Young Justice's Beast Boy Is the Best Version of the Character, Ever

WARNING: This post contains major spoilers for Young Justice: Outsiders, streaming now on DC Universe.

Of the five Teen Titans everyone remembers from original cartoon -- that is to say, Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy -- the green shapeshifter is the one whose personality has remained fairly static. It's one thing to be consistent, but it's another to be stuck in a rut, and that's what it's felt like with Garfield Logan -- until now. Like it does with all of its characters, Young Justice: Outsiders has taken the various parts of the young hero's history and reorganized them into a whole that is much more compelling than any we've seen before.

Beast Boy has appeared intermittently throughout the series, first in Season 1 as a normal kid living in solitude with his mother Marie, who was the star of the '70s sitcom Miss Martian based her Earth persona off of. An accident forced M'gann to give him a blood transfusion, an even the eventually led to the development of his ability to shapeshift into animals. In the years since Season 2's finale, Garfield left heroics and took after his mom, starring in a sci-fi show immediately familiar to anyone watching Star Trek Discovery or The Orville. He's primarily shown up in Outsiders as his Spock-like character "Ensign Tork," using his status as a Hollywood star to publicly advocate against metahuman trafficking, a plot point at the center of the season's over-arching storylines.

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"Nightmare Monkeys," the 12th episode of the season, puts him in the spotlight and does so in the strangest and most entertaining way possible. Using the Goode VR Goggles that have been popping up throughout the season, Garfield enters a trance that puts him in his show and costume, but the ship's crew replaced by superheroes who've died, from Aquagirl and Jason Todd to Wally West. As each one gets blasted, Garfield has to hear "he's dead, Tork" from Wally, a somewhat disturbing sequence that segues to him getting stuck in another show: "Doom Patrol Go!", a clear riff on that other animated show Beast Boy currently stars in.

As soon as Garfield walks onto the screen in the animation style of Teen Titans Go!, it becomes clear why Greg Cipes is voicing the character for both shows -- so his fellow Titans actors could voice the goofy versions of Gar's adopted family, the Doom Patrol, heroes who all died as he grew up, save for his stepfather Steve "Mento" Dayton. After a jaunty tune from the Patrol about how they're all going to die, the channel switches again to Marie's old show Hello, Megan!, where Garfield has to relive his mother's suicide at the hands of Queen Bee.

This is a very strange, strange episode, one tasked with weaving together a lot of Beast Boy's comic book and animated history to create something familiar yet new. Considering the Teen Titans don't exist in this universe (yet), Garfield has had to grow up on his own without a close support group of his peers.

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Yes, you’re seeing an image from the right show

Of course, though he's traditionally leaned on the likes of Cyborg, Raven or one of the Robins, "Nightmare Monkeys" shows that Garfield can grow just fine on his own. As the episode makes abundantly clear, he's someone who has had a lot of people die around him, and the acting was really the only way he could repress those many traumas he's faced. Now, just as he's on the verge of dying in the real world, his VR adventure reminds Gar that he made himself a hero. Even when he opted out of the superhero life and ent into acting to cope with the losses in his life, he was still trying to do good.

The episode ends with Garfield deciding to return to being Beast Boy, and piecing together a big mystery regarding the metahuman trafficking ring. It's nice that he gets to not just save the day, but do it in a fourth-wall breaking episode that shows why he's such a fun character.

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