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Red Arrow: I may, possibly, be in over my head.
Previously on Young Justice: Aqualad, Robin, and Kid Flash cooperated to liberate a young clone of Superman called Superboy from the clutches of a laboratory run by a sinister cabal called the Light (“Independence Day”). Batman and the Justice League decided to add Miss Martian to the teen team and use them as a covert strike force that can go where the famous Justice League would otherwise be recognised (“Fireworks”). Roy Harper, Green Arrow’s former sidekick, refused to take part and left to found his own solo identity as the Red Arrow, but he was forced to ask the Team for help in defending a scientist from the assassin Cheshire and the League of Shadows. Red Arrow walked away again after discovering that Green Arrow’s mysterious new sidekick, Artemis, has been added to the team (“Infiltrator”).
September 7th – International media attention is focused on the Taiwanese capital of Taipei where delegations from the divided country of Rhelasia are meeting for a peace summit. Security is tight as the North Rhelasian delegation (led by General Singh Manh Li) and the South Rhelasian delegation (led by Prime Minister Tseng) await the arrival of the secret negotiator who they hope will break the deadlock between them. Troops from each side are massing on their shared border and there is a very real danger of all out war if this summit fails.
Red Arrow is undercover in the crowd searching for the international assassin Cheshire. He radios Aqualad at Mount Justice and ask for a physical description of her, but he cuts Aqualad off once he has the information. Red Arrow spots Cheshire and spoils her attempt to blow up the negotiator’s car. They wrestle long enough to be surrounded by armed police and for Cheshire to be captured. To everybody’s surprise the secret negotiator is revealed as the multi-billionaire business-man Lex Luthor!
Luthor recognises Red Arrow as Green Arrow’s former sidekick and vouches for him with the local police. He is obviously useful to Luthor as a bodyguard, but Arrow tells Luthor that he knows who he really is (Superman’s arch-enemy). Luthor replies that “I don’t pretend to be an angel, but it just so happens that this time I am on the side of the angels.” The assassination attempt has only worsened tempers between the two delegations and Luthor’s presence is more important that ever. He offers to hire Red Arrow as a bodyguard for the duration on the summit, but Arrow refuses the money and ends up doing the job anyway.
Meanwhile at Mount Justice, the ball rescued by Superboy from Bialya (“Bereft”) appears jealous that he and Miss Martian are about to start their first term at Happy Harbour High-School. While Miss Martian changes her skin colour to pass as earth girl (“Megan Morse”) Superboy is confused by the adoption of a secret identity. The Martian Manhunter shows him his own identity as John Jones and says he suggested the Red Tornado’s secret identity of John Smith. Megan suggest Conner as a name for Superboy and her uncle adds that last name of Kent. Megan thinks this is in memory of the late Kent Nelson (“Denial”) as neither she nor Superboy yet know Superman’s secret identity.
Red Arrow tries to question Cheshire, but she won’t tell him anything more than her already known connection to the League of Shadows. She’s flirting with him when the Sportsmaster blows a hole in the wall. Arrow follows their rooftop escape and fires a grappling-line at their helicopter. However, Cheshire cuts his rope sending him, plunging him towards the rooftops before. Red Arrow quickly gives himself a safe, if sticky landing, with a foam arrow. The other end of his grapple-line – the end still attached to the helicopter – contained a tracer which he follows to the League of Shadows’ base. Arrow overhears Ra’s Al Ghul, the leader of the League of Shadows, berate Cheshire for her failure. However, Ra’s spots him and orders Cheshire and Sportsmaster to kill him. They corner Red Arrow on the rooftop and he dives into the moat to escape them. The assassins leave believing they’ve killed him.
After changing his own t-shirt to hide his identity Superboy is slightly annoyed to find that it was unnecessary as every other student at Happy Harbour High is wearing a t-shirt with one or other emblem of the Justice League on it. He collides with a skater called Marvin White and quickly ends up in a stare down with a larger boy called Mal Duncan. Luckily their teacher Mr (Lucas) Carr orders the class inside before anything happens. Marvin and his girlfriend Wendy Harris then introduce themselves and she invites Megan to try out for the Bumblebees – the school cheer-leading squad. The entire episode is exasperating and more than a little confusing for “Conner”. He awkwardness is compounded when, in class, he relates the history of Rhelasia machine-like in response to a question (a gift from Cadmus’s telepathic programming).
An exhausted Red Arrow pulls himself out of the water and finally realises that he need backup. He reports back to Lex Luthor that it’s Ra’s Al Ghul who wants him dead. Luthor describes Ra’s as “a competitor”, but the peace summit will nevertheless continue. Luthor attempts to use the Rhelasian Tea Ceremony as common ground between the two leaders, but the tea is delivered by Cheshire. Finding her path blocked by Aqualad, who has come to aid Red Arrow, Cheshire sets off her bomb. Aqualad uses every ounce water in the room to create a defensive screen shielding the delegates. The Sportsmaster and his League of Shadow assassins arrive as Cheshire’s backup. Aqualad then takes on Sportsmaster as Red Arrow takes Cheshire.
Megan performs her try out cheer for the Bumblebees (Happy Harbour’s football team is the Hornets and their cheerleaders are the Bumblebees). It looks like Megan may have flunked the audition when the other girls drench her in water. Megan has to telepathically shout at Conner not to attack them as he doesn’t understand, but in his attempt to rein in his anger he trips and bumps down the bleachers. It was all an initiation stunt for Megan’s acceptance into the squad – they like her even if her boyfriend is a bit odd. Conner gives his jacket to the dripping wet Megan and picks up her books (“What? You want them to get wet?”). She is happy to have him carry her books, but he is oblivious to the symbolism.
Back in Taipei the Sportsmaster mentions Santa Prisca and Bialya to Aqualad and hints that he has an inside source on the Team. Red Arrow then spots the sprinkler system and shouts to Aqualad to “end this!”. Aqualad uses the torrent of water to create a serpent which washes away the League’s assassins. A lone assassin gets through the deluge, but he is shot down by a blast from Mercy’s cybernetic arm (Luthor’s ever-present assistant). Despite all they hard work it’s the Lexcorp hardware that Mercy showed off which interests the delegates and breaks the ice between them.
Later, as the North and South Rhelasian delegates sign a new treaty, Arrow and Aqualad discuss Sportmaster’s claim to have a mole on the Team. Aqualad refuses to rule out the possibility and says he’ll investigate “quietly”. Arrow says that the Team has his respect and says he’ll be there if they need him. Even later, Lex Luthor and Ra’s Al Ghul toast the success of the peace summit and how they have caused both sides to clamour for Lexcorp technology. The reunified country will be using Lexcorp technological and be under their political sway. Ra’s says that yet another corner of the world has seen “the Light.”
- This episode takes place on September 7th.
- Several secret identity are revealed including John Jones (Martian Manhunter), John Smith (Red Tornado), Megan Morse (Miss Martian), and Conner Kent (Superboy).
- Conner and Megan’s High-School classmates include Karen Beecher, Mal Duncan, Marvin White, and Wendy Harris. Their teacher is Lucas Carr.
- Robin, Kid Flash, and Artemis do not appear in this episode.
Conner in High-School. I know its meant to be the b-plot, but its a great character sequence.
Loo seat amid the wreckage of Cheshire’s cell.
- That’s two hits for two that Cheshire has failed. How long before the League of Shadows consider her surplus to requirements.
- How much did Luthor/Ra’s al Ghul set-up and how much just worked out their way? Cheshire was sent to kill Luthor, but she appears to have believed the mission was real. Did Luthor and al Ghul therefore know that Red Arrow was at the meeting? Maybe they deliberately led him there after all it isn’t explained how he knew about the hit.
- Who is the mole that Sportsmaster alludes to? He mentions Santa Prisca, but Artemis hadn’t joined the team at that point and he’d hardly be boosting about a mole to the mole so that rules out Aqualad.
It’s been a long wait for Targets, but it delivers a compelling arc episode that revisits the Red Arrow, Cheshire, League of Shadows, the Happy Harbour School beats from Infiltrator as well as the growing Superboy/Miss Martian romance subplot from Bereft. The relationships around Cheshire are teased as she tells the Sportsmaster (“it had to be you”) and asks Red Arrow about Artemis – readers of the comic book will know that its implied that she and Artemis are sisters.
I really like the way that these characters are animated with a sense of individuality – nobody else moves like Cheshire does and the Sportsmaster’s sports related weapons are never commented upon (they’re just there, part of the rich furniture). The martial arts – and even Aqualad’s backflip – gives this episode a real kung fu vibe.
As for the b-plot, I must say I rather liked the material with Conner and Megan at High-School. There has always been this sitcom/clown stuff with the bumbling Kents and I’ve never much taken to it. However, Andrew Robinson and the gang manage to walk a deft line between slapstick and genuine social discomfort. Conner plays the James Dean character (it must be that jacket) who we all know is really the coolest of the entire bunch, but his attempts to reign in his strength and anger puts him at odds with his more relaxed class-mates. Conner and Megan make a cute couple, but you have to wonder how long it’ll be before Kid Flash notices or gets warned off by Conner.
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