Deathstroke, the season’s villain comes into the limelight in Season 2, Episode 5 of Titans, proving himself to be a formidable enemy.
It’s the moment Titans season 2 has been gearing up for—unleashing the season’s villain, Deathstroke, on the titular team of heroes.
Esai Morales’ Deathstroke is powerful, vengeful, and shows absolutely no moral centre as he goes after the team, which is exactly how fans would want him to be.
But aside from Deathstroke, there is plenty to love about this fifth episode of Titans season 2. We examine what went down in the episode and what it means for the hapless Titans.
Major spoilers ahead!
Dr Light’s Arc
Though teasers and trailers for Titans season 2 all but confirmed that Deathstroke would be the most troublesome element for the heroes, Dr Light (Michael Mosley) has caused the team plenty of headaches.
And his partnership with Deathstroke seemed geared towards making life even more difficult for the original Team Titans. He wasn’t afraid to leave a trail of bodies behind him—innocent or otherwise—and left light bombs to take out his adversaries.
Jason Todd’s Robin 2.0 (Curran Walters) made short work of him and it was only when Deathstroke entered the fray that the new Boy Wonder was defeated.
Titans: ‘Deathstroke’ takes up from Jason’s capture, and once again Dr Light shows himself to be less than capable. He attempts to taunt Jason but ends up being suffocated by the still-strung up sidekick. Had it not been for Deathstroke, Jason would be safe at home by now.
But where Dr Light lacks in finesse, he makes up for with a big mouth. Time and time again, we have seen him talk at Deathstroke, while the masked villain sits eerily calm, plotting his next move. If Dr Light had paid attention, he would have realised that the next move was against him.
In an unexpected twist, as Dr Light heads off to confront the Titans, he is shot through the side of the head by Deathstroke. His body is then hung up to lure the Titans in for Deathstroke’s final trap.
Dr Light may not have been the primary villain of Titans season 2 but he certainly was becoming a problem. A part of me is upset that we won’t see more of him, but it does give the show more room to focus on Deathstroke, which can only be a good thing.
Kory and Rachel United
In Titans season one, Kory Anders/ Starfire (Anna Diop) and Rachel Roth/ Raven (Teagan Croft) became good friends.
But Kory eventually went her own way, joining up with Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) to hunt down metahumans.
Since being found by a Tamaranean bodyguard, Kory has been laying low, but she finally returns to the fold in this episode and immediately sits down with Rachel to find out what is happening at Titans Tower.
As we have been seeing over the course of Titans season 2, Rachel has clearly changed since her run in with her father, Trigon. He took her heart and it unleashed something within her—a kind of dark, protective cloud that Rachel is struggling to control.
The cloud went after Jason at a training session, and it has even attacked Rachel in her sleep. Gar Logan/ Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) also almost loses his hand to it.
This all weighs heavily on Rachel’s mind and Kory is the only person who will listen to her and understand—because Kory knows what it’s like to have uncontrollable power.
The starfire she possesses is supposed to be controlled by a band, but it never worked on Kory. She believes the control, or lack thereof, of their power doesn’t make them who they are—it’s the choices they make.
It’s great to see a strong female bond in superhero properties, and Titans is trying to give audiences more through Kory and Rachel, as well as Kory and Donna.
Long may it continue.
The Humanity of Heroes
Superhero stories can often get bogged down by action and special effects—but fans can all agree that the one thing that draws us to these stories is the humanity the characters display.
Titans has often struggled to show how human its characters are but it does manage to in Titans: ‘Deathstroke’.
As the original Titans brief Kory about the situation with Deathstroke, Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) makes a heartfelt proclamation—that he can’t bear to leave Jason in Deathstroke’s hands. That he, and everyone in that room, knows what it’s like to be alone, facing a horrifying fate, waiting to be rescued, only to know that nobody will ever come.
But, as we learn later on, Hank knows this feeling better than the others. As a child, he was abused by his football coach. The trauma lived with him for years, until he got some relief by becoming the superhero Hawk.
However, even that didn’t help for long—it was only when he met Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly), that he could find some peace. She helped him take revenge by killing his coach.
Unfortunately, PTSD is a nasty beast, and it seems Hank still lives with the pain of his assaults—he tells Dawn that it is the reason he so desperately wants to save Jason.
Hank and Dawn were given short shrift in season one of Titans, but they are turning out to be two of the most well-rounded and compelling characters in this season.
It’s a superhero show, so of course we should expect epic fight scenes. But there’s something raw and visceral about the fights in Titans: ‘Deathstroke’ that make it so captivating.
In this episode, fans get a fun, almost goofy, face-off between Hank and Rose Wilson (Chelsea Zhang), who is trying to stop the Titans from handing her over to her father, Deathstroke.
Hank isn’t in full fighting form, and Rose makes short work of him, but not without some quips from Hank.
Rose then goes up against Rachel, who has only recently been becoming her friend. Doesn’t matter to Rose, who fights as hard as she can. That is until Rachel’s dark cloud emerges and she ends up murdering Rose. If not for Rose’s metahuman healing abilities, she would surely be dead.
There’s an energy in this season of Titans that makes the fight scenes so much more realistic. The stakes are higher because it looks like the characters can really get hurt.
In the final act of Titans: ‘Deathstroke’, Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) tries to martyr himself by walking into Deathstroke’s trap. Fortunately for Dick, Starfire isn’t far behind.
There’s been a surprising amount of subversion in Titans season two and it’s great to see that continue in this episode.
Dick having to be rescued by Starfire is an unexpected move. She’s not been with the Titans all this while but that doesn’t stop her from being superhero when her colleague needs help.
And whereas male characters are usually the brawn of the show, with female characters being the damsels in distress. But here, Starfire is the one fighting while Jason needs rescuing.
And Dick leaves Starfire to fight while he tries to save a precariously-placed Jason. Starfire gives Deathstroke a full blast of her power. She has clearly managed to hone her skills and can now not only shoot plasma, but also deflect and absorb bullets! It takes a very powerful weapon to knock her out.
Which is when Dick steps back in with nothing but a stick for defense. But this is Dick Grayson we’re talking about—a stick is all he needs against Deathstroke’s sword.
Unfortunately, Deathstroke has more than a sword in his arsenal—he manages to knock out Dick and Kory for a second, and that is all he needs…
That Final Scene!
…to send Jason plummeting to his death.
There has been much speculation as to Jason Todd’s arc on Titans. As DC Comics fans will know, Jason Todd dies in the comic series—by Joker’s hand, not Deathstroke’s—and returns as the sometimes villain, mostly anti-hero, Red Hood.
After Jason was captured by Deathstroke, we had surmised that this would be his intended fate on the show. But Titans: ‘Deathstroke’ leaves us hanging with its final scene.
We see Jason losing his grip on Dick’s hand and falling to what should be his death, but we don’t actually see him die. Will that be confirmed in the next episode? Or will Jason live?
With Curran Walters having been promoted to series regular, one can assume that Jason will live on, but there is no certainty with Titans. I guess we will have to tune in next week to find out.