Things sure escalated quickly on Young Justice: Outsiders. This season has had a much more methodical pace than the previous two. Much of the focus has been on building new characters like Halo, Geo Force, Cyborg and Terra. That focused caused developments for this season to move much slower. For that and other reasons seeing things move at a rapid pace, as was the case for “Antisocial Pathologies,” was actually jarring.
For its 22nd episode, “Antisocial Pathologies,” there was not a minute wasted as the heroes quickly dealt with the fallout of the mission Nightwing and Black Lightning took on in the previous episode. The speed of all the revelations was almost too quick for its own good. What was particularly odd about this entire episode was how careless all the heroes were.
Up until now we have seen Batman, Aquaman, Oracle, Nightwing, Miss Martian and Robin be methodical in their approach as an illuminati group. There moves from the shadows has been a major driving factor in the storytelling of Young Justice: Outsiders thus far. Because of that it was odd that Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake, specifically, would drop their secret identities so quickly. Barbara Gordon showing up is understandable since Dick Grayson hasn’t kept has almost let go of his secret identity around the Team and people know they are an item.
But with Bruce and Tim they could’ve easily shown up as Batman and Robin showing concern over a Bat-Family member without giving everything away. This careless move felt completely out of character for who this show has built Batman, in particular, to be. It almost would’ve made more sense for Batman and the others to move Dick somewhere safer to try to heal him.
Black Lightning being the one to discover all the betrayal also felt unearned. He has been a character that has only popped in and out in terms of character development over the season. For him to cause everything to unravel would’ve felt like a bigger payoff if his relationship with the team and Nightwing was explored more often.
Up until now Black Lightning’s key development has revolved more around his relationship with Helga Jace. What would’ve made this entire revelation come across better is if Helga somehow pushed Black Lightning to put everything together about Batman’s illuminati throughout this season. If that was something that was hinted at more than Black Lightning wouldn’t have come across as a crazed conspiracy theorist when he went on his various rants.
Things weren’t helped by how Aquaman and Miss Martian did not do much to diffuse the situation. As the leaders of both the Justice League and the Team, we should expect much more from these two. Especially considering that by this point both Aquaman and Miss Martian are veteran leaders. They should’ve immediately jumped in to help explain things better and show they were prepared for when they had to talk to their teammates about things.
Now for how much the execution of this betrayal storyline faltered there were a few things that were well done. Seeing Barbara Gordon calling out Bruce for how he has made it so both Dick and Tim blindly follow his orders was a great reality check. It not only showed how deeply Barbara cares for Dick but also how Bruce must face the fact that his ways of doing things aren’t perfect. This step up moment is hopefully just the start of seeing Barbara get more timed to shine after spending much of this season as a supporting character in the Oracle role.
The other thing that did work from all the drama was how Granny Goodness and the Light used this as an opportunity to capture Halo, Geo Force and Terra. Bringing back the mind controlling Starro chips was a callback to the end of the first season. What worked in particular for this storyline was how Deathstroke used this to get Terra back into his control. We’ve been seeing over the last few episodes how Terra has started to waiver and come over to the heroes side of the conflict. But now after hearing about all the secrets Terra is fully on board with Deathstroke, opening the door for the Judas Contract storyline to go down in a logical way within Young Justice: Outsiders.
This storyline also explained exactly why Helga has been such a key focus throughout this season. Though some of the explanation that was given was a jump in logic, it at least points to why she got involved with the Light in the first place. She is now fully on the mad scientist path with how she sees Geo Force and Terra as her “children.” At least with her character arc established we may see Black Lightning get a better chance at growth when he sees her next.
On Halo’s part, it was interesting to see her so quickly captured. The urgency in which Granny Goodness acted worked to further elevate Halo’s importance in this season. Showing the full capabilities of her powers gave a reason for Darkseid to fast track his search for the Anti-Life Equation. Now with Halo under his control we are left to find out how our heroes will respond.
This result puts into question as to how The Light will also respond. As we’ve seen throughout this season, the alliance between The Light and Darkseid has become more uneasy with each passing episode. “Antisocial Pathologies” now pushes The Light to strike out on their own after seeing how Darkseid never cared for their alliance. This positions them as a dangerous third party role as they can shift the balance in the fight once everything about the Anti-Life Equation is discovered. Given that there is the Judas Contract storyline in play with Deathstroke and Terra.
As an aside, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Infinity, Inc. team plays a role in all this. Their time onscreen was short but effective. It gave the Outsiders a rival team of superheroes to either ally themselves with or fight for attention against. With Young Justice: Outsiders propensity of giving short introductions in one episode and then blowing up their importance soon after it would not be surprising if Infinity, Inc. plays a role with The Light and Judas Contract storylines.
Overall the main betrayal storyline around Black Lightning discovering the truth about Batman’s illuminati wasn’t well handled. There was a lot of missteps in how it happened. Luckily “Antisocial Pathologies” was able to recover enough with how this betrayal branched off into the developments around the Anti-Life Equation. From how things are left off there are a lot of questions that the remaining four episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders has to answer.
Episode Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
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