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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Young Justice - "Terrors"

Episode Ten: "Terrors" - Airdate 09/23/11

It's Young Justice Saturday!

by Andy Luckett

Hey there everyone! Andy Luckett here with another Young Justice review, this time of the episode "Terrors", where Superboy and Miss Martian go undercover in Belle Reve prison to bust some baddies. Hey, that's caged heat! (Bonus points if you get that reference.)

As we open, Cat Grant (who also opened "Targets" with a newscast) is reporting from New Orleans, as Superman and Martian Manhunter take on the Terror Twins. After the duo, Tommy and Tuppence, are pummeled into a warehouse by the heroes, Aqualad and Red Tornado emerge out of the shadows and clamp inhibitor collars around their necks. But in front of them steps...Tommy Terror?

While the twins are understandably confused, Miss Martian sidles up to Tuppence and assumes her form. Superboy is impersonating Tommy the hard way, with hair dye and a pretty believable Southern accent. As we see the two doubles of the twins on the prison bus to Belle Reve, Miss Martian flashes back to how they came to be in this situation. Four cold-based villains (Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold, Killer Frost and Icicle Jr.) were each separately apprehended for crimes, but it seems that each have been petitioning the courts to be moved to Belle Reve. Batman smells a frozen rat, so he set up MM and Superboy to impersonate the Terrors and sniff out the plan these villains must be concocting.


After the prisoners have arrived at Belle Reve (and Icicle Jr. has hit on Tuppence/MM) we see the prison's warden--Amanda Waller! Not only that, but the prison psychiatrist is none other than Hugo Strange. If that wasn't hard enough, it seems the inhibitor collars MM and Superboy are wearing are also disciplinary shock collars, operated by a remote held by Waller.

After being split up into the men's and women's wings of the prison, "Tommy" and "Tuppence" meet their cellmates--Icicle Jr., and Killer Frost, respectively. Icicle Jr. takes fake Tommy under his wing, introducing him to his father, the first Icicle and the big cheese of the inmates. After "Tommy" defends Jr. from an attack, Senior takes a shine to him, even revealing that he's planning a massive breakout in the very near future.

Superboy telepathically informs "Tuppence" of the plan, and she contacts Aqualad with the info. Aqualad wants to pull them out, but M'Gann believes it will just push the escape attempt back, not stop it. She volunteers to try and stop the break from the inside. Meanwhile, M'Gann and Superboy meet in therapy with Hugo Strange, who predictably tries to bring up mommy issues, but "Tuppence" explains that "Tommy" actually feels ignored by his "father" and just wants his approval.

Mr. Freeze meets with Amanda Waller, and springs his trap, immobilizing her and getting his collar off. She locks down the prison, but this doesn't seem to cramp Icicle Senior's plans. His idea is to use all four ice villains' powers to freeze the walls, and then have the big bruisers like Blockbuster hammer the walls down. "Tommy" and Junior's job is to break down the wall separating the women's wing from the mens, thus allowing all prisoners to escape simultaneously.

During this time, Miss Martian's cover has been blown. Seems she tried to help a guard and Killer Frost realized her deception. Superboy has lost telepathic contact, and he grows increasingly worried about her. Using his head, he informs Icicle Jr. that Tuppence has telepathically told him that the collars on the women's side have come back on. So "Tommy" and Jr. return to the warden's office to turn the collars back off, or so Jr. thinks. Once this is done (and the collars are actually turned back on) Mr. Freeze begins to get wise, and confronts Superboy, who knows he's been made and attacks Freeze, shattering his protective helmet.
Soon after, Superboy and Jr. (who still thinks Superboy is Tommy) come across "Tuppence", frozen in a block of ice by Killer Frost. Superboy, in anguish, wants to smash the ice, but Jr. warns him that would also shatter Tuppence. Thankfully, M'Gann is able to crack the ice from within and save herself. Superboy is so grateful for her survival he kisses her deeply; something that Miss Martian has been waiting for a long time. Icicle, Jr., even more confused, shouts "Dude, that's your SISTER!" before M'Gann regains her Martian form.
So, all the villains are still in Belle Reve, the guards have been put back in charge, and our two heroes have been extracted. However, Icicle Sr. meets with Hugo Strange, and thanks him for helping to smuggle the villains' ice equipment into Belle Reve, stating that "all the objectives have been achieved." Strange resounds that "the Light will be pleased."

Well, this was an interesting change of pace. For one thing, only Aqualad (and Miss Martian briefly) appear in costume, Robin and Kid Flash don't appear at all, and most of the action is set inside Belle Reve. I think it is an ambitious and creative idea to play with a prison-movie structure, but I don't think a few things were successful.
I was a bit confused by the impetus for Superboy and Miss Martian to go undercover. Yes, it is a bit weird that the four ice villains all conspired to be transferred to Belle Reve, but Batman didn't mention anything about suspecting a master plan. Frankly it seemed like an unnecessary risk to send in team members when a cleverly-placed guard or some bugs in the walls might have given the League the info it needed.

Secondly, at the end of the episode Icicle Sr. says that all of their objectives have been achieved. Okay, then what were their objectives? No one escaped (except for The Riddler, who was included in this episode in what seems like a setup for a future episode) from the prison. Did Sr. want to get their gear back? To put a scare into Waller and the guards? To show the Light that they could do it? I didn't find it very clear, but perhaps that question will be left for the future. Its seems like many episodes of this show have ambiguous endings that involve the Light. I hope some of these plot threads are addressed soon before there becomes too many to remember.

Aqualad's presence in this episode was minimal but important. He captured the real Tommy Terror in the beginning of the episode and functioned as outside liaison to Superboy and Miss Martian while they were on the inside. If he doesn't get to see action some weeks I'd like to see more of him in this role as a coordinator for the others.

I continue to enjoy the details of this show, especially how obscure DC charters show up in the oddest places. I did not expect to see either Amanda Waller or Hugo Strange; but they fit in pretty well within this storyline (although doesn't Waller have better things to do than manage a metahuman prison? Maybe she's using Belle Reve to recruit Suicide Squad members).

And for the big movement from this episode, apparently Superboy and Miss Martian are now a couple. More on that next time.


Gene Hendricks said...

I believe that the objective was to oust "The Wall" and have Strange installed as the warden, which is what happened at the end of the episode. I agree that sending MM and SB in was a bit of a stretch, especially when J'onn could have gone in as a guardd, if necessary, but I enjoyed it anyway. Good review!

Joseph Brian Scott said...

^Thanks, Mjolnir, because I was feeling Andy's confusion; an exciting, fun episode on many counts, but I didn't really get the purpose of it all until you pointed out the changing of the status quo at the prison. I can see how having a pool of super-villains easily at hand like that would be of use to the masterminds behind "The Light" on down the line.

The other thing that had me shaking my head ... the Icicle as a big capo? The Icicle? Really?

Andy Luckett said...

Thanks, guys, for easing my confusion!

@Mjolnir: That's a great point, I didn't realize the reins had been handed over to Hugo Strange at the end. That makes much more sense.

@Joseph: I agree that a whole prison full of angry supercriminals could be a real challenge down the road. The Light is not playing around. But the Icicle as the big boss? That seemed unlikely to me too. MAYBE on Earth 2...