By: Nicole Dubuc (writer)

The Story: Isn’t forgetting what you’ve done for the last six months just the most annoying thing?

The Review: When it comes to supernatural fiction, some plotlines never go out of style.  Here’s an especial classic: take a cast of characters with some history, wipe their slate clean, see what new (or old) sparks pop up.  Once things return to normal, you also get the fun of seeing how they deal with the fallout from their tabula rasa behavior.  Obviously the lost memories bit has a lot of potential for a fun premise and for overturning the status quo of things.

That’s why it feels a little too early in the show’s life to bring in this plotline already.  The dynamic among the characters is still too raw; they haven’t worked or known each other long enough to have deep-set prejudices towards any of their teammates.  Only Artemis and Kid Flash have a strong, mutual chemistry worth exploiting during their memory loss, so half the episode feels like an obvious ploy to play out their romantic tensions.

In fact, Dubuc turns the whole episode into an excuse to move forward on the team’s two love stories.  Even Miss Martian’s confrontation with Psimon ends up becoming a sappy moment for her and Superboy, a relationship that felt forced when it was thrown into our faces in the pilot.  At many points it feels like Dubuc tries too hard to throw them together, overshadowing the illegal alien tech intrigue going on, a link to some exciting, possibly Fourth World connections.

Aside from those awkward distractions, throwing the team into a desert battlefield on top of the whole mind-wipe thing makes for some pretty good action.  We haven’t had much opportunity to see Robin get his hands dirty in his role as YJ’s tech wiz, so watching him nimbly take down a whole crew of soldiers by himself is a good reminder that he got his martial arts chops from Batman, after all.

When she’s not going ga-ga over a super-powered clone, Miss Martian can be enormously competent on the field, as her mental powers get pushed to the limit in this episode.  Admittedly her telekinetics make for flashier effects: her clap-hands-to-smash-the-planes-together trick just looks impressive.  Her battle with Psimon on the psychic plane has some cool moments too, but it feels like Dubuc or the storyboarders didn’t get as creative with it as they could have.

It seems Dubuc likes to go for a more jokey kind of humor.  When she gets a good beat in, it’s very funny, like when she gets Robin and Artemis tapping their emblems to see if their costumes change like Kid Flash’s—and then when Wally won’t quit recolorizing his outfit, Artemis snaps, “Quit touching yourself!”  But a lot of the jokes are real groaners, leaning heavily on repetitive gag territory, like Robin’s “whelmed” thing, a bit which mostly fell flat the first time he waxed poetic on it in the fifth episode, which Dubuc also wrote.

Conclusion: A strong premise with weak execution, this marks the first step down in quality since the show began.  Hoping this is a brief hiccup, and the next episode returns to form.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I don’t know what YJ’s viewer demographics are, but I hope girls are a big part of them because the writers seem to really enjoy Superboy shirtless on this show.

– Kudos to the writers and voice actors for working with not only the Bialyan language (can’t tell if it’s real or not), but Martian as well.

– Word of warning: for those irritated with “Hel-lo, Megan!” grit your teeth and prepare to be assaulted with it ad infinitum.  I don’t sincerely hate many things, but I am really, really starting to hate that catchphrase