Building off the events of “Leverage,” the latest episode of Young Justice: Outsiders, “First Impression,” revealed who the true Outsiders team is. The reveal puts a good twist on what fans expected given all the marketing material for this third season of Young Justice. It opens things up for many characters that previously had the doors closed throughout this season. Though that does not wipe on the major issues that are starting to become more evident with each passing episode of Young Justice: Outsiders.
One of the biggest criticisms for Young Justice: Outsiders is the size of its cast. This is a problem that Young Justice: Invasion season started to have towards the end. The good thing for season two was that all the characters were able to be introduced over the course of the season. That has not been the case this time around for Young Justice: Outsiders. Because just as we were introduced immediately to a new core cast of characters that meant the characters that we got to know during the Invasion season stepped into the background of this season.
“First Impression” starts to fix part of this problem with the size of the cast as Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle and Static Shock took the spotlight. This was a particularly strong episode for Beast Boy as he continued his character arc of stepping up to be more than the comedy relief. It has been surprising to see Beast Boy become someone that you can be confident that he can lead a team. A lot of credit to the show writers and producers in believing they can take Beast Boy in this direction.
What makes this arc for Beast Boy particularly impressive is that it has helped elevate other characters that had been forgotten in this Outsiders season. Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle and Static Shock were all characters that we saw grow during the Invasion season. So for them to take a step back for the team Nightwing and Artemis are leading was disappointing that they weren’t given anything to do. These characters deserve better and they finally got their time to shine in “First Impression.”
Seeing this team in action was a good reminder that even though we haven’t seen them in a while they still have been active as superheroes. At this point all five characters have been heroes for at least two years, if not more. They are not rookies still learning to use their powers who need their mentors to watch over their every move. That experience is what we see in action as Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle and Static Shock are able to individually and as a team show off their powers against The Reach and Intergang.
Adding the element that these five, along with Geo-Force, will now be the public facing group of The Team, just like the Justice League, was a great payoff. This made the revelation that Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle, Static Shock and Geo-Force are the official Outsiders team a great twist. It continues to play with our expectations. And by showing how the Outsiders are already trending with their own social media hashtag of #WeAreAllOutsiders emphasizes how they will be a fan favorite within the DC Universe. How that ends up working with all the other things in play in the ongoing war between the Justice League and Light will be interesting to see.
Now while the introduction of the Outsiders was well handled not everything in “First Impression” worked. What is especially starting to become troublesome is the portrayal of the secret society group within the Team and Justice League. Having the entire conflict with the Reach and Intergang be actually a designed attack by Aquaman and the others to get the Outsiders over was a major head scratcher. Once this was revealed it automatically made all the characters involved from Batman to Oracle to Aquaman look like the villains.
It is a particular bad for Kaldur who was shown to be the leader of this plot. Given that we are seeing him do this as Aquaman and leader of the Justice League it paints him as someone that is hard to like anymore. He has clearly gone far to deep in this ongoing conflict with The Light that he is willing to stage plots that could hurt innocent people for what he sees as “the greater good.”
It does not help that no one outside of Wonder Woman has shown to voice a disagreeing opinion on what this secret group of heroes are doing. And even in “First Impression” we don’t see Wonder Woman be against this plan, though her facial reactions did show she did not approve of the plan. If the writers and producers of this season aren’t careful with how they handle this part of the story than they run the risk of making Batman, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Oracle, Robin, Miss Martian and Aquaman all unlikable characters.
The other sub-plot of this episode centered on Artemis, Terra and Halo was a slight step forward. For both Artemis and Halo, there characters just stood still as nothing was really added to their particular character arcs. This sub-plot was Terra’s to shine, because even though she is still not talking we get to see more of her past. The text chain with Deathstroke teases that everything will be coming to a head soon. How Terra’s arc ends up going is anyone’s guess as it could follow “The Judas Contract” storyline but with all the players involved it could go very differently.
At the end of the day the strength of “First Impression” was the development of the newly introduced Outsiders team. It paid off on the major character arc Beast Boy has been on in this season. In the process of the Outsiders formation we finally got to see fan favorites from the Invasion season come back into the spotlight. The hope is now that these characters have formed the Outsiders they can actually get some character growth that hasn’t been given to them this season.
While that was great to see happen it does not fully fix the major problem with the size of the cast. And now that certain characters like Aquaman are being cast in a not so great light the show’s staff is going to need to be careful about the tightrope they are walking on as we get closer to the endgame of Young Justice: Outsiders. One slip up with the various characters arcs could cause everything that has been built up to fall.
Episode Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
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