After watching this episode, I’m starting to understand the problems people have with Young Justice and its storytelling structure. I previously praised the series for bucking the traditional process of set-up leads to resolution in favor of set-up leads to more set-up as a means of amping up the tension and providing a vast landscape for the increasing cast of characters to exist. “True Colors,” however, showcases the good and bad aspects of this method in that a lot happens, yet I feel like very little happens. Maybe it’s because, when you get right down to the nitty-gritty of it, Young Justice is structured more like a comic book than a traditional television show.
Each episode follows the series’ self-created formula. The teaser offers us a continuation of the previous episode’s cliffhanger-esque moment. In this case, Atom and Bumblebee trying to remove the scarab from Jaime on the microscopic level after his insistence that The League do whatever it takes to separate him from The Reach’s technology. They’re unsuccessful in their efforts after being attacked by scarab-created antibodies that automatically repair the damage and attack. Diagnosis: The only way the scarab is coming off is if Jaime’s dead. Opening credits! The bulk of the episode focuses on the primary mission. Nightwing sends the Alpha Team of Robin, Blue Beetle, Impulse, and Arsenal (hello, OG Roy!) to check out LexCorp Farms in Smallville, a partnership between The Reach and LexCorp to mass produce sustainable food. They also conveniently give tours as reported by everyone’s favorite media demagogue, G. Gordon Godfrey. After hiding out in the bathroom most of the day, the boys spy The Reach’s scientists putting an additive into the produce’s water supply. Robin manages to get a sample, but before Alpha Team can finish their stealth mission, Arsenal decides to throw a wrench in the plan by blowing something up and attracting the attention of Black Beetle.
Surrounding the mission plot are the short yet more than likely significant scenes that cut from the main action so that more intrigue and suspense can be added. Sportsmaster, The Light’s former enforcer, wants vengeance for the unsanctioned death of his daughter, Artemis. His solution: a child for a child, which Black Manta and Vandal Savage instantly reject. One more calmly than the other. Threatening to take action there and now, Sportsmaster is thwarted by The Light’s new enforcer, Deathstroke! Escaping with a well-timed assist from Cheshire, Sportsmaster now feels honorably justified in taking action against The Light and guarantees that Cheshire will be able to take her revenge on Aqualad. But there may not be anything left of Kaldur to take revenge on as we see that, since his confrontation with Miss Martian, he’s been in a comatose state. Vandal offers the assistant of Psimon to go digging around in Kaldur’s mind to hopefully piece him back together…You can see where this is going, right?
The last act is, of course, where something else happens that pushes us towards the episode’s cliffhanger moment. Alpha Team is having a bit of a hard time escaping Black Beetle when, out of the blue (heh), another Beetle in green armor shows up! Fortunately for the boys, Green Beetle is the scarab carrier of Mars and a friend of Martian Manhunter. Assisted by Jaime, they subdue Black Beetle and the team escapes to the Kent farm. There, we learn that the scarabs are The Reach’s advance operatives sent out to give them an advantage when they come invading. The info doesn’t stop there. Green Beetle, who managed to take control of his scarab, claims there’s “another way” for Blue Beetle to deal with his scarab situation. Back at LexCorp Farms, it seems the damage done by Arsenal was minimal in terms of their plans to distribute an additive enriched energy drink, but Lex, ever the pragmatist, thinks The Light might want to look into getting their own team of powerful teenagers. Dun dun duuuun! End of episode!
Like I said, a lot happened but a lot didn’t happen, which is all well and good but I’d hate to think that everything is leading to one major showdown at the end of the season (possibly series the way things are looking). “True Colors” does pose some interesting questions: Is Arsenal really on the side of Young Justice? Will Kaldur and Artemis be found out? If the scarab was damaged, is it really Jaime in the Blue Beetle armor from Bart’s future? The problem is that with more questions to answer, you need more time to resolve them in a satisfying way. Not just cram it all together in the end. And while I applaud ambition, it’d be nice if at least one of the many plotlines were resolved so we could move on. Then again, I’m a sucker for complex storytelling even if I see the problems for more casual and some hardcore viewers. Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race, guys. Might wanna pick up the pace is all I’m saying.
Ranter’s Corner: What is it with Deathstroke not talking?! Between Young Justice and Arrow, Slade hasn’t said a damn thing! Badass doesn’t always mean silent. Look at Black Beetle. Badass villain and snarky as hell!
DC Nation Short: Amethyst shows us the strange hell that is a world of anthropomorphized everything.
- Nice cameo by Pa Kent
- “Now that’s a rutabaga!”
- Impulse during the whole episode
- Arsenal still has trick arrows
- “Corn field or corn field?” “Corn field!”
- “How many colors do these guys come in?!”
- “All Martians love television.”