Saturday, November 19, 2011

Young Justice - "Alpha Male"

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Episode Thirteen: "Alpha Male" - Airdate 10/07/11

It's Young Justice Saturday!

by Andy Luckett

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Hi everyone, Andy Luckett here again with a review of the Young Justice episode "Alpha Male". Our story picks up in Northern India, where Gotham City Mayor Hamilton Hill and associates are in the middle of a big game hunt. After spotting a tiger in a tree, Hill takes aim, only to watch the tiger fall into a strange energy trap and be knocked unconscious. Even more surprising, Hill turns to see...a gorilla wielding a Gatling gun! The gorilla opens fire and we hear the men scream.

Cut to the Mount Justice/Happy Harbor headquarters, where the team is being debriefed following the attack by Red Tornado and his "siblings" the night before. The team members understandably have questions for the Justice League, but Batman tells them that finding Tornado is a League priority. Superboy overhears Aqualad discussing the mole situation with Batman and confronts Kaldur, upset that Kaldur kept the mole possibility to himself. The other members of the team are also shocked to hear that Aqualad did not tell them what he had heard, and give him some grief. Batman stops the arguing, saying that Tornado's role as team supervisor will be taken over by a rotating Leaguer. First up…Captain Marvel:

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Batman then gives the team an assignment--to gain intel on the strange series of animal attacks happening in Northern India, the latest of which involved Hamilton Hill. While the team thinks the mission is a joke, they follow Batman's orders, departing for India while grumbling about Aqualad's secrecy:
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Upon arriving in India, the team automatically splits up without waiting for a plan from Aqualad. Robin and Kid Flash head one direction, Artemis and Miss Martian another, and Superboy goes his own way. Captain Marvel stays with Aqualad, and they discover the site of Hill's attack. Just then, the two are attacked by an enormous elephant. KF and Robin run into similar trouble with giant vultures, as do Artemis and MM with a massive crocodile. Superboy is trailed and surrounded by a pack of large wolves:
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The battle is joined and the YJers fight for their lives. Robin remarks about the vultures' huge size, to which Kid Flash reasons that Kobra Venom could be the cause. Artemis is nearly drowned by a crocodile, saved when Miss Martian lends a hand. Aqualad takes on another elephant but notices a collar around its neck. After using his waterbearers to take off said collar, the elephant calms itself and retreats. After talking with Captain Marvel, Aqualad decides that he needs to take charge of the mission, even if the others are angry with him. Miss Martian telepathically calls Kalder, telling him that the inhibitor collars the animals are wearing look similar to the ones worn by the inmates at Belle Reve prison, which she and Superboy recently infiltrated:
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Captain Marvel takes off to get the collar off the tiger he saw earlier, but falls into the same energy trap and is paralyzed and taken. Aqualad tells Miss Martian to establish a telepathic link with the team and takes charge, telling them to step up and work as a team to rescue Captain Marvel. After that, he says, the team can take a vote about whether he will remain leader:
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Capt. Marvel wakes up in a laboratory, surrounded by medical equipment and hearing someone speaking in a French accent. This person speaks of removing Marvel's brain to learn more about his powers. The team breaches the laboratory and makes its way inside, fighting off collared baboons. As the mysterious French speaker begins the extraction, he reveals himself as…the Brain!
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Just then, the team makes it inside, disabling the force field and taking the fight to the Brain. Just as they gain the upper hand, however, the Brain activates a teleporter and disappears. Back at the ship, the team discusses Aqualad's offer of stepping down as leader. However, once he explains his reasons, the others realize that he acted in their best interests, not tipping his hand. They allow him to stay leader, and take off for home:
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Later, back in Fawcett City, Captain Marvel returns home to his Uncle Dudley, turning back into Billy Batson and heading off to bed.


Well, this was a strange episode to me. Frankly, it seemed a bit random, while still managing to be entertaining. The inclusion of Hamilton Hill was amusing; haven't seen him in a DC animated show since Batman: The Animated Series, I think. The animal attacks and action was quite good also. But on the whole, the end of the episode left quite a few nagging questions. For instance, what was the Brain's plan? Was he simply experimenting on animals in India for his own purposes? Was he trying to attract heroes (or Young Justice specifically) for The Light? Not sure. He seemed to shift his focus after Captain Marvel had been captured. I'm sure these questions will be answered down the line, but at times it feels like each episode of this show just gives a couple pieces of info to a larger puzzle.

This was primarily an Aqualad spotlight story, using the question of the mole to define his character and relationships with the others. Kaldur also got to see a lot of action, taking on the elephants and baboons and using his head to figure out the collars. He also used his waterbearers many times, making blades, clubs, shields, and whips.


We'll see where it goes from here as we head toward the reveal of the Light's overarching plan.
See you next time!

2 comments:

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Good recap! I liked this episode as well; it was great to see Aqualad get so much screen time. My only quibble was with the portrayal of the Big Red Cheese; I get why it's supposed to be funny and charming for him to be so "childlike", but it just comes off more as "mentally challenged." And how does that jibe with the wisdom of Solomon? Still, fun episode with another addition to the YJ Super Pets.

Russell said...

I've watched three episodes of this show now and I just don't "get" it. I'll make comments when you get around to reviewing the ones I've actually seen. :-)