Hey again everyone, this is Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett, belatedly back with a review of the seventh Young Justice episode of the second season, entitled "Depths". As you can surmise from the title, in this episode we get into some more underwater shenanigans.
Meanwhile, Wally West watches Godfrey's broadcast as Artemis gets ready to go on a mission planned by Nightwing. Wally is upset that Nightwing asked her to participate, since they are trying to live a normal life without heroics. Artemis tells him not to worry, that everything will be fine. Cut to: The mission gone wrong, as Nightwing performs CPR on Artemis, before stopping and saying, "She's dead."
But let's follow along as the scene rewinds some time earlier, before the mission began. Artemis arrives to find the mission team (Lagoon Boy, Miss Martian, Superboy, and Nightwing) assembled. She greets everyone warmly and they receive the mission parameters: assist in helping the launch go smoothly.
Back at Cape Canaveral, Carol Ferris holds a pre-launch press conference. Predictably, Godfrey interrupts Cat Grant and asks if the world needs more communication with aliens. Carol responds by saying that since Martians are our "next-door neighbors", we should get to know them. Martian Manhunter, also on hand, speaks up and says that a closer alliance between the two worlds can only help protect both against invasion from hostile entities. He then flies off, leaving Godfrey in an exaggerated huff. As we follow Martian Manhunter, he flies up and meets with Superman, who's also protecting the launch. As they fly together, we see that since J'onn J'onzz and Superman are off-world answering for their actions in the Rann sector, (they were brainwashed by Vandal Savage and ran amok near Rann, remember?) Miss Martian and Superboy are standing in for them.
Meanwhile, Nightwing and Artemis watch from the launch towers, and Lagoon Boy patrols the ocean nearby. Suddenly, he sees Black Manta's ship come into view, dropping some kind of platform onto the ocean floor. A group of Manta's soldiers swim down and attend the platform. Back on the tower, Nightwing and Artemis discuss Wally's reluctance for her to be back in the field. In the bio-ship, Miss Martian and Superboy talk over their issues as well. Apparently, Superboy grew disgusted with M'Gann's habit of tearing information out of opponent's minds, leaving them damaged mentally. M'Gann tried at one point to cause Superboy to forget that he was angry at her, and he broke up with her. MM tells him that she regrets doing that, but Superboy is also angry with her for running to L'Gann so quickly.
Under the ocean, L'Gann decides to charge Manta's men. Nightwing tells him to wait for backup, with which Superboy volunteers to help. Enraged, Lagoon Boy inflates his body and attacks Manta's soldiers at the platform. They fight him but activate something called Phase II as a precaution. A squadron of Manta's men head for shore, where they are engaged by Artemis. At the same time, Miss Martian changes her form to include gills and a fish tail and dives in to assist Lagoon Boy.
On the beach, Manta's men are fighting the YJ team in an attempt to destroy the shuttle. Under the water, the newly arrived Black Manta orders a missile to be launched at the shuttle. The missile almost hits its target but Superboy intercepts and destroys it. Nightwing and Artemis are pinned down, but are able to advance once Artemis shoots up a flashbulb arrow, temporarily blinding Manta's soldiers. In the ocean, Lagoon Boy is defeated and brought before Manta. Kalder'ahm tells the men not to kill him, but to use him as a specimen for the Light's mysterious "Partner". Next, he orders them to fire all missiles while he goes personally to handle the ground assault. Soon after, the combined might of Superboy and Miss Martian is enough to stop Manta's underwater team, though they do escape with L'Gann.
Nightwing and Artemis mop up the rest of Manta's ground team before Manta himself (aka Kaldur'ahm) rises out of the sea. He pulls out his Water-Bearers and creates a giant water snake out of the ocean, drenching Nightwing and Artemis. The shuttle finally launches and Manta tries one last small missile, fired from his shoulder launcher. Artemis is able to take it out with a rocket arrow of her own. Somehow, the shuttle suddenly blows up anyway.
Manta then attacks them both and after knocking down Nightwing, he stabs Artemis with a water spike, telling her, "Welcome back". He and his men then return to the ocean as Nightwing tries to revive Artemis. Superboy and Miss Martian arrive to hear Nightwing pronounce her dead. Back on the Manta ship, Kalder'ahm reports to his father, the elder Black Manta, that the rocket was destroyed, though it was not by his doing. His father tells him that he has passed the last test of his loyalty by not taking credit for destroying the shuttle (the elder Manta had a bomb planted on board).
At Mount Justice, the whole team mourns over Artemis' death, except Nightwing, who went to inform Wally. While Nightwing waits at an abandoned warehouse, Kalder'ahm shows up, as do Wally and Artemis. Say what? It turns out Artemis' "death" was an illusion carried out with the cooperation of Nightwing, Artemis, Wally, and Kalder, who has been a deep-cover agent for his father since leaving the team. He pretended to stab Artemis, barely missing her and allowing Nightwing to activate a device that put her into a temporary near-death state. The four heroes assembled are the only ones now aware of these events. Kalder tells them that his father has been pleased with his loyalty and is promoting him. Nightwing regrets both the destruction of the shuttle and the capture of Lagoon Boy, but he tells Kalder that he understands the impossible choices he has been forced to make since going undercover. Kalder gives them his word that he will rescue L'Gann.
There is one more piece of business. For Artemis to now operate in the open, she must change her appearance. Using a spell that Zatanna gave him, Nightwing changes Artemis' appearance to the eyes of everyone except the four of them, making her an effective undercover agent. She says goodbye to Wally, and leaves. She follows Kalder to the pier, where a Manta ship is waiting. Artemis and Manta board the ship, and Wally says "It only gets more dangerous from here".
I found a lot to like about this episode. First of all, lets discuss the elephant that has now left the room. I'm so glad Kalder-ahm was revealed as an undercover spy for the team. It would have been just too big of a stretch for me to believe that he had completely gone rogue, especially with his overabundance of responsibility and guilt issues. This way it sets up a future confrontation and dangerous days ahead as he and Artemis navigate their way through the real Manta's organization. Yeah, we've seen the "pretend to kill and then use a drug/device to fake death" ploy before, but it makes for a decent plan that fools those it was meant to, and allows Young Justice greater access to the bad guys. So I went with it.
Otherwise, things are proceeding well for the season. I'm gonna call it now; I think the mysterious "Partner" everyone is talking about is Darkseid, especially since so many Fourth World characters have been showing up, i.e., Godfrey. I'm betting the "Invasion" that the season title refers to will be from Apokolips at the end of the season, and that Darkseid is using the Light to kidnap people that he can mold into weapons. At least, that's my hypothesis for now. We'll see where it goes once the show begins new episodes again. See you soon!