"Illusion of Control" is the 16th episode of the third season of Young Justice, and the 62nd of the overall series. It debuted on July 2, 2019 on DC Universe, along with the 14th and 15th episodes, "Influence" and "Leverage".
Across the nation, the team gives thanks for what they have... and for what they very well might lose.
It's the day of the Harvest Festival! A carnival has been set up outside the Meta-Human Youth Center. Bart Allen dashes around the area, setting up the final touches for the event before joining Eduardo Dorado Jr. in greeting the first guests: Jaime Reyes, Traci Thurston, and Virgil Hawkins. Bart gives all three of them a hug.
At Conner and Megan's house, Forager is helping Megan in the kitchen by opening a can of cranberry sauce. Megan turns to see Conner on his phone. Using her powers, she opens the fridge and dumps all of the food, for Thanksgiving, in Conner's arms. She kisses him before turning back to see Forager trying to take a deviled egg. She slaps all four of his hands away by using four spoons. Outside, in the Bio-Ship, Victor Stone watches the snow fall outside.
Will Harper places the turkey in the oven. Violet Harper and Artemis Crock are peeling potatoes at the table. Artemis sneaks a glance in Will's direction before turning back to her work. Will senses the look. Paula Crock is reading a book to Lian Nguyen-Harper. She notices Artemis and Will making eyes at each other and smiles. At that moment, Brion and Tara Markov arrive. Artemis walks over to greet them. Violet avoids making eye contact with Brion.
Helga Jace is hard at work, examining a strand of hair under a microscope. She is not happy with what she sees.
Back at the Meta-Human Youth Center, Bart, Eduardo Jr, Virgil, Jaime, and Traci all stand by as a helicopter lands. Garfield Logan exits, along with his girlfriend, Perdita. Traci hits Jaime with her elbow, complaining that he never told her that a celebrity was coming. Gar and Perdita greet the group. Jaime introduces Traci, commenting that she is a big fan. Traci can hardly contain her excitement. Gar, wanting to avoid the paparazzi, thanks the group for keeping their presence quiet. The group heads to the carnival to begin the party. Virgil admits that with all these couples around, he feels like the odd man out. He asks where Cassie is. Traci explains that she is in Gotham City trying to patch things up with Tim. Virgil rolls his eyes, commenting that he needs to get a girlfriend.
In Star City, everyone is watching as Paula sings for Lian. Violet walks into the kitchen, where Artemis is pouring chips into a bowl. Violet admits that she thought that Brion and Tara were going to spend Thanksgiving at the Meta-Human Center. Artemis, doing her best impersonation of Brion explains that both Violet and Tara are the two things that he is most thankful for and wanted to be with them both. She gives Violet the chips to bring into the living room. Helga Jace, then, enters the house, greeting everyone and thanking them for inviting her.
Back at the Center, the group is enjoying time riding in the bumper cars. Bart are sharing a car when Bart complains that the cars are too slow. Eduardo offers to drive and show Bart how it's done. The two smash into Gar and Perdita's car. Perdita, at the wheel, vows her revenge and drives after them. Virgil is in a car alone, deep in thought. Suddenly, Jaime and Traci ram into him. Teasing him before driving off. Virgil mumbles that's got to get a girlfriend.
At Happy Horbor, Victor is still in the Bio-Ship when Forager enters, highly complimenting Earth holidays. He suggests that Victor have some fun as well. Victor walks out. Forager can tell that something is wrong.
At the Center, the group is now buying cotton candy. Eduardo Jr. sees Wendy Jones in a corner by herself. Perdita asks Eduardo what's wrong. Eduardo explains that he failed Wendy, recounting the time Wendy lost control of her powers. Perdita walks over to Wendy and cheers her up by complimenting her hair. Gar stands beside Eduardo when Eduardo comments that his girlfriend is pretty great. Gar agrees and asks how things are going with the meta-humans. Eduardo admits that he wishes that he could do more to inspire them. Gar reveals that the Team doesn't get much time to be inspirational either, with all the covert missions that they go on. He doesn't feel the Team is setting the right example and due to Lex Luthor and others limited the resources of the Justice League, he wishes that someone would find a loophole through the system.
Suddenly, everyone begins having stomach problems and fall to their knees. Everyone in the park beings to react the same. Henchy and Count Vertigo suddenly appear. They kidnap Perdita as a chopper lands to extract them. Once the chopper is away, the pain in their stomachs ceases. Bart chases the chopper deep into the desert. Vertigo sees him and causes the pain in Bart's stomach to return. Bart uses his commlink to warn the others not to get too close to the chopper. Eduardo Jr. asks Blue Beetle if his armor can protect him from Vertigo's powers. Beetle, carrying Traci, tries to get close to the chopper by suffers the same fate as Bart. Static suggests keeping their distance until an opportunity presence itself.
At Happy Harbor, Forager joins Victor outside in the snow. Shivering, he asks Victor to come in and join in the Thanksgiving feast with the people that want to help him. Victor argues that he can't be helped. Forager notices a caterpillar crawling along a snowy branch. He explains to Victor that a caterpillar cannot be helped, either, but a butterfly can. Victor tells Forager to go inside and get warmed up. A defeated Forager goes into the house, leaving Victor to stare at the caterpillar.
Meanwhile, in the Taos desert, the Scarab offers to blow the chopper out of the sky. Beetle refuses. Traci uses her powers to damage the fuel line, forcing the chopper to make a controlled landing.
Vertigo's chopper lands in a ruined city.
Back at Star City, the family and friends are sitting around the table eating Thanksgiving dinner. Helga thanks the group for inviting her again, saying that her first American Thanksgiving has been a memorable one. Paula compliments her daughter, Artemis, on being a host. Artemis says that she had a lot of help before turning to look at Will. Helga speaks to Paula, saying that she must be so proud of her daughter. Paula comments that it is Artemis's degree in Comparative Literature that makes her most proud. Helga also suggests the fact that Artemis took in Violet and Tara and helped mentor them into a team as Tigress. Helga is suddenly interrupted by Paula's outrage of finding out that Artemis is being a superhero again. She steers her wheelchair out of the room. Artemis goes after her.
Artemis stops her in the hallway. Paula reminds her of what happened the last time she rejoined the Team, the loss of Wally West and how it nearly destroyed her. Now, after two years of recovering, she has a chance at a normal life with a master's degree and possible PhD around the corner. She tells Artemis to take a good look at her in her wheelchair and reminds her of what happened to her friend, Barbara Gordon. Artemis argues that she is helping people. Paula explains that you don't have to be a superhero to help people. She begs Artemis to get out of the life and create a normal life with Will. A flabbergasted Artemis goes into denial, saying that Will is her brother-in-law. Paula doesn't buy it for a second and saying that she sees the way that Artemis and Will look at each other. She explains to Artemis that Jade is not coming back. Will knows it, she, herself, knows it, and Lian needs a mother.
Back at the Pueblo, Beast Boy and the group runs through the ruined city, looking for Vertigo and Perdita. Eduardo Jr. suddenly appears, saying that he can't find a trace of them anywhere. Bart rushes towards them, saying that he scoured the whole area and explained that every street and building looks exactly the same. Blue Beetle tries to fly above but realizes that the higher he goes, the taller the buildings get. Scarab explains that Beetle is actually only one meter off of the ground, not one hundred feet up. Beetle realizes that Vertigo is using illusions to fool them, but Static argues that Vertigo doesn't have illusion powers. Beast Boy suggests using his sense of smell instead of sight. He turns into a bear and sniffs the air. The group follows him down the street and around a corner where they suddenly find themselves face to face with Henchy. Beast Boys charges him, but Henchy, surprisingly, throws him into a wall. Static throws a handful of electrical spheres at Henchy, which have not effect. Bart dashes towards Henchy and hits him several times, only hurting his own hands. Beast Boy, still a bear, charges again.
Count Vertigo and Perdita are laying low in a nearby building. Vertigo hears the sounds of fighting outside and is concerned for Henchy's safety. Perdita takes advantage of his distraction and kicks Vertigo between the legs. Suddenly, the illusion of Vertigo is gone and in its place: Psimon. "Henchy" senses that Psimon is hurt. He throws Beast Boy aside before turning into Devastation and rushes towards Psimon's side. The group follows her and finds Perdita. Devastation grabs Psimon and the two flee through the roof.
Beast Boy contemplates the situation. Psimon and Devastation are part of Queen Bee's unit, not Vertigo's, so they wonder why they would go to the trouble to kidnap Perdita. Static also brings up the fact that the rest of their Onslaught team is missing. Suddenly, Eduardo Jr figures out the truth: Perdita's kidnapping was just a distraction for them to abduct the meta-humans at the Center.
Back at the Center, the rest of Onslaught walks through the carnival, which was just gassed. They grab the unconscious meta-humans and start placing them in a huge crate. Bart dashes in and rescues Celia Windward from Icicle Jr. Eduardo Jr. teleports in and rescues Wendy from Holocaust's arms. Icicle and Holocaust attack them. Bart and Eduardo easily dodge. They trick both Holocaust and Icicle to fire on each other. Tommy Terror walks towards the crate with Livewire over his shoulder and notices Holocaust, frozen, and Icicle unconscious. Traci uses her powers to cover Tommy's head in a carnival sign causing Tommy to drop Livewire and stumble. Blue Beetle rams him into the crate with Icicle. Tuppence Terror arrives, holding Mist. Beast Boy turns into a snake and ensnares Tuppence, while Static takes Mist from her arms. Tuppence uses a Fatherbox to open a boom tube under Bart and Eduardo. Bart uses his speed to avoid the suction while Eduardo teleports. Scarab offers to blow up the Fatherbox, but Beetle refuses, reminding Scarab that Fatherboxes are living beings like him. Tuppence tries again to open a boom tube but Static pulls the Fatherbox away from her. Another boom tube opens, allowing Static to throw the Fatherbox into it. Tuppence finally breaks free of Beast Boy, but Eduardo appears from behind her and places an inhibitor collar around her neck. Beast Boy turns into a gorilla and knocks Tuppence out. Tommy breaks free of the crate only to have Static place a collar around his neck as well. Beast Boy, now a rhino, sends Tommy flying.
The unconscious meta-humans and staff members of the center begin to come to. Eduardo points out that there is no way they will be able to keep this incident from the press. Perdita suggests that she and Garfield slip away. Static argues that he thought that they were all supposed to be a team.
Back at Star City, Artemis feeds Brucely more turkey, teasing him that it is the last "bribe" he will ever get. Violet jumps from her seat screaming that the dog should not be accepting bribes. She storms out. Helga goes after her. Outside, Helga asks Violet what's wrong. Violet tells her that one of Gabrielle's memories has resurfaced and she remembered taking a bribe to open the door of the Markovian Castle to the King and Queen's killers. Helga comforts her by explaining that she is no longer Gabrielle—she is Violet. Violet begs her not to tell Brion or Tara. Helga agrees and persuades Violet to go back in the house. Once Violet is back inside, Helga makes a phone call. She tells the person on the other end that it's been a long time but she needs assistance.
At the Center, the press flashes their cameras at Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, and Kid Flash. Beetle explains to the crowd that they were just here to help. Virgil, Traci, Eduardo Jr. and Perdita watch from the sidelines. Wendy approaches Perdita and comments that the world is a safer place with Gar in it. Perdita agrees. They turn to listen to Gar persuade the crowd and media to give meta-human's a chance. Celia Windward walks up beside Virgil and comments that the hero-boys are pretty cool and hot. Virgil turns to her and reveals that he is a friend of theirs. Celia doesn't believe it and walks away. Traci turns to Virgil and says that he's got to get a girlfriend. The camera lights continue to flash as Gar smiles.
Cast and characters
- Helga Jace finishes examining Violet's hair, which she started doing in the previous episode.
- Traci says Cassie is trying to salvage her relationship with Tim since the latter left the Team in "Princes All" without cluing her in.
- Paula Crock teaches Lian a mix of the Alphabet Song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep", previously sung by Artemis in "Misplaced".
- Wendy Jones is wearing an inhibitor collar after losing control of her powers in the last episode.
- "Count Vertigo" repeats his signature response from previous episodes when someone calls him "Vertigo" (That's Count Vertigo to you, peasant).
- Victor is still resentful of his father after the events of "Exceptional Human Beings" and "Another Freak".
- Paula Crock alludes to Wally West's death in "Endgame" and how it devastated Artemis.
- Paula also takes notice of Artemis and Will's compromising looks between each other. A supposed relationship between them has been hinted at in "Home Fires", "Influence" and "Leverage".
- When Static throws electrifying bearings at Henchy (who later turns out to be Devastation in disguise) he chuckles and says "Tickles" in derision. Devastation said the same thing the first time Black Lightning tried to electrify her in "True Heroes".
- Violet tells Helga Jace what she found out in the previous episode: Gabrielle took a bribe to open the door to the meta-assassin that murdered Brion and Tara's parents in "Princes All".
- Number 16: Megan, Conner and Forager start preparing Thanksgiving dinner at 16:00 EST.
- End credits shot: The Bio-Ship shaped like a recreational vehicle, covered in snow, parked outside Conner and Megan's house with Forager eating inside.
- Henchy utters the curse "Karabast". This is a phrase that originated with Steve Blum's character Zeb on Star Wars Rebels. Greg Weisman worked on the first season of that show and came up with that curse word.
- After Kid Flash hurts his hands from punching Devastation (disguised as Henchy), he asks her what she is made of and she responds by saying "sugar, and spice, and everything nice". This is similar to when he confronted Tommy Terror in the episode "Darkest", but his answer was "snips, and snails, and puppy dog tails". Both answers come from the nursery rhyme What Are Little Boys Made Of?.
- For complete answers to the questions in this section, click here.
- Who did Helga call? (Answer)
"Illusion of Control"