"There are no small roles, only small actors."
And I'm not simply referring to the immensely-talented Peter Dinklage.
"There are no unimportant episodes, only unimportant plots."
This episode is about a recon mission going bad while spying on a drug war. But, like with past episodes, the subplots are incredibly important.
We see the Light succeed despite setbacks yet again (get used to this), and we see how the Team handles their first "real" mission. These are the most important elements of the episode, and the main plot is merely an excuse to further these subplots. A well-executed excuse, but it nevertheless ends up being the least interesting part of the episode.
The Team's interpersonal dynamics begin to be fully fleshed out in this episode. We see them butting heads, arguing, and yet working together really well at times. Clearly, the excitement over the idea of being a team has worn off. The honeymoon is over, and they're having to deal with the reality of what they wished for. And, of course, the big question was the one of leadership.
Would it be Superboy, echoing how Superman is usually seen as the leader of the Justice League?
Would it be Robin, the partner of the guy who gives them missions?
Would it be Miss Martian, because feminism?
Would it be Kid Flash, because persistence?
Lol, nope. It's Aqualad.
And this choice makes the most sense, if you think about it logically. Look at the facts.
Robin is thirteen. He may have been raised by Batman, but he certainly doesn't have the experience. (Yet.)
Kid Flash isn't the brightest.
Superboy's only a few weeks old. Also, he doesn't want to lead.
Miss Martian is too eager to please to tell others what to do. Also, she doesn't want to lead.
Aqualad is a disciplined soldier personally trained by the King of the Five Oceans.
The choice is obvious. As for the rest of the episode, it was okay. Bane was well-characterized, Sportsmaster was surprisingly threatening, and Mammoth got a nice new origin that ties in with established continuity well. It's okay, but not great. It's a necessary watch the first time around, but this episode is easily skippable if you've already seen it.
While the plot could be pretty interesting in another show, the level of intricacy found in all this show's subplots means that anything that doesn't really tie in to those subplots is kind of boring by comparison. Bad? No. Uninteresting? Not necessarily. Just not as interesting.
In much the same vein, this episode isn't bad. It's just not as good as this show is capable of.
Next time, expect some fish-out-of-water humor as our characters go to school. Also, Peter MacNicol shows up to lend his voice. This is never a bad thing. See you then!