Welcome back once again to Titans coverage here on Multiversity as we get into episode five of this season, “Deathstroke”. This episode brings us back to the present and moves quite a few plots forward while a few others spin their wheels just a little bit. Overall this episode was really entertaining and brings us right to the edge in a way that is unexpected for being so early in this season. Let’s get into it and beware spoilers ahead!
1. A Kidnapping in The Family
Jason Todd kidnapped and tortured… does this sound familiar to anyone? The episode opens with Robin 2.0 taking out Dr. Light and breaking free of his binding only to be stopped by Deathstroke and recaptured. While this mostly feels like a recap or retread of the cliffhanger two weeks ago, this escape attempt really underscores Jason’s capabilities as Robin. The kid’s a jerk but its really hard to say he’s not good at his job.
The Titans’ attempt to rescue Jason is the momentum of the plot for this episode and it creates so much great drama. Slade, again and again, proves that he is a threat worthy of the fear that the Titans have for him. In his dialogue and his mannerisms, he carries an intensity that Esai Morales delivers incredibly well. Playing off of Curren Walter’s Jason Todd and Michael Mosley has really given him a lot to work with. For now…
Deathstroke gets rid of his business partner, Dr. Light after he gets too antsy to get at the Titans. Slade kills Light and leaves Jason’s tracker for the Original Titans to find. There’s a great moment with Hank threatening Deathstroke after finding out it’s him who has Jason. Deathstroke has issued an ultimatum. Jason for Rose. What are the Titans to do?
2. A Tower Divided
For being such a big episode there is a lot of time spent at the Tower moving through more of the emotional beats of the story and boy are there a lot of them. Gar is shaken up by losing Jason in the tunnels and is taking it out on his teammates. When Rose is just trying to eat some cereal, he snaps at her for being so casual and after he storms off he snaps Rachel after she expresses that she could have helped if Jason and Gar had brought her. Gar’s anger and frustration make sense but Ryan Potter’s performance feels a little overdone in this part. It also could be the back of his wig sticking up. It’s impossible to know for sure.
After the ultimatum of Rose or Jason is revealed, the true drama begins. Kory returns to the tower earlier in the episode and acts as the moral core for the Old Titans’ discussion on what to do about the situation. Hank is adamant that they make the trade and Donna’s not disagreeing. Dick thinks that she could be good leverage against Deathstroke, but Dawn reminds him that using one of Deathstroke’s kid didn’t go well the first time. Dick is being swayed by both sides but unfortunately, the kids are listening in and Rose decides she’s not going to wait for the decision before she decides to split. After some things that will be covered in the next section, there are some sentimental moments between the team.
Donna and Kori have a moment where Kori catches Donna up on her plot from two episodes ago and her status as Space Royalty™. Hank has a really interesting moment with Dawn where he explains his connection to Jason. Jason being afraid, alone, and wondering if anyone is going to come for him hits Hank’s childhood with his predatory coach. Again, Hawk and Dove’s origin felt grimdark in the first season but the show’s commitment to exploring that trauma really sustains those choices.
Dawn also has a talk with Dick. Where she brings up the question of what is the point of bringing back the Titans which has been brought up by a number of the Old Titans. She tells them that after this business with Deathstroke if Dick doesn’t shut down the group, she will burn it to the ground herself.Continued below
3. Rachel and Kori talk about Demon Puberty
Ever since Rachel defeated Trigon, her powers have been different and just as dangerous. After her nearly killing Jason two weeks ago and the swirling cloud nearly cut off Gar’s hand which becomes the subject of Gar’s lashing out mentioned before. How can he trust her to back up Jason and him when she can’t control her own abilities. Rachel is really in a bad place.
Lucky for Rachel, Kori is back. Rachel and Kori’s relationship is a really key one in this show and it felt really good to see them together again and talking about what’s happening with her. Kori relates her experience on Tamaran to the lack of control Rachel feels. She tells about the devices kids wore on Tameran that held back their…”Starfire” 😉 but couldn’t hold her back and that despite not having control, people can still choose to be good. A heartwarming conversation that would naturally fit in the tinkly tinkly heart to heart section of this piece but then–
Rose is in the process of escaping and Rachel tries her hand at stopping her with her abilities and…fully kills her! Bones crooked and everything!
I mean, Rose gets better, it was very very gross and I hated it, but it’s good that she didn’t die.
Rachel is very upset that she murdered a woman because– who wouldn’t be? She’s more upset over the fact that despite her attempting to choose good, she caused pain which makes her feel like she has no choice.
4. Dick and Deathstroke
Picking up after Dawn’s ultimatum. Dick and Kori have a conversation about how it would be great if she came back to the team. It’s a sweet conversation that ends in Dick complimenting her hair (I will discuss this later).
Dick then gathers the Old Titans to enact a plan that will stop Slade once and for all without sacrificing Rose. All of the Titans are in position until Dick takes off his coms and goes rogue. He plans on sacrificing himself to Deathstroke for both Rose and Dick. Obviously Deathstroke is not having any of that but Kori comes to the rescue before Dick is doomed. They both take on Deathstroke while Jason dangles on a window washer’s platform with little explosives.
This fight is really good and really smart. Kori’s powers are used in such a fun way with her Starfire abilities acting as shields for Deatstrokes guns, while Dick is going in close. There’s also a really great sword/pipe fight between Deathstroke and Dick which was really fun to watch. Deathstroke calls Dick a charlatan and a con man a number of times through this fight and in this episode and that is such an interesting insult and makes me think it has to do with the history with Jericho. Either way, this fight is a major high point for the episode.
Uh…speaking of high points. Our boy Jason is really high up and uh-oh Slade blew the window washer thingie so he’s falling! Dick tries to save him but he slips and…the episode ends!
Wow… and we didn’t even get a phone number to call in to.
5. What’s a secret identity anyway? Also…wig
Ok, I love that there is so much good superhero media right now but why does no one like secret identities anymore. It makes sense that Dick, Dawn, and Hank don’t have costumes because they have quit but they don’t even try to wear masks or disguise themselves in any way. Dick fully uses Jason’s name when talking to Deathstroke and I’m sure if Deathstroke knows Dick Grayson and Jason Todd were both Robin it wouldn’t be a stretch to know Bruce Wayne is Batman and there’s no reason to keep that a secret. This isn’t the first time in this season that secret identities haven’t meant much but it’s so strange especially since Bruce’s identity was such a surprise in Dick’s Trigon dream last season.
This truly is not that important to the quality of the show but I like secret identities in superhero media, OK?!
And another thing! It’s been a while since I talked about wigs (ignore earlier in this where I talked about Gar’s wig). Kori’s wig finally got it’s due this episode. We as an audience have known it’s good and has appreciated but finally the story is following suit. Dick compliment’s Kori’s hair which is a great reference to his Trigon episode which was the debut of “Better-Wig-Kori”. A cute callback right? Not so fast! When Kori saves Dick she says he can’t just compliment her hair instead of saying goodbye. That conversation where he complimented her hair was all about him wanting her on the team because he was going to sacrifice himself to save Rose and Jason and he needed someone to take his role as a mentor. Him complimenting her hair was not only a callback to a bright spot in Dick’s dark dream but a plea and a declaration of admiration to a trusted companion. For Kori to recognize this appreciation for what it was, a cry for help is powerful.Continued below
All of this pathos carried by one piece of costuming is truly powerful and what better piece for it to be in Dc Universe’s breakout show Titans than…a wig?
For that, I would like to applaud this program.
Tune in next week to see what other story secrets hide in the wigs.
And I guess to see if Jason’s dead or not.