Young Justice: Outsiders returns in an interesting way with Influence, Leverage, and Control
In case you missed it, the fan-favorite show Young Justice has finally returned from hiatus. What a return it was. While not the highest stakes and drama-filled episodes of the show, it did do a great job of keeping viewers such as myself, interested enough to keep clicking through to the next episode and wondering how the plot points being laid down and choices made will continue and play a part throughout the rest of the season.
What made these episodes that way was the same as earlier in the season, the characters and watching what choices they made not just with their powers, but also their lives overall. Without giving too much away, in just the first return episode Influence, the three newest characters have a big choice to make. In order to find out what it is, you’ll just have to watch the episode, then come back to read the rest of this where I go into spoilers.
Don’t worry, there are also other big choices to be made in the other two episodes. As just stated, I can’t say anymore without running the risk of spoiling them. What I can say about them is how interesting they are and the topics they cover. In just the first episode alone, one majorly controversial topic was able to be covered simply because unlike the earlier seasons, this one (and any that come after) are clearly made for a more mature audience. While I might not always agree with the topics covered in the episodes, I can at least appreciate this show amongst others, for taking the courage to even touch on it. Especially in today’s volatile and politically correct world where even the smallest thing could possibly offend someone, it takes real bravery for a show such as this to do that.
Overall, I would give these episodes a 7.5 out of 10 not just for the stories it tells, but also how the characters grow. Needless to say, I plan to watch these episodes many more times before the new one premieres next week. They are well worth your time. Just one thing to note though, according to Wikipedia, unless something changes down the line, from here until the three concluding episodes (possibly the series finale as season 4 is as yet unconfirmed), we will only be getting one a week. The positive news is, if the streaming service was attempting to simply get fans off their back by airing one more season, then they would continue rushing the episodes out two, three or even four at a time. To me, this shows that there is still a chance for a possible fourth season and beyond if we’re super lucky.
Ah, time for my favorite part where I can let loose on the spoilers. Where to begin though? Well, I guess with the first episode Influence. It talks about not just “coming of age” so to speak where all four new characters are given the choice to either stay with the team fighting in the field or in politics as a likely junior ambassador to the UN learning from older Justice League members already in the position, but also one’s sexuality. That is Violet, choosing to simply be herself without any boy/girl gender despite her outward appearance.
As Dick pointed out, their life is not an easy one, and there are sacrifices that must be made no matter what. These sacrifices can range from property i.e. Mount Justice seen in the previous two seasons, to relationships of all types. Being as the writers wouldn’t bring four new characters on just to ditch them the first moment given, all three obviously chose to stay as heroes that fight in the field, rather than as a diplomat or counselor/mentor for other young untrained heroes.
One of the things I really liked about the second episode Leverage, is that it dives deeper into the Metahuman Youth Centers the Justice League has set up throughout the United States. The one it focuses on this episode is the one in Taos, New Mexico. In the program designed to help metahumans learn, understand and control their powers, they are given the option of wearing a metahuman power dampening collar, how long it is worn for should they choose it, and how much of their power is dampened. No matter what, the choice and pace of the program are up to the individual with no judgment given.
Something interesting that was touched on towards the end of this episode, however, was the creation of the Suicide Squad. While it did keep to comic book origins in using expendable supervillains as anti-heroes in order to complete a given mission, where it differed was in the number of individuals and which ones it used. Previous iterations of this infamous group include Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and Captain Boomerang amongst others. This group, however, consisted of only three individuals Black Manta, Captain Boomerang and a new addition to the squad Monsieur Mallah. According to the Young Justice Fandom Wiki seen here, he is a “large black gorilla with a dark grey chest and face. He wears a red beret and a green harness with darker colored circles. He typically carries a minigun”. Yet another interesting choice as unless you’re a real hardcore fan, you like me, assumed he was Gorilla Grodd aka another hyper-intelligent gorilla from the same geographic area as Monsieur Mallah.
Going into the final premiere episode Illusion of Choice, a small group of the Young Justice team is seen attending a harvest festival with their significant other. That is, except for Virgil aka Static who seems to be the only single one of the group. An interesting choice doing this considering how one half of the audience could be complaining about how he seems to bring it up all the time and the other complaining about how he’s perfectly fine without a girlfriend. Personally, I didn’t mind it as it’s what a real person in that situation would likely say. Maybe not as often as he did, but it would still come up from time to time.
At the same time, this episode also seems to be about being your true self regardless of the consequences so others can’t use possible lies against you. Part of being yourself, especially when you’re a famous superhero, actor, public official or other, is also setting a good example for others to follow. By the end of the episode, rather than keeping the kidnapping and rescue of Queen Perdita of Lativa and other Meta-Teens from the harvest festival a secret, Beast Boy aka Garfield Logan (a highly notable Hollywood actor and superhero), Blue Beatle and Kid Flash all admit to their heroics, but not for the reason many likely believe. They do so instead to bring attention not only to kidnapping and trafficking of Meta-Humans but also inspire others like them to do come to the Youth Centers set up just for them through the United States. In Garfield’s own words, “That’s the problem with the team. The covert thing gets in the way of the inspiration thing…It’s about setting the right example. Offering hope to meta teens and kids. And that’s not all. The game’s rigged against us. by the Lex Luthers of this world. We need to change the way…” he drops off here due to a bad case of vertigo that soon spreads to his friends and anyone else around due to Count Vertigo.
What he Garfield/Beast Boy means by his final sentence is that in order to boost morale and fight back against the Lex Luthers of the world, the way the world sees and thinks about these unique individuals needs to change. The perfect people to start that change is them. Between the kids from the center and them, they have been in the game the longest and thus know how to paint themselves and others like them in the best light, while also remaining true to who they each are. It will be interesting to see how this storyline develops as the rest of the season goes on.
Overall, I would give these three episodes a solid 7.5 out of 10, with the only drawback being the lack of drama throughout these three return episodes. They did what they needed to and kept me interested enough to keep clicking through to the next episode, but the stakes felt kind of right down the middle. Not high, but not low either. The topics covered were interesting and surprisingly somewhat realistic as were the characters and their interactions with each other. As stated before, it will be interesting to see how the stories told here and choices the characters make will impact the remainder of the season. In short, it appears as if this is one show not to be missed.
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Megan Rickards is a prolific Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars, Batman and the Arrowverse. Follow her on Twitter @FindingHerSpot where she channels the Force frequently!