Director – Maja Vrvilo
Writer – Gabrielle Stanton
In this, the penultimate episode of its trailblazing first season, Titans managed to deliver another tonal string for its already loaded bow. In a season that has given us action, comedy, physical brutality, human drama, science fiction and romance, this was an episode that dipped its toe into the waters of supernatural horror. Heavy on exposition, the episode finally gave viewers the full back story of Starfire, explaining her origins and motivation. Also, the long awaited debut of Trigon finally occurred, as the character’s true nature was explained and he wasted no time in making his nefarious presence felt. And as if all that were not enough, the teaser for next week’s season finale set the internet ablaze like wildfire, or should I say Starfire, as a certain caped and cowled pointy-eared character is set to play a huge part..
Picking up where episode 8 left off, as Kory, newly furnished with her lost memories, attempted to kill Rachel. Cue some Amazon lasso work of the highest order, as Donna Troy and Dick arrived in the nick of time to put Kory down. Seeing Donna dip into her Amazon bag of tricks to produce her lasso was a highlight of the episode, as she effortlessly put Kory down with seemingly very little effort. Highlighting the power of the character, it will be great to see her in full flight in later episodes, displaying fighting skills on a par with her mentor.
As a remorseful Kory departs to an abandoned warehouse, it is here where the character’s true nature is finally revealed, and what a reveal! Joined by Dick and Donna, her spaceship uncloaks itself in front of the trio and aboard we go. It was quite a thrill to see inside a spacecraft from the planet Tamaran in live action, the show really is the gift that keeps on giving. With her memories fully intact, Kory has now remembered she is Koriand’r, on Earth for a very specific mission – to destroy Rachel. This will no doubt provide some very interesting material further down the line, as Kory will struggle with her mission vs her feelings towards Rachel and wanting to protect her. The reason for her mission? Rachel’s father. Yes, Trigon, whose true form we only glimpse in hologram form here, is a demonic being from another dimension that exists to destroy worlds, with Earth and Tamaran on his to do list. Rachel is the key to either enabling her father to achieve his goal or destroying him. How this will play out is going to provide lots of anguish and inner conflict for both leading ladies, and season 2 is already shaping up very nicely, showing that DC are not afraid to play the long game with this series.
Meanwhile, back at chez Angela, which has stayed in remarkably good condition despite being uninhabited for several years, numerous creepy goings on are afoot. The scenes were produced with the same atmosphere as a supernatural horror film, with eerie music and offbeat camera angles aplenty. As Gar starts to see strange apparitions in the mirror, he physically starts to deteriorate. Convulsing, bleeding and coming apart at the seams, the scenes give Ryan Potter some dramatic heavy lifting to do finally, showing his acting range extends to being more than a comedic foil, geeking out like a fanboy over getting to meet Robin and Wonder Girl. No stranger to such endeavours is Teagan Croft, who has consistently displayed a flair for scenes of anguish, and this week was no exception. As Gar teeters on the brink of death, Angela reveals her true colours, that she was still attached to Trigon all this time, and has been manipulating her daughter to arrive at this very point. Quite an about face for the character based on her previous screen time, and a departure from the source material too, it worked excellently as a real shock.
Faced with the choice of allowing Gar to die or allowing her father passage to this world to save him, the only choice left for Rachel was to bring her father into this dimension on the proviso that he would save Gar’s life. Entering the series in his human form (with his true, monstrous appearance no doubt being saved for season 2), Seamus Dever plays the arch villain Trigon in a very understated, softly spoken way that worked as a chilling, almost Lecter-esque screen presence. Highly effective, the character is going to be a dominant personality in the show, as he manipulates both his wife and daughter to serve his own agenda. Comic book readers will know that the character is evil incarnate, and one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe. The potential for what can be done with him is huge to say the least, and hopefully Dever can build on this excellent start to give the show several memorable moments.
A great cliffhanger ending to the show was produced, as Dick, Donna and Kory arrive back at the house, which is now surrounded by a mysterious barrier. Only Dick is allowed access, as he runs in, ready for the fight. Where this goes with next week’s season finale remains to be seen. Why did Trigon allow Dick in the house, but not his female colleagues? What does he have in store for Dick that will affect Rachel, as “her heart must break first” before he can start to destroy the world. What we do know about next week was revealed in the extended teaser trailer, which can be seen below. The smart money would be placed on this being a false scenario that Trigon has placed Dick into, an alternate glimpse of his worst fear coming true. Either way, it promises to be an amazing, Batman-heavy episode, as the hype machine has already gone into overdrive.