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Monday, March 14, 2011

Young Justice - "Bereft"

Episode Eight: "Bereft" - Airdate 03/11/11

by Andy Luckett

On this week's episode of Young Justice, the team wakes up in the desert of Bialya with no memory. A kegger gone awry, or something more sinister?

As you might expect, this episode begins in the desert of Bialya, as Miss Martian awakes with no recollection of how she arrived there, nor any memories of the last six months. At first, she finds it hard to believe she's on Earth, since six months prior she had not ventured to our world yet. As she begins to search, she encounters a very angry Superboy, who attacks her. After she repels his attack, we shift to the following morning and Robin, who is also missing the past six months but takes a more...systematic approach to the mystery.

Inside a shelter, Artemis awakes to find Kid Flash watching over her. Neither one knows the other, but Artemis says she thinks "This must be one of my dad's tests...he must want me to kill you." Hmmmm. The Artemis mystery deepens. The conversation doesn't continue, however, as Bialyian soldiers bomb the shelter and engage the two in battle.

After a firefight and a quick escape, the action shifts back over to Miss Martian, who decides to meditate in search of an answer. She remembers the beginnings of the Bialyian mission, and the team, setting off in search of them. Back at Kid Flash and Artemis' position, Superboy attacks again; first his teammates, then the Bialyian army. Miss Martian finds the speedster and the archers, while Superboy is captured. Meanwhile, Aqualad is on the scene, but unconscious.

Later that night, the team reforms, except for Superboy and Aqualad. Miss Martian asks to reach into Robin, Kid Flash, and Artemis' memories to help piece together what they've lost. This causes the four to remember Aqualad and to remember that they landed in Bialya twenty-four hours before.

Finding Aqualad, they decide to take him back to the bioship, but at the last minute, Miss Martian senses Superboy in pain and rushes off to find him. And find him she does, being tortured in a nearby structure. The villain in question? Master telepath, Psimon! As Miss Martian and Psimon do battle on the psychic plane Professor X-style, Miss Martian flashes back to when the team was first psychically memory-wiped by Psimon hours before. Superboy gets free, with the help of a spherical machine that seems to be sentient, and comes to Miss Martian's aid.

Together, they defeat Psimon, and escape with the sphere in tow. As Psimon reports to The Light (they must have every supervillain in the world on their payroll), he reports the escape of Superboy and the sphere, but his superiors say "the important part was the successful test of our new partner's delivery system." When shown, it looks very much like a Boom Tube, so we know that means some big trouble is coming up!

This was an odd episode, feeling more like a "between the lines" story than "Downtime" did last week. The team is all here, but despite the well-handled action scenes, the team doesn't get to act much like themselves. Yes, maybe the versions of themselves from six months ago, but lacking the experience gained since then. Still, it was intriguing to see how it changed them, from Superboy's Hulk impression (according to Miss Martian, he hadn't been cloned six months before, so he was acting on animal impulse alone) to Artemis' idea that her dad was hoping to see her kill Kid Flash.

In the end, I found both the setting (miles and miles of desert dunes) and the villain (psychic threats just don't really grab me) to be a bit dull, and this felt like a slightly lesser episode, especially in comparison to the excitement of last week's. Aqualad is barely present, and not even awake until the end, and really treated more as an afterthought. It honestly wouldn't have changed the story much of they had left him out entirely. There were small bits to like, but overall this one just felt a little generic.


Joe Slab said...

Another great piece Andy- I love the new font!

Can anyone translate from the Greek Aqualad's one line in this episode?

All I can get is "Tula"...

Scipio said...

Well, the Artemis thing isn't much of a mystery, given that her name is Artemis Crock. In the DCU, Artemis Crock is the daughter of the villainous Sportsmaster.

And the device would be the Apokoliptan semi-sentient Super-Cycle, like the one that was in Peter David's run on the "Young Justice" comic book.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Yeah, "mind wars" don't really thrill me either, but I like the design for Psimon, and sometimes just seeing super-heroes running and jumping and using their powers for 20 minutes can be its own reward. What I thought was kind of telling--in a funny/sad sort of way--was how long it took them all to remember Aqualad even exists; "Oh crap! That's right! There's one more of us!" Poor Mr. Cellophane.

Shellhead said...

Yeah, Aqualad really seems to be the odd man out in this series. First his girlfriend dumps him and then none of his teammates remember he exists!
I wonder how that'll play out in the future.

Adama said...

I seem to remember them saying something about detecting Zeta radiation. Possible Adam Strange connection?

Andy Luckett said...

Ah, you guys are definitely catching some things I didn't. Thanks for letting me know about the Artemis/Sportsmaster connection and the Apokoliptan Super-Cycle, Scipio. I think I need to bone up on the finer points from PAD's YJ series.

Good call on the Zeta radiation too, Adama. So we have both the planet Rann and Apokolips at work here. The show is definitely setting up some story threads for down the road.

Poor Aqualad! After deciding to be with the team "100%", the others need to follow his lead!

dcfan100 said...

Doesn't the Justice League use zeta beam teleporter tubes? I think Speedy mentioned something about them in the premire?