Young Justice "Summit" Review: Best Laid Plans
Anyone else feel like "Summit" was the conclusion of a big mystery plot where the detective lays everything out there and then dramatically identifies the killer (or in this case, explains the whole plot through a holographic message)? It’s not a perfect analogy by any means, but the arc certainly had that vibe for me as the episode brought together the Reach and the Light for a little finger-pointing and the revelation of all of the plans.
Except, of course, for whatever exactly the Light had in mind.
The episode was a narrative necessity, as the series needed to show how the Light was betraying the Reach, and it needed to resolve the Kaldur-and-Artemis-as-double-agents plot before the finale. That's the problem with these sorts of plots that rely on double-dealing, secret-keeping, and backstabbing: Eventually you have to knock down all those dominoes, and sometimes the process just isn't as exciting as you think it might be. Perhaps that lack of thrill is just a result of us having plenty of time to guess and map out the course of things for ourselves.
Some of the ways the episode went about accomplishing its to-do list were good, though. I liked that Ra’s was the one who recognized Artemis’s charm (it would’ve been him or Klarion) and that that’s what set the whole thing off. The charm that made the back half of the scheme work was the one that allowed them to undo it as well, which gave the whole thing a nice symmetry. And then it functioned as a recorder of all the events, so they can use it to clear the Justice League’s name on Rimbor and reveal the Reach as conquerors on Earth! That is one handy necklace, but I have to wonder how the team intended to play the Light and the Reach against each other without that moment. Or were they counting on someone to recognize it?
One aspect of the episode that I wish had had more space was Kaldur and Black Manta. This was a major showdown for them as heroes and villains, but also as father and son, and I would’ve liked for it to have had a bigger impact. This isn’t "Summit"’s fault, as the emotional moment had to rely largely on Manta’s actions during Kaldur’s psychic coma more than anything else. It made me long for a less-crowded show that would’ve given us more time to see how Kaldur had coped with the trials and tribulations of being a double agent. What we did get was adequate enough, as it was clear that Kaldur felt pity—if not some responsibility—for his father, but the moments lacked oomph.
I made an observation about possible tensions between the Black Beetle and the Ambassador last week, so I’m going to take full credit for Black Beetle’s decision to strip the Ambassador of command for all his failures during the Reach’s campaign on Earth as being consistent with those tensions. It may’ve been my favorite moment of the episode, actually, since it allowed Black Beetle to finally become the Big Bad he's always been capable of being, and I doubly loved how he just left the Ambassador scarab-stapled to the cave wall.
And now there’s only one episode left. The Reach have to leave Earth but Black Beetle’s going to try and destroy it first, while the Light have absconded with Warworld. Not sure what the finale’s going to look like, but I certainly hope it’s interesting and sort of crazy.
Notes & Quotes
– DC Nation Short: All right. This was the final installment of the Amethyst shorts. She returned to the village at the start of the shorts, restored Prince Topaz to his rightful appearance (he looked better as a skeleton), and then went back to her own world. Overall, I enjoyed the series’ humor and art style, even if all the installments didn’t completely land for me. I did find it interesting that it ended with Amethyst deciding to go outside to play. Enough video-gaming and TV, kids!
– “No agreement exists that makes a slave of Black Manta.” “No agreement exists that guarantees the life of Manta.”
– “Hey there, Vandy. You missed me?”
– “No more faking anyone’s death for at least a year.”
– It was odd seeing Kaldur back in his red shirt after seeing him armored up all season.
– I had a nice chuckle that Vandal had the decency to return the defeated Justice League members to the Watchtower, and in the most unceremonious way possible.
– Speaking of odd, take a gander at the little icon on Black Beetle’s chest there. Looks a bit like Brainiac’s symbol, doesn’t it? It just has a line connecting the top two circles. A nice little Easter egg, maybe?
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