Warning: spoilers ahead for Young Justice: Outsiders through Episode 9.
Young Justice is finally back with its long-awaited third season, and the episodes are flying by thanks to DC Universe releasing three each week so far rather than just one, as the streaming service did with Titans. The latest batch of episodes introduced a seemingly kindly old woman by the name of Gretchen Goode, a.k.a. "Granny Goodness." The final moments of the latest episode revealed that Granny Goodness is hardly a sweet old lady, but a villain working with The Light, and Oracle could pay a hefty price.
Fans of DC Comics may have recognized the name "Granny Goodness," but the implications of her role in Young Justice are complex enough that they warrant examination for readers and non-readers alike. So, let's take a look at Granny Goodness!
Young Justice featured some fancy new tech in its early episodes that has been taking the world by storm, called "Goode Goggles." The augmented reality goggles allow users to play games, view media, and immerse themselves in a world filtered through technology, and they're all the rage. The latest episode introduced Gretchen Goode, a.k.a. Granny Goodness, as the woman behind the Goode Goggles. In a TV interview, Granny Goodness defended the goggles to a seemingly doubtful G. Gordon Godfrey, then chatted about her partnership with Bruce Wayne.
Yes, Granny Goodness is working with Bruce Wayne and the Wayne Foundation to help -- or perhaps "help" -- victims of metahuman trafficking. This reveal in itself is troubling, as it indicates Bruce is unaware that Granny Goodness isn't actually overflowing with goodness, and it's no small thing to trick Batman. Of course, it's possible that he has a long game that he just hasn't revealed yet, but the partnership between the two parties seems like a bad thing at the moment.
Still, it wasn't until the end of the episode that we got the reveal of Granny Goodness' dark side. She emerged from the shadows at a meeting of The Light (which, having lost Ra's al Ghul, now includes Vandal Savage, Deathstroke, Klarion, Queen Bee, Lex Luthor, and Ultra-Humanite, with Lady Shiva as enforcer) to say this about Nightwing and his group of Outsiders:
No worries, my friends. A plan is in place. We'll deal with these naughty children in our own good time.
When she says "our"and "we," is Granny Goodness referring to the rest of The Light? Or is she talking about an alliance with others, which the rest of The Light may or may not know about? Here's what we can speculate based on Granny Goodness' comic counterpart.
In the comics, Granny Goodness is actually a New God rather than a human woman, and she became one of the few elite female warriors in supervillain Darkseid's circle. She would go on to become headmistress of nightmarish orphanages located all over the planet Apokalips, using her unique kind of discipline to traumatize children into mindless minions of Darkseid. Basically, she's not the kind of person you'd want having access to the minds of people who believe her nothing more than a kindly businesswoman on earth!
Granny also first appeared on Young Justice in a conversation with G. Gordon Godfrey, and if he too resembles his comic counterpart, their unfriendly encounter in front of the camera may have been just for show. Godfrey is undoubtedly based on the DC Comics character Glorious Godfrey, another New God.
Comics Glorious Godfrey took a place on Earth to preach philosophy to people who had no idea that he was one of Darkseid's minions, and he convinced his recruits to wear helmets that enabled him to control their minds. The minions were known as the Justifiers, and their helmets constantly repeated the Anti-Life Equation. In DC Comics canon, solving the Anti-Life Equation gives the ability to enslave free-thinking minds in the galaxy, and Darkseid was always obsessed with solving it to erase free will.
The reveal in the latest batch of episodes that Darkseid and Vandal Savage/The Light have a deal to work together until it is possible to conquer the galaxy (at which point they'll face off against each other) on top of rumors about Young Justice Season 3 leading up to the Anti-Life Equation points toward Granny Goodness' Goode Goggles functioning in a similar manner to Justifier helmets.
Now, obviously Granny Goodness, G. Gordon Godfrey, and Darkseid working together to remove free will via the Anti-Life Equation would be bad news for everybody, but there's one hero who is seemingly in more immediate danger than any of the others: Oracle.
Young Justice: Outsiders revealed that Barbara Gordon would be present in her Oracle role rather than Batgirl in an early clip from the new season, although it remains unclear if this Oracle's origin story is as tragic and brutal as the Oracle origin story in the comics. (At the very least, we can probably be confident that her origin story didn't go down the way it did in the Killing Joke animated movie with the Batgirl/Batman love connection. Still gross after more than two years.)
Babs seems to be a key part of the larger superhero community in Young Justice as Oracle, although she was only seen communicating with Nightwing prior to the latest batch of three episodes. We now know that the Bat-family knows that she's Oracle, as do several others, including Kaldur, Wonder Woman, and M'gann. She's clearly the tech guru of the superheroes at the moment.
Unfortunately, Babs is also in possession of a pair of Goode Goggles and is apparently a fan of the "Funny Monkeys" game, which she dubbed "too stupid to be this much fun." If Granny Goodness/G. Gordon Godfrey/Darkseid use the Goode Goggles to remove the free will of users, Oracle could be affected, which could effectively take a key player out of the superhero game.
Nightwing wouldn't have managed a lot of his heroics in Season 3 so far without Oracle's assistance, and we can assume that she's been helping others as well. Without Oracle -- or with an Oracle whose talents are being used for nefarious purposes -- the heroes of Young Justice could be in a lot of trouble.
Dick Grayson at least knows that she has and enjoys the Goode Goggles, although he also knows that she's happy to take them off to make out with her superhero love interest. If something goes down with the Goode Goggles, could he and/or Barbara realize in time to make sure that she's not affected? If she is affected, could Nightwing be compromised by his concern for her, therefore likely compromising his team's effectiveness? He handles things differently after how Season 2 went down.
If nothing else, Dick could be in for a seriously upsetting surprise if he tries to surprise her by breaking into her apartment again. Ah, love in the superhero life. Would Young Justice really have gone to the trouble of giving Babs a set of Goode Goggles and showing her enjoying them if she isn't going to be part of what goes down thanks to Granny Goodness?
Now, it's possible that Babs in possession of Goode Goggles will backfire on Granny Goodness and Co. rather than on the superheroes. If she realizes that something is off about the goggles, she might do some investigating and come to the conclusion that Granny Goodness isn't to be trusted. Maybe Granny Goodness doesn't mean trouble for Oracle at all, but rather the other way around.
Still, my money is on Barbara winding up in hot water thanks to Granny Goodness, and Oracle in trouble could impact a lot of the heroes. Superheroes on every team -- Nightwing's Outsiders, Batman Incorporated, the Justice League, and the team of sidekicks -- have worked with Barbara as Batgirl and presumably more recently as Oracle, so there would be personal as well as professional motivation to help her.
Sadly, we're almost out of new Young Justice episodes for a while. Four new episodes will release on Friday, January 25, and then DC Universe takes the show into a hiatus until June. We may be in for a killer cliffhanger that leaves us with plenty to speculate during hiatus, and at least this one won't leave fans waiting six years for resolution!