Young Justice: Phantoms is back with a vengeance after their mid-season hiatus. Continuing the trend of the first half of the season, season 4’s second half starts off with a four-part story following the Atlanteans and the brewing crises under the waves. We get to spend a lot of time learning about how the varying city-states of Atlantis function and operate, and it is all tied-in to the main story that has woven through each of the different character vignettes so far.
To catch up on everything that has happened up to this point, you’ll want to binge through the series to be sure, but you can also read over my thorough recaps here.
Things to Know (Series spoilers)
As we dive beneath the waves for this arc, there is definitely some information to be aware of. In the first half of this season it was revealed that Vandal Savage’s grandson, Arion, was king of Atlantis when Klarion the Witch Boy cast the continent beneath the waves creating “homo-mermanus.” Overtime these peoples would come to develop into several city-states of Atlantis under the sea; each headed by its own regent or king which were under the high king, Annax, of all.
Thousands of years later after many conflicts with Aquaman, the villainous Black Manta would eventually lead a group of humans under the waves to form their own city-state in Atlantis before being overthrown by Kaldur Ahm’s adoptive father, Calvin Durham. Calvin would become leader of the city-state of Sheyaris.
Arthur Curry, Aquaman (Phil LaMarr), would move beneath the waves some years later, giving up his seat in the Justice League to the current Aquaman: Kaldur Ahm (Khary Payton). Arthur would usurp his brother Orm, Ocean Master (Roger Craig Smith), and become the high king of Atlantis, changing his name to Orin and establishing a tenuous rule of the fabled city-states. He and his wife Mera (Kath Soucie) of Xebel, would have a son during this time.
Kaldur Ahm would eventually come to love a man named Wynnde (Robbie Daymond), a former ally of Ocean Master swayed to the side of justice, and they live together when Kaldur isn’t busy as Aquaman. He has not slowed down or stopped at all to grieve the deaths of his comrades and friends, especially not Conner, Superboy (Nolan North). Wynnde is concerned for him; worried that he will reach a breaking point sooner rather than later.
Their ally in the Team, La’gaan, Lagoon Boy (Yuri Lowenthal), has also since moved back to Atlantis and has married a man, Rodunn (Roger Craig Smith), and woman, Coral (Tiya Sicar). They are expecting the birth of their first child soon. La’gaan had previously been in a relationship with M’gann, Miss Martian (Danica McKellar), and harbored feelings of resentment for Conner, Superboy, when their relationship started. He never got to apologize or make amends before Conner’s death and is unsure of how to approach M’gann.
It is important to note that these four episodes happen concurrently with Zatanna’s and the Sentinels of Magic’s (S4E10-13).
I think that about covers all of the info you’ll need to understand the context of what happens in this arc, so without further ado… (We’re going to go through everything, so if you haven’t seen the episodes yet be warned that there are some pretty hefty spoilers ahead. All the spoiler warnings!)
S4E14: “Nautical Twilight”
“Nautical Twilight” opens in the Harper House as Kaldur, Dick (Jesse McCartney), and Roy (Crispin Freeman) are gathered to tell Artemis (Stephanie Lemelin) of Conner’s death. The scene then shifts focus from Artemis to Kaldur as we transition to the grassy memorial plateau on the Watchtower. Dick and Kaldur look at the hologram of their late friend and Dick tries to apologize for putting so much on Kaldur over the years. He can see that his friend hasn’t been able to grieve. He hasn’t slowed down or processed any of the deaths that he has had to endure in the decade since they first formed the Team. Kaldur can’t take the time for himself when everyone needs him, and at this moment he is needed in Poseidonis of Atlantis. The two friends part as we dive beneath the waves.
Outside the glistening city-state of Poseidonis, the evil Ocean Master meets with a sniveling man named Danuuth (Robbie Daymond) in a cave to discuss their plan.
Evil is afoot!
Kaldur arrives in Poseidonis as some sort of regular political conference is getting underway. The room itself is vast and shows how advanced the technology of the Atlanteans truly is, at least here in Poseidonis. Orin calls the meeting to order as Mera uses her magic to allow them all to speak and be understood without issue. It is clear immediately that there is unrest between the city-states, and there is a lack of faith in Orin from the other dignitaries. His court and the people of Poseidonis respect him, but that respect clearly does not extend to all reaches of Atlantis.
Orin then introduces us to his cabinet in a long feat of exposition. We see several characters that don’t have a single line of dialogue throughout the entire arc, and I’m not sure why some of them are even there. There is Mera: Queen of Atlantis, Princess of Xebel, Headmistress of the Conservatory of Sorcery, and Minister of Magic. She’s important. Then we meet Vulko: Leader of Poseidonis and Minister of Science. He says nothing for four episodes while his assistant, Blubber, does everything he should be doing. Next is Commander Ondine: Minister of Security. He does nothing at all and is never seen again after this. Why he even exists is a question for me, and you’ll understand why in a moment. Next up is Garth: Minister of Diplomacy and their head in the United Nations above the waves. He establishes that the surface is concerned more with short-term economic goals than preservation of the planet, and then he’s done. Finally, Orin then introduces Kaldur to the emissaries as the Minister of Justice and Aquaman of the Justice League. Sooooooo… he’s like a bigger and better version of your Minister of Security then? That is a lot of people to introduce when only two of them have any bearing on the story at hand.
And it’s not over yet folks!
No. Next Orin has all of the delegates introduce themselves and tell us where they’re from. It’s like first day at school when the teacher has everyone go around and say something about themselves. These people all know each other and are very aware of all of this information so it all just drags for a good five minutes of the episode. We meet Lord Ronal (Nolan North) of Crastinus who does nothing and contributes nothing. He’s from somewhere in the Arctic Ocean. Then we meet Prime Minister Topo (James Arnold Taylor) of Lemuria. He has an octopus for a head and says that he has issues with surface dwellers. Otherwise he’s friendly and doesn’t really do anything. He’s from the North Atlantic… somewhere. Third is Emissary Coral of Neptonos. She has a vibe like she doesn’t want to be there, but she at least gets to be a part of things later. She’s from the South Pacific somewhere. Next up is King Shark, Nanue (James Arnold Taylor), of Nanauve. He’s a shark man. He’s angry. His people are pushing into Coral’s territories because their food supply is dwindling due to surface dweller actions. He’s from the South Ocean. I don’t know what that means. Fifth in the lineup of expository characters is General Lori Lemaris of Tritonis. She’s the first non-white delegate we’ve been introduced to so far that isn’t a fish person. She lives in the Indian Ocean and she knows Coral well. Finally, we meet First Citizen Calvin Durham (Phil LaMarr) of Shayeris. He’s a Black man formerly living on the surface world before he overthrew Black Manta and raised the villain’s son, Kaldur, as his own. He feels like his people aren’t shown the same respect or given the same opportunities as the other city-states of Atlantis. He’s from somewhere in the North Atlantic.
There is an empty chair where the delegate from Xebel should be, but Mera’s father didn’t send anyone because he doesn’t like Orin. This upsets King Shark, so Orin adjourns the meeting for the day… after doing nothing… at all. I feel the need to point out that while geography is a strong suit of mine it may not be of others. A map of ANY KIND would have been amazing here because, as it stands, I still have no idea where any of these places actually are in relation to each other. I don’t know where Poseidonis is. I don’t know where Xebel, or Shayeris, or Nanauve, or any of these places actually are. It sounds to me like they’re pretty spread out for the most part, but I guess even with 75% of the Earth’s surface to work with there is still a problem with real estate.
Outside, La’gaan has been playing with Orin and Mera’s son Arthur as he waits for Coral to emerge. We see that she is pregnant as she rushes to her husbands’ sides. Orin and Mera both clearly love their son and I love seeing Orin as a father-figure. It’s endearing and a side to the character that doesn’t get explored very often. Sadly, it doesn’t come up again in this arc. After they all leave, Kaldur and Wynnde meet up with another Shayerin, Delphis (Tiya Sircar) who pines at the beauty of Poseidonis in relation to her home.
Meanwhile, in a strange otherworldly realm, we see a familiar face… Conner! Superboy is alive!
The strange space he finds himself in appears littered with floating islands of iridescent gemstones littering a misty ethearal void. He thinks himself dead, and why not? There’s no reason to think otherwise. He can’t feel M’gann’s presence at all, and there doesn’t appear to be anything around for miles. Suddenly, he sees a young woman collapsed on the ground. He’s not alone!
Back in Poseidonis, Delphis, Wynnde, and Kaldur take in the sights before stopping in at a small bar. Delphis remarks how much more opulent and advanced Poseidonis is than her home, further highlighting the inequality between city-states. Once inside, the three begin to imbibe alcoholic algae pods before attempting to break the ice with one of the other delegates, Lori Lemaris (Kath Soucie). Lemaris is skeptical of Wynnde for his former allegiance to Ocean Master, but Kaldur quickly steps up to defend his husband. There is an understanding that he has grown and changed since then, and an uneasy alliance seems to be forming amongst them all.
Before this has a chance to settle in, however, King Shark arrives and stirs up trouble in his own way. We learn that he has been annexing part of Lemaris’ lands for his own, without provocation, and this nearly results in a bar fight. Kaldur is able to separate the two before King Shark expresses his sincere doubts that the conference will accomplish anything.
In a surprising jump back above the waves we reconnect with Violet Harper, Halo (Zehra Fazal), who is on something of a journey of self-discovery. After learning that her body once belonged to a young Muslim girl named Gabrielle, she struggles with the concept of faith and what it could mean for her. Violet has been able to track down and aid Gabrielle’s former family in coming to the United States as refugees from Markovia and decides to go to them and see what answers they might be able to provide for her.
The encounter starts out very awkward. Dr. Daou (Zehra Fazal) sees her daughter, but knows that they are a completely different person. The awkwardness is palpable as the two small talk. Daou used to be a doctor, but now sells sunglasses while she waits for her medical credentials to hopefully transfer over. Things change drastically when Violet asks about Islam. They know it was a big part of Gabrielle’s life, but they want to know what it could mean for them. This brightens Daou instantly, and you can almost feel the weight lift off of her.
A breath of fresh air before we dive back beneath the waves for more politics. Yay.
We then return to Poseidonis beneath the sea where Mera has returned from Xebel with a representative that is less than ideal. Bishop Beluga appears to be a bumbling man who has very little in the way of authority. King Shark is insulted by Xebel’s apparent contempt for the conference before he angrily exposits that surface dwellers have caused his peoples’ food source to become scarce. They have to keep moving or risk death; thus their invasion and annexation of Lemaris’ lands.
As we jump back to the ethereal plane, Conner realizes he can feel his heartbeat and the other figure here appears to be breathing. They’re alive! But where are they? How did they get here? When he attempts to pick her up, Conner phases through her like a ghost. He has to concentrate and will himself solid enough to lift her. He looks around as the mists begin to clear and we see the vast expanse of void before them. There is no discernable path forward.
Meanwhile, Violet and Daou have started preparing a meal while they continue their talk. Violet asks about the hijab. What it means and why it was so important to Gabrielle. Why she still wears it. Daou responds with sincerity, saying, to her, the hijab is about learning to look past someone’s outer appearance to see their innermost beauty. This makes Violet ask if she may still wear the hijab while she figures out who and what she wants to be. Daou again responds with amazing sincerity and openness. She says that many young women often start wearing the hijab out of tradition and because they feel like they are supposed to. It’s up to them to decide whether or not to wear it, and what it means to them. She gives her former daughter her blessing while they continues their journey.
We return to the conference in Poseidonis as Topo expresses his issues with the surface dwellers. It seems like the surface is the main source of problems for most of the Atlanteans, but they still choose to bicker amongst themselves instead of confronting the surface more directly than through Garth and the UN. Calvin speaks out against the obvious wealth disparity between the city-states comparing the opulence of Poseidonis to his home. The other delegates finally agree on something while still finding a way to undermine Calvin’s authority. They question whether Calvin would even be here if he wasn’t the adoptive father of Kaldur, and he acknowledges how valid this judgement is. Before Orin can begin to outline his plans to address the issues however, an explosion rings out across the hall. Ocean Master has arrived.
Conner nicknames his companion “Ghosty” as they start to make their way through the vastness. With no other indication of where to go, Conner decides to follow a latent heat signature that he can make out in the distance.
At least he still has some of his powers here, right?
Ocean Master, using Neptune’s Trident, continues his assault on Poseidonis. Blasting lasers into every major structure he can manage while Orin, Mera, Kaldur, Wynnde, La’gaan, and Delphis all do their best to subdue him without success. Seemingly out of nowhere, a hooded figure arrives and stops the villain with powerful magic before Ocean Master can strike a fatal blow. The figure leaves before anyone can speak with him, and Ocean Master escapes in the fracas. The whole affair is very short. Ocean Master shows up and beats everybody down in about 30 seconds before the hooded savior arrives and ends the threat in half that time. It felt rushed next to the extended expository scenes earlier in the episode.
Violet and Daou conclude their conversation when they ask what Islam “is.” Daou answers as best she can without being limiting. The two connect in this moment, and there is the implication that Violet will return more frequently as their journey continues. They decide that they will continue to wear the hijab for now as they make their way back outside.
With Ocean Master defeated but still on the lamb, the people of Poseidonis wonder on the identity of their savior. Orin seems to know something that the others don’t as he looks upon the ruins of Poseidonis’ once lavish structures. Meanwhile, Ocean Master has returned to his cave hideout where Danuuth waits for him. He too questions the identity of this mysterious and powerful magic user.
The plot thickens, as they say.
The credits role over an oddly framed shot of Violet as they speak to another member of the Team, Harper Row (Zehra Fazal), about their meeting with Dr. Daou. Violet comes to the conclusion that they want to start using “they/them” pronouns as they don’t feel particularly attached to one gender over the other, and Harper welcomes this happily as a good friend.
6.5/10: A lot of exposition drags anchor through the episode.
There is A LOT of exposition dumped onto us in “Nautical Twilight,” and while some of it is absolutely necessary it also feels out of place and forced into the plot. Much of it could be shown to us in the background so that it doesn’t bog down the pace of the episode, and several characters could be omitted entirely because they don’t serve any purpose. Sorry, Vulko.
When we went to M’arzz (Mars) for the first four episodes this season we did the exact same thing in a way that felt much more organic. We met characters and learned about Martian culture alongside Conner and Gar so when things were exposited to us, we felt like we were learning with the characters. Here though, everyone already knows each other and the customs of the place where they live and govern so the exposition falls flat.
Much of the dialogue comes across as heavy-handed in its directness. There isn’t much in the way of subtlety in how things are presented, when, or why. While I love that Atlantis is shown to be incredibly progressive, it starts to feel like the writers are rubbing it in your face how much more progressive they are than us.
Violet and Dr. Daou’s side-story is interesting and allows for a little breathing room in a very dense story. Violet is an interesting character, and I hope to see her journey fleshed out more in the latter half of the season. Conner’s reappearance was a nice surprise, and I was intrigued by the ethereal space he and “Ghosty” find themselves in. Only time will tell if this pays off.
S4E15: “Ebb Tide”
“Ebb Tide” opens in a small diner in Metropolis as Clark Kent (Nolan North) is reading the paper and drinking his morning coffee. As he enjoys his morning ritual, Saturn Girl (Kari Wahlgren) and Chameleon Boy (Dee Bradley Baker) of the Legion of Superheroes sit on either side of him and ask for Superman’s help before disposing of their disguises.
In Poseidonis, a week prior, the Atlanteans have not been able to find Ocean Master or any trace of their mysterious savior. Reconstruction of Poseidonis has already begun, and this causes tensions between the already uneasy city-states to flare up. Many of the others see Orin’s reconstruction as neglecting the others in favor of Poseidonis; a charge many citizens agree with. Orin struggles with the citizens’ lack of faith in him. He wants to do what is right for everyone, but he can’t seem to live up to their expectations.
Uneasy is the head that wears the crown.
Conner and Ghosty (Phantom Girl of the Legion of Superheroes) continue their seemingly endless advance across the strange dimension’s floating rocky islands. The heat source that Conner has been following reveals itself to be some kind of strange alien creature as it circles back and attacks the lost heroes. Conner is unable to attack the monster, but it leaves large gashes in his chest as it flies past. You can feel how hopeless and dejected Conner is as everything is happening while still wanting to find some kind of resolution.
We return to Poseidonis where Mera explains the “prophecy of the One True King” to Orin. There are three verses to the prophecy, and it would appear that the mysterious hooded man that came to their aid has fulfilled the first. Orin is suspicious of the timing of it all. Ocean Master’s arrival at the gathering alongside this strange magical savior seems too convenient. As Mera leaves, Orin thinks on his legacy and his time as Annax. It’s clear that he worries about his tenure as king, but there is also a hopefulness that the burden may be lifted from his shoulders once and for all.
Meanwhile, Kaldur is on his way home where his husband, Wynnde, and Delphis are waiting for him. Delphis tells Kaldur that his parents want him to call them. They would call, but they don’t want to bother him. Ah yes, that old parent’s gambit. He agrees and walks into another room to make the call. They’re very happy to hear from him, but they worry he takes too much on himself. They apologize for difficulties during Kaldur’s early life when his father was often away and his mother suffered from depression. This all feels strangely out of place; not unlike the introductions of the cabinet and delegates in the previous episode. While it does serve to add to Kaldur’s character, it doesn’t feel natural at all.
What does work however is Kaldur’s response. Kaldur reacts with virtually no emotion. He’s shut down completely. He agrees to take a break once Ocean Master is captured, but before he can go any further he is pulled away. Wynnde alerts him to a crisis, conveniently, right outside their house. A massive pillar of swirling red flame has erupted and toxic red water threatens to overtake all of Poseidonis! The Child has attacked and fled on her chaotic globetrotting tour.
What are the odds that the calamitous pillar of flame erupts right outside the heroes’ house?
We return to Metropolis where Chameleon Boy and Saturn Girl are hovering above the city. Superman flies up and attempts to keep his secret identity by saying his friend, Clark, said they needed to speak with him. The Legionnaires are confused by this, because they obviously know Clark is Superman, but they play along for the purposes of their conversation. They explain that they came back in time to prevent the death of Superboy, but they were unsuccessful. In the process they lost their teammate, Phantom Girl, and their ship was destroyed stranding them in his time. Superman is suspicious and, rightfully, questions how they got back to Earth if their ship was destroyed. As if on que Bio-ship materializes behind them.
I’d have opened with that.
From the glorious return of everyone’s favorite sentient space vessel we delve back beneath the surface of the sea where our aquatic heroes attempt to thwart the Child’s chaotic calamity. As Mera attempts to use her magic to strangle the pillar of fire and prevent the spread of the toxic water, Kaldur spies Zatanna and the Sentinels of Magic as they take their leave in pursuit of the Child.
We then jump back into the ether with Conner and Ghosty where the alien continues to slash and swipe at the half-kryptonian. While she is still unconscious, Conner sets Phantom Girl down and tries desperately to make regular contact with the monster and fend it off. He has to focus to make himself solid enough, but the monster has no such limitation. Conner is able to land a solid blow, but he accidentally knocks the monster into the ground where his companion is still comatose.
Returning to Kaldur, Mera, and the others, the sorceress explains that powerful chaos magic is responsible for this disaster. Her tenure as head of the Conservatory of Sorcery pays off. She explains that they will have to find a way to contain the red water or it will kill everything it touches. Several cutaways to schools of fish and coral reefs underscore just how quickly this effect takes place. She and Kaldur use their water manipulation magic to hold back the toxin as Orin alerts the citizenry and delegates of the disaster.
When he returns he sees there is nothing more he can immediately contribute. You can see that he feels inadequate. He wants to do more. He wants to be the hero he used to be. And luckily, he is given just such an opportunity. A young dolphin-bodied individual named Blubber is frantically attempting to flee the red water, but won’t make it to safety in time! La’gaan’s friend is in danger, and Orin springs into action. Using his immense speed he is able to get the fish-man into the city. He orders the guards to seal up behind him. Not far away, lurking behind a rocky outcropping, Ocean Master watches as the events unfold.
We take a breath as we return to the skies above Metropolis where we see Superman’s demeanor has changed dramatically. He pets Bio-ship and admits that she is, “a great character reference.”
The Legionnaires explain that because Superboy is no more, Superman will have to take his place at a critical moment in history. Superboy served as a key source of inspiration to the Legion of Superheroes in this moment, and they need it to happen so they can return home. They can’t give him any major info other than the time, date, and location. Superman agrees to do everything he can to be there as he is called away to help with the Child crisis. Chameleon Boy remarks that they should already have reset if he was successful, but Saturn Girl is less sure. She says that they may have crossed so many timelines at this point they may never be able to get home. The scene hangs on this melancholy moment, letting us feel the gravity of it before cutting away.
Orin chases Ocean Master for a moment before the villain reveals he has come to help. What’s the point of being king to a dead city, right? He, Mera, and Kaldur together attempt to subdue the pillar of fire. Orin is forced to watch as there is nothing more he can do.
Back in the ethereal space, Conner continues to struggle with his beasty foe. He is continuously battered by the monster’s attacks, and is getting increasingly angry and frustrated. Then it dawns on him. The monster is attracted to his rage. He takes a moment to compose himself, and uses it to think of M’gann. The monster passes straight through him and takes its leave. A sigh of relief and then of defeat. While their foe has been bested, Conner and Phantom Girl are now more lost than ever. Conner quietly asks for M’gann to help him, knowing she can’t hear his plea as we move back to the action in Poseidonis.
Kaldur has had to retreat while Ocean Master and Mera fight on against the pillar of fire. It looks as though their struggle will fail at first, but at the final hour the savior returns. The hooded figure adds his magic to the others and allows them to conquer the pillar of fire and toxic red waters. The citizenry looks on and begins to speak in hushed tones of the ancient prophecy. Could this strange figure be the “one true king?”
Before much celebration can happen, Ocean Master tries to seize the opportunity and strike, but the hooded figure easily dispatches with the villain’s powerful trident allowing Orin, Wynnde, and Kaldur to put the smackdown on him and take him into custody. The savior returns the trident to Mera before attempting to take his leave, but Orin insists he stay and tell them who he is. He removes his hood, and reveals himself to be Arion, the great failure of Atlantis and the grandson of Vandal Savage. The people cheer his name as we pan back up above the waves.
For the first time this season we jump to Jay Garrick’s home in Central City. Jay steps outside as two figures approach. The two ring the doorbell, revealing themselves to be the disguised Saturn Girl and Chameleon Boy, and ask to speak to Kid Flash. The shocked look on Bart Allen’s face closes the episode as we move into the credits sequence.
The credits role as Vandal Savage is giving instructions to his daughter Cassandra. He explains that they should keep their assets on the War World for the time being, pending the next inevitable crisis. With this matter taken care of, they can focus all of their attention on “Project: Thrinos.”
8/10: A Prophecy revealed, More Fish People that are ridiculous, and More Superboy!
With all of the exposition out of the way, “Ebb Tide” gets to have some fun and flesh out the actual story that’s going to take place over this arc. The convenience of the danger erupting literally on Kaldur’s doorstep aside, the mystery is intriguing. Where has Arion been all this time, and why does he choose to suddenly appear now? Could it possibly be the prophecy coming to fruition, or are Orin’s suspicions correct?
Seeing Orin have to deal with being sidelined during the calamity and struggle with his place as king is particularly interesting also. It’s plain on his face that this all bothers him and he doesn’t trust it, but at the same time he longs for his days as the heroic Aquaman again.
Superboy’s battle with the strange alien creature in the ether proved to be a much more emotional moment than I originally anticipated, and I’m excited to see where this goes. I love seeing that Conner has grown up and knows that he get’s frustrated and angry. He knows he has to calm down and think. And how does he do this? He thinks of the woman he loves. Beautiful.
The mystery with the Legion of Superheroes has me hooked as well. I’m very interested to see what their plans are to get home, and how Superboy and Phantom Girl’s being alive will impact their mission.
S4E16: “Emergency Dive”
“Emergency Dive” opens at the Carr house in Happy Harbor where everyone’s favorite bug from New Genesis, Forager, is welcoming Baby Bio-ship. The alien bug sports a graduation cap as he greets the ship and M’gann who has come to visit. The bright and sunny day stands in stark contrast to the topic about to be discussed. M’gann and Forager talk about how she has been feeling since she returned home, and she is clearly still not doing well.
Em’ree has moved in and is making herself at home, and she has mostly been tending to Conner’s affairs. Forager can see that she is not well, and asks if she has spoken to Gar. At first she blows it off, saying he has several other support systems he can lean on, but Forager reveals that he has quit “Space Trek 3016,” he no longer goes on missions with the Outsiders, and he has stopped seeing his girlfriend. All of this causes M’gann to take stock of the situation as Forager recommends she speak to him. He is also, clearly, not well.
That sure is a heavy way to start the episode.
Meanwhile, Mera and Orin attempt to verify Arion’s claims to his lineage, much to his chagrin. He stands in a strange pod-like machine with several outstretched mechanical arms pointing different instruments at him. Mera activates the machine with her magic as Blubber reveals the findings. Arion’s magic is incredibly old, and his DNA does appear to match the samples from Vandal and Cassandra Savage provided by Batman. The dolphin-man mentions, jokingly, that if they had his fabled lost crown they could possibly make a definitive verification.
All the while, Vulko stands off to the side and does nothing. I don’t know why Blubber is here when they established that this is supposed to be Vulko’s job in “Nautical Twilight,” but frankly neither of them need to be here because Mera could just as easily get this info from activating the machine. I might be a little salty still from the exposition dump two episodes ago, so I’ll move on. The scene ends with Arion explaining that his crown would be in the ruins deep beneath Xebel, far, far below any excavations they have even attempted so far, and would be a hopeless endeavor.
Next, we return to the strange ethereal space with Conner and Phantom Girl as they continue their aimless sojourn across the floating islands. In his isolation, Conner has started hallucinating M’gann there with him. She flies beside him and offers encouragement as the boy of steel’s confidence wavers, even going so far as to become a cheerleader like she had when they were younger.
Oof. Right in the feels.
Back beneath the waves, a crowd has gathered outside Arion’s dwelling. They chant his name and plead for the ancient king to speak to them. A young woman, Chian, encourages him to do as they bid and speak. Conversely, Arion admits that if he could simply slip away unnoticed, he would without hesitation. I like seeing that Arion is clearly still disturbed and upset with his legacy and how it has affected Atlantis.
Across the city, Orin, Mera, and Kaldur discuss uprisings that have begun in Xebel since Arion’s return. Ever since Orin first came to Atlantis, King Nereus of Xebel has tried to undermine him and distance the city-state from Poseidonis and the others. It’s implied this is because of Orin’s life on the surface and other xenophobic tendencies, but nothing is stated explicitly. Rather than go into that, Mera pivots into current Xebelion affairs. The people are protesting in the streets and demanding change. It would seem Nereus has been a… less than benevolent ruler.
With that established, Orin then turns to his former sidekick and enlists him in a secret mission to recover Arion’s lost crown. Despite Ocean Master’s capture, Kaldur has still not taken any time for himself. His king needs him, and he will remain strong as long as he is needed. He agrees to the mission without question as Orin explains. The Justice League, using the Watchtower satellite, have been able to do an thorough map of the ocean floor. They discovered what Orin deems “the undersea,” a cavernous subterranean ocean miles beneath Xebel, where they believe Arion’s crown may still be. Kaldur will assemble his covert team of as few people as possible, and maintain radio silence until the crown is retrieved.
I do like me some espionage missions.
Back on the surface, M’gann has gone to see Gar, Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) at the Outsiders headquarters in Hollywood. She has learned from his ex, Perdita, that Gar has been abusing sleeping pills since returning home. Gar sees this as a huge invasion of privacy, saying she had no right to contact her in the first place. He doesn’t want her help. In fact, he doesn’t think he needs help. He’s hurt and angry. M’gann tries to appeal to him, explaining he already had a pre-existing trauma with losing family members that reared its ugly head on M’arzz before Conner’s death. She tries to appeal to his reason. He promised he would seek counseling when he got back, but it’s obvious he hasn’t done that.
Rather than concede, Gar responds by saying he knows what signs to watch for, going so far as to list them out. He has had to deal with this kind of loss before. Several times. He thinks he has it handled. As a counsellor, M’gann obviously knows these signs as well, and still tries to appeal to her friend. Her brother. She tries to get him to see that this time is clearly different. He has reached his breaking point. He disagrees.
*heart shatters in nerd*
Unda da sea, La’gaan has been asked to join the covert mission with Kaldur. He sees it as his duty to Atlantis, but Rodunn and Coral share concerns. Their child will be born soon, and he could miss the birth. Though this is a possibility, La’gaan has faith that he will return in time, telling them it is an honor to be chosen at all. They come to understand as La’gaan and his family part with a very endearing ritual. They never say goodbye, electing instead to part on words of reuniting.
Shortly after, Kaldur returns home with La’gaan to prepare and Delphis hears him arguing with Wynnde as she passes by outside. She enters as Wynnde is chastising Kaldur for not taking a break like he promised. He is clearly stretched thin and needs to stop. Kaldur puts it off and says that he will be able to keep an eye on him as the third member of their covert team. Wynnde agrees, if not only to keep an eye on his partner. Delphis tries to offer her services, but Kaldur argues that her lack of training will be a liability.
Back with Superboy and Phantom Girl, our conscious hero is now seeing his late friend Wally West in the ether in place of his almost-wife. Wally bolsters Conner’s resolve, saying they can’t quit even if they might be dead. Conner’s faith in himself and in the situation is fading.
In Poseidonis’ prison, Ocean Master sits sulking in a cell as his brother comes to speak with him. Rather than lean straight into an interrogation, Orin tries to connect. He asks where their history started, where the hatred and scheming began. It’s clear that he is genuinely trying to reach out to his estranged family member. Defeated, Orm responds by asking a question of his own. “Haven’t we already been over all of that?” He reminds Orin that he spent six years in the cells there and his brother visited him 16 times. Surely in all those visits the answers were made abundantly clear.
Orin departs quickly after this exchange, returning to Blubber and Vulko requesting that Ocean Master’s helmet be tested for DNA. He suspects that whoever is in the cells is not his brother, Orm. But if not him, then who? And more importantly, why? The king entrusts Atlantis to Mera as he departs with no further words. He must find answers, and he knows where to go to get them.
Returning to Hollywood, M’gann has assembled several of Gar’s closest friends in hopes of staging an intervention. Something Gar sees almost immediately, and visibly detests. They all assemble in the main area with Gar eager to have the whole affair done with as quickly as possible. First up are Vigil and Jaime, Static and Blue Beetle, who run through a sincere, but overly rehearsed, speech about how Gar inspires people and there wouldn’t be any meta love or Outsiders without him. “Next.”
Cassie, Wonder Girl, tells him off for being dismissive before launching into her part. He knows better than to treat them that way because he taught her. He was her mentor in leadership for the Outsiders. She composes herself, explaining she can take over for him in the Outsiders if he doesn’t think he’ll come back, but she needs him back as a friend and a mentor. He tells her to figure it out like he did. “Next.”
Beast Boy throwin’ some serious shade.
We venture to a new area under the sea, Xebel, as King Nereus attempts to quell a growing mob of angry citizens. He, like Orin, does not believe that Arion is who he claims to be, but he doesn’t trust Orin to lead them either. He attempts to sway the crowd back in his favor by further disavowing Orin, but this has little effect. The crowd grows even more restless, so Nereus turns his guards on them.
With security distracted, Kaldur, Wynnde, and La’gaan all make their way to the site of Arion’s once great statue where they are to dig for the Undersea. Kaldur narrates his briefing of the plan as we see them enacting it later. They make little attempt to disguise themselves or cover their sound as time is of the essence and they think all the guards busy, but two seem to be quickly on their way to investigate.
Back in Poseidonis, Chian returns to Arion’s chamber and informs him of the Xebelion uprisings. She pleads with him to speak to them. They riot in his name, believing him to be the prophetic king of legend. Knowing he will not dissuade her, Arion agrees to speak to Orin about the situation, but Chian tells him that Annax has left the palace. Despite the king’s orders to remain, Chian appeals to Arion’s previous statement to sneak away unnoticed. She offers to sneak him out, implying it is only to venture to Xebel and speak to the people there.
At a shady dive bar establishment in Ninth Tride, Orin attempts to gain access to the establishment to speak with someone inside. The bouncer, M’Chiste, attempts to intimidate the Atlantean king, telling him his title and authority mean nothing there. Orin responds with the strongest power move I’ve ever seen put on a henchman. No punches. No kicks. Just a few… dozen… sharks. All swarmed around the bar menacingly staring down M’Chiste as Orin simply walks in. Inside, Ocean Master’s lackey Danuuth sits munching on algae pods. Orin approaches and immediately tells the timid man to tell him everything.
Guarantee M’Chiste pissed himself. 100% happened.
Returning to Gar’s intervention in Hollywood, Robotman, formerly of the Doom Patrol, pounces. He tries to get the young man to see that he absolutely had help and guidance when he learned leadership and suffered loss before. Robotman, himself, was there for Gar when his mother died. He was brought back to life after the Doom Patrol passed in their self sacrifice and Gar was there when his friend was experiencing survivor’s guilt. Gar coldly asks if his mechanical friend came back to life to give “that speech,” taking any wind there was out of the sails.
M’gann finally steps in and calls Gar out for simply bashing on the people that are there for him. The people that love him. It’s easier to dismiss people than deal with your problems. Gar refuses to concede, even when M’gann invokes a request for her brother to help her. She needs him. He then says that he doesn’t want to be needed anymore, and he will deal with this in his own way. He moves to storm off, but M’gann plays her final card. Black Lightning requires annual mental health checks for anyone on the Justice League, Team, or Outsiders and Gar’s is overdue. He’ll have to have one session with Black Canary if he wants to keep being a hero at all. Gar is furious.
While his wife and brother battle in Hollywood, Conner and Ghosty continue their lonely trek across the islands. In place of his wife or his friend, Conner is now seeing Superman. Superman tries to encourage him to make his next jump, but Conner’s hope is spent. He’s not getting anywhere. Before they can continue, another figure appears. A version of himself from before Robin, Kaldur, and Wally rescued him CADMUS. This doppelganger proceeds to grapple the man of steel and quickly his neck. Conner tries to stop it, but it’s over before he can act. He looks down at himself and he’s become the doppleganger; blood dripping from his hands as he collapses onto the rocky round.
Superboy is losin’ it.
We return to Kaldur and his team in Xebel as they continue to try to break through the surface to the caves beneath. The guards are nearly upon them when a sudden display of lights draws them away. Delphis has come to their rescue. Kaldur is forced to eat his previous words and asks for her to accompany them for the remainder of the mission. They are able to descend into the subaquatic caves where the body of Arion’s massive statue has crumbled. They continue to dig deeper, but the activity causes a cave in which traps them underground. For now, they still need to focus on finding the crown. Once their mission is complete they can find a way to dig themselves out.
Orin returns from his meeting with Danuuth to speak with Mera. The Orm in their cells mentioned 16 visits to the prison while he was previously incarcerated, but the king never actually went in and spoke to his brother! He went to the building, but no talks were had. Only Orm would actually know this, and Danuuth seemingly confirmed the suspicions. The Orm he had been working with had an incomplete memory to say the least. Orin wishes to speak to Arion, but Mera informs him that the ancient king has gone and Chian is with him.
The credits role as Violet and Harper sit clad in caps and gowns listening to Forager give his valedictorian speech for their high school graduating class. He talks about the importance of coming to know one’s true self and hopes that his classmates will embrace who they all truly are to live fulfilling lives.
7.5/10: Espionage, intrigue, and badass Aquaman.
“Emergency Dive” feels the most concise of the arc so far. Everything that happens is actively trying to drive the plot forward and add layers to the mystery of who Arion really is. Each of the main players has something important to do, except for Mera. Orin gets to do something badass for the first time in awhile, and you can tell that even he feels good about it.
Superboy’s hallucinations in the ether were clever. It was a unique and interesting way to show his mental descent as he started to lose hope. It truly does feel as hopeless as Conner makes it out to be, and this place seems to be actively fighting against his escape. Rocky islands are colliding with each other and Conner’s reserves are running low. It’s getting harder and harder to advance.
M’gann and Gar’s confrontation both privately and during the intervention was hard to watch. Not because it’s bad, necessarily, it just feels very out of place at this point for Gar to be acting this way with someone he’s as close to as his surrogate sister. He disses two of his closest friends and earliest members of his team before belittling his team leader replacement and another surrogate family member back-to-back-to-back. I understand that this has been building all season, but I’m ready to see this storyline start wrapping up. Maybe the session with Black Canary will settle things?
With the end of “Emergency Dive,” we find ourselves on the doorstep of the final part of this arc.
S4E17: “Leviathan Wakes”
The finale of the Atlantean arc opens as Orin attempts to speak to his brother’s clone in the holding cell. Orm insists that he is not a clone, so Orin enlists the aid of M’gann. She probes the prisoner’s mind and sees that the figure absolutely believes what he’s saying. In a moment of pity, Orin asks the clone to think back on the alleged visits he had made to see him during his previous incarceration. He reveals that though he did come to the prison, a matter of public record, he never actually spoke to Orm during any of them. He couldn’t bring himself to speak to his brother. He was too angry. M’gann and Orin leave as the clone still stubbornly shouts that he is not a clone. His desperate cries falter as they fade from view. He has doubts.
Not much later in Xebel, a massive crowd has gathered and begun chanting Arion’s name. They believe he is the one true king, and nothing will change their minds now. Most of the delegates from the conference in Poseidonis have gathered here to discuss their options. Topo, Lord Ronal, Calvin Durham, and Coral are not in attendance. Nereus suggests arresting Arion as a false king, but Mera disagrees. That would only make matters worse for him and for the rest of Atlantis. He then turns to criticizing Orin and Mera for only now leaving Poseidonis to see the breadth of the issues. Orin argues back that Nereus brought this on himself with his constant derision of him. While King Shark is anxious to see the two come to blows, Mera puts a stop to it.
No more Boy Fights! Think of Baby Buster!
Meanwhile, deep underground, Kaldur and his team continue their search for the crown and a way back to the surface. In the weeks they’ve been trapped underground the team has had to deal with numerous volcanic vents erupting beneath them. The team’s response time in neutralizing them has improved, but they have little else to show for their time and La’gaan has begun to worry he will miss the birth of his child. Kaldur snaps, uncharacteristically, and tells him that he wasn’t forced to be there and if he’s going to stay he must be committed 100%. La’gaan agrees and they continue their trek through the Undersea.
Wynnde and La’gaan fall back as they discuss everything. Wynnde fears that Kaldur is at his limits of exhaustion both physically and emotionally since Conner’s death. La’gaan confides in Wynnde that he held a grudge against Conner and regrets not being able to make ammends. He also thinks of M’gann and how she must be feeling. Wynnde continues to think of his partner and worries that if he continues to bottle up his emotions that there could be devastation consequences. What appears to be another volcanic vent causes the team to form up, but rather than a natural force, they encounter an enormous crab monster!
Back in the palace above, Orin calls the delegates to order as the missing members all FaceTime in from their respective locations with the notable exception of Coral. Topo explains that she has gone into labor and asked him to serve as her proxy. He explains that they all assumed this meeting was simply to cast a vote on whether or not to elect Arion as High King and Annax of Atlantis. Arion and Chian arrive as if summoned in that moment, and, for the first time, Arion appears to have a small smile on his face. He is enjoying this, if not just a little.
Miles below, Kaldur and his team battle the giant crab. It attempts to Kirby-style inhale the party, but La’gaan thinks quickly and grabs a stone pillar as he is pulled in. The pillar lodges in the kaiju’s throat forcing it to spit the hero back out and retreat. You can see on everyone’s face that when they go from abject terror to elation, and I love it. It’s clear that these people care about each other as more than just teammates. As they celebrate La’gaan’s quick thinking, Delphis spots a fissure that the crab emerged from.
Now able to descend to even greater depths, they find the remaining lost ruins and a statue of Varl’jat (Vandal Savage) with a crushed skeleton beneath it. As they begin to investigate, they surmise that the seafloor must have shifted and caused this part of the ruins to fall much deeper than the rest. Wynnde’s tattoos all begin to glow a pale blue as he nears a powerful source of magic. When La’gaan jokes about this Wynnde off-handedly mentions that he is a distant relative to the Atlantean kings of old. La’gaan and Kaldur begin to sense the magic power as well and move to try and triangulate the source as best they can. They’re quickly able to sus out the power source and dig up their mission’s prize: Arion’s lost crown. Not unlike before though, a loud noise erupts through the cavern as a gigantic lizard-like creature appears from out of the darkness.
There’s always a bigger fish.
Back in the prison, Orm shouts for Orin to speak to him. M’gann materializes and reveals that Orin is away. It doesn’t really matter, because she is who he actually wanted to speak to. He wants the truth. M’gann understands and, telling him to relax his mind, begins to probe deeper to uncover what secrets his memories truly hold. Immediately she can sense the villainous Psimon’s mind touch. She looks to the man and tells him that she has unlocked his first true memory and asks if he wants to see it.
He remembers waking in a strange room with Vandal Savage and Ultra-humanite. Savage sees that Orm is awake as he continues his discussion with the intelligent telepathic gorilla. He tells his colleague to make sure Psimon “erases this memory,” before Orm blacks out.
In Nereus’ throne room in Xebel, Arion seems to have changed his tune about resuming his role as king. Mera disagrees, saying Atlantis already has a king, but is met with a disagreement of her own. Lori argues that most of Atlantis didn’t take to Orin as king. Topo chimes in as well, saying Arion has already saved them all twice and he seemingly fulfills the prophecy of the One True King. Ronal, being pragmatic, includes that if any of them is keep any kind of power at all they have no choice but to vote for Arion.
We delve back into the mind of clone-Orm as he recalls hearing Savage again. He sees the tyrant talking to Psimon to confirm “both subjects” had received Ocean Master’s memories from before his imprisonment. Psimon confirms and Savage, happily, announces that “Project Thrinos” can procede. Psimon then opens another pod opposite clone-Orm’s to reveal… Arion!
Dun, dun, DUUUUUUUUUN!
Orin continues to debate with the other delegates, asking if they truly are willing to turn over the keys to the kingdom just to retain their power. He is met with silence until Mera suggests that he simply forbid the vote. In a truly class act as leader, Orin explains that he is not a dictator and it isn’t his place to speak for everyone. He calls for the vote, despite knowing how it will turn out. One by one all of the delegates cast their votes for Arion, except for Nereus who votes for himself. Dejected, Orin declares Arion the High King.
Returning to clone-Orm’s mind, he recalls a conversation between Savage and the Arion clone. Savage explains that he was made with DNA from collected from his grandson’s flute and his new body will have a natural gift for magic that his previous one, calling him Orm. Arion/Orm is incredibly grateful. He claims he understands why the Light had to kill him before as Savage offers him this second chance. Should he succeed, Orm will be ruler of Atlantis for all time, answering only to him. Orm will begin training with Wotan to ensure he no longer needs Neptune’s trident. Finally, it is revealed that the other clone will be given false memories and be programmed to lose when confronted with Arion.
The clone Orm returns to the present as M’gann offers her sincere condolences. She can’t stay to comfort him, however, as Orin desperately needs this information. Meanwhile, Annax Arion readies himself to speak to the public.
Deep in the ruins below Xebel, Kaldur and his team battle the leviathan. Kaldur uses his magic to harpoon the monster and fashion makeshift reigns. He orders the others to grab on as he starts to propel the beast upward. They all leap away as the leviathan crashes into the rocky ceiling above. The beast has created a hole large enough for them to escape! They take their leave, abandoning the angry beast below. La’gaan recommends radioing in that they have the crown, but Kaldur reminds him that Orin commanded strict radio silence. As they continue toward the throne room they suddenly hear Arion come over the radio as screen pop up across the city. Arion announces to Atlantis that he has accepted the role of High King.
Orin watches as Arion begins to make his speech when M’gann contacts him. She reveals what she learned from the clone Orm, confirming Orin’s previous suspicions. He can’t reveal the information now though because he fears it will look like a desperate attempt to keep power. He has to sit back and watch as his brother in disguise deceives their people. Even the way the shot is framed adds to this feeling of helplessness.
We rotate behind Arion as Kaldur and his team arrive with legendary crown in hand. Orin tries to reason with his brother, but he refuses to listen saying they were never truly brothers. He announces to the crowd that the prophecy is fulfilled as he rests the crown on his head. It begins to glow as the crowd looks on. Orm’s victory is short-lived however. His face twists from jubilant victory to pain and terror as he is quickly disintegrated by the Lords of Order high above in the cosmos. A beam of light blasts back to them from the crown as it falls to the ground, powerless. The crowds cheers fall silent as they look on in horror.
Mera lifts the crown high so all can see, both present and on the broadcast, as she declares this evidence of Arion’s being a false king. She tries to give the crown to her husband, but surprisingly he stops her. He tells her, and the rest of Atlantis, that she is the one who fulfills the prophecy. Mera is the one true king. The crowd begins chanting her name. They have accepted her as their true leader without question. Orin then turns to the delegates and calls for another vote. Unanimously they all agree that Mera is the best candidate, even her cantankerous father Nereus. Mera is unsure, but Orin assuages her fears explaining that the people never truly accepted him. He was a hero; not a king. And perhaps it’s time he returned to that life. Mera addresses the crowd, promising to rule for all of the city-states and is met with applause across the entirety of Atlantis.
Later, La’gaan and Wynnde are en route to the palace and discussing Kaldur. La’gaan thinks Wynnde has nothing to worry about, but Wynnde thinks Kaldur may use this latest success to find another reason not to take a break. They arrive as Orin and Kaldur are discussing what the future holds for the former king. He plans to continue being a father to his son and supporting his wife, obviously, but also intends to rejoin the Justice League as Aquaman again. Kaldur immediately offers to return the title, but Orin responds with the most meta joke about DC that I have ever heard. “If the Justice League can accommodate four Green Lanterns and two Flashes, it can accept two Aquamen.”
I died laughing at this moment and had to be resurrected in order to finish this review.
After I picked myself up off the floor and resumed the episode, Orin turns to La’gaan and offers him the mantle also! La’gaan is staggered. He tries to refuse at first, thinking he’s not worthy of the title, but Orin insists that it’s time. He has more than earned the right to call himself an Aquaman. Kaldur congratulates his friend before admitting his relief. He turns to Wynnde as he explains he will be taking a much needed leave of absence.
On Vandal Savage’s Warworld, Dr. Fate arrives as the immortal tyrant angrily paces his storeroom. Fate tells Savage that he never should’ve expected this plan to work regardless of what he thought the overall outcome would be. The Lords of Order will not be another puppet in Savage’s play for power. As Fate takes his leave, Savage snaps his late-grandson’s flute in two. This is the first time we’ve seen Savage this upset at any single loss in the entire series, and it hits hard.
Back in Atlantis, M’gann has competed her cleansing of any programming or false memories from the Light. Orin then frees his cloned brother, saying he cannot be held responsible for the real Orm’s crimes, nor any crimes he committed while under the Light’s control. He now has a proper first chance, and he hopes that this will allow he and Orm a chance as well.
Kaldur talks to his partner as we wrap up with all of our key players. He talks about his fears of walking on land and how he thought he would suffocate. We see Orm as he leaves Poseidonis,, taking a look back as he departs. Mera sits on the throne with her son in her lap and her husband at her side. La’gaan holds his newborn with Coral and Rodunn. We return to Kaldur and Wynnde as they are cuddled together in their home with Delphis. Kaldur confesses that though he no longer had to hold his breath, he had been holding in a lot more for a long time.
The dam is about to break.
In the ether with Conner and Ghosty, Conner has collapsed on the ground as he apologizes to his comatose companion. He thinks he has failed her. There is no more hope. He thinks back to M’gann and the day he “died.” We see their wedding band burn off his finger in the magma. He then recalls bursts of rage when he was younger before flashing back to his hallucination of Superman. He thinks Superman avoided him because he was a beast. “He always knew.” As he stares up at the emptiness above, he sees something quite odd and out of place. The schoolbus! The bus from that day on the bridge! It’s here! How? He calls out desperately as it soars into a portal and out of sight. Finally, as he sits there in utter defeat, Lex Luthor appears beside him and utters an old, pre-programmed command phrase. “Red Sun.”
The credits role as Kaldur speaks with Black Canary on the memorial plateau in the Watchtower. He talks about the day he, Dick, and Wally freed Conner from CADMUS a decade prior. He was always proud of that day and of forming the Team, but it has come at immense cost. He lists off his friends that have died since that day, all culminating with Conner. His voice cracks, and you can tell he has started crying, as he admits he has never truly dealt with these losses. And he will have to if he ever wants to return.
7.5/10: Strong action and a much brighter conclusion than expected, but there still seems like something is missing.
“Leviathan Wakes” is a solid conclusion to the Atlantean arc. All of the pieces come together into a single fine point, and it doesn’t disappoint. Orin’s story in-particular feels satisfying. Finding a way to return him to the Justice League where he belongs is no easy feat, and this feels like a natural way to do it. He clearly cares about Atlantis and its people, but he also accepts that he was never the ruler they really needed.
The conclusion of Arion-Orm’s story serves to remind us all of just how dedicated to his master plan that Savage truly is. He was willing to give a man he had killed immortality and the face of his grandson in order to advance. Orm getting his just desserts was something I’ve been wanting to see for a very long time, so seeing him not only get his comeuppance but also get a happy ending in the form of his clone was like having my cake and eating it too.
Kaldur and company on their mission was intense and fun. You never forget the gravity of the situation, and they way they resolve the issues that they come up against are clever. It’s not simply punching a bad guy in the face. It does feel like Kaldur was almost devoid of emotion, other than determination, the entire arc, but the end credit scene of “Leviathan Wakes” makes that all acceptable. The emotional release in that minute of screen time is intense.
I want to see where M’gann, and Conner’s stories are going to go. I like that M’gann is forging a path forward and is still in the trenches with the others, but it’s clear things are taking a toll. Conner is clearly in a bad way. Seeing himself kill Superman and then Lex Luthor were both unexpected and super intense. Hopefully Zatanna and the others can find a way to rescue him and Phantom Girl before it’s too late.
The Atlantean Arc of Young Justice: Phantoms is interesting, but feels bogged down by an excess of exposition and characters in the early episodes. We meet a lot of people that ultimately don’t have anything to do and it takes time away from the more interesting characters and story elements at play. When things are moving they work really well, but there are a lot of cataclysmically slow scenes that stop the momentum in its tracks.
The arc feels as though it was stretched out a bit to fill four episodes when it could’ve easily been edited down into a much more cohesive and enjoyable three. Visually there are definitely better arcs throughout the series’ tenure, but I have to give praise to the look of Poseidonis and the other Atlantean areas we see. It’s very colorful and cleverly designed, showing all of the grandeur that we’ve come to expect.
I’m definitely interested to see what’s going to happen with Gar and Conner, but I can’t deny that I’m way more happy to be coming back above the surface of the sea for the next few episodes at least.
Check back here after the conclusion of the next arc to get our full recap, and be sure to check out our other articles, reviews, and editorials while you’re there.
I’ve worked my whole life to become a comic book illustrator, writer, and stand-up comedian. Batman and Captain Benjamin Sisko helped put a good head on my shoulders. I spent most of my childhood saving Hyrule and the Mushroom Kingdom and seeing the Justice League save all of creation time and time again. I live in Johnson City, TN with my wife Kary and daughter Laila enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery and occasional show. Three puppies round out the family and take up the rest of the time that isn’t spent debating which Wes Anderson or Studio Ghibli movie to watch. I spend an inordinate amount of time binge watching SVU, Futurama, and Letterkenny, and when I’m not watching I’m listening to “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” or playing the occasional game of D&D. If there’s a nerdy endeavor out there, I’ve probably at least tried it.