Young Justice Re(af)Watch Season 2 Episode 18 Intervention
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 18 Intervention
Written by: Peter David
Directed by: Mel Zwyer
Episode synopsis: Blue Beetle is out saving Metropolis from Superman level threats, and doing Reach PR work as he’s still under their control. The Team plan on changing that as they attack him and Rocket and Zatanna manage to contain him. Taking him to the Bialyan temple they found back in Beneath they use its magic’s to take the Scarab Off-Mode, just as it did to make the Scarab go Off-Mode the first time. And thanks to the Reach sending in Green Beetle to try and assist Blue the Team now have two Beetles Off-Mode and free of the Reach. Oh and M’gann and La’gaan broke up on the long Bioship ride from Atlantis to Blüdhaven.
As we enter the final part of the season we close out some more story arcs. Blue Beetle’s arc comes to a close as he is once again free of the Reach, Impulse’s arc too since they were so tied together. Blue has been under Reach control for about a quarter of the season, which is a significant amount of time. We also got to see a more typical superhero day, stopping a villain robbing a bank. Though since this was a Superman villain he was robbing it with a giant robot. Which is always fun to see.
Seeing how the Reach’s control works for the first time was an interesting thing. As the Scarab was the one directly in control but could not disobey the Reach, and the Reach could see everything from Blue’s eyes and also speak through him acting as Blue’s voice. Jaime being stuck to just a voice inside his own head, becoming what the Scarab was to him at the start. We also learn both the Scarab and the Ambassador have been pretending to be him to his family, which means some very awkward conversations are coming once Jaime gets home.
Throughout the episode we get hints that the Scarab is rebelling against the Reach as best they can. They obviously can’t directly disobey, but they can take their time following orders and leave the Team ample time to capture them. Even though the Scarab is On-Mode they still are as much a prisoner of the Reach as Jaime is. It would’ve been nice to see hints of this in previous episodes, but that might’ve cut some of the tension surrounding Blue’s On-Mode status. This is also the first time we’ve seen how the Reach control works and heard the Scarab’s inner voice when On-Mode; previously we only heard Blue speak so we don’t know how much of that was the Scarab or the Ambassador. So that makes it a little bit harder to get any hints like the ones this episode provided.
The temple in Bialya feels a bit off in terms of set-up. We see it in episode 5 Beneath, and while they do go back there this episode rewatching Beneath doesn’t really give much set up for it. We see bits of the temple in the background and one big shot of it as they enter, but there’s nothing with any real foreshadowing potential, it’s just a little bit disappointing given how this show’s foreshadowing is usually a bit better. As for who they summon to free the Scarabs, that’s a reference to a 70s TV show The Power Of Isis which ran with the 70s Shazam TV series. They summoned the goddess Isis here and channelled her magic, if anyone was wondering who it was that appeared behind Zatanna as she was working her mojo.
That lead to referencing the other Blue Beetles, Dan Garrett and Ted Kord. Dan being the first Blue Beetle created in the 40s and did use a scarab he found in an Egyptian tomb to become a superhero, though it was explicitly magical at the time then retconned as alien when Jaime came along. Ted is also largely similar to this series’ version, though in the original comics the Scarab just didn’t work for him as it wasn’t compatible. It was interesting to see Ted died here fighting both Sportsmaster and Deathstroke, presumably sacrificed himself and blew up his lab than let them take the Scarab. As far as heroic last stands go I think he did alright on that front. A bit better than being shot in the head by Maxwell Lord, like he was in the original comics.
One would assume that The Light had their own plans for the Scarab, perhaps having one of their agents taking on the role of the new Blue Beetle and presenting them as a “gift” to the Reach. Only to take them Off-Mode when the time came to betray the Reach, after all it can’t be a coincidence that Queen Bee just happened to build a base in a temple that had what they needed to turn a Scarab Off-Mode. But as always they adapt to changing circumstances, and they even managed to get in a Just As Planned at the end, haven’t seen one of those for a while. Betraying the Reach means they need to remove their biggest guns, the Scarabs, but also doing it in a way that makes it look like they didn’t just let the Team waltz in and use their temple. Classic Light move.
It was nice that they had Impulse be the one to get the final blow in that makes sure that Jaime and the Scarab are Off-Mode. Thematically it’s good as this is his stated character purpose, his one big goal for the show. Plot wise it also adds to his time travel story, as it implies that if he wasn’t there at that exact moment then they would’ve lost and the Reach would’ve taken over with Blue Beetle being their brutal overseer of Earth. We don’t know if this was exactly the case in Bart’s timeline, if things happened this way there too, but it’s a good way to show Bart as the agent of change in this scenario. He managed to crash the mode.
The relationship drama this time is a little bit less dire than when we had Mal and Karen fix their problems on War World under threat of death and world annihilation, but things are a little more serious with M’gann and La’gaan’s problems. They break up, for good, with many fans rejoicing I’m sure. It’s kind of nice seeing them just have a good honest talk and break up for good reasons, which is very rare for a TV show especially the live action ones that go for “maximum drama” every time. I did like that M’gann broke up with him because of her own issues, nothing to do with Conner or La’gaan, just that she got into a relationship with him for the wrong reasons and as a rebound. She’s doing this for herself because it’s what she feels is best for her, rather than because of Conner, and it’s good to see her retain her own agency here. Not something you see in fiction a lot. Of course she clearly wants to get back together with Conner, but that’s not why she broke up with La’gaan and the bioship scene made that clear.
Redesigned character of the episode is a surprise appearance by Toyman. He’s one of those Superman villains that are a little bit too silly for any big movie villain status, though strangely he’s done alright on TV. Appearing many times in TV shows, animated and live action, so he’s not done too bad for himself. Probably his most memorable and creepy version is from Superman The Animated series in the 90s, with a dolls head mask, making many appearances throughout the DC Animated Universe and being thoroughly creepy every time. He’s a villain that makes weapons out of toys, it’s a simple and classic gimmick. Here there’s not a whole lot to write about since he was just a quick big villain for Blue Beetle to fight. But it did seem like he had bought into the Reach’s propaganda that Blue Beetle single-handedly stopped the War World and that made him wish Superman had shown up. Makes you wonder what Blue Beetle’s life is going to be like after all this is over.
This episode is certainly good for the comics fans, we got Toyman, got to see two other Blue Beetles, the Goddess Isis even, so not a bad time at all. Certainly setting the stage for the final two episodes. The Reach seeing their Crystal Key is gone so they set up guards for the Key Chamber, but outside from where the League is guarding it. The Light is subtly weakening the Reach by taking away two of their Beetles. Everything’s gearing up to kick off for the season final.
Little things I liked: We got to see the Mongul/Black Beetle fight end from the last episode, it’s still nice seeing episode-to-episode continuity like this rather than just wrapping it up off screen. The one guy during the Toyman fight who says Blue Beetle sucks and the Reach stinks, but then says Blue’s pretty cool and the Reach are ok after Blue stops Toyman, he was just pretty funny. The Ambassador’s very weak and lame threats to the Team when they kidnap Blue, and then Jaime roasting him for all of them.
Quote of the episode:
“That’s not the way I talk, and stop waving, I look like the Queen of England. [poses with hands on hips] Great, now I’m Peter Pan.” Jaime, from inside the Scarab
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“Unfortunately our Ambassador has no appetite for direct confrontation.” Black Beetle, showing his displeasure at the Ambassador and his leadership once again.