Young Justice, Episode 2.16: “Complications”

I am looking at Season Two of the Young Justice animated series, examining its origins in comic book lore and how the show develops its complex mixture of characters and plots. Spoilers for everything up to these episodes.

With the Season Two ending in sight, enough is going on that we get another A/B plot episode.

The episode is framed by the consequences of what happened last time. Blue Beetle is covering up his betrayal by playing the innocent, claiming Mongol escaped, taking the other heroes with him. There’s even evidence to backup up his story that Mongol used an emergency Boom Tube. Nobody seems to make to much of a deal about the use of Boom Tubes so I can only guess the Earth heroes think of it as just another teleport technology — and are ignorant of the connotations that Darkseid and Apokolips are somehow in the background.

Beetle “blames” himself for what happen. The full-activated Scarab seems to have a lot of insight into both Jaime and Dick’s personalities, doing a perfect job imitating the insecure young hero and anticipating how the protective Nightwing would react.

Even with all that going, the main plot is what’s going on aboard Black Manta’s sub. I’m not even going to try and untangle all the factions involved here, how many different groups are sneaking around, who all is pretending to be someone else, pretending to be someone pretending to be yet someone else, or the multi-layered family/friend/rival/enemy relationships are at play. It’s Shakespearean in the complexity of secrets, disguises, and sudden reveals. It’s a lot of fun, my only narrative criticism being how much everything neatly returns to the status quo that existed before this whole story arc began. At least Miss Martian finally knows the truth of Aqualad and Artemis’s undercover mission (though Cheshire and Sportsmaster know as well now…).

The focus then returns to Nightwing on the captured WarWorld. Like his mentor Batman, Dick is a detective. His investigation of the Mongol fight turns up evidence that all is not as Blue Beetle described it. Even worse Jaime, himself is now appearing on TV as the Reach’s advocate and pet superhero, a role he’d never would have been comfortable with before.

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