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Young Justice: Outsiders — Episode 22 Review: “Antisocial Pathologies”

“Everything’s a lie!”

In an episode full of twists and turns, we finally learn where the allegiances of several characters lie. As these truths come to light, several of our heroes find themselves questioning their mission and their futures. I’m here to guide us all through it, but beware of spoilers.

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The back half of this season has really gone full tilt with one big reveal after another. The season is racing toward the finale and it feels like all of that long buildup, as plodding as it could occasionally be, is finally paying off in spectacularly dramatic ways.

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Let’s take Jefferson’s realization that he left one manipulative team for another. Whatever Batman’s reasoning behind this conspiracy of heroes, it can’t feel good to the people he’s been treating like puppets. To his credit, Jefferson unloads on him with a righteous anger. No one wants to be a pawn, especially when they’ve been led to believe their actions are their own. Black Lightning wanted freedom and he was denied that without even knowing it.

In fact, the idea of manipulating and gaslighting another human being has emerged as a recurring story element and theme in this season, but it really becomes evident in this episode. Just as Batman has manipulated the news and the young heroes to further his agenda, so too has Lex Luthor engineered tragedies to further his.

The Ultra-Humanite has promised Helga to reward her with something he has no intention of bestowing. Helga has lied to Jefferson and the rest of the team since the beginning, attempting to mold the Markovs into her own sick family through deceit and scare tactics, just like Slade has done to Tara. Though the relationship between Deathstroke and his protege appears to be less…shall we say, “icky” than that of the comics, there are still clear elements of grooming happening here. Slade appeals to and preys on Tara’s insecurities in an effort to turn her into the spy and weapon that he and the Light demand her to be. Good lord, even Dick Grayson will lie to his own trainees about what their mission is to achieve the desired results.

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It’s all getting ugly, is what I’m saying. The only light at the end of this tunnel is the implication that some of our heroes are becoming fed up with these long cons and deceptions. Barbara gives it to Bruce straight: these children are not just actors in your little play. You have to understand that this kind of manipulation will not sit well with them in the long run, no matter what you hope to achieve.

This disconnect is further shown by Garfield’s willingness to run headfirst into a confrontation. He’s realizing that the Outsiders have been far too reactionary, finding themselves in one scuffle after another that may or may not have been set up for them. It’s time for them to strike when their enemies (and their own mentors) don’t expect it.

These tensions are seriously coming to a head and it is about time. Young Justice: Outsiders has not been about easy answers at any point, but it looks like things will only get uglier before the Light is finally snuffed out. Hopefully it won’t come at the cost of the Justice League’s reputation (again).

We only have four episodes to go, with next week’s being our last single episode before the big three-part finale. Join me next week for my thoughts on “Terminus.”

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Outside Observations:

  • Two grannies? Is this what Metron meant when he implied that Gretchen Goode wasn’t exactly Granny Goodness? Is Goode some kind of earthly avatar?
  • It’s a bit of a bummer to see Vandal Savage so silent. I’m sure the show is reluctant to replace Miguel Ferrer. However, David Kaye did a wonderful job filling in for the episode “Evolution” and hopefully we’ll get to hear the inevitable confrontation between Vandal and Darkseid.

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