Titans season 2 premiere recap: This must be the place
Titans is back! Based on what we know from how the season 1 finale ended last year and what my EW colleague Chancellor Agard has reported, we know that there’s a lot on the docket for this season: Deathstroke, Superboy, and more. Before we get to all that fun, though, we have to finish off the Trigon plotline.
All of last season, you may remember, was focused on the threat posed by Rachel’s demonic father. In the season finale he fully materialized, and so that’s what the characters have to deal with as season 2 begins. Donna, Kori, Hawk, Dove, and Jason Todd all arrive at the house where Trigon has already possessed Dick. Donna was the breakout character for me last season, and she’s the first person to get me engaged in this episode with her blunt introductions (“This is Kori, she’s an alien”) and heroic rallying cry (“Titans! And, uh, new Robin!”).
Unfortunately, even the full gang isn’t enough to resist Trigon’s powers. Just as Dick was hurled into an imaginary world where he acted out killing Batman, these Titans also find themselves with a one-way mental ticket to their worst memories. Hawk and Dove remember doing drugs in the days after killing the former’s abusive wrestling coach (remember that?? Their backstory made for one of the most intense episodes from season 1 for sure), while Donna is taken to the day her dad died. When Rachel and Garth try to wake them up, Trigon makes them all kick the crap out of Garth. Dick even throws Beast Boy through a glass cabinet.
He should count himself lucky, honestly; Rachel gets it even worse. Her father comes up to her and literally rips her heart out. But when he crushes her heart into a red diamond and inserts that gem into her forehead, it’s clear what’s going on: This whole process has been the origin story for how scared little Rachel grows into Raven, the Titan we all know and love. Now we just need her to say “Azaroth Metrion Zinthos” at some point.
A revived Rachel now thinks she has the power to break through to Dick. Garth, beaten and bloody even after transforming into a snake to slither away, isn’t sure that’s a good idea. But Rachel says that the only reason she’s made it this far is that Dick was able to get through to her, so she owes him the same. Rachel goes back to where she first found Dick: His memory of the night his parents died at the circus. This time it’s Rachel who’s in danger of falling from the trapeze, but Dick saves her. That means there’s hope for everyone.
A good time for that realization, since Trigon has just gone full-demon mode and is ready to destroy the world. I honestly like Trigon going full heavy-metal album cover, and I wish the rest of the episode leaned more into the aesthetic. It’s hard to take a demonic threat seriously when everyone’s swathed in bland grays and lifeless shadows. But luckily we don’t have to take it for much longer regardless. A rejuvenated Raven steps outside and makes extremely short work of her father.
Now that Trigon’s dealt with, we can get on to the interesting stuff this season has in store. Reporters and police show up to the house shortly after and announce that everyone owes their lives to this team of “masked heroes” — even though only Jason was wearing a mask at the time? Jason also jumps on camera to announce the Titans are back — a message that doesn’t go over super well with a particular grey-haired one-eyed assassin. Slade Wilson is here, baby! If the Titans are coming out of retirement, then so is Deathstroke.
After surviving that nightmare, Dick finally has a heart-to-heart discussion with Bruce about why he left. If you’re like me, you’re probably a little shook at the sight of Iain “Jorah Mormont” Glen as Batman’s alter ego. Might take me awhile to get used to it. For now, Dick and Bruce reach an understanding. Dick will take Rachel and Garth to San Francisco and start a new Titans team in their old headquarters; Bruce’s request is that he bring Jason along as well, to hopefully sand off the kid’s rougher edges.
As they enter Titans Tower (which, unfortunately, is not shaped like a giant “T” in this incarnation) the perfect music cue of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place” comes on. I’m interested to see where this season leads from here.