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Thursday, 25 of February of 2021

Young Justice – “Auld Acquaintance”

“Cold-hard science, and a little misdirection, and now you champions of stagnation have become our agents of change.”

Young Justice Title CardI’m letting the first season finale of Young Justice (don’t worry, the season 2 premiere is next week, in a prime example of the silly programming practices that mark kids program scheduling) off the hook a bit since the episode that preceded it have been good. This episode, on the other hand, is kind of a lacking, and feels more like an epilogue than a finale to the season.

And it’s not only the kind of “Meh” approach to the season’s previous events that the episode attempts to conclude, but that that the major throwdown between heroes and their sidekicks isn’t as exciting as it may have been (though, understandably so from a narrative standpoint since the team is outnumbered and outgunned (BUT THEY’VE ALSO TAKEN DOWN AMAZO).

Oh, and there’s more Roy silliness.

I think the biggest fault I have with the episode is that so much happens so quickly or off-screen, like the reverse-engineering of the Light’s nano-alien-techno-sorcery biochips just happens and is ready to go. Sure, it gets a line to explain where they came from, but it didn’t very long either. And, like I said above, I understand the necessity for this, but the ease at which it happened, and the ease at which the new biochips were implanted (thank goodness Klarion is such a bad puppet master?) just left the episode rushed so they could get to the end.

And what does the end tell us? That six members of League were missing for 16 hours, presumably being cloned or otherwise off doing something particularly nefarious (amusingly, the six were Wonder Woman, John Stewart, Superman, Batman, Hawkgirl, and J’onn. If the Flash had been included, it would’ve been the line up for the DCAU’s Justice League). This, in and of itself, is interesting, but not super compelling to me as it shifts away from the team, instead focusing on the League, which isn’t what the show is about.

But then there’s Roy. Who isn’t simply a brainwashed Speedy, but a brainwashed clone of Speedy (the original Speedy is alive, but missing an arm like the pre-nu52 Roy, and is in Cadmus custody). It’s something of a sigh/eye roll inducing development since it further undercuts Roy’s agency. It also, frankly, feels like a bit of a reach. While I didn’t particularly care for a mind-controlled Roy since it undercut a lot of the show’s dramatic conflict, this clone reveal compounds the issue, and feels like the show never had any clear sense of who the mole was and simply decided halfway through the process.

I don’t think, however, that that was the case. I just think the show did a remarkably poor job of making this narrative feel particularly clean and purposeful.  So when you add in the other problems above, the episode just falls flat. There are nice moments, like Superman and Konner having a conversation and Robin’s brief fight with Batman, but on the whole, the episode just didn’t fire on all cylinders for me.

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