After a few episodes that just weren’t as strong as the show usually is, “Depths” delivers the goods. The original cast semi-reunites in this episode, giving us some major developments for a couple of the lingering subplots in the season.
The plot of this episode revolves around a communications satellite that is going to be launched with the goal of creating a line of communication between Earth and Mars. You know, I always expected the show to reveal that the Martian race was extinct as part of the reveal of Miss Martian’s true form. In comics, Martian Manhunter is the sole surviving member of his race. I guess that isn’t the case in Young Justice’s continuity, though. Earth wouldn’t be trying to communicate with a dead world. I assume the writers made this choice to further differentiate the Martian characters from the Kryptonian ones like how the show focuses on Martians having telekinesis rather than super-strength.
The launch serves as the source of the conflict here. The Light doesn’t want it to succeed, so they send Aqualad -- or Black Manta Jr. -- to stop it. Nightwing wants the launch protected, so he leads a team to keep it secure. This team includes Artemis, who for some reason has been specially asked to help out. It’s not clear why Artemis is so needed, but the reasons come later in the episode.
Keeping watch on the launch gives Miss Martian and Superboy some alone time, and that gives us the answers on why their relationship ended. The show has done a good job of showing Miss Martian’s casual attitude about using her telepathy as well as Superboy’s discomfort with it, but this lays it all out explicitly. It turns out Superboy’s reasons for ending their relationship doesn’t have much to do at all with the fact that he’s not physically aging, and the question of whether Miss Martian is willing to use her telepathy on her friends with as much disregard as she does with her enemies is answered. The scene between these two is both well written and acted.
The hyped big development in this episode is the return of Artemis, who we’re barely seen in the second season thus far. For me, it’s great because she is one of my favorite cast members. I also just found out that the character was recently killed off in the comics. Way to utterly fail at making viewers of this show feel unwelcome, DC Comics.
Anyway, some truly awesome action erupts when Aqualad’s and Nightwing’s forces clash at the launch site. Seriously, this show has really taken action scenes to another level for these types of animated series. Others need to learn from it. This episode in particular has even better action than usual for the series, especially once Nightwing and Artemis start going at it against Black Manta’s soldiers.
This all leads up to an intense moment that the episode jumps forward to show us early on. Doing so definitely doesn’t do anything to diminish it when it happens, though. It actually enhances what happens later that the episode plays so upfront about this moment, which any viewer would predict happening as soon as Artemis asks Wally what could go wrong.
The episode ends with a secret moment reuniting four members of the first season’s cast who we haven’t seen together since the second season began. This is when the bombshells drop. Even though you can probably figure it out on your own, I don’t want to outright spoil it all. It’s much better to just watch and see. But man, this really brings things together, especially for Aqualad. I know I said Artemis is one of my favorites, but Aqualad IS my favorite. I love what the show is doing with him this season too. It’s a shame he doesn’t even appear in comics at the moment. ...Another example of DC Comics just being awesome about capitalizing on this show.
The show’s love of guest stars may have bitten it in the ass on this one. The person overseeing the com-sat launch is none other than Carol Ferris, whose character design has nice littely allusions to comic identity of Star Sapphire. The thing is that her involvement seems like it should beckon Green Lantern’s involvement. For those who don’t know, Carol is the primary love interest of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. I know John Stewart went off into spiace with other members of the Justice League, but shouldn’t Hal still be around? Why isn’t he in on watching out for Carol’s big project here? It’s just weird for the show to choose to have Carol but not Hal with no explanation of his absence.
There are a few minor but interesting reveals too. Apparently, Nightwing has only been leading the team for around a year. Maybe it was just me, but I thought he had been in charge for a larger chunk of the five year gap. Does this mean Aqualad was instead in charge for most of that time? And does that mean the death of Aquagirl happened soon after Nightwing took over? The idea that Nightwing has been leading for such a relatively short amount of time really throws off the sense I have of the past five years. We also get some indication that Nightwing and Zatanna ended up being more than just a New Year’s Eve kiss.
If I’ve heard correctly, this is going to be the last new episode of Young Justice: Invasion for a while as the show goes on hiatus for an unknown amount of time. That’s going to suck, but as far as mid-season finales go, “Depths” couldn’t be better. It has the right balance of closure and setup for things to look forward too. We have answers for Superboy and Miss Martian’s break-up as well as Aqualad’s apparently betrayal of the team. What’s next? Will the events of this episode push Wally to have a more active role again? Now, it actually feels like the season-long story has finished its first act and is moving into a very interesting second act.