Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 22 Agendas
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 22, Agendas.
Episode synopsis: The Justice League are holding a meeting to decide who will become the future members of the League, and if Captain Marvel and Dr Fate should remain members. Meanwhile Conner is contacted by Lex Luthor, who tells him that there’s another Superclone at Cadmus. Even though he doesn’t trust Luthor he still goes to investigate. Guardian says there’s no more cloning projects happening at Cadmus, but after looking around Conner finds a hidden cold storage facility. In it he finds the Superclone, labelled Project Match, and awakens him. Match is unstable and attacks Conner, displaying superpowers Conner doesn’t have. He beats Conner into unconsciousness and then vanishes. When he wakes up Luthor tells him Match is fully Kryptonian, while he is only half with the other half being human. Luthor then gives him patches called ‘shields’ that switch off the human half so he can fully use his suppressed Kryptonian powers. He finds Match in a secret Genomorph city they were building so they could live without human oppression. He and Match fight again, forcing Conner to use one of the “Shields” to win. Match is put back on ice, Genomorph City is shut down, and Luthor reveals he’s the DNA donor for Conner’s human half.
This is Conner’s episode, and as with M’gann last time, there’s quite a few revelations about him here. Though this time these are revelations he experiences rather than just the audience. I think the biggest one is the one the show doesn’t call attention to, where his rage comes from. His Kryptonian half is a patched together with human DNA, and because of that incomplete Kryptonian DNA he’s genetically disposed to being angry. We see that with Match, who is nothing but anger and rage. Then when Conner puts on the Shield he starts losing himself in that rage, even if it was for a moment here. We’ll see that played out in future episodes when he uses more of the Shields.
The patchwork DNA was part of Conner’s comic origin, where one of his DNA donors was Luthor. Since Lex considers himself the pinnacle of humanity there would be no other option to go with, and the added bonus of messing with Superman’s head is just the cherry on top for Lex. It also gives us a reason why Conner doesn’t have all of Superman’s powers, and never will do unless he uses the Shields. Since Match had all of his powers then they are part of the incomplete Kryptonian DNA Conner has, but the human DNA somehow is blocking them. In true comic book silliness the Shields suppress the human DNA so he can be at full power for a limited amount of time. So Luthor and Cadmus found a way to suppress specific parts of DNA with the equivalent of a nicotine patch, that’s pretty impressive. There’s an entire science fiction novel waiting to be written about that one concept alone.
The League meeting was honestly something I could’ve watched a whole episode of, but I’m a sucker for exploring the inner workings of superheroes like that. I assume most of the audience would’ve been bored with just the League sitting around a table talking for twenty minutes. It gives us a chance to see a lot of things that need to be talked about, but is hard to casually fit into an episode of a show not about the Justice League. They consider the matter very seriously, and it’s something fans have talked about themselves with who they’d want on the League and why. But to the League this will have an effect on their future missions, how many people they can save, picking or not picking a new member could be the key in saving the world. Then there’s the social impact, expanding the League could lead to another escalation of villain activity, like the Injustice League. The very thing Jim Gordon talked about at the end of Batman Begins. They are considering the ramifications of their actions in ways we haven’t really seen the League do before.
The roster we saw was a great use of continuity from the show. Most of the new heroes considered are ones we’d seen in Revelation as they’d helped out against the Injustice League. That works on two levels, the first being that we know them already and we’ve seen what they can do, so it’s not just a list of relatively obscure DC characters we hadn’t heard of before. The other being that the reason they are considered is because of their help in Revelation, so the League has worked along side them and sees that they are worthy of joining them. Then there’s the elephants in the room, Captain Marvel and Dr Fate, and the question is raised for why they should remain in the League. I liked the Dr Fate response, that he’s here because Zatara doesn’t trust Nabu and wants the League to keep an eye on him. I’m sure Batman can appreciate that. While the reasons why Captain Marvel should stay aren’t gone into too much, given he has proved himself to be a valued member of the League and trust worthy that probably helped them decide to keep him on. Though it’s got to be a little awkward for a while as the League adjusts to the knowledge that he’s ten.
Wonder Woman got a good showing this episode, as she rarely gets screen time on the show. I assume that would’ve been different if they had been allowed to use her sidekick, Donna Troy, but they were told she was off-limits to them when they were making season 1. I think that got cleared up in the middle of season 1, so after the show direction had been decided and meaning that there wasn’t any way to add Donna Troy in. But Wonder Woman in this episode got to steal the meeting scenes every time she spoke. She provokes a response out of Dr Fate to find out if Zatara is still a part of him. She is clearly not comfortable with Batman making Robin his sidekick at nine years old, as we find out it was something he did so Robin wouldn’t turn out like him. Which ironically fits in Robin’s character storyline from the last few episodes. She even gives Superman a little side-eye when Superboy is brought up, she doesn’t seem too happy with that situation either but she knows better than to bring it up in the meeting. Her main theme this episode was about trust, that seems to be a big issue for the character. That would explain why she seems a little unfriendly towards Batman, he’s all about secrecy and deception and she’s the opposite. That’s a more interesting dynamic between the two that we don’t really see elsewhere, I wish that could’ve been explored more in other episodes. I’d say that was a pretty good take on Wonder Woman, though given her limited role in the show it’s hard to weigh it up against other portrayals of the character.
Lex Luthor here was a great schemer and manipulator. Just constantly lying to get Conner to do exactly what he wanted, pushing the right buttons and saying just enough to push Conner where he wanted him to go. He’s a silver tongued snake, and even though Conner doesn’t trust him he still follows along because Luthor is feeding him information he can’t ignore. He’s getting his claws into him, the more Conner goes along with it the further the claws can dig in. The entire point of him meeting Conner was to tempt him, to plant the seeds that he hopes will blossom with The Light getting their ‘weapon’ back. He even tried to play up the fact that he’s Conner’s father to push that parentage button, as Superman has been distancing himself from being a father to Conner. To Conner’s credit he doesn’t fall for that or trust Luthor, but it’s hard to ignore the silver tongue. Now he could’ve been easily abducted at the end of the episode, reprogrammed to do The Light’s bidding. I think the reason why Luthor didn’t was because he’s more useful to them with the Team right now. Plus if he’s abducted then the Team and the League will be looking for him, and that could disrupt their plans. Luthor might also be hoping his temptations work and Conner joins them willingly. There was also a good little reference to Superman The Movie from the 70s when Lex first communicates to Conner. It’s the same high frequency communication that movie Luthor uses, even the dialogue is mostly the same. It was a cute little moment.
No real Light coda this time, though I will say Luthor’s plot did go ‘just as planned’ so that’s another one for the graph. Though I am wondering what else Conner could’ve found in that Cadmus cold storage unit if he looked around a bit more. That might have been awkward if he stumbled upon some of the hidden stuff down there. Thankfully for The Light he never decided to take a good look around.
Little things I liked, we finally get a look at the Watchtower, and it’s a really cool and unique design. The interiors looked great as well, there’s even a garden in there. Seeing Icon and Rocket considered for membership in the League, loved those two Milestone characters. Wonder Woman calling out the lack of women in the League, and then getting Black Canary and Hawkwoman seconding her. Hal and John just flat out rejecting Guy Gardner joining the League, that was just too funny. Though if he did join it would’ve been great to see Batman punch him out like he did in the comics. Batman nominating Plastic Man given he helped him get in the League in the comics, and helped him give up his life of crime in the Brave and the bold cartoon. Not sure if that’s the case in this show, but it was a cute little reference to that either way. Zatanna crying over not being with her dad at Thanksgiving. Conner adjusting to having full Kryptonian powers and his surprise at flying for the first time. And Match burning in the S symbol into his chest backwards, as a neat Bizarro reference.
Quote of the episode:
“Still, we can always use more raw power. And Earth has a third Green Lantern, Guy Gardner.” Flash.
“No.” Hal Jordan and John Stewart in unison.
“But we could really…”
“No!” Hal Jordan and John Stewart in unison.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“When all is said and done the question must be, whom do we trust. Trust to fight beside us. Trust to have our backs. Trust to uphold the high standards and ideals of the Justice League.” Wonder Woman.