Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Ryan Potter
Created By: Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns
Studio: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television
Episode 11 of “Titans” simply titled “Dick Grayson” brings the first season adventure to a boiling head all the while setting things up for the second season with a major cliffhanger and an end credits scene that may provide a glimpse at the next member of the team.
At the end of last episode, Dick rushed headlong into the mystically protected house of Rachel/Raven’s mother. Inside, Rachel stands with her father, the demon lord Trigon who had recently saved Garfield from death. As Dick rushes through the mystically barrier he is taken to another time and another place.
With the sun glaring on his skin, Dick Grayson lounges on a pool raft as the Beach Boys tune “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” provides the soundtrack. He’s in his luxurious home in Los Angeles where he’s settled down with Dawn aka Dove, has 1.5 children and is a successful detective on the LA police force. As he goes about his everyday family life, he gets a visit from Jason Todd who is now in a wheelchair after being shot by the Riddler. He tells Dick that Commissioner Gordon is dead and that the Joker held him captive for a week and tortured him to get to Batman. Now Batman wants vengeance and seeks to end the Joker once and for all. Jason believes that Dick is the only one that can save him. Reluctant to get involved, Dawn pushes Dick to save Bruce Wayne like he once saved him. Dick books a flight and heads to Gotham.
Gotham City is not at all like Dick remembered. The streets are littered with criminals, dead bodies, prostitutes and homeless people. The city has gone to hell in a handbasket. Dick tries reaching out to Bruce to no avail and eventually finds a hotel that charges extra for clean sheets and settles in. Dick finds out that he has a violent neighbor and decides to call the police and take matters into his own hands in the meantime. Dick overhears the police talking about a code 391 which is code for a costumed perp. He heads to the address to discover the mangled body of the Joker slumped on the roof of a car. He had apparently been thrown from a nearby rooftop, presumably by Batman. The Joker twitches as it seems he is still clinging to an ounce of life. Dick also meets a Gotham detective that he gives info to about the crime scene but Dick doesn’t plan on sticking around to work the case.
As Dick is making his decisions on how to move forward, there are random shifts of reality that are most likely Trigon’s doing as he’s coaxing Dick along a particular path. It’s as if he’s trapped in a maze like a rat with a predetermined outcome of someone else’s choosing.
Dick makes his way to Wayne Manor in hopes of talking some sense into Bruce and informs him that he hasn’t crossed that line yet and that there is still hope for him. Bruce doesn’t show himself but it is made known that he was listening as we see a silhouette of him sitting at a computer in the Batcave with Dick on camera. Dick leaves and eventually goes to the hospital to check on the Joker. Here he meets up with Kory who now works for the FBI. She tries to convince him to go back to his regular life and stop trying to be Batman’s savior. He decides to go back home once again but a reality shift occurs and the lights go off in the hospital. Guards lay strewn across the hallways and as Dick enters the Joker’s hospital room, he sees Batman in the window. A batarang lays embedded deep within the Joker’s chest as Batman is shown from behind leaping out of the window. Dick knows that Batman must be stopped.
Kory calls Dick about something bad that has happened in Arkham Asylum. Dick heads over immediately only to discover that Batman truly has snapped. He entered Arkham Asylum on a mission of vengeance and killed every single villain and psychopath in the facility. But that’s not all…he didn’t just kill his enemies; he killed everyone including the staff, guards and the warden who was “so mangled that his own family wouldn’t even recognize him”.
It is imperative that Dick stops Batman and he’s the only one who can do it so he goes to the Gotham detective that he recently met and reveals the identity of Batman to him in exchange for leading a task force to take down the Dark Knight. With Kory’s help they set things in motion and plan an all-out assault on Wayne Manor.
As it always is, the Batman is prepared for them as they storm the manor with the help of Dick. They plant explosives throughout the mansion as they make their way to the Batcave with the help of Dick in the SWAT truck guiding their way. Once the officers gather in the Batcave, Batman is nowhere to be found. Suddenly there is an explosion from a thrown batarang as Batman appears and eviscerates the officers in one fell swoop. Kory makes her way towards the noise and as she prepares to take out Batman with her powers, the always prepared caped crusader turns a freeze gun on her killing her instantly. Dick sees this and detonates the explosives collapsing Wayne Manor upon the Batcave. Dick makes his way to the Batcave and finds everyone dead…except for Batman who lies trapped beneath the rubble of his former home. With little hesitation, Dick decides that Batman shall be no more. He puts his boot to the neck of his adoptive father and in a sickening crunch, ends the legacy of Batman for good.
Suddenly the camera shows Dick Grayson standing in the room with Raven and Trigon, his eyes dark and his face covered in twisted black veins like Rachel’s when she succumbs to the darkness inside her. This was Trigon’s plan all along. Rachel screams to let Dick go and for him to wake up but to no avail. Trigon gloats over his victory. He says that he gave Dick every option to take another path but he chose to embrace his darkness and that he is now part of Trigon’s dark family. In reality, every time that Dick tried to escape the path of darkness he was forced into going down the path that Trigon already predetermined for him. There was no escape for Dick Grayson…he was lost the moment he ran into the house. With this the end credits roll.
With this episode being the season finale, for me it felt more like a mid-season break. The fight with Trigon didn’t happen and will carry over into the next season which leaves me slightly disappointed. I would have liked to see a conclusion to this or at least to see the time come together to prepare for the final battle as one or to see Dick fend off his darkness and take on the mantle of Nightwing but we were left hanging and wondering if these things will ever happen. The plot detail from a few episodes ago where Raven reached out to Dawn and Hank to get Jason Todd hasn’t led to anything yet and my biggest gripe for this episode was that there was no fight between Dick and Bruce as there should have been. Dick finding Batman already incapacitated and killing him with his foot was anticlimactic and somewhat of a cop-out. I also don’t quite understand why they never really did show Batman or Bruce Wayne as they were always hidden by shadows or in a motion blur. This could possibly be due to legal reasons but it was definitely a disappointment for me because the show would have surely done him justice costume-wise.
The end credits scene was a great hint as to what may come next for “Titans” as were are shown a title across the screen that says “Somewhere…In Metropolis” as a large naked man has apparently escaped from a large containment tube and scientists are strewn about on the floor. A computer screen gives hints as to who this actually is and where he is located. It reads “Subject 13 Offline” and shows Cadmus on the monitor. The man grabs a scientist by the neck and seems to want information from him. The next scene shows a large steel door opening and inside the room, a white dog in a glass cage surrounded by a green glow. The naked man has some kind of Superman barcode tattooed on his arm. He proceeds to pull the door off of the cage and, as the dog barks and looks at the camera, his eyes glow red with energy. The dog escapes the cage and leaves with the naked man.
This end credit scene introduces not one but two super-powered beings that will most likely be joining the team come next season as well as a possibly major enemy for the long run. During the “Reign of Supermen” event in the mid-90s, DC comics introduced Superboy as one of the proposed reincarnations of Superman after his death at the hands of Doomsday. He was labeled experiment 13 in the comics as he was the thirteenth attempt at creating a clone of Superman by the genetic engineering project called Project Cadmus. This was the first time that the persona of Superman and Superboy were different as in the past comics; Superboy was just Superman in his adolescence. In a twist, this version of Superboy, who was totally 90s complete with leather jacket and biker gloves as well as a fresh fade and the attitude of a Gen-Xer, was cloned from the DNA of both Superman and Lex Luthor.
The dog that appears is obviously going to be Superman and Superboy’s friend and companion Krypto the Superdog although with a possibly altered origin as well. While the writers could have just decided to introduce Kon-El/Conner Kent, I’m ecstatic for them to take the extra step and finally introduce a live action version of Krypto. Kudos! Kudos!
Season 2 of “Titans” is already looking to be packed with action and intrigue. There are plenty of plotlines waiting to be resolved on top of all of the new possibilities for Superboy and Krypto as well as with Cadmus and, hopefully a fully functioning Titans team to traverse what lies ahead. Season 1 was shaky at times but is heading in a direction that the CW shows and the movies can’t seem to grasp. “Titans” is a must watch show and one of the biggest surprises of the year in the comic book industry. I can’t wait for what happens next.