REVIEW: ‘Young Justice: Phantoms,’ Episode 5 – “A Tale of Two Sisters”

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Young Justice Phantoms Episode 5 - But Why Tho

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 5 launches a new story arc, shifting its focus from Superboy (Nolan North) and Miss Martian (Danica McKellar) to Tigress (Stephanie Lemelin). “A Tale of Two Cities” finds Tigress-better known as Artemis Crock-reeling from the shocking events of “Involuntary“. However, her troubles only magnify when Cassandra Savage (Zehra Fazal) and Onyx Adams (Logan Browning) come to her seeking protection from the League of Shadows. Meanwhile, Artemis’s sister Cheshire (Kelly Hu) intends to end the contract the League has placed on her head by any means necessary.

Out of all the characters in Young Justice, Artemis is one of my favorites. A large part of that is due to the theme of family that usually surrounds her stories; she and Cheshire were shaped into lethal weapons by their father Sportsmaster, and she found a better family in the members of Young Justice-including a brotherly relationship with Superboy and love in the arms of Wally West/Kid Flash. Director Vinton Heuck and writer Brian Holifeld explore how the loss of both affects Artemis via a pair of montages. The episode opens with Artemis going about her day; she has breakfast with her surrogate family including Chesire’s daughter Lian and Will Harper/Red Arrow (Crispin Freeman), teaches literature classes at Star City University; and helps the Outsiders fight crime as Tigress. Yet, after receiving the news of Superboy’s death the grief starts to affect her. She can’t focus while teaching or even in the field, the latter almost costing her her life.

But the most heartbreaking moment comes when Will hangs up a picture of the original Young Justice roster and Artemis unfurls how losing Superboy has affected her. It’s another reminder of how strong the bonds between these characters are; for ten years they’ve formed a makeshift family and even saved the world from time to time. And I won’t lie, my heart shattered when Artemis said that she and Miss Martian share a common loss. In a genre where resurrection and apocalyptic stakes are commonplace, the fact that the creators are willing to take bold steps and explore the fallout of said steps is welcome.

Fans should also be pleased by the fight scenes, especially considering that nearly all of the characters involved utilize martial arts and various weapons in lieu of superpowers. The highlight is a battle pitting Red Arrow, Arsenal, Tigress, and Arrowette (Kelly Stables) against the League of Shadows’ ninja assassins. Each character has a unique fighting style; Tigress uses hand-to-hand and a katana, while Arsenal and Arrowette prefer ranged weaponry (and true to his name, Arsenal has quite the options thanks to his robot arm.) Red Arrow even holds off a pair of ninjas with a clipboard and a pen!

The series also continues to delve into its theme of secrets, as both Cassandra and Onyx claim that the other is a spy sent to gain Artemis’ trust. While Artemis wisely locks both of them up, the question remains about who is telling the truth. This reminds me of how double-edged Young Justice‘s mysteries can be; some have satisfying resolutions, while others feel way too convoluted. Hopefully, this mystery falls into the latter category, as I appreciate that this story arc is aiming for emotional heft.

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 5 launches a new story arc while exploring the bonds of family, both found and blood. With the end of the episode reuniting Artemis & Jade and given their mutual troubles with the League of Shadows, fans can expect plenty of emotional catharsis and battles with ninjas. And in my book, that’s not a bad combo.

New episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms are available to stream on HBO Max on Thursdays.


Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 5 - A Tale of Two Sisters
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 5 launches a new story arc while exploring the bonds of family, both found and blood. With the end of the episode reuniting Artemis & Jade and given their mutual troubles with the League of Shadows, fans can expect plenty of emotional catharsis and battles with ninjas. And in my book, that’s not a bad combo.