Young Justice – “Disordered” Recap
“Disordered” wisely follows up on the mortifying events of “Failsafe” and handily affirms that the producers and writers know what they’re doing with Young Justice. It is now crystal clear that the consequences of that episode are very real and of great importance.
We see here that in their own way every member of the team has been adversely affected by the false doomsday scenario they had to endure, and so Black Canary is doing her best to be a counselor for the teens and help them work through it. She starts with Superboy but he grows impatient and snaps that Black Canary doesn’t understand what he’s feeling; he storms out and decides to go on a joy ride to blow off steam. However he’s intercepted by Sphere, which transforms itself into a special motorcycle for him and Wolf to ride. Before long though he’s intercepted by the forever people, who have come from New Genesis to recover the “New Genisphere” and other technology that was stolen from their world. Fortunately they soon realize that Superboy helped recover Sphere from the true thieves (as we know from the team’s adventures in Bialya during Bereft), and they team up to stop the Intergang from using another artifact of New Genesis technology to rob a bank. Meanwhile, Black Canary works with the rest of the team.
The forever people make for colorful and memorable guest stars, mostly thanks to their boisterous big oaf “Bear” and the goofy fellow who implausibly roleplays a cowboy because he really, really enjoys Earth-made western movies. In a fun and delightfully far-fetched twist they can collectively merge to create the powerful “Infinity Man”, essentially a giant robot of immense power. However the villains put up a good fight on their end thanks to the use of weapons from Apokolips, and we’re treated to a surprise appearance from Desaad. Through this viewers are treated to the first explanations about strife between Apokolips and the “New Gods” of New Genesis in this series, and Desaad himself shines as quite possibly the creepiest villain to appear in Young Justice so far. I much prefer this Desaad to any other iteration I’ve seen, including the version we saw in the old DCAU. With a menacing minion like this one I only imagine what this universe’s Darkseid could be like; hopefully this show lasts long enough for us to find out.
Superboy is the real star here though, as it should be. Since the forever people are guests they respectfully defer to Superboy, so for once he has to step up and take the lead a bit when it comes to dealing with the bad guys. He also gets some fun dialogue with the forever people and toward Sphere, and in a favorite moment of mine he shows self awareness about his past impatience and temper (“I’ve been very patient–you know, for me…”). But through most of this adventure he’s rather calm and collected and handles himself very well, which I think again demonstrates how this character has advanced from the very early episodes. I see some nice symmetry at the end here also. Just as how he swallowed his pride and accepted Black Canary’s training after spurning it in “Schooled”, at the end here he’s calmed down enough to let his defenses down and open up to Black Canary about his experience in “Failsafe.”
Speaking of which, Black Canary’s counseling sessions were a magnificent B-plot that accomplished a great deal with very little time. Wally acts nonchalant and refuses to talk through his severe reaction to Artemis’ “death” during the simulation, while Artemis’ unwillingness to open up is tied to the secrets she’s keeping from the team regarding her identity. This talk prompts her to admit she’s worried most about what Wally would do and say if the truth got out, which is interesting but not an advancement of “shipping” just yet to me. It seems clear Wally is harboring some feelings about Artemis, but he’s in denial about it and freely admits he’s comfortable with that. Meanwhile Artemis is terribly hung up on the idea that the team would reject her based on her checkered background, which illustrates a frustrating paradox for her character. It was established in “Homefront” that she thinks of the team as a second family, but because she wants that so much she won’t yet trust them like family for fear of losing it. One can only hope the truth won’t be discovered before Artemis is ready to be honest on her own terms.
Another troubling conflict manifests regarding Aqualad, Robin and leadership of the team. Aqualad believes he failed “Failsafe” by sacrificing
himself rather than considering the importance of his role as leader, but while he feels unfit to lead he also believes it would be wrong to pass the
responsibility to the very young Robin. Robin, in turn, feels
overwhelmed by what he had to do as a leader, hating that he had to send his friends to their doom to succeed. He wants to be a hero but doesn’t think he can–or wants–to be like Batman with his complete commitment to the mission, and you can hear the pain of that admission in his voice. It’s heart-wrenching stuff. On another front we see Miss Martian be talked into training with Martian Manhunter to regain her confidence rather than blame herself and suppress her natural talents, but the big development there by far was her alarmed shock at being told she’d turned “white” when she unconsciously morphed into her “Megan” persona. That’s a very obvious tell that she’s a white martian or at least related to one, or else an unlikely red herring. Finally we have Superboy, who now feels guilty for feeling “at peace” since he had the opportunity to step into Superman’s shoes in “Failsafe” like he’d wanted for so long.
To its credit “Disordered” succeeds for raising these issues while declining to solve them for the most part, Black Canary’s best efforts notwithstanding. As she tells Superboy, the first step is admitting your problems and what you’re feeling. That’s credible and true to life; none of the troubles these young heroes have got are easy ones quickly solved, as acknowledged the start with Martian Manhunter’s penetrating comment to Batman about how trauma tends to linger. It will take the rest of this season to deal with them and possibly beyond even that; if anything the point of “Disordered” is probably to set the stage for character and plot development yet to come. Next time brings us “Secrets”, an episode focusing on Artemis and Zatanna. With strong writing like this, such character focus is absolutely more than welcome.