DCAU #396: Tantrum

IN THIS ONE... A hulking creature attacks while Static ponders his mother's memorial.

CREDITS: Written by Christopher Simmons; directed by James Tucker.

REVIEW: End of season and I have a question. Why is EVERY ONE of Static's villains purple? It's probably not each and every one, but it's close! And even Static himself has powers with a purple tinge. There's really no reason to limit this show's color palette, is there? In Tantrum, Static gains his own version of the Hulk, and he's... purple! Also, annoying! Yeah, not the best character, just a big bruiser who throws things (and fits) and shouts words in threes. His identity is obvious from the first, based on haircut alone, and any doubt thrown about by Virgil just wastes our time. The brilliant kid with the strict father and warmer mother isn't even original, since that was Richie's household as presented only a few episodes ago. And Virgil getting the idea from an old home movie that he should let Tantrum's tantrum just run its course is slight at best. This isn't where the heart of this episode is.

What makes us care about this episode is the anniversary of Virgil's mother's death, and its impact on her family. The fact that we're presented with an idealized mother isn't all that interesting, but resonates emotionally. To Virgil, she WAS perfect, and someone who uniquely understood him. Not to say the dad is doing a bad job, not at all. When Virgil refuses to take part in a memorial because he can't bear it, he's the one who makes sure Virgil isn't forced to do so. He's understanding even if can't claim to understand Virgil (and who could, given his present secrets?). This whole story is told at the mother's grave site, recounting how her spirit helped with the Tantrum crisis, and what Virgil owes her, before moving the scene to church and ending the season on a choir. Though thematically, Virgil is throwing his own tantrums, it's really about what makes him a hero, and that's the values his parents gave him.

IN THE COMICS: Tantrum is original to the TV series.

SOUNDS LIKE: Thomas Kim/Tantrum is played by NuTrek's Sulu, John Cho. Miss Pettibone is voiced by Miriam Flynn, Cousin Catherine from National Lampoon's Vacation movies. Virgil's mom is also Will Smith's, i.e. Vernee Watson-Johnson, his mother on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The villain plot is on autopilot, but the character development bits are perfect for the show's first season finale.



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