We’re finally hitting the home stretch of Titans season 2. Though I’m super-excited that Nightwing is finally right around the corner, I’m a little confused as to where Superboy has gone. Both Conner and Gar were taken by Cadmus and experimented on, but though this episode begins by showing us the results of Gar’s manipulation, we have not seen heads or tails of Conner in a couple weeks.
For the sake of everyone on the show, I really hope Cadmus’ experimentation on Conner wasn’t as successful as what they did to Gar. I know I’ve complained a bit about this season’s weird pacing and clichéd dialogue, so I will say that I really like where this Gar story line is going. It’s legitimately disturbing in the way that season 1 often was, complete with body horror. The thought of someone just opening up your brain and hitting whatever buttons they want is so freaky to even contemplate. Turning Gar, the show’s affable jokester, into a murderous pet is disturbingly effective. Watching him go beast mode on the regulars of his favorite coffee shop was legitimately upsetting. Mercy Graves has violated Gar in such a thorough and effective way that I can’t see how this plotline resolves itself in the one episode we have left, though if it waits until season 3 it will keep me upset about it for months.
Then again, Donna and Dawn at least are on Cadmus’ trail. The most entertaining scene in this episode comes when they pose as food delivery women for a male Cadmus executive. They really put the flirt on, and I must express some sympathy for this poor sucker; it would work on me! Minutes later he’s been hoisted from the ceiling by Donna’s lasso, forced to detail what Cadmus did to Gar and Conner. Kory and Rachel aren’t far behind either; increasingly frustrated by chasing down Dick when he clearly doesn’t want help, Kory wants to head back for San Francisco to help the Gar rescue effort. We also get confirmation that Jericho is alive, in some fashion, inside Deathstroke’s brain. We see them sharing a mental “white space” that feels like they really learned from Doom Patrol.
Not every plotline this episode is equally effective. We spend a good chunk of time going through Rose’s history. As she admits to Jason, she was purposely sent to the Titans by her father as his spy and saboteur. To make up for it, she tells Jason everything, and we finally get to see her wearing the Ravager outfit! Unfortunately I don’t find her to be a particularly interesting presence on this show, and her romance with Jason doesn’t move me much.
Finally, there’s Hank, who I increasingly think might be the single weirdest element of this show. Then again, I do love Dawn, so I guess they’re a package deal. Not right now, though! While Dawn is on the trail of Cadmus with Donna, Hank is getting into cage fights to support his drug habit. It honestly feels a bit like wasted time, or a result of the fact that this character needs something to do even though we still have so much more to unpack about Deathstroke, Cadmus, Blackfire, and all the other story lines. The dream sequence fight with Dawn wasn’t bad, though, and I thought the scene where Hank tracks down a 16-year-old kid who was livestreaming from the Hawk suit only to discover he sold the kid the suit in the first place for drug money was genuinely arresting.
That’s all for now. Next week: Nightwing, Nightwing, Nightwing!