Halloween has always been synonymous with weird and creepy things. Batman's rogues’ gallery looks like a Halloween party gone postal. The creatures the team ran into in the lower levels of Cadmus Labs were pretty nightmarish themselves. However, the scariest thing to me is when a fantastic show like Young Justice has a craptastic episode like “Secrets.” I will be fair and say that this episode in and of itself is not really bad, but it introduces and simultaneously ruins two of the best characters from the books. It also disregards some of the show’s established history. Before I bury this episode and try to scrub the bad taste out of my mouth, let me explain what went wrong.
IN HARM’S WAY The first few minutes introduce us to Harm, a highly skilled teen villain who just got his hands on some serious weaponry, namely, the Sword of Beowulf. He seeks to challenge his skills and targets Artemis and Zatanna to do so. I am getting a bit ahead of the story, so let’s go back to the cave for a moment. M’gann has invited the team to a Halloween party at the school that she and Conner attend. Wally is dressed as a werewolf and is literally pawing all over her. Zatanna and Artemis show up but turn right around when Artemis sees M’gann and Conner sharing a loving glance. Back to Harm, who chases the pair across Manhattan Island until they encounter a young girl named Secret. Artemis and Zatanna have to think on their feet to stay ahead of Harm and they have to determine if Secret is a friend or foe.
WELCOME TO BIZARRO WORLD Now, I know that time passes differently in comics, but Young Justice gives us dates so we can follow the flow of time. It has only been two weeks in their time since this team was traumatized but suddenly they all want to go and party? I know teens are supposed to have short attention spans but really? They are just all OK now? And Wally and Artemis acting the way they do in regard to Conner and M’gann. First, I get that the couple have not actually had any PDAs in front of the team, but everyone knows they are together. How are Wally and Artemis, who we know are digging each other, oblivious to this? For that matter, why would they care when once again, they are into each other. I guess we are just going to disregard the events of the past seven episodes, because filler episodes are just cool like that.
HARM DONE Anyone who read the young Justice comics probably shares my distaste for this episode. Harm only had three appearances in the official DC run of Young Justice (there was a Dark Horse crossover story), but he was easily the greatest nemesis of the team and a very cool albeit disturbing villain. The show has reduced him to looking like an extra on Metalocalypse with a mystical sword the real character never had. Harm also did not talk in the third person all day and refer to people as “it” like he was Hannibal Lecter or something. One thing I did like is that when Artemis fired her arrows at him, he caught them and threw them back. Unfortunately they could not do what really happened in the comic because the archer was Arrowette and Harm put her arrow through her shoulder. I can only hope they make a better episode if and when Harm returns. The real Harm beat the crap out of the entire YJ team, including Robin and Superboy. He really did kill his sister, by dropping a radio in her bathtub. He made a deal with a demon named Buzz to gain great power by taking the life of a loved one. That is what makes him such a great and creepy villain. He truly cared for his adopted sister, and he killed her with a smile on his face.
SECRET’S OUT One of the first decisions that the original YJ team (Robin, Impulse and Superboy) made was to “embellish” the truth to the Justice League. While trying to help a government agency contain a deadly, gaseous entity, they accidentally destroyed it. That is what they made the government think and that is what they told JLA. The truth is that they helped Secret, a very scared young girl who was tired of being experimented on. She and Robin quickly became the hidden members of the team and she developed her powers so well that she is the one mainly responsible for stopping Harm when the rest of the team could not. In fact, she was so interesting, that when the team really met the Forever People and wound up on New Genesis, Secret made a very special friend named “Doug Side.” You know how it is when someone tells you their name and you mishear it. Good ol’ Dougie is really the ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid. He found her potential for evil to be so enticing, that he gave her ice cream and her own room fit for a princess. Yet this is the same character that the show writers chose to reduce to just saying “Secret” all the time. The words I have for this are not family friendly, so I will just move on.
THE MOLE REDUX Aqualad leads the team, but we must not forget that this is Batman’s covert squad. A meeting is held with Batman, Robin, Aqualad, Red Arrow and Red Tornado. The meeting was probably the coolest part of the episode because the suspicions fell heavily on the same individuals that I have been pegging as the possible traitor. Aqualad and Robin feel certain that Sportsmaster made up the mole but Batman is not convinced. The room suspects Artemis, Superboy and Miss Martian. Batman is well aware of Artemis’ family, as are Red Arrow and Robin. Aqualad was the only one out of the loop and Batman respected her right to keep it that way. The call on Miss Martian was kind of weak – the fact that J’onn has hundreds of family members and does not know them all that well does not immediately make M’Gann a traitor. Besides, if she were, she could have destroyed them all during the training exercise. Batman’s main suspect is the same as mine – Superboy. It’s true that he may have hidden programming in his mind that makes him dangerous, but I am leaning more on something more obvious. A place like Cadmus cloned Superman. Why do you think they would make only one? Superboy was captured before and the enemy has access to boom tubes. Who is to say that the Superboy on the team right now is really Conner? This is still a wait and see situation, but if the comics are any indication, look for a new character to appear named “Match.”
I do have to give the writers some credit. They made my least favorite episode of Young Justice into a half decent story. If both Harm and Secret return to the show then I can forgive the mess that is this episode. I am still lost on how Artemis and Wally did not know about M’Gann and Conner, but whatever. We now have three episodes where Artemis’ past has come into question. She needs to trust her friends if she wants them to do the same. That is a major reason why she is still a mole suspect. A few things to note in this episode are Mal Duncan and M’gann’s costumes. Mal said he was dressed as “Superman, done right,” but he was wearing Superboy’s costume from the comics. M’gann dressed as a zombie bride, but she went all white. She also kinda freaked out when Marvin said there was a Martian invasion….curious. A funny note about that party is that when they found out that Marvin was pranking everyone, M’Gann disguised herself as a shadowy version of Marvin the Martian. The Light made a few comments about Superboy after he was first “rescued” from Cadmus that go along with Batman’s concerns.Add to that the fact that the world’s greatest detective is rarely wrong about his hunches. And this is why I can give credit to the writers. Even a bad episode is able to setup much better stories in the future.
- Slick's Nit-Picks: Young Justice, Episode 117 – “Disordered” (mytakeradio.com)
- Slick's Nit-Picks: Young Justice, Episode 116 – “Failsafe” (mytakeradio.com)