Today is the day, that we have come to the end. 26 episodes later we have finished the long-awaited third season. 72 episodes, 9 years in the making. I don’t got much more snark to add.
This episode was the last one of three dropped in the final installment over a week ago, and closes out some of the plot points of the season, and sets up a good number of new ones for the newly announced season four. Over the last couple of episodes I have been asking questions about the pacing and plotting of Outsiders, and boy do I have a lot more thoughts about that here. This episode gets a lot right, but is it a good season finale? And has this been a good season? All that and more after the spoiler warning as we dive in.
1. Bad faith, aka, the national nightmare is just beginning
Alright so as promised last episode, we’re taking the fight all the back to Markovia. Baron Bedlamb is king, and the Team and the Outsiders are all on board to take back the country from him, and presumably reinstall Gregor as king. Except that’s not what happens at all, and once again The Light gets exactly what it wants.
So with an alpha, beta, and gamma squad split, and Bedlam subdued the heroes win right? Deathstroke taps Tara to kill Gar on live television thus making it easier for Lex to push his registration, Marvel’s “Civil War,” agenda through. But of course, Batman and Artemis and Dick and Superboy have all known that she was a mole for quite awhile now. Can’t get anything past Batman. I really appreciate the way this one ended, as Tara’s betrayal and all that could have gone to “Judas Contract” level grossness, and instead the heroes just loved her back to life. Huh it’s almost like sticking to your principles and not compromising just because the bad guys do it maybe…works? Who would’ve thought such a thing.
You’d think that’d be the end of it, but Brion then shoots magma down his uncle’s throat thus definitely killing him. He gets himself crowned king by mob rule afterward. This is definitely the most graphic thing this show’s done to date, and I’ve already said enough about how I feel about that. Brion has been angry and impulsive from the beginning, but he’s overcome a lot and become more compassionate and controlled, and so this move really bothered me. I think it’s more in line with early season Brion, but not who Brion has been even just a few episodes ago. I was frustrated about the killing until it became clear The Light wanted it all to happen and wanted to install Brion as a puppet king. We learn that the Markovian ambassador, Zviad Baazovi, is actually a member of The Light, and is the comic book counterpart of the villain Bad Samaritan (from Mike Barr and Jim Aparo’s “Outsiders” run no less). His power is subdued mind-control, so he helped to push Brion to do this. After that I was just mad that The Light always wins again, especially after the next point.
2. Fake news and no-confidence
So Brion becomes King of Markovia, but thanks to Tara turncoating back to the heroes, the heroes get proof of Deathstroke and Lex together. Black Lightning is able to take this to the United Nations Security Council to try to depose Luthor, who dismisses it all as fake news. A Russian hoax if you will. Oh wait that’s real life. Anyway, he’s seemingly getting away with it before Superboy bursts on stage going public, and going public about himself being a genomorph. Ahh all that talk of privilege and responsibility, mixed in with a little guilt, really worked. This gives the UN enough clout to oust Luthor as Secretary-General, and allows Superboy to go public for the first time ever. All this too leads to M’gann and Conner making up and making out. So glad they can be adults about their relationship, although they got engaged almost a year ago in-universe time so you’d think they’d be planning a wedding or something?
Anyway, Luthor is basically going to get off with a slap on the wrist. The Light in their meeting simply refer to it as “legal issues to resolve,” and Luthor is still fully controlling Infinity Inc. who are able to take refuge in Markovia under Brion. I’ll say it again, making Luthor the Trump-analogue for the season has been one of the more annoying facets of the latter half of Outsiders. It hasn’t been subtle, or handled I think with any level of nuance or tact. We just get to laugh at Luthor using Trump’s favorite phrases. And perhaps that’s the point since we have a tactless criminal in the Oval Office (can I write that sitting in a hotel in Washington, D.C.?) so Luthor has to also be a bafoonish joke. I don’t know, I’m just glad he won’t be a politician anymore and it won’t be brought up again. The other part of this that’s frustrating is just how The Light, once again, never loses. They manipulate Brion, they manipulate the UN, and nothing bad happens. And again, it’s just like how the real world works when men in power still get to hold onto power, but for the sake of a show that’s about to round 75 episodes, I think it’s a little stale.Continued below
3. Living long enough to have become the villain trying to be a hero again.
Nightwing and Batman gather, quite literally, all of the heroes together and fess up to everything. All the secrets, all the lies, and everyone resigns. Wonder Woman, Kaldur, M’gann, all of them surrender their leadership roles and then a vote is taken for Black Lightning to run the Justice League. Everything is going to be on the up-and-up now, the Team will still operate under the League, not to simply be covert, but to keep the young heroes out of the spotlight. The Outsiders can keep going on doing their thing, and the League will no longer keep anymore secrets from each other. I somehow don’t believe that, this show loves its secrets, but that’s the plan at least on paper.
Jefferson makes a great speech about men who are trying to do the most good get to the age old question of ends and means and pick ends. Vandal Savage, Teth-Adam (Black Adam), Ra’s al Guhl, and Brion make his honor’s list. Instead Jefferson says that they will hold firm to their principles and no longer compromise. Now I’m a sucker for long speeches about principles and ethics, I grew up watching a whole lot of Star Trek, and it now seems that finally after three seasons the League and everyone else has learned that. This signals a far more unified, far more Justice League Unlimited on a larger scale for the fourth season, and that’s something I can get behind.
4. Long live the Legion
Ok I lied when I said that the Green Lantern Corps was the only franchise this show hasn’t really dipped into yet of the large swaths of characters and segments of the DC Universe. I totally forgot about the Legion of Super-Heroes.
The Legion seems to be having a bit of a renaissance of late with Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook’s new relaunch of the series just around the corner. After a few Legion-less years, the future protectors of the world are about to make their comic book come back, and coming next season it seems their Young Justice debut. At the party at Bibbo’s after all the heroes think that they’ve won, there’s a blond woman waitress wearing a Legion flight ring. Money’s on Saturn Girl. Of course if we extrapolate from season-ending teasers then it’ll be another six years real time until any of this pans out.
All kidding aside, this surprised me. I was absolutely not expecting the Legion to be involved at all in this show, and especially not with the conflict with Darkseid still on the horizon. Some have suggested that we might be getting a ‘Great Darkness Saga’-inspired fourth season, which is an event that I have heard nothing but beautiful things about, though I confess I haven’t read a single Legion comic. The Darkseid conflict is going to get a lot bigger before it ends. If it ever ends. But, nonetheless, one of the two things this show has done is world-building, and they’re about to build a whole future.
5. Season 2.5
And so here are once again at the end of the end. 26 episodes, six years later our time, and now in-show time three years from the “Endgame” moment. I have to wonder at the end of this season, how far really have we come? From the moment we were spinning our wheels a little in the middle part of the season, I knew we weren’t going to get the big Darkseid blow-up. And we didn’t. What we did get, was the Markovian storyline played all the way through, with lasting consequences for the war with The Light, and a look at a failed tactic on the side of the heroes to battle their villains. Almost a Markovian Saga if you will (for those Dragon Ball Z fans). But it was really all that with a little fluff, fluff that slowed the pacing, that muddled some of the character moments, and cut corners on the back end with the animation. We had part of a full story, with tendrils of many more stories for future seasons. And that’s how the ends of both previous seasons have worked, but as the cast of this show grew to the largest it’s ever been this season, I’m left feeling a little unfulfilled.Continued below
All in all I would call this season a semi-successful season 2.5. In the same way that Captain America: Civil War was basically Avengers 2.5, so too these 26 episodes have been both a stuffed and slower middling sessions, passing us off from season 2 to the now season 4, which will pick up five years after in-story time after the Darkseid moment to match the jump from seasons 1 and 2. At least that’s my prediction. It’s left me curious as this show made the jump to DC Universe where the tensions and issues showed up. After all Swamp Thing had all those funding problems and issues, and none of the shows have been unmarked I would imagine. Titans surely suffered from backroom problems because literally nothing happens over 11 episodes. Did similar things happen here? Were there behind the scenes reasons that writers who had never worked on the show before wrote episodes in part two of Outsiders? What went into the delay debuting the show and the decision to only put out one episode a week rather than the three-a-week originally announced? Was some of what I experienced as “padding” added later, and could this story have been told fully in 13 or 18 episodes with more Darkseid in the remaining episodes? Was what we got always the “planned” direction, or did things change when another season was promised?
All this and more I am curious about, and while I am excited for a fourth season (but won’t believe it’s happening until I see it based on both DC Universe’s issues and the long-waiting between season 2 and 3), I am left with mixed feelings after Outsiders. There were moments I loved, episodes like “Evolution,” “Nightmare Monkeys,” and “Overwhelmed” that were brilliant, but also episodes like “Elder Wisdom,” and “Early Warning” that absolutely weren’t. There was a conflict, but not the one we were expecting, and the war driving the series continues in the same way it has always continued, though now the heroes are far more unified than they’ve ever been. We’ve been in 26 episodes of transition, which to me has also marked Outsiders as the weakest of the three seasons so far, and has me tepid on season 4 as some of the magic and goodwill I’ve had towards the first two seasons has worn off. But, inevitably, we’ll be back if/when we’re needed to cover more!
What’d you think of the season finale? Do you have thoughts on the season as a whole? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to check out the other great content here at Multiversity Comics!