Young Justice season 3, episode 15 review: Leverage


Young Justice introduces the Suicide Squad into its storytelling fold, and it was well worth the wait. Spoilers ahead for the episode entitled “Leverage.”

The fifteenth episode of Young Justice (entitled “Leverage”) dropped on July 2nd on the DC Universe streaming service. Just one of a trio of episodes, so check out our review of episode fourteen, as well.

Shifting mission

The plot is pretty straightforward – the Young Justice covert team is supposed to look into a metahuman facility in Russia. The team isn’t sure if it is a care facility or just another metahuman trafficking center. So when Tigress/Artemis discovers that the facility has Russians that are volunteering to be metahuman heroes, she pulls back the team.

Geo-Force/Brion still thinks they should stop the Russians because their ideology and methodology might not fit with the Justice League. But Artemis is actually correct that this isn’t their business. This Russian group – known as the Rocket Red Brigade – wants to be heroes, even thinking they will put the Justice League to shame. But the Young Justice team cannot decide unilaterally that they aren’t allowed to do so.

It comes back to abuse of power. Young Justice always delves deep into issues of who has the power – and, more importantly, how do they use it. If the team went ahead and shut down the Russians, that would be equivalent to someone shutting down the Justice League. Each group is cultivating the same thing – a team of heroes. Just because they aren’t the Justice League, doesn’t necessarily mean the Russians are wrong.

Of course, the episode needs some kind of bad guy to fight. And the plot shifts when some villains show up in Russia, but they aren’t working alone.

Task Force X

This episode has the first proper introduction of DC’s Suicide Squad, which is what Aquaman/Kaldur’ahm calls them (in a derogatory manner) at the end of the episode. But this squad’s leader (Amanda Waller) calls them by their proper name of Task Force X. This particular incarnation involves Black Manta, Captain Boomerang, and Monsieur Mallah.

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As always, the bad guys have no choice in the mission, as Waller has implanted a lethal device inside their skulls. Waller wants the team to bring down the Rocket Red Brigade and ultimately steal their tech.

In the end, the Young Justice covert team stops the Suicide Squad. And the Russians agree to let the team and their Task Force X prisoners leave. The “leverage” here (as the episode’s title suggests) being that the Russians don’t want the embarrassment of being attacked twice in the same day by two metahuman groups. They just want to carry on with their business. But the real ‘leverage’ of this episode is still to come.


When Aquaman meets with Waller at the end of the episode, it is clear that neither side wants to be exposed. So Aquaman is forced to swallow three prisoners being released from Belle Reve prison to do the work of the government – because his covert team is also supposed to be a secret.

This show always has that little extra bit to keep things interesting. The heroes are absolutely in the right, but they cannot expose themselves because Lex Luthor has made the Justice League into the bad guys. Not literally bad, but Luthor has made the League seem like a threat if they go unchecked – even invoking the phrase, “who watches the watchmen” in the previous episode.

The Young Justice team has its work cut out for them. But the Young Justice writers continue to demonstrate smart storytelling that makes every episode another exciting prospect. The good guys rarely have a clean victory on this show. Things just aren’t that simple. And it makes the show all that more exciting, as the stakes continue to get raised.

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Check out new episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders every Tuesday through the end of August on the DC Universe streaming service. This show alone is worth every penny of subscription fee.