Young Justice "The Hunt" Review: Playing the Game

Young Justice S02E17: "The Hunt"

With only three episodes left, Young Justice is tying up its loose ends for the season... as long as leaving Mongul and Black Beetle to tear up Warworld count as tying up loose ends. More seriously, “The Hunt” hopefully arranged the pieces for the final showdowns between the team and the Reach, with the Light doing whatever it is the Light is doing.

Making sense of the Light’s motivations may be a bit of a fool’s errand since I doubt their true intentions are going to become very clear by the end of the series. Vandal Savage said way back in Season 1 that the purpose of the Light was to do as much as they could to speed up humanity’s evolution, with a desire for Earth to be a major player in the cosmos. They walk along a knife’s edge of too many interlocking plans—their own work, their likely deals with Apokolips given their boom tube tech, and their “alliance” with the Reach—to make the whole thing seem believable, let alone feasible.

Though I suppose that’s why little bits of misdirection—like sending Virgil and his comrades to Warworld to free the captured heroes as a distraction so that Deathstroke could get in to nab the crystal key of Warworld—make it seem like the Light knows what it’s doing from a narrative standpoint, even if its agenda remains decidedly scattered-seeming. And perhaps that’s the point. If the Light’s goals remain unclear, they can basically do anything the narrative needs them to do as long as there’s been just enough setup to make it work.

What happens when you put the emphasis on this type of twisty plot-heavy storytelling is that the more personal aspects may get lost in the shuffle. So when Dick kicked Arsenal off the team, and Virgil and his friends decided not to join up and they then left Lex’s side to strike out on their own, all I could really do was shrug. I don’t care that any of that happened because the show hasn’t provided an opportunity for me to care. They’re all cogs in the plot, not characters.

And even an attempt to insert an emotional beat—Dick and M’gann’s “guilt off”—felt lessened because their guilt has become more of a justification to keep things buried and the twisty plot developments to occur. M’gann’s abuse of her powers hasn’t led to character development and instead just gave Green Beetle room to operate. Dick’s guilt over his mistakes hasn’t changed him or how anyone really looks at him as a leader, and it just allowed a bunch of the season’s gears to turn properly. There’s no actual emotional fallout from any of this because, well, everyone’s too busy running around on the game board.

At least there was some plot fallout for the Reach this week. Even though they presented Warworld as a gift to humanity (woo-hoo?) and did some more positive press for Blue Beetle, the Ambassador was caught in one of the mainstream media’s “Gotcha!” journalism traps, this time sprung by none other than G. Gordon Godfrey himself. The Ambassador lacked a rebuttal when presented with a clip of him saying that the Reach doesn’t have a fleet anywhere and then the evidence of a Reach fleet attacking Warworld. I have to imagine that it’s so the Justice League will be allowed to come back and be greeted with open arms by the public, but who knows.

Notes & Quotes

DC Nation Short: Oddly, it wasn’t the conclusion the Amethyst shorts. It was another installment of the DC Nation Farm League, this time with a Batman riff, featuring Croaker, Batmongoose, and Moo-Face. It was a bit funnier than the last group, particularly since it had Diedrich Bader voicing Batmongoose, and I liked the jab at the stereotypical Batman narration as Batmongoose was told not to “run around rooftops, narrating yourself” when he went out to go get snacks.

– “Oh, now you’re just being petty.”

– Stepping on that Wonder Woman doll made me sad.

– I love the idea that Lex just kept the video chat window open the entire time that his team was gone. Can you imagine if Virgil and the others hadn’t come back? He’d just be waiting and waiting and waiting.

– “Hmm. Deathstroke’s more of a bishop, actually.”

What'd you think of this week's episode?

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