Slick’s Nit-Picks: Young Justice, Episode 113 – “Alpha Male”
(this review is spoiler-heavy)
The team has averted one crisis only to find themselves amidst at least two more. Red Tornado is gone to who knows where after his “family reunion” with the siblings he did not know he had. The cave is in ruins and the team is less a member that has intimate knowledge of both their and the Justice League’s operations. Considering that Ivo and Morrow are likely behind Red Inferno and Torpedo, The Light must be behind it all – an enemy that the team does not yet even know they have. How do they prepare for whatever is next when they really do not even know anything about what just happened? What they do next will help define them as a team and determine whether or not they survive at all.
WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK In this episode, The Brain and Monsieur Mallah are the team’s adversaries. I am not going to go into the weirdness of them being in love (not kidding about that). They have caused major problems for Doom Patrol and The Teen Titans in the past. Why then, are they getting their butts kicked so easily and why in the world are they injecting animals with the Kobra Venom? Granted, giant elephants capable of bitch-slapping someone as powerful as Captain Marvel is a plus for any villain, but what was their goal? This is never explained in the episode and until Captain Marvel is captured, The Brain seemingly has no real plan. It makes perfect sense to reason that The Brain has some underlying plan and that he allowed himself and Mallah to be beaten so easily because he accomplished some hidden goal. The team should be concerned with how sloppy the Brain’s operation was considering he is a strategic genius. That is just one of the problems they have to deal with. There is another issue that is much closer to home.
TEAM TURMOIL An issue which made this episode great, but made the team itself look sloppy. The team learns that Aqualad knew of the existence of a traitor in their ranks. This knowledge nearly self-destructs the team as they all feel that if he had told them, the events of “Homefront” might have been avoided or at least gone a little better. I say this made the team look sloppy because this issue was already addressed in “Drop Zone.” Granted, this is a team consisting of former sidekicks and amateurs, but it was really an amateur move to turn on Kaldur’ahm like that. He was unanimously chosen by all except Artemis (who was not yet part of the team) to lead because he remains calm in heated situations and he makes the hard decisions. Decisions like how to deal with the possibility of a mole. About his only character weakness is that he sometimes doubts himself and it is good that he has people like Batman and Captain Marvel to back him or the team might have really fallen apart. This crisis was averted – so let’s move on to the real problem of the matter.
SUPERBOY – JACKASS OF THE YEAR Can we get this kid into AA or something? No, he does not have a drinking problem, we just need to get him to stand up and say “Hi, my name is Conner Kent, and I am an asshole.” This is the same dude that screamed on M’gann for entering his mind without permission. So I ask you, Mr. hypocrite, why exactly are you using your super-hearing to eavesdrop on the conversation between Aqualad and Batman? He gets mad at Aqualad not because he didn’t trust you or that the cave (your home) was infiltrated and largely destroyed, not at all. He gets all Super-pissy because M’gann got hurt. M’GANN, M’GANN, MGANN! For the past three episodes that has been almost the only word he has uttered. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the newest pokémon – I call him “M’gann!” It’s like every time he says her name I want to sew his mouth shut. His excuse to her for being an overbearing boyfriend is that he just wants to protect her. I think we need to get something straight. Superman has gone on record as saying that J’onn J’onzz is probably the most powerful being on Earth. Superboy is a clone of Superman with Lex Luthor’s DNA mixed in, which explains why he is not quite as powerful as his “dad..” M’gann on the other hand (regardless of her true color) is a full-blooded Martian, just like her “uncle.” Do the math; out of the two, who would need more protecting? In the grand scheme of things, it is beneficial to the team that Aqualad’s knowledge of a possible mole got out, as it further solidified his position as leader. However, in terms of how it got out….well let’s just say that Grayson isn’t the only “Dick” on this team.
WHO TURNED OUT THE LIGHT? At the end of almost every episode, there has either been reference to or we actually see “The Light.” It is a group of seven individuals cloaked in extreme brightness, hence the name. My personal frustration with this group is not knowing who they are or what their goal is. We get a little bit of information about them when the team is in Bialya. We find out that L-4 is Queen Bee, thus far the only female member. Further viewing and exposition has revealed that members L-2 and L-3 are Ra’s al Ghul and Lex Luthor, respectively. So I kept asking myself why there was no mention of The Light in this episode. The answer was pretty clear, especially after watching “Drop Zone” again. In that episode, Sportsmaster reports the failure of the Santa Prisca mission and that he was only able to retrieve one vial of Kobra venom. L-6 states that it can be reverse engineered; the silhouette and French accent are a dead giveaway, confirming that L-6 is The Brain. So now we know what the heck he was doing in India. He was creating more Kobra Venom and testing it on animals to make sure it worked.
You have to love how things are heating up on this show completely without the knowledge of our heroes. It makes you feel like you’re reading a comic book or something. Seriously though, the writers have made this show like a puzzle and you have to pay close attention to put the pieces together. At first I did not like this episode and thought it had no real direction. After I watched some old episodes again, things suddenly started to make sense and this turned into an episode I really enjoyed. Aqualad taking a page from Batman and shutting up his bickering teammates was awesome. And just to close the whole Red Tornado issue, he is not the mole. If you watch the “Welcome To Happy Harbor” episode, you can see that the purpose of Mister Twister and the Reds was to capture Red Tornado. Why would you capture your own agent? The team still has plenty to worry about from within.