WARNING: This is a full episode recap, so if you don’t want to read any SPOILERS please watch the episode first.
The Super Friends references really come to a head this episode, when one of Jaime Reyes’ (Blue Beetle) friends, Tye Longshadow, runs away from home because of his mother’s abusive boyfriend Maurice Bodaway. (Tye bears an unmistakable resemblance to the Native American Super Friend Apache Chief and Longshadow was the name of the ‘Justice League Unlimited’ version of that character.) Jaime asks Tye to wait at the El Paso bus station until he can get there, but the bus to Houston leaves before Blue Beetle arrives. But Tye isn’t on it, having been abducted before he could enter the bus station. The entire time, Blue Beetle’s scarab argues that this is a misuse of its powers.
Nightwing dispatches Alpha Squad, Miss Martian, Batgirl, Bumblebee and Wonder Girl to Bialya, where there has been an uptick in Boom Tube activity. The team is sent to locate any alien tech that resembles the bomb that destroyed the island of Malina in the episode ‘Alienated.’ Nightwing assures the telepathic villain Psimon is still catatonic in the hospital, where Miss Martian put him after their last psychic showdown. But, he explains that the Alpha Squad is all female due to the Queen Bee’s ability to telepathically control male minds. Batgirl asks why he felt the need to justify that, and he nervously replies, “There’s no right answer to that, is there?”
Back in El Paso, Jaime questions Tye’s mother, Shelly Longshadow, who is clearly a doormat who looks the other way as her boyfriend terrorizes both herself and her son. Jaime questioned the clerk at the bus station and has learned that no one boarded the Houston-bound bus the night before. Shelly doesn’t seem at all concerned regarding her son’s whereabouts and dismisses him as simply “blowing off steam.” Just then, Maurice enters and identifies himself as a school employee and threatens to turn Jaime in for ditching. Jaime states that he is on a free period. Sensing Maurice’s hostility, the Scarab prepares for battle. Before it can form a plasma cannon, Shelly intervenes and says that Maurice and Tye had a fight and Tye took off. She tells Jaime to check with Tye’s grandfather.
Alpha Squad has searched the other Boom Tube hot spots and uncovered nothing, until they arrive at a heavily armed facility. Miss Martian indicates that all radio transmissions are being monitored, so they must rely on her telepathic link. (Which they seem to do all of the time anyway.) Miss Martian splits them up to infiltrate the base, but tells the enthusiastic Wonder Girl to hold position. “You’re Wonder Girl, honey, not Stealther Girl,” Bumblebee sassily explains.
Just as the other three enter the compound, Wonder Girl spies a truck approaching. Out of it emerge Mammoth, Shimmer, Icicle Junior, Devastation and… Psimon! This means telepathic communication is out for the team as well. perhaps a bit brashly, Wonder Girl determines that she has no choice but to go after the others.
She quickly locates Miss Martian and informs her that Psimon is present, so she switches off their psychic link. They split up to warn the other two and Miss Martian tells Cassie that she did good by sneaking in and informing her. Unfortunately, she gets a bit cocky and flies over a clearing. Devastation spots her shadow on the ground and leaps after her. (Devastation is clearly a take on the Wonder Woman villain of the same name, but bears nearly no resemblance to the underage sorceress in the comics. This Devastation is like a female Mammoth.)
Devastation flings Cassie to the ground and orders the facility be put into lock down.
Jaime follows Shelly’s advice and visits Tye’s grandfather Holling Longshadow, who also doesn’t appear concerned for Tye, but in a different way. He says that Tye comes from a long line of Mescalero Apache Chiefs and says that he is on a spiritual journey to connect him to his heritage and find his path in life. Longshadow dismisses Maurice as a threat, saying he is just a distraction and does not play a part in Tye’s spiritual path… or in Jaime’s for that matter.
Wonder Girl breaks free and escapes Devastation’s clutches. Bumblebee finds Batgirl wedged into a tight air passage. Neither knows what’s going on since the psychic link went down. Batgirl has scanned the air passages and discovered a large chamber 20 meters below. They discover an ancient chamber. “Can you say Temple of Doom?” Bumblebee gasps. The chamber has been converted into some sort of command center. Batgirl slips away and finds a large cargo plane, pointed down a tunnel to a hangar. Ready to be loaded, are stasis pods holding a dozen or so teenagers. Before Bumblebee can help, Psimon blasts Batgirl with a psychic wave and knocks her unconscious.
Mammoth places Batgirl in a stasis pod, but Icicle is opposed to this, stating that the other kids are runaways that won’t be missed. The same can’t be said of Batgirl. But Psimon doesn’t care. Shimmer opens the hangar doors and goes upstairs to confirm their flight plan, while Mammoth and Devastation load the teens onto the plane.
Back in El Paso, Jaime has another run in with Maurice but ultimately confirms that he had nothing to do with Tye’s disappearance. All he is guilty of is pirating video games and movies, which Jaime plans to report in order that he be found guilty of something.
Bumblebee escapes and forms a plan, rendezvousing with Miss Martian and Wonder Girl. Miss Martian disguises herself as Shimmer and takes the real deal out with her psychic abilities. Bumblebee sneaks onto the plane and frees Batgirl, telling her she’s the only one who can fly the plane with all the kids onboard to safety, noting the irony that Batgirl is also the only one of the three of them that can’t actually fly on her own.
Miss Martian, still disguised, confronts Psimon and they battle on the Psychic Plain. Psimon orders the other criminals to kill her in the material world while he distracts her. But then the plane starts up and heads down the runway.
Icicle Junior goes to shut the hangar doors, while Mammoth and Devastation try to stop the plane. Bumblebee is able to distract Mammoth enough with her bio-stings to slow him down, but Devastation reaches the plane and leaps on top of it. Devastation rips open the top of the cockpit and reaches for Batgirl. Luckily, Wonder Girl arrives and rips the hangar doors open, then knocks Devastation for a loop. Mammoth has recovered and leaps onto the plane.
Icicle is about to stake Miss Martian for breaking his heart in Belle Reve, but is distracted as Bumblebee takes out Psimon. With Psimon unconscious, Miss Martian snaps out of her trance and resumes her normal appearance and knocks Icicle against a pillar.
Wonder Girl uses her power and Amazon training to knock both Mammoth and Devastation off the plane, but before they can celebrate, mammoth grabs a forklift and throws it at the plane, destroying one wing and causing a blast that sends the other wing into the wall, smashing it. The wingless plane spills out the hangar, but neither Wonder Girl or Miss Martian is powerful enough to stop it. Luckily, they have the Bioship!
At Mount Justice, Nightwing feels stupid to learn that Psimon planted mental suggestions in the minds of the hospital staff making them think they were tending to him, when in fact, his bed had been empty for months. Though they didn’t locate any alien tech, Bumblebee says what they did find was even stranger. Queen Bee was acting as a middle man, delivering abductees to an unknown partner. Wonder Girl is frustrated at another unanswered question, but Nightwing says encouragingly that “new questions keep the investigation moving forward.” Their mission was a success.
Back in Bialya, the Queen Bee is unhappy at the loss of their “cargo” but indicates that their second shipment had already been collected, four teens including Tye, an African American boy (Black Vulcan?) and a boy and girl who may be Asian or Latin (Samurai and El Dorado? The Wonder Twins?). She says their client should be satisfied.
This episode was solid but a touch uneven. The domestic violence angle is downplayed, but I couldn’t help but feel disturbed at the implication that both Shelly Longshadow and her son were possibly being physically abused by Maurice, yet that didn’t really seem to get addressed. It was like it was just an unimportant plot point on the way to Tye’s eventually becoming Apache Chief or whatever is going to happen to him. Shelly, like a true victim, just seems to dismiss her son’s disappearance and though she seems to realize that Maurice is bad news, she’s still with him and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
The darkness of that plot line didn’t mesh with the overall light all-girl Alpha Squad story. The whole thing sort of centered on the cheery Wonder Girl coming into her own and learning how to be part of the team. We get that she is probably the newest of these heroes, and therefore the least experienced, so this was her learning arc. It was a fun storyline, which I’m sure feeds into the larger story, but the two plots just didn’t feel cohesive.
So, while this series overall is solid and I greatly enjoy it, this may have been the weakest episode of the second season so far. Which doesn’t make it bad. You know what they say, even bad pizza is still pizza! It’s odd. Super Friends reference. All-girl team. You’d think this would have been my favorite episode in the history of the series! And while I still enjoyed it, it had its weaknesses.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Comment below!
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘Young Justice – Invasion: Salvage’ recap to catch up.