Slick’s Nit-Picks: Young Justice, Episode 108 – “Downtime”
Even the best of teams has a bad day, right? It is a little bit worse when your team leader does not have his head in the game. You wind up losing to people you shouldn’t. Aqualad has made it clear that he wants Robin to one day lead the team and that he will only take the job until Robin is ready. The problem is that until that day comes, the team looks to Kaldur’ahm for guidance, Robin included. They always say there is no “I” in “team” but if the person you get your direction from is lost then the team is going nowhere, both figuratively and literally.
How he looks here is how he feels. The entire team just got stomped by Clayface (not even the real one). They had to be rescued by Batman and now he is getting chewed out by the bat about not having his head in the game. Batman is not psychic, but he is very good at sensing what is wrong in a situation. He tells Aqualad to go home and decide whether he truly wants to be a part of this team or if he is going to stay in Atlantis. Initially he decides he will stay in Atlantis to be with the girl he loves, Tula (aka the first Aquagirl), but changes his mind when she informs him that she and Garth (aka the original Aqualad) are a couple. Aquaman announces that he and his wife Mera are expecting and almost simultaneously, Black Manta begins a covert assault on Atlantis. Aquaman is called away by the Justice League and Black Manta’s attack goes a lot less covert as his squad begins destroying most of Poseidonis.
Black Manta’s target is a giant frozen Starfish that the Atlanteans were studying. Aqualad and Garth work together to stop the theft and Black Manta destroys the starfish in a rage which also covers his escape. Aquaman returns and the Atlantean science division has recovered a small piece of the starfish stating that it is already regenerating. The decision is made to allow surface world scientists to study it instead, due to the large amount of damage that Poseidonis has suffered. Kaldur lets everyone know that he is returning to his team and the episode closes out with Black Manta apologizing to the Light for his failure.
I face a dilemma with “Downtime.” I , for the most part, liked this episode. However, while I watched it and even now as I review it, I realize that this was one huge stink bomb of an episode. Every character has had at least one episode dealing with their own personal growth in Young Justice. They finally do the episode for Aqualad and it is mostly filler. I let a lot of stuff go because this is a DC universe specifically made for this show and it is not the DC universe of the comics or even one of their known alternates. I am just really pissed at how they have squandered the potential of Kaldur’Ahm. Here are a few facts surrounding this “Aqualad:”
“Kaldur’Ahm” is an homage to Cal Durahm, one of Black Manta’s soldiers.
Black Manta and his subordinates are all actually black.
The current DC equivalent of Kaldur’Ahm is Jackson Hyde and he is actually the born son of Black Manta.
Top this off with the fact that the Kaldur’Ahm has no (known) written history other than being Aqualad; he is a blank slate for all we know. Why throw him into a love triangle with Garth and Tula, who have been together for a long time? If you make Black Manta his father, that would make for some very excellent episodes, at least a two-part. This thing with the Light is wearing thin also. There needs to be a reveal soon. And the starfish – Warner animation seems to have a boner and a half for the lame ass villain Starro, which the beast almost has to be. He’s been in Batman Beyond, Batman: Brave and the Bold and now this. Give it a rest already.
This is what really killed the episode – the “need” to have everyone in it. In between Atlantis getting blown up, we see scenes of what the rest of “the gang” is doing. Robin is training at the Wayne Mansion and going hard at it because he is pissed that Batman only wanted to talk to Aqualad after the training session. My advice to Robin: Get over it and stop being a little bitch – he only wanted to talk to Aqualad because he is the only one that was messing up. Next we have a birthday party for Jay Garrick, the original Flash from the Justice Society of America. WHY? Who gives a damn whether Wally clears the table or not. No one wants to see Barry Allen in this show unless he is either in costume or training Wally. And the final shot of Wally killing a tub of chocolate ice cream….I expected to hear Looney Tunes “oops, I did it again” music or something. The scene was painful.
There were two more equally useless scenes, but they at least had a small amount of merit. Superboy is sitting around watching “TV.” He was actually watching the no signal snow like it was interesting. Miss Martian was making dinner and asked him to help but she lost control of her telekinesis and dropped a few ingredients on Superboy. While she tried to clean it off him, they shared a glance which may develop into something later on. Useless scene, but it may be good reference for later. Finally, we have Artemis (warning: bald rage activated). Her handicapped, Asian mom hands her a letter saying she was granted a full scholarship to Gotham Academy by the Wayne Foundation (obviously Batman has a hand in this). She argues with her mom before agreeing to go. Now I have already accepted that “Artemis” is her hero name and not Arrowette. However, the letter is addressed to Miss Artemis Crock. Really, that was the best name you could come up with? Nothing better like maybe, oh I don’t know, Cissie King-Jones (YJ Arrowette’s real name). Artemis does not look remotely Asian, so unless this is an adopted mother, I cannot fathom why she is not a white woman named Bonnie King (the original Miss Arrowette and the 2nd’s mom). I am just gonna stop here and say that I hope this remains the worst episode of young Justice ever. Downtime was a perfect title.