As we saw in “Hawk and Dove,” Dick Grayson is kind of having a rough time. He recently took Rachel Roth under his wing and his attempt to leave her with his old vigilante companions, Hawk and Dove, ended poorly when a cultist-esque family from St. Louis, who I have been informed goes by the Nuclear Family, took a road trip to Detroit to kill Grayson’s partner and then to D.C. to acquire Rachel. They left quite a path of destruction in their wake including throwing Dove off the roof before completing their mission. It was pretty brutal. So, let’s see what’s in store for the Titans this week…
As always, spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Titans.
Dark Days Ahead
We start the episode with a quick recap of last episode’s fight scenes, and see the Nuclear Family take Raven into their car. We then see that Kory has managed to get herself to D.C. to find Rachel and is set on retrieving her.
Flashback, Two Days Ago
Kory is in Traverse City, Michigan dressed in the exact outfit she had back in Austria and armed with a strong will and a flashlight. She’s at the Roth Home looking for answers. Kory breaks in and begins to look around the crime scene before discovering she is indeed in the (former) home of the pictured girl. Eventually, she stumbles onto a hidden floorboard underneath the carpet and finds a chest with another picture of Rachel’s mother at a convent.
At this moment, Kory finds out she’s not alone as she sees another flashlight roaming the halls. She finds a cop and identifies as “Kory Anders, FBI” pretty confidently. Cop’s not really buying it, so Kory resorts to good ole fisticuffs. Cops downstairs hear the scuffle and Kory proceeds to beat on the white cops, which I will concede is a bit cathartic.
Snapback to Present
The Nuclear family is skipping town and has made to it Coolville, Ohio. The son and daughter are playing I, Spy, and Rachel is definitely perturbed by everything that is happening. The family is doing typical road trip things like stopping for gas and getting snacks, while the Dad monitors Rachel as she goes to the restroom to try and escape from them.
Thankfully, Kory has been keeping pace, and she confronts the dad. And by confront, I mean incinerates. Like there’s so much fire. So much. Kory then proceeds to step into the half-destroyed rest room demanding if Rachel knows who Kory is? Rachel has no idea. But even with the non-answer, Kory takes Rachel and they run, leaving the rest of the Nuclear Family to find the charred body of the man of the house.
A Crisis of Conscience
Back in DC, Dove is on life support. Hawk is being a good boyfriend and staying at his girlfriend’s side and Dick is feeling guilty.
Flashback, 15 Years Ago
A young Dick Grayson is in Gotham City. He is meeting with a nice social worker. He’s entirely non-responsive, but the social worker has good news: she found someone to take him in, and it was none other than Bruce Wayne who was at the circus the night Dick’s parents died.
Flashback Even Further
We see the hand of Bruce Wayne try to comfort Dick as a grisly voice says ‘I want to help you.’
Dick wants nothing to do with this, especially after he hears that police think his parents were murdered. Later, Dick gets escorted to Wayne Manor, in all of its castle-esque glory, and he finds a nice room with all the accouterments a child would definitely not need, but this is Bruce Wayne we’re talking about. Dick sees all of the stuff, begins to leave out of the front, before deciding instead to acrobatic his way out by using the trees in an exceedingly unrealistic manner, as Bruce looks on from his castle.
Back to the Present
Hawk sees Dick outside and slowly walks up to him like what the hell man. Dick gives stupid advice to Hawk, who promptly goes back to Dove as Dick gets a call from his boss. Boss provides some more updates on the Roth murder, namely about a mysterious African- American woman, 6’0″, magenta hair, who broke into the crime scene and was later scene in Ohio where there was a dead body. And to add more guilt onto an already guilt-ladden Dick Grayson, boss informs Dick his partner was murdered.
More Midwestern Road Tripping
Back on the road again, Rachel is staring at the weed scented air freshener before Kory throws it in the back and says, “it’s not mine.” The two then commiserate over their complete lack of information about what exactly is going on in the plot, and I’m the same.
The two sat in awkward silence for all of three seconds before Rachel tries using her powers on Kory, although strangely enough it does not work at all, a first for Rachel. A lot of questions get tossed back and forth, and neither of them have any answers that are satisfactory. Kory then hands Rachel the convent photograph found earlier as the two journey to St. Paul’s. Rachel quickly moves past that and asks about Kory’s power, and they reflect how they have a light/darkness in side of them.
The two stop at a classic American diner, and Rachel calls Kory paranoid for scanning the room despite them being pursued by the Nuclear Family. After Rachel orders some chicken and waffles, the local drunks come in and start making a scene. The waitress tries to calm things down, but the main drunk begins accosting the waitress. Kory interjects, and Kory decides that she’s not about this life and tells Rachel to head back to the car.
Kory then beats the crap out of some drunk white men, which again, a little bit cathartic, if not exceedingly violent. Rachel observes from the safety of the car as Kory get the food and leaves the bloody men on the floor, and the two continue to drive.
And then we switch over to Dick Grayson, who is definitely speeding somewhere in the Midwest.
Flashback, Slightly Less than 15 Years Ago
Dick Grayson is in trouble for running away from Wayne Manner. His social worker is trying to look out for him and says how Bruce Wayne would be good for Dick, although Dick is still having absolutely nothing of this. Back in the house for the second time, Dick is wandering the halls and finds the iconic portrait of the Wayne family.
Dick then finds his way to the Wayne garage, starts admiring one of the cars and then pulls the very Jason Todd move of carjacking one to classic American rock, goes speeding into a strangely deserted Gotham City, and gets into a high speed chase. For being a child, Dick is surprisingly adept at driving, and he’s probably just thankful literally no one else seems to be driving.
Dick, still speeding in the present, has somehow made it to Ohio. The transit times continue to be the least believable thing about the show. Dick’s inspecting the charred aftermath and meets up with the coroners before they take the body away. Dick sneaks into the gas station office and makes a quick copy of the surveillance footage at a staggeringly slow 3.6 mb/s, while his fancy USB drive glows green. I continue to question the era this show is set in as Dick places his USB next to a fancy tablet to examine the footage via high end touchscreen with photo enhancement. Dick then uses a retina scanner, while he’s in a car with very see through windows, as the workers outside just ignore this strange cop from out of town. He works with his high-tech toys and figures out the next stop on his road trip is Covington, Ohio where Kory and Rachel just made it too.
Exposition by Way of Old Folks
At the convent, the head nun is shocked to see Kory and Rachel at their door. The kind nun takes them to a quaint little room and begins answering some of the questions everyone has had. Kind nun mentions that Kory was searching for Rachel, who kind nun knew as a baby (Rachel) when her mom brought her in. It turns out Rachel’s mom was trying to protect Rachel from…something. Rachel still has no recollection, and there’s musing about divine power and the manifestations of power. Kind nun shows Rachel to a temporary room and lets Kory know that Rachel’s father was chasing after her, and her mom wanted to give Rachel a better life.
In Rachel’s old room, she rediscovers an old doll and smiles for the first time in forever. Kory and the kind nun talk, and Kory asks about the key she woke up with, and it’s apparently for a locker at the local skating rink, as the nun muses about how the Lord working in mysterious ways.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, the Nuclear Family is reporting in at an ominous skyscraper. The old cultist man from before is making eggs and is disappointed to see that Father is dead, and the leader begins talking about how Kory is formidable, but Rachel is more staggeringly powerful. The Nuclear Family gets a lesson about the horrors of human-kind and how Rachel’s father would reveal all of the bad things in the world, and cultist wants to avoid that. Daughter of Nuclear Family is surprisingly spirited in light of the head cultist’s dark outlook. The Nuclear Family is told about the science of the nuclear family, and it sounds like they’re getting a new dad.
Back at the skating rink, we have more classic disco music as Kory investigates the locker only to find an envelope with yet another key. Rachel finally gets to be a kid and enjoys some fries and a burger, while Kory asks about Dick. Rachel describes Dick as “someone who is trying…” and then they do their own thing. Kory goes to change the music, Rachel goes to play pinball, and…FINALLY MY BOY, BEAST BOY, SHOWS UP! Garfield Logan aka Gar aka Beast Boy and Rachel bond while playing the Addams family pinball game and compliment each other on their oddly colored hair.
Dick finally catches up and meets Kory, who is hella unimpressed with Dick. When Dick tells Rachel he’s taking back custody, she reluctantly goes to the parking lot with Kory, leaving Gar high and dry. Kory and Dick get into an argument about the best way to protect Rachel, but not before Rachel guilts Dick about what happened to Dove.
Rachel doesn’t want to leave without Kory, and when Dick tries to explain himself poorly, Rachel goes dark and demands to go back to the convent. Gar looks out into the distance longingly.
Flashback, Slightly Less than Slightly Less than 15 Years Ago
Dick’s social worker is at her wits’ end with Dick’s latest joyriding error. Bruce Wayne continues to cover for the kid. Dick literally couldn’t care less, and he’s more concerned about finding his parent’s murderers at all cost. Dick is on a campaign for vengeance, while Bruce looks on from the other room all brooding and mysterious.
Back in the manner for a third time, Dick learns that Bruce wants to help him manage the pain before showing up blurry in the hallway.
To the Present
Back at the convent, Dick tries to reconnect with Rachel. Rachel is still unhappy with Dick, and you really couldn’t blame her. Dick finally realizes how much of a dick he’s been. The two have a heart to heart, and Dick finally gets it and gives her some space. Dick chats with the kind nun before following Kory to wherever she’s going…
Something Wicked is Inside
Kind nun enters the chapel to talk to Rachel. She offers Rachel some tea and watches her drink it a little too closely. Kind nun assures Rachel that everything is going to be fine now that she’s safe in the convent. Rachel immediately gets sleepy and sinister music starts playing.
Kory has made it to the storage unit and finds a purple tanning bed, lots of newspaper clippings, and research connected with yarn and pushpins. An old boombox has a recording of Kory from the past that begins hinting at Kory’s background. There’s lots of raven imagery and plenty of purple lighting. After the tape recorder finishes, Kory goes to the back to find some weird alien script that she reads.
Rachel wakes up on a gurney, as the kind nuns are moving her to a special isolation room because of course that’s what’s happening. Rachel gets moved to a small bed in a small room, and Kind Nun looks on with a combination of kindness and menace. Kind nun talks about her failings at protecting Rachel and how she wishes there was another way than keeping her captive. Rachel shrugs the drugs off and begins panicking.
Dick catches up with Kory after she stole his car, and Kory is confused about how he managed to find her which he replies, “there’s an app for that.” Dick joins Kory in being equally confused about everything that’s going on. They do a second round of investigations with even more emphasis on the raven image and alien scripts, and while Kory can speak the script, she doesn’t know what they mean.
Rachel isn’t handling her imprisonment well and begins to talk with Dark Rachel. Dark Rachel is all about empowering Rachel to get herself out, and Rachel breaks the mirror to try and get Dark Rachel to vanish, but nothing seems to be working, and Dark Rachel is very persuasive.
Kory and Dick share notes about what they know and how Rachel seems to be associated with both ravens and death and how she’s part of prophecy.
Dark Rachel continues to chip away at Rachel’s psyche and everything begins to shake. The mirror fragments float in the air. All of the furniture is moving. Rachel screams as Kory realizes that Rachel is the ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ before everything in the storage unit starts to vibrate violently and a flock of ravens blot out the sky. The convent is shown in flames, and we see Rachel flee the premises into the woods as the scene cuts to black.
Here’s hoping Kory and Dick can work together to find her next episode before more death and destruction happen.
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