In episode 14, acceptance was the main theme. For episode 15, “Leverage,” family and mental health are the central themes to the Halo-focused episode.
Family is at the center point of any DC Universe series or movie. In fact, family is a critical component in many DC Comics. Whether you’re talking about the complicated sibling rivalry with Komand’r and Koriand’r or the entire Bat Fam, family drives the story in a plethora of issues. For Young Justice: Outsiders episode 15, “Leverage,” the heartfelt Harper-Crock household scenes fuel Violet Harper’s conflict with herself. Or at least with her former self, Gabrielle.
Using the slow burn elements of Will and Artemis’ very shippable almost-relationship, Outsiders uses their early scene to transition to a polarizing slowly building arc. Dr. Jace’s evil redemption arc. After all, villains can have a villainous redemption arc, and we know that Jace is working on some kind of ulterior plot in her lab.
With a lot packed in the episode, “Leverage” still manages to vaguely hint as a Suicide Squad and Justice League crossover. While Jace, Tara, and Darkseid‘s nefarious’ plot maintain a low profile, Young Justice has an opportunity to focus on the close-knit Harper family that somehow forms a stronger bond every episode. Because us viewers and the animated heroes need a break for the covert missions, fighting, and detective work.
Nearly everything is intentional, even the pseudo-friendly fire in the Suicide Squad vs. Young Justice fight serves to build Halo’s character develop and the painfully realistic mental health depiction. Before we touch on how the series develops Halo’s PTSD, we should discuss how this episode adds to their character.
Rather than using a nonbinary character as a plot device, episode 15 leverages the action to jumpstart their memories from her former self, which triggers her PTSD. While this subversive nature could change as time goes on and the series reveals more about the plot, Halo, and the rest of the Outsiders. But for now, it’s a refreshing break to the trope-y treatment so many LGBTQ+ characters get.
In a devastating twist, Halo finds out that they did some unsavory things and now it’s prompted them to self-isolate. We know Halo is still ashamed of what Gabrielle did and they’re blaming themselves for what their old self did (before literally being reborn). However, we hope Halo gives themselves a chance to open up about this old memory and her PTSD overall — because we know their new family, the Harpers, won’t blame Halo for something they had no control over in a past life. Because that wasn’t Halo.
Sure, Violet Harper is afraid that their new family will ostracize them. But we know the Harper-Crock household will continue to love Halo, especially since second and third chances kind of run in the family. While Brion is the ambiguous variable in the equation, we hope that he’ll comfort Halo once they open up about their reoccurring memory. Since their experiences are still so new to them, we know Halo will need a friend or four.
Even though they’re going through a lot, seeing Halo being a part of the family and even helping around the house just builds to the acceptance theme of episode 14. Even Halo when through the emotional labor of discussing their gender identity; seeing them in a warm and loving family provides a lot of cathartic imagery to Young Justice: Outsiders.