"Leverage" is the 15th episode of the third season of Young Justice, and the 61st of the overall series. It debuted on July 2, 2019 on DC Universe, along with the 14th and 16th episodes, "Influence" and "Illusion of Control".
A new Gamma Squad is sent out on its first mission to investigate rumors of meta-trafficking in Russia.
Garfield Logan is shooting Take 16 of Space Trek 3016. Director J. Anson Schwartz calls cut and print, satisfied. Gretchen Goode whispers into his ear. Frowning, Schwartz calls everyone back to their places for another take. Gar walks away, annoyed, and Schwartz goes after him. He explains to Gar that he's not sure what he did to tick Gretchen off, but he's got to find a way to fix it. Gar suggests quitting, but Schwartz warns him that he is under contract and if he quits, Gretchen will sue him for everything he has.
Artemis Crock gets ready to leave when Baby Lian calls to her to show her something funny: gooey food spilling out of her open mouth. Will Harper reprimands Lian, saying that that's disgusting. Lian laughs as she continues to do it. Brucely licks up the gooey food from the floor. Lian calls Brucely out for being disgusting too. The dog barks causing everyone to laugh. Will urges Artemis to leave, assuring her that he's got this. As Artemis leaves, she turns back to see Will and Lian having a gross out contest with the food in their mouth. Artemis smiles.
Gar arrives late for the Team meeting. He joins Geo-Force, Terra, Forager, and Halo. Tigress and Aquaman gather the group to brief them: they are assigned for a recon mission on a base in Russia, explaining that the gathered intel hint at a government sponsored meta-program. Geo-Force is not fond of the mission, knowing that Markovia suffered greatly under the former Soviet Union.
Eduardo Dorado Sr. calls for everyone's attention in the auditorium. Wendy Jones stands in the back of the room. Not interested in what Dorado Sr. has to say, she turns to leave and finds Eduardo Dorado Jr. blocking the exit. He explains to her that he understands her instinct to run away but explains that she can't run from her powers forever. He asks her to at least stick around and hear them out.
Eduardo Jr. teleports to the stage, beside his father, and helps him calm the crowd. Eduardo Sr. welcomes everyone and explains to them that the Meta-Human Youth Center is not a prison and that they are all welcome to leave at any time. But if they stay, the staff can help them to understand their powers and they can be counseled by Dinah Lance and Megan Morse. Eduardo Jr. also offers his counsel as well as the counsel of Nathanial Tryon. He explains that he understands that all of the meta-humans feel like outsiders and freaks, but that they will easily be accepted here. Eduardo Sr. explains that even if the meta-humans are uncomfortable with their powers, the Center will provide them with special collars that will turn off their powers. He reveals that the collars were originally developed for meta-human criminals, but assures everyone that no one will force the meta-human victims to wear the collars unless they want it.
Wendy sits down in a chair and gives the Dorados her full attention.
Bio-Ship drops the Team off near the Russian base. Beast Boy flies above while Geo-Force and Terra work together to create an underground tunnel to get them past the gates. Halo uses her powers to hide them all from sight, while they listen in on the conversations inside. Col. Olga Ilyich is conversing with her new recruit, Lt. Dmitri Pushkin, for the Rocket Red Brigade, a special team of soldiers in robotic suits preparing to pursue heroics like the Justice League.
Hearing this, Tigress orders the Team to fall back. She contacts Forager for extraction, saying that the mission is complete. Geo-Force disagrees, saying that the Russian government will use them as super soldiers. Tigress ends the discussion by stating that it is none of their business what the Russians want to do with their new Justice League.
While flying above, Beast Boy notices three mysterious figures hiding in the trees: Black Manta, Captain Boomerang, and Monsieur Mallah. He sends his video feed to the rest of the group. Tigress sighs in annoyance as it looks like the three are planning a surprise attack on the base.
Mallah fires a rocket launcher at the base. Terra raises the ground into a barrier to block the missile. Ilyich and Pushkin hear the explosion, outside and gear up for battle. The Team rises from the ground behind Manta, Mallah, and Boomerang and the three of them open fire on them. Inside the base, Pushkin refuses the sedative drug, saying that Ilyich will need his assistance outside immediately. Outside, Beast Boy turns into a rhino and rams into Mallah allowing the Team time to approach. Still holding a grudge against Tigress, Manta goes after her while Terra and Geo-Force handle Boomerang. Halo assists them when Boomerang becomes flirtatious with her. He hints at a proposition for her which suddenly triggers one of Gabrielle's old memories. Taking advantage of Halo's distraction, Boomerang hits her in the chest with one of his sharp boomerangs. Geo-Force runs to her side as she falls. After taking the boomerang out of her chest, Halo begins to heal. Realizing that they are outnumbered, Manta orders the three of them to fall back. Boomerang puts up a smokescreen for their escape.
The Team is about to go after them when both Ilyich and Pushkin arrive to place the Team under arrest. Tigress asks Halo for a boom tube, but Halo is too busy still recovering. Tigress admits defeat and orders the Team to stand down.
Boomerang, Manta, and Mallah watch from a distance. Through their communicators, a woman's voice speaks to them, saying that she has no current ID on the women of the Team. Manta explains that one of them is Artemis Crock, the daughter of Sportsmaster, and that they are all members of the Justice League's covert ops team. The mysterious woman on the other end finds this information very interesting. Manta demands for an extraction from Flagg, but the woman denies the request saying that the mission to steal the Rocket Red technology has not been completed. Boomerang argues that they are outnumbered when he suddenly grabs his head in pain. The mysterious woman's voice warns him not to test her. Admitting defeat, Manta, Boomerang, and Mallah prepare for round two.
Eduardo Jr. is sitting in a circle with Wendy, Mist, Livewire, and Celia Windward. Livewire is still not convinced that Dorado was ever forced to wear one of the collars. Eduardo Jr. argues that nobody is forcing anybody to do anything. He mentions that Neutron's powers are now gone, but if they ever came back, he would want to have the collar to protect the innocent from himself. Livewire mentions that Neutron once nearly blew up Central City.
Wendy changes the subject by asking Eduardo how he feels about his own powers. Eduardo confesses that he still doesn't see himself as the hero type and used to pray that his powers would go away. But now he accepts them as part of himself. Wendy feels the exact same way, saying that collars are for pets.
Meanwhile, Tigress is trying to convince the Rocket Reds that they are not a threat to them. Suddenly Black Manta fires his missiles at the group. Ilyich falls from the impact. Mallah and Boomerang team up to take down Pushkin. Halo brings up a shield to protect the Team and the three criminals approach. They all fire upon the Team together. Halo's powers, still not at full capacity, begin to weaken. Tigress calls out to Forager. The Bio-Ship suddenly appears with Forager at the helm. Bio-Ship fires at the criminals, causing them to scatter. Tigress orders Halo to drop her shield and the Team charges into battle. Beast Boy takes out Boomerang before turning to help Geo-Force and Terra with Mallah. Tigress takes on Manta, one on one, when the Rocket Reds recover and help her to contain Manta.
As the Team gathers themselves, the Rocket Reds turn their weapons back on them. Suddenly, Pushkin recognizes Beast Boy from his TV show. Tigress tries again to convince them that they are not enemies, stating that they could have used Bio-Ship to attack at any time. All they ask is that the Rocket Reds allow them to leave with the escaped convicts, peacefully. Pushkin is not convinced, saying that they have violated Russian sovereignty. Tigress allows them to arrest the Team, saying that they won't resist, but if they do then word will get out that Rockets' secret base was infiltrated by two separate covert teams. Seeing Tigress's point, Ilyich orders them all to leave.
Back at the Meta-Human Youth Center, the group is about to begin training in a special chamber. Eduardo Sr. watches them from behind the glass, instructing them all to control their meta-human powers, not to let the powers control them. Livewire scoffs, saying that this type of training is too basic for her and Mist. Wendy is excited to find out that the two of them already have "hero names" and asks the group to call her "Windfall". She cockily shows off her wind powers but Eduardo Jr. warns Wendy to take baby steps. Wendy creates a cyclone which ensnares Mist. Livewire uses her powers to stop Wendy and is about to attack again for hurting Mist. Eduardo Sr. tries to calm the group down through the intercom but Wendy ignores him, ready to fight Livewire. Using her powers, she knocks Livewire into the wall. Suddenly, the wind begins to suck all of the oxygen out of the room, causing everyone else to fall to the ground, gasping for air. In a panic, Wendy realizes that she can't turn her powers off. Eduardo Jr. crawls towards her and teleports them both outside the Center. Wendy falls to her knees, crying, calling herself a monster.
Belle Reve guards escort Black Manta, Boomerang, and Mallah back into their cells. Aquaman stands by, watching. Manta and Aquaman make eye contact and Manta tells him that seeing his son in those colors turns his stomach. Aquaman replied saying that he won't need to see him anymore from his cell. After the three convicts are secured, Aquaman contacts Artemis saying that he spoke with Warden Economos. Tigress guesses that he had no idea that the criminals escaped. Aquaman informs her that the Warden admitted nothing, but that was the impression he got. He also said that the Warden was going to send someone to him that could explain the situation better. Aquaman asks Tigress how the Team handled themselves. Tigress informs him that Halo is still weakened, but otherwise they all did okay. Aquaman then asks about Terra, Tigress admits that she did fine, making Terra smile. Beast Boy asks about their next move. He suggests a press conference to let the people know that Belle Reve isn't as secure as they thought.
Aquaman is then interrupted by a voice saying that that would be a terrible idea. Aquaman turns to see Amanda Waller. Aquaman asks what the former Warden of Belle Reve is doing here. Waller explains that she is doing her job when the League's Team isn't interfering. Aquaman realizes Mallah, Boomerang, and his father were all part of a secret covert op team, run by Waller. Waller explains to him that her new team is meant to take on missions that she would never risk putting her own people at risk for. Aquaman argues that it was still a risk loosing them on the world. Waller explains that the members know that they are all expendable. Aquaman then asks what would happen if her "Suicide Squad" is captured. Waller answers by saying that they will all be disavowed, since Task Force X doesn't officially exist. Aquaman asks why Waller is revealing all of this to him. Waller replies that if Aquaman exposes her operation then she will expose the League's Team as well.
Overhearing the whole conversation, Beast Boy suggests that Waller is bluffing. Aquaman tells him they all have secrets to keep. Tigress nods in agreement but Beast Boy sulks.
Beast Boy is sitting on his bed looking at the photo that he took with the fangirl, again. He notices that the photo now has "52 million Likes". Suddenly it goes up to "52.1".
Meanwhile, in her lab, Helga takes a strand of hair from a hairbrush and examines it.
Artemis is letting Lian feed her ice cream. She turns to watch Will washing the dishes in the sink. She smiles.
Brion, Violet, and Tara are all in the living room drinking coffee. Brion notices the Violet seems distant. He asks her if everything is okay. Violet tells him that everything is fine, it's just been a long day. Will calls from the kitchen for a little help. Brion gets up and walks into the kitchen to assist. He kisses Violet, letting her know how wonderful it is that she came into his life.
Once he's gone, Violet thinks back to when Boomerang said "proposition" and the memory that it triggered: a man offers Gabrielle money which Gabrielle takes. Later, she is walking down a hallway at the Markovian Palace. She types a code on the keypad of a door which opens, allowing the killer of the King and Queen to enter. Gabrielle is ashamed.
Distressed by the memory, Violet watches as Brion and Tara help Will with the dishes. She vows to make sure that they never find out the truth.
The title refers to the leverage Amanda Waller has over her Task Force X operatives via the control devices implanted in their heads that ensure their total obedience and cooperation. Later on, she also gains leverage over Aquaman when she learns that the Justice League has a covert ops team. In a smaller way, it may also refer to the leverage Gretchen Goode has over Garfield Logan, who, by virtue of being an emancipated minor, can be sued as an adult for breach of contract.
Cast and characters
- Gretchen Goode is overworking Garfield on the set of Space Trek 3016 in retaliation of his openly defying her in the previous episode.
- Geo-Force posits that Russia is running a meta-human trafficking ring akin to the Bedlam Syndicate.
- Eduardo Jr. alludes to his and Neut's rehabilitation in STAR Labs in "Runaways", after being rescued from a meta-human trafficking ring in "Before the Dawn".
- Eduardo Sr. tells the meta-teens at Taos that the inhibitor collars were created to restrain meta-criminals in Belle Reve Penitentiary, as seen in "Terrors".
- Black Manta and Tigress refer to the events of "Summit", more specifically when Tigress and Aqualad were exposed as double agents working against Manta, who in turn was bested by his son in close combat.
- Livewire asks if Neut was the one who blew up Central City, alluding to "Bloodlines".
- Aquaman calls Amanda Waller the former Warden of Belle Reve, which she was in "Terrors".
- Helga Jace is granted access to a science lab, after having requested one in the previous episode.
- Garfield checks on the selfie that Angel O'Day took with him in the previous episode.
- In her new lab, Helga Jace takes a strand of Violet's hair from the brush she used on her in "True Heroes".
- Violet accesses one of Gabrielle's memories, revealing why the latter opened the door to Henchy in "Princes All".
- Number 16:
- End credits shot: Brucely sleeping on Will and Artemis's couch.
- Every timestamp in this episode displays mirror hours.
- This episode takes place in 24 hours and begins and ends at the same hour (16:16 PST).
- Verhoyansk's local time is given as VLAT: Vladivostok Time, or UTC+10. In Young Justice: Legacy, it was given OMSST, Omsk (Summer) Time, a timezone used some 2500 miles more westerly. The actual city of Verhoyansk is located in the Vladivostok Timezone.
- For complete answers to the questions in this section, click here.
"Illusion of Control"