The problem with going undercover to infiltrate an organization, while keeping up the idea that you’ve betrayed everyone you were ever friends with, usually means that someone is going to test your loyalty. Such is the case with Aqualad. After capturing Lagoon Boy and “killing” Artemis, Kaldur is prepared to join The Light along with his father, Black Manta, but it appears as though The Light wants him to prove himself one more time. How? Destroy Mount Justice and take Blue Beetle. So Aqualad, along with The Terror Twins, Icicle, Jr., and Tigress (actually Artemis using Zatana’s glamour charm) does just that.
What I’ve enjoyed about Invasion the most is the willingness of the creators to push the characters to their limit. Aging the core team five years gives them more history together and more mystery to be uncovered. These aren’t the same teenagers we were dealing with last season. These are young adults in a position of authority making the hard decisions like their mentors before them. It gives each scene weight and makes their relationships feel real. While we learned that Aqualad’s betrayal was a ruse to infiltrate The Light, “Darkest” presents us with just enough evidence to question whether or not his betrayal was actually legitimate. The first season tried to tease us with betrayal by any member of the newly formed team with the threat of “the mole” constantly hanging over their heads, but it’s really in the second season that the writers make the idea work. In going to such great lengths to solidify his loyalty to the enemy, Kaldur is equally making his friends question his true allegiance. The best scene in the entire show belongs to Dick and Wally as the former Kid Flash goes off on his best friend for endangering Artemis, nearly getting killed himself, letting Beast Boy and Impulse get captured, and allowing Mount Justice to be destroyed all for the sake of making Kaldur’s turn look convincing. Filling in just a little more of the five-year gap between seasons, apparently Kaldur lost the love of his life and found out about his parentage all within the span of a few months, which concerns Wally a great deal. What if Kaldur truly has changed sides? What if he’s actually been playing Nightwing the whole time?
Padding the episode just a bit is the relationship between Mal and Karen (Bumblebee). Apparently Karen’s spending too much time in the lab with Dr. Ray Palmer (The Atom) and Mal just wants to spend time together like they did in highschool. I’m not sure if this was just a convenient way to get Mal out of Mount Justice while the infiltration occurred or if there’s something involving The Atom that will be expanded upon later. Either way, it’s yet another example of the writers delving into the personal lives of the characters in a convincing way, but it looks like another superhero relationship might be on the rocks.
By episode’s end, Kaldur meets The Light and, just as we fade to black, we know he’ll have met The Light’s partner. If Kaldur is truly on the side of the angels, this is definitely the moment where it will all be decided.
DC Nation Short: Claymation Batman and friends!
- Impulse’s portrait of himself with desert rocks
- Nightwing: “Ahh, I’m an idiot!”
- The Scarab’s continued desire to wipe out everything is still hilarious!
- Members of The Light: Lex Luthor, Ra’s al Ghul, Queen Bee, Vandal Savage, Klarion the Witch Boy, and The Brain (not to be confused with the mouse intent on taking over the world!)