Episodes 21 Review
Young Justice: Outsiders

"Unknown Factors" -- Episode 21 -- centers around the classic tried and true Young Justice story: a recon gone terribly wrong all while several character's sub-plots inch along with big implications while a secret threatens to ruin everything.

The opening starts off with Cat Grant reporting live at the Earth-16 stand-in for the TLC Chinese Theatre, for the opening of a Goode World Studios movie titled "The Great Khan," a perhaps subtle nod to former ruler of Apokolips Yuga Khan and a phonetic tease, 'the great con'? Then as any recon mission goes on Young Justice, Dick Grayson and Jefferson Pierce get into some big trouble after they break into Gretchen Goode's estate. The episode was a hard watch in the sense that was it unfolded, it became clear that Dick Grayson's luck ran out even though he got a little cocky with his justifications about breaking and entering. 8 years and Brown's Law caught with him is one way to look at it. Still it was a surprise they left his state unresolved by the episode's end. A lot like the Orphanage a couple episodes ago, this was a new take on the X-Pit. A prison on Apokolips is horrific enough but a pocket dimension torture realm is much more worse. Speculation hat on, it seems like the machine being constructed in the Orphanage is going to be a way to unleash the X-Pit on the universe or specific planets in the least.

Then continuing with Shayeris, like everyone totally predicted, the meta-teen took on the name Dolphin. But given this is a young person with secrets, she'll be on the Team next season. It makes sense Wyynde's previous cameos were not for naught. It was an interesting change up that like Dolphin, another supporting character got a decent focus. Some would argue against that, but on the side for it - it is part of a focus episode on Kaldur'ahm in a non-Justice League related appearance. Wyynde is also a perfect foil to him. The banter about how he can kick Kaldur's butt was amusing and reminds us, the audience, that Kaldur never did go back to the Conservatory to finish his studies. Guess there's no online GED equivalent in Atlantis.

The third set piece of the episode naturally takes us to the Hub after Beast Boy and Geo-Force return from an off-screen Outsiders romp but the villain is name dropped and it is an amusing sequence. Too bad we didn't get to see that. Or the Team mission mentioned. Or why Batman and Robin were in Africa... Erg. Still, in place of that, I was really happy to see Vic continue to progress and to see him hang with Beast Boy and get into antics. That was a pretty cool idea to have Blue Beetle teach him how to form a blaster. Though, the killer moment of the episode was when he opens a -- something! The noisy white elephant in the room is at this point screaming that we're going to see Victor take on the Cyborg moniker and join the Outsiders by season's end. The through line of will Violet and Brion make up as well as is Dr. Jace-manipulating-them? also continues in the Hub scenes.

Suffice to say, all three of these pieces combine into an explosive and entertaining showdown with some crazy revelations and bombshells. All I'm going to say is don't blink and watch the episode all the way to the end with wide eyes, even through the end credits or you will kick yourself.

There is one other story in the episode that remains isolated from the others and the discussion, implications, and ramifications make for some intriguing theater. 21 episodes into the season, and we got a serious talk about the ethics of genetic modification in the meta-gene trafficking era. I'm guessing this was inspired in part by the real world controversies like stem cell treatment but in any case, it was handled pretty well here, I thought. Two sides were presented by Karen and Mal. Leave it to mother nature or be proactive and give your child a "better" chance or an even standing. And of course they don't reveal what Karen's choice was. Though it's intriguing the idea of using her idea to give someone a meta-gene came up the same episode that Infinity Inc. was name dropped. In the 52 comic book series, Lex Luthor formed his own Infinity Inc. from people he gave powers using exo-gene therapy in his Everyman Project. And a few episodes ago on Young Justice, Lex Luthor was advised by G. Gordon Godfrey to co-opt. Hmm. Oh, and if you came into this episode with an urge for another obscure 90s comic book character to debut on the show, you get your wish. The doctor who helps Karen is named in the credits and is relates to Adam Strange comics. Ooo, and the mention of a certain someone from Dr. Palmer's lab could be alluding to one of the other new members of the Justice League yet to be revealed this season. Hmm. And I'm guessing the heart surgeon alluded to was Dr. Cross from season 1 and 2.

After this week, five episodes remain. Is that enough?! Oh yeah, there's going to be a season 4.

Rating: 4.8 out of 5