Round 3 of the Young Justice: Outsiders episode drop is underway and we are smack dab in the middle today with “Triptych.” For those unfamiliar with the word, it refers to a work of art that is divided into three different sections, like paintings that look like the cardboard trifolds you used for elementary school science fair projects. It’s come to mean things that are only appreciated fully with their three separate components.
This episode we get three separate encounters, led by three separate teams, that all play into the rising metahuman crisis, and bring a lot of pieces presented thus far together. As per usual, full spoilers, but with that let’s gaze into the painting and dive in!
1. Peter David is back!
First and foremost, before we get into the crux of the episode’s content, wanted to point out that Peter David wrote this episode, in his fifth writing credit on this show. David is the original writer of the “Young Justice” comic from the 90’s with art by Todd Nauck, and has written a number of other comic series and co-created a number of characters with the Big 2. All of his episodes within this show have been one-and-done’s and seem to reference, or bring to the fore, characters and concepts that were very important to his run. A lot of his episode’s too have had creative framings, usually with a beginning and ending that are separate events with separate characters, but that tie up what happens in the middle. With this episode we get a three-part story, with a beginning and ending framing sequence of a gathering in Gotham. So par for the course. If the pattern continues we should get another David written episode in part two of the season, so be watching out for it!
2. Dick’s team
Alright so with that let’s tackle part one. Dick’s squad on September 25th goes to take down a team Cheshire has put together consisting of Mist, Livewire, and Shade, two of the three of those being Starman villains. Our Multiversity Comics Editor Brian Salvatore would be pleased. Cheshire’s team has stolen a large device from STAR Labs Detroit (under the nose of Dr. Silas Stone, who is referenced in the episode, after Vic Stone (Cyborg in the comics) got a passing reference a few episodes ago. They steal the device and Cheshire is shot on the way out, so Nightwing, Tigress, Black Lightning (coming straight from staying the night with Jace), Geo Force, Halo, and Forager go to find her, and also to interrogate her about who’s running the League of Shadows. They already, after only a few weeks of training, seem very in sync which is really cool to see come about.
Between Livewire making sex jokes with Black Lightning, Dick getting choked by a woman apologizing to him, and Halo almost dying for the umpteenth time (that’s gotta stop) but ultimately manifesting a new aura, Artemis confronts her sister. It’s so fascinating to see how far the pair have come. Artemis has such confidence with Cheshire this time around demanding the answer for two questions and saying her piece. Cheshire seems so weak, not just cause she’s been shot, but also morally, and physically. She seems slower. Anyway, we learn the Shadows are operating out of Santa Prisca and none else as Artemis let’s her sister and Shade flee.
3. Tim’s team
In a flashback to September 12th, we see Tim with his own team, tracking and confronting Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter. Turns out the Hatter they’re tracking though is Clayface in disguise. Tim has Spoiler, Arrowette, and Orphan (Cassandra Cain) on his team for this mission. This is the first time we’ve seen Spoiler and Arrowette in action since their debut back when they left the Team with Tim in episode one of this season. This is the also the first time Cassandra Cain has showed up in this show, and it was a surprise to see her and also see her use her most recent comic codename. It also too seems that this group is either operating alongside Batman Inc., not within it, which is fascinating since I had thought Tim left to go be with Batman. I want to know more about what that organization looks like.Continued below
The fact that they’re confronting Clayface and Clayface thanks them in the end, combined with who’s on the the squad, gives this a vibe from James Tynion IV’s most recent “Detective Comics” run, which I loved. Clayface and Hatter doing mind control things together also occurred in Sean Murphy’s “Batman: White Knight” stuff that may have been present to the creators of this show as they were writing this season. It’s so cool to see the influences. The writers are grabbing heavily from “Outsiders” stuff that Mike Barr and Jim Aparo did, but they’re grabbing from current continuity too.
4. Kaldur’s team
Alright so Kaldur’s Justice League get a run at stopping mind-controlled metahumans too back on September 10th. Flash and Captain Marvel (thank God he’s still Captain Marvel in this show) end up transporting Brick and an unknown meta to Belle Reve and are stopped by Sportsmaster. Abra Kadabra show up to help with the break out, but Rocket and Kaldur also show up as reinforcements. Sportsmaster and the unnamed guy end up getting away but the League capture Kadabra and get Brick back. This is the first time we’ve seen the League in action thus far too since we learned that Kaldur was in charge of them and that half of them are off in space. They seem rough, Barry and Billy barely getting knocked out by Sportsmaster which shouldn’t happen. Not only has their ability to operate been inhibited, but so have their abilities. It is not looking well for them.
5. Is this a win?
The intrigue and the lying is back, and it’s so much bigger and so much worse. So the Dick/Babs interaction from the beginning of the episode turns out to be a larger meeting between Batman, Tim, Dick, Babs, Wonder Woman (via hologram from space), Kaldur, and M’gann. We learn that while Dick’s crew was hitting up Cheshire, M’gann and Conner were taking on Simon Stagg who is running a metahuman trafficking ring, and had stolen the device from STAR Labs as xenophobic protection from the mind-controlled metahumans he was leading. We realize the meta Sporstmaster kidnapped, and the one that Tetch was controlling with nanotech, were both Shade who ends up on this heist with Cheshire. Cheshire ends up freeing him, and I think it’s implied he murks Stagg in his cell.
While that whole backwards chronology for the episode is fascinating, it’s what happens after that that’s even more crazy. As Diana says, of the 7 people in the room, there are 6 teams being run: Batman Inc., Tim’s squad of four, Dick’s Outsiders, Kaldur’s Earth-based League, Diana’s space-led one, and the Team that M’gann is leader of. Wow. Even more so, we realize the split is for the public, and the heroes are trying to operate like the Light, with Batman basically being Vandal. He’s put Dick and Tim in leader positions and given Babs as Oracle, to supply support to everyone. This thing is much bigger, and the lies have larger stakes. Batman’s talking lying under oath, and the planning is dire. I wasn’t expecting the public fracture to have been planned, but there’s no way this doesn’t blow up in everyone’s face.
That’s all for episode 8 folks! Sound off in the comments below and we’ll see you on Thursday for the last episode of round three!