"Before the Dawn" is the tenth episode of the second season of Young Justice, and the 36th of the overall series. It was originally scheduled to air on October 13, 2012, but was pushed to a later date in a last minute schedule change that preempted the entire schedule of October. However, on October 14, 2012 the episode was made available for purchase on iTunes and reached the top 5 of the Top TV Episodes chart, but one day later it was taken off. It officially aired on January 5, 2013.
- Jaime is talking to his mother on his cellphone while skateboarding home. He promises he'll be home by his curfew, and takes a shortcut through Kord Industries' parking lot. As he passes the building there's an explosion on the top floor, which knocks Jaime down and sets his jacket on fire. He removes it quickly. Stunned by the explosion, he then notices a strange blue object on the ground and picks it up. It begins to move, climbing onto his back and clamping onto his spine. The Scarab grows and covers Jaime's body in armor.
Jaime wakes up from his nightmare confused, trapped in a pod in a strange room. The Scarab reminds him that he let himself be captured by Aqualad and tells him the containment pod has disabled his armor. Two aliens appear; the Scarab translates their speech. The scientist says only the Scarab's memory files for the last eight months can be accessed, since it fused with Jaime. Her companion wants to reboot the Scarab, but scientist wants to know why the crash occurred. A third, large alien in armor similar to Blue Beetle's steps from the shadows. He thinks the scientist just enjoys playing with the "meat".
Later, the ambassador gives Aqualad a tour of the alien ship. He introduces his people as the Reach, and shows him the labs they are using to study the Meta-Gene—which allows some humans to develop super-human powers. In the first lab, Kaldur is introduced to the scientist overseeing the research, who thanks him for providing test subjects. She explains that the lab, which houses Lagoon Boy, Shimmer and the four teens captured by Queen Bee's forces, is being used to isolate the Meta-Gene by stimulating dormant powers in "average" humans. They move on to a second lab, where they study the reactions of subjects with active Meta-Genes to stress—Beast Boy and Impulse are in pods and being probed. The Reach hopes to duplicate—and, as Kaldur notes, weaponize—their powers. The scientist then bids Kaldur farewell, entering a third lab. Kaldur asks if Blue Beetle is in that lab, but the ambassador firmly tells him that what happens in that lab has nothing to do with Kaldur or the Light, and neither does Blue Beetle—he is of the Reach. The ambassador then asks about more test subjects; Kaldur assures him they are on the way.
At a loading dock, Barbara, Tim and Bumblebee observe from atop a stack of cargo containers as Tigress and a squad of Manta Troopers prepare to put a group of teenagers, held in a wire mesh pen, into containment pods. Barbara and Tim quietly jump into the pen. They assure the confused captives they are there to help, but one girl is uncertain they can be trusted, until she sees Bumblebee fly into Tim's jacket. The captives are put into the pods. The Manta-Flyer then surfaces at dockside, and Tigress orders that the pods be loaded aboard.
Later, as the Manta-Flyer moves under water, it is followed by the camouflaged Bio-Ship. Aboard the Bio-Ship, Nightwing is pleased that they are leading them to Lagoon Boy and the others. Wonder Girl asks how he could know that; he responds that it is wishful thinking. She also wonders how he knew about the abductees shipment; he claims Aquaman found the intel while searching for Lagoon Boy.
- Jaime and Tye are skateboarding together, laughing as they perform tricks. They are enveloped in a strange fog. When Jaime asks Tye what is happening, Tye answers in the Reach language.
Jaime wakes up in his containment pod. The scientist is in front of him speaking to the armored alien. Scarab begins translating as the scientist expresses her disappointment in the "human beetle", wondering how he can be the Reach's advanced operative on Earth if the Scarab will not function on mode. The other alien recommends rebooting it. The scientist reluctantly agrees it may be necessary, though it will mean finding a new host. Killing Jaime to remove the Scarab does not concern the other; meat is plentiful on Earth.
The Manta-Flyer docks with the Reach ship, as the crew of the Bio-Ship look on. Nightwing notes the ship has a similar design to the bombs used on Malina Island and Mount Justice. It reminds Wonder Girl of Blue Beetle's armor. Nightwing sends in Miss Martian, who enters the water and density shifts into the ship. She telepathically contacts Alpha Squad; Barbara reports that they are in the docking bay and have sighted the aliens and Aqualad. Miss Martian finds Beast Boy and Impulse unconscious in their pods in the second lab. Barbara then reports Alpha are now in the first lab, unsupervised. Nightwing orders Alpha and M'gann to move now. M'gann frees Gar and Bart from their pods, setting off an alarm. They wake up, and Impulse runs off to find Blue Beetle.
In the docking bay, a Manta Trooper knocks out Tigress and the other Manta Troopers. Superboy removes his helmet and reports the bay is secure, as Bumblebee, Lagoon Boy and the abducted teens arrive. Nightwing docks the Bio-Ship, and Wonder Girl orders everyone aboard. Tim and Barbara take out the Reach guards who have followed them and move toward the Bio-Ship, as Tigress wakes.
In the ship's corridors, Miss Martian and Beast Boy come across Kaldur. M'gann attacks Kaldur telepathically, and he screams and falls to his knees.
In the docking bay, Superboy realizes the link is down and goes to find M'gann and Gar, but is thrown back by the armored alien, who seals the bay, locking himself in with Barbara, Tim, Superboy, Wonder Girl, Bumblebee, Lagoon Boy, Shimmer and one of the abductees. Wonder Girl warns "Black Beetle" that he is outnumbered, but he laughs at the threat and extends his armor.
Impulse runs through the ship until he finds the third lab. He knocks down the scientist and frees Jaime.
As M'gann continues her mental assault on Kaldur, she sees many of his memories, enough to see he was acting as a double agent and had faked Artemis's death. She falls to her knees in despair, and does not respond to Gar. Tigress arrives and is shocked to see Kaldur catatonic. M'gann links with her telepathically and explains she thought he had killed her, that he deserved it. Beast Boy shifts into a tiger and attacks Tigress. She throws a smoke bomb; when the air clears she and Kaldur are gone.
In the docking bay, the heroes unsuccessfully battle Black Beetle. He easily dismisses assaults from Lagoon Boy, Superboy and Wonder Girl. He takes out Bumblebee with a sonic blast. Tim and Barbara attack with explosive batarangs to no effect. Black Beetle electrocutes Lagoon Boy when he attacks, then shoots staples when Tim and Barbara try to taser him. One of them hits Tim, and he is pinned to the wall. The abductee tries to attack with a Manta Trooper's gun, but is taken down by Shimmer, who then fights Barbara. Wonder Girl and Superboy take on Black Beetle again.
- Bart struggles to carry a piece of heavy equipment through a wasteland and stumbles. A larger, older version of Blue Beetle blasts a warning shot and orders him to his feet.
Impulse finishes explaining to Jaime how he will betray humanity and help bring about a Reach apocalypse in the future. Jaime refuses to believe it, but Bart knows it happened; he came back to stop it.
Gar, in gorilla form, and M'gann reach the sealed docking bay doors. M'gann restores the psychic link. Nightwing is cut off on the Bio-Ship. Wonder Girl reports on the events in the docking bay; Superboy gets knocked out, leaving only Batgirl and herself. Gar encourages M'gann to go in, but she is confused. Gar has to remind her to density shift. She does, but halfway through Black Beetle alters the door's density, knocking M'gann out. He then pounds Wonder Girl against the door until she is unconscious, and rounds on Batgirl just as she defeats Shimmer.
Blue Beetle opens the bay door, then the door to the Bio-Ship. Since he is still dazed, Jaime gives the Scarab full control of the armor to battle Black Beetle, and attacks. Barbara meets Nightwing at the Bio-Ship entry port, hands him Bumblebee and tells him to be ready to fly the Bio-Ship out once she, Beast Boy and Impulse have the others on board.
Black Beetle dominates his battle with Blue. Jaime takes control again, jetting Black Beetle into the ceiling, but Black Beetle soon regains the upper hand. Shimmer awakens and accidentally vaporizes a piece of the ship's hull she was touching, flooding the bay. Gar brings Tim aboard the Bio-Ship as it begins to flood—only Blue Beetle is absent. Impluse tries to go after him but is knocked out by an influx of water. Batgirl orders the hatch sealed. The Bio-Ship detaches from the Reach vessel.
The Beetles battle with scythe arms inconclusively, then form giant energy cannons. The beams meet and build up to a blast that knocks Blue out of the hole in the hull. Black Beetle rescues Shimmer and seals the breach.
The Reach ship opens fire. Lagoon Boy enters the water to pick up Blue, and they are collected by the Bio-Ship, which then flees the scene. Blue Beetle wakes up to see Impulse looking down at him. He urgently tells Bart he is still him; Bart is not surprised. Nightwing congratulates his team on a job well done. He offers Miss Martian the helm, but she does not respond. Beast Boy says she is basking in her victory, and explains her confrontation with Aqualad.
Nightwing briefs Captain Atom about their successful mission, stating that the Reach has moved their ship elsewhere. But at least the world can be told about their secret invasion. Aquaman switches on a GBS news broadcast, showing a Reach ship hovering at the United Nations building in New York City. On a stage outside, UN Secretary Tseng is shown shaking hands with the Reach ambassador. In a seeming about-face his xenophobic mien, G. Gordon Godfrey voices his approval of the Reach, saying that knocking on Earth's front door is the right thing for aliens to do. Aquaman turns off the transmission as Nightwing wryly comments that the Reach have preempted their warning to the public. In consolation, the heroes know exactly where the Reach is, and what they are up against.
Unbeknownst to all, dozens of Reach spacecraft have gathered deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
This title is a follow up to the title of the previous episode, and together they refer to the saying "It's always darkest before the dawn", or other variations. It may refer to the fact that, by dawn, the abducted heroes and civilians have been rescued by the Team, thus making up for the grim events of the past episode. Also, the Reach makes a public introduction at dawn, which contrasts with the message of hope derived from the aforementioned proverb, whereas in actuality it signals a prelude for dark times ahead.
The title can also refer to the revelations in the episode. Many things hitherto shrouded in mystery, such as the identity of the Partner and their agent, Kaldur's mission, the true source of Blue Beetle's Scarab, and Miss Martian's predilection towards lobotomizing, now stand revealed before the light of day. Finally, the actions taken by the Team before day had broken have forced the Reach to reveal themselves to the people of Earth, and take control of the narrative before the Justice League could paint it as an invasion.
Cast and characters
|Tim Curry||G. Gordon Godfrey|
|Kevin Grevioux||Black Beetle|
|Logan Grove||Beast Boy|
|Eric Lopez||Blue Beetle|
|Danica McKellar||Miss Martian|
|Alyson Stoner||Barbara Gordon|
|Mae Whitman||Wonder Girl|
|Black Canary (flashback)|
|Black Manta (flashback)|
|Captain Marvel (flashback)|
|Eduardo Dorado Jr.|
|Green Arrow (flashback)|
|Icicle Jr. (flashback)|
|John Stewart (flashback)|
|Kid Flash (flashback)|
|Martian Manhunter (flashback)|
|Red Arrow (flashback)|
|Red Tornado (flashback)|
|Wonder Woman (flashback)|
- Through Jaime's flashback, it is revealed how he came into the possession of the Scarab, an event he alluded to in "Salvage".
- The shrouded aliens from "Bloodlines" and "Darkest" are revealed to be Black Beetle, the scientist and the ambassador.
- The ambassador and the scientist explain what the Meta-Gene is, which was first mentioned in "Bloodlines".
- The scientist explains to Aqualad why they are conducting experiments on Lagoon Boy. She gave the same explanation to the ambassador in "Darkest".
- Nightwing knows that the Manta-Flyer is leading them to Lagoon Boy because of the tracker Aqualad planted on him in "Darkest". He also knew about the abductee shipment most likely from the flash drive Aqualad had slipped to him, also in that episode. Naturally, Nightwing lies to Wonder Girl to preserve their secret plan.
- Miss Martian explains to Beast Boy that her physiology is susceptible to underwater pressure, making her shrink in size. This was previously established in "Under the Surface...".
- This episode explains Impulse's approximation to Jaime in "Satisfaction" and "Darkest".
- Aqualad's flashbacks include shots from "Fireworks", "Welcome to Happy Harbor", "Schooled", "Infiltrator", "Denial", "Downtime", "Targets", "Homefront", "Alpha Male", "Failsafe", "Disordered", "Secrets", "Coldhearted", "Insecurity", "Usual Suspects", "Auld Acquaintance", "Alienated", "Depths" and "Darkest".
- Miss Martian finds out that Artemis's death in "Depths" was staged.
- It is revealed that the cataclysm from Impulse's timeline, seen in "Bloodlines", is brought upon by the Reach, and one of the true reasons why Impulse has traveled back in time.
- When Beast Boy tells the Team that Miss Martian defeated Aqualad, Superboy frowns upon her because he disapproves of her tendency to lobotomize her adversaries. This was established first in "Earthlings" and then explained in "Depths".
"Before the Dawn" garnered an average of 1,773 million viewers.
- Originally scheduled to air on October 13, 2012, this episode was inexplicably pulled off the schedule and reported to return in January 2013. However, the last minute change didn't affect on-line stores scheduled releases and on October 14, the episode was made available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. It quickly topped the downloaded charts for the "Animation" category on iTunes and within hours it became the most downloaded episode of all genres.
- The Reach's language sound effects were done by Audio Circus.
- The Star City docks featured in this episode were previously used in Gotham City where Batman and Nightwing fought Amazo in Batman: Under the Red Hood, directed by Brandon Vietti.
- This episode is featured on Young Justice: Invasion – Destiny Calling: Season 2 Part 1.
Foreign Language translations
|Spanish||Jaime: Hasta pronto.||See you soon.|
- For complete answers to the questions in this section, click here.
- Did the other abductees also acquire superhuman abilities? (Answer #1, Answer #2)
- Why doesn't Blue Beetle's Scarab work as the Reach intended? (Answer)
- Is there a deeper reason that G. Gordon Godfrey is supportive of the Reach, despite his antagonism for other aliens? (Partial answer, Answer)
- Harvey, James (2012-09-28). "Young Justice: Invasion," "Green Lantern: The Animated Series" Episodes For October 2012. World's Finest Online. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
- Harvey, Jim (2012-10-13). Cartoon Network Pre-Empts DC Nation Programming Block For Remainder Of October 2012. The World's Finest. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Vietti, Brandon (2012-10-14). Tweet. Twitter. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
- Young Justice Wiki (2012-10-16). Tweet. Twitter. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- Bryan (2013-02-05). Did #SaveYJandGLTAS Campaign Help "Young Justice" Score Season High Ratings?. Nick and More. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- Young Justice Wiki (2012-10-14). Tweet. Twitter. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- Vietti, Brandon (2013-01-05). Tweet. Twitter. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
- Vietti, Brandon (2013-01-05). Tweet. Twitter. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
"Before the Dawn"