Young Justice Re(af)Watch Season 2 Episode 16 Complications
Now that season 3 is on its way it’s the best time to rewatch the show, preferably on the DC Universe streaming service if you’re in America as that helps support the show directly and hopefully get us more than just season 3. 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’s first 2 seasons, and maybe more. Continuing on with season 2 episode 16 Complications
Written by: Kevin Hopps
Directed by: Tim Divar
Episode synopsis: Cheshire and Sportsmaster attack Black Manta’s sub as a fully healed Kaldur and Artemis plan how to let Miss Martian escape, thankfully it works out well for both parties as before Cheshire can kill Kaldur they let them in on the secret. Knowing Tigress is Artemis stops the revenge mission, and they aid in keeping Kaldur and Tigress’ secret along with helping Miss Martian. Meanwhile Blue Beetle spins a tale of a Boom Tube opening up and taking the Team on the War World. Nightwing investigates and find many many holes in his story, but it’s too late as the Reach Ambassador has already unveiled Blue Beetle to the world as the “hero who single handedly stopped the War World,” and outed Jaime’s identity.
In the aftermath of the last episode’s big blowout epic War World battle this episode is the perfect more intimate affair needed as a cool down. The Cheshire and Sportsmaster subplot gets a pay-off, along with M’gann and Kaldur’s mind breaking encounter, so things can enter the final stages of the season. Most of the episode takes place on Black Manta’s submarine, save for the Nightwing/Blue Beetle parts, and does feel a lot more intimate. That does help with the revenge plot and the keeping Kaldur and Artemis’ cover plot, as well as the family connections between all parties.
It’s got the duelling plots going on of the infiltration of the sub by Cheshire and Sportsmaster in the beginning, then it’s the outfiltration of M’gann by Kaldur and Artemis. Both work well together and certainly helpful for both parties that this happened to work out the way that it did. Kaldur and Artemis already had a plan to get M’gann out anyway, and I’d imagine it was similar to what they did with Artemis shutting off M’gann’s collar and Kaldur conveniently waking up to stop her. The details might have been a little different, with how they shut the collar off for example, but the basics were likely the same.
Sportsmaster got to show off once again that he is a total badass in his fight against Black Manta, and also against Deathstroke at the end. He can go toe to toe with Manta and you can believe he could win. They certainly had a knockout brawl and really demonstrated how capable these two are as fighters. One might scoff at Deathstroke being an equal of Sportsmaster, but remember Deathstroke is The Light’s second choice for their top enforcer, he’s the second best compared to Sportsmaster in this case.
But still Sportsmaster is a terrible father and this episode keeps to that theme. He can’t even feel either of his daughters presence in M’gann’s psychic realm and has to be kicked to his senses by Artemis. Even in the end Artemis has to mention out how bad he is, he never even said “glad you’re not dead” to her. At the very least he didn’t want to continue on trying to kill Manta for “his rep” since that’s still damaged by all this, but that might just be because M’gann could easily stop him. After this is all over it might also help soothe his ego that he can say his daughter managed to put one over on The Light and that’d certainly help his rep. His self interest is more motivating to him than helping his daughter.
I’m not sure why but I felt the recap exposition a little strongly in this episode more so than others. Recap exposition is dialogue explaining events that have happened in previous episodes to the audience. It’s been part of the show from season 1 and is certainly needed in season 2 to make sure the audience is all caught up on all of the things that have previously happened, because there’s a lot happening in season 2. This episode feels like there’s a lot of it, given it’s not just one bit of dialogue in the beginning but it’s from Black Manta and Deathstroke, then Kaldur, Artemis and M’gann, then Cheshire and Sportsmaster. That’s three loads of recap exposition in rapid succession. I understand why that is, given Deathstroke’s involvement needs explaining, Kaldur’s deception, and then Cheshire’s revenge plot, and they are all separate so they can’t be conflated to the usual thing of one character doing a recap. It still feels like a lot, even if it is understandably why it exists.
As for why do the recaps at all, well it’s a way to keep the audience up to date. I have seen criticisms of it because it is characters repeating things they already know for no reason other than to update the audience. To counterpoint that criticism it is something very much needed on a show with a lot of story going on and an unpredictable TV schedule. Young Justice had a lot of hiatuses, it was incredibly easy to miss episodes or just forget what happened in the six month hiatus between episodes. It’s not something necessary for streaming binge watch shows so I’m curious if this will be a factor in season 3. With all the episodes being available to rewatch at any point, and with episodes released in a timely manner, eliminating the need for it.
On a recent podcast (go to about 31:00 for the relevant part) series co-creator Greg Weisman talked about his previous show Gargoyles and mentioned the 30 second “previously on Gargoyles” episode recaps before each episode they did there. He said he has sworn off doing those recaps ever since because he feels like it puts new viewers off watching the episode as it can seem like they’ve missed too much and think they’re too late to jump on board so won’t bother watching it. That is certainly a danger with Young Justice given the erratic schedule. Getting all the information from the episode itself rather than a “previously on” is new viewer friendly as well as helpful to viewers who have missed an episode or two. It doesn’t feel great when binge watching the show, though I imagine the recap exposition in seasons 1 and 2 could be helpful to those who stream shows but can’t binge watch so they take a long time between viewing sessions. I’m just explaining why it is a thing, agree or not at least you now understand why it’s in the show.
Nightwing’s investigation was a very cool simple thing that just works really well. He gets told this fabricated story by Blue Beetle and does pull up evidence to support it, the Boom Tube trace reading he found, and those were likely put there by The Light to help sell Blue’s story. But he doesn’t stop with that, he investigates the scene, he notices discrepancies with the story, like the fact that a fight clearly happened despite Blue saying it was an instantaneous event. It’s just a great scene because they trust the audience to understand what Nightwing is looking at and that he’s putting the pieces together. There’s a little dialogue explaining some things he’s looking at, but it’s a mostly quiet scene. They could have easily put in little flashbacks to show where every bit of evidence came from, here’s where the fight damaged the floor, here’s where Arsenal damaged the airlock, here’s Robin’s Birdarang hitting Blur Beetle, but they don’t. Other shows have done that but here they just let the scene play out uninterrupted.
Things aren’t going so well for Jaime, though. Blue Beetle has been outed to the world, with the set up from Runaways that had him meet the press and become an official publicly known hero, and then he takes off his “mask” as it were. So now the whole world knows Jaime Reyes is the Blue Beetle. That is going to alter his life, and his family and friends lives, so much after all this is over. The Reach of course are doing this to gain more public trust in showing off how they can help humanity by saying they already created a hero and also lying about how he “stopped the War World single handedly.” Certainly a PR boost after they revealed they had an entire fleet of ships on Earth all along and claimed they only had one. It will be interesting to see what season 3 does with this and how Jaime’s life has been impacted by this.
I liked this episode, dealing with the Artemis family drama is one of my favourite parts of this show, along with Artemis herself. So this episode gave me lots of what I like. While Sportsmaster is a terrible father I appreciate that Jade and Artemis have good sibling moments here. I am super glad they do like each other and are supportive despite being on opposite sides hero/villain wise. They’re on the same side of hating their dad, and that tops any hero/villain stuff. It would have been so easy to just have them hate each other, as other shows have done that with similar relationships, but not here. It makes them more compelling and interesting characters.
Little things I liked: Artemis sitting on the bed at the start, she’s learned her lesson from the earlier episode so she doesn’t want to be standing for hours during psychic link. There’s a nice bit of animation as we see Tigress turn back to Artemis when she looks in the mirror, but done in one shot instead of cutaways and only when Artemis looks at herself. M’gann sounds like she’s resigned to her fate when they talk about her dying if she doesn’t escape, so she hasn’t just gotten over all of her issues from The Fix. Black Manta is still a loving and supportive dad, even if he did blow up some of his troopers because he was worried about Kaldur. Scarab Cells on Robin’s Birdarang previously seen in True Colors when the Atom and Bumblebee went inside Jaime to try and cut the Scarab off. Jade telling her mom that Artemis is alive was a nice way to end this story arc. The Mantaman coffee pot guy, he’s just a swell guy.
Quote of the episode:
“Cheshire, stop. All is not what it seems.” Kaldur
“So it would appear, Mr fakes a mental condition,” Cheshire
This made me giggle.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“Not if I take a seat at their table.” Deathstroke, saying he’s aiming to be a member of The Light.
This one is a pure guess on my part as we enter the last part of the season and this section becomes increasingly harder to do. This quote felt very foreshadowy and since Deathstroke appears in the season 3 trailer we know he’s in it and this might happen.
I’m not going to turn this section into my random guesses on season 3, I’m very bad at that sort of thing, but if I see something relevant I’ll put it in.