Not the big villain showdown I was hoping for after Sportsmaster and Cheshire failed to get the reparations they sought from the Light last week, but there’s still an opportunity for that later, so not all is lost. What we did get with "Fix" were characters attempting to come to grips with either who they are or what they have (or could) become, and the ways in which they’re attempting to deal with that.
First there’s Artemis, who's now completely on her own since Kaludr’s psyche was devastated. Being a double agent is hard enough, but it's harder still when there’s no support system in place to help keep the agent in order. While Artemis is tough, like much of the rest of the team, she’s prone to doubts about her abilities, and those doubts have often rooted in anxieties about her past and her heritage. Now that she’s undercover as Tigress, those doubts have to do with the future she surrendered to do this mission.
It's nice to see the strain and conflict this decision is causing her. She was happy in in her non-hero life with Wally, but even she acknowledges that she couldn’t sign up fast enough for this mission. Domesticity may have its pleasures, but it lacks the thrills of a hero’s life. With the former, you get to decide what’s for dinner; with the latter, you must devise a multi-step plan to remove a villainous psychic from the equation, kidnap another, non-villainous psychic, and then hope you can stop everyone from getting killed. Unlike many double-agent narratives, Artemis’s conflict isn’t about becoming her cover—it’s about not getting sucked back into a life of adventuring and fighting.
M’gann has had similar conflicts in her past, lying about what she is—a white Martian—and constructing her first sense of self on a TV sitcom character. The Green Beetle, B'arzz O'oomm, even gently called her out on this as the two formed a mind link to confirm his story about his scarab and intentions on Earth. M’gann has always struggled with who she is, and now her anxieties about ruining Kaldur’s mind are hinting at the darkness within her, the darkness tied to the chaotic and violent White Martian self that she denies and has worked to repress.
Until recently, anyway. I won’t harp on the ways in which the time skip that started this has short-circuited character development, but M’gann’s reckless use of her mental abilities has been a journey that started in media res, as it were, and we’re only seeing the impacts of it from the time of the invasion and up to this point. I’m glad the show is delivering on this arc for M’gann since it forces her to come to grips with who she is, again, but it also only serves to remind me that it’s essentially only half a character arc.
Finally, Jaime faces the threat of becoming the harbinger of the Reach-induced apocalypse seen in Bart’s timeline, and he’s doing whatever he can to stop that from happening. Unlike Artemis and M’gann, Jaime’s conflict is only internal because the scarab is inside of him. It’s really a much more external conflict as he copes with this symbiotic invader that may spell doom for the entire planet. It's the least compelling of the three stories, but that’s only because I don’t find the connection with Jaime to be as strong as I do with M’gann or Artemis. Again, that's due to time-skip nonsense and a lack of character-building relationships with viewers. However, I admit that it’s very much a 'your mileage may vary' issue, so while Jaime’s arc is playing out fine from a storytelling standpoint, I’m not just not very involved in it, emotionally.
B'arzz, as I guessed last week, provided a way to perhaps at least delay Jaime’s transformation by fiddling with Jaime’s insides to prevent the scarab from communicating with him. B'arzz used his Martian transformation abilities to properly contain and control his scarab, or so he says. Given this show’s propensity for twists, it’s entirely possible he’s a Reach agent, and just a very good one at that. I guess we’ll find out sooner or later if his aid actually helped Jaime, or just spurred on the end of the world.
NOTES & QUOTES
– DC Nation Short: "DC Nation’s Farm League." Yes, it’s your favorite DC heroes and villains reimagined as various animals! There’s Supermanatee! Lex Liger! Wonder Wombat! Duckseid! Shazham! (Okay, so the last one made me chuckle. Sue me.) It was about as funny as you would expect, which is to say not very funny at all.
– Last week, Lex and Vandal were crowing that the team didn’t gain access to the Reach's bottled beverage plant. This week, we got a full-blown ad, complete with a G. Gordon Godfrey cameo, and an analysis of the beverage. If you were going to roll it out in less than a week, Lex, not much reason to be all happy they didn’t find the pacification beverage too soon.
– I liked the journey into Kaldur’s psyche, particularly the ruined Atlantean theme and faceless Kaldur. Faceless characters, unless they’re the Question, are always creepy.
– La’gaan and Conner are in on the plot now, and I appreciated Conner telling Dick what I’ve been saying for weeks now.
– "How did it all go so wrong so fast?" Well, secret-keeping normally plays a big part. I mean, look at what secret-keeping has done to Rosewood, Pennsylvania. That town’s a wreck.
– "You’ll take Deathstroke."
– B'arzz’s horrific but well-intentioned smile cracked me up. Nicely animated sight gag.
– Speaking of B’arzz, kudos to commenter @JediKnightJace for catching the John Carter reference last week with B'arzz O'oomm. It’s a nice play on Barsoom, the name for Mars among the Martians natives in that series of novels. That flew right by me.