Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 14 Revelation
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 14, Revelation.
Episode synopsis: Giant plant creatures are sprouting up all around the world and it’s the work of the Injustice League, who want ten billion dollars or else they’ll continue their attacks. Batman and the Team deduce that they are responsible for the recent interconnected villain activity. They set up a plan to have the Team go in and stop the Injustice League’s arrack at the source, while the Justice League goes to stop the plant creatures and distract the Injustice League. The Team’s plan doesn’t start off well, with everyone except Robin and M’gann getting captured. But in the end the two manage to blow up the plant antenna controlling everything. Facing the wrath and certain death at the hand of the Injustice League Kaldur goes with Plan B, the Helmet of Fate. Wearing it he becomes Dr Fate and turns the tide against them long enough for the Justice League to show up. Kaldur even manages to take off the Helmet without any consequences, so it’s a big win for the good guys. Except it was all a plan by the real Light to throw the League a scapegoat so they could still operate unnoticed.
This was one of the big fight episodes, where the world’s at stake and everyone gets in on the action. There’s even cameos by other heroes that aren’t in the Justice League, who we may or may not seen again later on. The show does really cool action episodes, lots of fun, and not as much plot or character focused as some of the other episodes. Now the episode obviously plays with the idea that the Injustice League are really The Light and this is them revealing themselves and their ‘master plan’. But I’m not sure if the audience was ever meant to think that, or if any fans did when watching it for the first time. Vertigo does make a Light pun at the start, but the audience has already heard all of The Light’s voices and none of them matched the Injustice League. So it wasn’t played as a ‘gotcha’ moment but I think we were meant to be thrown off by the big action moments to ask any questions till the end. That ending where we first see who The Light really are, so we know who the major players are now.
Thinking about it I do wonder if The Light came up with the plan or just gave Count Vertigo the resources to do it and just told him to make a distraction big enough for them to hide behind. I’m inclined to think the former the more I think about it. This team is all specially formulated to help with the task, Ivy for the plants, Ultra-Humanite the scientific knowledge to keep it working, Wotan for the magic element of the plants, Atomic Skull for the power source, the Joker for controlling every plant across the world. Black Adam as the muscle, and Vertigo as the commander to keep everything on track. I’d like to think The Light doesn’t micromanage everything, but it is an important enough plan not to chance anyone screwing it up.
Something I really like about the Injustice League, and all the villains on this show, is that they work well together. There’s no in-fighting between the team and they all seem to support each other as they’ll pulling off this job. In the past supervillain team-ups tended to fail because their team would just all apart, they were the bad guys and therefore couldn’t work well together. That was only possible for the good guys. It was so ubiquitous that there was an entire episode on Justice League (Unlimited) dedicated to a villain team doing team-work exercises so they could beat the League. Villains can be capable and not so small minded that they’d ruin their whole plan by picking a fight with their teammates. Now in the future there will be some strife with certain members of The Light, but it happens organically and with in-character motivations behind it. However it doesn’t destroy The Light, and it’s not the main villains fighting each other, so that helps push it above the petty squabbles of older supervillain team-ups.
I suppose I should talk about the Joker, the one thing from this episode that some fans really hated. Part of it was his voice, Brent Spiner provided a fine performance, but it was an entirely different one than the decades of previous Joker performances. I think the hate is in part due to the Joker being a reflection of Batman, and with a different type of Batman you get a different type of Joker. Young Justice plays with superheroes and realism, mixing the two things greatly, and so the non-superpowered folks, like Batman, get played with that shade of realism. So this Joker’s not playing up the ‘clown’ part but the psychopath. He’s making jokes but they sound more crazy, violent, and menacing. The Mark Hamill Joker plays up the jokey clown nature as a distraction to make people underestimate him, then he brings the menace in small concentrated ways for when things get really serious. Spiner Joker is always hitting that menace. They are two different takes, and both work for their own versions. There’s also the fact that this Joker is only seen as a part of a team rather than an individual villain. So he has to work in that context first and foremost rather than being a solo villain for Batman. He really does work as part of that team dynamic, and it helps that this is the only time we see him in the show. So this is just a quirky one-off take on the Joker rather than a character that would show up for the majority of the series and possibly become grating. So in that context I like this Joker a lot. Not a take I’m desperate to see more of, but one I like just as a different take on the character. I am also incredibly curious what the Young Justice Harley Quinn would look like.
The Light coda this episode is another ‘just as planned’ moment. It’s also another ‘big giant distraction’ plan, where they have plant creatures destroying cities all over the world just so they can be hidden for a little bit longer. As far as their distraction plans go I’d say it’s on the lower end given it was meant to make the League think the previous 13 episodes were leading up to this. But at least the audience now knows who The Light is, in no particular order, Vandal Savage, Lex Luthor, Ra’s Al Ghul, Queen Bee, Ocean Master, Klarion, and The Brain. We’ve seen most of them on screen before, and the ones who weren’t had prominent speaking roles in Light codas for episodes involving them. They’ll gain more prominence in the show now as there’s no need to hide who they are to the audience. Which works really well given the audience now knows these are the big bad guys, so when they show up it’s a ‘sit up and pay attention’ moment.
The Light seem to be productive villains not just because they’re smart but because they plan around the superheroes. It’s like they know they’re in a world where the heroes always win, so their plans seem to account for the fact that the Justice League’s going to come along and stop it. That’s why they have so many different plans in motion, the League stops the obvious one and doesn’t notice the other ones. They make the League work in their favour rather than directly working against the League. Their only hitch is the presence of the Team, which they didn’t account for. Even then they still come out ahead.
I should really talk about the heroes at some point, they are the starts of the show after all. I liked how the Team never really stood a chance at defeating the Injustice League, they were incredibly outmatched. But they didn’t need to beat them up, just throw a monkey wrench into their plans. The show’s not making the Team a powerhouse like the League, they are the smaller covert group rather than the ones that can stop an army.
Wally and Artemis are becoming more buddy/buddy, even as they snark at each other. You can see Wally a bit surprised at Artemis caring about him in this episode, like making a sling for his broken arm, or giving him a spare rebreather for when the Bio-Ship is flooding. Also funny that because of the last two mission Artemis now packs rebreathers in her gear since, as she says, she’s nearly drowned on three mission in a row now. She even gets a “Hello Wally” in, showing that expression is creeping into the Team’s vocabulary.
Other little things I liked, Kaldur and Dick’s little chat about them knowing Conner and M’gann are dating, and wondering if they should let the other two know. The running gag of the Metropolis School bus always being endangered on a bridge, and that bus certainly gets around. Then there’s M’gann growing gills to breath underwater, which is just a cool little design touch. Batman punching out the Joker at the end, just taking him out before he tries anything else. Just the fact that it felt like such a big win for the Team even though in the end they were just playing into The Light’s hands.
Joker’s word of the episode: “Retributionable” The Joker’s made up word for when the Team destroyed their plant creature.
Wally’s souvenir: A piece of Count Vertigo’s cape, which Artemis immediately uses as a sling for Wally’s broken arm.
Quote of the episode:
“I feel naked… and not in a fun way.” Artemis.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“Do we tell them?” Robin about telling Wally and Artemis that their crushes are dating each other. Yeah, there wasn’t a whole lot future plot hinting this episode.