In “Royal We,” the second episode of Young Justice: Outsiders, Dick Grayson and his team of former heroes continue their covert operation in Markovia.
The first episode of Young Justice: Outsiders was filled to the brim with plot developments because it juggled a number of story threads. The episode ended with Dick Grayson and his new team departing for Markovia because they were investigating a metahuman trafficking operation.
“Royal We” begins with Garfield Logan giving a PSA about metahuman trafficking. Meanwhile, the United Nations is having a metahuman summit. There, the Justice League announces the resignations of the members of the team who left in the previous episode. The summit gradually becomes an argument between various ambassadors (like Garth of Atlantis and Troia of Themyscira,) with Secretary General Lex Luthor fanning the flames. The Markovian ambassador says his country now bans the admittance of superheroes who don’t have the clear approval of the Markovian government.
- The inclusion of Gar’s PSA may have been gratuitous but it was delightful. He basically told parents to hide their kids and told the viewer, “if you see something, scream something.” The segment was a nostalgic throwback to old The More You Know PSAs.
- The UN summit could have been trimmed; most of it simply rehashed the discussion from the Justice Leagues emergency meeting without adding a lot of substantial new information.
As the Markovian ambassador takes the floor, Dick and Artemis arrive in Markovia. They’re investigating Bedlam, one of the world’s most significant metahuman trafficking operations. The two former members of Young Justice crash Prince Gregor’s pre-coronation party. Dick identities the various suspects in this investigation, including Baron Frederick, the brother of the late Queen.
Frederick gives a speech and, while he talks, Prince Brion and Prince Gregor argue over how to handle Frederick’s plan to become the regent. Brion wants to stop his rise to power while Gregor plans to just wait it out. Disgruntled, Brion plans to activate his metahuman gene in order to save Markovia.
- Some of the technology at Dick’s disposal is astonishing. He has technological contacts that essentially function as a computer screen and a phone. Dick should be the next James Bond.
- The scene at the reception was helpful because it ran through the main suspects and effectively recapped this side of the story from the first episode.
- In an ideal world, the show would build up the mystery a little more. It’s fairly obvious that Frederick and/or Dr. Ecks are the bad guys here.
Meanwhile, Superboy and Black Lightning are checking out the Markovian Children’s Hospital, which is believed to be Bedlam’s base of operations. The two of them stumble onto a lab where they find the remnants of a motherbox. The two heroes also find four bodies in containment pods. Count Vertigo shows up and unleashes Plasmus, a magma monster, on Superboy.
Black Lightning flashes back to the incident on Rann from the first episode. Unable to use his powers, Plasmus attacks the heroes, who escape with the monster hot on their heels. At the cemetery, Artemis rescues a woman, who’s a failed subject of Bedlam, from some goons. She has superpowers but the two of them run away to avoid the gunmen.
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- It was refreshing to see some consequences for the trauma Jefferson Davis experienced in the first episode. He was responsible for the death of a girl and, naturally, he’s racked with guilt. Many shows may not have linked the two episodes in this manner. Thankfully, Young Justice did.
- The viewer should also be happy to see a motherbox; it’s the first connection to Apokolips the show has involved this season.
Dr. Ecks and Brion are talking. They head to the Children’s Hospital and Dick follows them the whole time. Black Lightning deduces that Count Vertigo is running Bedlam before Plasmus attacks Jeff and Superboy. The magma monster drags Superboy away after Jefferson badly injures himself by jumping off a cliff.
Artemis and the woman she saved find Jeff, who tells them about Plasmus and Vertigo. The supposed leader of Bedlam unmasks Superboy, who had only concealed the bottom half of his face. Vertigo recognizes the Kryptonian and plans to use him to rile up the UN. For the meantime, the villain places Superboy in a pod.
- It might be nitpicking but, when Ecks and Brion drive to the hospital, the scientist makes a point to shake anyone who might be following them. Of course, Dick is right behind them. The sequence felt a little odd and unnecessary; the viewer already has a clear understanding of Dick’s spy skills.
- Here are two more minor criticisms: when Vertigo unmasks Conner Kent, he immediately recognizes him. To repeat, Superboy had only been wearing a mask that covered the bottom half of his face. So, Vertigo recognized Conner by his lips…? Plus, Jefferson jumped off a cliff and landed back-first on a rock. Yet, he’s totally fine. Ah, comic books.
Ecks shows Brion the lab at the hospital. The Prince gets angry and turns on Ecks, accusing him of trafficking. Before Brion can leave, Vertigo attacks him and sticks him in a pod. The villain hints that the Royal Family may not be aware of Bedlam after all. Dr. Jace, who had been working with Brion, fills his pod with the mysterious tar from the first episode. As the black goo rises, she tells the Prince that it’s all for the best.
- Vertigo suggested that the Royal Family wasn’t aware of Bedlam but multiple lines of dialogue point to the contrary. The villain calls Your Highness, who could be Gregor or Frederick, and says “our” operation may be compromised.
- The woman Artemis saves seems important but she didn’t get a lot of development in this episode. She didn’t even get a name.
- Overall, the second episode successfully slowed down (a little bit) and focused on some of the plot elements of the first episode. For that reason alone, “Royal We” is an improvement over its predecessor.
Stay tuned for more episode reviews of Young Justice: Outsiders.