By: Jon Weisman (story)

The Story: The team’s HQ may not be a Mt. St. Helen, but it sure blows up like one.

The Review: During the show’s first season, I complained frequently about how the characters didn’t seem like “real” teens, whatever that means in a world of superheroes.  As much as I appreciated that they never rushed into anything without looking first, I sometimes longed for a little more spontaneity and humor from them.  After all, what teenager doesn’t like doing something completely random and laughing a bit stupidly about it afterward?

So among the many improvements this season’s brought, I like most how much more often you laugh during an episode now.  The addition of purely comedy-driven characters, like Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, and especially Impulse has something to do with that, I imagine.  Kid Flash kind of served this function in season one, but his counterpart from the future really relishes his role as team jester.  Bart’s happy-go-lucky attitude is infection, and has the potential to draw the others into fun outings they’d never have taken with the first-gen YJers.

I’m more than happy to see Impulse and Blue Beetle do the buddy-idiot thing and just mess around in costume.  Going out to the desert and blowing up boulders just to show off seems exactly the kind of silly, macho stuff you imagine you and your buddies doing if you happened to have some fairly amazing superpowers.  My favorite gag has to be Impulse rearranging Blue Beetle’s rubble into an image of himself posed, arms akimbo, a posture he immediately adopts right next to it.  I actually laughed out loud, which I almost never do on this show.

But even without the laughable moments, the show has always given strong personal storylines for its characters, and it’s even more impressive when it does so for the non-stars.  Watching Mal valiantly attempt to revive the spark between him and Karen has a bittersweet element that makes it impossible not to feel for the guy.  His desire to go back to their high school days clearly is less about wanting to be in high school again, and more about waxing nostalgic about simpler days, when you didn’t constantly have monitor duty while your shrinking girlfriend apprentices for a shrinking scientist at a superhero lab.

As for the real meat of the plot, it definitely thickens as Aqualad pulls off one of the most respectable bits of double-agentry in cartoon history.  Or is it triple-agentry?  It says a lot about the show’s quality that I can’t really say which side he’s on, one way or another.  I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the writers decided to go that route, although I’d be sad to see that happen to the character.

If you must have my guess, I’d say Kaldur will turn out on the side of the angels in the end.  After all, no one on Young Justice was significantly hurt from the rather spectacular trap he and his team of young villains pulled off.  And there is the matter of the intel Nightwing covertly received from his old pal.  Besides, Artemis remains as Kaldur’s voice of conscience, although she’ll be in a very vulnerable position if she loses his support.

Conclusion: It should go without saying by now that the show delivers yet another well-crafted episode.  It really gets you pumped for the next week’s serving every time.

Grade: A

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I find it charming and a little odd that Gar spends his free time watching reruns of his mom’s mediocre sitcom.  How often can you hear the catchphrase, “Hello, Megan!” before you just become homicidal?

– It’s heartening that someone as hickish as Tuppence Terror still has enough self-respect to consider Icicle skeevy.  Bravo, girl.