Titans recap: Dick and his demons
Now this was a very interesting episode of Titans. I was pretty surprised that Iain Glen’s Bruce Wayne showed up so early in the season, and that he was such a genial presence considering how tortured Dick has seemed over his lingering influence. But now we see the truth: No matter how nice the real Bruce is, Dick’s perception of Bruce is way worse, and maybe that’s what matters more.
Dick spends this whole episode being followed by an imaginary version of Bruce who constantly critiques and belittles him. It happens the first time when Dick is looking at trophy cases of past Titans members’ costumes. Bruce appears and criticizes Dick for excluding Jason to the point that the new Robin felt obliged to go after Deathstroke on his own. But then Dawn appears, and in that classic A Beautiful Mind way we confirm that Bruce isn’t actually there, just in Dick’s head. They’ve got Superboy in a hospital bed, but there’s not much Dick can do to help him. He moves on to Jason, who also seems to be doing fine. So Dick decides to deal with his troubles by heading out to hunt down Deathstroke himself.
Superboy is left in the care of Starfire, who is probably the most qualified Titan to help him. When he wakes suddenly and starts speaking Kryptonian, Kory happens to know enough Kryptonian to reply. But you don’t need to know any alien languages to hear the name he keeps repeating over and over: Eve.
Eve Watson is distraught over Conner’s absence, which is exacerbated when Mercy Graves comes by and brags about killing him with kryptonite bullets. She tells Eve it’s time to move on to their next experiment, Subject 14 (Conner being Subject 13 in her and Luthor’s cold parlance). But Eve refuses to let him go. She breaks Krypto out of his little doggy jail and uses him to track down Conner. She makes it to the Tower in time to inform everyone that it looks like Conner won’t be able to recover from his kryptonite poisoning. The only way would be to give him solar radiation on the level of the sun itself: Either take him to the sun, or bring it here. Well, listen, kids: The name Starfire isn’t just for show. Kory brings full solar radiation to bear on Conner’s body, while Rachel contains the energy from exploding outward. After that, Conner’s practically good as new! Superboy is here to stay.
Meanwhile, Rose manages to break through to Jason. She knocks on his door and tells him she knows what it’s like to be hurt by her father. They bond over some music, and even do some dancing and making out. Things are going well! Until, that is, Rose discovers a particular record in Jason’s collection. It’s the special edition of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust that we saw Dick buy off young Jericho at the end of the flashback episode. Rose freaks out when she sees it, and accuses Jason of manipulating her. He has no idea what she’s talking about (he just borrowed the record from Dick), but she storms out anyway.
Dick’s hunt for Deathstroke puts him on the path of Wintergreen, Slade’s most (only?) trusted confidant. When he contacts a mysterious woman to get information on where Wintergreen is staying, they meet in a club that ends up having my favorite use of Imaginary Bruce this entire episode: Dick imagining him on stage next to colorful dancers, critiquing him and grooving at the same time. The meeting is successful, and Dick uses the information to find Wintergreen in his hotel room bath. Although Dick threatens to shoot the naked man in the stomach, Wintergreen knows he’s too much of a hero to actually go through with it. But he gives Dick the information he needs about Deathstroke’s whereabouts anyway: The one-eyed assassin has been hiding inside Titans Tower!
So far, Deathstroke has been using his hiding place to gaslight the Titans. He leaves a bottle of orange soda in Donna’s room that she once shared with Aqualad, draws crucifixes on Rachel’s mirror, and pulls similar pranks on Dawn and Hank. He certainly knows their weaknesses, because they all flip out. They all blame Jason for some reason, which is definitely not a good combination with his recent Rose fallout. Freaked out at everyone ganging up on him for reasons he doesn’t understand, Jason storms out. When Dick arrives to tell them it’s Deathstroke, Jason is already standing on the roof of the Tower, ready to jump.
Dick talks to him, Robin to Robin. For once, Bruce is nowhere to be seen. Dick tells Jason that the things that are happening to everyone are actually his own fault, and he makes a startling revelation: Five years ago he killed Jericho, Deathstroke’s son. That sure seems like it could explain a lot! The episode ends here, so we’ll have to wait to find out more, but I’m very intrigued now. I think this season is starting to find its rhythm.