DC Universe’s Titans season 2, episode 5 recap: Deathstroke

Curran Walters will go from Robin to Red Hood on Titans Season 3
Curran Walters will go from Robin to Red Hood on Titans Season 3 /

This action-packed episode of Titans returns to the present where Deathstroke has captured Jason Todd and the team must bargain for his return.

Following a segue into the past regarding Deathstroke’s impact on the Titans, the show returns to the present, taking off several minutes following the abduction of Jason Todd. He may have been beat, but Jason is a handful for Dr. Light. Up against Deathstroke, however, Jason doesn’t seem to stand a chance.

The Hunt for Jason Todd

Garfield Logan returns to Titans Tower to find Rachel asleep, a swarm of energy swimming around her. Rachel’s been afraid of a being trying to escape her, which is why she asked Kory Anders to remain on Earth. The creature is not pleasant and slashes Gar when he tries to wake Rachel.

Gar tells her about Jason and Dick overhears. Furious that his charges went after supervillains without any backup or weapons, Dick tries to locate Jason using his tracker. When he doesn’t find it, Gar suggests it might be because Jason is still in the tunnels. Dick gets the rest of the old Titans together and they split up to cover more ground in the tunnels. Hank Hall is least bothered with this entire charade, half-blaming Jason for bringing Deathstroke’s wrath upon himself. It’s all a façade though, Hank’s obviously got a soft spot for the new Robin.

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The team stumbles upon the spot where Jason was attacked and abducted, and they also discover that Deathstroke has placed cameras in that location to spy on them. But Dick is a little too late to smash the cameras. Dr. Light and Deathstroke overhear that Jason’s tracker has led the Titans here. While Light is hell-bent on killing the Titans himself, Deathstroke wants to take this slow.

He has Jason tied up, blindfolded and with noise-canceling headphones on to deprive Jason of all his senses. Funnily enough, Jason’s mask is still on. Unless Deathstroke already knows who Jason is, I don’t understand why he wouldn’t remove Jason’s mask. Comic book logic!

Deathstroke has a device that identifies the location of Jason’s tracker, and he viciously carves it out of Robin 2.0. Wait, didn’t Batman make the new Robin suit virtually impermeable? Once that’s done, Deathstroke leaves Jason to shoot Dr. Light straight through the head and leave Jason’s tracker on him. I guess he outstayed his usefulness.

The Titans find Light’s dead body and a phone left by Deathstroke. He offers the team a bargain, Jason for his daughter, Rose Wilson.

Back at Titans Tower

Titans -- Ep. 205 -- “Deathstroke” -- Photo Credit: Ken Woroner / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Titans — Ep. 205 — “Deathstroke” — Photo Credit: Ken Woroner / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The new Titans are going stir-crazy in the Tower. Gar is dying of guilt and worry – it seems like he and Jason built up a rapport, which is understandable considering neither of them have had the opportunity to hang out with many people their age. While Gar is a nervous wreck, Rose doesn’t seem to care at all. Why should she? She doesn’t know Jason, and the Titans are little more than an obstacle in her effort to kill her father.

When Gar is unable to handle Rose’s nonchalance, he turns to Rachel. Here too there’s drama. Rachel’s upset that Jason and Gar left her out of their little road trip, especially since she’s obviously the most powerful among them. But Gar doesn’t trust Rachel’s ability to control her powers and the two of them end up hurling some pretty hurtful things at each other. Their verbal spat is interrupted by the arrival of Starfire. Finally, an adult in the Tower.

Rachel reveals her fears to Kory, especially that she feels she’s changed forever and is turning into the evil being that Kory initially came to Earth to kill. But Kory explains that just because Rachel has undergone a transfiguration, and is different, doesn’t mean she can’t be good. Kory herself was an anomaly on her planet – her powers could not be contained – but that didn’t stop her from being a hero. It’s a hard battle, but Rachel will need to fight it.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Titans -- Ep. 205 -- "Deathstroke" -- Photo Credit: Sven Frenzel / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Titans — Ep. 205 — “Deathstroke” — Photo Credit: Sven Frenzel / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The Titans return defeated again (in a sense). Dick is surprised to see Kory, but is there a hint of happiness in there? He asks her to join the others as they discuss their options? Should they give up Rose for Jason? Would they be willing to use Slade’s child as leverage against him again (more on Jericho later in the season, one supposes)?

The kids decide to listen in on the adults, including Rose. She listens as Hank insists on trading Rose for Jason because Rose isn’t one of them, but Jason is (told you he had a soft spot for the lad). Donna doesn’t want Rose to return to Slade, but neither does she want her involved with the Titans. Dawn Granger, as always, has a heart of gold, but none of her suggestions point to Jason surviving this. Dick is speechless. He’s been an ineffectual leader this entire season, and I hope he ups his game soon. Kory is the only sane voice in the room, astutely pointing out that they’re all turning into monsters rather than taking down one.

Rose decides to escape the Tower, but Dick locks it down. She runs away from Dick and straight into Hank. Rose is strong and does a good job of keeping Hank down, but then he gets her in a chokehold. I’m unsure if Hank was planning to kill her; it is disturbing how Hank is so dismissive of Rose, to the point of wanting her dead. Dawn distracts Hank and Rose escapes.

When she encounters Rachel, Rachel’s Raven soul-self takes over and kills Rose. Horrified, Rachel runs away, telling Kory that she was born bad. Unbeknownst to her, Rose creepily heals and wakes up, Hank carrying her to a safe place. Hank’s characterization is see-sawing in this episode. He seemed happy that Rachel killed Rose, but was the first person to help the girl up when she woke up. Hank is still hiding under his machismo, which is something I was hoping he had shed after the whole Trigon incident.

Hank likens Jason’s kidnapping to his own abusive childhood, waiting for a hero to save him. What a weird connection to make? Jason’s nothing like young Hank! Bit of a stretch here, showrunners.

The State of the Titans

Titans -- Ep. 205 -- “Deathstroke” -- Photo Credit: Ken Woroner / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Titans — Ep. 205 — “Deathstroke” — Photo Credit: Ken Woroner / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Seeing Hank relive his past and watching her friends almost turn into monsters, Dawn decides to confront Dick about re-opening the Tower. She is not happy about what they did in the past (probably another reference to Jericho), and returning to the Tower is raking all those ghosts back up. Dawn thinks Titans is Dick’s little experiment and she will shut it down if he doesn’t.

Dick finally takes a stand and decides to rescue Jason. He has a plan that doesn’t involve trading Rose. He asks Kory to join them on the mission and to stay on as a Titans leader. Not sure where he’s planning to go, but he obviously doesn’t see himself as being the future decision-maker for the team (assuming there is one after Deathstroke is taken down).

The team gets into position on the periphery of Deathstroke’s location. Dick, however, goes dark. He’s got a secret plan that doesn’t involve the team. Dick is willing to trade himself in Rose and Jason’s stead because he’s the one that Deathstroke wants to take revenge on.

Dick arrives, completely unarmed, yet Deathstroke is unphased. Slade doesn’t want to kill Dick, he wants Dick to suffer. Slade has Jason rigged to dynamite ready to blow, but before he can act, Kory shows up. Kory and Dick fight Slade. They’re good, even Dick, who has nothing but a stick as his weapon.

The trouble is, Slade has several tricks up his sleeve. He temporarily disables both Kory and Dick, giving him enough time to blow up the rig Jason is on. Jason, who freed himself of his restraints is able to hang on to a ledge. As Dick tries to pull Jason up, however, he loses his grip. The episode ends as we watch Jason plummet to the ground!

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Is he dead? Did one of the Titans save him? Are we ready for Death in the Family already? I feel like we were just getting to know Jason and it’s too soon to bid him farewell. This would also be a quick end to the current story arc. I foresee this Jericho/Jason parallel storyline taking us through to the mid-season, which will probably culminate in Nightwing’s appearance for the second half of the season. Having said that, we’re not ready for Jason to die yet! Stop fast-forwarding to Red Hood, DC Universe.