Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 21 Image
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 21, Image.
Written by: Nicole Dubuc
Directed by: Jay Oliva
Episode synopsis: Robin gets the chance to lead the Team as they to go to Qurac, neighbouring country to Bialya, to find out why the democratically elected president of Qurac is handing over his country to the Bialyan dictator, Queen Bee. Once there they break cover to protect a wildlife sanctuary on the boarder between the two countries that’s being invaded by Bialyan troops. That sanctuary is owned by Marie Logan and her son, Garfield, and Marie happens to look a lot like M’gann. While there the sanctuary is attacked and Garfield is injured, requiring a blood transfusion. M’gann tries changing her blood to match his, while the Team watch ‘Hello Megan’ a 70s sitcom that M’gann based her human identity on. That night they go to rescue the president from Psimon’s control, and in the process M’gann and Psimon confront each other again. Psimon threatens to reveal that M’gann is really a White Martian, and pushes the wrong buttons as M’gann brain blasts him into a coma. That night Queen Bee comes to M’gann and says she knows her secret too, and if she wants to keep it a secret she better do what she says.
There was a lot going on in this episode, and a lot of M’gann information got dropped on us. All of it was slyly hinted at in the previous episodes, and it was made to be an organic reveal rather than having things come out of nowhere. It certainly put some of M’gann’s character and actions in a new light, and making things more interesting on the rewatch. Her catchphrase suddenly makes more sense, and does sound like it could be from a real 70s sitcom. Though when I first watched the series I already knew she was a White Martian, as that’s from the comics, and I had read in an interview that M’gann had learned human culture from a sitcom. Though I was pleasantly surprised about how those elements were used in the show. They were definitely used to great effect in this episode, where everything is revealed. I do wish I could’ve watched this show without any of my foreknowledge, as that would’ve made for a different viewing experience.
Before I get into M’gann let’s talk about Robin in this episode. He’s given command of the Team since Aqualad was off with Aquaman at the time, and his enthusiasm from earlier in the season is now gone. The events of Failsafe really struck a cord with him, he was nervous, trying to play things safe, and certainly not his usual laughing happy-go-lucky self. Getting all of his friends killed certainly soured him on leadership. He’s still trying to sort himself out after the Failsafe incident and it’s good to see that the events of that episode didn’t go away after the therapy session. What’s even better is that the episode doesn’t call it out, it’s a character beat that works if you’re paying attention and doesn’t require the episode to point it out for the audience. That’s certainly trusting the audience to follow character progression without holding their hands. It’s possible that Wally noticed Robin was feeling down and was trying to cheer him up, though it could’ve just been Wally acting like Wally regardless.
Speaking of Wally there’s the lingering bit of the last episode that I didn’t really cover, Wally finding out M’gann and Conner are dating. His constant flirting with M’gann could have come off as a bit ‘creepy’ because he just didn’t let up or notice her disinterest in him romantically. However what saved it from becoming ‘full creeper’ is that when he found out she was dating Conner he just accepted it, even if he didn’t like it he still respects M’gann’s decision. In this episode we see that Wally has stopped flirting with M’gann, he whispers that she’s hot to Robin but that’s it. Respecting her and treating her like a friend definitely puts his flirting in the ‘teenager being a teen’ category and not the ‘creeper, stalker, asshole’ one. I’ve seen a few a few fans call out Wally’s behaviour as bad, which it is, but they neglect the positive side of it once it’s clear to him M’gann isn’t interested in dating him. I’m fairly sure Wally is just on friendly terms with M’gann from now on, though I might have forgotten some moments from the next few episodes. If I see any I’ll post about them.
M’gann’s revelations certainly put her in a new light, so lets break them down. She’s a White Martian, the oppressed minority of Mars, and is part of a (partially) Green Martian family. In fact her mother was Green and her father was White, and most of her siblings are Green though she has one White brother (from co-creator Greg Weisman’s site). So being in a mixed race family, looking like a White Martian, when she says she didn’t have a nice time growing up there she probably was greatly underselling it. But she found solace in the TV broadcasts her uncle sent back from Earth, and got hooked on the 70s sitcom Hello Megan. She saw a little of herself in that show and the main character, and felt an awakening of who she really was. Though, as J’onn says in this episode, Martians can always tell who a person is when shapeshifting so she had to go to Earth in order to be accepted for who she really was. Rather than what Martian society said she was. She didn’t tell her friends of her White Martian heritage because that isn’t who she is, and also she feared she’d be judged unfairly for it.
This is a metaphor for a lot of things, specifically it’s about being yourself rather than what society and other people think you are based on superficial factors. Generally it is seen as a transgender metaphor, and there’s certainly a lot in there that matches up with that. Though what shouldn’t be discounted are the other things it lines up with. Being gay, transgender, gender fluid, asexual, and lots of other things are being represented through metaphor here. I’m just saying it can mean a wide spectrum of things to different people, and all of them are valid.
What’s also in there is the importance of fictional representation and how valid it is to see yourself in the fiction you love. Because watching that seemingly silly 70s sitcom changed M’gann’s life for the better and there’s no judgement when she admits this. It’s seen as a very positive thing. Any piece of fiction can touch lives in ways that were never expected, and those are all great and positive experiences. If a TV show, or book, or movie, or cartoon, or whatever else, helps you realise who you really are, be it transgender, or gay, or anything else, then it’s a great thing. We get to see it played out here as M’gann is accepted by her idol in a really poignant moment.
Now as for that TV show, it is such a perfect pastiche of a 70s sitcom it’s hard to believe it’s not a real show. It even has a theme song that’s catchy and won’t get out of your head (and it’s back in mine now). For the DC trivia buffs out there, all the actors listed in the opening credits are all DC characters. The Young Justice Wiki has a full run down of who they all are, if you’re curious. It’s funny that despite the impact it had on M’gann the show just had one season, so it never did catch on. But it was getting some late night reruns as there were allusions to it in several episodes, Downtime and Misplaced if I remember rightly, where there’s a TV on in the background and it’s just there long enough to catch the name of the show or the theme song. Also the creators of the show, Greg Vietti and Brandon Weisman, are the swapped names of the Young Justice show creators Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti.
We get a better look at Light member Queen Bee this episode. Her stated power is to “control most men and some women” which is a nice way to slip a nod to multiple sexualities. She seems a bit more like Dr Doom in his dictatorship of Latveria, the dictator talks a good talk but it’s not a nice place to live for anyone other than the dictator. Marina Sirtis is just fantastic whenever she’s playing a villain, and this is no exception. She just exudes confidence and control, no matter what happens she still feels like the one in control of the situation. Then at the end we see that she also knows M’gann’s secret, and that she’s going to blackmail her with it. Even if she can’t enthral M’gann she still finds a way to be in control. There’s a reason why Psimon is working for her personally, he can take control of minds that she can not.
No Light ‘just as planned’ moment as the Team foil Queen Bee’s plan. We do see that she’s got more Apokoliptan weaponry from their partner, just like she said they would in Bereft. And Superboy notices it as such, given his previous encounter with it in Disordered. So The Light’s Partner is certainly giving them a lot of weapons to use. I wonder who this partner could be.
Little things I liked, M’gann fangirling over meeting her idol. Wally being dismissive over VHS tapes. Wally subtly hinting that he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, and he likes poking Robin about it. Wally’s ‘don’t leave me hanging’ bit when he calls for a high five. Conner’s continued dislike of monkeys and liking of simple names, like the monkey being named Monkey. The teaser being such a cheap fake-out, it’s such a silly false drama moment it’s hard not to laugh at it. M’gann’s laptop that has a hologram projector instead of a screen, it’s just a cool looked piece of technology.
Wally’s souvenir: Hello Megan VHS tape. Not sure how they’ll play it, but it’s on the souvenir shelf.
Quote of the episode:
“Maybe it’s just a coincidence.” Conner. While watching the Hello Megan TV show and comparing it to M’gann.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“You know you don’t have to put on a mask for me.” Conner to M’gann.