Deathstroke does not appear in this episode, but his words linger in Dick’s mind. Dick accepts the punishment Slade gave him: To live apart from his friends and comrades as he considers his mistakes. So, following his random assault of a cop at the airport last week, Dick’s in prison now. The fact that the jail is called “Kane County Correctional Facility,” a reference to Batman co-creator Bob Kane, is one of those delightful little homages that DC always likes to sneak into the background.
I’ll say that this weird, abrupt prison storyline is not exactly convincing me that this Titans season knows where it’s going. I hope that all these various threads eventually tie back together, but right now it all feels very disjointed and random. It’s also getting a little too reliant on cliches. The scene where Superboy tries being mean to Krypto to make him leave out of worry that he’s too dangerous to be around made me groan with its obvious resemblance to Harry and the Hendersons (or, more accurately for my reference pool, the 30 Rock parody of Harry and the Hendersons). Thankfully, Krypto comes back, but come on.
The reunion between Superboy, Beast Boy, and Krypto isn’t happy for very long, however. Mercy Graves (who we see briefly in the car with her wife and spoiled children) decides to raid the Tower and take back “Subject 13.” Even Gar’s tiger form isn’t a match for the Cadmus team; he soon gets tranquilized. We’ve already seen Superboy demolish a house full of assailants before, and he comes close this time. But then Mercy emerges and says she works with Eve Watson. That name is enough to get Superboy to stand down, for better or worse.
I do like the callback to the first Beast Boy episode from last season, the one with the Doom Patrol. Mercy is clearly familiar with Gar’s history, and talks to him about how Niles Caulder only transformed Gar into Beast Boy for his own purposes. Of course, this whole situation is a little more confusing now that DC Universe has an actual Doom Patrol show with different actor playing Caulder, but at least this show is staying consistent with itself I guess.
Let’s check in on Dick’s prison stay, shall we? One of the guards recognizes that he’s a cop and offers to help Dick out in exchange for some favors, but Dick refuses. He’s in prison because he wants to be in prison, because he believes he needs to be punished. Obviously, not everyone in jail feels the same way, and Dick soon realizes that his cellmate is plotting a break-out. The best moment of this storyline comes when the other prisoner tells Dick about a mythical bird creature that he believes is guiding him, despite his current awful predicament. Dick certainly has a lot of experience looking up to an iconic bird figure that ultimately abandons him, and he tries to tell the others to cancel their escape attempt. They don’t listen, even after one of their number gets shiv’d in the prison yard. The two remaining conspirators decide to proceed with their plan anyway, and try to seize a guard truck as they’re being transferred to a different facility. They’re soon overwhelmed by guards, but that’s when Dick steps in. He fights off the guards long enough to let the others escape in a stolen truck.
So at the end of this episode, Dick’s still in prison, but at least he’s rediscovered how it feels to help other people out. Can we please just fast-forward to Nightwing already?