Titans continue to deliver solid episodes and this week’s offering, “Origins” is the best of the lot so far. Besides digging into the mythology of Rachel’s character, the team is finally assembled all in one place, if for only a brief moment.
Rescued by Kory from the Nuclear Family, Rachel travels with her to the convent where she was raised – a destination that might provide answers about Rachel’s past and Kory’s identity. Meanwhile, Dick goes in pursuit of Rachel and Kory, the mysterious woman who rescued her – and the journey awakens memories of his own orphanhood and his unorthodox upbringing in the shadows of Bruce Wayne. When Dick finally reunites with Rachel and Kory, he realizes that Rachel’s found a new protector in Kory. But the convent is not everything it seems to be and Rachel might have to rely on her guardians as well as a new friend, Gar Logan, to keep her safe.
Titans Recap: Episode 103 “Origins”
Written by: Richard Hatem, Geoff Johns, Marisha Mykerjee, Greg Walker
Directed by: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Originally Airs: October 26, 2018
The episode picks up where we left off with The Nuclear Family kidnapping Rachel and Dawn in the hospital. Kory believing that Rachel is the key to her own memories and identity takes some items hidden in the floorboards in Rachel’s house which lead them to St Paul’s Convent later in the episode. Before that, Kory tracks The Nuclear’s to a gas station and rescues Rachel Terminator style with a “come with me if you want to live”. Dick is right on the trail and eventually they all meet up at a roller rink near the convent.
Finally, all of our future heroes are in one place where Rachel and Gar have a meet cute at the pinball machine and Kory and Dick exchange um pleasantries (?) over Rachel. Seeing her immense power, they take her back to the convent to hang with the suspicious Nuns. More Gar Logan will have to wait until next week. Sad face.
Throughout the episode, Dick is having memories of his time with Bruce right after he goes to live with him. Bruce is kept in the shadows, a silhouette in the window, a frame looking on from behind and this is probably how he should stay, at least for the first season. This imagery allows the audience to focus on Dick’s version of this story. When he goes to live with Bruce, he is defiant; running away, stealing the Porsche, until finally he realizes maybe this is a good place for him and Bruce leaves him a note,
“Revenge won’t bring them back. Let me teach you another way to deal with the pain. B.W.”
This is, of course, alluding to the birth of Robin and ties in to Dick’s current feelings about how Bruce raised him. It leads to a discussion between him and Rachel about dealing with grief and pain. She is angry with him for not being there and feels alone, he tells her she is essentially, the pain never leaves you, it’s part of who you are now. But he tells her that she has the ability to control it, no one else. It’s up to her how she deals with it. Taking a bit of a different stance than his adoptive father, instead of telling her how to deal, Dick wants to empower her to figure it out on her own. We all have a different process and it’s important that Rachel do this her way, not someone else’s.
Rachel and Kory bond throughout this episode in a unique way; Kory believes Rachel is the key to remembering who she is and why she was looking for her and Rachel finds a different kind of comfort and trust with Kory than she did with Dick. They discuss not understanding their powers, but while Kory describes hers as a “light”, Rachel describes her own as“darkness”, giving us a hint that in the future as a team, they will help balance one another. The audience is aware that Kory is an alien, but even Kory herself is unaware of this fact at the moment. When Rachel tries to use her empath powers to feel her out, she notes that she can normally feel things from people but she feels nothing from Kory.
The trip to Convent, The Nuclear’s, and Kory’s locker dive into the origin of Raven, alluding again to our big bad of the season, Rachel’s father. Rachel’s mother was hiding from him at the Convent, though the Nuns claim to not know why, they later lock Rachel in a room and tie her to a bed to “save her from herself” which awakens the darkness inside of Rachel and she escapes.
After Kory eviscerates the “father” of The Nuclear Family, they check in at headquarters and have an illuminating conversation with their boss. He says “her father will reveal us. When he comes, he will scrub the flesh of this world clean and show us who we really are. But he can’t arrive without an invitation. He can’t come without her welcome”. Following all her mystery keys, Kory finds herself in a storage locker filled with “murder boards” of information regarding the search for Rachel she’s been on the past year. She plays a tape of her voice taking notes about Rachel and her mother. She believed a Russian human trafficking ring (remember the guy she toasted in the first episode) set Rachel and her mother up with new identities. She and Dick dissect everything on the boards, papers written in what looks like hieroglyphics that Kory can read, drawings of ravens, bible passages, etc. Kory believes Rachel is part of a prophecy, “she is the destroyer of worlds.” Rachel’s father in the comics is a character called Trigon. It will be interesting to see how Titans interprets him.
What I enjoy most about this show is within the confines of demons, aliens, borg-like villains, and shape shifters; this show still manages to remember these characters are people. They make quips, show a variety of emotions, make mistakes, ask questions, but most importantly the kids are still kids. Rachel is always eating, she wants money for the arcade, and she’s flirting with Gar all while Kory and Dick are having a standoff about who’s the better guardian and it all feels like a real family. Though the family isn’t fully formed yet, you can feel the chemistry between them and there’s a lightheartedness infused with the darkness of demonic possession.