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‘Titans’ S01E10: ‘Koriand’r’ (review)

S1:E10 — As Kory’s memories come flooding back, she discovers her true mission, regarding Rachel. While Dick and Donna discover Kory’s alien origins, Rachel uses her powers to save Gar.

 

I have to address the elephant in the room first, because if I don’t, I feel like I will be less than forthcoming and as a result, I’ll shortchange you and myself, somehow. The best thing about this week’s episode wasn’t even this week’s episode: It was the 3-part ELSEWORLDS story told on the CW.

Now, clearly, one has nothing to do with the other. Clearly. So, saying that it’s the best part of this week’s TITANS is a bit of a misappropriation of praise. I’ll allow your objection.

However, the thing I want to point out about ELSEWORLDS (and I wanted to actually do a review of it for FOG!, but decided against it, for these reasons) is that there is a place for that kind of storytelling. People give Oliver Queen shit because he was a straight up murderer (by people, I mean other characters AND viewers) in the first couple of seasons of the show and it has plagued the character ever since. Oliver believes that killing someone is a solution when it comes down to the final minute of the fourth quarter; it’s his Hail Mary. You can see that a lot of what made ARROW a hit found its way into TITANS; that is, the idea of heroes acting realistically in a fictional universe. And yes, there’s a debate that can be made about how police officers, soldiers, etc., all use (abuse?) the idea of “final justice” every day, so why shouldn’t superheroes?

ELSEWORLDS answers that with both Oliver and Superman. It really was the most amazing three hours of television for comic nerds that has ever existed.

Saying more about the three episodes would do this review for TITANS a huge disservice, but I think it needs to be said out loud:

When TITANS does it right, it scores big time. When they do it wrong, they fail miserably. If anyone out there doesn’t believe in Greg Berlanti, they need to start because, SPOILER ALERT, CRISIS ON friggin’ INFINITE EARTHS is actually going to friggin’ happen and this is not a test.

Therein lies the problem; TITANS should be an exclusively Berlanti production, but it is split between him, Geoff Johns and Akiva Goldsman.

Berlanti and company have proven that they are capable of creating an hour of compelling television (or, in truth, five hours per week). I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Berlanti isn’t the one that is missing the mark on this show, based on what we saw this week on the CW, so the credit/blame has to fall on Johns or Goldsman because, clearly, you could make this a show that the diehard fans want and still, STILL, have room for converts.

Again, this is a very important point to make, and you’ll see why.

The question is, “Can one episode make a difference in how an entire season is perceived?”

And the answer is, “Yes,” but it goes both ways. See, this episode gave us very little in the way of what ELSEWORLDS did, but, to its credit, it moved the story forward, which if you read last week’s review, was kind of what was needed. However, seeing that we all know what’s coming next week (“Robin vs Batman”) and seeing how this week’s ended, it’s almost unrealistic to expect that the first season of TITANS will end in a satisfactory fashion.

Something is going to get rushed.

If you go by the episode’s title, this was a Kory spotlight week, but that’s not entirely true. Everyone except Dick gets a little of the spotlight.

Even Donna (who has a female equivalent of a pissing contest with Kory…which I guess is still just a pissing contest). What this episode did do, and this actually made me sort of happy, is it reinforced some of its own homegrown tropes. I can’t remember when I said it, possibly in the second episode review, but this show has a habit (bad or good, you decide) of introducing you to a new character and then killing them right in front of your eyes.

Usually, this character comes to us as heroic support (see Rohrbach, Amy). I didn’t say anything when it happened, but I was surprised that Angela, Rachel’s mom, didn’t die in the asylum fire. I just assumed it would come eventually, but then she kept sticking around.

And now, we know why; she was on the inside with Trigon the entire time. I should have seen it coming, and what’s funny is, Episode 10 introduced someone from Angela’s teen years, and the actor was so stiff, I thought for sure that he was the bad guy. They even throw a curve with a sort of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY/AMITYVILLE HORROR scene.

Lo and behold, Angela stabs him and the trope remains unsullied. Bravo, TITANS crew. You got me.

There’s an interesting bit of banter between Donna and Dick that goes back to what I was saying about Oliver Queen in ELSEWORLDS and the idea of killing someone as a means to an end as a solution to the modern superhero.

Dick tells Donna, “Kory’s not a killer. She kills people sometimes, but none of this makes sense.”

YOU AIN’T KIDDING, BOY WONDER! This is my point. When heroes are cognizant of their unheroic deeds, does that make them villains? I hate to belabor a point, and keep pounding on this particular nail, but this show is so close to perfect, it’s starting to hurt.

Even an episode like this, the “go home” show before the main event, could have been so much more. Instead, you have an uneven rush job to get to something fan-servicey in the finale. I would have preferred two more episodes, or just one, just to expand what happened this week and decompress it just a little bit.

Based on my own personal assumptions, the whole Robin vs Batman fight is basically a nightmare created by Trigon (I liked it more when Dixon/McDaniel and Story did it with Scarecrow in the comic, but cool story, bro) so it means that next week’s climax/confrontation will have, ultimately, no stakes.

Ok, sure, Dick will reflect on his “fight” with Bruce, confront some of his own demons, and then…what?

Create the Nightwing persona?

Form the Titans? That’s expected.

The thing is…when is an ultimate showdown not an ultimate showdown?

Friday, December 21st, that’s when.

Will you watch next week’s episode?

Yes, I’m just as much of a fanboy as anyone and I do hope this fight has some consequences, but ultimately…I’M IN TOO DEEP, GUYS!

EXTRA POINTS & NIT PICKS:

  • Whoa, you can skip the recap now??
  • Which, thank God, because we hit 2:50 in the recap this week. Guys, what are we doing???

 

NEXT WEEK: S1:E11 – DICK GRAYSON (Season Finale)

 

Vito Delsante is a comic book writer, graphic novelist, editor, letterer, and the co-creator/writer of STRAY with Sean Izaakse, and THE PURPLE HEART with Dean Haspiel and artist, Ricardo Venâncio. He’s written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, AdHouse Books, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and his stories have been reprinted in other countries. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Michelle, his daughter, Sadie, his son, James, and his pitbull, Kirby.  You can find him online at incogvito.com and you can follow him on Twitter @incogvito

 

 

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