Director – Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Writers – Richard Hatem, Geoff Johns, Greg Walker and Marisha Mukerjee
Titans continued to build on the solid foundations build by the first two episodes with this week’s corker of an episode, entitled “Origins”. A title which certainly has multiple meanings, as this week we were treated to not only the team beginning to come together, albeit slowly, but wonderful flashbacks to the past of Dick Grayson, which included tantalising glimpses of a certain Mr Wayne……
This instalment followed two different time periods, so for this review we will look at each one separately. Our journey to the past starts with a young, traumatised Dick Grayson in the offices of Child Services, following the death of his parents. Young Dick received the news that Bruce Wayne has agreed to become his foster parent, and from there we get a glimpse into the world of privilege that this circus boy is thrown into. Luxurious bedrooms, walk-in wardrobes with more clothing than anybody could possibly wear, and his every need catered for. Still this isn’t enough for Dick, as the rage that he feels towards the man that killed his parents is consuming him. This story has been told multiple times before, but here I feel we get a really great take on it, mostly due to the performance of Tomaso Sanelli as the young Grayson. He does a fine job of portraying a mixture of anger, sadness and a sense of wonder too, as he explores his new residence at Wayne Manor.
It is here that we get to see Bruce Wayne on screen. Only shot either standing in the shadows of the Manor, or from behind at Child Services. It is a really exciting moment to see, as this is the genesis of the Robin character. After Dick’s ill-advised joyride with one of Wayne’s expensive cars (which the adult Dick is using as his car in the present day), we see the moment that Bruce offers to train him to become the Boy Wonder! I must confess, when the camera zooms in on the letter Bruce has written, it was a wonderful moment for this fanboy to see. I hope moving forward in the series, we get to see Dick training in the Batcave and in the field too, it will be wonderful television.
Our present day action is a real mixed bag in terms of its tone, but not its quality. We get to see Starfire finally crossing paths with her fellow would-be Titans. Displaying her incendiary abilities once again in rescuing Rachel from the clutches of the increasingly bizarre and creepy Nuclear Family, which includes frying the “Dad” to a smouldering crisp. Still suffering from amnesia, she and Rachel form an instant bond, as she sees her as a kind of mentor/badass character to look up to. The interplay between the two actresses is excellent, as both Anna Diop and Teagan Croft excel themselves. One thing that did seem out of place tonally was the disco soundtrack that accompanied Starfire’s beatdown of some local thugs in a small town diner. For a show that is quite dark and adult in its content, it seemed a bit incongruous but I suppose variety is the spice of life.
Where the characters truly converge is at the convent where the infant Rachel spent her early years. After leaving Hawk & Dove behind at the hospital, where Dove is alive but severely injured (despite only being in the opening minutes of the episode, it is inevitable that they will will reappear later in the season), Dick goes off in pursuit of Rachel and Starfire. Meeting at this point, Starfire and Grayson do not take an instant liking to each other, but will highly likely start to warm to each other as time goes on. If true to the source material, they will end up liking each other a LOT!
As the episode draws towards it’s conclusion, we get some key elements of the story brought out. Whilst not wishing to be too spoiler-filled, nor simply recap the events as they happened, the key points are as below
1 – The Nuclear family, minus the “Dad”, go to see the man that is presumably their creator. Are they robots or some form of synthetic beings? This mysterious “Messenger”, played with wonderful menace by Reed Birney, is using them to acquire Rachel so he can help pave the way for her Father to come to Earth. Whilst he isn’t mentioned by name, most well-informed comic readers will know who this is, and when he eventually appears onscreen, it will literally be “Hell” on earth…
2 – We get another exceedingly brief appearance from Gar Logan aka Beast Boy. Whilst only onscreen for a couple of minutes, he gets some fun dialogue with Rachel. His time will most certainly come though, it will not be long before we see him making a significant impact on the show.
3 – As Dick and Starfire pay a visit to her storage locker, we see the painstaking research that she has undertaken regarding Rachel. We see the Raven insignia finally! We learn that she is part of a prophecy, that she is the “Destroyer of Worlds”. Only pieces of information are given to us as Starfire is still trying to piece together her memories, but dark times are clearly on the horizon for all concerned….
4 – We get our first look at Rachel’s destructive power. Locked up against her will by the Nuns at the convent, as they are trying to protect her from being located by her father and his accolytes, she tries in vain to stop the darkness from getting in and…….you know what happens……
Overall it was a highly enjoyable episode this week, I like the fact that the show is drip feeding us with the information rather than laying it all out there at once. It is tantalising and teasing, certainly giving us ample reason to come back next week and see what they have in store for us. Speaking of which, next week’s episode is the live action debut of the…..DOOM PATROL! I am salivating already at the thought. Same time next week then? Oh yes!