By: Peter David (story)
The Story: Jaime practice his pageant wave for a future run of Mr. Young Justice.
The Review: As we get closer and closer to the end—just two more weeks, if you can believe it—it seems only natural that we begin to think wistfully of all that might have been. One thing strikes me in particular. I think had the show’s writers known this season was going to be their last, they probably would have tweaked the episodes to focus more equitably on the entire cast, rather than just a handful. I definitely think Blue Beetle could’ve survived less screen-time.
Given that the big invaders of this season turned out to be the Reach, it makes perfect sense that Blue Beetle would play a major role in the overarching plot. But the writers sort of went overboard once they inserted this idea that the whole future depends on whether Jaime winds up on the dark side or not. That’s the real reason why we’ve seen so much of him this season; I don’t think his hapless personality and Spanglish somehow made him a breakout character.
To be fair, Jaime’s mental squabbles with his Scarab have provided decent entertainment—which is good because we have gotten quite a lot of them and they often steer very close to being annoying. This episode has Jaime engaging in a lot of internal face-slapping as his body gets turned into a walking promotion for the Reach. In the end, Jaime and the Scarab have a mutual recognition of respect, a surprisingly warm moment for this very odd couple.
Still, now that we have the full Young Justice team back in business, all this fixation on Jaime just seems excessive. Seeing Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Batgirl, Bumblebee, and Robin in action reminds you just how little you’ve seen of these second-gen characters all season. While each may have had a spotlight episode at some point, that feels very far away now, and it seems a rather sad fate that they’ll have no other chances to shine from now on.
At least they can always dependably get a few great battle moments in. The show’s writers and animators have honed their action choreography to a masterful level by now, with every episode showing off how sophisticated and intricate they’ve become. Animated fights rarely achieve the same intensity of live action, but YJ gets pretty darn close with their tasteful mixture of slo-mo and physics-defying movements. Impulse backflipping off Blue Beetle in midair then running down the side of a building definitely gets you pumped, and it’s only one moment of many.
Plot-wise, the use of an ancient magical ritual to solve both Blue and Green Beetles’ Scarab problems is an appropriate use of magic as deus ex machina (although Zatanna’s fairly broad, repeated uses of backwards spells in this episode comes dangerously close to turning her into a one-stop problem solver). I’m just not super-thrilled that the team delivers a whole slew of exposition in the last five minutes of the show about how they pulled this plan off, especially with all its attached revisionism. Unfortunately, there really is now way around it with the series wrapping up so soon.
The moment Miss Martian shows up to meet Lagoon Boy, receiving his affection in the most lukewarm manner possible, you knew the end was near for them, and even he realizes it the moment she mentions they should have a “talk.” David plays out the break-up in a very credible, non-soppy way, although Lagoon Boy’s desperation goes down easier than M’gann’s gentle but blunt assessment of him as her “rebound guy.” I’ll be honest; I am not the biggest Miss Martian fan and this scene makes me like her even less, especially once she starts scoping for Superboy the moment she gets back to YJ HQ—even though she told La’gann it wasn’t about Connor.*
Conclusion: Too much talk to be a truly standout episode, but you do get some major plot developments and the usually stellar action.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: * This makes me hope even more that the show will buck convention and expectation and just let Connor move on with Wendy. I mean, are there really that many Superboy-Miss Martian shippers out there? Judging from Deviantart, I’m pretty sure there are more fans of the Superboy-Robin relationship.
– From the shrewish snapping between them this episode, I’m guessing that the Reach Ambassador and Reach Scientist are going to get a divorce after this. Earth was not the honeymoon destination they were hoping for.