Of all the various superhero shows running, and this is a great time for those in general, Young Justice might be my favorite. They have an impressive variety of characters and manage to honor the comic book they started in. The seasons have their own subtitles, and the third season is called “Outsiders.” They have an interesting mix of characters from the original Outsiders comics, the Judas Contract in New Teen Titans, and a few other places. “Quiet Conversations” is near the end of the season, and a lot of interesting developments are in play.
The series seems to like hitting big holidays, and this isn’t their first New Years’ episode, although there’s no party this time around. Instead, on the streets of Hollywood as the fireworks go off, Victor Stone, Cyborg in the comics, has an argument with his father over the phone. The stress doesn’t do great things for him, and Forager, in his human disguise, finds him almost a day later and gets him back to the Outsiders’ headquarters. Vic isn’t looking good, and it’s not the kind of thing that your average doctor can handle, not even cutting-edge scientist Dr. Helga Jace.
This show is fantastic at bringing in obscure characters, and they do that here, with Dreamer of the Forever People (don’t worry, most people haven’t heard of her; this is a real deep cut) coming by to give them some advice. She’s from New Genesis, home of the New Gods, and she points them to another of the New Gods, Metron. As the crisis around Vic’s problems develops, some of the others find the note Halo left at the end of last episode, and are now determined to go find her. Artemis makes a halfhearted effort to get some of the younger ones off to school, but Forager and Tara have good reasons to not go, and Artemis gives in. Why there’s school on January 2nd I’m not sure; I know I never went back to school that early anywhere in grade school through high school.
Dreamer gives some parting advice that you just know isn’t going to end up happening and she leaves. Boom Tubes live up to their name, and Cyborg tries to make a new house rule, not that I blame him. Forager, Jefferson Pierce, and Superboy go to find Metron, ending up at the Source Wall, a legendary place in the DC Universe. While they try and chase down the New God, who gets around really well courtesy of the Mobius Chair, Tara and Artemis use Sphere to try and find Violet. Violet herself has her own quest, and is trying to take care of things before her own time runs out. At the Metahuman Youth Center in Taos, there’s a passing reference to a very important supporting character from the early days of DC Comics as we see Kal, AKA Aquaman, helping the aquatic teen they rescued a little while ago. He brings her to Atlantis where, among other things, we finally find out what happened to the original Aquaman, and get some interesting insight into Kal’s personal life.
Victor gets an unwelcome visitor, and the resulting stress does exactly what Dreamer warned about. The Very Away Team keeps searching for Metron, and finds some trouble along the way. I get that Jefferson wanted some time away from his Black Lightning identity; it’s certainly happened often enough in the comics. But when you’re out risking your life to save someone, most of the costumes have more features than just being another identity, like armor and coms. I’d think he’d have brought his along. While the home team tries something drastic to save Victor, the Very Away folks find a Justice Leaguer, lend a hand, one of them makes a request, and they finally get back home with what they’ve been after.
At the school back in Happy Harbor, Megan is working at her job as a counselor, and is spending some time with Harper Row. Harper is clearly an abused child, and in the comics, she eventually becomes Batman ally Bluebird. Both here and in the comics, Harper’s major priority is protecting her brother Cullen, and that’s what she’s trying so hard to do. Violet does her best to do a good deed, but it includes some unwelcome and unbelievable news, although any world with superheroes out of necessity has a pretty elastic definition of “unbelievable.” Kal/Aquaman gets the girl, who doesn’t have a name and hasn’t decided on one yet, settled in her new home before checking in someone.
Dr. Jace ducks out to take a phone call, which is almost always suspicious behavior on shows like that, and more so if you know her comic book history. When she’s done, she finds Brion on the balcony and reassures him about what he’s been doing, and his positive influence both on the team and back home. Oddly, she praises his leadership with the Outsiders, and he hasn’t done anything like that as far as I can recall. The Very Away team returns, and Metron shows he’s not there to help. Jefferson was paying close attention to Dreamer earlier, and noted some key word choices. At his direction, there’s an altercation to save a life and annoy a New God.
As Kal parts from Nameless Girl, Megan keeps patiently working with Harper. Harper’s problem is a serious one, and they give it some good time and justice here. After a lot of struggle and some snark, Victor’s condition finally takes a turn for the better, and Metron eventually leaves in a huff. Violet’s side quest comes to a decent ending, with a nice outcome for at least some of her efforts. The ending does a bunch of freeze frame moments, with Violet returning to the team, Victor recovering, and Megan getting Harper some desperately needed help. Tara makes a phone call that is giving me the impression they’re about to veer away from the original Judas Contract story, and they end the episode with a PSA about domestic violence, which I’m glad they did.
What I Liked: The overall quality of this show continues to impress me. The writing is great, the huge cast they manage to juggle so effortlessly, and the obscure characters they bring on shows a real depth and understanding of the DC Universe. I mean really, Harper Row and Dreamer in the same episode? That’s amazing to long-time fans like me. I’m glad they let the Megan and Harper story play out more or less realistically, and not as an excuse for more superhero action when it really wasn’t needed. I loved the nod to Saul Erdel.
What I Didn’t: As I commented above, I really think Jefferson should have suited up for this. I can understand why they might do it, but I’m hoping they don’t soften the Judas Contract the way they seem they’re about to.
I’m really loving this show, and worried that with the massive shuffle of everything they seem to be doing at DC/Warner, they might cut future seasons of this. I hope they don’t. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5.