This is it! The end of the road until June. The midseason finale of Young Justice: Outsiders, and the last one in round four of the January episode drops. Spoilers from here on out for those that wish not to be spoiled (though if you’ve made it this far I assume you do).
“True Heroes” wraps up what became the main thrust of Brion’s plot, namely trying to find Tara, and also solidifies Victor as a mainstay. All the while the heroes feel like they’ve dealt a major blow to The Light, and their metahuman trafficking. But, things aren’t as they seem (of course). Let’s dive in!
1. Been patient enough
It’s so funny seeing a Halloween episode in the midst of some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded in the midwest, but that’s neither here nor there. This episode picks up, a few weeks down the road again as the teen heartthrobs prepare for a school dance and night of fun. Dick very quickly makes it clear that that’s not gonna happen and tells everyone they may have found Tara, and then Brion burns his face paint to show he’s super serious. The ride to Bialya and the fighting that ensue bring back some of the highlights of the first block of episodes with expert stealth and tech sequences capped off by bombastic battles and Superboy doing more than his fair share of the fighting. This main thrust of the episode also doesn’t shy away from the humor that made the first two seasons of this show so endearing, namely Forager’s new love affair with Bioship, and Icicle Jr.’s congratulatory remarks to Superboy in the midst of the battle. There’s plans, there’s plans going wrong, there’s heroics, there’s villains undercutting the heroes even though they don’t know it (we’ll get there). It’s everything that makes this show great, and, it reintroduces the consistent D-list villains the show has brought to prominence (and Psimon) in a new way calling themselves Onslaught. It’s back to form.
2. Horror movie vibes
The side plot of the episode revolves around Dick’s orders that Violet remain with Victor in case his Father Box get out of hand again and she has to do her New Gods magic on him. Violet is distraught because Brion is going into battle without her and so doing all sorts of hormonal stuff and Jace acts SUPER WEIRD even though she’s trying to be supportive to this analogue daughter character. “Let me brush your hair to calm you down and remind me of my dead daughter” is peak horror movie and also should be a referral to therapy.
Vic’s Father Box takes advantage of Violet’s powers being wack to try to kill her (of course) and the lights go out and suddenly you’re transported into the intensity of a horror movie. The camera angles, silence, “Come out, come out wherever you are”-esque lines make it feel like we’ve switched genres suddenly. I appreciated this season’s willingness to expand and do genre-bending bits like this coupled with last episode’s animation switch up. There’s a lot you can do different when you aren’t stressed about cancellation. I’m not a fan of Halo being the one constantly tortured still, but I’m glad Vic doesn’t hurt her. Violet and Mother Box spout the essential, and moving (if you’re into that kind of thing) lingo about friendship and humanity making them better, and purge Vic of the Father Box’s influences. Not without wrecking Conner and M’gann’s home first, but what’re you going to do. I’m glad that Vic and Violet fighting won’t continue, I hope there’s not weird romantic stuff later, and I’m curious how the addition of the Father Box will change the coming conflict with Apokalips. I’m glad some people understand that Cyborg works as a teen, and I’m glad he’s here, and think he’ll be an interesting addition going forward.
3. The Court of Owls and other sightings
It’s time for our recurring bit: “How much DC lore can this show pack into 13 episodes.” The answer is a butt ton. Seriously though, pause for a second and think how much more cool stuff we’ve gotten in less than 5 hours. We got kids. We got Outsiders, Batman Inc, “Gotham Knights,” Starro and Savage, the Doom Patrol, and much more. This show has produced the kind of shared universe comic book companies dream they could have.Continued below
With this episode we get the Earth-16 introduction of the Court of Owls. The Court originated in the beginning of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on “Batman” in The New 52 and brought the first of Snyder’s secret-origin-addled additions to the DCU. They’re the secret influencers of Gotham, and have histories that trace their conflict with the Wayne family back centuries. They also have a global network of 1%-ers all over the world. Hmm sounds like our Earth. While named here, the masks of the rich at the metahuman auctions are exact copies. I wonder if we’ll get more Owls going forward?
We also get another Milestone addition in Holocaust, the meta that Tara is fighting in her illegal cage match. At first I thought I had heard wrong, and that this was a bulkier Hot Spot, but no, Holocaust was one of the biggest villains of the Dakotaverse who made his debut in “Blood Syndicate” #1 in 1993. This is the third Milestone addition this season after the brief Hardware cameo in episode 1, and the reveal of Rocket’s baby. Static, Rocket and Icon have been mostly a non-presence this season, and so I’m curious if the current DC/Milestone politics have influenced how much those characters can appear in this show. If it was possible, it would be brilliant to get all the Milestone stuff on the DC Universe app so that people could experience these characters for the first time. This show also seems primed to help launch the Earth-M imprint that yet still remains dormant. All four seasons of Static Shock and even the really awful New 52 series are on the app. Could we get more?
4. Reunited and it feels…oh right
Alright so Brion is in the first group to infiltrate the compound, buy Tara and incapacitate Psimon which kicks off the fight. She’s way too quick to hug and recognize him, doing so before her mind-control device is removed. Tara and Brion get back in the fight, save Nightwing and Artemis, and help the rest of the metahuman slaves get out of the compound. All in all, all over the globe, the mission is a rousing success. Tara gets back to Happy Harbor, she’s super nice to everyone (too nice) and things kind of seem great. We should realize by now this show does it’s best work when things kind of seem great. The next day Tara wakes up in Star City after staying the night with Will and Artemis and texts Deathstroke that she’s in. She’s endeared herself to all the right people and all of a sudden we have another mole situation.
So outside of ‘The Judas Contract’ analogue here, I’m curious how this is going to play out. Do Dick and Bruce really not suspect Tara could have lingering loyalties? Are they playing her and Brion? Does Dick’s admission to Artemis that Brion, Violet, Forager, Tara, and maybe Vic some day, might ready for the Team mean there are no doubts? Will the heroes finally gain the upper-hand? Who knows. Maybe the villains are just still really good at winning. But that brings me to my next point…
5. Is this a good midseason finale?
I went back and looked at the original air schedule of the show before writing this just because I thought this show has never had a “true” midseason finale. Season 1 took a gap after 9 episodes with “Bereft,” and then another gap after 18 in “Secret.” Season 2 broke after “Depths” (which seems like the most “finale-y” of all the episodes here), and came back and ended again with “Darkest” two episodes later. Well it ended with “Before the Dawn” if you got it on iTunes cause Cartoon Network had screwed the show so much at that point. It then came back months later and ran the rest of the episodes til the end. Thanks again to Nick Palmieri for his YJ knowledge!
My point in all that though is, does this feel “big” enough to be a midseason finale? Did it need to be? Should we have expected that? Will this hold you over til June? In my head, this last block of episodes didn’t feel charged enough to be a “true” midseason finale like people talk about when they use that term. There was a small cliffhanger that was entirely forecasted if you know a little about comics or are a fan of the Teen Titans cartoon. Then the show kind of ends. I guess I expected something explosive considering the way this show has been released coupled with the wait. This is in no way a bad episode, and I do sort of feel guilty in that I feel cheated of bombast. But I wanted big. I wanted cliffhanger season 1 and 2 big. I wanted big Light or League or Team reveals. What we did get though is a capstone of maturity for these new characters, and cog in the wheel to expect upon return. Maybe that should be ok? I’m not sure yet.Continued below
Folks we have run 13 articles in 4 weeks and so thus concludes this portion of Young Justice: Outsiders. What did you think about this finale? Do you feel satisfied? Why or why not? For thoughts on those questions, this episode, the last thirteen, the show at large, or hell the universe, sound off in the comments below! But with that, we’ll see you again in June!