Young Justice Re(af)Watch Episode 23 Insecurity
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 23, Insecurity.
Written by: Peter David
Directed by: Jay Oliva
Episode synopsis: Artemis’ day has gone from great, to bad, to terrible, to evil supervillain dad coming to pay her a visit. Red Arrow has joined the Team to continue his mole hunt, and his first mission has them tracking Sportsmaster to find out what he’s up to. He’s managed to sneak Professor Ivo out of prison, without anyone noticing, and they meet up with The Brain and Klarion to perform some mystic-techo-whodo on the alien sea creature sample they stole. While the Team’s tracking Sportsmaster Artemis gets in a fight with Cheshire, and she plants a tracker on her but gives the Team a decoy. But Red Arrow put a tracker on her also, suspecting she’s the mole. The bad guys all escape, Wally and Red Arrow chew out Artemis over her actions, and then Sportsmaster visits her at night to tempt her to join his side. And there was a B-plot involving the Team members left behind at the Cave going into Red Tornado’s room and finding out he’s making an android body so he can have a human life.
It’s Artemis’ turn in the spotlight, something she doesn’t want if that light also shines on her past. It was an interesting trip from seeing her kick ass with Green Arrow, and being extremely happy and proud of herself, to the insecurities setting in. She found out her mother talked to Batman and Green Arrow before her, and that her mother begged them to keep her on the straight and narrow. On one hand she was just being a concerned mother who thought her daughter had started a life of crime. On the other hand to Artemis it feels like she was taken on as a pity case. Then her place on the Team feels threatened by Red Arrow, who has made it well know that he really doesn’t like or trust her. So to prove to herself that she belongs on the Team she agrees to go on the mission to track her father.
Artemis is this bundle of insecurities and self doubt that’s hidden by her bravado and snark. It’s really nice to see a character that has anxiety, who has to work herself up to go to the Cave after finding out she might just be a pity case. She has a genuine worry that she will be rejected by her friends if they find out about her past, about her family. The Team have faced both her father and her sister before, and it’s not unreasonable to think they might doubt her if they knew about them. We know that they won’t, just like we know they won’t reject M’gann for being a White Martian, but the fear and possibility of it happening certainly overpowers any logic that says otherwise. The brain tricks you into thinking only the worst possible outcome will happen. That’s why Artemis is my favourite of these characters, not just because she’s badass and awesome, but that she struggles with herself and reacts in ways that are very relatable. A hero’s struggles can’t just be with the bad guys but with themselves and their own conflicts, and Artemis embodies that.
We get incontrovertible proof that Sportsmaster is her father and Cheshire is her sister, and her mother was a supervillain known as the Huntress (a different one than the more well known Helena Bertinelli). Sportsmaster seems very intent on using this situation to push Artemis to join with him, though whether it’s because of some twisted fatherly love or because having a superhero daughter is bad for his rep is unclear. He’s certainly not seeming like he’s angry at her choices, he’s acting more smugly superior. Like he thinks she’s just a nudge away from seeing the ‘truth’ that she’s playing for the wrong team. Having a smugly superior parent would certainly make Artemis feel anxious about things and question herself while she makes unwise decisions because of that anxiety.
Then there’s the Red Arrow part of the story, and his continued mole hunt. His little hunt is certainly endangering the Team, constant questions of their loyalties and his attitude towards them is more than likely going to cause issues like the ones in this episode. Where Artemis goes off on her own because she really doesn’t think Red Arrow would be particularly understanding or forgiving if he found out about her family. The Team could start questioning their actions and how they’d be judged as ‘mole behaviour’ by Red Arrow. He’s certainly not being a big help. The mole would certainly have contributed to The Light knowing they were tracking Sportsmaster, perhaps even setting up the entire engagement in order to cast doubt on Artemis. Giving Sportsmaster more pressure to put on her to swap sides. If such a mole existed, as so far it just looks like it’s part of Red Arrow’s over active imagination.
The Red Tornado bit was a nice diversion. We got to see a bit more of Tornado’s development in humanity, making a more human identity for himself so he can go out among humans and learn more. There was also a quick shot of a few different seasonal holiday items in his room, it seems like he’s studying some more human customs. Though I’m not sure exactly what he’ll learn from it other than ‘humans are a bit weird’ because there’s a lot of different winter holiday traditions that when smashed together don’t really make a lot of sense. Seeing Zatanna being a bit bored and taking the lead to find out more about Tornado was fun. Do you think Red Tornado’s android had a robot penis? Given the camera was very careful not to show its crotch and Zatanna’s pants bit it’s entirely possible.
Also apparently there was a cut part where Conner puts on a Shield to fly up to Tornado’s apartment, which I’m glad was cut for time. It’s one thing to use a Shield on a mission, but to slap one on just to get somewhere he could just as easily jump to would be a bit much. Though the animation where he’s rubbing his arm got left in, which now makes it look like he’s contemplating slapping on a Shield but doesn’t do it. That’s a nicer character beat for me, that he’s tempted to use it for mundane things. The temptation is more fun to see than him doing it. It implies an urge to use them that we see played out more in the next episode.
No real Light coda, and it had no one gloating ‘just as planned’ though things did go as planned for them. In fact I’d say everything went as planned for them for once, they didn’t win by having someone take the fall for them, like Revelations, or achieve their objectives but still losing something, like in Terrors, but we got to see everything go right for them. The one snag was Artemis seeing Ivo, Brain, and Klarion with their handiwork, potentially compromising Belle Reve and their alliance. But that’s a minor thing that they’ll use to their advantage in a few episodes. So it was a good clean victory for The Light.
I think it was the Team’s first real mission failure too, and unfortunately right as Red Arrow joined too. They’ve had moments of failure and downer endings, like in Homefront and Failsafe, but never an actual mission failing with nothing to show for it. It’s kind of interesting that they managed to do this type of plot, given that cartoons tend to favour the heroes winning rather than losing to the villains. This episode was just a character piece about Artemis and her costing the Team the mission, at least it appears to be her fault as the mole might’ve had a hand in it too. It’s a case of knowing the audiences investment in these characters is going to carry the episode and make it worthwhile, not whether or not they succeed in their missions. After 22 episodes I’d say that investment is earned.
Little things I liked, the cute nod to Spectacular Spider-Man with Black Spider at the beginning. Josh Keaton provided the voice for both characters, the opening shot was a reference to the opening shot to Spectacular Spider-Man’s first episode, and then there’s the webslinging lines. The Tardis from Dr Who made an appearance as a Zeta Tube, seems someone on the League’s a fan of the show. The little Ivo and Morrow interaction, with Ivo being very smug about it. Wally and Artemis getting closer, then shipper hopes are snatched away at the end.
Wally’s souvenir: Artemis real tracker that she used to follow Cheshire without the Team’s knowledge. Which might get a little awkward on the shelf in a few episodes time.
Quote of the episode:
“So you’re pretty much allergic to radioing a warning?” Red Arrow.
“Artemis to Arrow, look out.” Artemis, in the most deadpan way possible.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“Why Arrow, if you wanted another date you only had to ask.” Cheshire.
“You two are dating?” Artemis.