Titans review: The finale toys with themes of triumph and defeat


We’ve finished watching the DC Universe Titans season finale, and we’re already preparing to rewatch the entire season all over again. You know: to make sure we didn’t overlook any Easter eggs and to figure out why Angela uncharacteristically is aligned with Trigon’s warped ideology, unlike the comics.

Although the majority of Titans season 1 focuses on Dick Grayson’s departure from the BatFam and Dick’s personal journey in general, the final episode of the season, “Dick Grayson,” delivered a titular episode for the former Boy Wonder. The end of episode 10, “Koriand’r,” left us with the lingering cliffhanger of Trigon’s arrival on Earth and Dick walking through the force field surrounding Roth and Azarath household.

As we presumed from the episode synopsis, and what was confirmed with the periodically distorted visuals during the same finale episode, one of Trigon’s artificial illusions envelops Dick shortly after he walks into the Azarath home. During Trigon’s fear projections within the artificial reality, Dick battles his unresolved resentment toward Batman — and by reflection himself. Toward the end of the episode, Dick’s compromised state foreshadows Trigon’s continued triumphs that will overlap into the second season. However, the interdimensional demon and deadbeat father has also accomplished a lot during the final episode, at the Titans’ expense.

Trigon’s rise

The series has unraveled Rachel’s family drama through the entire series. After watching someone murder who she thought was her mother in the earliest episode, finding her potential birth mother in a facility ruled by The Organization, and getting the paternity test from Hell (literally), it’s apparent that Rachel’s family tree is… complicated.

Her tortuous family situation is partly what drew her to Grayson and Kory and allowed her to effortlessly look to them as parental figures in lieu of Angela’s presence. Because of Rachel’s connections to her found family, we can assume that Trigon is using Dick’s compromised state as collateral for Rachel — either as a way to weaponize him against his daughter or to emotionally manipulate her into complying to with his planetary destruction.

As the first season ends with Trigon using Rachel’s friends as pawns, the second season will continue Trigon’s rise. Given the extensive DC Comics lore on Trigon the Terrible, his triumphs could come with complications both in the form of Rachel and her friends — many of whom she recruited for help via her astral projection earlier in the season. After all, if Titans season 2 incorporates more comic mythos, Trigon does still have a few powerful sons looming in the interdimensional distance, and they happen to have a hankering for sabotaging their demonic dad’s plans.

Though there’s a lot of relevant Trigon, Tamaran, and Azarath tales that Titans season 2 could explore in conjunction with Trigon’s reign as the main villain, we’d place our theorized bets that Rachel, with a lot of guidance and combative help from Kory, will cause Trigon’s ultimate demise. Or at least they’ll lead to his temporary banishment. She is a portal after all.

Season 2 could interconnect Trigon’s villainous tirade and the duality of his success and foreshadowed downfall with emotionally manipulating his powerful daughter. However, in the readily available Titans timeline, Trigon’s success comes at the cost of Dick Grayson’s downfall and temporary hiatus, particularly since Trigon uses his abilities to tap into his victim’s darkest apprehensions, exaggerates them, and exemplifies them in the form of Dick’s hallucinations.

Dick Grayson’s pseudo-departure

By the end of the episode, Dick succumbs to his ongoing quandary between who he is and who he wants to be. Admittedly, Trigon’s dreamscape amplifies his internal existential crisis, which will likely progress into next season where we’ll part ways with Dick.

Don’t worry: If you’re a fan of Dick, he’ll likely still be present in the second season of the show, at least physically. He’ll just be the same demonic infiltrated husk we saw in the last few moments of the finale.

Dick’s zombified situation at the end of the episode could allude to Trigon’s long-term manipulation he has presumably cast (with his powers or through cult-based manipulation) onto Angela. After all, Angela’s current characterization obviously deviates greatly from her comic book counterpart, who notably protests Trigon’s actions and physically distances herself and Rachel from him. Her current state on the series could be a manifestation of Trigon’s longterm illusion casting and subsequent possession. Her current compliance and seemingly self-sustaining manipulative characteristics could foreshadow what Trigon’s powers will eventually do to Dick.

More immediately in the upcoming season, Trigon will probably use his illusion casting, and newly indoctrinated member of the demon family (Dick), to hold Rachel hostage emotionally. Because Rachel is close to Grayson (and Trigon knows this), he could also use his continual illusion casting to learn vulnerable information about Rachel and her friends and use it against her, which would allow him to manipulate Rachel for her abilities and extend his stay on Earth.

Inevitably, Rachel could use her astral projections to coerce Dick out of his trance but, given Titans’ gradual narrative style and the show’s proclivity for suspense, season 2 will likely play on Dick’s puppet-like state for at least the first couple of episodes. Regardless, Dick’s temporarily compromised consciousness will allow new members of the implicit Titans team to flourish, at least temporarily in the upcoming season.

The rise of new Titans

The post-credits moments in the Titans season 1 finale gave us a glimpse into a new kid and new dog in the Titans universe. As soon as “Subject 13 offline” flashes on the monitors in the Metropolis lab, we all know the notorious clone of Superman, Kon-El (i.e. Conner Kent/Superboy), will have a critical role in the second season. However, he isn’t alone, seeing as he escapes the experimental facility (and his presumed “birth” place at Project Cadmus) with his dog, Krypto.

Earlier in Titans season 1, during “Hank and Dawn,” Rachel uses her astral form to contact Hank and Dawn. After waking from her coma, Dawn tells Hank to find Jason Todd, which gives us the assumption that Hank and Jason will team up with Kory and Donna, who are still waiting outside Trigon’s barrier.

We aren’t sure the exact logistics of the restructured team, but season 2 will likely lead to a new team of Titans, based on Dick’s demonic possession and Rachel and Garfield’s implied emotional and physical hostage situation. We can assume the reformatted team will include Hank, Donna, Kory, Jason, and likely an escaped experiment and his superpowered pet (once everyone officially meets, of course).

While the conclusion of the first season of Titans preludes to character development around an entirely new character — and will probably set up a prominent plot around Conner’s DC Universe debut, and potentially the superfamily in general — we hope the impending second season doesn’t forget to delve into the preexisting character’s origin stories, their developing narratives, and their growing powers.

The first season of Titans predominantly focused on Rachel and Dick Grayson; however, there’s still a lot left to learn about Garfield and Kory. With Kory and Rachel’s interwoven origin stories, season 2 could give the DC Universe opportunity to explore the push and pull between their adapted narratives on the show. After all, the continuation of Titans would be remiss if it didn’t focus on a Kory and Garfield centric narrative, especially since they are two of the four founding members of the series.

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Titans has left viewers on a cliffhanger after the majority of each episode, and the season finale is no different. Although the final episode leaves us with a healthy amount of suspense, the finale ends on an incomplete note. The entire season has yielded an insurmountable of unanswered questions. However, the cycle of inquiry replenishment, both between episodes and during the finale, could leave fans ready for an investigation when the second season airs next year, likely in the fall of 2019.