Thu Feb 21 2013 at 11:07 PM
With the box of secrets packed to the brim, truths are finally revealed and discovered to help lighten the load. With the season winding down, there is resolution and advancement on a couple of the major storylines. How is Aqualad's recovery progressing? And what do the three former teammates have planned to ensure Miss Martian's survival? And what's happened following the aftermath of Blue Beetle's inevitable betrayal?
* Warning: This review contains spoilers *
After taking a week off, the main storyline of "Complications" puts focus back on Miss Martian's captivity on Black Manta's vessel as she reconstructs Aqualad's psyche. Black Manta however has grown tired of how long the process has taken and gives her a 24 hour window to finish the job or die. This forces Artemis, Aqualad and Miss M to quickly devise a plan to get Miss M off the ship safely. Before the plan kicks into high gear, it's interupted by Sportsmaster and Cheshire, who have snuck onboard to exact revenge on Black Manta and Aqualad for Artemis' "death". With all the commotion of the attacks, Artemis manages to deactivate Miss M's inhibitor collar, allowing her to escape.
Meanwhile, back on Warworld, Nightwing arrives on the scene to find all of his Team except Blue Beetle are missing. Blue recounts the "story" as a boom tube appearing beneath the Team after their gathering from Mongul's capture and him flying out just in time. Despite League and Nightwing believing the story, Nightwing does some CSI-ing of his own and concludes that Blue is now of the Reach.
For such a powerful and traumatizing storyline that affected two main characters I have to say I'm rather disappointed at how neatly it all concluded. Despite more members of the cast joining Nightwing's "super duper secret club", we're kinda back to square one, ie. before Aqualad got brain zapped. With all the lies and risk that were aboard Manta's ship, I would've thought +some consequences and/or casualties would've given a much more satisfying payoff to this arc.
I'm all for luck, but everything worked in the favor of Aqualad, Artemis, Miss M and even Sportsmaster and Cheshire. Everyone got off unscathed.
The Nightwing storyline on the otherhand while short was what I've been waiting for a number of episodes, ie. our heroes being at least one leg up on the bad guys. As I mentioned in an earlier review, I didn't want the League/Team's expected win to be crammed in the last episode or two. This gives me hope that there'll be a gradual build up to how the Reach will be defeated. And yes, I'm making a big assumption that our heroes will come out on top, but they've had their faces in the dirt for long enough, don't you agree? :)
I would like to make a note about what this episode did right to accommodate to a larger kid audience. It's been stated by one of the producers of Ultimate Spider-Man that research amongst a kid demographic has proven that it's easier for kids to follow a show with stand-alone episodes than ones with long story arcs. This can apply to a person of any age really, especially if they miss an episode or two.
So I like the fact that at the beginning of this episode, the important plot points related to the characters were "spelled out" in the dialogue. Things like Miss M's explosive collar or why Deathstroke needs to be at a safe distance. It answers any possible questions and gives a refresh for those who don't follow the show religiously like myself. So while I don't agree with the preference for stand-alone episodes, it's great to see the Young Justice writers keeping a wider audience in mind.
Aqualad - Boy could this Atlantean win a Guinness world record in playing brain dead. A round of applause just for that alone. But man, despite everything he's been through, Kaldur seems to hold no grudge against M'gann and puts her well-being above all else. One of qualities that made him my favorite character of Season 1.
Miss Martian - Given the confidence she's surely gained by completely restoring Aqualad's mind, it'll be interesting to see if she starts re-using her brain blasting abilities and to what extent. I expect a showdown with Green Beetle.
Artemis - It's almost like Artemis has been on a reality show all this time as Tigress, being cut off from the outside world and family. So to get a surprise visit from her father and sister must've really helped to ground her and remind her who she is and what she's fighting for.
Sportsmaster - Oh Crusher, you and your rep. If your motivation had been openly expressed as vengeance like with Cheshire, I might be rooting for you a lot more. I will give him props for his beatdown of Manta and tussle with Deathstroke. His arsenal of weapons is pretty damn cool, especially that discus and hammer throw.
Cheshire - Well, good to see my gripe from "True Colors" about why Cheshire has teamed up with dear old dad again was answered. Despite having an obvious soft side, I love the fact she has no hesitation to kill Aqualad in the name of revenge.
Black Manta - If the prerequisites for earning a seat with the Light are undying love for one's son and being a naive sucker, then Manta's name should be engraved in his chair. "Seeing me in mortal danger was the final catalyst his recovery required." - Really? Did you learn that in "Martian brain fixing school"? I'm sure Kaldur told him that but still. His one episode in Season 1's "Downtime" easily trumps his Season 2 role in how much of a badass villain he can and should be. Obviously the material in this season hasn't been in his favor but sometimes I have to remind myself he's a supervillain. He even got his ass beat by Sportsmaster AND Cheshire. Though the scene where he blasts the bomb to get the door open with no regard for his troopers was pretty badass.
Deathstroke - While still clearly a supporting role, it was good to his motivation in becoming the Light's new enforcer is to try and earn a seat at their table.
Nightwing - I've said it before but Nightwing really hasn't had as much screentime as I thought he would've this season, especially given he's the Team leader. But when he is around, he sure makes it count. Awesome to see some Batman-taught "detectiving" and the last scene of him snapping the birdarang was saaaa-weet. Nightwing is P.O.ed.
The only question I have is whether he suspects Green Beetle as well.
Blue Beetle - Don't you just feel all those daggers as he expresses his "concern" for his former teammates? Three episodes ago it would've been true and sincere. Now it just wreaks of deceit.
Fred Tatasciore - Certainly a worthy replacement for Wentworth Miller, but if the show couldn't lock Miller in for more than one episode, I do ask why bother hiring him in the first place. All it does is take us out of the charater and performance because right off the bat you could tell their was a change in voice. While Tatasciore does a solid job in this supporting role, I do prefer Miller due to some distinct mannerisms in his delivery I mentioned in a previous review.
"You betrayed your friends. Murdered my sister. Perhaps when I cut you open, I'll find you truly are heartless." - Cheshire
With the arc of Aqualad's journey to La-La Land over, most of the characters can get back to the task at hand ... stopping the Light and the Reach. And with Nightwing's newfound knowledge, it'll be interesting to see if and who he shares this information with, and how he plans to foil Blue Beetle and his masters.