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Young Justice: Outsiders Episodes 4 – 6 Review – ‘Private Security/Away Mission/Rescue Op’

January 11, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Young Justice Outsiders: Away Mission
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Young Justice: Outsiders Episodes 4 – 6 Review – ‘Private Security/Away Mission/Rescue Op’  

[Warning: spoilers abound for those who have not seen Friday’s episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders.]

For all that it upends a lot of traditional animated TV, Young Justice has always been very particular about sticking to a certain format. Each season, the show has started by establishing its status quo. And once that’s out of the way, it’s time to delve a little deeper into the season’s key new characters. In season one those characters were M’Gann, Superboy and Artemis. For season two, it was Blue Beetle, the real Roy Harper and Impulse. These are the growing pains episodes, when the team learns how to work with its new additions.

Young Justice: Outsiders is no different in that respect. Just like the opening trio of episodes established why the team isn’t just letting the Justice League solve their problems, this week’s spends some time getting to know our new recruits. Growing pains are a natural element of any team-based show, and it would be disingenuous not to explore it a bit. Thus, even though “Private Security,” “Away Mission,” and “Rescue Op” feel like a distraction from the main arc, it’s worth taking the time to learn a little about our new heroes…including the delightful third new member added to the team.

Young Justice: Outsiders Dick

But we’ll get to him. The stories of this week’s episodes are self-contained “mission of the week”-style stories. And when people are looking forward to the arrival of Darkseid and Apokolips, there’s a bit of frustration there. Those opening title sequences give us a lot of promise that, in terms of that story, haven’t yet seen fruition. It’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for that. Instead we have stories from Michael Vogel, Nicole Dubuc, and Joshua Hale Flalkov that work at smoothing the edges of the team. Or indeed, establishing a team at all.

On their own, these episodes work in varied amounts. “Private Security” mostly pays lip service to Brion and Halo while focusing more on Nightwing. Our new characters are trying to adapt to life in America, but the real attention is on Dick’s denial of being part of a team again. That his need for someone to set him straight puts him on a team literally full of Roy Harpers is a bit contrived, perhaps. It’s a storyline that they need to tell in order to get to where the show wants to be. But even for a superhero, denying you want to be on a team while you’ve put a second team together in a week is an eye-rolling level of self-delusion.

To be fair, it’s not like this episode isn’t fun. Team Grayson/Harpers’ chase of Brick and his VR thieves has plenty of the quippy action that make this show fun. Will being the old square who’s concerned about his business and van makes sense. And the one-liners generally work. But I found myself more interested in things like Zatanna’s bittersweet hour-long reunion with Zatara than the main plot, which perhaps isn’t ideal.

 Young Justice: Outsiders Team New Genesis

Fortunately, the remaining two episodes bring things back on track a bit. It may not be a coincidence that these episodes feature the new team members…well, and M’Gann. First, “Away Mission” gives us our latest look at New Genesis and the New Gods. It’s ostensibly another mission of the week, as M’Gann leads the team to look into hostilities between the New Gods and the bugs. But of course, it turns out to be more than that.

The first three episodes largely left M’Gann out of things, so it’s nice to see her get a bit of spotlight. She’s always been one of the show’s most interesting characters as someone who tries to pass in normal society, and whose powers carry the most potential for abuse. I’m enjoying how her new look is exploring her increasing acceptance of her identity as a White Martian. Her brother Ma’alefa’ak challenges her on both of these things. The angry young White Martian is tired of his people’s oppression, and he’s willing to use his powers beyond even the way M’Gann used them in season two to stop it. In a lot of ways, he’s who she could have easily turned out to be if not for the team, or J’onn.

More importantly for the seasonal arc, “Away Mission” introduces Forager, who quickly finds himself exiled for calling on the New Gods for help. Each of this episode’s elements will likely play into the Apokolips storyline. After all, where there are New Gods, there is Darkseid. For now, we can just enjoy M’Gann’s development and the arrival of the wonderfully weird and pleasant Forager. His outsider attitude makes a nice contrast to Halo’s tabula rasa-style innocence and Brion’s broody angst.

Young Justice: Outsiders Brion Halo Forager

Ahh, yes, Brion. I’m excited for what Brion is bringing to the table, and his characterization makes sense. Still, it is difficult to be too forgiving of another angsty young dude on the team. The parallel between Brion and Superboy makes sense, and it’s nice to see Connor’s growth in contrast to the good Prince Markov. But it also feels just a bit like they needed someone to fill that role with Roy gone and Connor grown up. I’m not writing him off; I’m just hoping he grows out of it soon.

Fortunately, his mistakes lead us into a fun storyline involving the League of Shadows. Tara is apparently-maybe-possibly part of the League. So of course, Brion does exactly what Brion would do and leaps headlong into danger with his new friends in tow. That goes about as well as you’d expect. Seeing Brion, Halo and Forager gel as a “hive” is good, and their dynamic feels real. Meanwhile, Dick finally realizes (with help from his friends) that yes, he does indeed have a team again. The mystery of Tara will keep for now, and I’m sure it will pay off nicely. But before we get to another rescue, the Outsiders actually have to become the Outsiders. That’s what we really start to see here.

Young Justice: Outsiders still has some work to do in order to get me invested in its new characters. Even with Brion’s issues aside, Halo is still more of a MacGuffin than anything else. She’s the Clara of Matt Smith’s last Doctor Who season, a mystery for the heroes to solve. That’s enticing, no doubt. But it can also sell the character short a bit. Right now, we know little of Halo. And this is one of those situations where more would actually be more. And Forager, as fun as he is, is still a pretty general sketch of a character. I have no concerns about us getting there eventually. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Young Justice: Outsiders Artemis Halo

Some Final Thoughts:

• On one hand, I appreciate that they’re showing the progression of years with Wolf being less active. On the other hand, if he dies then I’ll…well, be angry. Kill whoever else, Weisman…but leave the canine alone, dammit.

• Did anyone else forget that Jim Harper was a Roy clone? Maybe it’s just because my memory can be swiss chees-y, but I feel like they’ve barely ever referenced that.

• Totally missing from these episodes, to my dismay, is Kaldur. I mean, I’m digging Khary Payton’s work as Black Lightning, don’t get me wrong. But the show doesn’t feel the same without our water sword-wielding hero.

• On that note, there’s nothing of the current issues regarding the Justice League this week. It makes sense that this isn’t the first thing on Dick’s mind, or Roy’s or even Artemis’. But at least a little bit about it from M’Gann would not have gone amiss.

• For real, though…how did Dick not know that Brion would go running after his sister at the first opportunity? That’s Novice Superhero Psychology 101, dude.

The final score: review Good
The 411
The second week's episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders pull back from the seasonal arc to focus on getting the Outsiders together. While the road is a little bumpy in parts thanks to a lackluster episode four and Brion being generally insufferable, there's still more than enough good here to outweigh the problems. This portion of seasonal arcs is always the toughest, and Outsiders gets through it reasonably well.