Sat Feb 2 2013 at 2:00 AM
This week presented fixes for two predicaments, both of which if not treated correctly could result in dire consequences. The first fix involved mending Aqualad's shattered mind, which could potentially reveal all his secrets to his father Black Manta and the Light. The second fix involved Blue Beetle's continuing struggle to rid himself of the Scarab, whom he's fears could one day turn him into a pawn of the Reach. And having played "villain" for most of her screentime this season, Artemis finally received some long due development.
* Warning: This review contains spoilers *
In last week's "True Colors", we got a brief scene of Psimon being assigned the task of fixing Kaldur's broken mind. The story continues here as Tigress is requested by Black Manta to stay by Kaldur's side as Psimon does his thing. Right before Psimon enters Kaldur's head, Tigress poisons him with a dart, which results in Psimon finding out she's Artemis under a charm spell. But before Psimon has a chance to telepathically knock her out, the poison takes full effect and he eats the floor before Black Manta finds out. Tigress convinces Manta that Miss Martian must've put a mental "virus" in Kaldur's head and that only she can repair him. So Tigress and Deathstroke head to the surface to kidnap Miss M, and in the process fight her and Lagoon Boy. On Manta's ship, Miss M and Artemis enter Kaldur's mind, which is represented as a "veeeery messed up" Atlantis. By the end Miss M helps Kaldur start to reconstruct "Atlantis", ie. his mind.
The smaller story continues on the introduction of Green Beetle, and his supposed purpose of coming to Earth to aid the League/Team. Not being able to afford to trust anyone so quickly, Nightwing asks Miss M to telepathically confirm that Green is who he says he is. During the mind link, Green senses Miss M's insecurities and offers to give his thoughts/memories to her to makes things easier. Green does share some new information. That the Reach's new sport drink product is designed to locate all those who possess the metagene upon consumption. Later, Green Beetle and Blue Beetle have a one-on-one about how to deal with the Scarab and by the end of the episode, Green uses his powers and supposedly gives Blue full control.
I really enjoyed the contrast of how much each fix was given focus in this episode. We got a long and deep journey into Kaldur's psyche as well as where M'Gann and Artemis' minds were after this season's many events. Even though a part of me originally wanted Kaldur to be outted, the manner in which Artemis handled key moments, which in turn allowed their secrets to remain safe changed my mind.
The contrast with the Beetles story was the deliberate lack of focus on Blue's fix. At first I was like, this is cheap. Green fixed Blue in no time at all AND behind the scenes. This was because I missed part of the scene where he coersed M'Gann into giving his thoughts to her. Upon a second viewing I realized by the end we're supposed to still be on the fence in regards to Green's intentions.
Of the more minor parts of the episode, I must you gotta love the theme song for the Reach drink. Once you get immersed in the cheesy catchy-ness of the song, you almost forget how diabolically evil the Reach's intentions are. While I'm sure it's not a deliberate reference, I couldn't help but be reminded that the Reach' plan to locate metagened humans is a lot like X-Men's mutant locator Cerebro. Also the inhibitor collars that allow for activation of selective powers was pretty cool.
Artemis/Tigress - It was great to get a heavy focus on Artemis. No doubt that what seemed like a simple undercover gig was going to take a huge toll on her. It was clever writing to have her play duals roles within the same scenes with Artemis in her head and Tigress in person. Makes me want to hear what she was thinking in her previous scenes as Tigress. I was really impressed at her quick thinking under dire situations and her overall calm and collective demeanor.
Miss Martian - Getting rather sick of her moping and feeling sorry for herself. Superboy already gave her a verbal kick in the butt back in "Cornered" and here, Artemis had to do the same; "You wanna blame yourself, fine. But only if you're willing to do something about it." If her karma is acquitted by her help in recontructing Kaldur's mind, then all I can say is, booooooo.
Deathstroke - While I think it' doubtful we'll get much character exploration with Deathstroke, I think it's obvious his purpose in Young Justice is just to be a badass. If that's all he's here for, then boy did he deliver. Dialogue to ruffle an opponent's feather coupled with ass kicking fighting moves. Lagoon Boy' kick move with the car door. Cool. Deathstroke's counter? Double cool. I'm a "what if?" kinda person, so I kept thinking, had he not replaced Sportmaster so soon, it woulda been interesting to see Artemis work with her father. Also looked so chillaxed in the chair while on watch of Miss M.
Black Manta - From the little we've seen from him, he clearly loves Kaldur. And that may be his weakness as he came across as rather naive in this episode, seemingly believing everything that Tigress responded with, especially the "deep in thought" for 6 hours. I'm hoping he's a little smarter than that. If he's still duped by Kaldur's false allegience, at the very least I'd like to see him catch onto Tigress.
Psimon - Not much to say here. This guy just can't catch a break. 2 catatonic siesta's in 2 seasons.
Green Beetle - This guy's a mystery wrapped in a conundrum. Extremely difficult to tell which side he plays for. Manipulative in both his words and mannerisms (like looking subtlely away to avoid a topic) in taking advantage of both Miss M's insecurities and Blue's desperation. Green's creepy smile trumps Captain Atom's fake public smile.
Nightwing - He's worked so hard to keep these secrets for so long, yet he kinda let the cat out of the bag pretty easily. I mean, Superboy and Lagoon Boy haven't exactly gotten along thus far, so another fight wouldn't have changed much. Though let's see if the secret just stays between them. Aaaand Nightwing arrives on the scene to help, only to miss out on yet another moment to kick some ass :(
Superboy - His reaction to the truth about both Kaldur's and Artemis was a little underwhelming. I know he's matured far beyond his Season 1 self, but I was hoping for something beyond crossing him arms.
Stephanie Lemelin - She got plenty to play with in terms of voice acting in this episode. Jumping back and forth between Artemis and Tigress within the sames scenes would've been a great challenge for any actor. It's a shame Tigress hasn't had more dialogue. Lemelin plays a great villain.
Wentworth Miller - A big fan of his simply from his main role in the TV series Prison Break from a few years back. The metallic mask effect while cool really didn't do his voice any justice. The effect should've been toned down to give his voice more emphasis. I also like the fact that his "S"'s give off a "ssss" sound in his words, as though he's talking through his teeth. It's how he talks in general (at least in the roles I've seen him play) but those kinds of things add a little extra character.
Jason Marsden - While not exactly voice acting related, I thought he was worth mentioning since voice actors often pull double duty and both act and sing. Immediately recognized his voice once the Reach song kicked in. Not too shabby a singer.
Phil LaMarr - I noticed moreso this week the way he pronounces some 3+ syllable words is interesting. Delivery on a number of these words sometimes has a quicker pace, and theres emphasis on different syllables within a word (eg. we say inHIBitor, Green says inhibiTOR). Also his enunciation of syllables is crips and clear, making the sentences come off as less casual and conversive. So all in all, LaMarr again is doing a fantastic job in making Green Beetle sound foreign.
This was Artemis' episode. Lemelin delivered her anguish, regret, frustration and determination beautifully. Her monologue in the opening scene alone was enough for me to give her this standout mention.
"I don't speak about my feelings either. Not with words." - Tigress
"Right. It's all in my head. Well, Kaldur's head. Kaldur's veeeeery messed up head." - Artemis
"M'gann believed Kaldur had killed Artemis. So when she found him on the Reach ship, she fried ... his ... brain. That's gotta be why Artemis grabbed her. To try and save Kaldur's broken mind. But M'Gann doesn't know how to do that. So Manta may just kill her, AND kill Tigress if she blows her cover trying to save her. And we'll have lost all three of them coz you thought it was a bad idea to share" - Superboy
Music / Sound
I'm not used to reviewing music at this point but the scene where Black Manta tells Tigress "You'll take Deathstroke" ... loved the funky disco beat as he appears behind Manta.
Glad to see Kaldur on the road to recovery. He didn't deserve to be lost forever. Will be interesting to see how things play out once he's back in commission. Also can't help but think the worst has happened to poor Blue. They say silence is bliss, but is there any chance in his case, silence is on-mode?
And don't forget ... reach for a Reach! :D