Episodes 18 Review
Young Justice: Outsiders

"Early Warning" -- Episode 18 -- builds on the momentum of the Outsiders' debut last week and puts them up against a powerful antagonist, if not the most powerful, Klarion and answers what the heck Project Rutagaba is. The A-story is another winner in my book and the episode is boosted by the furthering of a few sub-plots, some more recent and some that comes all the way back from the premiere, that we've been waiting for. And if that weren't enough, the Outsiders reach a few more milestones by episode's end.

"Early Warning" starts with the return of Courtney Whitmore and she reports on the the now famous Outsiders who have been trending non-stop for the past two weeks. Speaking of, the Outsiders are off on another big mission courtesy of a tip from Miss Martian. Once again, the Outsiders are perfect for the mission to a locale hostile to the Justice League, Cuba. Zatanna, however, voices her disagreement to Miss Martian and Aquaman because of who they are up against: Klarion. With Dr. Fate MIA for unknown reasons, Zatanna takes it upon herself and leaves to aid the Outsiders discreetly. Discussed in brief by Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage back in "Evolution," Project Rutabaga is finally explained in all its gory details. Yes, it's a meta trafficking operation of the Light but the twist is the catalyst for triggering meta-genes is Klarion's chaos magic and what happens next takes the horror of this human trafficking to a new level. Klarion's been binding their souls to him then adding all the meta-teens into a gestalt monster. Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, and Static confront Klarion while Geo-Force keeps Cuban forces at bay, those led but a Colonel who's a 'holy random choice, Batman!' DC character. And naturally, the teen we observe Klarion changing is never named but... looks a whole lot like one of the newer Aquaman-related characters from the comics.

But the matter at hand. On paper, it seems like this trio has zero chance against a Lord of Chaos but... the Team's been through a lot. And Beast Boy's first move is genius and amusing all rolled into one. Then comes Zatanna. And after a horrific twist, Zatanna reminds us all why she's a total ssadab on this show. Like Beast Boy's tactic, Zatanna's winning move is also a total hoot that even continues into the end credits. After a political standoff, things go the Outsiders way and they drop off all but one of the rescued meta-teens in Taos. Then if things couldn't get any better for the team, they do. Someone at Taos steps up and requests to join the fold. And as the episode started with Courtney, so it shall end. With big news, enough to make Kaldur raise an eyebrow anyway.

Now, those subplots. First off, been wondering about Dr. Jace and the hair brush? The answer finally comes but it's GRIM and sets Violet in a new direction of all too familiar teenage self-destruction. Too bad there's no one in her life to help realize that, oh wait, yes, there is. But expect a surprise when it comes to that. Or not? What was controversial 10 years ago, is it still now? Hmm. In addition, we do get a hint that Jace has been working with her mentor for a solution to Violet's new problem. Who this mentor is, what are the odds it's a member of the Light and she doesn't know it? The Brain? Ultra-Humanite? Hmm. And in true Young Justice-fashion, Violet elects to keep Jace's revelation a secret until some better news emerges. Is that going to blow up in her face? Yeah, probably. Another grim answer comes up in the episode, relating to Joan Garrick. And again in true Young Justice-fashion, we don't see anything about it, it's just talked about.

Then when it seems like everything's wrapped up, nope, another cut away. Tigress has a training session with Terra and we get some of our first insight into her tutelage under Deathstroke. It's just about what you'd guess but unlike past animated incarnations of this duo, Tigress steps in and talks about her father, Sportmaster, and how she didn't bend to his abusive regime. Some of you out there have probably seen the parallels already but it's directly addressed. You're definitely left wondering if Tigress has put it all together and is trying to subtly turn Terra or is she? We're still left with another question - is Terra still duplicitous or is she slowly changing sides?

The growing influence of the Outsiders is a major plot point of the episode and everyone seems on board with them. Even in the most implicit of ways, it's even felt with the covert Team and Justice League. Miss Martian passes one of her missions off to the Outsiders and Aquaman has a flimsy sounding excuse it could be too public a mission for the Team. Between the lines, it seemed like a mission the Team could shut down with ease but they knew it was the kind of incident that would bolster the Outsiders' image and probably further the Anti-Light's secret agenda along. One of the Outsiders' defining aspects is going against the rules that have the Justice League hog-tied this season. But in way, Zatanna takes a page out of the Outsiders' book and despite Aquaman's warning, she heads to Cuba anyway. Instead of fretting over retaliation from the United Nations, she simply cloaks herself with magic and is able to provide a big, big, big help to the mission without getting the League in trouble. The influence of the Outsiders is even felt at the ground level. Sergeant or none, one character recognizes the good deed done by the Outsiders despite her duty to arrest them for violating the borders of her country. Heck, even social media loves the team. Everything seems to be going swimmingly with the Outsiders but is this all too good to be true? Is the hammer going to drop on them sooner than later?

Rating: 4.8 out of 5