Previously on Young Justice: Outsiders, the Outsiders went up against Klarion (Thom Adcox-Hernandez) in Cuba as he helped the Light kidnap more teenagers with the Meta-gene. With the help of Zatanna (Lacey Chabert), the team was able to defeat Klarion, trapping him in Fate’s tower, while the world watched, raising the profile of the outsiders and helping the reputation of the team in their goal to use social media to fight the media corruption created by Lex Luthor (Mark Rolston) and G.
Gordon Godfrey (James Arnold Taylor). Now in “Elder Wisdom,” at a United Nation conference in Bwunda ambassadors Troia, an ambassador to the United Nations representing Themyscira, and Garth, the ambassador representing Atlantica, are both attacked by masked assailants who claim to represent the Bwundan Independence Front.
The group claims that Lex Luthor has legitimized the tyrannical leader, M’Barra, by allowing to participate in the United Nation talks. Before the group can do more damage to Lex or the other ambassadors, the Outsiders, lead by Garfield Logan (Greg Cipes), aka Beast Boy, with the help of a few Justice League members intervene.
This episode has a significantly darker tone than the last two episodes, which just felt incredibly campy. At one point, one of the Bwundan Independence Front assassins slits Halo’s throat, with blood splatter and all. While I appreciate the darker tone since it matches the rest of this season and the previous ones, it is downright shocking.
Halo is able to heal themselves but the moment is incredibly tense and uncomfortable. Ultimately, Young Justice: Outsiders suffers from tonal dissonance. It wants to tackle hard-hitting issues and show real violence but it’s youthful characters and cringy dialogue remind viewers that this show started as Saturday morning programming on Cartoon Network.
While the overall tone of the series, particularly this season, is complicated, to say the least, the politics in “Elder Wisdom” feel much more believable. Luthor is finally fighting back against the Outsiders’ social media campaign. He calls in Flash, who arrives in record time, to help in the situation in Bwunda – proving the United Nation’s current system, which allows League members to act only when the government requests it, works.
Luther and the Light’s ability to stay ahead of the team is what has always kept the tension of the series on high. Every battle feels minuscule compared to the overall fight but sweating the small stuff is usually key to taking down the overarching plans of each seasons’ villain. As more clues are revealed, it sets up greater twists and turns.
Meanwhile, Halo is still struggling with her arrest from last episode, where they and Harper were found drinking on the beach and shooting bottles with a gun, and the fact she is dying. They refuse to open up and struggles to tell Brion (Troy Baker), their boyfriend, anything including they fact they kissed Harper. The subplot with Halo is still uncomfortable for me simply because of how poorly the show has handled the character.
Overall, “Elder Wisdom” is closer to the quality I expect from Young Justice and is absolutely a step-up from the other episodes from the second half of this season. The episode also confronts the complex morality of the Justice League having child soldiers to begin with, let alone child soldiers now in the spotlight. While the series remains tonally confused, it is easier to look past when the writing and politics of the universe finally match the more adult themes.
Young Justice: Outsiders is streaming now on HBO Max.
Young Justice: Outsiders, Season 3, Episode 19 - Elder Wisdom
This is closer to the quality I expect from Young Justice and is absolutely a step-up from the other episodes from the second half of this season. While the series remains tonally confused, it is easier to look past when the writing and politics of the universe finally match the more adult themes.