This episode of Titans was a mixed bag. There was a genuinely unsettling return to the body horror of season 1 and another fun turn, but also some of the worst romantic dialogue this side of Attack of the Clones. I’m just dying to see Nightwing already.
So is Dick. After helping those two fellow prisoners escape from jail, Dick is now sweating feverishly in solitary confinement. This is when his vision of Bruce decides to return and mock him. Imaginary Bruce gives some very aggressive advice, but since it lines up neatly with some of my own criticisms of this season so far, I was into it. As Bruce correctly points out, Jericho was killed by Deathstroke, not by Dick. Sure, Dick manipulated him a bit, but it’s nowhere near the same thing as actually shoving the blade through his chest.
As they talk, Dick and Bruce start edging closer to a very important epiphany. After all, Dick was recently in the same room as Slade while his enemy was unarmed and apparently injured. Dick didn’t even hit him, much less kill him. Why not? We’ve seen him maul people for much less. I mean, he’s even trashing his room and fighting guards at the slightest provocation from his own imagined Bruce specter. Bruce wonders: Was there something inside Slade that Dick subconsciously knew he needed? Not fighting skills or killing experience. Recall that Jericho had the power to take control of another person’s body through eye contact. A face-to-face death blow almost certainly would’ve involved some eye contact…
The other Titans, who somehow managed to scatter themselves across the country in the span of a few episodes, are slowly drawn back together. Dawn and Kory both imagine Rachel calling to them for help. The two of them end up arriving at the same diner at the same time as Donna and Rachel, who’s been so busy with her own prophetic nightmares (the newest one involves Dick showing up at his own “funeral,” Tom Sawyer-style, only to be killed for real by Deathstroke). Here’s the fun twist: It was Bruce Wayne, the real one, who summoned them together. He notes the unfortunate absence of Gar and Conner, but points them in the direction of a TV news report about the prison break that names Dick. All four women have a hilariously shocked reaction to that. But while Kory and Rachel race off to rescue Dick, his ex-girlfriend and best friend both know him way too well. Knowing that Dick got himself in there, Dawn and Donna refuse to join in. Kory and Rachel’s effort is somewhat wasted anyway: By the time they break through to Dick’s cell, they find it empty, aside from the words “Jericho is alive” etched into the wall. Yep, it sure seems like this show is taking a page out of producer Geoff Johns’ run on the Teen Titans comic, where Jericho was revealed to be the force manipulating Deathstroke to attack the Titans.
Meanwhile, Rose and Jason are sleeping together and having some bonding time, but I don’t want to talk about that segment much because as I said above, the “romantic” dialogue is really reminiscent of “I don’t like sand.”
So let’s finish by discussing the most genuinely interesting part of this episode: The absolutely disgusting way Mercy Graves is manipulating Beast Boy. The first shot of the episode, in fact, involves Cadmus surgeons drilling into his skull and pushing things around in his brain. By the end of the episode, we see the results: With one hypnotic trigger, Mercy is able to make Beast Boy go tiger mode on a lab assistant he thinks is Rachel. It’s really upsetting! And now I think we’ve identified the season’s true villain.