Titans season 1 episode 3, “Origins”, was released on 26 October 2018.
While the synopsis for “Origins” alluded heavily to Rachel, this episode was about Dick’s origins as much as Rachel’s. That is no surprise, considering the parallels between the former Boy Wonder’s past and Rachel’s current predicament, which Dick himself realises this week.
Dick may eventually lead the Titans, but Rachel is the one bringing them together. She gets both Kory and Garfield’s attentions within the hour, and leads the former and Dick to meet. (They also sort of met Garfield…sort of.)
This episode sees Rachel transition between various “families”. First, the Nuclear Family, who kidnapped her at the end of last week. Fortunately, they don’t hurt her as much as annoy her with Biff and Sis’s constant bickering. When they stop at a gas station, Rachel tries to escape via the restroom. Enter Kory, who has been working fast. She tracked Rachel through the Roth home in Michigan all the way to DC, in time to witness the Nuclear Family take Rachel. She burns Nuclear Dad to crisps.
To Kory’s dismay, Rachel cannot tell her anything about herself. Rachel tries using her empath abilities to read Kory, but the woman is impervious to it. Kory shows Rachel a photo she found at her home of her mother at a convent in Ohio called St Paul’s, and they agree to check it out. Along the way, they stop at a diner where Kory beats up some guys and still manages to get Rachel’s chicken waffles. It’s awesome.
At the convent, Kory learns she had previously visited to warn of an impending threat to Rachel. A nun tells that Melissa Roth had come to them with Rachel to live, fearing Rachel’s father. Kory’s key fob leads her to a nearby skate park. There, Rachel meets Gar while playing games and they bond over their colored hair.
You can exhale, folks. Dawn isn’t dead. She is unconscious in the hospital, Hank cutting a despairing figure by her side.
Dick doesn’t have time to dwell on the situation, though. The Detroit PD inform him that a woman of Kory’s description broke into the Roth house and was later seen at a gas station with Rachel. Also, Amy did not survive her encounter with the Nuclear Family. Alarmed, Dick races off to find Rachel.
The long stretches of road between DC and the midwest give Dick time to think about his past. In flashbacks, we see that he initially caught Bruce Wayne’s attention doing trapeze sets off tree branches as he snuck out of Wayne Manor. One day, he found a showroom with many fancy cars and took the Porsche he current owns out for a joyride. Needless to say, he was pulled over by the police. So THAT’s why Batman won’t let him drive the Batmobile.
Shortly after that incident, Dick revealed his internal anger from learning his parents’ deaths resulted from foul play. That was when fellow orphan Bruce stepped in, offering a different way to channel his pain besides revenge.
DIck eventually finds Kory’s license plate number and tracks her and Rachel to the arcade. There, he, Kory, Rachel and Gar share a space briefly, although no one notices Gar in Dick’s urgency to leave. Rachel decides she has a new and cooler “parent” in Kory and doesn’t want to leave with Dick. When Dick presses her, her powers trigger and shatter the windscreens of all the cars in the parking lot. That gets Garfield’s attention.
Back at the convent, Dick tries to apologise to Rachel for breaking her trust. He finally relates his experience to Rachel’s situation and tells her she has to find her own outlet for the pain, as relying on people will only subvert it. He agrees to let her stay at the convent. However, the sisters, fearing the extent of Rachel’s powers, sedate her and lock her in a room.
Meanwhile, Kory carjacks the Porsche and drives to a garage, where she had been working to monitor Rachel. Dick gives chase. “You stole my car! I like my car!” he rants.
Kory and Dick try to make sense of the material she had amassed on Rachel. The Russian mob played a part getting the Roths new identities, explaining why Kory had been in contact with them. There are several images of ravens, a morbid trivia linking Rachel’s birthday with mortality rates, and some notes in Tamaranean. Kory can read the symbols, but doesn’t understand them. Still, she eventually puts together that Rachel was prophesised to destroy the world. Elsewhere, the Nuclear Family’s creator and handler, Dr Shanner, confirms this theory with an extra detail: Rachel will unleash her father onto the world, then he will destroy it. Titans is clearly setting up the well known Trigon storyline.
Rachel’s demon persona taunts her in her “cell” and eventually takes control. Her power comes out in full force and causes an explosion. This alerts Dick and Kory, who rush out to see black birds swarming the skies. Rachel escapes the convent and runs into the woods.
They say animals can sense natural disasters. Can they sense supernatural disasters too? That would certainly explain why a Robin, a Raven, a Beast Boy, and a Starfire (who doesn’t have any animal references, but hey she’s an alien) would gather as a demon tries to destroy Earth.
SPeaking of animals, the stark disregard of Gar had me whining. But remember, he first appeared in a woods in Ohio, and Rachel just ran out into the woods…in Ohio. The team is coming together, you guys! Next week’s “The Doom Patrol” guarantees substantial Beast Boy content.
She isn’t named outright, but the detective who assigned Dick to talk to Rachel in the pilot, and who calls Dick again this week, is Detective Jessica Perez. Her last name is a nod to George Perez, the artist who created many Teen Titans characters, including Raven and Starfire.
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(featured image: DC Universe)