Titans recap: Putting the pieces together
Each episode of Titans so far has gradually expanded the scope and depth of this new DC Universe. While last week introduced viewers to Hawk & Dove and supplied some details about Robin’s crime-fighting history, this week’s episode gave us a lot more information about Starfire, showed us actual flashback scenes from when Robin was first adopted by Bruce Wayne, and even brought Beast Boy into the same room as the other Titans for the first time (though it didn’t last long).
Starfire was mostly absent from last week’s episode, and now we see what she was up to: Visiting Rachel’s home in Detroit. While there, she runs afoul of some cops, but they’re no match for an energy-powered alien. She finishes up with them and manages to make it to an Ohio gas station at the exact same time the Nuclear Family stops there with Rachel for a mid-kidnapping pit stop. We saw this strange supervillain family make quick work of Hawk, Dove, and Robin last week, but it takes Starfire only a few seconds to burn the dad to a crisp. She was hoping Rachel could cut through her amnesia and tell her who she is. No such luck there, but Rachel and Starfire make the reasonable decision to take off on their own, leaving the Nuclear Family in the dust.
The Nuclear Family is forced to return home empty-handed and one man short. We get a little more information about them when they report to their creator, who looks a lot like an older version of the dad. He’s ready to decommission them for failure, until the daughter asks him what’s so important about Rachel anyway. He responds that she is the only person who can “invite” her father to Earth. Looking out the windows of his skyscraper, this man complains about the filth and perversion of the world around him; he thinks the only cure is Rachel’s father, who can burn the flesh from the world. Therefore, he needs her in order to summon him. When the daughter says she’d like to see a post-Trigon world, the man reconsiders his original plan and decides to give the Nuclear Family another chance — though, obviously, he’ll have to make them a new dad. This sounds like the makings of a burgeoning demon/robot alliance, which can’t possibly be good for anyone.
Robin and Starfire are going to spend the rest of this episode trying to figure out Rachel for themselves, but those of you who have read Teen Titans comics should already be catching on. Traditionally, Raven is the daughter of a demon named Trigon, whose power can unleash Hell on Earth. Although he hasn’t been mentioned by name yet, it sounds like Trigon (or a being very similar) is in play here. What form he takes in this show, and what exact powers he has, is still a matter of mystery.
As Robin tries to track down Rachel, he’s reminded of his own past as a runaway orphan. We see him as a child talking to a therapist shortly after his parents’ deaths. The therapist is delighted to tell young Dick that Bruce Wayne wants to adopt him, but Dick’s priorities are elsewhere — namely, the revelation that police don’t think his parents’ deaths were an accident. Almost immediately after being shown to his room in Wayne Manor, Dick sneaks out the window and uses his acrobatic skills to jump from tree branch to tree branch.
It doesn’t take long for him to be collected, of course. When his therapist asks why he wants to run away, he answers plainly: He wants to find the people who killed his parents, so he can kill them in turn. He makes one more runaway attempt, this time stealing one of Bruce’s cars and gunning it down the Gotham highways like young Kirk in the opening scene of J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek movie. After that, Bruce makes him a better offer. In a note delivered with a very fancy-looking breakfast, Bruce tells him that revenge will not bring his parents back: “Let me teach you another way to deal with the pain.” And so it began.
NEXT: Destroyer of worlds?
In the present, Dick uses the detective skills he picked up with Bruce to track down Rachel and Starfire. He finds them at an Ohio arcade, just down the street from a convent where Rachel and her mother used to find shelter. While Rachel is playing games at the arcade, she runs into the young green-haired boy Gar Logan. Yes indeed, this is the same Beast Boy we saw transform into a tiger at the end of the first episode. But though we get a closer look at him here, he doesn’t stay around for long. Really hoping we’ll meet him for real soon, because he’s the only member of the main cast we haven’t spent significant time with so far.
Starfire was interested in the arcade because the convent nuns gave her a key to a locker there; inside, she finds another key to an actual storage locker. That locker has some interesting stuff, though. The main centerpiece is a device that looks like a tanning bed but emits purple light; possibly something to recharge her powers? There’s also a cassette player, filled with recordings Starfire made before her amnesia. The last entry explains the reason she was in Vienna: She was trying to make contact with a European human trafficking ring that apparently gave Rachel and her mother code names. Most of the locker looks like Rust Cohle’s Carcosa wall from True Detective: The walls are covered in drawings of ravens, depictions of the “Corvus” constellation (which means “Raven”), and papers full of strange glyphs that Starfire is surprised to discover she can read.
Robin finds her here, mostly because he’s angry she stole his car to make the trek. So far, I like their chemistry together, which is a good sign because traditionally Robin and Starfire grow to be more than just friends. Together they start piecing together the evidence and deduce that Rachel is a “destroyer of worlds” foretold by prophecy. Just at that moment, Rachel’s destructive powers become evident when she bursts out of the nun convent (they had tried to imprison her in the basement) and runs off into the woods. Something tells me this girl might have an easier time if people were upfront with her; clearly, lying to her only unleashes her inner demon. Better luck next week!