Yeah, I know, I really should have seen it coming that the entire thing would be a dream-type scenario, you know, what with everyone dying. And the fact that YJ doesn't have room for such a catastrophic event like this at the moment. But I didn't have very much experience with these types of episodes at the time, and I was really hoping that it would all be real for reasons I explain in my review. Also, this is the review where I discuss the possibility that it will be Conner who dies. I kind of cheat in my reasoning, but there is also some sound evidence to back me up, though I think I have more in other reviews. I'll have to dig those up too. Also, here I assume that Artemis is the mole. This is another debate I have spaced out throughout my reviews, but my reasoning goes something like this:
At this point I honestly have no idea who could be the mole. Red Tornado was the first real suspect, but he was proven innocent, and I never thought it was him anyway. I'm almost certain that the mole has to be someone on the Team, namely Aqualad, Kid Flash, Robin, Miss Martian, Superboy or Artemis. There is also the possibility that there is no mole, but I don't Greg Weisman give us this intruiging of a plot line then conclude it in such a dissatisfying a manner. Plus, when The Light mentioned they had "an opporative on the inside" in Infiltrator, they weren't bluffing. Also, that makes any character introduced after Infiltrator immune from suspicion, including the Sphere, which I've often seen a target of suspect. No, whatever the final resolution is, there is a mole, but also it is not going to be as black and white as, "Ahaa! Got you! You're going to jaaaaail!" Which is why I hold on to the dwindling possibility that Artemis is the mole. But let's go through it systematically.
I can't imagine that Aqualad, Kid Flash or Robin would be the mole, because they are so mainstream to DC Comics. Although, Robin did show some guilt when Aqualad said none on the Team are traitors, but I personally think that was because he was still feeling guilty about letting everyone die in Failsafe. Still, he is the most likely out of those three. Also, for all those who think that Aqualad is the mole just because Sportsmaster revealed the possibility in front of Red Arrow, come on, think about it a little. Aqualad is the Team leader, a position he did not even want, a position he plans to give up to Robin. He has never done less than his utmost to see that the Team gets through every crisis intact. He sacrificed himself for the Team and Martian Manhunter in Failsafe! There is absolutely no circumstantial evidence that supports that Aqualad is the mole, and a ton that disproves it. Aqualad is not the mole. Although, this does bring up the question as to why Sportsmaster revealed that there is a mole in the first place. It kind of defeats the point of having one. But I will discuss that later. M'gann definitely has her secrets, like the fact that she is a White Martian, but the only way she could be the mole was if The Light got to her before Martian Manhunter, and we know that that did not happen, since M'gann first met J'onn when she stowed away on his ship, before she ever got to Earth. That leaves Conner and Artemis. As Batman said, the only way Conner could be the mole was by means of some special installation that The Light had... well, installed, in him during the cloning procedure. That is a possibility. Or Conner could still be under the influence of The Light in some way. But either way, it would not be intentional on his part.
And then there is Artemis. The general consensus online is that she is not the mole simply because she is too obvious. My first rebuttal to that is that sometimes it is not the What? (whether or not Artemis is the mole) that is important, but other questions. For example, it could be the Why? (why is Artemis the mole) that is important. Also, Artemis is too involved with the mole story line for her to simply not be the mole. Her arrival on the Team was timed too perfectly, her past is too sketchy for her to simply be free of all guilt. Then again, she has grown too attached to the Team to be the mole willingly. She has shown to much compassion for her new friends, has worked with them too well. So maybe that is just it. She is the mole unwillingly. I have also hypothesized that Artemis is a double agent for Batman, and that Sportsmaster revealed that there is a mole on the Team once he found out that she no longer is a mole, but if that were the case, then I think Batman would have mentioned it in Secrets. It goes deeper than that, though. The main reason I think Artemis has to be or at least has something to do with the mole is because of knowledge I have and most of you probably have that we shouldn't. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I suggest you move on to my main review now. [SPOILER ALERT] Sportsmaster is Artemis's father. There, I said it. Just that simple fact alone removes any possibility that Artemis has nothing to do with the mole. Her father could easily have blackmailed her into becoming a mole for him, which she resented from the start but even more so when she was welcomed onto the Team with open arms. You know, in Denial. But would Batman really make the mistake of bringing a mole onto the Team? That is where my double-agent theory comes into play. My finale theory is that there is no mole after all, that Sportsmaster did reveal the possibility purely to sow dissent into the Team, but specifically aimed at Artemis. But again, The Light weren't bluffing when they said they had a mole on the Team, so that seems unlikely.
I haven't offered any good answers to the mole debate because I myself have no idea who it could be. But I hope everything I have said at least narrows down your options somewhat. Anyway, now we move on to my actual review.
My first reaction: WHAT?!! It was a TRAINING EXERCISE?!
My second reaction: Hmmm...
My third reaction: Holy @%#^!
First of all, I was caught in that freak snowstorm last week, so I never got to do my Predictions post. I feel compelled to do it now, so as to demonstrate my line of thought from the very beginning.
Before I saw this episode, I thought that the alien invasion would be real. Furthermore, I thought it to be a prelude to season two's conflict, an alien invasion. In light of the description for Failsafe, it made sense, and I thought that the invasion in this episode would be made up of the forerunners of season two's invasion. I also predicted that the invasion would be executed by the race from the planet to which the boom-tube in Bereft connected to. This race probably would have been the original owners of the Sphere, which I knew, based on the description for the next episode, Disordered, were the forever people of New Genesis. This made sense because I thought it most likely that the invaders in season two would be from Apokolips. The two planets are opposite counterparts, which strengthened my theory.
Now, however, most of my predictions have been shot to bits. Some of those bits may be salvageable, though. First of all, season two will still be about an alien invasion, and Apokolips and New Genesis are still likely to be involved in that invasion. The roots of that involvement also likely still have their roots in season one, in episodes such as Bereft and Disordered. Perhaps Failsafe is still a prelude to that invasion, too, but not in a literal sense. My thoughts: it is foreshadowing the invasion, which is almost better. At first this episode seems to have no impact whatsoever on the continuity of YJ, aside from some character relationships and such, but then if you go down deeper into the episode, you begin to see that perhaps this episode does have a huge impact on the show's continuity, but solely through foreshadow. And that is so very, very fantastic. It foreshadows the invasion in season two, and it foreshadows an upcoming problem with M'gann's powers.
On some levels, I love that this episode was but a work of M'gann's awesomely powerful psyche, but on others, I hate it. I love that M'gann is so much more powerful than the Martian Manhunter, that suggests that her powers will manifest in some destructive way and create an incredibly interesting situation in the future. And here I will divulge a sad prediction: Weisman and Vietti have already said that someone is likely to die in YJ. I think it is Conner. I think this because it is logical in a cold, emotionless sort of way, and because on that promotional poster of YJ: Invasion, I see every team member, plus another female that I can only assume is Wonder Girl, but no one who looks like they could be Superboy. Also, I think that if Artemis is indeed the mole, and because she is the other likely candidate for death, that when Conner dies and she lives, it will create a guilt-and-blame dynamic where there is this unspoken (or spoken) accusation that claims that Artemis should have been the one to die, not Conner. If that does indeed come to fruition, it will be the most sorrowful, and the most powerful, sentiment I have ever encountered. I would hate that sentiment so very much, but at the same time that hateful reaction is what would make it so powerful. Anyway, my point with all this is that at the moment when Conner truly dies, I think M'gann's power conflict will reach its climax.
I hate that Failsafe was merely an invention of M'gann's psyche because there was some utterly amazing character reactions to the deaths of other characters and some equally amazing sacrifices that now are all but wasted. Some of them may be salvaged as foreshadow (M'gann's reaction to Conner's death?), and others as hints at character attractions that are as of yet unexplored (Wally's reaction to Artemis's death?), but even that is no where near enough. Also, if the events of Failsafe had been real, then obviously the Team would have found some way to fix everything, and when they did we would have gotten some amazing reunion moments between characters who were previously lost to one another. As it was all a training exercise gone wrong, though, we were completely jipped of those reunions. I have to say, though, that I can at least see why Weisman and Vietti made this episode so inconsequential: with The Light's plot line not yet over, it would be difficult to fully introduce the invasion plot line. That, however, brings me to another question.
Is The Light going to be connected at all to the invasion in season two? If so, then by how much? Will they simply inadvertently pave the way for the alien invasion, or are they themselves the forerunners? I hope and I am confident that Weisman and Vietti will be competent enough to provide some connection. In fact, it is likely that there will be a connection. I say this because Weisman and/or Vietti said that the finale of season one will take place on December 31st, and premiere of season two will take place on January 1st. The fact that season two begins the day after season one ends strongly suggests that there will indeed be a great amount of continuity between the two seasons. Plus, we all know YJ by now, and it is most definitely a show of strong continuity.
But I digress, there is still much more to discuss about Failsafe. As I said before, the reactions characters had to others' deaths and the deaths themselves were brilliantly done. This owes its success to the marvelous voice acting of YJ, acting that was at its all time height in this episode. First we had Artemis's death, and a heart-wrenching scream from M'gann, but that pales in comparison to Wally's distress over her death. His grief and anger physically pained me. Then we had, and I apologize if I screw up the order, Aqualad's sacrifice. That was almost worse. Almost, but not quite. Still, it is exactly how Aqualad should have gone out. And then Conner died. That was the most painful of all. Robin is so heartless. But that only makes him a better character. He knew that Conner would die, and he did. M'gann's perception of his death, and her horrible grief afterwords was... well, it was indescribable. And she said 'I love you' to Conner! To this, at first I thought, "awww, that's cute." (sarcasm) Then I thought, "wait a second, that's awesome." To top it all off, Robin and Kid Flash both willingly gave their lives to allow M'gann and her uncle to escape. And they went out fighting. That was so great. But again, because it was all a training exercise, it was all for nothing. Well, not nothing precisely, but it might as well have been.
In many ways, this episode was much like Humanity. It was incredible to watch, but there are elements of it that could, but at this point don't, fit into YJ's continuity. There is still time to redeem all the questionable aspects of both Humanity and Failsafe, though, and I fervently hope that they will be. In a show as amazing as this one, I couldn't bear any incongruities. So far, I have only seen this episode once; I think I covered all the important points, but if I missed anything, I'll add it in below. Overall, this episode was brilliantly done, but it ripped us off at the end.
So just a few smaller points: first of all, I liked the appearance of Iris West-Allen, the wife of the Flash, as a reporter in Central City. Her grief at the Flash's death, and then her own death both were a great prelude to the upcoming tragedies.
Secondly, I also liked the arctic camo. That was a great change of pace.
Superboy's abhorrence at being called Superman did well to continue his troubled relationship with Superman, but are we going to get an actual confrontation between the two any time soon? They have made no real progress since Schooled and it is becoming stagnant. It's not just Superboy and Superman's relationship, too. This episode provided some progress for Wally and Artemis, but not nearly enough. Actually, this episode did more for Wally and Artemis's relationship than most others, as it made clear that despite his hostile attitude towards Artemis, Wally does care deeply for Artemis, but for long stretches of time, their relationship has been maintained but not progressed in the slightest. I get that Weisman and Vietti are almost certainly waiting for the opportune moment to really establish Wally and Artemis's and Superboy and Superman's relationships, but in the meantime could you please provide some more interesting and varying interactions?
There was a lot of fantastic voice acting, but the moment that really shined was the Team's motivational speech to the whole of Earth. It started off kind of cheesy with talks of hope, but that is unavoidable, and it ended with immense strength.
Finally, again, the animation in this episode was great. The explosion at the end of the episode was particularly well done.