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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending September 5, 2021

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Before the week ends, I was thinking about what member of the Team would play in a D&D group. While classes vary pretty wildly depending on which edition, I do have some ideas on what kind of role they would want to play in an adventuring party and few wild ideas of my own.

Wally would so want to be the Face of the group so he'd definitely want a character with an emphasis on charisma.
Dick would probably multiclass (and most likely min max) so he could play play whatever part the party needed.
M'gann was the healer, pure and simple.
Kaldur would definitely be an up in front fighter, Paladin most likely.
I had the idea that Conner and Zatanna would take a break from their roles as muscle and caster within the Team and switch things up. The idea of Zatanna running around as barbarian actually made me chuckle.
And Artemis would settle into the role of "kill the monsters and swipe the cool items off of them" part.

I might think of some more characters before the end.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Honestly, how Halo identifies herself - as a Muslim or not, as a Motherbox soul in a human body or not, as a herself or not - is right at the top of the list of what I'm interested to see in the new season. Because that would change over time, and I can see her understanding of herself changing a great deal over this timeskip and (hopefully) perhaps the one after that, if we get a season 5. Like with M'gann - back in the first season, from what we knew as the state of things at the end of Auld Acquaintance, it wouldn't be weird to expect she'd just always present as a Green Martian and that was the end of her identity issues, then by the Players and Games comic we see she's become more comfortable showing other people but still doesn't consider that herself, and by s3 she's paper-white and bald whenever she's not 'Megan Morse.' And I think that's kinda true to life - people's ideas of who they are change over time. That doesn't mean they were wrong to identify a certain way when they were younger, that kind of evolution and re-evaluating what matters, what associations you have with different parts of your identity, that just changes as you grow and learn yourself and go through new experiences. So I think long-term Halo will probably end up being that kind of character... buuut we won't have even the beginnings of a clue on that for at least another month and a half, and probably nothing actually solid for a while past that, so we'll manage with what we got right now.

Which is a long way of saying I'm very interested to see your thoughts next week! Quiet Conversations is one of my favorites to dig into. Very much a calm before the storm episode, along with Unknown Factors (and I've got a lot of thoughts on that one too, and the different ways what happens then might be used for Phantoms.)

Karrin Blue

One thing I brought up in my initial viewing (but not here) was the elements from the video game that made their debut here, like the Spider-Bots and even Cassie's mom Helena Sandsmark.

As for Halo, Gabrielle and Violet? Well next episode is where I'm going to do my REALLY big deep dive into the character so I'm saving all my thoughts on that for then.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

So, okay, from my own memories, I think on first watch my read on Halo and Islam was more or less what we got. That when she said the hijab felt right, it was about the very basic comfort, that Gabrielle on a reflexive level hadn't felt right unless she had it on, from the sheer amount of time she'd been wearing it, and that Halo had inherited that even when she was still wiring her higher brain functions back together. But, I do know there were also a lot of people who thought that 'it feels right' was a more spiritual statement, meant to be on some level a refutation of the idea that hijabs are oppressive, that the meaning and spiritual comfort they get from their own is something that'd stick around even through amnesia. So I don't think people expecting that she would consider herself Muslim is unfounded - especially when the MotherBox reveal came several weeks later.

Heck, even early on, one of my reads on the situation was that Halo really was Gabrielle Daou, and that her insistence otherwise was more like M'gann considering her White Martian appearance to be not really her - that Halo was only remembering the ways Gabrielle had been mistreated, and was trying to dissociate herself from that so that whatever had made people hate Gabrielle wouldn't make them hate her, and that, just as M'gann eventually accepted her White Martian identity as being a worthy part of her and not something inherently hateful, Halo would do the same with 'Gabrielle Daou.' That turned out to be wrong, but I don't think it wasn't a reasonable guess, from what we knew then.

Also, on the topic of her choosing to convert - I think it'd be a good move just because, well. I can think of times when a robot or alien or otherwise nonhuman character was moved by faith, inspired by it in some way - but that faith was always Christianity. Christianity was always somehow particularly meaningful and significant of what it meant to be human, and never Judaism, or Buddhism, or, in this case, Islam. Why couldn't an alien soul end up feeling like they connect with Islam?

And I don't think it'd necessarily contradict 'Halo being her own person.' Islam is a pretty widely practiced religion, after all. Also, I tend to read Halo as, not the Motherbox in a human corpse, but a fusion or a gestalt. Her identifying more strongly with the Motherbox feels to me like, well. Of the two entities that made her, does it feel safer to identify with the refugee who died scared and alone and far from home, or the powerful noble space entity that's almost a god in its own right? I can very easily see how Halo would identify herself much more strongly with one over the other, without it necessarily being objectively correct. Metron calls her one of the children of the children of his intellect, and while he is kind of terrible in many ways, I do think he probably has the most accurate sense of what happened that night in Markovia. And, from that perspective, Halo practicing Islam would be more about connecting with her other parent, the culture she inherited as much as she inherited glowy rainbow powers from the other. Which I think could be pretty neat.

It's not exactly dismissal or disrespect, but... Well, it is kind of noticeable that the only two main characters to have their injuries be shown so luridly were both dark-skinned. It's impossible to assign intent to anyone, but there's a very noticeable pattern in media where a white character's injuries or pain will be danced around, shown delicately, cut away from or implied, while black and brown characters are shown in blunt gory detail. It doesn't have to be malicious, but it does build a pattern of some people's pain being more acceptable for audiences than others. And it's something that mostly propagates subconsciously - I doubt anyone on the creative team meant to send that kind of message - but it's still a thing.

And to your point about critics, Algae... honestly I feel like that'll happen anyways so it's a moot point. Like, especially in the current media landscape, I've seen many many people point to any little thing that's part of an arc and go 'well, that wasn't supposed to be in there originally, we harassed the creators until they put it in as damage control.' And what do you do instead? It's not wrong to say that there's issues there, so not changing things wouldn't really help either, to say nothing of the problems you get trying to change the plan for a character's arc midway through without a really good idea of what you're going to do instead. That's bad enough when it's showrunners changing the twists of a show because fans predicted where it was going, it'd be a thousand times worse when instead of a relatively bloodless guess on who's going to show up when it's 'was this character's arc changed to spite people who were mad about representation issues.'

...basically, some people are always going to be arguing in bad faith, and you can't make them stop it by writing a plot that you think they can't get ammunition from. You can't win there, and you won't make a satisfying show, and it probably will end up catching some people who did want to see change in good faith in the blast.

And, really, internet bad faith critics being out of the equation... I don't think that it would necessarily be wrong to change a character's arc as damage control. It can be hard, but there have been times when authors or showrunners realize partway through a project that their current plan is sending a message they don't want to send, or that they hadn't thought through something that turned out to be pretty important, and they want to course-correct. That happens! And people doing their best to adjust how they can is, I think, preferable to them just deciding to just ignore that, especially out of fear that someone somewhere else will deride them for having made the mistake in the first place. In the end, the people who will appreciate the change will hopefully outnumber the naysayers, and it'll be a stronger story overall.

(Also, I'm delighted to hear that's where the Spider-Bots came from. I had no idea! I thought they were just a reference to the Light continuing to be supervillains doing villain stuff even while they're being masterminds - sure, they're part of a giant grand conspiracy, but they're still scheming against the heroes, and schemes need Spider-Bots.)

Karrin Blue

One thing that amused me heavily about this episode was simply the presence of the Spider-Bots in the first place - being disposable mooks created for the "Young Justice: Legacy" video game, simply because it's a beat-em-up and therefore the developers needed waves of enemies to guiltlessly tear apart.

As a result, I tended to file away the non-cutscene parts of the game into a "lower tier of canon" in my head (see also M'Gann having healing abilities, which have never been part of her powerset, simply because it's an RPG and not having a dedicated healer until Zatanna joins late in the game would be annoying from a gameplay standpoint). So seeing the Spider-Bots show up here was an amusing little nod to that period of YJ history.

Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"I don't think anyone is born knowing the reason why they're here. It's just something you have to find as you go along." - Tohru Honda

Halo's like my absolute fav character in YJO but yeah, I can't help but think her character designers kind shot themselves in the foot. Adding a prominent hijab-wearing hero to the main cast was probs born of noble intent. But then revealing half a dozen eps later that the character in question was an sapient alien supercomputer wearing a Muslim girls' corpse as a humansuit can't help but feel like "Islamobaiting" to coin a phrase.

And even if season 4 makes a point of showing Violet explicitly professing and practicing Islam, critics are gonna see it more like damage control than the culmination of some half-decade master plan.

Look at my face, child! It has furnished for me a lonely life in which none would have me as a man. So then let me be a god!

I'm pretty busy today, so I might try to talk about the new episode later. But on Halo, I get that her saying "I'm not muslim" is hurtful, but I think Halo makes it so clear that she isn't Gabrielle Daou intrinsically. So there shouldn't be an expectation that she would be muslim, or cisgendered, or heterosexual, or all the things that Daou presumably was. (Though even the non-binary thing is weirdly complicated, since non-gendered characters being robots or aliens is kind of problematic too, but I think they make Halo's humanity clear enough that it subverts that.)

And I think loosely, extremely loosely, it's fair to say that, that's almost an analysis of transhumanism as a...philosophy. What makes someone who they are. Their biology? Their soul? Their mind? I'd honestly be... not offended, but confused if she did just... become muslim when they spent so much time establishing her as her own person. But they might, and I'd certainly understand why. I'd much rather they just... introduce more muslim characters, though. I think that's a far more elegant solution. Though every season the cast gets more packed, and that's *also* been a major complaint with the show. (Albeit not one based on social justice)

Now, is the first muslim character in the show really the way they should be doing that sort of storytelling with? I mean I don't *really* see why not. You include characters to do interesting things with them.

The horrible murders every episode got over the top and they went way too far with it. Obviously, it was done because she could be fine in the next scene, and they had no real oversight by any standards and practices outfit and animators are bloodthirsty psycho paths (see: Invincible :P), so I think it's harder to attribute some sort of intent, even an unconscious one to the creative team. I also don't think it shows a dismissal or disrespect of her character since... you know she was practically the protagonist for almost the whole season more or less.

but I think the violence was still a huge issue that hopefully they won't do in season 4.

Alex (Aldrius)

MATTHEW> Saint preserves us! Whatcha be talkin' 'boot, Matty, me laddie? Sure, Bruce Greenwoods' accent be as pure an' oirish as the snow 'pon the mounts o' Killarney, faith an' begorrah!
Look at my face, child! It has furnished for me a lonely life in which none would have me as a man. So then let me be a god!

And onto the next...

Actually I don't think I have that much to add this time, I think you got everything. I tend to think Diana's not telling everyone because, well, she's in space, and part of her responsibility in dropping that kind of bombshell would be making sure the aftermath didn't completely tear the League to shreds. She couldn't be there in person, and from space it'd risk the away Leaguers being cut off or distracted when they're already fighting so often. Or, anyways, that's what I think the risk would be, I don't know if that's what's going through her head.

I quite like seeing Godfrey like this - the sort of thing that reminds you that he is the god of propaganda, that this is his whole shtick, and that while he's Lex's ally he's way older and not dependent on him. So he'll gleefully undercut him as an object lesson, and if Lex doesn't want to play, he couldn't care less.

The question of a superhero registry was probably always going to come up, but honestly I tend to find that kind of plot rather tedious. Making it something that happened in the past that objectively didn't work is a pretty good way to answer 'why doesn't anyone try to keep track of who superheroes are' without being the same plot we've seen a million times.. Also, I truly enjoy that Jay gets a Twitter account just to call Lex a fascist.

I have lot of thoughts on Tara's actions here, but I think I'll save them to talk about next week, when we see how she feels about them after she's not in the middle of a panic attack. Which, yeah, one of the things I remember liking a lot was how the panic attack is shown. It's tricky to do in a visual medium, but it's done quite well here.

Also, it's pretty sneaky, but I'm 99% sure Tara was the one to tell M'gann about Halo's near-death. Obviously she was the only other conscious one in the room, even if the others could've seen that Halo's costume's throat was cut, but we can see her talking to M'gann in one of the wide shots of the whole group right before M'gann comes over to bench Halo. I think seeing that probably scared Tara a lot- especially when she'd already jumped out of the reach of Shiva's sword when Halo flew in, and could've been bubble-shielded from a distance. And her being the one to get concerned and make certain M'gann knows Halo isn't okay adds some extra depth to her and how she acts while on the Team.

I also very much enjoy Zehra's acting when Halo is explaining everything to Tara and Brion. She does a great job showing how much Violet must not want to tell them, but is determined to do it because they need to know. Just props all around,

Karrin Blue

The Chinese say: "The Old fear the strength of the Youth"
-Fist of Legend

Watched "Elder Wisdom" today which brings up a subject that hasn't really been explored much in this series, or in DC comics in general: parents (I'll leave you to make your own "My Parents are Deaaaad!" joke). It's been something of an unspoken rule in the show that the characters who have parents would be okay with them pursuing heroics so when some of them step up and announce that they're not happy with the current public activities, it makes for an interesting episode.

One thing the episode does well it portray both sides of the argument of having good points; it's a parents prerogative to look after the welfare of their kids and that includes worrying about them. Just as it's necessary for the zeal of youth to help shake things up to prevent stagnancy, which is how people like the Lex Luthors of the world seize as much control as they do. And while Bart was correct that Jay was in part projecting because of his grief at Joan's passing, I'd say there's a pretty good chance that like Artemis he's still grieving Wally's passing. Heck, I'd imagine that if it came down to it, he would be the one sacrificing himself, that he felt he had already lived his life and Wally never had the chance for his. That's also something of a missed opportunity, not having the Wests show up. I can't imagine them being just cutoff from the hero community after what happened to Wally, nor that Artemis would stop seeing them. Now if they didn't just cut themselves off (we still don't know what's happened to them after that fateful day) they could offer an interesting counterpoint that even after your kids grow up or become fully emancipated, that doesn't mean there comes a point when their family stops worrying about them. And if something happens to them, their family doesn't stop missing them either. Still, the balance of the episode shows just how committed the young heroes are to the good fight and each of them with their good reasons. For Ed it's to inspire those traumatized by the sudden change into metas, the very thing he really needed after his rescue from the Reach. Cassie notes that whether in the shadows or in the spotlight, they're prepared for that and what they're doing is helping those kids who haven't done anything but are still targeted. And Bart? Just a simple kind word to his honorary great-grandfather that he's not alone, he still has his honorary great-grandson to help him through this difficult time.

We get another Xanatos Gambit from Lex this episode, albeit not a very successful one. A smear campaign against the Outsiders with the added benefit of killing the U.N. opposition Garth and Troia. There's still a bit of mystery around these two, we know very little about the latter, how and when she joined the Team, why she left, when they decided to take the role of ambassador. She does offer a nice bit of character interaction with Wonder Woman and reveals that she's also a daughter of Queen Hypolyta. After the near assassination and the fact that she'd later have to sit around with the man who ordered it and her obvious anger, I was kind of expecting her to take a more proactive role in the story. Well, maybe next season. One of the highlights of this episode has to be Godfrey laying into Lex for his shortsightedness and jeopardizing his position by engaging in this little feud, which brings up another interesting point. Lex Luthor has long been defined by his pride and need to be in control, often time backstabbing his allies for petty reasons or because he thought it would advance his plans in some way. In this series we have a much more mature and reasonable Lex, unlike the Clancy Brown Lex, this one isn't constantly scheming to betray his allies or ranting whenever something doesn't go his way. And while this kind of pettiness is a bit out-of-character within the context of the series, his ability to pick up on what Godfrey's telling him and decision to co-opt the heroes' tactics does show that growth isn't limited to just the heroes.

Speaking of co-opting, here's where we see that the Anti-Light has fully embraced the use of the villains' tactics in order to get back at them and prop up the Outsiders. And yeah, for Wonder Woman and her staunch belief on the truth, engineering heroics is a step too far. Fake heroics is something that's never been treated as remotely heroic or honorable in both fiction and in real life, in fiction that's the sort of thing villains do so you can imagine her horror. More than that, it's on how blasé the co-conspirators are mentioning that they faked a kidnapping just to boost the Outsider's public image and destroy Lex's warehouse. The former didn't need any help from them and the latter could be done in a more clandestine way, all it did was just tick Luthor off and direct his ire towards the Outsiders, creating a target that the parents were so concerned about in the first place. I feel the need to remind you about the fates of Ted Kord and Marie Logan, because when the Light decides to forgo the usual supervillainy and go straight for the kill, they're frighteningly good at that. Truth be told, I'm a little surprised that after learning this Wonder Woman didn't didn't just up and spill the beans, at least to her fellow Leaguers in space. Maybe she was hoping that at least one other member might voice their dissatisfaction, maybe she worried that this would be a huge upset and this time cause a real schism within the hero community. But the fact that M'gann would just straight up lie to her little brother like that had to deeply upset her, especially since she was obviously straining to not tell Troia the truth herself. But really that last scene with her pleading to the others to see the light and finding nothing but silence really shows just how powerless and alone she truly is.

And finally we have Halo and everything that's going on. And their choice to reveal to Brion and Tara the part Gabrielle played in their parents' murder. I'll get more on their reactions
to this later on but on a technical standpoint, I do like the scene where Tara starts having a panic attack at the news. The distortions around the picture, the emphasis on her breathing and heartbeat, it really helps you feel what she feels at that moment. For Halo, the decision to tell them (and Brion about that little kiss with Harper) has been the buildup of all that guilt and recklessness over the past few episodes. It wouldn't surprise me that Halo took what would've been a fatal blow for Terra out of guilt. Nor does it surprise me that M'gann would bench her after this and the incident with Harper, M'gann is pretty much a poster child for the dangers of recklessness on the field. So without any obligation to the Team and the weight of things baring on their soul, it only stands to reason that Halo would begin a journey of reconciliation and all the hardships that it entails...

Some Final Thoughts: We get another Halo death this episode, severe laceration to the jugular. Jay bringing up how many memorials are for kids who died at a young age really brings to mind DC's policy when it comes to death and trauma where they operate under a "women and children first" rule. One of those things they really need to fix in the future if they want to keep their comics alive. Bruce's Matthew Malone persona is a nice little reference to his "Matches Malone" identity, a gangster Bruce invented for when he needs to infiltrate the underworld. I do wonder about the wisdom of Lex being so close to that Idi Amin-looking fellow, for a prominent member of the U.N. to be that close to a president for life, that's going to raise some questions. We also get to catch up with Cassandra Savage as well, I'm personally hoping for a future showdown between her and Terra, see where that leads. I also rather like that part where Jay digs at Lex and his not-so-subtle bit of McCarthyism, wonder if we'll get a superhero registration plot next season.

Acting MVP: Man, Bruce Greenwood's fake Irish accent is just a delight to hear, even if it is a bad one. But I have to bring up James Arnold Taylor as G. Gordon; I haven't been super impressed with his impression though that's more of a case "who could possibly replicate Tim Curry's iconic voice?" than a slam against the actor. But when he drops his usual veneer and tells Lex to grow up, that took me by surprise.

DC Profiles: Emily "Lia" Briggs aka Looker, was an unassuming Gothamite until a chance encounter with the Outsiders led her to discovering her heritage with the underground kingdom Abyssia. After developing psychic powers she joined on with the Outsiders she later became a vampire while in a mission in Markovia.

Jay Garrick, the first Flash and the original Fastest Man Alive. For years he's served alongside the Justice Society of America, the All Star Squadron and the Justice League. One thing that I don't think was ever brought up is why he and Joan never had kids of their own, but whatever the reason he's always had a strong familial connection with not only the extended Flash family but the superhero community as a whole. Becoming an honorary grandfather for many young heroes and becoming one of the most beloved heroes in DC's univers.

Favorite Lines:

Lex Luthor: No, G. Gordon, we're not holding the United Nation's Climate Conference in Bwundasa simply because my company owns this hotel. I own hotels in many cities, many cities.

Wonder Girl: Thanks for the lift, Ed.
El Dorado: That's El Dorado, "The Golden One."
Wonder Girl: Right, right. Thanks, E.D.

Lex Luthor: I requested permission from General M'Barra, and a Leaguer was here in minutes. The system worked. [to Beast Boy and Wonder Girl] These amateurs who clearly entered this country illegally, were not required. As a result, a child was badly hurt.
Kid Flash: [Off screen] I'll be fine!

Lex Luthor: Yes, Ms. Savage, you have questions?
Cassandra: Perhaps it's not my place.
Lex Luthor: How will you learn if you don't ask?
Cassandra: All right. The Atlantean and Themysciran survived. Did we fail?
Lex Luthor: Well, it would've been nice to eliminate my main U.N. adversaries. But defaming the Outsiders was Job One. That's why the Light planted seeds on the Dark Net, suggesting a B.I.F. attack was imminent. We wanted the Outsiders to show up, and they did. So, mission accomplished.
Cassandra: The Outsiders are still trending positive.
Lex Luthor: Trust me. They're playing right into our hands.
Cassandra: They captured Briggs! She'll tell them it was a set-up.
Lex Luthor: She cannot confirm my involvement.
Cassandra: Respectfully, sir, they'll know you were involved.
Lex Luthor: My dear, knowing and proving are two very different things.

El Dorado: We saved lives. We did good. What did you think we were going to do?
Dr. Dorado: That's the problem. I understood intellectually, but seeing it live was very different. Your friend was injured.
Kid Flash: [offscreen] I'll be fine!

Wonder Girl: Where are Violet and Fred?
Geo-Force: Violet's upstairs and Fred went out to look for Vic.
Wonder Girl: Gosh, I forgot about Vic. Even when I'm here, I never see him.
Beast Boy: I live here and I never see him.

Jay: Damn it, you'd think you kids had never been to the Watchtower's Grotto. Most of the memorials are to kids like you, who never got the chance to grow up, marry or have children of their own. Wally was like a grandson to me. And I don't want any more holograms.

Jay: This work, this life, it's too dangerous. The League never should've sanctioned it. As your legal guardian, I never should've sanctioned it. I will not let you-
Kid Flash: Jay. This isn't about me. It's not even about Wally. This is about Joan. You're in mourning. Lost and alone. But I'm not going anywhere. And there are meta-teens out there who are also lost and alone. Someone needs to be there for these kids. If not us, then who?
Wonder Girl: Mom, you're right. Now that we're in the open, we're targets. But, really, that's nothing new. Meta-teens feel like they're in the crosshairs all the time. Someone has to empower them. If not us, then who?
El Dorado: You and I have had tough times, but we always find our way. I want nothing more than for us to be a family. You know families of meta-teens are being torn apart every day. Someone needs to show them families can survive and stay together. If not you and me, then who?
Dr. Dorado: "Whom."

G. Gordon: It appears you're on the wrong side of, well, everyone on this, Lex.
[cut to the two of them in the makeup room]
Lex Luthor: That wasn't in the script.
G. Gordon: The script needed changing, and you needed a wake-up call. You took the wrong approach, my friend, allowing a personal vendetta to cloud your judgment.
Lex Luthor: Personal vendetta?
G. Gordon: Please, we know Ivo's factory actually belonged to you. We know you lost a fortune in Spider-Bots. But your campaign against the Outsiders was backfiring. Badly. Your attacks only increased their popularity.
Lex Luthor: So, don't attack. Embrace. Embrace and co-opt.

Wonder Woman: A publicly annoyed Lex Luthor is a minor miracle. How was it achieved?
Batman: It began with Oracle, who sorted her way through Lexcorp shell companies to find the Dublin factory. Nightwing, Aquaman, and I checked it out and discovered Lex was using it to store his weaponized Spider-Bots. So, the six of us devised a plan. Oracle posted the blurred M.O.N.Q.I. image on the Outsiders' feed. I posed as the distraught Matthew Malone.
Miss Martian: While I morphed into his missing daughter, Moira.
Wonder Woman: The Ivo drone and the M.O.N.Q.I.s.?
Batman: Those were damaged bots, salvaged from Ivo's last base by Robin, who repaired, reprogrammed, and operated them via remote control.
Wonder Woman: To fool the Outsiders?
Batman: Among others.
Wonder Woman: But not Lex Luthor.
Batman: No. Lex will know this was a setup. But knowing and proving are two different things.
Wonder Woman: Is that your excuse? Don't any of you see how truly compromising this is?
Batman: This is a war, Diana.
Wonder Woman: And which side are we on? We're not simply hiding things anymore. We've gone beyond lying to our comrades and the public, now we're staging false events, creating fake news, merely to make our opponents look bad? Or the Outsiders, and by extension, the rest of us, look good? Even with the best of intentions, that is crossing a line. You must see that. You must.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Alex: Within S3, it's not brought up after this point, she doesn't bring it up to any other characters. However, Greg's said a good few times that this isn't the end of the arc, and (not saying anything directly, since it'd be extremely spoilery) that Halo's views are going to change over time, possibly (probably, in my view) that at some point she is going to have converted and be practicing.

The ins and outs of representation politics are... complicated, but my view is - while it'd be fine to have a side character have a hijab and just let it go without being mentioned, treating her and her faith as just as normal as anything else, would be fine, having a character say, out loud, that they're not a Muslim was... pretty hurtful, to some people. It's also compounded by her deaths, and how brutal and gory they are. To some people, having a character who looked like them and appeared to follow their faith show up, and be hurt over and over again, far worse than her co-heroes (and implicitly making her seem like she's just bad at being a hero even compared to the other newbies, since no one else gets hurt nearly as badly), before saying she wasn't even Muslim - it can feel like a rather cruel and pointless bait-and-switch, the appearance of representation without the substance. For my part, I think this is setup for growth, and I think we'll probably see a lot of improvement later, but at the same time, well. There's reasons I'd be cautious about recommending people to the show if this season was the very last we were getting.

Karrin Blue

I'm super struggling to remember how Halo's arc about faith ended. I was under the impression she didn't identify as muslim after all, and that was kind of the end of that.

I'm not a muslim, so I'm not gonna say what people *should* be happy with or if it's offensive or not, but I think -- attempting to be objective about the representation aspect -- it's more about the iconography and seeing a dark-skinned middle eastern girl wearing a hijab as a positive/cool character than it is about how genuine a muslim she is. Or representing the religion of Islam itself.

The bisexual criticism I think is understandable sort of. Again, not bisexual, (though homosexual male, so not much better in terms of that particular stereotype) but I think it's largely less of an issue of playing a stereotype, and more an example of how there just... aren't enough queer characters. Harper wouldn't even register as a problem if she were one of three queer characters, even if they weren't bisexual. Which I suppose is what other folks were saying.

I think bisexual representation is a little tricky, because you have to showcase the character showing an interest in both sexes without it just being a massive pointless non-sequitor. I think Aqualad being bisexual was done very well in YJ season 3. And it was cool seeing two characters who were just... in a relationship and working together towards solving a problem. I always feel like there's not enough of that. And it was just a good story, it worked. He could have felt kinda superfluous, but I think Aqualad's boyfriend was cool.

Alex (Aldrius)

"Indeed. I have thirty years worth of tales involving pastoral village life and being defecated on by pigeons. Riveting stuff."
Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"I don't think anyone is born knowing the reason why they're here. It's just something you have to find as you go along." - Tohru Honda

Huh, I hear about a sarcastic character named Shale and the first thing that comes to mind is the golem from Dragon Age: Origin.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Well, they do use names among themselves, but there is a rather funny bit along those lines -

“Shale,” he said.
“That’s it? Shale?”
“Why do you people always think we need more names than everyone else?”
“I’ve never met a gargoyle personally…”
“So you assume we go around painting ourselves with pitch and swooping from rooftops to devour innocents, and call ourselves things like Shale Swiftwing, Beloved of the Goddess, Scout-in-Shadows.”
“You were a lot less sarcastic when we first met."

(The other character is one Tara Abernathy, a genius Craftswoman who starts the book being forcibly graduated from necromancer law school about a thousand feet in the air over a crack in reality dessicating the land for hundreds of miles. She drags herself home, surviving on cactus flesh and carrion birds she lures to herself by stopping her heart, and almost manages to settle down and make a life doing small town Craft... until raiders kill the town watchmen and she decides to be, uh, helpful, by raising their bodies to stand guard again. Hey, waste not want not! Though the full-throated triumphant laughter at overturning the natural order may have been a mistake, she will admit. Luckily for her, the mob gets distracted when one Elayne Kevarian, an old-school master Craftswoman who'd noted her talent and the circumstances around her graduation, comes to hire her for a once in a lifetime case - the resurrection of the patron god of the free city Alt Columb, dead in mysterious and unclear circumstances.)

Karrin Blue

The "flight of gargoyles" reminded me of a discussion we had here once about terms for groups of gargoyles (in the tradition of "pride of lions", "gaggle of geese", etc.) - with the inevitable remarks about gargoyles being likely to respond to that discussion with "why do humans have to name everything?"
Todd Jensen

Ah, them being a clan was my description - in the book a group is called a flight. But while I didn't see any obvious references (no one shouting "I live again!" or similar), I know there are cameos by Morticia and Gomez Addams and the Dude from the Big Lebowski (as a dancing couple and a passer-by who tosses a torn up library card into a character's begging bowl), so there could be references I didn't spot. Either way, Aev (the Flight leader) and Goliath would probably get along well, or at least share a dignified nod of mutual respect.
Karrin Blue

KARRIN BLUE - In the "Craft Sequence" series, was the group of gargoyles you mentioned in it actually called a clan? If so, that might be a mark of influence from the Disney series. (I remember many years ago, a book about living gargoyles called "St. Patrick's Gargoyle" included a reference to the series.)
Todd Jensen

I have to say, I take issue with her assuming the worst and acting hastily too - if she'd had any kind of eye on the situation, all she would've seen would be two teenagers kissing and firing at bottles in an area with absolutely no risk of hitting any passersby, any property, anything but sand or rocks or waves, so far off the beaten path that Brion could cause minor tectonic events without anyone noticing, and she assumed that it was something so bad she jumped to pointing guns at them? I don't know much about firearms, but I do know you never point them at anything you're not willing to shoot, and you certainly never put your finger on the trigger unless you're ready to see whatever you're pointing at shot. Acting hastily is one thing, but if there's one job that needs its employees to be able to read a situation well in an instant, it's probably the one that hands out firearms. And part of the police's job is to build and maintain community trust, so that people know that they can come to them when they need help. But what lesson is, say, Harper, a teenager who does need help, supposed to take from this? That the police who she's supposed to report abuse to will hold her at gunpoint, seem to be okay with potentially injuring or killing her or her friend, for shooting at some bottles? Maybe it could have turned dangerous later on, but Bethany ensured that there were life-or-death stakes in an instant. It just really doesn't reflect well on her, to my view.

Also, thanks for the MTG ideas! I wasn't sure if Greg would remember enough to make picks, or if that kind of game know-how would even be something he'd need to know for the books, but one of my favorite questions during an AMA for a book series I like, the Craft Sequence,* was what decks the characters would play as, and it was a neat little bit of character trivia.

I personally don't know much MTG, but I have put some thought into what DnD classes the Team would play. Thinking about what kind of roles they'd like to take when not constrained by their actual powers, what hits too close to home (I can't see Jaime taking on a warlock pact, for instance) and what's close enough to what they like doing, how their head is for figuring out action economy and spell slot management - all that's pretty interesting! Though I'm pretty sure Dick and Wally would've been dreadful minmaxers early on - Dick for the weird, shouldn't-work-but-somehow-does combinations of overpowered effects, and Wally for getting way too into the math of it and trying to get the DM to let him use actual physics knowledge to break the game. I can't find where I actually hashed out most of this with friends, but I do remember I had S1 M'gann as a pure healer Life cleric, because it fit the nice responsible girl image she was trying to present so hard, then branching out more over time.

* Incidentally, I can't recommend the Craft Sequence books enough - they're a, right now, set of six novels set in a world where, sixty years ago, necromancer-lawyers won a war against the gods. Now everyone has to live in a world that, well, has the problems you'd expect from being run by necromancer-lawyers. The books rotate around different cities, with different casts, and each one feels both completely distinct from the other locations but also complex, like ten people could have ten completely different views of it, and none of them like ten people in another city. It's also been great to see the casts connect through time, forwards and back - the bonds that tie people together is a major theme, so it's delightful to see that the protagonist of one book's mentor was an old friend of the parents of another book's POV, or to see a character from three books ago come back to help some other people entirely. And - the reason I'm particularly mentioning it here - one of those sets of recurring characters is a gargoyle clan. In this series, they're warrior-poet shapeshifters, the creation-children of the moon goddess, exiled from their home city after her death on the battlefield drove most of the ones who'd stayed home to protect civilians mad with grief. They're basically the best.

Karrin Blue

I'd like to congratulate Greg on completing the queue.

Come October, I know there are two questions I'd like to ask him. One is his thoughts on the "Gargoyles" allusions in the "Duck Tales" finale and the "Amphibia" Season Two finale. The other (more a comment than a question) is in response to his mention that they'd thought of a Christmas episode for "Gargoyles" but never managed to get around to it, in connection to my observation (posted here a while ago) that the "year's cycle" was more prominent in "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice" than in "Gargoyles" (and the thought that the more "human-centered" approach in the latter two series probably had much to do with it).

Todd Jensen

Karrin> I didn't mention it much but the scene with Harper, Violet and Bethany is a fascinating one when you examine it from a gun safety perspective. Seeing who's practicing trigger disciple and who isn't, who's deescalating the situation and who's making it worse. I'm going to give Bethany the benefit of a doubt and say gunfire isn't something that's often heard in Happy Harbor, so while she definitely went in there a little too hastily she probably was assuming the worst. One thing I missed was the sudden shift in Harper's tone the moment a cop shows up, nothing like a drawn weapon to sober you up quick.

Oh, and saw your question on the Team/Outsiders and what Magic decks they'd use, and I came up with some theories of my own:

Wally and Bart use full aggro, possibly a white/red weenies deck. Though Wally does a bit more strategy than Bart does.
Dick likes a mono Blue control and consequently no one likes playing against him.
Kaldur doesn't play but he does appreciate the artwork that goes with the cards.
Raquel liked using artifact themed decks, but growing up and now a mother doesn't play anymore.
Garfield likes a blue/green deck that focuses on getting the biggest monsters out in the shortest span of time.
Jaime (at Scarab's insistence) plays a burn/land destruction deck. It figures that's the closest equivalent to a plasma cannon.
Tim shuffles through different combo decks, each one with multiple strategies for winning.
Zatanna works with either a Izzet or Ozhov style deck, but focuses heavily on spells.
Connor doesn't get the appeal and just shrugs at all of this.
M'gann's just happy everyone's having fun.
And Artemis thinks they're all geeks.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Well, we had to get to it eventually...

Yeah, I have to say I still can't really see the giant flesh monster as in keeping with the Light's waste not want not policy. At best I can figure, getting to fuse all the rejects into a Fullmetal Alchemist-worthy fleshhorror is the way they're keeping Klarion focused on the same conversion ritual over and over, but even on a production level, I wonder at the point of this. The transformation for poor Delphis feels rather gratuitous too.

And, well. So this is a personal taste thing, but I have to say, even now the rutabaga reference to season 2 doesn't really work for me. I love callbacks, but making them work can be a bit tricky. So, while I can completely believe Gar would repeat classic lines from the stories he heard about the Team in the early days, or that Conner would choose to repeat his original speech in the finale, and those references make sense to the audience... does the rutabaga joke work for audience members who didn't see how the fanbase made that a meme over the hiatus? I appreciate fan references like that, and in the grand scheme of... everything in this episode... it's not huge, but "would this even seem like a callback joke or just a nonsequiter to someone who didn't remember that much of True Colors" is something I've been wondering about. But that's a small quibble, and a subjective one, compared to. Well.

As you say, there was a lot of backlash. And even now, I'm still pretty uneasy about it. It's not something I'm happy about, but I have to say, if I didn't know we were getting a fourth season for all this to be picked up again, I would be a lot more careful about who I recommended the show to.

The thing is, I do think there are some potentially interesting stories to tell about the meaning of faith, or struggling with a faith or culture you inherit from a parent but weren't raised in, that could be interesting to be told through the lens of a space god computer ghost fused with a teenager (especially since while I can think of a few different properties that had nonhuman characters become more 'human' as signified by finding faith, that faith was always Christianity, and showing Islam as that meaningful could be very good). And I can sort of see how Halo's actions here might be setting up for that sort of story, and the inclusion of MPAC both as consultants and as a new member in the writer's room do give me some hope. But, while I hope that all this here is building up to a strong, affirming story arc, that we've only seen the first little bit of... well, it's been pretty rough these past few years to know there were people who were actually hurt by this and the only thing I can say is 'wait two years and I think it'll turn out to have had a point.'

Definitely seconding the idea that Halo should be very clearly practicing Islam in some way later on; I also think it'd help a great deal to have more Muslim heroes in general, and supporting cast. Everyone's relation to their faith is different, so Halo choosing which parts matter most would work better if we have other characters making different, equally valid choices. So if she continues playing with Brucely and does her best to pray five times a day but sometimes it slides for a mission, it'd be good to have, say, Khalid Nassour keeping strict halal or Nadimah Ali noticeably fasting for an episode in Ramadan. The MPAC graphic where they announce they're on board for S4 mentioned Muslim heroes and characters, plural, so... I'm trying to not be too pessimistic, basically.

One other thing I want to touch on. So, the pacing in this episode, I have to say it felt rather off to me. The section in Cuba felt very, very prolonged to me, while the scene with Halo and Harper happens at almost breakneck speed. The scene's focus shifts wildly in a very short amount of time, and as a result. Well, I'll just be blunt. The result is that I think Officer Bethany comes off as a far worse police officer than was probably intended.

Let's just look at her actions, and what she would've seen. Maybe she heard some gunshots while walking by the beach. She walks over and takes a look, and what would she see? Two high schoolers drinking, kissing, and taking potshots at bottles. No one else is remotely nearby, one is tipsy, but the one with the gun has only had alcohol in her for less than a minute (not nearly long enough to metabolize any of it), and what does she do? She doesn't call out to them to let them know she's there, she sneaks up and pulls her gun on them in the very moment she barks orders at them. She could have called out while she was walking up, asked what they were doing, done any number of things to de-escalate - instead, if anything, she wildly escalates the situation, taking it from a relatively friendly if irresponsible round of target practice to threatening a shootout. Harper, who's drunk, does a better job de-escalating, and Halo, who has been alive for four months shows better trigger discipline, keeping her gun pointed away from everyone involved, while Bethany's finger is off her trigger guard and pointed where she could easily misfire and hit either of them - people who were not threatening anyone else and who it is her sworn duty to protect. It reminds me of a quote from Discworld, where Vimes, a career police officer, tells the others that the absolute worst thing they can do is draw their weapon on someone as a bluff, because if they get called on it then they have very few options and they're all bad. What was Bethany's decision tree here? She shuts off all avenues for a peaceful outcome aside from the one where she terrifies a pair of teenagers into thinking she might kill them, and if they don't buy it, then what's she going to do? Shoot at them, and risk killing them? It really comes off to me like she's power tripping, and while that's unfortunately not uncommon in police officers, I would really hope M'gann wouldn't be so friendly with such a person, and that Snapper wouldn't have married someone like that. Though maybe that's why they got the divorce...

Ugh. That's depressing. The one thing I do actually like in this episode is that scene with Tara and Artemis - I think it's very effective that the flashbacks here don't have dialogue, it gives a very clear sense of this being a pattern with Slade. It's the sort of thing that happened every day for Tara, and seeing Slade as the sort of teacher that'd just beat up a student until they managed to avoid it rather than teaching them provides a good contrast with Artemis.

And hey - the queue is clear! Wow. I already have some questions ready to go for October, but hopefully it won't build back up too much too quickly.

Karrin Blue

MASTERDRAMON - Yes, Xanatos' response to Hudson's noting "Growing old scares you" definitely marks one of the very few occasions in the series where someone got under his skin.

I found your comparison of Hudson to Petros amusing, since W. Morgan Sheppard played Hudson in the 2001 Gathering radio play.

Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, always appreciated.

Masterdramon> Within the context of the show, Kaldur and Wynnde's relationship is very much treated as a surprise reveal (which I'll get to later) so showing that before Harper and Violet would undercut that bit.

But your other comment reminds me so much of what Dwayne McDuffie once wrote about in the early days of his Dakotaverse. Basically he was of the opinion that a single minority character should not act as a representation for the whole minority group. That's in part why he created so many different black comic book characters, you have Static which was his take on the Peter Parker character type. And then you have Icon who wasn't just a Superman analogue but also an attempt for Dwayne to write a character with a different political background from his own.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Speaking as a bisexual, I personally never had any problem with the Violet/Harper kiss. They're both teenagers dealing with some pretty heavy stuff (Violet's supposed terminal illness and Harper's shitty dad. And like most young people dealing with heavy stuff, they deal by making stupid decisions.

Granted, I can only speak for myself. I'm not the Bisexual Pope or anything. ;P

Look at my face, child! It has furnished for me a lonely life in which none would have me as a man. So then let me be a god!

Todd: Greg has theorized that Puck was watching that exchange and realizing Hudson got under David's skin in a way Goliath never has, fueling his role in the "Future Tense" vision. The only other person we see that happening with in this way is Petros.

In some ways, I wonder if Hudson reminds David of his father. At least once "The Price" reaches its conclusion. Humble. Unflappable. Very dry humor. Content with his lot in life, in a way the thirstily ambitious David will never quite understand, and yet comes to respect.

Matthew: Given what Greg has been heavy-handed hinting at on Ask Greg, my guess is the one LGBTQ+ character that TPTB put a kibosh on was supposed to be revealed before the Violet/Harper drunken kiss. That moment may not have engendered so much backlash if it wasn't the first instance of unambiguously queer content in the series, and carrying with it all the associated expectations.

I'm always of the opinion that the best solution to imperfect representation is more representation. When you only have one character in your series wearing a hijab, they get saddled (whether fairly or not) with the expectation that their every action is a statement upon the group they represent. Same if only one character is black, or adopted, or uses they/them pronouns.

If you have a wide range of characters who fit a given characteristic/background, it's far less of an issue. And Greg's recent responses have given me hope that in the fullness of time and enough seasons, that's a place YJ in going to get to in a way most comic adaptations never even try.

Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"There may be a place for me in this man's soul. Not because of what I may receive, but for something of worth I may have for him." - Casca

Thanks for another thoughtful review, Matthew.
Todd Jensen

Well, no amount of therapy is going to make this right.

Watched "Early Warning" today which throws a whole lot at the audience: we have the issues with Halo, with Harper, with the two of them together, the issues with Tara, the return of meta trafficking and experimentation, what the Outsiders now mean to the general public and the issue of what threats constitute the breaking of rules.

To start with the bit about metas, I'm glad that we see a return to this plot point and we're given a new spin on it. We haven't seen much of the nature of meta exploitation since "True Heroes" and the majority of the liberation was done by the other hero groups off-screen. Now the traumatic experience is back in full swing thanks to the return of a certain Lord of Chaos. It's darkly appropriate that some the more extreme meta physical changes is by Klarion's hand, cruelly overdoing things seems to be his forte. Even then, the more mutated meta teens of this episode still don't compare to the von Furths or Giant and Blister but then we have the giant Amalgamated Flesh Monster. The first time watching this I remember just asking myself, "Why?!" Who came up for the idea of this affront to God and nature for the episode? And what sick, state of mind was Klarion in when he came up with this rutabaga? I can possibly get that the Light might have alternative ideas for metas whose powers may not make them ideal living weapons. But this just seems too much. One little detail I thought was interesting was the subtle changes to the Creature with each meta absorbed, like gaining gills after absorbing Dolphin or the lightning strikes after it absorbs Cassie. I imagine her semi-divine nature wasn't exactly the best thing for the creature, though seeing Zeus involved would be a sight to see. But it also shows a serious power discrepancy between the heroes and the villains. While Beast Boy may have been able to distract Klarion for a while and even temporarily neutralize Teekl, they weren't operating with a full team and obviously had no plan for actually defeating him much less trying to save the metas making up the Flesh Creature.

This brings up the issue with Zatanna, the rules binding the League, the Outsiders and their casting aside those rules and the problems that come from all of this. Last episode the Outsiders were spared thanks to the local sheriff finding a loophole through the Good Samaritan Law. Here, while they were important to saving those kids, a big part of why they were able to get away with an unsanctioned mission into Cuba was because some of the PNR gave the team time to get out with the rescued group (and bit of public sway from that group). This is a complicated matter, because the PNR were obviously outmatched when it came to Klarion and so were the Outsiders. Truth is, if Zatanna didn't recognize that this was a situation that the team couldn't handle and indeed one that only she could handle, this episode would've probably ended in tragedy. And the grand irony of this is that despite the fact that the Outsiders have now become even bigger than the League, their victory was entirely dependent on the arrival of a Leaguer. Even more ironic, the Team was originally founded for covert work while the grown-up heroes handled the main threat and got the public adulation. Now we the grown up hero working covertly while the youth reap the support of the people.

Then there's the matter of Halo, her diagnosis and the downward spiral her life has become. We saw the guilt piling up ever since the memory of Gabrielle taking the bribe resurfaced and now has the knowledge that her very powers are killing her. And who really needs that kind of information, especially right before school? What's stood out to me is the multiple forms Halo's depression has taken, first the guilt of what her host body has done (then morphed into what she had done), and now the notion of her impending death. The subsequent drinking and gunplay could be seen as her attempts to shut down any kind of emotion and not feel anything at all. Compare this to Harper who engages in the same behavior in the attempt to feel anything at all. And thus we see some of the different forms of depression and how they manifest, inwardly shrinking away into nothing and acting out and causing harm to themselves and others.

Finally, I'd like to address the backlash that came from this episode. That is to say Harper cheating on her unseen boyfriend, Halo unintentionally cheating on Brion an Halo's inebriated declaration that she isn't Muslim. To start with, I myself had never heard of the stereotype that bisexuals are unfaithful when it comes to relationships, but I have heard of the LGBTQ members being promiscuous stereotype. As Greg pointed out in his response people do live in bubbles and therefore we sometimes run smack into stereotypes and clichés that can be hurtful through unintended ignorance. And while Greg has openly stated his regret in how the scene was played out, it's an unfortunate fact that apologies and public admissions of being wrong don't always get the same public spread as the very thing that warranted the apology. When it comes to Halo, I really think that could've been done a bit better and not just because we've yet to see where Halo's journey goes past this season, but for reasons I'll get to in a later episode. Instead of her more drunken declaration of her not being Muslim, I would have had given her something along the lines, "I don't know if I'm Muslim." to help sell the idea that Halo is still working things out. Maybe? I don't know. In any case, it's another unfortunate fact that not every group of people, ethnicity or faith is represented in the media or even given fair representation. And after Halo's rather definitive declaration that she's not Muslim in this episode, the decision for her to actually follow the Muslim faith (if that occurs) must be just as public and as definitive. Because it happening offscreen isn't going to cut it.

Some Final Thoughts: One thing that's easy to overlook is just how much confiding is done between Halo and Dr. Jace, and just how important that is for future episodes. We also get some really good interaction between Artemis and Tara, on how Artemis engages with her after noticing how closed off she is. But one thing that really stood out was how quickly Artemis picked up on the subtle tells of Tara's abuse and just as quickly offered her own experience and gave bits of encouragement too. But that's another thing for another episode. And finally, I have bring up how...unwise it was for the characters to go to school back east while they're keeping Pacific Standard Time. I know it's meant for a joke but jet lag disorder is no laughing matter, especially for kids who already live pretty active lifestyles and definitely need their eight hours. And we have confirmation that Joan Garrick has passed away in-between the last episode

Acting MVP: It's been a while since we've seen Thom Adcox as Klarion, but he hasn't lost anything bringing the same level of twisted humor to match the horror of the episode. But I do have to bring up Zehra Fazal because while brief, the scene of a cop, two drunken teens and a loaded hand gun manages to match the tension with the more horror element of the episode.

DC Profiles: Ramon Bracuda was a Cuban gang leader who operated in Gotham and appeared in Catwoman's solo series in the 90's. Honestly, you wouldn't be able to tell what he was from the comics alone given the inhuman look he was drawn with.

Favorite Lines:

Dr. Jace: I cannot understand why you three insist on attending school in Happy Harbor.
Violet: Waking up this early on the West Coast in order to zeta to the East Cast does, uh suck. But we have friends at Happy Harbor High School.
Dr. Jace: Violet, a moment, please. I have difficult news.
Violet: [GASPS] Did Brion find out Gabrielle Daou helped kill his parents?
Dr. Jace: No, no. This is about your origins.
Violet: Oh, you mean that I am Gabrielle's corpse brought back to life by the living energy of a dead Mother Box.
Dr. Jace: Yes, that. The ramifications created some concerns. So, I tested hair follicles from your hair brush to check your DNA, and Well There's just no easy way to say this. I'm sorry, Violet, but you're dying.

Klarion: Stop worrying. Project Cucumber is right on schedule.
Teekl: Mreow.
Klarion: "Rutabaga"? Please. This is a top-secret operation for the Light. Who'd choose the name "Project Rutabaga" for that?
Teekl: [flatly] Mreow.
Klarion: Well, if I named it "Project Rutabaga", then "Project Rutabaga" it is. Now, stop trying to ruin my fun, Teekl. And what's more fun than tormenting children?
Teekl: Mreow.
Klarion: Yes, tormenting puppies is fun, but I wouldn't say it's more fun.
[Klarion floats down to a frightened teen secured to the floor]
Teekl: Mreow?
Klarion: [face morphing into its inhuman form] QUIET! I know what to do! [his face shifts back to its "normal" look] Um...I uh, um...
Teekl: Mreoow.
Klarion: That's right! I use magic as a catalyst to activate the meta-gene in kidnapped teenagers!
[Klarion blasts the teenaged girl with magic who begins screaming in pain, the effect turns her brown eyes aquamarine and her hair pearly white. Blue patterns on her skin and webs on her digits suddenly manifest, and most strikingly, gills. She grasps at her neck as she begins to suffocate]
Klarion: [pouting] Stupid meta-gene! This one can't even breathe out of water. Oh well, step one completed. Step two, apply mystic control brand. [a mystic branding iron appears in his hand and he slams the iron into the unfortunate girl's head who screams in pain as a slave glyph appears on her forehead]
Klarion: [sighs] Let's put her with the others. Oportet ministros manus lavare antequam latrinum relinquent! [with a snap of his fingers, the girl is transformed into red smoke ] Truth is, none of the metas we've created have been that much fun. Not separately anyway.
[the red smoke floats over to a horrifying mass of flesh and eyes and is absorbed into it, the creature awakens as gills suddenly appear on it. And the creature roars, a terrifying cacophony of inhuman growling and children's screams]
Klarion: Now that's a rutabaga!

Beast Boy: Outsiders Away!
Static: Dude, that catchphrase? Needs work.

Static: Yes! Zatanna's in the house!
Zatanna: No. Not in the house.
Beast Boy: Thought Leaguers weren't allowed in Cuba.
Zatanna: We're not, which is why I'm not in the house.

Klarion: Foolish mortal. Klarion is chaos personified. He cannot. Be. Constipated!
Teekl: [annoyed] Mreow!
Klarion: Yeah, yeah, contained. He knew I meant contained.

Tigress: Look I get it. You have bad memories associated with training.
Terra: Training? Me?
Tigress: Before your cage-match against Holocaust? Seems like someone had given you a few tips, if brutally.
Terra: Yes, my training was a bit rough.
Tigress: I understand. Trust me. My dad, Sportsmaster, he was just like that. Borderline abusive on good days. But that's not my style. So, go again?
Terra: [smiling] Yes.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Watched "The Price" last evening on DVD as a tribute to Ed Asner. I think it's the most appropriate Hudson-focused episode for that purpose, especially since it contains Hudson's statement on true immortality (which Greg Weisman even quoted in his own tribute to Asner at "Ask Greg").

A few other moments that stand out to me:

1. Despite being defeated in his purpose, Xanatos shows admiration for Hudson's ingenuity in using a piece of stone skin to free himself - a sort of "professional respect". (And it feels especially appropriate, in light of part of the reason for Hudson's capture being to obtain such a piece of stone skin).

2. I still get a kick out of Hudson having no interest in destroying the Cauldron of Life; he just doesn't want to be used as a guinea pig for it.

3. Hudson's keeping part of the decoy statue as a souvenir now feels almost like a foreshadowing of "Young Justice"'s first season (alongside Elisa's "Souvenirs?" question at the end of "Avalon Part Three" about the Eye of Odin and the Phoenix Gate).

Todd Jensen

KARRIN/MATTHEW> Good to hear you two and your folks are okay. Stay safe!
Look at my face, child! It has furnished for me a lonely life in which none would have me as a man. So then let me be a god!

Glad to hear your aunt got out ok. We had a health scare over here (not covid, and everyone is by now entirely fine and home safe, but today and yesterday were exhausting) so it seems like maybe this weekend was just cursed. And hopefully everyone who's down near NOLA is staying safe too.
Karrin Blue

Well my aunt did need to evacuate and did so safely. Now I just hope the fires get under control before more homes are destroyed.

In other news: the animated movie Catwoman: Hunted released it's voice cast a couple of weeks ago. Now why am I bringing this up? Because Greg Weisman scripted it which probably explains several of the cast members.

We've got Steve Blum, Zehra Fazal, Kelly Hu, Andrew Kishino, Eric Lopez, Keith David and Jonathan Frakes.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Now let's not forget the really good. Hoggish Greedly from Captain Planet and making things difficult for the titular eco-terrorists:-D.

Just saw Ed Asner's brief guest appearance in Grace and Frankie a few weeks ago. (He plays a morally unscrupulous conmen friend of Lily Tomlin's)

And just... I think yesterday or the day before I was randomly watching an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm with him in it, where his character died in it. Totally out of nowhere.

Sometimes life is weird.

But when I was watching the Curb episode, I just thought about what a unique cadence Ed Asner's voice had in the episode. I love the quiet intensity of his voice, and how he managed to be SO funny at the same time.


And of course I always loved him as Hudson, Uncle Ben, J Jonah Jameson, his role in Up was fantastic. Among so many others.

He'll be sorely, sorely missed.

Alex (Aldrius)

"I've never stopped loving cartoons. I loved cartoons as a kid. I can still look at them and enjoy them."

-Ed Asner

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.