Back in 2010 [Part 2] – My Top 10 Young Justice Episodes

I thought since discussing the basic premise of Young Justice in my last post two weeks ago I thought that I would delve a little deeper and create a top ten episode list. Easier said than done because I enjoyed all of them in one way or another, but in any case here is ten episodes that stayed with me the most (as spoiler-free as possible).

The_heroes_prepare_to_save_the_world
Okay, here’s the plan.
  1. “Summit” & “Endgame” (Season 2 Episodes 19 & 20)

The reason why I paired both “Summit” and “Endgame” is because the events flow into one another and I consider both together to be the finale for the season and unfortunately the finale for the entire series. In any case I heartily welcomed this finale for it was good to see the villains being played by the heroes after all they got away with in earlier episodes and also to see the heroes both young and old save world once again. What I liked most was the entire set-up of “Summit” which was set mostly in one location where a lot of the mysteries of the season are unfolded and explained as well as the scenes in “Endgame” where the heroes team up to prevent the destruction the world. The finale was great but also bittersweet for that one event that occurred within the last episode (those who watched it will know what I mean) and also the knowledge that unresolved plot-points will not be addressed (unless by some miracle they allow a third season to be made).

Vandal_outmatched
I have taken up telekinetic fencing.
Flash_and_Impulse_race_to_the_final_MFD
Who can save the world faster?
Searching_for_Cheshire
So what are we looking for?

9. “Usual Suspects” & “Auld Acquaintance” (Season 1 Episode 25 & 26)

These episodes are together for the same reason as the previous entry. The reason why the season one finale is higher on the list is because I felt that there was better build-up and payoff with all the events of the season coming together into the final confrontation in which the Team really gets to shine. In “Usual Suspects” we also have revelations similar to “Summit” which was satisfying since we the audience had been waiting for the truth to come into the light (haha…those who watched the show will get the joke) and “Auld Acquaintances” demonstrated the growth of our young heroes as they face the most unlikely of opponents. This finale’s cliffhanger ending makes you want to watch the second season with anticipation of what is going to happen next.

Auld_lang_syne
Happy New Year!
The_Team_victorious
That’s a wrap.
Kid_Doctor_Fate
I’m back! Did you miss me?
  1. “Denial” (Season 1 Episode 7)

In this episode the Team faces off against villainous magic users both fake and real as they attempt to rescue the Helmet of Fate and it’s guardian Kent Nelson. “Denial” focuses on Kid Flash (aka Wally West) as he comes to terms with his views of the unscientific and unexplained as he interacts with Nelson the former Doctor Fate. We are also introduced to Young Justice’s version of Nabu, the Lord of Order whose powers are connected to the helmet and who turns out to be rather possessive, literally and figuratively. This would only be the first among his recurring appearances. All in all a great episode, whose outcomes are demonstrated throughout continuity of the first season.

Artemis_and_Wally_bicker
I saw it first!
Kent's_last_moments
Have a little faith.
Bloodlines
The Flash Family, young and old!
  1. “Bloodlines” (Season 2 Episode 6)

This what I dub as the Flash family episode, where we see all the Flashes Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen and Jay Garrick suit up. For those who know their comic book history will get a kick of the interactions that take place in this episode and even if you don’t you will still have fun as well. Impulse (aka Bart Allen) is such a funny character and I love the way he plays off of the Flash family as well the other heroes. There is a lot of laughs to be had and it was good to have this breath of fresh air before they delved into the more serious and darker elements of the second season.

Impulse_arrives
Ta da!
Impulse_greets_Wally
Hugs for everyone!
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Never far from Harm…in more ways than one.
  1. “Secrets” (Season 1 Episode 18)

This was the series’ Halloween episode and it delivered, providing a main and a side storyline that were both equally entertaining to watch. In the main storyline Artemis and Zatanna battle a deranged young man who calls himself Harm who has unleashed powerful mystical force. Luckily they have help in the form of a mysterious young girl who can only say one word: Secret. In the side story we see Superboy (aka Conner Kent) and Miss Martian (M’gann M’orzz) attend their high school’s Halloween costume party accompanied by Kid Flash. The episode as its title suggests deals with secrets that not only affect events in the episode but also events that are to come. The atmosphere was great, the story was great, the character chemistry was great; there is nothing more I could ask.

Halloween_costumes
Which one is the third wheel?
Girl's_night_out
It’s a Girl’s Night Out!
The_Team_infiltrates_the_complex
Where are you taking me?
  1. “Intervention” (Season 2 Episode 19)

In this episode the Team takes it upon themselves to un-brainwash (I know that is not a word but whatever) their teammate Blue Beetle. Really cannot say any more than that, otherwise I give away major plot points for the second season. But what I can say is that I loved the way all the events of “Intervention” came together and that it was incredibly satisfying to watch.

Blue_Beetle_trapped
Drat my one weakness…bubbles!
Activate_the_beetle
Indiana Jones anyone?
Image
Is that Megan?!?
  1. “Image” (Season 1 Episode 21)

For this episode we see Robin (aka Dick Grayson), Kid Flash, Superboy, and Miss Martian attempt to thwart Bialya’s passive-aggressive takeover of Qurac. This is also where we see the influences behind Miss Martian’s attitude and appearance as well her fear that her friends will not accept her if she were to reveal her true self to them. “Image” has a lot to say about insecurity and self-image, which I think is a important discussion to have especially with impressionable teenage girls. An amazing message from this amazing episode, I highly recommend it.

Megan_and_her_idol
I recognize you.
Hello_Megan_explanation
Something you like to tell us?
Depths
It is a rocket launch. What could go wrong?
  1. “Depths” (Season 2 Episode 7)

Much like “Intervention” the reasons behind what makes this episode so great goes into spoiler related territory. What I will say is that this is the episode in which we see Artemis back in action after the 5 year time skip. As established in previous episodes she and Kid Flash had left the hero gig, but “Depths” shows her taking up the mantel of team archer once again much to Wally’s chagrin. Ultimately it has one of the best climaxes in the show, and believe me when I say that this is an episode you do not want to miss.

Miss_Martian_at_the_conference
It’s the final countdown!
Artemis_and_Wally
I am not happy about this.
The_Fix
Can she fix him?

2. “The Fix” (Season 2 Episode 13)

Again another episode with spoiler ridden plot points, but the best way to summarize is that Miss Martian has been abducted in order to fix the broken mind of Kaldur’ahm (aka Aqualad). In “The Fix” we see Miss Martian’s self-torture over her past actions earlier in the season and by the end we see forgiveness and redemption help her to begin not only the restoration of Kaldur’s mind but also for her own spirit as well. It is an intense ride but it is well worth the watch.

Psimon_sedated
What’s going on here?
Miss_Martian_captured
Fix him or I will break you.

Before I get to number 1 on my list here is a few honorable mentions:

“Homefront” (Season 1 Episode 12)

The_Cave_under_attack
Red Alert. Red Alert.

“Failsafe” (Season 1 Episode 16)

A_lone_ship
Just like we were trained…

“Satisfaction” (Season 2 Episode 8)

Speedy's_goodbye_gift
I couldn’t think of a going away present.

“Complications” (Season 2 Episode 16)

Sportsmaster_and_Cheshire
It’s complicated.

And now…

Coldhearted
Speedy delivery boy at your service.
  1. “Coldhearted” (Season 1 Episode 20)

This episode initially was not on my radar, but recently after re-watching the series I found a new appreciation for it. It is another Kid Flash episode and if you haven’t noticed a lot of the episodes on this list involve Kid Flash in one way or another. Anyway in “Coldhearted” we see Wally celebrating his 16th birthday which is soon interrupted because five mysterious airships are causing extreme winter conditions all over the globe. The Team and the Justice League are joining forces in order to shut them down which Kid Flash is stoked about. However much to his disappointment, Batman assigns him the errand of delivering a heart across the country for a young girl in need of a transplant. Little does Wally know of the importance behind this supposedly simple task. I love this episode because of its heart warming message which is ironic considering its title and that is why I consider it the best of Young Justice.

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Birthday kiss for the Wall-Man!
Too_late
Am I too late?

I hope that this list has made you interested in watching this incredible series whether it be for the first time or the hundredth time. I had fun writing this and I hope to do more posts like this in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll see you all next time.

(EDIT: 11/08/2016) It has just been announced that Season 3 of Young Justice is a reality and it coming soon.

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Life Worth Living – Me Before You Missed the Point

I was not even sure I was even going to discuss this film, because I had not seen it or even read the book it is based on. But I felt it was important to express my thoughts due to the recent attention it has been getting on the internet lately. Before I go any further I realize that some who read this will disagree with what I have to say, but I feel that this debate is important because awareness is better than ignorance even if it seems easier.

First a little background; I saw trailers for Me Before You a few months ago back in 2015 and at that time I thought that it was would be a nice romantic film that tackles what it is like coming to terms with the loss of mobility and how unconditional love triumphs. When I discovered it was based off of a book, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to read the summary on Wikipedia. When I read how it ended, it broke my heart. I am not kidding when I say this.

Me-Before-You-HD-Wallpaper
Characters Louisa Clark and Will Traynor from Me Before You.

After reading the summary, I debated whether or not I go to see the movie. I thought if I watched it in context maybe it would at the very least help me to understand it better. But the more I thought about it and the more I researched a number of disabled individuals’ views of the book as well as the movie, the more I realized that going to the theaters would only support the misguided belief that a disabled life is not worth living.

Also it appears I am not alone in this view, for a lot of people especially those with disabilities criticize the film for implying that who suffer from a loss of mobility can never live life to the fullest. While there are those who defend that physician-assisted is a private decision by calling it “death with dignity,” Breakpoint commentator John Stonestreet explains,

An individual’s decision to commit suicide in the midst of an illness or disability – whether that individual is real or on the silver screen – shapes how our culture treats others in the same situation.

Despite the romanticization of physician-assisted suicide in Me Before You, its marketing campaign proclaims #LiveBoldly to which one Twitter user with a disability retorted “Do you really want us to #LiveBoldly, or…just…#DieQuickly?”

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Francesco Clark, author of Walking Papers and founder of Clark Botanicals.

Franceso Clark whose book Walking Papers chronicles his life after suffering an accident as young man that left him paralyzed, criticizes the film especially since they referred to his book without his knowledge,

I was never asked if my book could be included in the movie, nor was I ever told that it would be included…While I understand that this movie is based on a work of fiction, my book – and my life – is not.

I’ve worked tirelessly to show people that being quadriplegic isn’t the end of your life, it’s another beginning…While I am by no means taking a stance on the issue of assisted suicide, I feel compelled to express that I am angry to be unwittingly associated with a storyline that suggests the only option for those who sustain injuries like me is death.

Life for  Francesco Clark has not been easy, but he chose to move forward and is making strides to regain some of his mobility back, all the while running his skincare company Clark Botanicals.

In the movie and the book, the quadriplegic character Will says to his love interest and main character Lou, “I don’t want you to miss all things someone else can give you.” However by taking his own life he in essence took away what she wanted most…himself.

joni-nrb-hall-of-fame
Joni Eareckson Tada with her husband Ken.

This is in complete contrast to Christian author and radio host, Joni Eareckson Tada who herself is a quadriplegic and a married woman. In her statement she released addressing the movie she said,

As a quadriplegic who’s been married for nearly 34 years, I can say for certain that my husband and I have a deep and satisfying relationship, mostly because of – not in spite of my severe disability. It teaches us both patience and self-sacrifice; endurance, respect and joy, even when – especially when – times are hard. The Bible says God’s power shows up best in weakness, so any marriage that has a disability can potentially be a powerful blessing to both spouses.

The difference between Will and Joni is that despite the difficulties Joni’s strength lies with God.

Instead of reading or watching Me Before You, I recommend you read instead Joni: An Unforgettable Story (1976) or watch the movie Joni (1979) if you want to see the true story about her struggle with her lifelong disability and how she started down the path of living a fulfilled life in the midst of it.

Sources:

“‘Me Before You’ People with Disabilities Aren’t Better Off Dead” by Jon Stonestreet

http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/29399

“Quadriplegic author ‘angry to be associated’ with Me Before You” by Henry Barnes

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jun/15/quadriplegic-author-francesco-clark-angry-associated-me-before-you

“Joni’s Statement on the Glamorization of Physician-Assisted Suicide in the New Film Me Before You” by Joni Eareckson Tada

http://www.joniandfriends.org/blog/me-before-you/

Back in 2010 – Remembering Young Justice

Starting off my new segment of the blog “A Few of My Favorite Things” I am going to be talking about one of my favorite shows which aired while I was in high school: Young Justice.

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Title Card for Season 1.

While it was not the first superhero show I had watched, it was the first one that I watched as it was airing. So from Thanksgiving weekend premiere (which consisted of the first two episodes) in the fall of 2010 to second season finale which concluded in March 2013, I waited for each episode with anticipation. Unfortunately the show was cut too short and while it left some unanswered questions I still believe it is a great show.

Main reason I believe show was as great as it was, was due in part to the people involved in the project. One of those people was Greg Weisman who produced Gargoyles and Spectacular Spiderman and has since gone on to Star Wars: Rebels which is currently running. Honestly there has been nothing that Greg Weisman has produced or written that I do not like. I could just go on about how he is underrated as a producer and storyteller, but that is for another blog for another day.

Next let’s talk about the premise: Young Justice comes from comic book series by the same name and for those who are familiar with Teen Titans the show follows in similar lines in that the main focus is on a group teenage superheroes. But unlike Teen Titians instead of focusing on their tiny little world, they bring in many aspects of main DC Universe (Earth-16 to be exact). This means involvement of the Justice League whom the team of young heroes serves under, like a mentor/apprentice relationship.

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The Team as they appear in Season 1.

Now the Team as it is called in the series starts with six primary members. Those members are in order of entry are Aqualad voiced Khary Payton, Robin voiced by Jesse McCartney, Kid Flash voiced by Jason Spisak, Superboy voiced by Nolan North, Miss Martian voiced by Danica McKellar, and Artemis voiced by Stephanie Lemelin. While the cast of characters grows a bit later in season 1 and even more in season 2, these are these characters serve as the main anchors through the unfolding story.

The overarching plot of the series starts in pilot episode later divided into the first two episodes of season “Independence Day” and “Fireworks.” In those episodes Aqualad, Robin, and Kid Flash in order to prove their worth to their respective mentors sneak into Cadmus research complex into to investigate some suspicious activities. In the process they come across Superboy, a clone of Superman and a product of Project Kr which Cadmus was running. An organization known as “The Light” is also introduced in these episodes and its members and their intentions are slowly revealed as the Team crosses paths in their many confrontations throughout the series. It is worth noting that there is a five year time between the first and second season which takes some adjustment but is still intriguing nonetheless.

Young_Justice_TV_series

I highly Young Justice recommend this show if you enjoy anything superhero related but also enjoy character depth as well action-packed and engaging story telling. So give a watch and enjoy the ride.

Schedule for Upcoming Posts

I have been working out a schedule of how to upload a post once a week and here is what I have decided. Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month I will upload my main category of posts under the title of “What’s in a Story.” On the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month I will do a second category of post entitled “A Few of My Favorite Things” in which I will discuss my favorite movies, shows, characters, scenes, etc. This will hopefully give me to ability to create new content every week and at a pace that I can manage.

Blast from the Past – Looking Back at Quo Vadis

When I searching through some forgotten folders on my computer, I found a series of Word documents that I had written almost 10 years ago. It was the very short lived series of newsletters that I wrote in the summer of 2007 entitled History Plus Literature Monthly; in each issue dating from July to September, I would focus particular historical fiction novel where I researched the historical period it took place as well as review/summarize the novel itself. Since I have discussed topics relating to more recent movies in my past two blogs, I thought I switch up and take a look at the book in my first issue of my newsletter: Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz…don’t ask me how to pronounce it.

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An Altemus Edition of Quo Vadis from 1897.

As I looked back at my amateur newsletter, besides thinking how scary it is that this document was written close to 10 years ago I noticed thought how simplistic it was. It consists of three pages: the first page I gave the historical background in which the novel was set, the second I summarized the novel itself, and the final page I complied a Works Cited or bibliography if you will. Having reread it again I then decided to research additional information that I might have left out.

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“Quo vadis?” “Romam eo iterum crucifigi.”

Title of the book comes from the Latin phrase which means, “Where are you going?” The phrase has significance within the Christian tradition as being the words that Apostle Peter asks when he encounters Christ as he was fleeing from Rome to escape the coming persecution. In response Jesus replied, “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” This then gives Peter the courage to return to the city and to continue his ministry until he is martyred by upside-down crucifixion. This story found within apocryphal resource known as Acts of Peter (Actus Petri cum Simone) was among the many resources that Sienkiewicz used as he wrote his novel.

It was because of Quo Vadis that Henryk Sienkiewicz received the Nobel Prize for Literature ten years after it was published. Not only that but the book was a bestseller, and was adapted into other forms of media throughout the years. First a stage play in 1900, then it was adapted into film 4 times in 1901, 1912, 1924, and 1951, and it was also made into 2 miniseries in 1985 and 2001. The 1951 film adaption was nominated for 8 Academy Awards in the same year for Best Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actor twice (Leo Genn & Peter Ustinov), Best Dramatic Score, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing. This demonstrates the quality of the story; while there are elements that are fictional the main focus on development of early Christianity is pretty accurate.

Poster - Quo Vadis (1951)_03
Poster for 1951 film adaption of Quo Vadis.

To close I will give a brief summarization Quo Vadis. It takes place during around the time of the Roman persecution of Christians by Roman Emperor Nero, following the unfolding love story between Roman commander Marcus Vinicius and a Christian woman named Lygia. Through Vinicius, the readers are guided through the worlds of Roman society and as well as the early Christian community. Unlike my previous reviews I will not spoil any further, because I would recommend you read or watch the story for yourself. It actually has been awhile since I read the book myself. Perhaps I might refresh my memory and enjoy the experience all over again.

Sources:

24th Academy Awards

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24th_Academy_Awards

Acts of Peter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Peter

Quo vadis?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quo_vadis%3F

Quo Vadis (1951 film)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quo_Vadis_(1951_film)