Opinion: Change My Mind 3

Change My Mind: Jade Didn’t Leave Her Family By Choice

I’m a huge fan of Young Justice’s interpretation of Jade Nguyen. If you follow me on Tumblr, you’ll know this quite well. You’ll also know how hard Jade and Will’s scene in ‘Exceptional Human Beings’ hit me. In case you haven’t seen it, let me quickly re-apply my mascara and recap: In Star City, Jade snooped in on Lian while she was eating ice cream. Will caught her and asked her to come home, but Jade refused, insisted they were better off without her, and told him to move on.

Look, I made the mistake of watching this scene at the end of my work day, and as a result I cried my entire drive home. Young Justice has never been one to stray from complex and emotionally jarring scenes, but for me, this one took the cake. If you’re a fan of Jade from the comics, it’s easy to write off this scene as Jade abandoning Will and Lian for a life of crime. However, I disagree; there were many little instances in that scene that led me to believe there was more to it. I don’t think that Jade decided to leave Will and Lian of her own volition. Why? Well, let me put my Psychology degree to good use and work it out with you:

  1. Jade chose to observe Lian at home when Will and Artemis are present: It’s interesting that Jade chose to watch Lian from Will’s home in Star City, while both Will and Artemis were awake and present. It’s almost like she wanted to be found, to talk to Will one ‘last time’. What I also found fascinating is that Jade claimed that she could be ‘losing her touch’, which isn’t something I’d attribute to Jade at all, especially if she’s gone back to crime full-time.
  2. Jade refused to make any eye or physical contact: If you’ve watched Jade’s scenes throughout Seasons 1 and 2 as much as I had, you’ll know that she is not one to shy away from making eye contact when she speaks. Meeting someone’s eyes exudes self confidence, and people who refuse to look someone in the eye when they’re talking are perceived as less sincere. In Season 3, this is the very definition of Jade’s interactions. In ‘Triptych’, when Artemis told Jade to go see Lian, Jade immediately turned away and slid on the Cheshire mask. The same applied to her conversation with Will. At first she allowed him to hold her hand, and even looked happy. When he tried to argue with her, she snatched her hand away, lowered her eyes and claimed that he and Lian were better off without her. What’s even more interesting is how Will lifted up her chin to make her look at him, not believing her, and tried to break her out of what she was saying. Before he could delve any deeper into his argument, she stepped away from him and turned around, lowering her head again. I found this physical exchange fascinating; it felt like Jade was distancing herself from Will because she knew that the closer she got to him, the more likely she was to stay.
  3. Her excuses fell flat: Prior to Season 3, every time Jade spoke it was carefully concocted, as if she had the words prepared and ready to go. Yet, in this conversation, her words came off unplanned, unlike her. Did you all notice how Jade jumped from the ‘soccer mom’ reasoning to Lian and Will being better off without her? It was as if the ‘soccer mom’ reasoning was the easy one for her to give, but Will didn’t buy it. She instantly shifted to Lian being better off without her, an excuse that is far more believable. Her argument in this scene came off unprepared, not poised; if Jade had truly thought her decision through and wanted to leave, she would have had a better one prepared.
  4. The expression on Jade’s face when Will said she was wrong: Do I even need to explain myself here? This one expression told us everything we need to know about the situation: Jade did not want to leave. As mentioned previously, Jade is careful to put on the persona that she wants others to see. In the past two seasons, we’ve seen her angry, teasing, and even happy. Her expression was a moment of vulnerability and the first time we’ve really seen her show any type of clear distress. The fact that she wore this expression should be enough to tell us that Jade wanted to stay, but is for some reason unable to.
  5. Jade cried and literally ran away after telling Will to move on: Every time we’ve seen Jade exit a conversation, she is exactly like the Cheshire cat. She retreats and disappears without a trace; always graceful, always composed. Yet when she told Will to move on, Jade cried. Not only that, she then proceeded to run away from him. This ten second departure isn’t the Jade that we know. It gives me the very strong impression that she has a deeper motivation for leaving, outside of Will and Lian being better off without her.

Now you might be wondering, ‘Well Ariel, if she didn’t leave for the giggles, then why did she leave?’. How kind of you to ask, because I have a bunch of theories. The reason could be as simple as she’s realized the danger she could bring to Will and Lian by sticking around, so she’s left in order to protect them. But let’s take it a step further: what if her family was being held over her as leverage? Someone could be holding Jade’s family against her as revenge for her betrayal during the five year gap between Seasons 1 and 2. Taking things even further, what if Jade was being controlled? We all know that Jade would rather avoid ever working with Sportsmaster, and yet Wonder Woman’s comment and Jade’s behavior at the end of ‘Triptych’ leads to suspect. Jade (and Sportsmaster) could potentially be controlled as a result of the murder attempt on Kaldur and Black Manta in ‘Complications’. If Jade knew she were being controlled, she wouldn’t want Will and Lian involved. It could potentially explain why she set Shade free, why she ‘doesn’t even trust [herself], and why she wants to say goodbye ‘in [her] own way, in [her] own mind’.

Could I be overthinking things? That’s a definite possibility. While I may not agree, it’s entirely plausible that she left Will and Lian for good because the family life wasn’t right for her. Come June, I might be made to eat my words with a plastic spoon. Still, I hold firm in my observations and theories and can only hope that Jade’s arc will be resolved by season’s end.

Don’t agree? Prove me wrong in the comments below or forum!

Ariel Horn
Author: Ariel HornWebsite: https://youngjustice.tvEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lead Writer
About the Author
Ariel is's lead writer. She has been obsessed with the show since its early days, and looks forward to cover this exciting new season with everyone. May hope burn bright!

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