Titans Recap, Episode 8: “Donna Troy”

  • After spending last episode in The Asylum, we have reached the back half of the inaugural season of Titans. The building took quite the psychological toll on the team, but from all appearances, torching the building has disrupted the Organization enough for the team to live relatively normal lives, powers aside. However, it’s probably not going to be that simple…

    ***Spoilers for the latest episode of Titans ahead.***

    Sidekicks Stick Together.

    In the past, a younger, perpetually angry, Dick Grayson storms into his room and throws a batarang only for it to be caught by a girl, presumably the titular character Donna Troy, casually sitting on his bed. Dick mentions that he thought he heard Bruce talking to someone, and the girl mentions that she’s with Diane as Wonder Woman conducts Justice League business. Donna mentions that she wants to join in on the fun, but Dick mentions that his last mission involved the Joker himself, and the evil string music starts playing. The Joker killed a lot of people and Young Grayson is wondering what the point is. But when Donna asks if the Joker is gonna quit, Young Grayson realizes he can’t stop either. Younger Grayson is madder that Donna is always right, and she just laughs it off before trying to comfort Dick. Some foreshadowing occurs before the title sequence.

    New Normals

    Somewhere in Batman’s Chicago Safehouse, Rachel is making omelets when she’s startled by Gar. Gar comments about how early it is to which, Rachel shrugs and says she wanted to make breakfast. Gar smiles and goes to make coffee. The two discuss their adoptive parents before Rachel’s actual mom pops into the room. Angela looks like she’s still adjusting to the real world after five years being trapped in an evil cult’s basement cell. Angela is still adjusting to be maternal and gives Gar her seal of approval as the trio watches the sunrise.

    Meanwhile, Kory is asleep while chaotic voices scream out to her startling her away. Dick, literally right next to her, does nothing but looks on and asks if she’s okay. The two converse about the vivid dreams Kory has been having and the alien language she has been speaking in her sleep. And while she’s still concerned about the amnesia, she’s more presently concerned by what appears to be Dick’s packed bags. Dick explains how “being Robin doesn’t work anymore, but not being Robin doesn’t either” and how he needs help to find a new path, and you can tell Kory is a little hurt by this revelation.

    Skip back to the breakfast table, Angela and the Titans are enjoying some pancakes. Dick and Angela interrupt each other, and Dick concedes the floor. Angela explains how Rachel has updated her on the team’s predicament and how their current lodging is on loan. Angela brings up the possibility of staying in a family house in Ohio, although the reality is the house has been abandoned for five years…

    As the team ponders the ramifications, Dick drops the bombshell that he needs to do some soul searching. Kory promises to escort the younger “not-teammates” and then try to discover who Kory Anders actually is. Rachel gives Dick a hug goodbye before (rightfully) calling him an asshole. The Titans watch Dick get into a minivan and drive for parts unknown.

    Meet Donna Troy
    Titans Ep. 108 — Photo Credit: John Medland / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Dick counts the number of an apartment complex before knocking on the one that introduces the latest character. An older Donna Troy (at this time, I would like to point out they haven’t actually said Donna’s name on screen) looks at him with a look that screams “what are you doing here asshole.” When Dick mentions that he quit, Donna quickly lights up and before a snarky response and rushing out of her apartment and asks Dick if he’s coming.

    As the two stroll down memory lane, Dick explains he’s quit Batman and Robin. He “couldn’t control the violence” and now he’s gone cold turkey after burning the suit (which, while technically correct is not entirely accurate). Donna quips how costumes are expensive and that she keeps her old one in the closet.

    When Dick asks Donna how she quit, she explains that she just stopped and that time will heal all wounds. Dick asks if he can crash on Donna’s coach, which Donna is okay with… if he can prove that he still got game and she runs into the alleyway and parkours up a truck. Dick follows suit, and Donna, impressed that the Boy Wonder hasn’t lost all his edge, invites him to an event where he can practice being normal.

    Titans Ep. 108 — Photo Credit: John Medland / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Transitional Periods

    A train headed to Ohio blazes past. In the dining cart, Gar muses the menu while Kory muses her own own frustration. She gets a glimpse of a flashback and suddenly develops the urge to drink. A generic white man in a suit looks at her, and Kory death glares him away before downing one shot of bourbon before taking the other two back to her seat. Gar informs Kory that Rachel and her mom are in the front of the train, and Kory suggests they let the two bond over lost time.

    Back at Donna Troy’s event, Dick gets a crash course in Donna’s profession as a photographer. Donna has to adult and tells Dick that he needs to be less confrontational and work on his small talk. Donna name drops herself (fifteen minutes into the episode) and scurries off leaving Dick to his own devices.

    Back on the train, Rachel and Angela exchange stories. Angela feels lots of guilt over the course of the events, particularly the death of her good friend and Rachel’s adoptive mother, Melissa. Rachel seems to understand the gravity of the situation. It’s a touching reunion sequence.

    Rachel after learning about her mother, wants to know about her father. Angela explains he was/is a charismatic man with a cult of personality. He wanted to harness Rachel’s powers. When Rachel asks which side of the family she got her powers from, Angela explains the dark shadow is a paternal trait. She also offers that Rachel’s dad is definitely out of the picture and the cult was the last remnants of his followers. I personally don’t believe that, but that’s just how narrative looks like when you’re watching a series and know it’s barely past its halfway point. Doubly so when Rachel still sees her dark reflection.

    In the dining cart, Gar wonders if Rachel is mad at him because he attacked someone back at the Asylum. Kory asks if maybe he’s the one freaked out by his actions and talks him through the incident. She assures him he acted in self-defense and that he shouldn’t be scared of his power. However, as Gar describes the tiger, Kory keeps eyeing generic white man in a suit who is still at the bar. Kory offers that Gar and Rachel are both learning to control their abilities and how it has created a connection before bluntly asking if he wants to make out with her. Gar tries to deny it, but his dumb smile betrays him as does his panicked response. They chuckle and Gar takes a shot of bourbon out of frustration.

    Kory then notices that generic white man in a suit has vanished and Kory, clearly suspicious, goes to find him. She saunters through the drain and finds him before dragging him into the connector by the tie before pinning him to the wall. Now “Jerry” here explains that the only reason he was looking at Kory was because she was hot, but she’s not buying it. She begins to choke him, but when Jerry insists he has nothing, Kory lets him go.

    Back at the exhibit, Dick looks at one of Donna’s photos when a white dude with glasses and a pretentious scarf tries to make conversation. Dick makes a weird, unwarranted comment about Donna’s left hook as a way to establish that he knows Donna and poor dude doesn’t know how to respond. Dick, incredibly bad at not giving exposition, begins exposition about Donna’s first camera to the confusion of the dude just trying to make small talk. The moment dude finds out, he takes it and Dick is forced to confront his inability to be normal. Elsewhere in the exhibit, Donna gets a mysterious text message and goes to let Dick know that she has to do a “work thing” and that Dick needs to do exposure therapy and try really hard to be normal.

    Switch back to Jerry, who reveals by way of phone call that he is a US Marshall and that he’s found Kory on the train.

    No Rest for Anyone Ever

    Donna waits at the address she got via text, when she is startled by a car. Someone quickly jumps out and puts a bag over her head and shoves in. Of course, Dick Grayson is all of ten feet away in his minivan and begins pursuit.

    At the dining cart, Gar begins to feel the effects of the bourbon when the conductors announces that the train needs to stop for a bit. Kory starts to get up, but convinces herself that she’s just being paranoid.

    Donna is escorted out to an empty warehouse where she gets introduced to a shady man who lays down some ground rules like “No recordings. You can take pictures of the merchandise, but not [him].” Shady man shows his animal skins wares totaling over half a million dollars in one truck. Donna asks some questions and shady man is aware that this story will open the market. In the other truck, there’s a bear that’s gonna be up to auction for hunt. Donna Troy only shoots things with a camera though.

    Titans — Ep. 108 — Photo Credit: Christos Kalohordis / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

    As the shady man’s enterprise begins to ship out, Dick Grayson drops in and begins wailing on folks. Dick’s violent streak continues, and Donna calls him out for interfering with her professional life. Shady man tries to retaliate but gets shutdown in a single punch by Donna. Donna chastises Dick since her photos would have shutdown the poacher ring. Dick suggests a more… methodological approach of shutting them out one by one and Donna just rolls her eyes.

    Donna figures out a way to salvage everything and plays possum by unconscious shady man while Dick takes picture on a cell phone I’m not convinced he knows how to use properly. Donna drags Dick out of the warehouse and the perhaps the most honest dialog of the episodes occurs:

    Dick: Why do I feel like I’m always in trouble with you?
    Donna: Because you are in trouble.
    Dick: (Under his breath) But I’m not.
    Donna: I can hear you bird boy.

    Back at Donna’s apartment, Donna continues the roast of Dick Grayson. When that doesn’t work, Donna switches to talking about comparative parenting between Diana “Protect the Innocence” Prince and Bruce “Punish the Guilty” Wayne. Donna expounds on how she realized she could do more good as Donna Troy than Wonder Girl and tries to get Dick to embrace some new identity. When Dick angrily asks “who?”, Donna scoffs and says she doesn’t have a clue either. Dick wonders why he’s such a dumbass and Donna works to try and clean up Dick’s mess. However, when Donna gets a peek at his pictures, she gets a glimpse of the alien script from Kory’s warehouse and is able to identify it.

    In the dining car, the train comes to a halt, and Kory realizes something is about to go down. Gar, still intoxicated follows Kory as they race back to Rachel and Angela. When they just find Angela, Kory instructs Gar to find Rachel and get the two of them out while Kory goes off to preserve herself. The FBI has boarded the train and Kory realizes the dire situation she’s in. A couple explosions later, the train is on fire and Gar, Rachel, and Angela make their way down the road. They meet back up with Kory after stealing a car and the quartet drives off into the night with ACDC blasting in the background as the team makes it back to Ohio.

    Angela’s home appears to still be standing and in relatively good condition despite no maintenance over the last five years. Angela unlocks the door with the spare key under a potted plant and Rachel steps into her childhood home for the first time. However, Kory is still dealing with flashbacks and a lot of mental duress. Rachel, the empath, picks up on Kory’s stress and offers to try and use her new found healing powers. Kory is skeptical, but Rachel wants to at least try. The two set up in the living and Rachel begins the laying of hands while Angela and Gar watch.

    Back on the road, Donna tells Dick that the alien script is a mission statement for Kory a.k.a. Starfire to control/take care of “The Raven.”

    As Rachel starts the process, Kory’s flashback gives us a couple seconds more of what happened when Kory came to earth.

    Donna drops the bomb: Kory came to earth to kill Rachel.

    Kory wakes from the healing trance. Her eyes glow a violent green and attacks Rachel. She screams. Donna and Dick continue driving the backroads, trying to get to Ohio in time to save Dick’s charge as we fade to black.

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    • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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