Titans season 2 episode 9, “Atonement”, started streaming 1 Nov 2019.
So, I’ve been raving about Titans week after week. I wax lyrical about their emotional storytelling and character development even if it’s at expense of plot.
Friday’s episode though…well it didn’t feel as coherent and emotionally powerful as the preceding ones. I did love the main story – Gar showing Conner around the tower, and I enjoyed the return of Faddei, Kory’s former bodyguard. But that emotional undercurrent to tie everything together was missing.
“Atonement” also looked very obviously like it was trying to advance certain plotlines, which makes me wonder if the show is aware of how long its season is if it wants to wrap everything up nicely by the end of episode 13. Given its strengths, I think Titans should not worry about having loose ends at the end of the season, and just let some B-plots spill into season 3 (if we get one), where they can get more time to shine.
That said, there were still some lovely little scenes this week, and here are my favourite.
Dick ‘fesses up about what really happened with him, Slade, and Jericho, which prompts most of the Titans to leave. Only Gar remains (which although they don’t mention explicitly, it’s sad to think he has nowhere else to go). Dick also leaves out of guilt, giving Gar instructions to watch a recovering Conner.
The hug Gar gives Dick was so nice. It looked like the first time Dick didn’t seem surprised and overwhelmed. Gar might have hceered Dick up, if only for a moment. It also means a lot coming from Gar. Just months ago Dick killed him (while possessed), but Dick still took him in and gave him a home, even a family.
Gar Logan: A Day in the Life
Gar tries to stay positive and upbeat, but there’s only so much one can do when alone all the time. It was fun watching him go about his daily life, making veggie smoothies, writing motivational messages to himself, and hanging out with Krypto.
He also reads to Conner (aww).
Gar and Conner
Conner finally wakes up, and unknowingly gives an unsuspecting Gar a full-frontal. Well, now you know how it feels when you shift back in front of people, Gar.
Dick told Gar to call Bruce when Conner woke up so Superboy can meet his superdad. However, Bruce is unreachable for unknown reasons. Unperturbed, Gar shows Conner around Titans tower. He introduces Conner to video games, at which Conner is amazingly good at because of his super reflexes. I can see a cute friendship forming.
Despite the lighthearted fun these two had, there were also some more sombre moments. Particularly when Conner admits to his fear of his Lex Luthor side. Gar sympathises, having had his own struggles with being an animal vs being a monster. They also allude to their questionable father figures.
Gar takes Conner out to see SF, but the naive Conner unknowingly helps a thug escape from the policemen arresting him. When the police converge on him, Conner’s attacks them, associating them with the agents at the Luthor house. Gar runs back to the tower to call Dick for help, but Dick is unavailable because…
Dick searches for atonement
Dick pays Adeline Kane a visit. He apologises for using Jericho and eventually getting the boy killed. Adeline says she won’t forgive Dick. I don’t think Dick really cares, if anything he’s probably more disappointed that she didn’t beat him up.
Slade is also home, though he isn’t bothered by Dick’s presence. He says he got what he wanted – for the Titans to disband. Now Dick has lost his family. He also warns Dick that although he’s done with the Titans now, he would kill them if they reformed.
Again, Dick seems like he’d rather Slade just beat him up there and then instead of letting him go. He feels he should pay for what he did to Jericho and for lying to his friends. So he goes the the airport and starts a fight with the security to get himself arrested.
After walking out on Dick, Hank and Dawn return to Wyoming to begin fixing up their old log house. One night, they hit the town for karaoke. I wonder if Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly really sing or if it is dubbed over.
Their happiness is short-lived however. The sister of Ellis, the boy that Light killed, confronts them outside the bar. She thinks they killed her brother and threatens to get revenge.
Afterwards, Hank laments that they bring pain and loss wherever they go, whether it is their own or they cause someone else’s. Dawn wants to stay in Wyoming, Hank doesn’t know where he wants to go. He drives away to wherever while Dawn remains.
RIP Faddei 🙁
Meanwhile, Kory’s former bodyguard has escaped from Kory’s ship – but only because someone else attacked him. He comes to warn Kory about her sister Blackfire, who has assumed the throne and called from Kory and Faddei’s execution.
However, Blackfire somehow manages to possess Faddei remotely to taunt Kory. This leaves Kory with no choice but to fry her friend. Damn it, I found his character so intriguing.
The rivalry between Starfire and Blackfire is interesting. It seems Blackfire grew up a runt, with speech impediments and physical frailties, and resented that no one treated her and Kory as equals. This amped up the natural rivalry between any pair of siblings.
One other question
After Donna left the tower with Rachel tagging along, the episode follows them but then stops awkwardly. While Donna rants about Dick’s lies, the ever-perceptive Rachel points out that the other Titans had a part to play in what happened to Jericho. Then she restrains Donna with her powers before hopping out of the cab when it stops in traffic.
Makes me wonder how exactly Rachel sees the whole situation. She might be disappointed that Dick hadn’t been honest, maybe she had to get out of the tower to process, but I don’t get the feeling that she is angry at him. I also got the impression that she followed Donna for a reason, which then begs the question if she sensed something in Donna’s emotional space.
We also don’t see what happens to Rose and Jason, who left together.
Find the rest of our Titans articles in…*dramatic Gar voice* Titans tower.