(filed under Scorch’s Review of Young Justice:Infiltrator)“Who are you?” Kid Flash asked that like a million times this episode, and that really is the central question here. Before I go into the episode, let me say this:
What I like about this show:
-The Animation: This will always make or break an animated show, as it is a visual medium just like comics, and the style of the show will either draw people in or alienate them, and this style is completely working.
-The Characterization: Whether you’re familiar with the comic or not, and you understand which characters are direct translations & which ones were created specifically for the show, the one thing that’s clear is that this is The Breakfast Club with superpowers, and it’s awesome. You have a very clear sense, even six episodes in, who these kids are, and they have a tremendous amount of room to grow, precisely because they are adolescents.
-The Level of Action: They literally never disappoint in this category, because they get that superhero escapism is all about those fantastic abilities that we don’t have, but wish we did, and we want to see super people doing super things, dammit.
-The Level of Continuity: Every episode is attached to all of the ones before it. It’s a simple as that. You can jump in & understand what’s going on, but like a good classic record, you have to experience the whole work to get the largest satisfaction from it.
What I Don’t Like About This Show:
*chirp* *crickets* ……Ummm……nothing.
Dr. Serling Roquette on Infinity Island. I also think that the time & date + location stamp that they do for every scene change is cool. It’s actually amazing how badass they’ve made his character, and I especially like the Street Fighteresque action when he busts through the door & does a combo on one of the guards. So Roquette is being forced to complete an as yet unknown project for some as yet unknown villainy villainous types, and she complains about Red Arrow being her only rescuer….she wonders if he brought backup. And asks about budget cuts. Not liking this bitch. Bad guys again can’t shoot for shit as they have the escaping pair dead to rights with a slew of automatic weapons, but hey, no show if the grunts can aim. Speedy Arrow leaves them a little present as they depart; I’m liking him even more. He’s a dick, but he can back his shit up. He’s also much more Batmanesque in his approach, because he clearly doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about his activities. So turns out that whatever Roquette was working is indeed operational, and The Sensei and Professor Ojo are “good to go.”
So we open with Speedy, now Red Arrow, basically doing a one man rescue operation of
So back on Mount Justice & the gang is having a day at the beach, while it seems that Wally unfortunately has had to start school. This sequence was funny in how it zoomed in on M’gann(even green cartoon babes in bikinis make guys drool), but also, it made me realize the diversity of the team. Did or does Aqualad go to school? Did he do so in Atlantis, do they even raise their kids that way? M’gann basically hangs around at Mount Justice all day, does J’onn teach her anything, or does she just watch MTV? Same with Connor, he’s got no family….so only Dick & Wally actually go to school. It’s like a combination of foreign exchange students, home schoolers, private schoolers, and public school kids. Nice. Robin is funny as hell with his “moment of silence.” Again, this is indeed the wisecracking, show boating kid that Dick Grayson is supposed to be, and I love it. UmmmthatsandmoundoverSuperboy
So the main idea/plot/focus of this episode is the fact that Artemis, who is functionally Arrowette, is now being introduced to the group, in exactly the same way that M’gann was, but somehow…it just doesn’t feel right. Kid Flash senses it right away, and so does the audience. Anyone with any knowledge of Teen Titans history immediately all thought the same thing: Terra. It’s clearly the Judas Contract all over again, especially since they named the friggin’ episode “Infiltrator.” This storyline was also done in the recent animated Teen Titans series as well(and they had a much better theme song). But the writers seem to say in interviews that Artemis is not an Amazon, nor Arrowette, nor Mia/Speedy, or whatever. So we’ll see, but somethin’ ain’t right about her.
Sure are a lotta nieces goin' on around here.
So Red Arrow tells ‘em that ‘The Fog’ was the weapon that Dr. Roquette created, and how insidious it is. The League of Shadows ain’t playin’, dammit! I still don’t quite understand Red Arrow’s motives, because he keeps trashing the group & the concept behind it, yet he keeps showing up and being a part of their missions. We’ll have to see how that plays out as well.
The Doc is at Happy Harbor High(HAH!), and more continuity points for using their ‘cloaked’ uniforms. Aqualad requests that Miss Martian hooks the team up telepathically, and hilarity ensues. There’s just such rich comedic potential in having super powered teenagers mentally accessible to one another, and this episode doesn’t miss a beat of it. Robin helps Kid Flash realize that Artemis was the one who shot the arrow that helped them in their fight with Amazo(CONTINUITY RULEZ I TELL YA!!!)….all while they’re in each other’s heads. Again, so much about this makes sense…the doctor has the typical “it’s not a weapon it’s science!!” attitude that so many scientists do, when they create something & refuse to see its potential use from every angle, Aqualad is typically stoic & noble, a young man of few words, but when he does speak, it counts, and the doc even recognized that tracking The Fog would also let the League know where she is. I know all of that seems like minor quibbles, but little things add up.
“Mmmm that boy.” Artemis doesn’t take long to start unapologetically diggin’ on Connor, that’s fer damn sure. I thought it was interesting that Miss Martian could reconfigure her ship to be piloted by Robin, and even stranger that he’d somehow know what to do inside of her ship…maybe she has some kind of autopilot, or maybe she’s walked through some training in the use of her ship for the other members of the group. What we also eventually need to know, and Superman recognized this too, is exactly what Connor can and cannot do. Sometimes it seems like he has all of Superman’s powers, sometimes it seems like he doesn’t. So Cheshire manages to slip into the high school while M’gann & Artemis are bickering, and quickly outwits Kid Flash…but then she dumps his unconscious body in the pool. Clearly she meant to kill him, because he’d drown in minutes…so why didn’t she just stab him? So they have a brief but intense fight, and Cheshire bamfs out of there…I also have to wonder how M’gann can’t see or read Artemis’ deception. This was the same problem I had with Identity Crisis, and I wrote Brad Meltzer an email & told him so, because it’s hard to buy a telepath being on a team and then telling a story about deception. It’s obvious that Artemis is hiding stuff, so M’gann should pick up on it. But anyway,
So Robin & Superboy see Star Labs get trashed, & they regroup for round two. So then we have the two biggest *headdesk* moments of the episode, both by Aqualad. Moment 1: He tells Kid Flash and Artemis to “stop it” because he can somehow HEAR THEM GLARING. Um…what? Unless he was being funny, that makes no sense at all…exactly what mental sound is made when you glare? Moment 2: For some reason, he tells Miss Martian, OUT LOUD, to stay cloaked & make a perimeter sweep. Um, WHAT? The only reason in retrospect that I think he did that was to maybe throw off any assailants that might be nearby. If that’s the case, then it was strategy, no harm no foul. So Spider-Man….erm, I mean Black Spider, The Hook(brilliant name) and Cheshire show up, and knock the fuck outta Aqualad, which rarely happens on this show. So they fight fight fight until we see that Roquette is actually M’gann in disguise(I LOVE that ploy), so maybe that’s a clue as to what Aquadude was doing earlier.
Cut to the real Roquette, and she’s desperately trying to upload her anti-virus virus cure viral-non-virally defoggy halitosis cure thingy. So the next question obviously is…how the FUCK did Aqualad go from being knocked out on the ground to where the doctor was? The only way that sequence works is if when Aqualad was speaking, that was actually M’gann in disguise as Aqualad…and then once the villains leave she zooms back into the high school invisibly and takes on Roquette’s form while telepathically hurling debris at the criminals. If that’s the case, then kudos all around. Robin realizes that if The Fog hacks Wayne Tech, they’ll eventually get to the Batcave, and can’t let that happen…I love how he freaks out over that.
So it seems that Cheshire infra reds some footprints, so maybe that was the real Aqualad…that doesn’t make sense that he recovered & relocated that fast then, but whatever. So Cheshire could’ve just hurled a sai at Dr. Roqy but that woulda been too easy…Robin n’ Superboy at Wayne Tech confront Cylcops…I mean, Dr. Ojo and Connor charges ahead as usual. The coolest part about this sequence was Robin using an override command inside of Wayne Tech. Superboy as usual gets his shirt burned off. This is a theme with him. Cheshire spares Roquette because she finishes her nanobyte penicillin…and says that the Shadows may need her again someday. Um, okay. She shoulda just killed her. Robin uploads the cure, and “the infiltrators have been outfiltrated!” Robin and his made up words, I swear.
"You don't wanna know the shit I know."
So of course the big deal is when Arrowette/Artemis stops Cheshire, she’s unmasked, and threatens to expose all of blondie’s secrets…which then prompts Lil’ Arrow Pimpette to let her go. Hmmm…the plot thickens. The gang smells a rat, but welcome her to the team anyway.
On a side note, M’Gann’s statement about having 12 sisters or whatever on Mars in effect continues the retcon of J’onn. Initially J’onn was the only surviving member of his race…but comic readers also know that M’Gann is actually a White Martian posing as a Green Martian because she hates her White Martian heritage. We’ll see what they do with that.
Blonde Arrow then teleports to a phone booth in Gotham City which was awesome, and is confronted by Red Arrow, who basically tells her that he knows she’s not Ollie’s niece, and that he knows that Bats & GA are lying about Artemis…but he chooses to trust them for now. He issues a warning to Artemis though, and I swear, Roy acts more like Batman was his mentor than Ollie. Finally we see Sensei again, and the counsel of light talking about the gang…seems like the Wayne Tech was their goal all along, but then they speak of an operative INSIDE Young Justice.
They’re being so heavy handed and obvious with this thing until I’m not quite sure where they’re going with it…we don’t know who Artemis is…if she’s not the traitor, who is? My vote is for either M’gann or Red Tornado. We’ll see. All in all, another great episode, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
...Somebody's gonna bite the big one.