We met Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke, last week. The gray-haired, eyepatch-wearing ex-military man was so outraged by seeing the Titans reformed on TV that he went down into his big arms cache and looked at his Deathstroke outfit sitting behind glass. You could all but hear him saying, in full Keanu Reeves-John Wick voice, “Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.”
We don’t get any Deathstroke this week, but we do get the next best thing: His daughter Rose. This teenage girl has similarly silver hair as her father, and also has her own eyepatch! She catches the Titans’ attention by escaping from the cops in a perilous high-speed chase. Dick Grayson, sitting down in front of the TV news, is immediately enraptured by the footage. At first I thought this meant he recognized her, perhaps from a meeting when he was on the prior incarnation of the Titans, but that’s not the case. Dick just hates seeing a young person in trouble, especially a young woman, and races off to help her.
He manages to get her back to Titans Tower, but Rose isn’t very impressed by any of it. She tells Dick they’re in danger just for associating with her, and that “he” will kill all of them if necessary to get to her. It’s not technically revealed until the end of the episode, but the “he” in question is certainly her father. So far, the parallels between Rose and season 1 Rachel are obvious. Damaged young women on the run from their villainous dads who arouse Dick Grayson’s sympathy and also possess mysterious powers (shadow magic in Rachel’s case, an unexplained Wolverine-like healing factor for Rose).
But Dick’s come a long way since the beginning of season 1. This time, he’s not afraid to ask for help. He calls Bruce Wayne for advice on how to get Rose acclimated to Titans Tower. Bruce talks about how, when he first recruited Dick to the Batcave, he himself became an avatar for everything Dick hated and feared. Maybe Dick needs to do something like that… luckily for him, there’s a bad man waiting in the wings who could be just what the doctor ordered to channel Rose’s rage productively.
Let’s check in on my favorite Titans character, shall we? Donna Troy spends most of this episode in a truck, doing surveillance with Kory and waiting for a villain named Shimmer to show up. Longtime fans of Teen Titans comics and cartoons surely recognize Shimmer as a key member of the Fearsome Five, a villainous collective that has long plagued the team. Right now, though, she’s on her own, which makes her easy prey for Donna and Kory once they leave their truck because Donna can no longer deal with Kory blasting “We Are Family” over and over again (a repetitive song that serves as a hint to Rose’s identity). The alien’s fire blast sends Shimmer right into Donna’s lasso, and all seems well. That is, until Donna sends Kory to pick up tacos while she loads Shimmer into a police van. On her way, Kory runs into a fellow Thanagarian, who is apparently there to take her back to her home planet. He tasers her with a mysterious device and drags her away before Donna realizes anything has happened. It would be fun to see more aliens this season!