The last few episodes have ratcheted up the tension and brought some serious forward momentum to the season’s many, many subplots. That continues with this week’s exceptional episode, “Quiet Conversations.” Let’s dig in, but beware of spoilers!
This week on Young Justice!
Picking up on the heels of last week’s episode, which was full of painful revelations for our young heroes, we see the rest of the team responding to Violet having run away. Most curious is the reaction from Tara, who seems to blame herself. The reluctance we are beginning to see from Tara to turn against her newfound family is most palpable in this episode, with the character given more dialogue to work with than she has up to this point.
Also of interest is the continued evolution of Victor Stone. Cyborg has always had an element of body horror to his character, but it’s never quite been explored in animation the way it is in this series. He’s genuinely losing himself, scared of what he is and what he’s become. It’s kind of awful that the team has let him storm out as many times as he has, but then you remember what they all went through in their early years, with Conner being a living weapon and Cassie the daughter of two super villains. They seem to realize that it’s their responsibility to nudge these heroes in the right direction, not to force them to follow in their footsteps.
Regardless, Victor’s plight leads to some fun cosmic action, with our heroes Boom Tubing around the Source Wall in a race to find Metron. These sequences are a blast, especially in the interactions between Clark and Conner. Their relationship has evolved so much over the course of this series, to the point where there’s a genuine familial love between the two now.
Victor’s storyline is another example of the show turning teen angst into a literal trauma. Being unsure of what is happening to his body, Victor lashes out at the people closest to him. It’s up to them to show him he’s not as alone as he feels. It’s a very strong read of the characters that works as a nice companion to the similarly distrusting Vic of the live action Doom Patrol series.
Another smart move is made in these sequences by having the necessary exposition on Metron and his Moebius Chair delivered by Dreamer of the Forever People. One of the issues I’ve had with this season is its tendency to have characters standing around talking about things we weren’t privy to (or worse, reminding us of stuff we’ve already heard several times), so Dreamer’s projections at least allow the exposition to be visually interesting.
There’s a lot going on in this episode, but the various plot threads all feel like they’ve been given adequate time to breathe. We get to check in on Kaldur and his new charge as they make their way to visit King Orin, providing us with some of the beautifully fluid (no pun intended) underwater animation that helped make the first two seasons of the show so interesting. As always, Khary Payton shines in the role of Kaldur’ahm, exuding a patience and regality that fits his character perfectly.
The other subplots involve Violet visiting her host body’s family to give them closure and Megan attempting to convince Harper Row to open up to her about the abuse she and her brother are suffering at home. While the other scenes in the episode may be more exciting, these are easily the strongest threads of the episode.
In fact, I must applaud the performance of Zehra Fazal yet again, as she voices both Violet and Harper, giving both of them completely different tones and intents. This is the first time we’ve seen Harper’s self-destructive facade crack and it’s heartbreaking. It also explains her previous behavior in a way that even folks familiar with the character from the comics may find surprising. It’s a great performance and a well-written scene that reinforces the show’s theme of kids being afraid of becoming their parents. Likewise, there’s a genuine warmth and sadness to Violet that feels different from what we’ve heard before. Fazal’s performance as Violet has been a highlight of Outsiders, but she gets to imbue the character with a very different level of pathos here. The results are extraordinary in both cases.
“Quiet Conversations” may be the strongest episode of Outsiders yet, which has me even more excited to see where these various story elements will lead next. I’ll see you all next week with my review of “Unknown Factors.”
- Pretty bold of Black Lightning to assume that every Granny is the same Granny. But hey, I wouldn’t believe in coincidences if I were unraveling an alien conspiracy either!
- Speaking of Black Lightning, are Jefferson and Helga the horniest characters in the history of superhero cartoons?
- I’m very happy that Aquaman’s queer status has been confirmed within the show. Not only that, but he was my favorite character in the first few seasons, so it’s good to see him find some measure of happiness amidst his busy and dangerous life.
- Kudos to the show for having a strong message in this episode and for backing it up by including a tag encouraging people in trouble reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
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