SPOILER ALERT: This is a full episode recap, so if you don’t want to read any spoilers, please watch the episode before reading.
Toward the end of last season, in the episode “Bloodlines,” Red Arrow and Cheshire tracked down the real Roy Harper, a.k.a. Speedy, Green Arrow’s partner, who’d been kidnapped years ago and cloned. That clone became Red Arrow, but when he found out that he was a clone, he worked tirelessly to find his… source.
This episode opens with the real Roy in a hospital bed, while clone Roy and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) attempt to fill him in. Real Roy recalls going on a mission only to be captured by Lexcorp agents. His right arm was removed and used to create a clone. Ollie states that he spent months looking for him and when he found his clone, he was so happy he didn’t question the “good fortune.” Ollie says that Clone Roy has spent the last five years looking for him, but this angers Real Roy. He is furious that Ollie wasn’t also looking for him and didn’t even notice he’d been replaced. He orders Ollie out of his room. He then more politely asks Clone Roy to leave him alone to process these new developments.
Clone Roy find Ollie in the chapel, where Ollie admits to being a poor mentor. “Speedy, Red Arrow…” his voice breaks, “Artemis. All the poster children for the Stay Away From Green Arrow Club.” Clone Roy assures him that despite not always showing it, he considers Ollie a good man and assures him Artemis and even Real Roy feel the same. He tells him that Real Roy needs Ollie whether he knows it or not. They return to Real Roy’s hospital room, but it’s empty!
Back at Mount Justice, Nightwing, Superboy and Mal Duncan are discussing the aftermath of the last episode, “Depths” explaining that Aquaman has his forces combing the ocean searching for the captured Lagoon Boy. Mal menacingly states that he wants their former team leader, Aqualad’s head on a platter for killing Artemis. Superboy turns to Nightwing, but he’s gone.
In the grotto, Beastboy, Robin, Blue Beetle and Impulse add an Artemis tribute hologram to their hall of fallen teammates, which include Tula/Aquagirl, another Robin (presumably Jason Todd) and oddly the adult Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. Jaime gets mad when he realizes that Bart has stolen and is snacking on his “freeze dried Chicken Whizzies.” They then discuss the grotto shrine. Bart says he thinks they deserve giant statues in a public memorial. Jaime agrees, stating that people think he is Ted Kord in a new costume. The public doesn’t know about Kord’s sacrifice. Apparently Captain Atom doesn’t think the world needs to know about their losses, but Jaime speculates that maybe they just don’t want the world to realize that they aren’t immortal.
Jaime then points out that unlike most of his teammates, he never even got to meet his inspiration. Even Bart, who has been in this time for just a few days already has three Flash mentors. Bart then decides they should hang out. “Got any money?” he asks as he escorts Jaime out of the grotto.
At Gotham Cemetery, Wally attempts to console Artemis’ mother, Paula Brooks Crock, formerly the villain Huntress. Meanwhile from the shadows, Sportsmaster and Cheshire, Artemis’ father and sister respectively, (along with Cheshire’s infant daughter Lian) also pay their respects… and swear revenge. Cheshire vows to kill Aqualad, while Sportsmaster points out this appears to be a breech in super villain etiquette. “The son of Black Manta cannot kill Sportsmaster’s daughter… not without running it by me first.” Therefore, he swears revenge against Black Manta.
Since he shares DNA with the Clone Roy, Real Roy is able to access one of their safe houses/arsenals. When the computer admits “Red Arrow” Real Roy makes fun of the name for being unoriginal. (He has a point.) When Clone Roy and Ollie approach and attempt to enter, the fact that “Red Arrow” is already inside causes the building’s security system to kick in. Ollie is barely able to override the programming. They enter, but are too late. Real Roy, suited up in his Speedy costume teleports out, just as a grenade explodes, destroying the teleporter. Clone Roy checks the computer and they discover he beamed to Metropolis… home of Lex Luthor. Sure enough, Speedy picks up a missile launcher and fires it at the top floor of Lexcorp.
In Ivy Town, Wendy (remember her?) tells Superboy “Happy Birthday” but when she asks how old he is, he blurts out “six.” He quickly amends that to 22, but gets nervous when Wendy says he hasn’t aged a day since they met. They reminisce about the huge surprise parties that Meagan threw for him every year. Conner claims to hate them, but Wendy points out that he was just pretending, because Meagan loved throwing them, so secretly he loved them. Conner comments that she knows him pretty well. They lock eyes for a second then awkwardly look away. She asks if he’s having a party this year, but he says she’s the only one who remembered.
That isn’t true, though. M’ghan remembered, but as Zatanna points out, it’s not really her job to throw Conner a party anymore. Instead, they join their fellow female heroes Black Canary, Wonder Girl, Batgirl and Bumblebee for Rocket’s bridal shower. M’ghan quickly throws a bucket of cold water on the entire event however, when she says the gift she gives Raquel is from her and Artemis. Everyone then stares silently at the empty chair at the end of the table. Raquel scolds herself for even having a party so soon after Artemis’ death, but M’ghan says that Artemis would have wanted them to celebrate. They toast to “absent friends” and then to the bride. They don’t notice Captain Cold on top of the building beside them, scoping out a bank.
Luthor and Mercy survive the explosion. Luthor grabs a briefcase and orders his men to kill Speedy, but is surprised to find the hero-turned assassin in his parking garage. He blows up Luthor’s limo and aims a gun at his head, but then spends too much time blabbing and allows Mercy to blast him with her cyber-arms.
Back at the restaurant, an armored car pulls up and Captain Cold immediately encases it in a huge iceberg. He gleefully slides down the ice but just before he can crack open the ice, the female YJ/Justice League members attack.
Back at Lexcorp, Speedy uses a crossbow and explosive arrows to temporarily stun Mercy. Meanwhile, Lex uses his mind games, slinging flattery at Roy. Mercy gathers herself and attacks again, destroying Roy’s crossbow. Speedy must use stealth to avoid her. He finally attacks her with rope… which he then detonates, destroying her cyber-arm. He wraps more of the “detonation rope” around Luthor’s arm, explaining that Lexcorp created and sells this rope illegally. He considers this the perfect revenge, but once more spends too much time running his mouth, allowing Luthor’s guards to surround him. These troops include a leader named Otis, by the way. Luthor gives Roy the briefcase. Roy opens it…
Arrows Red and Green arrive and Speedy emerges from the building, speaking in a menacing tone about having received satisfaction. He then shows them what’s in the briefcase, a cyber arm more advanced than Mercy’s. He announces that Speedy is dead and that he will now be called Arsenal.
This was sort of a strange episode to kick off the new season. Certainly it advanced numerous storylines, but it was sort of all over the place. Perhaps the most important event last season was the “death” or Artemis at the hands of Aqualad, so it makes sense that we see the reaction and fallout from that. But those scenes all sort of existed on their own and weren’t tied together.
Instead we get the advancement of Roy Harper’s story, which more and more is becoming my least favorite subplot. This series has a darker tone than a lot of other cartoons, but Roy’s story is the darkest part of the show. Granted, in the comics, Roy’s story has been dark since the 60s, but this might be too much. It doesn’t help that neither Roy is particularly likeable. His final scene, showing off the Lexcorp cyber-arm seemed downright villainous. This won’t end well. These kids really need to stop accepting gifts from Luthor! Why don’t they know any better?!
The ladies’ night out scene felt sort of tacked on, but I guess they wanted to show M’ghan and the others reacting to their friend’s death. Also, in the latest Young Justice comic book, there is a reference to Rocket’s son Amistad. Now she’s getting married, which makes her possibly the first single mom on a cartoon. Even Cheshire and Red Arrow made a point of saying they got married before having Lian. I doubt they will ever make an actual reference to this on the show, but I wanted to point it out.
Also pretty random was Superboy’s scene with Wendy. It bridged the next scene with M’ghan and Zatanna and also sets up a possible future romance, but didn’t feel essential.
I guess what I’m saying is, for a first episode back, I would expect something more linear and focused. And bigger with more story that involves the larger storyline. This was a good episode with a lot of character development and emotional developments, but it works better as a filler, not a premier.
On the other hand, I’m just glad it’s back!
What do you think? What are you looking forward to this season? Comment below!