Titans: E.L._.O.

diner

We did not order this…

The end of the second season of Titans is getting closer. I get tearing down to build up, but the team is scattered and really not looking good. Kory lost her ride home, Dick’s in prison, Hank and Dawn split up, and Gar and Conner are being held by Cadmus. Rachel found some new friends, and Donna is trying to figure out what happened to everyone. There’s a lot to do in the last few episodes, and there’s the further mystery of what “E.L._.O.” means, aside from looking like an unfinished Wheel of Fortune puzzle.

The episode opens with possibly one of the most disturbing interrogation scenes I’ve run across. Let’s just say Gar isn’t enjoying his time with Cadmus, and that they are learning far too much about the Titans. In prison, Dick isn’t doing very well, and his imaginary friend comes back to goad him and make him reexamine what he thinks he knows about a tragic death. In her little Lost Boys/Oliver Twist set up, Rachel has some disturbing dreams involving a friend and a major enemy. Waking up shaken, she tries to reach out but, for the first time this season, someone’s voicemail is finally full.

 

At the Tower, Donna surveys the wreckage and tries to puzzle out what happened. She gets a very static-filled call from someone she’s been looking for, and, while she doesn’t manage to hear a lot of details, gets guided towards a destination. She, too, encounters a full voicemail. They do a nice job setting up expectations with Kory in the next scene, but things aren’t what they seem and she gets a lecture from a disinterested bystander and then shows they might have a point after all. “Somewhere in Wyoming” is the great location we get for Dawn as she drives along, chatting with her car’s digital assistant, Mel. Topics include drive time to San Francisco and heartbreak. Dawn takes a quick break, does some housecleaning, but saves out a memento.

 

In her new home, Rachel gets a very abbreviated Tarot reading from Dani, which sounds a bit on the ominous side. After a minor issue with the cards, they get news about Dani’s father, which Dani has a surprising reaction to. As we hear more about it, we can put the pieces together about what happened. Leaving suddenly, Rachel buys a ticket, her choice of destination coming from dreams and a crossword puzzle clue. Kory has a not really effective hook-up that goes off the rails with some interesting results, and then she, too, gets a clue about someplace else she should be. As Dawn drives along, she starts having car trouble, which also guides her along to where she needs to go.

 

In his cell, which is ridiculously large for a single inmate with the kind of charges he has, Dick continues to sort of talk to himself. Things veer from a sort of reasoned persuasion to some harsher words. If Dick is hoping for sympathy, he should have conjured someone else up. Dick doesn’t react well to all this, and what he does attracts some attention. It’s not a good day for Mr. Grayson. Somewhere around Gotham, we finally check in with Jason Todd and Rose Wilson. We hear enough to know the two of them are living an unusual lifestyle, even by masked vigilante standards. They have a disagreement over selfies and terminology. Their verbal sparring backs Rose into a corner that she looks very uncomfortable about, and Jason sort of echoes something Dick said in the first season that got a lot of media attention.

 

Rachel has a repeat of an earlier dream, which goes just as badly with different details. She wakes up on a bus and demands to get let off immediately. Somewhat improbably, the driver does just that, dropping her near a rapidly-becoming-familiar landmark. Kory, ahead of her, doesn’t think much of the surroundings and has an argument with a very surly server. Kory gets even more surprised when Rachel walks in, and the two of them wonder what the other is doing there. At this point, you can see what’s happening, and they are shortly joined by Dawn and Donna. There’s a great deal of mutual confusion, and then the manipulator behind the scenes emerges. On the one hand, sure, they’re great at getting people to do what they want. On the other, some of these methods of getting the four Titans to this place seem like real longshots at best, and this didn’t really work for me. They compare notes and get some more data they didn’t have. After the master manipulator makes a request of them and leaves, they get another hint about what’s going on. The foursome splits up, with Rachel and Kory going after someone they think needs help, while a much less sympathetic Donna and Dawn pursue another goal. Rachel pleads with them, but the others take off, which makes me wonder about something that got left behind.

 

After a brief check in on one of the imprisoned heroes, it’s back to our two edgy kids: Jason and Rose. Jason shares some of his pre-Batman life, which is sort of vaguely like his comic book incarnation. Then things take a serious departure from any version of the character I’ve ever seen or read, as he and Rose find they have a shared interest that seems unlikely at best. The second Robin also shows that, while he’s not a detective of Bruce or Dick’s caliber, at least not yet, he’s actually fairly insightful. It’s an odd little scene that’s a big departure for both of them.

 

Solitary confinement isn’t as solitary as Dick would like when his imaginary friend comes back. This particular figment of his imagination guides him through some things and brings up something that seems impossible. They have a knockdown, drag-out fight, which goes about as well for Dick as you’d expect in these circumstances, with a few quick scenes of what’s “really” going on. By the end of it, Dick has gotten some unexpected encouragement, has a new idea to pursue, and has improved one of his earlier problems. Rose intercepts a message meant for Jason, then comes to a decision. She makes a call of her own, revealing a secret I saw coming a mile away. Her contact isn’t at all happy, and Rose makes sure the phone can’t be traced anymore.

 

The last two scenes have several surprises. Rachel and Kory arrive to attempt a rescue, and find out the one they are there to save took matters in their own hands. I’ll give them points for the effort. They do find a scrawled message that surprises them (although it would stun some of the others) that I’m really not sure what reason it was left there. The final scene shows some of what Gar is being put through, and Mercy’s stance on how important her employees are. It’s not a good time for anyone.

 

What I liked: I’m hoping what we saw here is going to lead to the team getting back together soon, and a change for a major character. I’m a bit curious about someone who didn’t show up, but it sounds like they’re the focus of next episode. Dick’s fight, imaginary or not, was really well done.

 

What I didn’t: The means to get the four together just didn’t make sense to me, especially given who was behind it and how good they are at planning. At least part of that should have been something they couldn’t possibly affect. The scenes with Jason and Rose were kind of odd. For a show about superheroes, they go a lot of episodes with no costumes at all.

It was an ok episode, with some interesting developments. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.