The previous episode ended with one of Dick Grayson’s many bad decisions in this series. Now he’s in prison (apparently we skipped the arraignment, trial, or any of those pesky details), after pleading guilty and being sentenced to seven years. Things don’t go wonderfully well for him or many of the other Titans in this episode. I’d say “Fallen” could apply to many of them.
Dick goes through the booking process and ends up at Kane Country Correctional. There are Kane Counties in Illinois and Utah, so he could be in either place, or this could be someplace they made up as a nod to Bob Kane, legendary creator of Batman (and Robin/Dick Grayson for that matter). Despite his long sentence, Dick seems happy to be where he is. I guess he’s really in full self-destructive mode. Elsewhere, we see some of the personal life of Lex Luthor’s vicious head of security, Mercy Graves. It’s a take on the character we haven’t seen before, so I’ll give them points for originality. Mercy gets told they have a new lead on “Subject 13.”
This, of course, is Conner, now wandering back alleys and trying to stay out of sight after last episode’s run-in with the cops. Conner gets stereotypically self-sacrificing and drives his faithful dog off to prevent Krypto getting hurt by the inevitable manhunt. At the prison, Dick stands motionless when the other prisoners swarm the phones. He comes to the attention of a guard named Armstrong, who seems to both be a general cop fan and to want to buddy up to Dick. He tries to do Dick a favor, but the former Boy Wonder isn’t having it, and gets sent to General Population (this, by the way, isn’t remotely how it works in the real world). Dick gets housed with three Latino men, and Armstrong makes sure to call him “Detective” on the way out.
Not doing wonderfully well on his own, Gar is freaking out at Titans Tower. He makes the first of many phone calls we see to Dick this episode, pleading for help as the news plays footage of Conner’s attack on the cops and offers a reward. At the end of his rope, Gar catches a break when he gets his own “Timmy fell down the well” moment. Elsewhere, Donna, too, is trying to call Dick as she attempts to track down Rachel. You’d figure Grayson’s mailbox would get full eventually. The missing girl herself is getting food at a homeless shelter, ignores another call from Donna, and makes a new friend.
In the yard, Dick strolls around and slides out of a tense not-quite-confrontation with his cellies. Armstrong once again pops up, really giving a stalker vibe at this point. He lectures about how MS-13 used to be the big problem here, and now it’s criminals from Corto Maltese, another of DC’s made up countries. The guard keeps trying to start some kind of friendship with Dick, who keeps repeating his new mantra, that he doesn’t help people. Offended, Armstrong goes out of his way to make things worse for Dick, which is what he seems to want. Later, Grayson overhears a confrontation in which his cellies are pressured to go after him. There’s a sort of reunion at a market when Conner gets tracked down by Krypto and Gar. They have an intense talk that gets interrupted by the arrival of an armored van and a lot of heavily armed men. Wisely, the two remaining Titans flee.
Rachel and her new friend chat about food and lizards. I get that not every character needs a full bio as they show up or anything, but this trend towards not even mentioning names is getting irksome. All good things must come to an end, and so their lovely meal concludes when New Girl gets damn near dragged off Angry Guy. Rachel follows and stops a beating with her powers, then barely manages to stop her powers. She expects New Girl to be afraid, but she seems to think this is great. The next scene shows a disturbing development with some powers.
There are good ways to break an awkward silence. Asking prisoners about their upcoming escape attempt, and then rattling off the deductions that led him to that, isn’t one of them. Dick seems utterly unconcerned with being locked in with the three of them, and offers some advice that really makes me wonder how he’s not in the mental health wing yet. They make a declaration about who they are and why they’re there instead. The confused fugitives get back to the Tower, and Conner shows his unfamiliarity with idioms. Gar is finally about to do what Dick told him to in the first place when alarms go off. There are a few unbelievable points in this episode, but the fact that Batman designed this place and the windows are easily broken by thugs on rappelling lines is one of them. I’m also curious how they even found the Tower. There’s a brief battle in which Gar does well for a short time then gets tranqed, Krypto gets netted, and Conner gets talked into going along by a very devious woman.
Rachel gets brought someplace that looks like it’s out of Dickens (or maybe Barrie) and I’m sure this will be a major development in the few episodes remaining. The Cortese crew debates their plans, and “I’m not helping anyone any more ever” Grayson keeps offering advice. This leads to a tale about their legend from home which I’m sure is going to be the inspiration for something we all know is coming for Dick down the line. Mercy lays out some new rules for scientist Walter Hawn, who isn’t happy about anything. Her next victim is Gar, and she goes in and starts screwing with his mind. Gar and Conner are the two with the least experience in the real world, so they are most susceptible to her manipulations. I think the most interesting thing to come from this conversation is Graves mentioning Niles Caulder, leader of the Doom Patrol. It’s the first reference to the Patrol in quite a while, and I’m curious both how much Cadmus knows about him and how Mercy knows Gar was with him for a while.
To quote a U2 song, Donna still hasn’t found what she’s looking for, and leaves another worried message for Dick. He must have a hell of a storage plan on that account. Far away from his phone, Dick witnesses a stereotypical prison scene if you’re in a movie/tv show, and his cellmates get taught a lesson in what happens when you don’t obey the more powerful group. In the middle of that night, what’s left of them get told to get ready for a transport. Dick again offers advice they don’t want to hear. They get brought out to the van, make their attempt (showing these guards were incompetent), and get beaten down hard. But that’s ok, because the man who won’t help anyone comes to the rescue and covers their escape before he gets swarmed and beaten down by the guards. Have some more charges, Dick, it’ll be fun. Let’s go with a bunch more Assault Law Enforcement and Aiding and Escape to start. I’m also curious how he got out of his cell to come get in this mess, but maybe Batman’s training helped out somehow. The episode ends with Donna having a surprising homecoming and some ominous plans from Mercy.
What I liked: Gar did damn well in his fight for a minute there. I guess he did pick up some moves during the training the kids kept complaining about. Krypto did some great things. I don’t like Mercy, but you have to grant she’s good at what she does. It was heavy handed, but I’m intrigued by the hints of Dick’s future. I’m actually ok with Hank, Dawn, and Kory taking the episode off. I’m glad someone finally remembered Niles Caulder and his connection to Gar.
What I didn’t: There were a lot of bits that don’t make sense here. The entire episode only works if you assume Superman doesn’t come look into someone running around with his powers, and Batman (and Barbara Gordon, if she exists in this world) don’t find out that Dick’s in prison. They either did a big time jump here, which doesn’t seem to be the case with Donna and Gar’s scenes, or the writers really don’t know how the criminal justice system works. The Tower’s windows breaking so easily made no sense to me, and we never do hear how the mercs find the place. I wasn’t thrilled with Rachel’s scenes, and I suspect I know within two guesses how that’s going to go. We’re nearing the end of Season Two, and Gar and Rachel still don’t have codenames or costumes, not that his show seems to be big on costumes in general.
I’m giving this one a low 2.5 out of 5. I’m really not enjoying the extended Dick Grayson self-loathing trip.