Young Justice: Outsiders (Season 3) : A Bit Too Much For a Season – HBO Max Review

Since DC Universe folded, I can finally see how Young Justice continued.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Two years after the events of Season Two, trafficking in metahumans (people with superpowers) has started to expand beyond just the Earth. The Justice League, unfortunately, is now under the control of the United Nations and their Secretary General, Lex Luthor (Mark Rolston). Finding the organization essentially depowered, Batman and Green Arrow (Bruce Greenwood and Alan Tudyk) resign along with all of their associates, aiming to go back to vigilantism. At the same time, Superboy, Tigress, Miss Martian, and Nightwing (Nolan North, Stephanie Lemelin, Danica McKellar, and Jesse McCartney) restart their covert team and infiltrate the country of Markovia, leading them to find two new superheroes in Prince Brion (Troy Baker) and the mysterious Halo (Zehra Fazal).  At the same time, the supervillain group The Light is enacting another plan to take over the world while the evil Darkseid (Michael-Leon Wooley) plots to take over the universe. 

We eventually get a team called the Outsiders, after a while.

END SUMMARY

So, while I appreciated the first two seasons of Young Justice for being very broad series depicting a large-scale DC comics universe, I appreciated that most of the episodes actually felt fairly self-contained and had a fairly focused main cast. This season threw that out the window. There are so many characters and plotlines going on and characters jumping between them that, by the start of the second half, there are three different superhero teams containing members of the original lineup, plus two different villain groups, plus a number of episode-based groups, plus a number of extras. A lot of the time, you just have to accept things like “this is a new female Green Arrow” or an extra Green Lantern and remember to look it up later. 

So. Many. Characters. And these are just the famous ones.

The number of plot threads can be a bit overwhelming because there are a lot of villains who are all attempting various plots in various ways and sometimes the heroes end up thwarting one plot as part of attempting to thwart an entirely separate one. I admit that it’s probably more accurate to how the DC universe works when you take all of the different comics into account, but it does sometimes make it a little harder to keep track of who started what and who is behind which evil deed. It doesn’t help that a lot of the plot threads kind of end up resolving in ways that just indicate they’re going to be continued in Season 4. I will admit that I appreciate the show’s ambition, I just worry that it limits the audience a bit.

There’s a big thing about Black Lightning being the only one with integrity.

The voice acting is amazing. It contains a number of seasoned voice actors, including some people who voice the characters in multiple incarnations (notably Greg Cipes, who voices Beast Boy, also plays him in Teen Titans). Sometimes they use this heavily to their advantage, such as having an episode that takes place in a Teen Titans Go! version of the Doom Patrol which uses the voice actors from Teen Titans. Many play multiple characters and you would have difficulty telling if it wasn’t made explicit. The animation is the same dark style as the first two seasons, but they have a number of more colorful characters in this season and it helps to make it seem a little less emo.

Like Halo, who literally glows.

Overall, if you liked the first two seasons, you should probably watch this one. Thankfully, it’s no longer on DC Universe so you can actually probably find someone with an HBO Max subscription to borrow. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Rick and Mondays – S1 E9 “Something Ricked This Way Comes”

Starring a prick who has two thumbs, here’s “Something Ricked This Way Comes.”

S1E9-1TwoThumbs
Wait, those aren’t thumbs…

SUMMARY

Summer (Spencer Grammer) asks Rick (Justin Roiland) for a ride to work at her new job at the store “Needful Things.” It turns out Summer’s boss, Mr. Needful (Alfred Molina), is the Devil and the store “sells” cursed objects to people for no money. Needful tries to give Rick a microscope that would make him mentally handicapped, but Rick turns the tables and develops a device that can determine the curse on any object. Deciding to f*ck with the Devil, Rick starts a store called “Curse Purge Plus,” where he removes parts of the curses on the items to make them incredibly valuable. The Devil, realizing Rick is better at evil than he is, tries to kill himself, but Summer saves him and gets him to re-make the store into an internet site, before he double crosses her. To get revenge, she and Rick work out, become muscled giants, then beat the hell out of the Devil, as well as some neo-nazi and a member of the Westboro Baptist church.

S1E9-2Stop.png
Summer, parting a being of pure evil and a being of pure dontgiveaf*ck.

In the B-Plot, Morty (Roiland) asks Jerry (Chris Parnell) to help him with his science fair project, a model of the solar system. Jerry becomes irate when Morty mentions that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. He refuses to accept this, something that leads a group of Plutonians to use him as a source of propaganda to fight against accusations that Pluto has been shrinking. Despite the fact that he has absolutely no scientific credibility and is being bankrolled by the people that would most benefit from what he’s saying, Jerry becomes a star scientist and is beloved by the population. A real scientist, Scroopy Noopers (Nolan North), tells Morty that the Plutonian corporations have actually mined the planet so much it shrank, which Morty tries to tell Jerry. Jerry refuses to listen, but eventually realizes he’s an idiot and tries to tell the truth to Pluto before reconciling with Morty.

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King Flippy Nips (Rich Fulcher) is not the most utilitarian leader.

END SUMMARY

This makes the second episode where Rick and Morty are in separate plots, after “Raising Gazorpazorp,” but the plots in this one are a huge improvement over that episode.

S1E9-4ButterBot
Even ButterBot is a massive step-up.

Rick and Summer’s plot is a subversion of the traditional “Deal with the Devil” trope right from the beginning, because Rick immediately recognizes who Needful really is. Usually, finding out that the mystery salesman is the Devil is a major plot point, but to Rick it’s just an observation to make in passing. He even lists all the shows (including Friday the 13th: The Series) that the Devil is ripping off (though Rick avoids pointing out that Needful Things is itself a Steven King book and movie about this exact plot). After the Devil tries to outsmart Rick, which fails miserably, Rick decides to mess with the Devil by using science to render him powerless. The Devil even says of Rick:

People like Rick are making me obsolete. I mean seriously, I may be the Devil but your grandpa is the Devil! I just want to go back to hell where everybody thinks I’m smart and funny.

That’s the beauty of Rick Sanchez. Since he believes that everything is meaningless, even good and evil can be rendered pointless. In this episode, the Devil’s items’ punishments, while cruel, teach people lessons about their own personal faults. Rick doesn’t give a crap about human morality or ethics, believing that science is more powerful. Mr. Goldenfold (Brandon Johnson), the first victim we see, even has the traditional breakdown from the end of a normal story, only for Rick to give him an injection which removes any consequence and causes Goldenfold to shout “I haven’t learned a thing!” Even at the end of the episode, after Summer has been betrayed by the Devil, she and Rick ponder whether or not there’s something they could learn from this experience, but then instead decide to beat the Devil up.

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Devil plays a good fiddle, but he should’ve learned MMA.

Meanwhile, Jerry and Morty basically go through a thinly-veiled metaphor for how companies can manipulate science reporting. Jerry is reported by the media to be a scientist and is even awarded the Plutobel Prize, despite the fact that all he does is say that all of the other scientists are wrong. He never provides a case for why they’re wrong, nor does he actually listen to the explanations for why Pluto isn’t a planet. He just stubbornly states his opinion over and over again, but because the opinion is profitable to the wealthy, they promote it as a fact. Most people seem to say this episode is a metaphor for Climate Change, but it could just as easily be one for smoking causing cancer or heliocentricity, if you replace “company” with “church.” The Plutonians could easily be a metaphor for any kind of group that’s easily manipulated by the media.

S1E9-6MasterScience
Jerry Smith: Master of All Science. That’s what big companies want.

So, the episode’s about how science can be abused. Rick abuses it to eliminate people having to learn from their mistakes while Jerry and the Plutonian elite abuse it to promote an agenda that they can benefit from. These might seem to be connected, but the message from each one is actually pretty different. As Rick says in another episode, it’s just a “cosmetic connection our mind mistakes for thematic.”

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I think Rick particularly has it out for the Devil, because the existence of a Devil suggests, although it does not necessarily require, the existence of a God. In other words, this would make Rick wrong about his grand pronouncement that “there is no God” and call into question his belief that everything is meaningless. After all, if there is a higher power that created the multiverse, then it’s probable that life actually inherently does have meaning.

While Rick usually dispatches people who try to one-up him fairly quickly, he goes to extraordinary lengths to make the Devil suffer, lengths that even he later realizes he didn’t really want to reach. So, Rick got insecure about maybe being completely wrong about one of his bigger postulates, and overreacted, causing the Devil to almost kill himself.

S1E9-7Hanging
Keep hanging in there, Beelzebub.

See, it’s sentences like that that remind me how much I love this show.

LEAVING THE CORNER

This is a great episode, even by Rick and Morty standards. It’s right up at the top of my list of best episodes, particularly because listening to Alfred Molina say “I’m the Devil, beeyotch!” is basically crack for my ears.

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

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