REVIEW: Young Justice: Outsiders, Episodes 10 – 13

The last batch of Young Justice: Outsiders episodes (for now!) focused on found family, both in the metaphorical and literal sense, and included a cautionary tale about technology to boot. At the same time, the search for Tara Markov reached its climax and swift conclusion, and the battle against the League of Shadows (which is also the Light?) got blown wide open.

“Exceptional Human Beings” was the debut of Victor Stone, although Cyborg’s origin took a few episodes to fully culminate. We did catch a glimpse of the somewhat cold relationship between the football scholarship hopeful and his overworked scientist father, though, and witnessed Silas pick up a Father Box against all reason and common sense. Not to mention that we a cameo by a young Cisco Ramon that was enough to make my day. Victor’s family isn’t the only one struggling, as Young Justice: Outsiders also included a bittersweet moment between Will and Jade, who still refused to return home and be with their daughter Lian. Prince Brion may have been the one with the largest family crisis, however, since his sister Tara was still nowhere to be found and he was quickly losing patience with Nightwing.

Little did he know that Batman and his Outsiders had already undertaken a mission to Santa Prisca, where they planned to intercept the League of Light – my new name for them – and gain intel on Tara’s whereabouts. But with Deathstroke and Lady Shiva as the new leaders, it was all Batman could do to get his team out of their with their lives. In the end, all they learned was that Tara had “washed out” and been sent to Granny Goodness. That’s never a good thing. While the overarching plot didn’t move forward all that much, the tender moments between characters such as Brion and Violet or even Jefferson and Jace watching them more than made up for it.

“Another Freak” turned its attention to Violet and Forager’s first day of high school, complete with new human names Violet Harper and Fred Bugg With Two Gs that were meant to help them fit in but only further cemented where they came from. Which proved to be their strength in tough times, as it turns out, because their new friend Harper Row (!!!) taught them being a freak is a good thing. This was he heartwarming half of the episode, where Young Justice: Outsiders really returned to its roots of friendship and relationship-building, and also where the season’s choice to skip around and visit different pairings really shined.

But things were not looking nearly so rosy elsewhere in Detroit, and in fact Violet’s impromptu boom tube powers led her directly to a Father Box explosion that had just nearly killed Victor Stone. The bloody mess covering half his body was pretty hardcore even for a show that is now on DC Universe, but the most shocking part was Victor’s rage after his dad saved his life. Granted, being turned into a Cyborg is enough to make anyone lose their cool a little, but the near murderous anger Victor displayed came from a much darker place – specifically the Father Box that was now inhabiting him. Violet’s indigo aura helped restore him for now, and she won over a new Outsiders team member in the process. We don’t learn exactly why her powers sent her to Victor until later, but these little seeds helped the batch of four episodes feel more interconnected.

“Nightmare Monkeys” kind of broke that trend by spotlighting Gar and his careers as a Star Trek-esque actor, but since the Goode goggles played a pivotal role in his story it ended up being a very interesting detour. Plus, I would watch Beast Boy do anything at any time, so I’m certainly not complaining. The entire episode also functions as a long promo for Doom Patrol, which is another thing I’m not going to complain about. We met Gar’s stepfather Steve Dayton, who goes by Mento in the comics but apparently hates it when Gar calls him that, and even eventually Rita Farr (AKA Elastigirl) herself. Rita became Gar’s new family in the wake of his parents’ death but then she herself died and he was left with nothing but the cruel Mento, which we learned thanks to the Goode Goggles and their creepy trip through his psyche.

While waiting for his date with Perdita, Gar slipped them on and decided to play ST 3016 as himself. But unbeknownst to him, the game stole a sample of his DNA and created a warped version of his own world to torment him and inform the audience of his recent life in one go. Through them, Gar saw visions of long departed Young Justice members such as Wally West, Ted Kord and Jason Todd before being sucked into an episode of Doom Patrol GoI already know I would watch any number of episodes of that imaginary show, but I will admit it was a little strangely placed given that the rest of this week was so jam-packed with character development and plot progression. There was some character work done for Gar here, though, as he ended the episode with two realizations: his television work was being exploited by his stepfather despite being nothing but a distraction from his losses, and Gretchen Goode is evil.

“True Heroes” served as the midseason finale of Young Justice: Outsiders and, more importantly, it finally reunited Brion with his sister Tara. Nightwing canceled what would have otherwise been an adorable Halloween party thanks to a lead on Tara, and he took Brion with him for the rescue. This wound up causing Violet acute distress, enough so that her Mother Box wires began to fry because they were unable to handle her human emotions. Oh, that’s right: Violet and Victor are connected because they are both a mix of Apokolips technology and human life, keep up. Said box in Victor wasted no time attacking Violet and Dr. Jace, which was really too bad because the ladies were in the middle of a beautiful bonding moment, and it takes all of Violet’s strength to wipe him free of the dark influence. Thankfully, she succeeded and any Victor we get in the back half will be the real him. Plus, Brion announced her as his girlfriend at the end of the episode, so Violet came out the winner of this season thus far.

Over on the mission side of things, Nightwing explained how the Goggles brainwash metahumans into entering trading posts and getting trafficked, which is precisely what happened to Tara. In the midst of what was apparently a Court of Owls party, Nightwing uncovered a metahuman fight club with Tara (or “Terra”) as the first opponent in the ring. The battle to get her back was decidedly less tense than the search for her up to that point had been, but I’m excited for what the second half of the season will hold now that she’s back with her family – especially since that last scene gave us the impression that all’s not well that ends well. Terra sent a message reading “I’m in” to Deathstroke, so perhaps we’re heading towards Judas Contract territory?

Young Justice: Outsiders will be back on DC Universe with new episodes in June.