By: Greg Weisman (writer)

The Story: Superboy and Miss Martian skip school to go to prison and discover little difference.

The Review: At some point in every superhero series, for better or worse, you’ve got to have a villain breakout.  If you’re going to gather a bunch of vicious sociopaths with meta-abilities into one room, it doesn’t really matter what precautions you take; sooner or later, all that toxic chemistry will blow up in your face—which sounds like a disaster on the surface, but it makes for good reading sometimes, doesn’t it?

You often see heroes reacting to these annual breakouts after the fact, once everyone has already gotten loose and swarming all over the place. Young Justice tackles the problem from a more proactive angle, with Batman, ever the master of prep-time, planning to defeat the villains’ escape plans before they can execute.  To that end, he sends in Miss Martian and Superboy to impersonate the newly incarcerated Terror Twins and foil the villains from the inside.

It’s a solid plan, but once our heroes actually get inside Belle Reve (which everyone takes pains to pronounce with proper French intonations: “Reve” as in “rev” as in “bev” as in “beverage”), they really have nothing much to do except kill time until the villains launch their plans.  It’d make sense to fill this watch-and-wait period with your standard prison drama—the new fish learning the ropes the hard way—but aside from a minor tussle, we don’t get much of that.

What we do get is a lot of daddy issues, which seems in vogue for male characters nowadays.  Superboy has good reason to resent his “dad’s” distance, and to parallel that with Icicle, Jr.’s issues with the senior Icicle is a clever ploy on Weisman’s part.  But that relationship never ventures beyond the usual “son can’t live up to father’s expectations” bit, and although Connor shows a couple moments of sympathy, he gains and learns nothing from the experience.

Superboy’s bitterness culminates in a rather awkward therapy session with Belle Reve’s resident psychologist, Dr. Hugo Strange, prompted by Miss Martian’s well-intentioned prodding.  In a weird twist, the scene comes off less as an opportunity for Connor to voice his barely repressed anger, but as a launching pad for greater intimacy between him and his fellow alien teammate (because we all know when men and women fight, it means they really just want to get it on).

The scene also reminds you of one of the weaker running plotlines this show has had since the pilot: the completely forced romantic tension between the Boy of Steel and the Girl from Mars.  While the idea does have a kind of cuteness, and the writers are obviously devoted to it, they can’t seem to portray it in any way that doesn’t largely distract from the storyline at hand.

By the end of the episode, you feel as if Weisman crafted this entire episode as a vehicle to get to—spoiler alert—the kiss scene we’ve all been begging for.   And it comes off exactly as out-of-context, artificial, sudden, unfounded, and just plain weird (“Dude!  That’s your sister!”) as you could possibly hope for.  With that scene out of the way, let’s see if we can put all this ridiculous shipping to rest for at least a couple episodes, hm?

Conclusion: Action and romance can go hand-in-hand when the action doesn’t get sold out just so the couple can have their makeout times.

Grade: C+

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Good Lord, those are some weak Southern accents.  You got to love when actors can’t seem to decide it they want to be from Dallas or from the Mississippi Delta.

– To be perfectly frank, I’m so nonplussed by the chemistry between Miss Martian and Superboy that even the multitudes of Superboy-Robin slash fanart seems more natural and plausible at this point.