DC Universe’s Titans season 1, episode 3 recap: Origins


At the end of episode two of Titans, Rachel had been captured by the Nuclear Family after they attacked Dick Grayson, Hawk, and Dove. Thankfully, another hero is around the corner to help.

The Nuclear Family are chuffed to have successfully completed their mission, but unbeknownst to them, Starfire (Anna Diop) is right behind them. After her foray in Vienna (in the pilot episode of Titans), Starfire had tracked Rachel to her home in Traverse City, which she discovered was a crime scene. This didn’t stop her from breaking in and uncovering an old photograph of Rachel and her mother at St. Paul’s Convent from a hidden compartment in Rachel’s room. All it took was brutally attacking three innocent cops patrolling the house.

When the Family park at a rest stop in the third Titans episode, Starfire burns the father to a crisp and asks Rachel to join her. Introducing herself as Kory Anders, Starfire is disappointed that Rachel knows nothing about her. Starfire still has no memories of her life, so she decides to head to St. Paul’s in the hopes of uncovering more information about herself.

She and Rachel bond on their long road trip. Neither understands the power within them, but while Rachel feels a darkness inside, Starfire sees light. They stop at a diner so Rachel can eat, but before they are served, a group of unruly men walk in and begin harassing the waitress. Bad move to make in front of Starfire. She sends Rachel back to the car, but the girl clearly sees Starfire taking out the thugs. The waitress is so pleased she gives Starfire their meal on the house. Despite the contrivances, this was an awesome scene of female solidarity. Girl power to the tune of Boney M!

Titans Ep. 103–Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie / ©2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

Meanwhile, Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) leaves a comatose Dawn (Minka Kelly) with Hank (Alan Ritchson), asking him ‘to take care of her’. Newsflash, Dick, Hank, and Dawn were doing fine till you showed up. Miraculously Hank doesn’t have a scratch on him despite being shot in the shoulder, beaten to a pulp and throttled in the previous Titans episode. Dick appears unscathed as well.

As he looks on at Dawn, we get the first of many flashbacks of young Dick Grayson (Tomaso Sanelli) starting his life in Wayne Manor. Essentially, these are a montage of Robin’s ‘Origins’, which is what this Titans episode is called, but they do not add much character development. Young Dick looks around the Manor completely emotionless and later acts out by pulling a Kelvin-timeline-James-Kirk and driving off with one of Bruce’s cars – it’s the Porsche that Dick in the present day has been driving around. It’s all very Batman Forever, but without Batman, this Dick Grayson origin story falls flat.

Titans Ep. 101–Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie / ©2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

Young Dick’s interactions with a social worker are stand-ins for conversations he had with Bruce Wayne in the comics – the revelation that his parents’ deaths weren’t an accident, the fact that Bruce was also orphaned at a young age, Dick’s desire to kill those responsible for his parents’ murder – these are moments that allowed the two characters to bond, but for some reason Bruce and Batman aren’t allowed to be on Titans, and hence there is no gravitas to this central relationship. Even Bruce inviting Dick to become his sidekick as Robin is relegated to a cryptic letter.

More. DC Universe’s Titans season 1, episode 2 recap: Hawk and Dove. light

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Part of me wonders if DC Universe will see sense and cast someone as Batman for the second season, much like Supergirl did with Superman, to avoid the continued lack of authenticity in having a silhouette fill in for such an iconic character.

Dick’s Detroit PD colleague, Detective Jessica Perez (Liza Colón-Zayas), calls to inform Dick that a woman was caught on camera leaving with Rachel at a gas station. She also tells him about the death of his partner Amy Rohrbach (Lindsay Gort). Dick follows Starfire and Rachel using his Bird-tablet. It is an excruciatingly overlong scene where the director is trying to show off how cool technology is, but really it just comes off as cringe-worthy. However, when Dick zooms in on Starfire’s car number plate, he looks extremely frustrated at the thought of having to fall back on Batman’s technology to track her location.

The nun at St Paul’s (Meagen Fay) recognises Starfire from a year ago when she came looking for Rachel because ‘they’ had found her. Starfire didn’t explain much else, but the nun is delighted to have Rachel back. She and her mother had stayed at the convent for a while and the only thing Rachel believes she recalls from that time is a painting of the Virgin Mary looking into the light. The nun asks Rachel if she sees a figure emerging from the amber glow, ‘a man, perhaps?’ What is she getting at?

Titans Ep. 104–Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie / ©2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

Once Rachel is out of earshot, Starfire asks the nun what Rachel’s mother, Melissa, was protecting her from when they were first at the convent. The nun explains that they were running from Rachel’s father, who Melissa felt was a danger to them. She was very convincing, but so were the strangle marks around her neck. It’s to be remembered that in the pilot episode of Titans, Melissa confessed that she wasn’t actually Rachel’s mother.

The remaining members of the Nuclear Family head to Chicago to report about their failure to ‘Dr. Adamson’ (Reed Birney), the man who activated them in the second episode. He is frustrated that they were thwarted by someone other than Rachel. He explains why ‘the girl’ is so important – without her ‘welcome’, Rachel’s father cannot enter this realm and fulfill his promise to scrub humanity clean of its pain and oppression. Nuclear Sis (Jeni Ross) saves the family from extermination by being inquisitive, so Adamson gives them another chance and even offers them a ‘new dad’.

The 80s soundtrack that accompanies most Starfire scenes is stupendous. Across the road from the convent is a skating club and Starfire has a key to one of their lockers, which surprisingly hides yet another key. Starfire plugs Rachel for information about her father, but Rachel knows nothing about him.

Rachel heads off to play an arcade game, when who should sneak up behind her but Garfield Logan (Ryan Potter). He is evidently interested in interacting with her and gives her some tips to win the jackpot. They both compliment each other on their hair and awkwardly play the game. In the original comics, Garfield and Rachel are around the same age and Gar is a quintessential hormonal teenage boy, hitting on every female that moves, including Rachel. Unfortunately, that would not work in Titans because Potter is at least a decade older than Croft and an adult, so I’m hoping the showrunners remember that before proceeding with any romantic entanglements between these two characters.

Titans Ep. 104–Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie / ©2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

Dick arrives at the rink and drags a reluctant Rachel away from Gar and the arcade machine. And the Titans team is finally together! Well, briefly anyway. Dick confronts Starfire about ‘kidnapping’ Rachel, and when he refuses to back down, Rachel’s soul-self lashes out. Starfire, Dick and Rachel then leave for the convent without Gar, who looks on from afar. And that’s all for Garfield in this episode. Who did Ryan Potter anger to constantly get left out of the show?

Visibly upset over her soul-self being triggered and about Dick’s plan to leave her in episode two, Rachel retreats to the chapel for some quiet time. Dick somehow manages to make her hopelessness all about him, giving her some spiel about trusting no one but herself and using it to control her powers. It isn’t a pep talk as much as Dick being a jerk. He’s a horrible person for crushing a scared little girl’s hopes.

What’s worse is, Dick leaves Rachel alone in the chapel when he hears Starfire run off with his car. The elderly nun takes this opportunity to drug Rachel and lock her up in the basement for her protection. This plan spectacularly backfires, because Rachel’s soul-self appears in the mirror and asks her to ‘let me in’. Except, this isn’t Rachel’s soul-self, but something much worse. This might explain the soul-self’s erratic nature. While in the pilot episode of Titans it protected her from imminent danger, it has not behaved the same way in the past two episodes, allowing Rachel to get into scrape after scrape.

Meanwhile, Starfire locates the warehouse to which she has a key. There’s a cassette tape of her voice from November, 2017 detailing her investigation on Rachel and a Russian trafficking ring. The wall is plastered with photos of Rachel and some papers with alien writing. Starfire can read the writing but doesn’t know its meaning. The warehouse also has a sun-bed in it, but we don’t understand its significance yet.

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Dick arrives at the warehouse and they try and dissect all the information Starfire has found. The raven is significant in this case, and mortality rates spike on Rachel’s birthday every year. Starfire concludes that Rachel is part of a prophecy – she’s the destroyer of worlds. Before they can continue their conversation, an explosion interrupts them. The convent has been blown up, and Rachel is on the run. This is on you, Dick!