Young Justice: Invasion returns from its summer break, picking up right where it left off with the return of the original Roy Harper and the apparent death of Artemis. “Satisfaction” is very much an aftermath or second part of the previous episode. People mourn the loss of Artemis, not realizing she still lives, and Speedy looks to get some payback for the loss of his arm and eight years of his life.
The character of Roy Harper is one -- or two, if you want to get technical -- that has been taken in a very different direction from his comic counterpart all while ending up at very similar destinations. Red Arrow’s discovery that he was a clone and a traitor is very different from his drug addiction story from the comics, but both resulted Red Arrow hitting rock bottom and coming out of it a single father involved with Cheshire. Here, Speedy was held hostage by the Light rather than losing a fight and daughter to Prometheus, and he still ends up as the one-armed Arsenal all the same. It’s interesting how the show still manages to get the character(s) where they are arguably meant to go without having to resort to stories that would just be inappropriate or... well... really bad.
Gratefully, the show doesn’t go the predictable route of having Speedy at odds with Red Arrow for replacing him and stealing his life. It’s actually refreshing how reasonable he manages to be about that aspect, understanding that it’s not like the clone had any choice in the matter either. Toward Green Arrow, he ends up being far less calm, but even that is reasonable in its way as all that anger and frustration does have to go somewhere. Green Arrow presents himself as the best target at first, and this turns out to be extra painful for Ollie when we realize this is all happening soon after Artemis’ death.
Speedy’s anger quickly refocuses toward Lex Luthor, the face of those responsible for what happened to him. What results is a sweet action scene with Speedy taking on Mercy and doing well even with his missing arm. Best of all, the scene manages to sell it. Speedy remains the underdog throughout the fight, spending most of his time trying not to get shot and giving less than he gets from Mercy. This really lets Speedy show himself off as a resourceful and cunning opponent.
All of this plays into Speedy’s evolution into Arsenal, and it will be interesting to see how that goes from here. It certainly seems like it will take the character to some dark places. He obviously feels victimized. Plus, he really doesn’t have any friendships to lean on since it was the clone who bonded with all of the other sidekicks.
And on a more speculative note, it’s hard to believe that there isn’t more to his situation that we know. Why did the Light keep him around? They made the effort to recover him from Cadmus and store him for the five years since then. These are villains, so you can’t tell me they had any problem with the more efficient idea of just killing him. So I’m left waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to Arsenal and his time being held by the Light.
Interspersed throughout Speedy’s story are little scenes mourning the loss of Artemis. Some of these make for my favorite parts of the episode. I would have been disappointed if we didn’t get to see Sportsmaster and Cheshire react, and the show delivers on that, even going so far as setting up a villainous family feud over it. We also get a peak at the team’s private little memorial hall of fallen heroes. I’ve got to say that given how many years have passed the hero community is doing pretty well for itself to have only four deaths to remember. Or technically three, given we know Artemis still lives. The deaths of Ted Kord and Tula were previously revealed, so the real perk of this scene is the presence of a Robin memorial. As a huge Jason Todd fan, I’ve been very curious about his rise and fall as Robin in the five year gap, and the fact that Tim Drake is currently Robin. There is nothing said about it, though we do get a prolonged shot singling out his image. This makes me optimistic that we will at least get a Robin-focused episode later dealing with what happened. But I would be thrilled if this eventually leads to a Red Hood appearance.
The other scenes oddly seem to be setting up some new romantic entanglements. One is between Superboy and Wendy Harris, a civilian character who is apparently not aware of who Conner really is. This kind of comes from nowhere, given how little we’ve seen of Wendy in the series. But compared to the other one, this is almost natural. The other scene is Rocket’s ill-timed bridal shower. Yeah, bridal shower. Rocket is getting married to some unrevealed groom. I can only assume this is going to be important, because this is a rather forced scene in which Captain Cold just happens to try to rob a bank across the street from a superheroine bridal shower. The only point of this has to be to establish for us that Rocket is set to marry. Who? I honestly have no theories on this. She’s not a character who has had much spotlight at all in this season.
“Satisfaction” doesn’t really bring Young Justice: Invasion back with a big bang, but to be fair, it wasn’t produced to be a mid-season premiere. That was Cartoon Network’s decision. As it is, this episode is a strong continuation of where we left off. The show has found an interesting way of allowing both Roy Harpers to coexist in the cast, and a few seeds are planted to leave me looking even more forward to future episodes. Sportsmaster versus Black Manta? Jason Todd? I am so glad this show is back.