Titans season 2 episode 7, “Bruce Wayne”, started streaming on DC Universe on 18 October 2019.
Trigger warning: this recap has mentions of suicide.
“They’re really making me watch Jason fall again.”
That was my first, somewhat sarcastic thought in the opening scene of this week’s Titans episode.
However, I was undermining the fact that we must come back to that event. Jason nearly fell to his death, after hours in captivity. He went through a traumatic experience, witnessed by Dick and other characters. They – and we as viewers – must address it. Something like that just does not go away. If it did, Jason wouldn’t have stood in his room for hours on end almost catatonically, seeing the buildings scroll past him endlessly on his way down.
Curran Walter’s acting was phenomenal.
Early on, Bruce Wayne – who in this episode is really a figure of Dick’s inner thoughts – calls Dick out for ostracising Jason, too consumed with his own feud with Deathstroke. By the end of the episode, each of the other Titans have again pushed Jason away, blinded by their own issues that they didn’t consider his, and that drove him to a very dark place.
The episode never really resolves this – Titans never leaves us not hanging, but then this isn’t something that goes away with a rooftop chat and a hug. It’s not that simple.
Dick’s guilt trip
I’ve said before that Titans is character-driven at the expense of plot. You can critique that there must be balance, or that some characters are developed more than others, but that’s not my concern. I appreciate these deep dives into the person that I can overlook the lack of a perceivable plotline.
What an affective choice to have Bruce represent the voice in Dick’s heads. The conversations between Dick and ‘Bruce’ bring out his fears, his guilt, and his internal struggle about whether to come clean about his secrets. And then you read between the lines and see deeper into Dick’s psyche. He projects his negative feelings onto Bruce, yet still imagines Bruce calling him ‘son’.
This week, Dick takes a literal guilt trip to find Slade. His journey is ultimately pointless as he realises his guilt has drawn him away from where he actually needs to be. Hunting down and ending Slade wouldn’t fix almost losing someone – a teammate, a friend, maybe even family member.
While he was gone, Slade got into the Tower – we don’t know if he got in physically, but he certainly got into the Titans’ heads.
What happens in isolation
Back at the Tower, only Rose approaches Jason. Though Jason doesn’t talk about what happened explicitly, for a moment he stops reliving his fall. He and Rose bond a little over Deathstroke almost killing them, which ultimately leads to kissing.
Then Rose finds Jericho’s vinyl record – the one he traded from Dick – and figures that Dick was involved with Jericho’s death somehow. She takes it out of Jason before storming out of his room. Jason turns back to his window and continues to fall.
Meanwhile, Hank finds a bottle of alcohol, Dawn finds a photo of the kid Light killed, Donna finds the drink she used to share with Garth, and Rachel finds crucifixes drawn all over her room. They all blame a hapless Jason, who has no recollection of doing any of those things.
I thought Deathstroke brainwashed Jason and was making him trigger everyone. Another theory is Gar, who was “sleeping in” this whole episode, is somehow involved.
Regardless, the Titans blame Jason, who leaves the tower. Dick eventually finds him standing on the ledge at the edge of the roof. Jason calls himself a curse, that the Titans’ latest fallout is just another things he has ruined in his life. The show hasn’t gone into detail about Jason’s history, growing up on the streets of Gotham, falling in with the rough crowd, if it’s anything like the comics. It started to scratch the surface here.
In response, Dick finally opens up and takes the blame for the dissent in the team. They aren’t working because he has been keeping something from them: he killed Jericho.
It’s not clear if Dick actually killed Jericho or just started something that resulted in Jericho’s death. Nonetheless, he bears the guilt.
Some good news
The one good thing that happened this episode: Krypto is free.
Dr Eve Watson pays Cadmus labs one last visit to break the superdog out. Krypto then leads Eve to Titans tower. Kory lets them in having heard Conner mutter Eve’s name amongst some Kryptonian.
Eve frets that they need an immense amount of radiation to heal Conner. Fortunately, Kory’s starfire has just that. She burns the kryptonite out of Conner’s system while Rachel’s black form contains the energy. Conner is healed!
And most importantly: Conner and Krypto are reunited!
P.S. I’m looking forward to the alien alliance between Kory and Conner. Also, Rachel’s awkward “hi” to Conner was really funny (Kory had burned off the boy’s clothes.)
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