Today is the day (well tomorrow really). Young Justice: Outsiders has returned and we have worked our way over the last week through the first three episodes, with another set to debut tomorrow, and one a week until the end of August. We are experiencing summer, but this episode takes a detour into November and snow, Thanksgiving and fall. It’s a very dysphoric experience considering it was 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Anchorage, Alaska on the Fourth of July, which has never happened before. This is your daily reminder that we’re in an environmental apocalypse and nothing will ever be the same.
But! On a slightly happier note, we have thoughts on “Illusion of Control,” the last of the tripartite drop that has kicked off the second half of this season. Tripartite is an appropriate word as we are treated to a threefold Thanksgiving celebration, with all the trimmings. There will of course be spoilers from here on out and intimate episode details, so shield yourself now or forever hold your whatever. Let’s dive in!
1. November 22nd
This episode offers a fun, three story structure, all on the same day around a similar event. It’s creative insofar as everyone is gathered for similar events and it hones in on the main hubs of the three different cast of character pools. This show does a lot of fun things with the dates and huge cast it has, and while a lot of shows have multiple things happening on the same day with different people, what is interesting about these three different Thanksgiving meals is that they all strike different genres and tones. The Taos Thanksgiving is a sort of action movie/happy comedy; the Star City one a family drama, and the Happy Harbor crew a story about acceptance and “the true meaning of Thanksgiving being in our hearts the whole time” or it having met us along the way or something cheesy like that. That one is the shortest of the stories, but it does give us Forager finally talking for the first time in three episodes! And he gets Vic to the table in very Forager fashion.
The cast of the Taos group includes all the metahumans at the sanctuary, Eduardo, and half of the Team consisting of Impulse, Blue Beetle, Traci 13, Static, and Beast Boy and Perdita. In Star City, we have Artemis, Will, Lian, Artemis and Cheshire’s mother Paula, Dr. Jace, Violet, Brion, and Tara. Oh well and Bruceley. And then finally in Happy Harbor there’s Snapper Carr, M’gann, Superboy, Forager, Vic, Mal Duncan, and a very pregnant Karen. Hopefully I didn’t miss anyone. That’s a lot of people, but with Taos continuing to be an important part of this group of episodes, and the Artemis/Will drama heating up, it creates a great structure and does a lot for splitting up the story.
2. The couplings
Do heroes only date other heroes? Or I guess costumed people and other costumed people? Well no that’s not true, Spider-Man and Mary Jane duh. And Superman and Lois Lane. Hmm. Nevermind.
At least in this universe there’s a lot of powers pairings. We have Brion and Violet, M’gann and Conner, Karen and Mal, the hintings of Will and Artemis again, Gar and Perdita (who are slowly becoming my favorite), and we learn that Jaime and Traci are dating. This was hinted at back in “Away Mission,” but not confirmed. They’re really cute this episode, and the interaction with Traci, Scarab, and Jaime while they’re trying to save Perdita actually got a chuckle out of me. After a whole season of Jaime’s communicative antics with his suit, it’s nice he’s able to be honest with someone and share some of that burden. We also get Psimon and Devastation together, which is hilarious.
I did want to put this out there though: is Bart gay? Static makes the joke at the beginning of the episode that he feels like a seventh wheel, and gives what will be his refrain through the episode of: “I gotta get a girlfriend.” That would only make sense if Eduardo and Bart were dating, or really, really close friends. Either is fine, they just seem like they’re flirting in the bumper cars. I also thought that Eduardo and Windfall might end up having a thing, but maybe he is just trying to be protective, responsible, and parental towards the metahumans that have experienced such tragedy. Either way, I’m not sure, but I think it would be totally cool, and one Google says the internet agrees. Queer Flash here we come.Continued below
3. Gar “Democratic Socialist” Logan
“The game is rigged against us by the Lex Luthor’s of the world.” “The top 1% of Americans hold more wealth than the bottom 90%.” I thought Bernie suddenly appeared on this show.
That’s really it, I just wanted to make a joke. But it has been interesting over the last few episodes to watch Gar’s decent into anger and rage. Although him and Perdita seem to still be doing fine, so I guess he is covering more of his increasing radical nature from her. Either way, he’s mad, he wants to be doing more, and the end of the episode tips the scales a little bit. He’s about to clash with everyone…
4. “You don’t have to fight crime to help people.”
So aside from the Taos fight, and Violet’s guilt deteriorating into anxiety and stress, the biggest bit of something this episode is the growing relationship between Will and Artemis. Oh and her mother knows about it. Which is not the worst part, because her mother is pissed when she learns that Artemis is back in the field. She wants what she thinks is best for her – finishing her masters degree, getting a doctorate, and teaching and then settling down with Will. “Lian needs a mother” she says, and Cheshire is long gone. She brings up Barbara, which makes me wonder how Paula knows about Babs, but as another character traumatized and wheelchair-bound it comes across as very poignant and heavy. I’m glad that this show has had the integrity to not revisit how Babs wound up as Oracle. While that experience and trauma is important, and it implies that some awful version of ‘The Killing Joke’ happened in this reality, we don’t need to see it, and if they’re going to use Oracle this is the best way. Nonetheless, Artemis has some big decisions and drama ahead of her with her feelings about her “brother-in-law” out in the open. This show is sometimes frustratingly slow, but when it delves into trauma well like it’s doing with Gar, Artemis, and Violet, well, I guess one shouldn’t complain.
5. Into the lemonlight
Bart cracking jokes, but this is big. The Team is in the lime(lemon)light. This goes against everything that the covert Team has always been, and although they spin it as they were in the area so they helped, the public sees a team of teenagers together really for the first time. And it’s really their fault the fight happens the way it does. As Onslaught (the team of Psimon, Devastation, Terror Twins, and Icicle Jr.) tricks them into abandoning Taos, the group tries to steal back the metahumans. While they would’ve done this anyway, the Light clearly knows the Team was there and needed them gone. Now Gar is going on the offensive, and Miss M and Aquaman are undoubtedly going to be madddddd.
That’s all for this installment folks. Sound off in the comments below, and we’ll be back on Wednesday (and every Wednesday following until the end of August) for more Young Justice: Outsiders.