DC Universe’s Titans season 1, episode 5 recap: Together


It feels like Titans is finally headed in the right direction with this latest episode. Together, the Titans are closer to finding out about the villains who are after Rachel. Plus, a fan-favorite character from the comics enters the fray!

The latest episode of DC Universe’s Titans gets off to a pretty repulsive start. Dr. Adamson (Reed Birney) is on the phone chastising the doctor of his facility for not getting the ‘Dad’ of the Nuclear Family ready in time for their mission. He does this while whipping up an embryonic egg, which is shown in graphic detail. This man is not human at all. FYI: do not make the same mistake I made and watch this while eating.

The Nuclear Family, now with a new dad, track down Dick’s Porsche to a used car shop and threaten the owner, Gerald, to get the information they need. For once, Titans uses restraint and the torture takes place off-screen.

The four Titans members – Dick Grayson/Robin (Brenton Thwaites), Kory Anders/ Starfire (Anna Diop), Rachel Roth/ Raven (Teagan Croft) and Gar Logan/ Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) – head to a motel for safety. Having defeated Chief in episode four of Titans, the team is adamant about protecting Rachel from the Nuclear Family.

Dick picks up their room keys from the motel-owner, who makes it obvious that she’s very lonely and smitten with him. She alludes to a broken ice machine as a round-about way of inviting him to her room later.

After much grumbling about ditching Dick’s Porsche for an inconspicuous minivan and living in a rundown motel, the team settles in for their first training exercise. Dick has found a barn for them to practice in and asks Starfire to go first. She explains that her power comes from the sun, which means she’s weaker at night and needs recharging. Despite her bravado, when she unleashes her firepower, she misses her target. Oops.

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Gar is next. He is uncomfortable shapeshifting in front of everyone since he has to get naked. ‘Trust me, it’s totally worth it,’ he explains. ‘Yeah, I’ve heard that before,’ Starfire retorts. The sheepish grin on Thwaites’ face has to be him breaking character.

Once they turn around, Gar transforms into Ti-Gar, to the delight of Starfire and Rachel. Dick, on the other hand, looks absolutely terrified. Not sure why he’s so shaken – didn’t they have tigers in Haly’s Circus?

Dick asks Rachel to try, but she is hesitant, fearing she may hurt the others. Dick believes in her so she unleashes her soul-self. I am not the biggest fan of the black CGI goo spewing from her mouth; it looks gross. She isn’t able to bring the goo back in, so Starfire fires at it. It looks like Rachel is hurt by this, but she brushes it aside saying she just needs more practice.

When Gar asks Dick to show them his skills, Dick just says that his power is to ‘keep you alive’. This is a brilliant move by episode director Meera Menon, as we will see eventually.

Rachel and Gar bond over their new powers, while their surrogate mom and dad, Starfire and Dick, watch over them. Starfire thinks ‘they’re cute together’, but as I’ve mentioned before, it would be inadvisable for the showrunners to begin a romance between Gar and Rachel because of the age difference between the actors.

Dick feels guilty for making the kids into weapons, because ‘once you see the world that way, you can’t unsee it’. When Starfire probes him about his past, he remains elusive, only explaining that he had to walk away from it because hiding behind a mask gives you the ‘license to do things’. I think the Titans writers should have led with that. This is such a perfect way to explain Dick’s characterization on the show so far.

It’s obvious Starfire is angling for more information during their conversation, but it feels like she wants to establish a deeper connection as well. We see her buying Tequila from a discerning liquor store owner. I truly love this unnamed woman – she has more personality than most of the characters in this show, so far.

Turns out Starfire is using the Tequila as a ruse to get closer to Dick. She walks in on him while he’s half-naked (not her fault, he could have put his clothes on before opening the door). She says she wants to see his moves and the next thing we know they’re in bed together and he can’t get her boots off.

Considering Starfire and Dick spent all of episode 4 stuck in a car together, I can only imagine she’s warming to him. Unfortunately, Thwaites and Diop have no chemistry, whatsoever, which makes their hook up feel inauthentic. It’s almost like the showrunners just wanted the canon comic book couple to get together, irrespective of how the show has developed them.

Starfire in Titans — Ep. 105 — Photo Credit: Christos Kalohoridis / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Starfire is suitably impressed by Dick’s ‘moves’, but he hasn’t mellowed enough to open up to her. As she leaves, Starfire passes the motel-owner heading to Dick’s room. When Dick opens the door, we see the owner has done up her hair and makeup and is dressed for success. Unfortunately, Dick doesn’t accept her offer. Though disappointed, the owner leaves, keeping the offer open for another day.

I love that this character has a fully developed backstory and that the audience can root for her. I honestly thought she’d get lucky with Dick, but Starfire beat her to it. Director Meera Menon and the crew also subvert expectations by casting an actor who is more tired-mom-chic rather than supermodel hot, which makes her actions even braver. However, it may just be me, but it’s a little perturbing that Dick gets hit on by two women in the same episode.

I really hope the motel owner made it out alive because she is the first victim of the Nuclear Parents in this motel. They soon turn on Dick while Starfire intercepts the Nuclear children. The Family are impossible to defeat – they are seemingly invincible.

These fight scenes are the show’s best. Thwaites finally shows off a couple of acrobatic moves, and Diop moves with an ease that suggests Starfire doesn’t need superpowers to look cool. But, things go sideways when Nuclear Dad pushes Dick and his suitcase off the balcony and Starfire’s power fails her. Just when it looks like Gar and Rachel are on their own, a smoke bomb distracts the Family and in swoops Robin! Now, we know why the episode’s writers and director wouldn’t let Dick show his team his real moves earlier.

Robin makes an entrance in Titans — Ep. 105 — Photo Credit: Christos Kalohoridis / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Some excellent fight choreography later and the Titans take down the Family together. They tie them up and ask the Family why they’re after Rachel. Somehow Dick has had the time to change out of his complicated Robin suit to put on all his civilian clothes. The Family is not forthcoming, only saying that they need to deliver Rachel to their ‘employer’. Dick checks their car and finds Dr. Adamson’s location. Rachel asks him about being Robin and Dick explains that he wanted to leave Robin behind because he can’t control that part of himself. Rachel sees a kindred spirit in Dick. Honestly, the character development in this episode is outstanding. Writers Edward Hill and Gabrielle Stanton need to be commended, along with Menon, for bringing the characters alive and making the show’s most coherent and cohesive episode yet!

Gar is fangirling over the thought of Dick knowing Batman. ‘Are we going to see Batman?’ he asks. ‘No, we’re not,’ Dick replies. Gar looks as disappointed as we feel.

Dick heads off to find Dr. Adamson. As soon as Adamson sees Dick on his surveillance screens he detonates the remote device that kills the Nuclear Family. When Dick reaches his penthouse floor, Adamson reveals nothing except that the organization he works for has sent people to kill him.

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Before long, a SWAT team appears and attacks. Dick is able to hold his own for a while, but there are too many of them. Dick is down and beaten, but a smoke bomb reveals a new hero. Hello and welcome to the first ever live-action Jason Todd (Curran Walters), aka the new Robin. Dick is not going to be happy.