Young Justice Re(af)Watch Season 2 Episode 20 Endgame
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 20 Endgame
Written by: Kevin Hopps
Directed by: Doug Murphy
Episode synopsis: The Justice League get declared innocent at their Rimbor trial, thanks to the evidence gathered by the Team and some dubious negotiating by Conner and M’gann. Meanwhile the rest of the Team are confronting Black Beetle on the Reach mothership. Beetle is defeated but he has already implemented their plan for Earth’s destruction. Twenty bombs set to disrupt Earth’s magnetic field and doom the planet. With some assistance by Lex Luthor they devise a counter measure and with the entire Team and League’s help they stop all the bombs. All but one. Flash, Impulse, and Kid Flash race against it, draining it of it’s energy, but Kid Flash is not fast enough, taking the energy into himself, and he “ceases.” Vandal Savage takes the War World to Rimbor and declares Earth off limits to alien invaders. The Team mourns for Wally, as Impulse takes on the Kid Flash mantle in his honour and Artemis returns as a hero but as Tigress this time. For all they’ve accomplished the Team now operates out of the Watchtower side-by-side with the League. And on the planet Apokolips Vandal Savage meets with his partner from the very beginning of the series, Darkseid.
This one was a doozy. Just a roller-coaster of an episode and a season final. There’s the final take down of the Reach and Black Beetle, the globe spanning adventure to save the Earth, and the sacrifice of Wally to do so. It certainly was an epic way to end the season, and even the whole series till they got a pick-up for season 3 years later. If this had been the end then this would’ve been a good one to end it on. Not everything’s resolved but there’s a grander sense to the Team’s victory here. They saved the world, dealt a serious blow to The Light, and have become equals with the League. That’s a pretty perfect way to close out the series.
The trial at Rimbor has finally ended, and the League were going to be found guilty all because they wouldn’t pay the bribe like is customary. Funny thing is that we don’t see any reactions to this from the League so we don’t know if they didn’t pay the bribe out of pride or because they were just unaware they had to pay a bribe as the judge was maybe being too subtle about it. Asking if they had “anything more to offer” with a little hand gesture. Probably the former, but the latter is funnier. Not sure what they’d bribe the judge with, they don’t have much use for dollars so Batman can’t do anything, Hawkwoman, Hawkman, and Icon might have some space money, and I don’t think the Green Lantern’s would be allowed to pay for bribes. So unless the Hawks and Icon had a lot of space money saved up they couldn’t bribe the judges anyway.
The solution Conner and M’gann came up with on the fly was certainly an inventive way to make a bribe, though it does have some unfortunate implications. Their idea, one that was just made spur of the moment, is that by declaring the League innocent based on all of the new evidence they’ve just presented the Rimbor court gets more legitimacy. So more people will come their court because of such legitimacy and the more bribes they can get from it. That’s not me extrapolating what Conner said, that’s literally what he proposed. Because it was a spur of the moment idea maybe they didn’t think of how many people this might screw over as these aliens would come expecting a fair hearing and get put in jail because they’re too poor to pay the bribes. That’s all assuming anyone believes the high court of Rimbor has any legitimacy in the first place. The great ‘hive of scum and villainy’ has a lot of PR issues to get past before they can be seen as a high court with legitimacy.
The episode also moves forward with getting Conner and M’gann back together, and I can’t really get on board with it. The show’s been building towards this for over half the season, and while this episode didn’t have them get back together on screen it was obvious that’s what was happening. I’ve already said my thoughts on M’gann’s lacklustre redemption arc, but there’s also been no real on-screen development for Conner for him to forgive her. She tried to violate his mind and alter his memories, that’s a pretty big deal to just ‘forgive and forget’ over. That’s a barrier of trust that M’gann shattered and building it back up again takes time and effort that we weren’t given. Probably the big turning point was Conner and M’gann’s talk at the end of Cornered, right after she had broken Kaldur’s mind, and we can speculate about that being what turned things around for them and built some trust with Conner again, but we never saw any of it. All of it was off-screen. This arc for them had a lot of potential but I don’t think they stuck the landing on it, and that’s a shame.
Blue Beetle arc is also over, the Reach are defeated and taken away to stand trial with the Guardians of the Universe, Jaime has the answers he was searching for, and he’s made peace with the Scarab. I wouldn’t call him the main character of the season, he spends most of the back half of the season under Reach control so that should discount him for that status, but he has the most prominence of all the new characters. That’s for the simple reason of the Reach are the main villains of the season. He is as tied to them as Zod is with Superman. I’m perfectly fine with Jaime’s extra screen time given this was a quite well done adaptation of his comics storyline, and I loved those comics. I wish the other new characters got more time in the spotlight, I also wish the season was longer than 20 episodes to have that extended time, but we can’t always get what we wish for.
Wally’s death is a point of contention for fans, mostly because fans love Wally and don’t want him to be dead. It’s an end of the world scenario, these are some of the biggest stakes for the show, and in order for that to have weight and meaning is for it to have an effect on the characters. This isn’t some standard Monday adventure here, saving the world before tea time and all that, this is supposed to be a big deal, and without that sacrifice it wouldn’t be. Not everything has to be life and death, but there has to be some sort of lasting consequences that aren’t just brushed off at the start of the next season otherwise what was the point. Then the end of the world just becomes mundane, with no real weight to it because the audience knows everyone will come out fine and dandy.
One of the things I did see a few fans asking was “why not kill Flash instead of Wally?” The reason you kill Wally instead of Barry is the exact same reason why fans ask that question, because it hurts more with Wally. The audience has a connection to Wally that isn’t there with Barry, it wouldn’t matter that much if Barry died on this show because he was a side character and not a main one. But with Wally dying then the sacrifice feels real, it feels earned, he died saving the world and the audience feels as bad about that as the main characters do.
I’d like Wally to come back too, but you can’t just hit the undo button here. The consequences have to be real or else the stakes aren’t real. Bringing him back lessens the tension around life and death stakes in the show, so it would need to be done carefully. Death has to have some meaning, it shouldn’t be cheapened. If they do bring back Wally I hope they do it well and make it work without ruining his sacrifice. That’s if he comes back, they might just keep Wally dead for all we know.
Nightwing retires, or takes a break, after everything is over. That’s the culmination of his arc this season, he’s had enough and Wally’s death is the thing that pushes him over the edge. From rewatching the season this was the thing that stood out for me more going through it again. He just gets beaten down by all of the events of the season, taking personal responsibility for things that were out of his control, and you see it get worse and worse for him. Knowing that it ends with him taking a break from everything lends that extra edge to his scenes because it’s not just seeing him struggle with it all but that it breaks him. He’s the tragedy of the events of season 2 all rolled up into one character. Here’s hoping season 3 is a little better for him.
We got to see that Lex Luthor has not been implicated at all in The Light, and while he doesn’t deny his association here he also doesn’t confirm it either so legally he is still free and clear. He shows off his preparedness again with an already devised countermeasure for the Reach’s doomsday bombs. Which makes me think he must have had teams of people working on Reach countermeasures from information they probably stole from a Reach database. We saw that Kaldur and others had access to the ship when delivering runaways for them to experiment on, not hard to imagine someone sneaking in and copying their database without them knowing about it.
What interesting set-up we did get for Lex was for him vying for the position of UN Secretary General, after the current one resigned over the Reach situation. It brings to mind the comic storyline where Lex ran for and won the US presidency in 2000s, though as the Justice League Unlimited cartoon put it when they did their version on that story “do you know how much power I’d have to give up to be president.” In Young Justice the UN Secretary General does have more power and access because of their relationship to the Justice League. In that position Lex has an influence of the League and can push the agenda of The Light, which also includes the handling of outer space matters since that is part of The Light’s ultimate goals and going to be a bigger thing for Earth to deal with in the future. That’s certainly a better move than just becoming US president.
We have to talk about G. Gordon Godfrey one last time this season, “the lone voice of reason” as he calls himself. Funny how people whose entire routine can be shouting at the camera about things they’re blatantly lying about can say they’re about “reason” or “logic.” He takes credit for UN Secretary General Tseng resigning, even throwing in a “you’re welcome” at the end. Though the big thing is his full distancing himself from the Reach, full on rewriting history and gaslighting his audience; as he says Tseng should resign for his support of the Reach yet no apologising for his universal praise of the Reach until the wind had shifted and they dropped out of favour. He expects his audience to forget about his involvement in the Reach or make excuses for him, so he can hold people to a much higher standard than he wants to be held to. He pushed for Lex Luthor to be the next UN Secretary General despite Lex being one of the people in bed with the Reach, literally making their subservience soft drink. Then he gives Lex sole credit for saving the planet, because he cannot say that the Justice League did it as that goes against his message. He has to stay on-brand, no praising of the League or aliens, unless of course he can use one to attack another. What’s more on-brand than promoting Lex Luthor, the most anti-Justice League and anti-alien billionaire there is.
Darkseid is our final revamped design this season, and he needs no introduction. One of the main bad guys in the entire DC Universe. First appearing in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 in 1970 and created by Jack Kirby, Darkseid is in opposition to the New Gods of New Genesis, the “unspeakable” master of Desaad from all the way back in season 1 episode 17 Disordered. The show has been building towards this since episode 9 Bereft from when we see the first Boom Tube and hear of The Light’s secret partner. Giving The Light technology from both Apokolips and ones stolen New Genesis, things like the Father Boxes. Booms Tubes are the main ones we see used in the show, with some other New Gods tech appearing every now and again, like in Salvage this season. From how Vandal Savage interacts with Darkseid it’s clear they are partners, not master and servant, not someone being manipulated, but a partnership of equals. That’s the scary thing.
Darkseid traditionally wants the “Anti-Life Equation” in the original comics, always searching for it as a means of exerting his dominance over the universe. Anti-Life is a fancy term of mind control, taking away the freewill of everyone is the antithesis of life, and it does fit in with what we learn about The Light in the season 1 final. As Vandal says that part of The Light’s agenda is researching “every conceivable method of mind control” and the Anti-Life Equation fits that bill. What that means for Darkseid and The Light’s future appearances is hard to say. What we do know is that Darkseid has been seeded as a big conquering force in the universe. Mongul’s homeworld being invaded and him deposed was one such moment, another similar moment was in the final arc of the tie-in comic. As well as quite possibly being the one behind that future apocalypse we saw at the end of Bloodlines.
We also get the surprise reveal of one of Darkseid’s generals, G. Gordon Godfrey. Who is not in fact human but really Glorious Godfrey, a New God who has the power to persuade people into believing what he tells them. Based on an American TV evangelist from the 70s whose sermons “were more calculated to instil fear than faith.” So whenever Godfrey gets revamped for a new series he gets remade into the modern equivalent, and in this case it was a right-wing TV pundit. There’s an argument for this revelation being a cop-out, that Godfrey is not just a regular TV pundit but is only as effective as he is because of superpowers, or that the most anti-League voice secretly in league with the bad guys. But in the glorious year of 2018 a “guy who obviously parrots Nazi points turns out to be a secret Nazi or Nazi supporter” is a regular thing, so that applying to Godfrey is very prescient.
As for his superpowers, that’s thankfully left vague in the show. I think one of the stronger points of the Godfrey stuff here is that we don’t see how many people have turned anti-League and anti-alien because of him. We weren’t given scenes of people turned against the League, no masses of people who are anti-alien, nothing to say everyone was mind manipulated by Godfrey. Things like that rarely work well when TV shows or movies do them, and I doubt it would’ve worked here given the limited screen time they’d be given. So it’s all left vague for how much Godfrey is turning people, we got told the League’s popularity is “at an all time low” but whenever we see them in public it’s not like anyone’s throwing tomatoes at them. The Godfrey segments are giving us what information the public is receiving and it’s up to the audience to decide how that is effecting the general public of Earth-16.
Time for the final wrap up. We made it to the final episode, that’s it, that’s how the show would’ve ended if season 3 hadn’t been picked up all those years later. This would’ve been a good one to go out on though. The big epic stakes and the ultimate sacrifice make for some good final material, along with seeing the Team finally earning full status and Watchtower privileges as part of the Justice League. They now get to work side-by-side with the League, which has been their goal since episode 1. That sounds like a nice ending to me. Even with Vandal and Darkseid still out there the episode still had good closure moments that made for a suitable a final episode. We will have to see what comes next.
This has been a journey, one a lot longer than I ever anticipated, but this blog series is finally over. Honestly the wait was worth it, if I had finished season 2 in 2016 it wouldn’t have been as good as this turned out to be. My efforts would have been a lot poorer and I am quite proud of this series. I hope you have all enjoyed it. I currently have no plans to do season 3, not only because there’s currently no way for me to watch it, but I started this as a retrospective of a finished show. I had hoped it’d return, but knowing there’s new material coming changes my outlook when making these. Time and clarity also factor into it, it’s a rewatch series not a first opinion series, so there’s got to be enough time passed to properly rewatch the show.
As for doing this format with other shows… well we’ll see. I need to recover from making these daily posts first before I can make any decisions there. Same with potentially tackling the Young Justice tie-in material.
Little things I liked: We got to see Adam Strange has kept his costume from Rann, he gets to be a big time Superhero now. Mention of Wendy and Marvin and how Conner has been helping them with relationship stuff, which sounds hilarious because it’s Conner so I kind of want to see that now. Snapper Carr has to coordinate things on the Watchtower because it literally is an all “hands on deck” situation. The running easter egg gag of the school bus needing to be rescued has returned.
Quote of the episode:
“Business as usual.” Vandal Savage, the last line of the show.
Quote that takes on a new meaning after watching the series:
“If you need help Barbara’s more than ready to step up.” Nightwing to Aqualad.
Signs of Barbara getting a bigger role in the Team, and we do see her positioned as Kaldur’s Second at the end when he’s handing out mission assignments.
It’s the season final, there’s probably a few things in there that set up season 3 that we won’t know about till season 3 comes out. Vandal’s War World trip and Lex being in the running for UN Secretary General are obvious ones that will have ramifications down the line. And Glorious Godfrey’s appearance on Apokolips, that’s a sign of things to come.
Find out what happens in season 3, Young Justice Outsiders, on DC Universe streaming, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.