Last season of Titans ended in a major cliffhanger. Trigon made it to Earth, Dick fell under his sway, and his most powerful allies are trapped outside the cloaking/force field. That’s not a great place for our heroes, but at least there’s a lot of room for improvement. Considering the focus on the villain, it makes sense that the title is “Trigon.” Personally, I’m still thrown off by seeing Seamus Dever, best known as Ryan on Castle, as a bad guy.
The episode opens roughly where last season ended, with Dick possessed, Kory and Donna trapped outside, and Raven shocked by how badly things went so fast. Rachel tries to fight back against Trigon, but he entertainingly tells her she’s “grounded” and switches off her power with a snap of his fingers. Angela is thrilled by all this, and Trigon goes on about the future and all Rachel has to do is let her heart break. Rachel is at a loss, but Gar rarely is, coming in, taking her hand, and pulling her out of there. Trigon, unconcerned, sends Dick after them. Angela worries, but Trigon is remarkably confident.
Suddenly switching to a bad Home Alone remake, we see why A) Jason Todd is such an immature twit and B) why he shouldn’t be left unsupervised. His experiments in new indoor sports get interrupted when Hank and Dawn show up. After a lot of mutual “Who the hell are you?” they finally establish they’re all heroes and Jason agrees to help them find Dick, but only if he gets to come along. We do learn why Bruce, Alfred and even the Justice League are unavailable, but it doesn’t help much. Hank can’t stand Jason, which is amusing since they are so similar in many ways.
Donna and Kory are still stuck out in the fields, and Kory is blasting away at the shield keeping them out. There’s no visible effect, and the two bicker. Their argument gets interrupted with the arrival of an SUV. Apparently Gotham is much closer to Ohio than I realized, as Jason, in costume, and Hank and Dawn, not, arrive and everyone compares notes. Kory isn’t thrilled with how Donna introduces her. Hank looks around, frustrated, and says they should have been sent to get Superman instead of Jason. For what it’s worth, I agree, both from a pure power perspective, and from my admitted bias against Jason Todd. Never could stand that character, and I’ve been reading comics long enough that, back in the day, I voted on the poll about his death. I absolutely gave the thumbs down. Inside, Gar and Raven agree on their opinion of Rachel’s dad and flee for their lives, with Dark Dick sauntering along after them. We get several horror movie tropes, like the elongated hallway and Dick bashing a hole in the door they lock behind them to taunt them through.
Trigon looks out, muses that Rachel’s friends will hurry things along rather than save her, and then ominously says, “Cue the rescuers,” before letting them through the barrier. Also true to horror trope, the team rushes in together only to be inexplicably split up. They each get run through assorted personalized nightmares to be pushed to give in to their dark sides, and they all do, complete with the weird black eye effect. I’m a bit disappointed Donna succumbed so easily, but hey, it’s a “gritty, grim, and grounded” take on the characters. We get a peek at Donna’s origin, a Robin vs. Robin fight, and even more of a reason to not really like Hank Hall, among other things.
Gar and Rachel keep running, and then find the team in the living room. Relief turns to despair as they all turn to face the pair, and Rachel and Gar see they’ve all fallen to Trigon. Angela and Trigon keep making creepy comments, and Trigon once again does a “Cue the…” line. It’s like he’s directing things, which is a new take on the character, and I’d say it worked, largely through Dever’s understated but dead-on delivery. At any rate, what follows is brutal and violent and ugly and I’m honestly surprised a character didn’t die, given the individuals involved, their powers, and them being under Trigon’s influence so their usual control and restraint were gone. Trigon drives home how bad things are to Rachel, and then does a few nasty things which put her a bit closer to her traditional appearance. He shifts to the demon form familiar from the comics and stalks outside. Angela shows how little she understands, and Trigon corrects this before going outside and killing all plant and animal life near him as he walks.
Gar shows some progress with his powers and gets to Rachel, appealing to her to snap out of it and come back to him. She gets some flashbacks to their being together in their scenes in season one, and then wakes up, reverting to a more normal appearance. Gar wants to run for it, but she insists on staying and goes in after Dick. The nightmare he’s in, like last season, involves the Batcave and his famous mentor. She talks to him and somehow gets the setting to shift to the Haley Circus, touching on the night Dick’s parents died. Rachel takes a big risk, but manages to get Dick back to himself as well. With the two recovered, Rachel says she needs a moment with her father, and goes out to confront him. I’m not quite sure what changed so much, unless it’s what Trigon himself did, but Rachel gets off some smart-ass teen lines and manages to use her powers to banish/defeat/destroy (it’s a bit unclear) her father from Hell.
The team wakes up, a bit confused, and there’s some hugging. No one seems to shed a tear, or even notice, the one fatality in all this. Later, the news interviews some law enforcement types about the strange events out here, which Jason interrupts with a Robin cameo to tell the world the Titans are back. I wouldn’t have thought the effects of all this went far enough to warrant both news and federal attention, but I guess they never really said one way or the other. Hank and Jason get a short scene which is minorly entertaining jerk-bonding.
We skip ahead to a scene out in the woods, where the heroes split into two groups. Dick takes Gar, Jason (still in costume), and Rachel with him, along with Donna’s car, which she’s ok with. Dick won’t say where they’re going, and there’s a running gag about mysteries. Kory hasn’t figured out what she’s going to do next, and Donna, Hank, and Dawn are very quiet about any future plans. The shot isn’t really clear, but seemingly nearby, which would be an amazing coincidence, we see a man washing himself in a basin in a simple cabin. Later, he goes to town for supplies, and we get a good enough look to be sure this is Slade Wilson. Trigon might be the most powerful of the New Teen Titans’ foes, but Slade, aka Deathstroke the Terminator, might be their best known. Slade sees the news at the shop, catches Jason’s announcement about the Titans, and takes off. In the comics, there’s a lot of bad blood between Wilson and the Titans, and it looks like they are continuing that here.
Slade goes to a much more modern-looking home, meets a very different version of his comic book butler/best friend/manservant Wintergreen, and goes to his armory, where we see lots of weapons and the Deathstroke armor/costume. Wintergreen keeps up a running barrage of snide comments, giving them a much more Alfred/Bruce Wayne feel in their relationship. Speaking of, Dick goes back to the Manor, and we see the first clear appearance of Bruce Wayne, played by Game of Thrones alumni Iain Glen. I have no idea where “the kids” are in this scene, as Dick has the car and is clearly alone. Dick and Bruce have a heart to heart, which is decently done, and Dick mentions some future plans out in San Francisco. While the Teen Tians have generally been a New York team, at least one incarnation was based out in San Fran.
Dick brings his young charges to some kind of facility in a high rise in the city. Jason gets very excited about a well-equipped dojo/training room. Gar finds a room with empty pedestals naming some other heroes, and we get flashes of Wonder Girl, Robin (Dick Grayson flavor), Hawk, and Dove in costume. Gar’s hero worship seems to have survived the events of Trigon’s manifestation intact. They all get together in a big living room sort of space, and as the camera pulls back, you can hear them arguing about who gets which room. Dick is going to have his hand full.
What I liked: Even if it was just for a moment, it was great seeing Donna in costume. I liked Rachel moving closer to her comic book look, although we still haven’t even heard the word “Raven” spoken. I’m glad Gar is finally progressing with his powers. It wasn’t necessarily a good thing, but I think Angela got what she deserved. Seamus Dever and Esai Morales both gave great performances as their respective villains. I enjoyed the Dick/Bruce scene. I get the complaints they cast too old for Batman, but I think it worked.
What I didn’t: For such a big deal, Trigon went down quickly and relatively easily. It was weird how fast the group got from Gotham to Ohio. Gotham is traditionally on the East Coast, usually in some part of New Jersey. I don’t see why Rachel sent them after Jason Todd; he contributed nothing to this resolution. I was really hoping they’d be in some version of Titans’ Tower, and not a generic skyscraper. This felt a lot more like a season finale than the beginning of one to me.
It was an ok episode, and I’m curious enough to see where they go to keep watching. Of the three live action DC Universe shows so far, I hate to say it, but this is the worst. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5.