Wrapping up their premiere week Young Justice: Outsiders released their 16th episode of the season, titled “Illusion Of Control.” Whereas the focus of episode 14 and 15 focused on the Justice League and Outsiders teams, “Illusion Of Control” focused on the younger members of The Team. This choice was something that changed the tone of the main storyline for the episode. Did that shift in perspective add to the ongoing story of Young Justice: Outsiders? Find out below.
While “Illusion Of Control” had a big action sequence as with previous episodes that wasn’t the center of the story. This episode was much more about a certain portion that makes up the larger cast of characters in Young Justice: Outsiders. That was something that was definitely needed since up until now major season two characters like Static Shock, Bart Allen and Blue Beetle have been almost non-existent this season.
What made this focus on the younger members of The Team was the specific choices made. Beast Boy, Static Shock, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle and Traci 13 are among the younger members of The Team. Seeing them interact with each other in a party setting set up by Eduardo Dorado Jr. for the members of the youth group gave this episode a throwback fell. This was something we saw the original Team do as there were a lot of episodes that just had all or some of the members hanging out with each other. Having this shift was actually a bit refreshing from the darker aspects of this season.
And as always this hang out session did lead to a big battle with Queen Bee’s team that included Psimon and other minor villains. This is where the problems with this choice for storytelling appeared. As good as it was to see other members for The Team fighting together it did come out of the blue. There hasn’t been enough build up for these characters compared to others to make their big team-up feel rewarding.
This is something that is becoming a major problem for Young Justice series as a whole with the cast of characters constantly increasing. It’s something season two struggled with. Now we are seeing the Outsiders season also struggling to give enough screen time to all the characters that are on The Team. The mention that Cassandra Sandmark is hanging out with Tim Drake so they don’t break up is an example of that since it was easy to forget that these two are in a relationship. It is a throwaway line that highlights the cast problem with this show.
It also affected certain character beats that “Illusion Of Control” tried to have like the ongoing joke that Static Shock needs a girlfriend. Static Shock has not had enough screen time to feel as though this to be nothing but a joke. It is not something that adds to his character that makes you hope he gets more screen time. Instead it is just a character beat to forget much like Tim and Cassie’s relationship.
All that said it was interesting to see another possible team being introduced. In “Leverage” we saw Amanda Waller deploying the Suicide Squad for a mission. Now with “Illusion Of Control” we got the tease that Beast Boy will try to create his own team, possibly forming the Teen Titans. This would be a nice surprise that would add depth to this DC Universe since up to this point all the superhero teams have been operating under the Justice League banner. If this season of Young Justice ends with the Outsiders, Teen Titans, Justice League and Suicide Squad officially formed it could open things up more than everyone working under one Team.
What else helped lift “Illusion Of Control” up was the sub-plots going on for Artemis, Halo and Cyborg. On Artemis’ side, after seeing her being a strong leader, we see more of her personal life get development. In particular we find out that her mother learned that her daughter is still operating as Tigress. This lead to a particular tense moment where Artemis’ mom gave her the “grow up” talk and threw out how much pain the superhero life causes, even mentioning Barbara Gordon’s paralyzation to make her point.
This confrontation was a reminder that this version of the DC Universe has a lot of history to it since the first season of Young Justice took place. Adding in how Artemis’ mom is trying to push her to finally move on from Wally and get together with Will, Roy Harper’s clone, added to their conversation. We have gotten a lot of hints that Will has a secret crush on Artemis after they have spent so much time raising Lian. Now the question is added to Artemis’ character if she can allow herself to have another personal relationship or will she continue to focus on being Tigress.
Halo got another big flashback to her previous memories. These flashes to Halo’s past life continue to make her feel like a wild card in the larger storyline for Young Justice: Outsiders. It is still not clear what role she will serve when we reach the endgame of this season. Though as Halo’s spotlight continues to grow she may very well become the most important character of the entire season.
On a smaller character arc, we got the continued slow burn of Cyborg coming to terms with his new status quo. The staff of this show is not rushing Cyborg’s character arc at all. With how quickly everything is moving for so many other characters it is interesting to see one character stay out of the action. This approach hints at him getting a big moment later down the line. This will likely come from his connection to the Mother Box tech. Hopefully we start seeing more progression on Cyborg’s side since it would be a shame if we had to wait close to the end of the season to get the payoff to his character arc.
With all that said, “Illusion Of Control” was not the strongest episode of the season. This episode in particular exposed the problem with Young Justice: Outsiders having such a large cast. There is just not enough screen time for everyone introduced to get quality character development. Luckily strong the spotlights for Artemis, Beast Boy, Halo and Cyborg helped lift up an episode that would have otherwise been forgotten.
Episode Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Instagram feed. Catch up with all of Kevin’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter.