. The way Strange talks about it makes it sound like it wasn’t something he was told about from The Light. But we do see Riddler with The Light in later episodes. The Riddler here was thought of as a joke by the other inmates, he was the dorky guy no one respected. This is just speculation, but what if the Riddler knew about the breakout plan and told The Light he was going to do his own full-proof escape. He does have an ego and a need to prove he’s smarter than everyone else, so forming his own plan rather than sticking to someone else’s does fit with his personality. The Light probably didn’t care about it much so long as he escaped. Whatever the case may be I can image the Riddler laughing and crowing about how he was the only one smart enough to escape.
Little things I liked this episode. Conner complaining the Terror Twins got more quality time with Superman than he does. Conner’s fake accent while pretending to be Tommy Terror. M’gann trying to get Conner psychiatric help for his Superman complex from Hugo Strange, then Conner turns it around on her. Icicle jr.’s relationship advice to Conner, and Conner appreciating it. Icicle jr. slowly realising at the end exactly what had been happening and that he had gotten played. Amanda Waller just being Amanda Waller, and also not the skinny version either. Sadly we never get to see her make her own covert ops team of superhumans.
Quote of the episode:
“Belle Reve’s walls are thick enough to hold Superman. We know, we checked.” Amanda Waller. It’s the “we checked” bit that gets me giggling.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“’Tuppence’s’ stupid fantasy world where every problem is solved within half an hour.” Conner to M’gann. By “Tuppence” he means M’gann, just in case that wasn’t clear.