Young Justice: Outsiders is back, which means Inside Outsiders has returned as well. Why? Well, we’re all pretty obsessed with Young Justice’s latest season that, frankly, we need a place to geek out about it on a weekly basis. As before, expect new columns each Friday on DCComics.com with each new episode or series of episodes.
Outsiders went big for their midseason premiere, offering up three new episodes this week—“Influence,” “Leverage” and “Illusion of Control.” There are so many moments and story beats to digest between all three episodes, but I think Halo is the best place to start.
I mean, could we really start anywhere else?
Earlier this season, we learned that Violet Harper was created when the soul of a destroyed Mother Box entered the body of a deceased girl named Gabrielle Daou. Since then, Halo had been pondering these revelations and what it all meant for their sense of identity. After all, when you have no memories, then how do you identify yourself? Taking the last name Harper was a good start, because it helped Halo feel a sense of familial connection to the team. Violet has also continued to wear Gabrielle’s hijab, stating that it felt right. When you’re a Mother Box who has never been human, you hold onto any shred of identity and self-expression you could find.
But the really groundbreaking thing was that this quest for self-expression and discovery led Violet to make a proclamation about their gender this week. During a team meeting they began by saying, “I have given thought to this. Despite my outward appearance, I do not know that I am a girl or a boy, as Earth languages define the word.”
For now, at least, Violet is choosing not to identify as female or male and will continue their journey of self-discovery before making a decision. This was not only a huge moment for Halo, but for superhero television in general. Non-binary characters are rare on television to begin with, and even more so in the world of superhero animation. To have one on a popular DC show is a pretty big deal. Halo’s proclamation could mean the world to any viewer who might be figuring out their own gender identity.
That’s one of the great things about Young Justice, it continually finds creative ways to relate to adolescent struggles. Most teenagers can relate to feeling like an outsider who must hide their true self.
In the grand scheme of things, there is nothing unusual about Halo’s choice to go non-binary. Young Justice is about celebrating who you are, which is what Megan and Conner had to learn during the first season. They were able to find acceptance with the help of good friends, and now they’re ready to help Halo reach that same point too. Perhaps Halo will reflect and choose to identify as a female after all or maybe they won’t, but right now it’s their journey and the final destination has yet to be decided.
By the way, can I just take a moment for two shout-outs? First, let’s all take a moment to appreciate Zehra Fazal, Halo’s voice actress, who has brought this journey of self-discovery to life. Her performance as Halo adds so much depth to the character, emotionally connecting audiences to the hero. And second, I just want to say how proud I am of Brion for accepting Violet’s decision and being a supportive boyfriend. He might be a hot-headed prince, but that moment showed us that his heart is just as regal as his bloodline.
Moments like that make me love their relationship even more, which is why the latest development has me worried. Violet is starting to regain some of Gabrielle’s repressed memories (which happens when you get a secondhand body) and they were shocked to learn that they’re partially responsible for the death of Brion’s parents. Or, to get technical, Gabrielle Daou is. Apparently, Gabrielle accepted a bribe, and allowed some men into the Markovian palace, not realizing they were planning on killing the king and queen.
The guilt of feeling somewhat responsible is eating poor Violet up inside, and it caused them to lash out during Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll admit, I did chuckle when Violet cried out, “That dog should not be accepting bribes,” but I understand their concerns. How would Brion feel if he found out the role Gabrielle played?
Maybe Halo’s concerns are for nothing. After all, Brion has shown tons of understanding, and he intellectually knows that Gabrielle and Violet are two different people. If Violet sat down and honestly told Brion the truth, he’d most likely understand. Ultimately, it’s Halo’s anxiety that might wind up being the relationship’s undoing. If Violet continues to let the guilt fester inside of them, Brion might sense they’re hiding something from him and suspect the worse. His sister Tara seems to be working with the Light, and I wouldn’t put it past her to take advantage of the situation by stoking her brother’s insecurities.
Tara, if you hurt Brion and Violet’s relationship, I’ll never forgive you.
Then there’s the question of what Dr. Jace is doing with that sample of Violet’s hair. I’m thrilled with the growth Halo has shown over the past several episodes, but I fear for the hard times that might be waiting around the corner for them. Fellow Young Justice fans, I know Halo is a fictitious character, but the idea of them being in danger is giving me anxiety. I’ll sleep better once Violet tells Brion the truth and Dr. Jace reveals she’s using the hair to make a wig for Lex Luthor or something.
So, how did you feel about this week’s events? Are you as big a Halo fan as I am? Should they tell Brion about the night his parents died? I always love talking Young Justice, so feel free to tweet your thoughts at me. It will keep our minds occupied as we count down to next week’s episode!
Young Justice: Outsiders airs exclusively on DC Universe. Subscribe now and catch new episodes every Tuesday!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.