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May. 13th, 2012

Young Justice. Oh Young Justice. I'm going to have to get out the newspaper and squirt bottle, aren't I? And here your first season did such a good job of not piddling on the carpet.

I just watched the most recent episode, Alienated, and boy was I not impressed. I've been willing to give the season a grace period despite a very rocky start, but I think this episode just used up about half the grace I had left in my system. And this despite the fact that I really liked a few of the things it did! It managed to make me like and respect Superman with a grand total of two scenes with him, one of him bonding with Superboy and the other trying to save a bunch of hostile aliens from a bomb. It reminded me of why exactly I love the bat family together so much--despite every bat on board EXCEPT Batgirl getting at least one line in the episode. It deepened the mystery surrounding The Light's plans, added in a new possible villainous organization, AND revealed what happened with the JLA during their missing 16 hours, all simultaneously and pretty gracefully.

And yet. The episode managed to make me hate the ugly and stupid looking Aqualad replacement even more, both because he's a dick and because I find his amped up character design repulsive to the point of nausea. It had some reeeally sketchy moments regarding M'gann's use of her powers while Batman and her psychic uncle who should presumably be able to sense what she's doing were in the room. And, perhaps its greatest crime so far, it made Aqualad a villain.

Now don't get me wrong, I'll eat up a good-guy-turned-bad story just the same as the next mildly sadistic fan. However, this only applies if a) the arc makes sense with what we know of the character and their morals; b) it's well explained, instead of, say, giving some half-assed explanation that involves fridging a female character as motivation; and c) he wasn't the only fleshed out non-white character on the damn team.

I just. I have no words to express my disappointment. Aqualad was constructed as a highly moral, extremely loyal, and calm character who was a leader who took his own words and advice to heart. Having him suddenly switch to becoming evil because a character the audience met in a single episode died in the line of duty, and because he found out his dad happened to be a villain, is COMPLETELY out of character for him. In addition, let's consider the fact that we have the sole non-white member (I'm counting M'gann out of this one because her preferred form in season one was that of a white girl and she said straight up at one point that that's how she identifies, and Rocket does not have nearly enough character development, or even just lines, to count) of the original team is now evil.

In addition, the entirety of The Light has been revealed before now, and is revealed in another shot here. It includes, to date, Vandal Savage (non-white), Black Manta (non-white), Queen Bee (non-white), and Monsieur Mallah (a brain in a jar in a homosexual relationship with a gorilla). Out of seven members of The Light, three are explicitly minorities in the show, and another is explicitly a minority in the comics.

Finally, M'gann's powers. I'm sure there'll be time and energy devoted to explaining what happened between her and Superboy, and how she got to the point where she's using her powers to mindrape aliens with not a smidgen of regret, but what I'd like to bring up here is how this is used in the episode. M'gann mindcrushed all the info out of an alien in the last ep, and now the JLA asks for her help in getting an Earthbound alien to give up info. Her uncle Jonn has been mentally interrogating the alien for several days and has gotten nothing. Batman brings her and Superboy, who has insisted on accompanying, to see the room where the alien and her uncle are, currently both locked mentally. She mindcrushes this alien too and reveals the info to Bats...and the only one who has any reaction whatsoever to seeing the alien suddenly reduced to a drooling puddle is Superboy. Newsflash, show writers: The JLA has a moral compass, and as grey-area as Bats can sometimes be, I somehow doubt he'd approve of someone eradicating another sentient being's mind, no matter how badly the info might be needed. In addition, Jonn was mentally linked with said alien. He literally could not have missed what M'gann was doing, and it's been made pretty clear that he knows the boundaries of Earth morality at the very least. Plus, I'm pretty sure he had the capacity to do the exact same thing if he wanted to, and the fact that he didn't after, again, several days of interrogation shows pretty strongly to me that he'd consider it wrong. And yet the writers made him say nothing. Unless he's being mind controlled by his niece, I consider that so radically out of character that I literally cannot countenance that scene as having happened. I just. I have no words.

Young Justice, what happened? Your first season was so good, in so many ways. And this? This isn't just jumping the shark; this is skinning the shark, then making shoes out of that skin, then using those shoes in the Olympics high jump event to set a new world record. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, Young Justice, but you had better damn well give me something to hold on to.

Korra...*sigh* Comparatively, Korra, you're a ray of sunshine. But I'd appreciate some improvement from you too.

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