Young Justice Re(af)Watch Season 2 Episode 19 Summit
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 19 Summit
Written by: Greg Weisman
Directed by: Tim Divar
Episode synopsis: The Light and the Reach have a summit to discuss the currently failing invasion of Earth, and their partnership. It does not go well and during a more heated moment Ra’s Al Ghul notices Tigress’ glamour charm necklace and rips it off exposing her as Artemis and Kaldur as a traitor. They are both shot by Deathstroke, but Kaldur gets the last laugh as he plays a holo-recording exposing The Light’s manipulations of the Reach. Breaking their alliance. But their deaths were just a ruse and Deathstroke was really Miss Martian in disguise, with the Team ready to strike and attempt to capture them all. Vandal Savage and Black Beetle manage to get away, with Vandal stealing the War World and heading off into space, while Black Beetle plans on destroying the Earth to cover the Reach’s tracks.
This one is really special Everything season 2 has been doing has lead up to this episode. All the plotting and scheming of Kaldur, and The Light, are finally laid bare. It is rather glorious to see a plan come together like this, seeing The Light get beaten at their own game, just all very satisfying. Kaldur can indeed play the game as well as they can, he is the right person to lead the Team against a foe like The Light.
The episode is also a bottle episode, something of a rarity in cartoons. A bottle episode is a TV episode that is set in one location or just uses standing sets already built for the show, and is a budget saving episode. This episode was conceived because the show had gone over budget with its background art, so they set the episode in one location and over a real time period. Not just for budget reasons but also for the challenge of making such an episode. It certainly paid off.
We got to see what The Light were up to this whole time, they were never truly partners with the Reach but using them for their own ends. From the start they’ve been manipulating the situation, getting the Reach to come to Earth, hiring Lobo to out the Kroloteans, crafting the Reach’s positive image status, making their soft drink and secretly neutralising its negative effects, getting the War World to come to Earth so they could steal it, destroying the Reach’s positive image, keeping the Runaways out of the Reach’s hands and using them to attack the Reach covertly. All the while playing the dutiful ally. Then of course playing the high ground when the Reach Ambassador complains about them, claiming they ‘just did their part the Reach were the ones that screwed it all up.’
Then all that planning, all of that manipulating, gone in a puff of smoke thanks to Kaldur. Exposing all of that manipulation and eroding that partnership in one move. Even got Vandal to admit that they framed the Justice League and bribed the Rimbor court, though I do wonder if the bribe was another lie to put the Reach at ease given The Light certainly seems to want to manipulate the League rather than get rid of them outright. They’d certainly want the League back in order to get them to fight the Reach on their behalf. But now Kaldur has exposed more than just their alliance with the Reach, they’ve exposed The Light’s existence itself. Now the UN knows The Light is real, they can now actively try to stop Light operations. That’s certainly a big blow to The Light.
Even though Lex Luthor and Queen Bee got off the hook, making the prudent course of action not to be seen with such a group of villains in case something exactly like this happened. They are public figures with reputations to uphold, after all. So even though the League knows they are part of The Light they can’t prove it. Leaving them free to operate and carry out their plans. Lex is certainly more the careful sort than to be caught out like this, as we’ve seen, to take him down the League will need to do a lot of work. Maybe they should put Kaldur on the case.
Black Manta in this episode is officially off the ‘dad of the year’ list. He gets a lot of supportive dad moments in this episode, but that ending fight with Kaldur burned those points away. Talking about how he should’ve been abusive towards Kaldur saying he should have shown him more “discipline” to make him “ruthless” by “beating that lesson into [his] skull,” that takes him off the ‘good dad’ list for sure. No matter how nice and supportive he seemed, at the end of the day he still turned to the ‘I should’ve beat you more’ playbook when his son rebelled against him. Kaldur’s also right, he was pretty ruthless, just not in the way Manta wanted. Kaldur lied to his father and manipulated him, faked the death of one of his friends, twice, and faked his own death, all to take down the organisation his father is a part of. That’s ruthless, just not in a way that benefits Manta so it doesn’t count to him.
Manta’s still a badass in the series, just like Sportsmaster is, but he’s also a terrible dad, just like Sportsmaster. Manta’s own motivations crop up a little here, things in the dialogue like “no one makes a slave of Black Manta” that give a little insight to his character. I’d be interested to learn more about Manta and why he became a villain, and also why is his arch-enemy Aquaman. In his first appearance this season he casually asked Kaldur if Aquaman died on Kaldur’s latest mission, which does imply a pretty big grudge against him.
This episode was just a brilliant wrap up for the season. It just felt like a big win for our heroes after 2 seasons of facing off against The Light. Kaldur has just been great throughout the season, whether acting as a villain, or plotting the downfall of The Light. His plan might not have come together 100% like he wanted, Vandal and Klarion got away with the War World while Ra’s Al Ghul died and was carried off by Ubu to be resurrected in a Lazarus Pit no doubt, but it was still a big victory. Nightwing was certainly happy, all that weight has been lifted off of his shoulders and he’s taking the win because it means that it was all worth it. Through all the hardships, doubts, fake deaths, and sacrifices, it was worth it in the end. And he’s given Kaldur back his leadership role, he’s had enough of command for now. We’ll see how that goes for him.
Little things I liked: We return to Santa Prisca, though sadly no Bane this time around. They pulled a double fake death on us, again, and stabbed Ra’s though the chest in a more graphic way then I’d expect for a TV cartoon show. They’ve even got fake blood for Kaldur and Artemis being fake shot, which they also had when Artemis was first fake killed. It’s just something you don’t typically see in a cartoon. Just all of the villain banter, I like some good villain banter, and this was a whole episode of that.
Quote of the episode:
“No agreement exists that makes a slave of Black Manta.” Black Manta
“No agreement exists that guarantees the life of Black Manta.” Black Beetle
“Manta guarantees that himself.” Black Manta
“I believe that was fairly ruthless, father. I hope it made you proud.” Kaldur, after defeating Black Manta
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
I don’t know. There’s a few good contenders, Savage saying he’s “underestimating” the Team as mere “children” might foreshadow The Light taking them on much more as a serious threat in the future. There’s also a line about how The Light’s plans involve making Earth the ruler of the entire galaxy. Those are just pure guesses, ones I’m not even confident enough in to both fully quoting them.
Though there is of course this line, “Once this whole invasion thing is over Artemis and I are going back into retirement” said by Wally. But that’s for the next episode.