Titans S01E03 "Origins" Review

In this latest episode of "Titans" Kory finally meets some other members of her eventual squad. First up is Rachel, whom she rescues from the clutches of the evil Nuclear Family. The two end up back at a convent where Rachel had previously stayed though she doesn't recall much about the place. Memory loss and memory recollection is recurring theme, as Kory continues to struggle with filling in the missing pieces of who she was and how she came to be on this search for Rachel. Dick is also repeatedly flashing back to his time as a lost orphan taken in by Bruce Wayne.

These flashback sequences offer a more artistic neonoir flair on top of the deeper character exploration. Dick was a difficult and troubled adolescent prone to rebelling, though Bruce doesn't appear to be the type to keep him on a tight leash. Then again the flashbacks have yet to explore the indoctrination into vigilantism.

Though Rachel finally meets Garfield Logan, it's just a brief and sweet flirtation at an arcade. Once Dick shows up, the good times are over since he wants to take her back into safe custody after her kidnapping. It's quite the picture as Dick and Kory are already inching towards a parental-like role for the tormented Rachel as she lashes out with her dark powers and demands to be brought back to the convent. There's still no sign of further integration of Gar into the group but his introduction gives Teagan Croft her first chance to show the other side of Rachel's youth. She's not merely a tormented orphan, but a young girl who should be free to play arcade games and flirt with cute boys.

Dick's conversation with Rachel in the church following her outburst is an important dialogue, as it presses Dick further down the path of assuming a greater role of responsibility. But the question remains as to whether Dick will be able to do a better job helping a young orphan than Bruce Wayne did for him, given that Bruce was unequipped to teach anyone what healthy coping mechanisms are following a major trauma.

Rachel's story is particularly tragic, as the sisters at the convent opt to lock her in the basement after Dick and Kory leave. Dick had followed Kory who had stolen his car and gone off to a warehouse where she is able to finally get an insight into who she was before and what she was doing. There's a bunch of research that she had been digging into regarding doomsday prophecies. A Russian trafficking ring had supplied Rachel and her mother with new last names and Kory's research is what lead her to Rachel and to learn about a prophecy involving an apocalyptic "raven".

Once Rachel has been imprisoned, her dark self re-manifests and lashes out to cause an explosion which allows Rachel to escape from captivity. Though Rachel has been put in a position of feeling alone, it's interesting to see how the show has ben gradually weaving threads through the different characters as they are brought together. Rachel and Dick are able to connect through both the dreams she's had of him before they met and their shared loss and trauma from a young age. Kory has an unintentionally maternal aspect about her in how her protective nature towards Rachel, such as sending her out of a diner before Kory unleashes a can of whoop-ass on a violent abuser, enhances their connection. It also allows Kory to further parallel Dick, since they both have a reluctant parental dynamic towards Rachel in addition to their shared investigative prowess. Now all that's left is for the audience to wait to see how Gar will fit in to these developing parallels.

"Titans" airs on Fridays on DC Universe.


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