We’ve finally reached the half-way point with “Kaerb Ym Traeh!” closing out Part 1 of Young Justice: Phantoms. With this mid-season finale we got to see the close of the latest conflict in the eternal battle between the Lords of Order and Chaos in the magical realm come to a close. In the process we got some closure to a storyline between Zatanna and Doctor Fate 10 years in the making while opening the door for many other stories for Young Justice to tell.
After viewing “Kaerb Ym Traeh!” this episode perfectly summarize both the most intriguing and worst part of this story arc. To get the negative out of the way, when all was said and done it felt like Vandal Savage was shoehorned into the story just so that we know he is still around. All the time we spent with his family backstory just ended up taking time away from other characters. That feeling continued all because we never got his story fully animated. Instead it was a bunch of stop motion images that his entire part of this arc was told.
You especially see how Savage stole the screen time away from other characters that should’ve gotten it, specifically Zatanna. The role that Vandal Savage had in convincing the Lords of Chaos and Order to get back into balance should honestly gone to Zatanna. Especially given how Phantom Stranger factored into this part of the story it would’ve made sense for him to have Zatanna with him to serve the role Savage did. This would’ve brought things back full circle to when Phantom Stranger recruited Zatanna’s help several episodes ago only to disappear with Etrigan.
And you do see how this could’ve benefited Zatanna’s character as there is a lot of rushed storytelling with her own character arc with her father. While a lot is rushed with Zatanna’s true purpose for training Traci 13, Khalid Nassour, and Mary Bromfield as proteges the storytelling is done well enough. You understand how Zatanna was trying to balance being a mentor with her ultimate goal.
We see that struggle here especially with how Mary’s arc continued in this episode. Out of all the characters in this arc Mary has had the most progression. We once again see how Mary’s obsession with power that was the reason she stopped transforming into Sergeant Marvel be present in her character. The animators did a great job showing how Mary had gone too far with using her magic that she almost killed her teammates.
Seeing this progression in Mary’s arc made the reason why she wasn’t chosen to help share the responsibility of being a wearer of the Doctor Fate helmet hit a high note in this episode. Throughout this story she showed the greatest strength in magic but because of her power she is still blinded to her own character weaknesses. It was messy as Zatanna was still new to the mentor game and Mary didn’t understand why she was being excluded. Zatanna trying to explain things to Mary showed where both these characters are at this stage in their lives.
At the same time it was great to see of everyone that it was Khalid Nassour who was the one to call out Zatanna for her secret motives to taking on proteges. This was definitely something Zatanna needed to hear because she was not letting him, Traci 13, and Mary fully in on her motives. Zatanna realizing this and being more honest with Traci was all well-handled. As was Khalid being the first one to take on being Doctor Fate in this new plan, though I wish his family connection to Kent Nelson was explored more during this arc.
The battle with Child and Flaw was also overall well choreographed to show how big of a crisis it would be when those that wield Chaos and Order magic battle. This was by far the best Klarion has looked in terms of being a compelling character. “Kaerb Ym Traeh!” was honestly the first time his brand of comedy actually worked with the episode. It all helped to make the battle much more engaging so it wasn’t just a bunch of magic attacks being thrown around.
The success with the conclusion of this arc in “Kaerb Ym Traeh!” also speaks to how the development of the Child was handled throughout the story. Her lack of caring about others and the way she showed it made her an easy villain to hate. There was a satisfaction to her ultimately being defeated after everything we saw her do during this story arc.
The Beast Boy sub-plot got the most attention its had since it started episodes ago. There needed to be someone to call attention to the mental health problems that Beast Boy is going through. Perdita having been Beast Boy’s girlfriend for a while now made her being the first to do so mean much more. She is the closest to Beast Boy outside of Miss Martian. The show’s writers continued to handle Beast Boy’s mental health in a way you understand how much realism is being brought into the story. One or two conversations won’t help Beast Boy in the current state he is in. Now that Perdita has seen where Beast Boy is at it’ll be interesting if she contacts Black Canary, Miss Martian, or other heroes to speak with Beast Boy.
For Beast Boy breaking up with Perdita is yet another blow he has suffered. We saw with the previous episode that he lost his acting gig. Then when you add in Superboy’s death and him not feeling needed as leader of the Outsiders anymore Beast Boy is going through a lot. Where his arc will go in Part 2 of Young Justice: Phantoms will be very interesting to see.
The two after credit scenes were interesting for different reason. For the Black Canary and Zatara conversation we saw how much being Doctor Fate for a decade took a toll on Zatara. It was good way to use having previously established Black Canary as having a psychology background to have her be the one that Zatara opens up to.
The second and final after credit scene was even better. We know that Mary was going more into the dark side with the way she was using her Shazam powers. Granny Goodness tapping into Mary’s dark side and talking her into embracing the power of Shazam in the state she is in instantly makes Mary the character most to watch in Young Justice: Phantoms. Especially if the second part of Young Justice: Phantoms places a focus on Darkseid and The Light’s team-up we could see one of the two versions of Dark Mary Marvel we saw in Final Crisis possibly appear.
“Kaerb Ym Traeh!” didn’t fix the problems that this story arc centered around the state of the Chaos and Order magic world in the DC Universe but it did well in focusing on the strengths of the arc. The various character arcs were progressed in a way that creates greater investment in multiple characters that will hopefully be part of the stories told in part two of Young Justice: Phantoms.
EPISODE RATING: 7 Night Girls out of 10
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