The third season of Young Justice hits the halfway point as the metahuman trafficking case heats up and the Happy Harbor crew gets a few surprises. They tie in several previous episodes to make an impressive mid-season finale. We also see one of the newer groups of Bat-foes, the beginnings of a classic storyline, and hints at bad things to come. They juggle a lot, but still manage to work in some great humor, in “True Heroes.”
The episode opens with the Happy Harbor crew still trying to give some of their young charges something approaching some normal experiences. But, of course, nothing goes smoothly for social plans, and the Halloween Dance will have to wait after Dick shows up with an urgent, last-minute mission. For once, Geo-Force is happy, as they finally have a lead on his missing sister, Tara. Of course, if you’ve read the right comics, you know finding Tara Markov might not be a good thing. Halo gets asked to stay behind to keep an eye on the still unstable Victor Stone. Taking the Bio-Ship, which Forager is developing an odd relationship with, the team races off for Bialya, as Dick brings them up to speed on developments in the assorted heroes’ anti-metahuman trafficking efforts. They tie several recent episodes together very nicely here, and it’s a great example of subplots building to a more major one.
Back in Happy Harbor, Dr. Jace has the difficult job of babysitting the very emotional Halo and the sullen Victor. Jace reveals a personal detail I never knew, calms Halo, and calls Victor out on some of the way he’s acting. It doesn’t look like he has a good reaction to her talking to him. They do work in a very nice cultural detail that it would have been easy to miss. Arriving where they need to be and going stealth, Dick uses one of his small bug-drones to see what’s going on, and we get a look at what appears to be some version of the Court of Owls, at least to judge from the masks. They’re doing metahuman gladiatorial matches, and the big fight we see is Tara (of course) going up against Holocaust. Holocaust was a big villain in the early days of the Milestone comics, and it’s interesting to see another Milestone character introduced on this Earth. We also see a collection of villains called Onslaught serving as security, and a strange emcee who actually quotes the musical Cabaret in his introduction. The writers have some range here, points for that little nod. While Dick starts laying out their infiltration plan, things take a turn for the violent back in Happy Harbor, and it really seems like they’re going for the horror vibe, since it’s Halloween and all. Halo gets a nasty surprise part way through the fight.
Brion nearly blows the mission, of course, but Jefferson buys them some time with a subtle use of his powers that was pretty damn clever. Dick makes use of what people have joked Batman’s power is to get Tara away from the traffickers, and there’s a very happy reunion. The situation back in Happy Harbor gets creepier, and then there are several twists in the battle as Halo comes to a realization. The team gets geared up to go after the traffickers now that Tara is safe, and Dick tells Brion and Tara to remain behind. There are a lot of good action bits in the big fight that erupts, and a hilarious bit of dialogue with Icicle II and Superboy as they clash. One of the bad guys talks their way into more trouble when their bragging makes one of the heroes a lot more comfortable with really letting loose. Eventually, the mission is completely successful, as are several other ones that take place off screen and, more than likely, set up for another big battle down the road.
Eventually, everyone ends up back Happy Harbor for a debriefing/celebration. The mission went well, Brion got his happy reunion, and Victor’s problems seem to be under control. Dick muses about the future of some of his newer recruits, but someone sneaks away to send a secretive text and hint that one of the more tragic stories from DC is coming up soon. It’s not a shock if you’ve known what to look for. That leaves things in a really interesting place for this mid-season finale.
What I liked: The mission went well, and it was good to see the heroes working together so smoothly. I’m hoping the events of this episode mean that Victor’s issues are under control now. Forager’s new skill was unexpected, but makes sense if you think about it. The humor in the fight was great. The hint at nasty things to come was well done, and is a nod to a fantastic storyline from years ago in the comics. The little touch in Jace’s conversation with Halo was really well done.
What I didn’t: Really, not much. They did some great things here. I guess the only thing I’ll complain about is that the gathered villains were most of a team that often fights the Teen Titans, and it would have been nice to see all of them.
The episode really impressed me, and it’s been a great first half of the season. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. There wasn’t quite enough wow factor to hit the 5 for me.