"Fireworks" is the second episode of the first season of Young Justice, and the second of the overall series. It premiered on Cartoon Network as part of the one hour, two episode long pilot movie on November 26, 2010. The episodic version of the episode first aired on 14 January 2011.
Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash have infiltrated Cadmus, where they find the sixteen year old clone of Superman, Superboy. They free the clone, and escape from Cadmus after battling Blockbuster. Once the building collapses, the Justice League appear, and the four boys demand to be recognized as a team. After agreeing to found the team on League terms, the Martian Manhunter's niece also joins.
From his office, Dr. Desmond contacts Cadmus's board of directors to report recent events to them. He tells them of the ground level fire, and the presence of Kid Flash, Robin and Aqualad in the facility. Though they managed to free Project Kr, they were captured. Desmond asks what he should do with them. L-1 and L-3 order him to clone them and dispose of the originals.
While Independence Day fireworks still light the skies of the capital, the three sidekicks are locked up tight in Sub-Level 42. A commanding voice telepathically urges them to wake up. They do, and find Superboy is standing in front of them. Kid Flash does not like him silently staring at them. Meanwhile, Desmond orders Spence to prepare the cloning sequence, and berates Guardian for letting the Weapon stay out of its pod. He uses his G-Gnome to convince him to find Superboy.
The sidekicks find out, much to Kid Flash's astonishment, that Superboy can talk. Aqualad asks him about his upbringing. Superboy tells them of how the G-Gnomes taught him basic skills, and gave him knowledge of the outside world, but he has not actually seen any of those things; he's never been outside. They try to coax him by telling him there's more to life than Cadmus, at which he grows angry—he lives because of Cadmus. When they offer to show him the moon, and introduce him to Superman, he changes his attitude, but they are interrupted by Desmond. He scoffs at the suggestions made by the sidekicks. Spence is sent to start the cloning sequence, and Guardian escorts Superboy to the exit. Desmond suppresses the shimmer of thought in Superboy's mind with a G-Gnome. He crudely orders Superboy back to his pod, and Superboy is forced to obey. Spence initiates the procedures on the sidekicks. Dubbilex is ordered to download their memories.
In pain, Aqualad reaches out to Superboy, who receives the message via super hearing. At the question, "What would Superman do?", Superboy decides to go back. He easily dispatches Guardian and Desmond. Robin manages to break out himself, and gets Kid Flash out. Superboy frees Aqualad, and they head for the exit. Robin dismisses threats from Desmond, and destroys the cloning chambers with explosive batarangs. An enraged Desmond orders the activation of every genomorph in Cadmus to track them down.
Aqualad leads the escape to the elevator, but they are cut off by hordes of genomorphs. While Aqualad, Robin and Kid Flash are primarily concerned with getting past them, Superboy takes them on. He has to be called back in order for them to reach the elevator. Superboy attempts to fly up with Aqualad, but discovers he can't actually fly. Robin throws a batarang allowing Aqualad to hang on and save them both from falling deeper. Superboy is disappointed in not having the same powers as Superman. They all get out at sub level 15, forced out of the shaft by the elevator. Superboy hears telepathic instructions, and he relays them to the others. It leads them to a dead end, but Robin notices an air vent. They escape through the ventilation system, but the genomorphs are on to them.
Desmond tracks the heroes with help from the motion sensors in the vents, because Robin has hacked the security cameras. He is confident they have them, and corner their escape in the toilets. But as they wait by the vent, only the genomorphs fall out. Half-buried under the creatures, Desmond remarks that Robin hacked the motion sensors as well.
Kid Flash finds the stairwell, and with his super-speed, quickly moves up several levels. He takes out genomorphs in the process. Superboy destroys the stair behind them, preventing pursuit.
Guardian, Dubbilex and Desmond take the elevator to sub level 1 to cut them off. Desmond leaves to take something from Project Blockbuster. Kid Flash has reached sub level 1, but notices a closing door too late. He tries to slow down, but still crashes into it with some speed. Aqualad and Superboy try to open the door, and Robin tries hacking it, but they're too late. Guardian and the genomorphs have caught up with them. The G-Gnomes telepathically make them fall asleep. Superboy is still awake, and finds out it was Dubbilex who helped him in the escape. He did it because Superboy is the genomorph's biggest success, and will blaze their trail to freedom. Dubbilex drops the telepathic restrictions on Guardian, who recognizes he's been fooled by Desmond, and offers to deal with him. Desmond laughs at the thought; with Project Blockbuster, he can restore order to Cadmus. He drinks a vial, and transforms into a hulking monster.
Guardian is knocked out, prompting Superboy to take a few slings at the monster. He fares only a little bit better, but during the fight, they break through the ceiling. Robin and the others follow them to the ground level. They each try their best against Blockbuster, but he is too strong. After Aqualad is slammed through one of the support beams, Robin gets an idea. While Superboy and Aqualad fight, he goes through the plan with Kid Flash. The speedster distracts Blockbuster, and lures him to a pillar. After it's destroyed, Robin calls Aqualad and Superboy to destroy two others. Kid Flash lures him to the center of the hall, where Aqualad has spread the water from his Water-Bearers. Superboy knocks him down, and Aqualad electrocutes him. With Blockbuster distracted, Robin blows up the last pillar. The roof falls down on top of him; the whole building collapses. Aqualad and Superboy shield Robin and Kid Flash.
Superboy breaks out first. They're all all right, apart from minor bruises and torn clothes. Blockbuster is out. Kid Flash shows Superboy the moon. As he looks at it, Superman appears, and with him the entire Justice League. With the entire League before them, Superboy steps forward and explains he's Superman's clone. It startles Superman, and Batman demands further explanation.
While half the League carries off Blockbuster, the sidekicks wait for a verdict. Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman urge Superman to speak with his clone, but it's not a very good conversation. He flies off after only a few words. In the meantime, Batman has received news from Guardian, and returns to talk to the sidekicks. He is not pleased that they went off for themselves, hacked Justice League systems, and endangered lives, and forbids them from doing it again. The young protégés stand firm against their mentors. They argue that they did what they were trained for. Batman thinks about it.
Batman meets the four young heroes in the Justice League's old headquarters, the Secret Sanctuary. They can have it as their base, provided they operate on League terms. Red Tornado has volunteered to be supervisor, and Black Canary offers her skills as a trainer. The Team will go on covert missions; the League will still handle the high-profile cases. Batman introduces them to the fifth member of their team: Miss Martian, Martian Manhunter's niece. Kid Flash introduces her to everyone. She takes a liking to Superboy in particular.
Back in Washington, reconstruction is under way on Cadmus. Guardian has been placed in charge, with Spence as acting chief scientist. He vows for a kindler, gentler Cadmus, without secret breeding projects and will-suppressing G-Gnomes. The Light, meanwhile, ponders whether placing Guardian in charge of Cadmus was a good idea. They're worried about the loss of Project Kr, and the involvement of young heroes. L-1 is convinced both can be used to their advantage.
The title is a follow-up to the previous episode, still referring to the national holiday, in which this episode takes place, usually associated with fireworks. (Indeed, fireworks can be seen being set off during the episode.) It may also refer to how Robin defeats Blockbuster using an array of bombs, reminiscent of a display of fireworks. The word fireworks can also be used metaphorically to refer to periods of excitement.
Cast and characters
- This story continues from the previous episode.
- The three day gap by the end of the episode is covered in "Stopover".
"Fireworks" garnered an average of 1.8 million viewers among kids between 6 and 11 and boys between 2 and 11 and 9 and 14.
- Main title clips: (six out of the seven images are actually from "Independence Day")
- (from "Independence Day") Superboy waking up inside the pod (20:36)
- (from "Independence Day") Superboy lurching from the pod (20:38)
- (from "Independence Day") Robin falling on his back (21:05)
- (from "Independence Day") Kid Flash trying to restrain Superboy (20:48)
- (from "Independence Day") Dr. Desmond smirking at a Blockbuster formula (13:15)
- Aqualad looking at their getaway (13:33)
- (from "Independence Day") The Guardian's G-Gnome contacts the others inside Kr (20:13)
- The Team defeats Blockbuster by using the same strategy Spider-Man used to defeat Shocker in the episode "Market Forces" of The Spectacular Spider-Man, also produced by Greg Weisman.
- This episode is featured on Young Justice Season One, Volume One and Young Justice: 3-Pack Fun.
- This episode is featured in Young Justice Enhanced with a commentary track by Brandon Vietti, Greg Weisman, Phil Bourassa and Jason Spisak.
- The main title features seven images, but only one is from this episode, whereas the others are from "Independence Day".
- When Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad are unconscious and kept in pods, the points on top of Robin's mask are missing.
- The official summary for the episode refers to Superboy as a "sixteen year old clone", when in reality he is sixteen week old. He is biologically sixteen years old, however.
- After the Cadmus building collapses, Robin's cape is damaged, exposing his right shoulder. However, the sleeves of his tunic are still intact.
- During the Light's private conference at the end of the episode, there are eight screens arranged in a circle. However, the group only has seven leaders, which was confirmed early on by Greg Weisman.
- Dr. Desmond tells Superboy he's not a "real boy", alluding to Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who wanted to become a real boy. The character was created by Carlo Collodi in his 1883 novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio.
- Kid Flash describes Superboy's jumping power as "leaping tall buildings in a single bound", part of Superman's classic introduction used since the 1940s Fleischer Superman serial.
- Guardian's words "a kinder, gentler Cadmus" are a reference to George H.W. Bush's acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in 1988, where he used the phrase "I want a kinder, gentler nation".
- Wally refers to Blockbuster as "you incredible bulk," a reference to Marvel's Incredible Hulk.
- For complete answers to the questions in this section, click here.
- Where did the Justice League take Blockbuster? (Answer)
- Who are the members of the Light? (First revelation, Final revelation)
- Why doesn't Superboy have all of Superman's powers? (Answer)
- What is "The Light" and what is their agenda? (Answer)
- What are the "other subtler means of control" that L-3 refers to? (Answer #1, Answer #2)
- How can the Light turn the loss of Superboy into an advantage? (Answer)
- Is Blockbuster's mutation irreversible? (Answer)
- Gorman, Bill (2011-01-19). Ratings Notes for TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network; Including 'The Closer,' 'Conan,' 'Southland' & More. TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
- Weisman, Greg (2011-12-09). Question #13759. Ask Greg. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
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