TITANS came right out of the gate in the first two episodes letting everyone know these are not the cartoon characters many have fallen in love with.
One thing it hasn’t done is give us much in the form of character development. The series creators decided to use shock and awe in order to bring in their audience, and it seems to have worked. But as we know, the reason people come back week after week to watch a show is because of their connection to the characters.
In episode #3, appropriately titled “Origins,” the DC team decides to pull back the veil on our heroes and do just that, giving us the best episode to date.
We begin where we left off in episode #2 with the creepy Nuclear Family abducting Rachel, and Dove fighting for her life at the hospital after being tossed off the rooftop during the battle.
Unbeknownst to anyone Kory was in the area during the battle and she sees the family put Rachel into their car and she decides to follow them.
We then see Dick going to the hospital to check on Dove and has a brief talk with Hawk who wants to know why Rachel is so important. While Dick is staring at Dove in her hospital bed he starts to have flashbacks to the time after his parents were killed and he was first fostered by Bruce Wayne.
These scenes are eerily similar to the Dick Grayson plot in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, where Dick initially bucks against any sort of help offered to him by Bruce and his sole focus is on killing whoever murdered his parents.
This should be no surprise, as the man who penned Batman Forever is none other than TITANS co-creator, Akiva Goldsman. While we don’t get any Robin in this episode, we do get more Bat- technology, as Dick uses what appears to be the Brother Eye to locate Kory and Rachel.
Kory continues to be the best character in this series and she steals the episode. Anna Diop is excellent, and the interpretation they are going with her is different than any we’ve seen before but it works. Giving her amnesia plays perfectly since in this interpretation Starfire inhabits the body of Kory and could explain why she doesn’t remember anything after she has an “outburst”.
We also get a ton of references to her being a child of the 70’s or 80’s, as there’s a scene where she’s in a storage unit of hers and she has a boom box with tape recordings of her research on Rachel.
This might be a clue that she is actually a lot older than she appears to be.
Her relationship with Rachel is the central focus here. Neither of them knows why they are linked, but Kory says “All I know is I have to protect her”.
In their quest for information, we get some Thelma and Louise moments in the car and in a local diner. The chemistry between them is excellent and something I am sure we’re going to see more of.
It’s safe to say that as Rachel goes, so goes the series. It’s clear her relationship with the rest of the team is the genesis of them becoming the Titans as she is the reason they all come together. We see that in this episode, especially with the return of Beastboy. He and Rachel have a moment in a perfect teenage setting that is one of the highlights of this show.
The ending of this episode leaves us with Rachel displaying an awesome amount of power and scaring herself because of it. Dick and Kory have found out some more information that begins to explain just who Rachel might be.
The way they are pacing TITANS continues to be perfect and should only continue to build the intrigue as the season progresses. – Eric Holzmann