Greetings all Outsiders! If the online buzz is any indication, it seems like you all enjoyed the latest episode of Young Justice: Outsiders as much as I did. I noticed everyone seems to be talking about Kaldur’s kiss, and while I’m glad the former Aqualad has finally found love again (it’s been years since Tula died), and that the show is getting more positive LGBTQ+ representation, I just don’t feel like that was the episode’s biggest moment. I was really pulled in by Harper Row subplot.
We haven’t seen Harper do much since she was introduced in “Another Freak.” At first, she seemed to be little more than a fun Easter egg choice to include as a classmate. Her cynical nature was a perfect contrast to Violet and Fred’s naivety and fans who knew her as Bluebird in the comics would appreciate the reference. Then she was used as a bad influence for Violet in the episode “Early Warning,” but none of us thought to look under the surface to question what was really driving her behavior. Nobody but Megan, that is.
It would have been very easy for Megan to dismiss Harper as a bad influence and concentrate on Violet, but that’s not in her nature. It’s easy to forget that Megan Morse has taken a job as Happy Harbor High’s guidance counselor, and as this episode demonstrated, she does her job well. Megan tried to get to the root of Harper’s problems, and did so with patience and compassion—even as Harper did everything she could to push her away.
Megan suspected that Harper and her brother Cullen were being abused by her father, just as she demonstrated that there’s more than one way to be a hero. Saving the world from the Light is one thing, but there are some problems you can’t punch your way out of. Imagine how different things would’ve turned out for Violet and Cullen if she had gone to a counselor who gave up after Harper pushed back. Instead, Megan looked beneath Harper’s words. Check out Megan’s reaction when Harper says, “Must be great to have a lot of people worried about you.” Megan saw beneath Harper’s snide remark and noticed the longing behind the statement.
If you saw the episode, then you know that Megan eventually got through to Harper, who agreed to seek help for her and her brother. Before the two embraced, Megan said, “I know you’re afraid of what comes next, but I’m going to be there to help you through it, and I believe it can be better than what you and Cullen have now.”
Let’s all give a round of applause for Danica McKellar and Zehra Fazal, whose voice-acting skills really brought the emotional weight of this storyline home. Listen to way the Harper breaks down and says, “Our dad hits us” and try not to cry.
The scene between Megan and Harper pulled me in so much that I momentarily forgot that Ms. Morse was an extraterrestrial with superpowers. Though that does raise the question—did Megan use her psychic abilities to read Harper’s mind and figure out what to say? The episode doesn’t tell us one way or the other, but I don’t think she did. Megan learned her lesson about invading other people’s minds in seasons 1 and 2, and it would also defeat the entire purpose of the scene. Megan Morse is a great guidance counselor, and she doesn’t need powers to do her job well. Don’t forget, she’s only been on Earth for less than a decade, and at first, she had difficulty grasping the complexities of the human race. Now she has more maturity than people who are much older.
I hope I’m not coming off as corny or sounding like an after school special here, but there’s a lot we can learn from that scene. At some point in our lives, we may find ourselves in Harper’s position or Megan’s. If you’re the Megan, follow Ms. Morse’s example. Your friend may be resistant to any help, and they may try to push you away. But if there is evidence of abuse, make sure your friends know you’re there to help and encourage them to report it. Use patience and empathy like Megan did and trust that you can get through to them. Sometimes all people need is an ally, and it can make the biggest difference in the world.
If you find yourself in Harper’s shoes, reach out to the Megans in your life. Asking for help isn’t easy, especially if you’re uncertain about what will happen next, but there are people who care about you and will want to help. If you don’t have your own Megan, then the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available for help. They’ll listen to your story and help advocate for you. The number was given at the end of the episode, but in case anyone reading needs it, it’s 1-800-799-7233 and their website address is www.thehotline.org.
Now that we’ve gotten some of the serious stuff out of the way, the ending montage seems to imply that Megan is taking in Harper and Cullen as foster kids. I wonder what Conner will think of that? He’ll have to stop wearing his S-shirt around the house if he wants to maintain a secret identity. Harper and Cullen would probably be surprised to learn that their foster parents are an alien and a clone of an alien. Now, that would make a good book title! What do you think? Tweet your thoughts at me and as always, stay whelmed!
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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.