This is a hard episode for me to review. I've always been much more of a Marvel guy than a DC guy; and as far as Marvel goes, Prince Namor has always been a character who hasn't interested me one iota. So, while I'm pretty ignorant of DC, I'm especially ignorant of Aquaman's corner of the DC Universe. I felt like I'd be having major geekgasms if I knew who any of these people were. But, with that out of the way, I did enjoy the episode quite a bit.
I loved the cold opening with Clayface. The design made him look positively terrifying, made worse by the shot of the entire team unconscious at his feet. Of course, Batman shows up and quickly puts an end to that. I've always loved Batman, and while we don't see him in action often in this show, when we do, it's always sweet.
I loved Aqualad's story in this episode, but I felt like there should have been a little more build up to him being unfocused, with his head in Atlantis. Because in just about every prior episode where he took charge, he was nothing but focused. Yes, I understood that the team's defeat at the hands of Clayface, who they should be able to defeat on a good day was that build up. But I feel like just a little something in the previous episode or two, before it leads to this defeat would have been nice.
That all said, this episode finally gave Aqualad the fleshing out he needed, and revealed many more facets of the character beyond being the straight man on the team. I enjoyed his friendship with Garth and Tula. I always enjoy his relationship with his king... and I enjoyed seeing him battle Black Manta.
Speaking of Black Manta, I thought he was really cool. I loved his look, he came off as a real threat. And I loved his... "fatherly" concern over Aqualad. Although, I kind of wish Greg and Brandon didn't reveal at various conventions that he is Aqualad's father. On the other hand, it's cool being in on a secret that no one else knows. Given that connection, I am sure we'll see Black Manta again. I had also previously theorized that Black Manta was a member of the Light, and I was proven wrong, he works for them like Sportsmaster does. And he was answering to, as Weisman revealed in his credits, the mysterious L-5.
On that note, I think L-5 may be the first member of the Light we've seen in the flesh. He does share a voice actor with Prince Orm, who I am told in the comics was Ocean Master. And now that Queen Mera is with child, hmm... shades of Uncle Scar, anyone? I hope we start seeing more members in the flesh pretty soon.
I have a feeling I should know what that giant starfish thing is, but I don't. Aw well, I know that the Light wants it, and that's an intriguing enough hook.
Artemis looks like she's finally been confirmed as Artemis Crock. But in a series that is all about secrets and lies, and with all the trouble the creators have gone to to keep her identity a secret, I think that might be as true as her being Green Arrow's niece. Batman going through all the trouble of getting her into a fancy prep school tells me he wants to keep an eye on her. And I'm sure there is a reason her mother is in a wheelchair... considering how well Cheshire seems to know her, maybe her mother was involved with the League of Shadows.
The Superboy and Miss Martian scene came off as pretty creepy. I mean, why was he just sitting there staring at snow on television? And then it almost seems like he's in a trance after that, and what happens when he gets covered in food, he sits back down and continues watching. Something is up here, I don't think this was just an innocent little scene. He was seeing something on TV that non-Kryptonians can't.
Speaking of TV, did someone say "Hello Megan" on TV at Artemis' apartment? Looks like an explanation for Miss Martian's really annoying catch-phrase. I'll admit it, I'm one of the people who can't stand it, but if she learned all about interacting with humans from watching sitcoms, I guess I can buy how she would come to think that's normal behavior on Earth to emulate.
And finally, I loved Dick's moment with Bruce playing Basketball. Nice to see that despite being Robin's general, Bruce Wayne is still, for all intents and purposes, Dick Grayson's father.
Good episode. Looking forward to the next one.