Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 12 Homefront
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 12, Homefront.
Episode synopsis: It’s Artemis’ first day at her new school, that also happens to have Dick Grayson attending it. After a rather uneventful day she ‘bumps’ into Robin as they both Zeta to the Cave, then they find the Cave on fire and under attack. Robin and Artemis must Die Hard there way around the Cave and figure out how to save the rest of the Team. Their attackers are a pair of Red Tornado lookalikes, controlling fire and water rather than tornadoes, and they are holding the rest of the Team hostage. They’ll kill the whole Team unless Robin and Artemis surrender, so a plan is made. Robin, with some help from Kid Flash, makes an EMP generator that’ll disable the androids. But Robin gets captured in the process, leaving Artemis to get it together and save them all. She sets off the EMP, saves everyone, and the day is won. Except when Red Tornado comes back to the Cave the EMP wears off and he attacks the Team, leaving them unconscious while he and his siblings escape. Leaving us with the question, did Red Tornado betray the Team, and was he the mole?
Artemis is my favourite character in the show, so I love all of her focus episodes. Couple that with the Die Hard scenario and we’ve got a winner on our hands, at least for me. Artemis just has the right amount of snark and personality to really enjoy her interacting with the others, but there’s also the mystery of her past. Who is she really? Who are her parents? What’s her connection to Cheshire? And as we see in this episode there’s also a vulnerability to her, she’s scared out of her mind as she’s being hunted by two androids that are as powerful as a Justice League heavy hitter, and all she’s got are a bow and rapidly diminishing arrows. She’s got every right to be frightened. It was a good idea to pair her with the most seasoned and experienced member of the Team, who also happens to be the only other one who doesn’t have any powers. They are two opposite ends, newbie and veteran, and it works great.
The opening to this episode was great, with Artemis waking up and looking over to the other side of her room and seeing an empty bed with a tattered Alice in Wonderland poster. She starts to remember her sister leaving to get away from their father, and when Artemis was at a young age too. She wants to keep her family together and decides she can’t go because “someone has to be here when mom gets out.” What their father did to them or why their mother was in prison aren’t mentioned, and they don’t need to be. We know from a previous episode that Artemis was trained by her father and that she considered it very likely that he’d knock her out, put her in a costume with weapons, and want her to kill someone. So that information leads into what we see in this episode, along with their mother being in a wheelchair, which presumably happened in the same incident that sent her to prison. Then there’s the giant hint that her sister goes on to be Cheshire, and that’s why she let her go in her first episode. So instead of one big revelation episode we get lots of little bits here and there for us to put together over the course of the season.
When Artemis gets to school we can already see she’s a bit uncomfortable with the school uniforms as she tugs on the skirt she has to wear. Then to make her morning even better Dick Grayson pops up to quickly take a selfie with her and then leaves, while she has no idea that Dick is really Robin. So he knows who she is now, or at least knows enough to find out who she really is and her real family with a little investigating. He even hangs around in the shadows near the Zeta Tube just so he could rib her about the fact she should be in Star City if she’s really Green Arrow’s niece. He’s being a bit of a dick here, though I think he cuts it out and doesn’t do it again. Unless I’m forgetting a scene or two in the next 13 episodes. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the cameos by Bette Kane and Barbara Gordon at the school, both of them Batgirl in the comics. Bette was the original “Bat-Girl” and sidekick to her aunt, Batwoman, and she took up the identity of Flamebird after that. Barbara is of course the most well known Batgirl, being created because of the 60s Batman TV show and appearing in most of the Batman animated series. Only time will tell if they get the chance to suit up in costume here.
The mystery of who was attacking the Cave was pretty effective, only seeing them through the smoke and it certainly made them seem a lot more menacing. The unseen foes powerful enough to incapacitate their four superpowered teammates, and seemingly impervious to all their attempts to stop them. That’s certainly enough to make anyone scared for their life, even Robin seemed perturbed by them for a while. When Artemis hears Red Tornado’s voice her relief turns into terror as she runs into her attacker, who looks and sounds very similar to their den mother. It’s about 9 minutes in, nearly halfway through the episode, before the revelation of who is attacking them. That’s a significant amount of time for a cartoon show. They certainly built up the sense of dread and powerlessness that Artemis feels throughout the invasion of the Cave.
The attackers are Red Torpedo and Red Inferno, obviously made by the same creator as Red Tornado, T. O. Morrow. Who we saw in the third episode of the show. Almost fitting since last episode was the pay-off for the first episode’s set-up and then this one pays-off some of the set-up from episode 3. Morrow wanted to reprogram Tornado and had tracked him to that area, it was just poor timing that the Reds attacked when Tornado wasn’t there. It was also fitting that in episode 3 we got introduced to the Cave and even had a tour, and now we get more of a look at it while Robin and Artemis run through every room to try and escape the Reds. We see that the Cave has a really large gym and library, though sadly both get pretty trashed and the library was set on fire. The Cave’s going to need some serious repairing after this episode.
The Reds weren’t the revamped villains for this episode, they were created by series co-creator Greg Weisman for a Red Tornado mini-series a few years beforehand that never got made by him. Instead DC did use the characters, but swapped their genders for some reason. But it’s time to talk about the one revamped villain I’ve avoided talking about since her first appearance, Artemis. Yes she is a villain in the original comics. Her parents were two Golden Age supervillains who got together, married, and had a daughter. She’s a pretty obscure one, even for this show, and probably the shows grand achievement of revitalising old villains, even beating out Sportsmaster. If only DC would do something with all these awesomely remade characters. Funnily enough this wasn’t her first appearance in animation, but in Batman the Brave and the Bold a year earlier. She was a cameo in “Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure!” where Aquaman takes a boring road trip vacation across America, and sees Artemis and her supervillain family are doing the same thing in a quick gag.
No Light coda this episode, though the villains did achieve their objective of retrieving Red Tornado. So it’s a win for them but not any ‘just as planned’ ending. Funny thing is that the attack coincided with Tornado leaving after Aqualad telling him about the possible mole in the Team, and with Tornado’s unusual Watchtower monitor duty shift he’d taken from Green Arrow. So it does almost look like Tornado was the mole and decided to have the Cave attacked and the Team killed while he was ‘unfortunately’ unable to help them. He even advised Kaldur not to tell Batman about the mole under the reasoning that “Batman expects the Team to solve its own problems.” He’s an android and it’s certainly plausible that if he didn’t betray them willingly that he could’ve been reprogrammed to do it. At least that’s what the characters can all put together, whether it’s true or not will be seen in a future episode.
Some fun little things from the episode, Sphere coming and interrupting M’gann and Conner making out because Wally was about to catch them. Kaldur’s totally unsubtle line of questions while looking into the mole hunt. Wally being the science nerd and telling Robin how to quickly make an EMP device, even going into the math a bit. Artemis talking to the Cheshire mask and telling it she has a new family now. There was also excellent use of slow mo, as slow mo in cartoons usually doesn’t look that good. The key is not to just slow down the animation frames but to also add even more frames to it so it moves nice and smooth. I’m just used to seeing animation slow mo with just slowed down frames, and rarely is it smooth and nice looking.
Robin’s word of the episode: “Traught” from “distraught” and “well get traught or get dead” which is such a good line.
Quote of the episode:
“I agreed to cover for Green Arrow. He has an interpersonal event with Black Canary. A ‘hot date.’” Red Tornado. It’s Tornado’s robotically saying “interpersonal event” that just makes me laugh.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“We’ll laugh about this some day.” Dick to Artemis. More of a reminder of when that photo shows up next in the series, and they’re certainly not laughing about it.