Things go badly for the Titans (who have still never used that name and aren’t really much of a team so far) as they make an ill-advised visit to an “Asylum.” The episode is rife with character mistakes and some questionable writing. I haven’t been loving the series, and this is not a good episode in my opinion.
The episode opens with a very bored Dr. Adamson sitting in the bathroom they’re using as a holding cell. He glances around and just sort of waits. I’ll say again, a safehouse maintained by the Batman not having a better place for a prisoner than a glass shower stall makes no sense at all. The team, such as it is, argues about Rachel going to talk to Adamson. Dick, the main opposition, finally allows “five minutes.”
Adamson does a lot of prophetic ranting about Rachel’s destiny and her father. He also drops some hints about her mother that surprise Rachel. He then offers some definitive proof of another of her comic book powers we haven’t seen until now. It’s dramatic, but the way it happened makes no sense at all. It involves something I haven’t seen used in years and, again, a major security flaw in a place supposedly set up by Batman.
Kory and Dick are a lot more persistent in their questioning of Adamson, and manage to get some better answers. Apparently, Rachel’s mother is still alive and has been held by Adamson’s group for years. Her name here is given as Angela Azarath. In the comics, her name is Arella, and Azarath is the name of the other dimension Raven/Rachel was mostly raised in. Dick and Kory break this news to Rachel, who immediately wants to rush off and find and rescue her mother. She’s annoyed when everyone tells her this is a bad idea, and Dick says they need to do more planning first. Now that sounds like someone raised and trained by Batman. Rachel goes off for a sulk, and Gar finds her to offer encouragement and show he has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Dick and Kory do some research, elaborating the many security features of the facility where Angela is being held. The place is definitely suspicious. The two discuss options, and then are annoyed when they learn that, predictably, the younger two heroes have taken off. Gar and Rachel banter about Uber accounts and how the animal kingdom works. I wonder how that worked? “Hey, Uber? We need a ride to a creepy allegedly abandoned asylum with lots of guards.” What do you tip for that? Did the driver at least get 5 stars for hazard pay? They last a disappointingly short time before getting themselves captured.
Dick and Kory arrive shortly after, Kory making some disparaging comments about the younger two. In fairness, they don’t last much longer, captured by superior numbers, threats against their captured friends, and the hazards associated with Kory’s powers in this incarnation as opposed to her comic book one. One thing that struck me as really stupid: they’re going into a likely combat scenario, and Dick isn’t wearing his costume, or carrying it with him. Secret identity for both him and Batman to one side, the costume has armor and weapons. Aside from his attitude about being Robin, why in the world is he not wearing it? This comes up more importantly later.
The guest accommodations leave something to be desired, but hey, at least they’re not chained up in a bathroom. Dick is strapped to a restraint chair while one of the staff tells him they know who he is, and at least call him Mr. Grayson, so they know half of it. He gets injected by orderlies with a yellowish drug. Kory is in a dark pit of a room, blasting at the walls, and yelling to be let out. The walls stand up to her firepower with no hints of damage. Kory wears herself out, and the woman who seems to be in charge has the room flooded with gas. Gar is in a cage and being tortured.
Having a much better time of things, Rachel wakes up in bed with Dr. Adamson pouring coffee. So much for the “safe house.” She’s confused as to how he can be there, and demands to know where Gar is. Adamson urbanely cautions her that escape attempts on her part will make her friends suffer. He goes on vaguely about the mysterious organization he belongs to and taunts Rachel about her mother.
Kory is strapped down to a table while people experiment on her. Dick is undergoing some kind of vivid hallucination from the drugs, that has him wandering around in costume and being violently confronted by his younger self, who is not at all happy with the older Robin. This sequence, after a brief visit to the Batcave, ends with Dick still in his civilian clothes strapped to his chair, so it was all in his head. Adamson keeps pushing at Rachel, asking her to have her friends join him. He gets vicious, and then gets a surprise when Rachel flips to the dark-eyed, evil version of herself and shows an ability I’ve never seen any version of her do before. It’s ugly, and shocks her when she comes out of it. She steals Adamson’s keycard and runs off to free the others.
Rachel wanders hallways that look a lot like what Dick was hallucinating (how that works, I’m not clear), and finds her mother. She spends some time convincing Angela as to who she is, and then convinces the older woman to come with her to help her friends. They find Gar next, and, when a guard threatens them, Gar goes further than he has before in his tiger form. Like Rachel earlier, he, too, is stunned when he snaps out of it. Rachel tries to sooth him, but says they need to hurry and find the others. They find Dick, who is comatose at first but gets brought around by Rachel pleading with him, and, I suspect, some of her healing/empathic powers. They manage to find Kory, and then a huge group of guards finds them. Dick is about done with all this, and launches into a brutal fight, using a pipe he tore off the wall. Fortunately, these guards don’t have guns for whatever reason, and Grayson rage lets you fight through multiple tasings. Somehow. After, he smells a gas leak and has Kory crank up her last erg of power, triggering an explosion that somehow blows the entire building at once. Outside, the others watch the place burn. Dick stands over his smoldering Robin costume before Kory urges him to go as it burns/melts. Except… they captured Dick in civilian clothes, and he didn’t have that case with him. So where’d the costume come from?
What I liked: We finally moved the plot about Rachel forward a bit. I guess it’s a fitting focus for the show, since Raven brought the New Teen Titans, arguably the most successful version of the group, together in the comics. Rachel is showing more of her powers, and Gar is doing more than party tricks, finally. I like that Dick and Kory were trying to plan the attack, and it’s believable enough that the kids took off on their own. It’s probably going to bother Rachel for a while, but I’m ok with what happened to Adamson.
What I didn’t: I’m not sure I buy the Uber ride. How far away is this place? I’m really bothered by the magically appearing Robin costume. Dick is a master fighter, but he’s not Wolverine. He was both far too brutal and shrugging off Taser hits. The asylum staff mentioned his training- does that mean they know he’s Robin and, by extension, who Batman is? I get these are characters early in their careers (except for Dick), but Gar and Kory especially are way too under-powered.
I haven’t liked much of this series, and this was more of the same. I think I’m sticking with it out of a combination of stubbornness and loyalty to the Titans and Dick Grayson. Then again, the comics have gotten so warped from what I enjoy I’ve dropped both Titans and Nightwing’s books. So I do have a breaking point, even with these characters. I’ll give this a 2 out of 5, and hope that next episode, with a major Titans character as the title, is better.