Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 20 Coldhearted
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 20, Coldhearted.
Episode synopsis: It’s Wally’s birthday, and it’s snowing because ice fortresses are blanketing the country in snow and ice. The League and the Team team-up to take on these ice fortresses and destroy them, except for Kid Flash who has to deliver a transplant heart across the country. After evading some obstacles he runs into Vandal Savage, who is hoping to kill Flash but will settle for the sidekick. Wally soon remembers he’s on a time limit and quits the fight, but as he gets there someone tricks him into thinking he was too late and steals the heart. All of this as a set up by Count Vertigo to kill his queen and then be crowned king of his country. Wally manages to get the heart back and trick Vertigo into revealing his plans so he loses his diplomatic immunity.
This is the start of a string of episodes that are focused on each of the main characters. Five episodes looking at a single cast member and giving them their own story, except Aqualad for some reason. This time it’s Wally who gets the spotlight. This is one of the more uncomplicated and straight forward episodes, no big story going on with him, no real ties to the season story arc, just Wally learning not to be so self-absorbed. It’s a really good episode because of that straight forward nature, the writer didn’t feel the need to overcomplicate the story in ways that would’ve been a disservice to it. Wally is the focus and so we get to empathise with him in not getting to fully see the League and the Team fight the ice fortresses, because that would’ve been really cool to see more of.
Count Vertigo’s plot, while very over the top, certainly fits in well with what we’ve seen in the show before. He needs the League distracted, needs their Zeta Tubes offline, and a way to distance himself from the entire plan. So making sure the heart doesn’t arrive in time keeps his hand clean of this ‘unfortunate accident of fate’ so he can become king. The other part of the plan is just to mess with the hero’s head so they can steal the heart, a ‘just in case’ plan for if Vandal can’t delay Kid Flash enough to run out the time limit. I did like how Vertigo wasn’t mad at using all those resources for nothing in the end. He saw it as a necessity and it doesn’t matter if they were unneeded. It was nice that Wally tricked him with the ‘unfortunate accident’ ruse that Vertigo had tried on Wally. A nice reversal of the plan.
Vertigo enjoys diplomatic immunity from his home country of Vlatava, one of DC’s fictional Eastern European countries. So he can’t be prosecuted of a crime in America, and Vlatava isn’t going to waive his immunity so long as no crime against Vlatava occurs. So he got off scott free from the Injustice League incident because of that immunity. Vlatava wasn’t one of the countries ransomed by them so he never committed any crime against Vlatava. The queen could waive that immunity anyway, but here’s why I think she didn’t. She’s ten and obviously has a lot of political advisers, and they could be advising her not to waive that immunity. They could be in Vertigo’s pocket or fear Vertigo’s political reprisals if she does that. I imagine he had plans in place to try and leverage any political attacks on him as reasons why she shouldn’t be queen at ten years old. So it’s a political game where she can’t make any moves on him, and he’s free to be a supervillain in other countries so long as he commits no crimes against Vlatava. Or it could be that Vlatava is just a terrible country like it is in the original comics, and they don’t care what happens outside their country.
Queen Perdita, and the story of how she became queen at ten, is from the Green Arrow Showcase short, also written by Young Justice co-creator Greg Weisman. I believe the canon status of that is ‘semi-canon’ and a version of that story supposedly played out in this show, but the short wasn’t written to be part of the show so things are different in it. Weisman has said that he wanted to tell the canon version of that story in the tie-in comics, but didn’t get the chance before the comics were cancelled. If I had to guess I’d say one of the main differences was that Vertigo wasn’t implicated in the assassination attempt on Perdita. He still had his diplomatic immunity here, and he was captured at the end of the short. I’m also not sure but I don’t think Green Arrow and Black Canary are married in Young Justice, so the proposal at the end of the short also probably didn’t happen. It’s still a great short and you should watch it anyway. It’s free online officially on one of WB’s youtube channels.
Vandal Savage makes his first out in the open villain appearance here. I’m a little sad we didn’t get an episode just about him like most of the other Light members got. Though it can be argued that the entire series is his villainous machinations given that he’s the leader of The Light. Seeing him on screen more would’ve been nice. His fight with Kid Flash was cool, if brief. He’s big and tough, but patient and cunning. He waits for the right moment to strike and lets Kid Flash come to him rather than trying to go after him. He certainly seems like a man who has been alive since being a caveman, he’s got patience from his long life. All that is built into his brief scene with Kid Flash. Oh, and his scars are from a cave bear attack before he got his immortality.
No Light coda this week. Though we did get to see Batman investigating the ice fortresses and to find out if maybe the ice villains in Belle Reve had anything to do with it. Though Warden Strange gives them proof that they were all in their cells when the attacks were happening. Obviously Batman’s not convinced, because nothing convinces him. This is also an example of what The Light are getting out of controlling Belle Reve. Their access to the prisoners allowed for this entire plan to happen, and because those prisoners have an alibi there’s nothing tying this back to The Light.
Little things that I liked, Wally finally getting his cast off. We see Zatanna is still adjusting to things at Wally’s party, with Robin there to try and help her out. The attacks on the ice fortresses looked great, I’m glad we at least got to see some of the action. The really unenthusiastic police officer that flatly responds to the enthusiastic officer as Kid Flash goes by, that was just really funny. Wally finally finds out that M’gann and Conner are dating, so we are mercifully spared from more of Wally’s inept flirting for the rest of the series.
Wally’s souvenir: The heart transplant container he was carrying this mission.
Quote of the episode:
“The Team’s throwing me a big surprise party this afternoon at the Cave.” Wally.
“In school today ask your teacher the definition of surprise.” Rudy West.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“I suppose I must settle for making him miserable by killing his brat sidekick instead.” Vandal Savage. I don’t think that was intentional, but he certainly gets what he wants eventually.