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Inside Outsiders: What is Dr. Helga Jace Doing?

Inside Outsiders: What is Dr. Helga Jace Doing?

By Joshua Lapin-Bertone Friday, August 9th, 2019

Calling all Young Justice fans! “Inside Outsiders” is a weekly column that dives into the latest season of the popular DC Universe animated series, exploring the show's themes and characters and reacting to each week's big moments.

Hello all Outsiders! I apologize for the enhanced security measures this week, but precautions must be made because it appears we have a traitor in our midst. During the final act of this week’s episode of Young Justice, we found out who Dr. Helga Jace’s mentor is—Ultra-Humanite! Yes, the same Ultra-Humanite that is part of the Light’s leadership. The man who was so devoted to his cause, he had his brain placed within the body of a gorilla.

By the way, here’s where we clear up any confusion for those of you behind on your villainous primates. Ultra-Humanite shouldn’t be confused with Gorilla Grodd or Monsieur Mallah, two other gorilla criminals the show has featured. I don’t know why it is, but the DC Universe has an unusually high number of evil-minded gorillas. It’s just one of those things. Maybe they could form their own team in season four, Young Justice: Going Bananas.

But let’s not get too distracted by the apes, because we have an urgent situation on our hands. Dr. Jace has been feeding intel to the Light. I previously spoke about how it’s in Terra’s nature to betray her teammates regardless of the reality she’s in, and it’s possible we may have a similar situation with Dr. Jace. While Dr. Jace’s betrayals aren’t as iconic as Terra’s, they have been consistent. It must be a Markovian thing. In Mike W. Barr’s 1980’s Outsiders run, Dr. Jace betrayed the heroes by siding with the alien Manhunters during the “Millennium” event, and if you’ve been watching The CW’s Black Lightning, then your opinion of Helga is probably not all that high either.

In fact, it’s interesting that the Black Lightning television series portrays Dr. Jace as a nemesis of Jefferson’s ex-wife Lynn Pierce, while on Young Justice, she’s Jeff’s lover! Lynn would probably hate her even more if she knew about that!

This does bring me to another point—what’s her game with Jeff? Is her romantic relationship with Jefferson Pierce part of a larger plan to deepen her connection with the group? I’m even starting to wonder if she was really drunk during the episode “Evolution” or if she was faking that as well as part of a plan to seduce Jeff. Maybe that’s too paranoid of me, but no theory is off the table right now. It’s hard enough for divorced fathers to find love again, so I hope Helga doesn’t shatter Jefferson’s heart too badly.  

And while we’re questioning things, do you think Halo is really dying? Did Dr. Jace lie to Violet about her prognosis? Violet never went for a second opinion, and it was Helga’s idea to keep the news from the rest of the group. But that news caused Halo to lash out and begin a rebellious streak. Was it all for a lie?

So many questions are running through my head. Is the Light coordinating with each other about their moles? We know that Terra has been feeding intel to Slade, but is he comparing her notes with the information Ultra-Humanite is receiving from Dr. Jace? Or is this a “pet project” (no pun intended) from the Ultra-Humanite that he hasn’t let Slade in on? Does Dr. Jace know about Terra and visa-versa? It’s amazing how many questions can come from just one scene.

Has it all been a lie though? Dr. Jace’s text message to Ultra-Humanite included a request to get “her kids” out of California. Perhaps her maternal feelings for them are real, and she wants them safely away during the next phase of the Light’s plan. Maybe she does care on some level, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s been sabotaging the Outsiders from the beginning.

Once you realize that Helga is a manipulator, her actions in earlier episodes begin to make more sense. Remember the Thanksgiving dinner when Helga “accidentally” started a fight between Artemis and her mother over her role on the team? At the time it seemed like an innocent slip, but like most things on Young Justice, it takes on a second meaning when you rewatch it. Dr. Jace’s sabotage of the group is so subtle that you might not even notice it on your first viewing. She may be evil, but she’s good at what she does.

Young Justice fans, I issue a challenge to all of you. Rewatch the early episodes of the season and see if any of her actions stand out. Now that we know she’s in bed with the Light, see if anything she’s done takes on new meaning. Tweet your findings my way, and as always, stay whelmed!
 

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.