Titans recap: DC asylums are never good
Well, this was an intense episode! You have to love stories that spend most of their time beating down the heroes with overwhelming force so that their eventual revenge tastes even sweeter. This episode does an exemplary job of that, while also giving us good insights into Rachel’s history and propelling Dick further down the path toward the destination I really, really want to see.
To start with, I thought Dick and Kory would be reluctant to go along with Adamson’s request from the last episode that he only speak to Rachel. But I guess they don’t really have any other options, so they let him have his one-on-one time with her. Adamson is so excited to speak with her. He talks excitedly about how she’s destined to save the world — contrary to the dire prophecies in Kory’s Rust Cohle-esque conspiracy bunker, which said she would destroy the world. To prove he’s the one with the right idea, Adamson manages to slit his throat, telling Rachel that only she can save him. She frantically reaches out to touch his neck and stop the bleeding…and it works! His neck is healed. Next up, the world!
In exchange for saving his life, Adamson provides Rachel with some very interesting information. We saw her adoptive mother die in the first episode, but apparently, Rachel’s birth mother is still alive. Adamson even gives her name: Angela Azareth. That, of course, gave me a little blast of nerdy joy, because if you grew up watching the Cartoon Network Teen Titans like I did, then you surely remember that Raven’s magical spell on that show required her to say “Azareth, Metrion, Zinthos!” We’ll have to keep an eye out for any references to the other two.
Adamson even tells Rachel where Angela can be found. Dick and Kory see this for the trap that it is, but there’s no stopping Rachel — especially not when she’s paired with the excitable Gar. They literally take an Uber to the site (using Kory’s account, apparently) where they are promptly captured. Dick and Kory arrive shortly after and are captured as well.
We saw a glimpse of this mysterious psychiatric facility a few weeks ago when the Nuclear Family needed a new dad. Now, it’s Dick’s turn to be strapped into the same chair as that other poor sucker and loaded up with psychotropic drugs. Having been trained by Batman and made his bones fighting Gotham’s endless array of psychedelic villains, Dick has apparently built up quite a resistance to such mind control. For a second there, it looks like he’s so resistant that he’s even able to break out of his cell, complete with his Robin uniform. He’s then hit with a vision of his younger self taunting him for becoming Robin (we even get a glimpse of his memory of the Batcave!), but alas, it turns out to be the drugs as we soon see that it’s all happening in Dick’s head as he’s still strapped to the chair. His teammates have it even worse.
NEXT: ‘I take it back’
Kory is thrown in a dark, damp cell whose walls prove resistant to her energy powers. Once she burns herself out, she is then relocated — strapped down to a medical gurney with a tube in her mouth, as sinister scientists experiment to see how much they can hurt her. Gar, horrendously, is locked in a cage, and although he tries to keep up his sarcastic attitude, getting stung with electric cattle prods isn’t very funny.
Meanwhile, Rachel wakes up in a comfy office alongside Adamson, who of course planned all of this. He tells her that she should convince her teammates to join his Organization and support their plan to reunite Rachel with her mother. She’ll need friends by her side to bring about the momentous change that is her destiny — and will also spare them further suffering. Adamson should be careful what he wishes for, though. He soon finds himself talking not to Rachel, but her black-eyed demonic counterpart. She promptly “takes back” her healing, reopening his throat wound until he bleeds to death. Rachel then takes control and goes out to seek her friends. It’s cool to see her gradually transform from a liability to a hero in her own right.
First, she tracks down her mother Angela, who is indeed at the facility, locked in a cell. We don’t get to spend much time with her, but the two intuitively recognize each other. Angela knows what the Organization is capable of and wants to flee, but Rachel insists they rescue her crew. Gar is first up. They get him out of his cage just in time for his torturer to return. Gar then transforms into the tiger, who wastes no time taking his revenge. I’m afraid that I personally couldn’t restrain myself from shouting, “HELL YEAH, EAT HIM,” during this scene, but the thing I love about Titans is that once Gar reverts back to normal and finds himself staring at a mutilated corpse with human blood in his throat, he’s horrified.
Rachel is able to bring Dick back from drug psychosis by reminding him of his promise to never leave her, and together they’re able to rescue Kory just as her evil doctors wanted to try amputating a finger. Dick gets his revenge on their way out. When they run into a crowd of security guards blocking their exit, Dick beats them all to a bloody pulp with nothing but a big wrench. His parting gift to the Organization is letting Kory ignite the gas mains on their way out, setting this asylum aflame.
This move ends up destroying his Robin costume as well, since the Organization had confiscated it to taunt him. Guess he needs a new getup! I wonder what it will look like? Maybe it’ll be black and blue and really badass? Only one way to find out!