The ninth episode of Titans is called “Atonement.” That title really doesn’t seem to fit. Something along the lines of “Things Fall Completely Apart” might have worked better. There are a lot of puzzling choices in this episode, and I have to admit, I don’t follow some of the characters’ motivations at all. Considering there are only four more shows this season, either things are going to start getting better soon or they’re ending season two on a hell of a downbeat. Season three is already confirmed. There are some minor spoilers below as I try and puzzle a few things out.
The episode opens in Titans’ Tower, with Dick telling the collected team about what actually happened when Jericho died. In a fight, Deathstroke versus Robin, Jericho tried to save Robin and Deathstroke killed him. Apparently, Dick has been telling the team all these years that Jericho was dead when he got there. I get that’s a betrayal of trust, but Hank punching him out and everyone else deciding they have to leave now seems a bit extreme. The team splits up into various smaller pieces, with only Dick, Gar, and the still-unconscious Conner left at the Tower. Rose and Jason leave together, which makes some kind of sense given their earlier flirtation, but aside from them getting into a car together, we don’t see those two again this episode.
Kory leaves after getting a call, and gets picked up by Faddei, who brings bad news. Things are bad back on Tamaran, and there are more problems for her here on Earth. Rachel, for reasons that are not at all clear, left with Donna. As Donna fumes in traffic about Dick keeping secrets, Rachel points out Donna did, too, has a weird power flare, and leaves a confused Donna behind in traffic. Back at the Tower, Dick gives Gar a bunch of instructions, dumps a lot of responsibility on him, and also takes off. This is, in my view, worse than keeping the secret about Jericho’s death, and it really makes me question Dick’s leadership abilities. I’ve said before I don’t really recognize this version of Dick Grayson, my favorite character, and this is another entry in that column. Then again, given Gar’s past experience with the Doom Patrol that they are doing their best to pretend never happened, I’d have hoped Gar would do better.
There’s a montage of Gar trying to keep things running at the Tower over a few days. Let’s just say he runs out of gas quickly. There’s a brief scene of Hank and Dawn in Wyoming, where their living arrangements leave something to be desired. Then it’s back to the Tower and Conner finally waking up. His sense of decorum isn’t what Gar was remotely expecting. Instead of following Dick’s fairly simple directions, Gar decides he’s going to see if he can handle a few things on his own, because of course teen Garfield Logan is more capable than Bruce Wayne, right? Well, to be fair, it looks like he chickens out part way into the call, no shapeshifting required. Kory and Faddei continue their road trip, but things are starting to take a turn. Then it’s back to the Tower for a quick scene of Gar clearly not knowing how to train Conner.
Back in Wyoming, at Dawn’s urging, she and Hank go out for the night. After enduring some truly bad karaoke, we find that the two of them are actually remarkably talented singers. Somehow, to me at least, this seems really out of character for Hank. Their good time lasts about as long as it takes for them to make out in the parking lot. They run across someone with a connection to their recent past, and she’s really not happy with these two. At the Tower, Gar finds out that Conner’s talents go beyond just his superpowers.
In one of the few scenes that actually have anything to do with the title, Dick goes to Kane, Nevada. Driven by guilt, the former leader of the Titans decides to pay a house call. I’m not sure what he expected to get from going to see Adeline, Slade’s ex and Jericho’s mother, but he surely didn’t get it. Not only is she not in a forgiving mood, she lays into Dick with some real cutting words. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she’s not alone. Dick comes face to face with his greatest enemy (aside from himself, anyway). Dick finally goes on the offensive and makes a few good points to defend himself. In return, he gets a very nasty threat that is perfectly tailored to intimidate him. It does appear that a major Titans’ foe is having some serious issues.
In a fit of what I can only call blatant stupidity, Gar decides it’s a great idea to go out for a walk with Conner. After Gar waxes rhapsodic about what the Titans are supposed to do, they run across a situation Conner’s complete lack of life experience can’t handle. Things rapidly go from bad to worse to catastrophic. Gar runs away, and I can’t really see how they’re going to salvage this one. Things have shifted slightly on Kory and Faddei’s road trip, and Kory says some candidly honest things about some of her family back home. Things are far from great with Hank and Dawn as some of the angry words they heard earlier haunt Hank. They argue and it starts to look like the Titans aren’t the only thing breaking up on this episode.
Kory’s road trip comes to an end as she gets a lot of unpleasant surprises all at once. It’s a really unfortunate end to several things, and a first appearance of another character from Titans history. The last few scenes don’t look really good for anyone involved. Dick wanders an airport, and seems to be doing everything possible to get himself flagged by TSA. Hank goes to a bar and weirdly orders a Diet Coke and then starts trying to make a connection to get something a lot worse. Gar, freaked out, makes a desperate phone call. Dick ends the episode by doing something immensely stupid and getting himself in a lot of trouble very much on purpose. Things aren’t really looking for anyone at this point.
What I liked: The scene at Adeline’s house was interesting. Badly thought out by Dick, but interesting and one of the most compelling scenes of the episode. I’m really curious as to what’s gong on with the other people in that scene. The Jason/Rose set up was an interesting lead-in that I hope goes somewhere. Gar was dumb, but it was in character, or at least most of it was. Kory’s scenes were interesting.
What I didn’t: Most of this one. The team completely overreacted to Dick’s revelation. Dick leaving Gar behind the way he did was foolish and out of character. Why Rachel decided to go with Donna makes no sense, and their little scene in the car was odd. Hank and Dawn’s drama seemed to come out of nowhere.
This was an odd, erratic, and kind of weak episode in a lot of ways. I’m giving this one a 2.5 out of 5.