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Episode guide

"Evolution" is the seventh episode of the third season of Young Justice, and the 53rd of the overall series. It debuted on January 18, 2019 on DC Universe, along with the eighth and ninth episodes, "Triptych" and "Home Fires".


Aliens once again threaten the Earth, but with the Justice League split and scattered, only Earth's first and greatest hero can save us!


Western Mongolia
September 08, 07:54 ICT

Cassandra is gifted with a journal chronicling her father's exploits throughout history.

Olympia Savage shares with Cassandra Savage writings about the backstory of her father, Vandal Savage. Olympia then locates Vandal, who is remembering the day centuries ago when he saw a meteorite fall to Earth. She tells him an armada is approaching their solar system.

Kuiper Belt
September 08, 00:55 UTC

A fleet of warships enters the system.

Mount Justice
September 08, 11:04 EDT

Brion and Violet receive super suits from Dick before starting their training.

Conner Kent, Artemis Crock, Brion Markov, Halo and Forager are gathered at the beach, when Dick Grayson arrives with superhero outfits for Halo and Brion. He tells everyone they will soon begin training.

Anachronistically, Cassandra monologues a portion of her father's history:

As Savage treks to the fallen meteorite, a giant cave bear attacks him. The beast digs its claws into his flesh, leaving him with three slash marks across his face.

She is snapped back to attention when Lex Luthor answers her communication and he and Vandal discuss the threat of the invading armada. As they talk, Olympia asks Cassandra if she "read the part about the bear" and Cassandra says she has.

Meanwhile, Vandal asks if Luthor can notify the Justice League about the armada, but Luthor says the League may not be an option, because several members resigned and those remaining aren't equipped to deal with the armada. Luthor asks about the League members on missions in space, as Vandal says he's keeping most of them busy on Appelaxia. Vandal adds that half the Green Lantern Corps is occupied battling the Reach, the other half is battling the Light's partner and Klarion isn't available. Luthor notes their endeavors to undermine the League are working too well. Vandal realizes he'll need to be the one who protects the Earth.

Savage unleashed a primal roar in triumph over the cave bear.

Through sheer willpower, Vandal kills the bear. He bellows to the skies in triumph before continuing onward in his quest to seek out the meteorite.
September 08, 18:21 EDT

Helga Jace is in her hotel room when Jefferson Pierce texts her, saying he's waiting in the lobby.

At Mount Justice, Dick and Forager train, with Forager demonstrating he has learned how to adapt to Dick's tactics. Halo is training with Artemis, who observes that Halo is showing more control of her auras. Brion and Conner train together and Conner remarks that Brion needs to hit him, then realizes Brion did so. Dick says everyone has improved and is ready for the next step.

The Warworld
September 08, 23:26 UTC

Savage hails the armada and warns that "his" Earth is off limits to any invasion.

Vandal notifies the invading armada that Earth is off limits to all invasion, but the armada accelerates. Vandal fires upon the armada as Cassandra remembers another part of her father's story:

Vandal approaches the meteorite despite the corpses surrounding it. He tries to touch it, but is attacked by another man.

Vandal's assault on the armada fails to turn the ships back and Olympia and Cassandra notice another armada approaching from the other side of the solar system. Vandal realizes whoever is attacking knows that War World can't be in two places at once.

After Savage came back to life and killed their leader, the Neanderthals bowed to him as Earth's first meta-human.

At Mount Justice, the heroes are gathered around a campfire, sharing tales that lead to Brion asking the question about man versus superman and who would win. Dick remarks that balance is key for species to co-exist, but when one grows stronger than another, it rarely works out for the weaker. He tells the tale about how humans shared the world 50,000 years ago with the neanderthals, and that humans must have had a genetic advantage, because they survived while neanderthals did not. However, that's when a new species emerged, the meta-human, and leaves both grappling with the question of whether they can achieve balance.

Vandal contacts Darkseid about the invading armadas and asks for assistance to protect their "investment."

In the 13th century, Savage forged a partnership with Darkseid to conquer the galaxy.

Cassandra recounts Vandal's first encounter with Darkseid. At the end of the 12th century, Vandal, then known as Genghis Khan, and his sons and followers fight Darkseid's forces but are outmatched. In a surprise turn of events, Darkseid expresses interest in Vandal's genetic gifts and the two form a pact to conquer the galaxy together, knowing that when that happens, Earth and Apokolips will wage a final battle to determine who is superior.

Back in Metropolis, Helga and Jefferson are on a dinner date. She asks how Brion and Halo are doing and he says they are fine and that he is sorry she hasn't been able to spend more time with them. Helga assures him it's all right and that the others have more experience training meta-humans.

Brion chooses "Hot Lava" as his code name, which causes the others to laugh.

Dick tells Brion, Halo and Forager it's time to choose their code names. Halo says she'll go with Halo but will be known as Violet when she's not on a mission. Brion suggests "Hot Lava", which only draws laughter, so he says he'll be more serious. He suggests "Geo-Force" because he controls geologic forces, which gets approval. Forager sticks with his own name. Dick has the young heroes demonstrate Maneuver Seven.

Oort Cloud
September 09, 01:47 UTC

As Marduk, Savage and his two children–Ishtar and Nabu–battled the star creature after it arrived to enslave Babylonia.

Apokoliptan gunships, under the command of Kalibak, intervene to assist Vandal in protecting the Earth. The armadas are crippled and Vandal notices one of the aliens is under the influence of Starro. He has Cassandra take control of the War World.

She remembers Vandal's days as Marduk, fending off a Starro invasion in Babylonia. Vandal's son Nabu fell to the scourge, while Vandal and his daughter Ishtar continued to battle.

A long-range sensor check shows another ship out of range of the Warworld. Vandal is confident that that is the den of the mastermind and where he must go to end this.

Back in Metropolis, Helga and Jefferson drunkenly stumble back to her hotel room and spend the night together.

Savage kills the starro-creature just as he did so many centuries ago.

Vandal boom tubes inside the ship, where he encounters Starro and kills it, while Cassandra uses the War World to defeat the armadas. Cassandra recalls Vandal's battle in Babylonia against Starro and how he and his daughter prevailed then, too, and became known as the Light.

At Mount Justice, Dick, Conner and Artemis praise the young heroes for a good day of training. When Artemis suggests they should have more s'mores, Halo is so excited, she projects a green aura that creates duplicate holograms of herself.

Vandal places Starro inside a stasis pod and Olympia says she'll record his latest victory in her writings. Vandal tells Olympia he doesn't want his story recorded because he doesn't want to risk that his long-term plans will be revealed. Realizing Olympia's mind is deteriorating, Vandal snaps her neck, killing her. Cassandra calls it a mercy killing and says she'll bring Olympia's journal immediately. Vandal instructs Cassandra to give Olympia a proper burial.

End credits scene: Wolf sleeps on Conner and Megan's couch.


The title refers to the evolution of Vandal Savage from a neanderthal into Earth's first meta-human.

Cast and characters

Voice actor Character
Dee Bradley Baker Desaad
Troy Baker Brion Markov/Hot Lava/Geo-Force
Zehra Fazal Violet/Halo
Cassandra Savage  
Grey Griffin Helga Jace
David Kaye Vandal Savage
Steve Lombard  
Stephanie Lemelin Artemis Crock
Jenifer Lewis Olympia Savage  
Jesse McCartney Dick Grayson/Nightwing
Nolan North Conner Kent
Khary Payton Jefferson Pierce
Mark Rolston Lex Luthor
Jason Spisak Forager
Michael Leon Wooley Darkseid  
Non-speaking roles
Grayven (flashback)  
Ishtar (flashback)  
Jochi (flashback)  
Nabu (flashback)  
Starro (flashback)
Tolui (flashback)  
9 Character debut
1 Speaking debut
0 Episode debut



  • Number 16: Helga Jace is staying at room 1616.
  • This episode is dedicated to the memory of Miguel Ferrer, the voice of Vandal Savage in seasons one and two. Ferrer passed away on January 19, 2017 at the age of 61. His role is taken over by David Kaye.
  • At the beach, Violet pets a starfish, foreshadowing the main antagonist of this episode.
  • The idea of Vandal Savage getting his scars from a cave bear came from Phil Bourassa, when he originally designed the character. This episode incorporates that idea into the character's story.[1]
  • Savage's combined efforts with his daughter (Ishtar) to defeat Starro in the past is juxtaposed with his combined efforts with another daughter (Cassandra) to repeat the deed in the present.
  • Dick quotes Sun Tzu as a preamble to induce the new recruits to choose their code names. Greg Weisman gave this an ironic twist by revealing that Tzu was also one of Savage's many identities.[2]
  • Olympia Savage is an original character conceived by Brandon Vietti and named by Greg Weisman. She was not included in the original story breakdown for "Evolution" and was added by Vietti, who felt something was missing from the episode. While her addition did not significantly affect the bulk of the story, where Cassandra Savage was to do some of what Olympia ended up doing, it dramatically altered the ending.[2]
  • Greg Weisman has praised this episode as "not merely a great YJ episode. To my mind, "Evolution" transcends YJ. It is a phenomenal, even revolutionary twenty-plus minutes of television," and credits Brandon Vietti's decision to add Olympia, over Weisman's initial objections, for elevating the story.[2]


  • When Olympia informs Savage that there's a incoming problem coming from space, he asks if it's a meteorite. He actually meant to say "meteoroid", because a meteorite is piece of a meteoroid that survives the fall through the atmosphere and crashes on Earth.

Cultural references

  • Artemis jokes that Nightwing named himself after an 80s mullet rock band, a reference to the British band Nightwing.
  • Dick quotes Sun Tzu's The Art of War.


For complete answers to the questions in this section, click here.

Answered questions

Unanswered questions

  • How is Vandal Savage keeping Leaguers busy on Appellaxia?


  • Violet: I think I love gifts. Yes, I do love gifts!
  • Forager: What is wrong with naked? Forager is naked now.
  • Artemis: Gonna pretend I don't know that.
  • Forager: Dick Grayson is quick, but mind the short arms. This will teach Dick Grayson that Forager fights dirty.
  • Vandal Savage: I am Vandal Savage of Earth and my homeworld is off limits to all incursion or invasion. Leave now or suffer the Warworld.
  • Brion: As children, my sister, brother and I would pretend to be Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman in our playroom. I used to say Superman could beat anyone because of his powers. Gregor argued Batman could beat Superman by outsmarting him.
  • Conner: That's stupid. Why would they ever fight?
  • Artemis: Hmm, if they were being controlled by bad guys.
  • Dick: Nah, that could never happen.
  • Dick: The Art of War says, "Oh, divine art, of subtlety and secrecy. Through you, we learn to be invisible." Tonight, you'll choose a word that will help you become invisible to our enemies. Tonight, you choose your cryptonym. Your nom de guerre.
  • Artemis: Yeah, those are Dick's fancy words for "code name".
  • Brion: I will take a name that describes my powers, too. From now on, call me... Hot Lava.

(Dick and Artemis laugh)

  • Brion: What? In my new form-fitting super-suit, I bring the hotness, do I not? Hot Lava!
  • Artemis: (laughs) I'm not calling you Hot Lava.
  • Conner: Agreed.
  • Vandal Savage: The control diadem will make you one with the Warworld, but your consciousness will be no more than a drop in an ocean of circuits and steel. Do not try to move the ocean. Focus on what must be done. And the ocean will move for you.
  • Cassandra Savage: I am the Warworld.
  • Vandal Savage: As only a strong mind could be.
  • Olympia Savage: For war is death, and death is waste. A life should not be wasted while it may yet be controlled to serve a greater purpose.


  1. Weisman, Greg (2012-01-20). Question #14038. Ask Greg. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Weisman, Greg (2019-01-20). THE SMARTEST MAN IN THE ROOM. Ask Greg. Retrieved 2019-01-20.

External links