Sunday, February 16, 2014

Recap: Young Justice "Fireworks"

When we last left our heroes… nah, these Recaps are long enough without also recapping the episode before. Go read this if you need a refresher.

Baby you're a fiiiiiiiiiirewooooooooorrrk. ...I'm sorry.
The second part of this two-parter opens with Dr. Desmond activating a multi-screen communication system and contacting indistinct, glowy people. You know, why even have screens if you can’t actually see the other person?

Glowy Man: “Dr. Desmond… you require an audience with the Light?”

Dr. Desmond begins to apologize, and the Light tells him to get on with it. Desmond briefs the members of the Light on the situation: there was a small fire (from an unknown source) that attracted three sidekicks. They broke in and discovered Superboy and the G-Gnomes, and now they’ve been restrained. 

Desmond: “Uh… what should I do with them?”
Light #2: “Clone them.”
Light #1: “The substitutes will serve the Light. And only the Light.”
Desmond: “And the originals…?”
Light #1: “Dispose of them.”

Well, he can try, but I don’t think they’ll fit in the paper shredder. The intro theme plays, and I feel the need to bring something up. The intro sequence shows Miss Martian and Artemis very prominently, despite them not having appeared yet. Say what you will about Beware the Batman’s intro (and I have), but at least they tried to not spoil upcoming plot points in their theme.

Back to the episode, a mysterious voice inside the team’s heads tells them to awaken, and they do. They find themselves restrained in glass tubes, with Superboy staring at them. Kid Flash takes the most offense to the latter.

Kid Flash: “Quit staring, you’re creepin’ me out!”
Robin: “Uh, KF, how about we not tick off the guy who can fry us with a look?”

Meanwhile, Dr. Desmond tells an assistant to prepare Project: Sidekick and goes up to the Guardian, who’s supervising the G-Trolls as they rebuild the door to Project: Superboy. Desmond notices the missing Superboy, and demands to know where he is. Guardian tells him that he carried the kids to the cloning chamber, but Dr. Desmond won’t have Superboy up and about too early. Guardian tells him to calm down, so Desmond uses his G-Gnome to change Guardian’s mind.

Guardian: “That clone belongs in a cage!”

Speaking of cages, the imprisoned heroes ask Superboy what the dealio is. They tried to rescue him, and he turns them in? Not cool, man. As Aqualad vouches for Superboy, saying that he’s not in control of his actions, Robin activates a hidden lockpick in his right glove. Superboy speaks for the first time, to Kid Flash’s surprise. Aquaman figures that the Genomorphs taught him as his body grew in stasis. Superboy can talk, read, write, and knows a lot of things. But he’s never been outside the building. He has images implanted in his mind, but no memories.

Superboy: “I am the Superboy. A Genomorph. A clone made from the DNA of the Superman. Created to replace him should he perish. To destroy him, should he turn from the Light.”

I see what you did there, show. Thought you could sneak that innocent sounding phrase in there? Nope; I knew that word was capitalized. I can hear capitalization. I can also taste colors, I might want to get that checked out. Anyway, Aquaman gives an impassioned speech about Superboy deserving a life of his own in the real world.

Robin: “Your ‘home’ is a test tube. We can show you the sun.”
Kid Flash: “Uh, pretty sure it’s after midnight. But we can show you the moon!”
Aqualad: “We can show you, introduce you, to Superman.”
Desmond: “No. They can’t”

Buzzkill. He orders his assistant to begin the cloning process.

Robin: “Pass. Batcave’s crowded enough.”

Well, you might have more room if your boss actually got rid of his useless junk. I mean, the giant penny and the T-Rex robot, when is he ever going to use those? Guardian takes Superboy back to his pod with the help of some G-Gnome mind control from Desmond, and the cloning procedure begins. It begins by zapping thesidekicks with electricity. Because as we all learned from “Evolution of the Daleks,” DNA is transferred through electricity. As this goes on, the demon-lookin’ guy from the first episode (revealed to be named Dubbilex) is ordered by Desmond to get the G-Gnomes to download their memories, then “delete the source material.” As the process continues, Aquaman resumes his speech to Superboy, who hears his pained whispers with his super hearing.

Aqualad: “The choice is yours. But ask yourself: What would Superman do?”

Hmm… Superboy can’t fly around the world and reverse time, he can’t snap Zod’s neck, so I guess all that’s left is saving the day. Superboy returns to the cloning chamber and shoves aside the CADMUS workers.

Superboy: “Don’t give me orders.”

He approaches the team.

Kid Flash: "You here to help us or fry us?”
Superboy: “…huh. I don’t seem to have heat vision, so I suppose helping is my only option.”

Robin (who had been picking the locks to his restraints this whole time) finally frees himself, and then he and Robin free the others and run off towards the surface. Robin Batarangs the DNA samples that CADMUS took, and Desmond activates every Genomorph in CADMUS.

42 levels from the surface, the team has to detour around the attacking Genomorphs and pry the elevator doors open. Superboy flies up with Aqualad, but begins to fall. Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Yes. Fly? No. The elevator speeds down the shaft, so the team exits at Sublevel 15 to avoid it. As the team runs along the halls, Superboy hears a voice in his head, directing him where to go. The team follows Superboy… to a dead end. As the Genomorphs go down the same dead end, they find an open duct large enough for the team to crawl into, and it seems that they did. The team is quickly followed by G-Gnomes as Desmond, Dubbilex, and the Guardian follow the G-Gnome trail. Desmond discovers Robin’s hacking of the internal security system, and follows the motion sensors instead. The life signs cluster in the Men’s room vent, which opens to reveal… G-Gnomes following a dead end.

Desmond: “He hacked the motion sensors….”


Robin: “I hacked the motion sensors.”

Kid Flash runs up a nearby staircase, taking out the enemies in front, and Superboy protects the rear. Meanwhile, Desmond, Dubbilex, and guardian take the elevator, planning to cut the kids off at Sublevel 1. Fearing for his life, Desmond goes off to borrow a little something from "Project: Blockbuster." Dude, it’s kind of the wrong time to go rent Die Hard, isn’t it?

Back with the team, they’re cut off from the exit at sublevel one, and surrounded by Genomorphs, led by Guardian. Suddenly, all the humanoids fall asleep. Dubbilex appears, and tells the Genomorphs (revealing that Dubbilex was the voice in the team’s heads) that he’s going to wake up Superboy. He does, and Dubbilex reveals that he set the fire and started the whole situation. Dubbilex wants Superboy to escape. He wants Superboy to tell the world what’s been going on, to put an end to the oppression against the Genomoprhs. With that, Guardian’s head clears for the first time in a long time, and the sidekicks wake up.

Dubbilex: “What is your choice, brother?”
Superboy: “I… choose… freedom.”

Guardian’s head clears all the way, and he realizes what’s been going on.

Guardian: “Go. I’ll deal with Desmond.”
Desmond: “I think not.”

Desmond drinks the blue glowstick he created last episode, and immediately starts Hulking Out. It’s actually pretty graphic as he’s depicted as literally bursting through his old skin. And he’s still wearing the shredded remains of his old skin. That’s hardcore.

Guardian leads the assault, and Superboy follows up, landing some solid hits. The two bust through the ceiling, and the sidekicks take the opportunity to escape to the next floor, where Desmond gains the upper hand. All four heroes lead the fight with super speed, super strength, water weapons, and Birdarangs. After some smashing, Robin maps out the lobby that they’re fighting in, and formulates a plan to knock down certain pillars, with Kid Flash assisting. Kid Flash gets Desmond's attention by playing “Got Your Nose”… by literally ripping Dr. Desmond’s vestigial nose off of his face. Again, that’s hardcore.

Robin shows the plan to Superboy and Aqualad, who knock down a few pillars as Robin marks an X on the ground. The team works together to trick the mindless Desmond into that spot, and escape as Robin’s explosives take out the last column. This buries Dr. Desmond under an entire building’s worth of rubble, and the team narrowly escapes it themselves, thanks to Superboy’s super strength.

As Superboy looks up into the moon, Superman himself descends out of the sky. Hopefully, he’s not here to tell the sidekicks that, without their help, Wotan succeeded in blotting out the sun. The rest of the League shows up as well. Superboy fixes his ripped uniform, showing Superman his S.

Batman: “Is that what I think it is?”
Kid Flash: “(He doesn’t like being called an ‘it’....)”
Superboy: “I’m Superman’s clone.”
Batman: “Start talking.”

Later, as Green Lantern takes the still-monstrous Dr. Desmond away, Superman tries to make peace with Superboy, but is visibly shaken and excuses himself to help with “that Blockbuster creature.”
Batman informs the team about the situation.

Batman: “End results aside, we are not happy. You hacked Justice League systems, disobeyed direct orders, and endangered lives. You will not be doing this again.”
Aqualad: “I’m sorry… but we will.”

He continues, saying that they did good work tonight. They’re ready. They’re a team.

Superboy: “It’s simple. Get onboard, or get out of the way.”

July 8, 8:04 EDT

At Mount Justice, the original Justice League HQ, Batman and team set everything up to reactivate it. The plan is to use the sidekicks as an auxiliary team that can work outside the public eye, doing things that the Justice League can’t do. Red Tornado will be their supervisor, Black Canary will be their trainer, Batman will give them missions.

Batman: “The five of you will be that team.”

Yep, five. Martian Manhunter introduces his niece, Miss Martian. Kid Flash, like any Star Trek fan out there, immediately takes a shine to the green-skinned space babe, and introduces himself. Superboy comes over, and Miss Martian changes her t-shirt to match his. No, she doesn’t just whip her shirt off in front of the guys, she uses her shapeshifting powers, establishing her abilities for the series.
So if those clothes are a part of her body, then she's naked right now.
Should... should I be censoring this?
Aqualad: “Today is the day.”

Back at CADMUS, construction teams rebuild the surface as Guardian rebuilds the hierarchy. Guardian’s in charge, Desmond’s assistant is active chief scientist, and no more evil science.

Guardian: “This is a kinder, gentler CADMUS.”
Dubbilex: “Then I will, of course, help in any way I can… brother.”

Guardian’s a Genomorph clone voiced by the same actor who voices Speedy? Foreshadowing!
In a room filled with screens, the glowy members of the Light watch Guardian from their respective screens. Wait, why are screens (which, I might remind you, are showing obscured glowy figures) talking to each other? Oh yeah, to keep the identity of the Light from the audience. They discuss Guardian (they have ways of controlling him) and the new team of sidekicks.

Light #2: “We now know the League is willing to employ young heroes to do their dirty work. It’s a dark twist.”
Light #1: “Yes… but one that can be played to our advantage. Even the temporary loss of the weapon can prove useful. Eventually, everyone sees the Light.”

And the credits roll. What an amazing start to an amazing series. But shall we take a closer look?

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