Comics giant DC has big plans for its new streaming service, DC Universe. The service’s debut original series, Titans, has injected plenty of confidence in the platform’s plans to bring other DC heroes to life down the line. Titans’ first episode stands as a solid proof of concept. The gritty re-imagining of the company’s foremost collective of young heroes is a departure somewhat from DC’s idealistic, bright presentation. That doesn’t mean that the new direction fails, however. It may be different, but it still has merit.
The series is clearly centered around Rachel Roth, a sullen purple-haired teen with something dark inside of her. She wakes from a recurring nightmare depicting the death of the Flying Graysons to the comforting arms of her mother, Melissa. Crosses line the walls and door to her room as Melissa locks Rachel in her room. Melissa is struggling to keep herself together in the face of Rachel’s dark side manifesting. Rachel questions what is inside of her while Melissa prays. The mystery grows more cloudy when a gunman kills Melissa in front of Rachel after revealing that she isn’t Rachel’s mother. The sight spikes Rachel’s darkness, knocking the gunman back. Rachel escapes the house and takes a one way trip to Detroit.
Unbeknownst to both, Detective Dick Grayson is waiting for her in Detroit. Dick has remained resistant to working with a partner since joining the Detroit PD, a fact that doesn’t change when introduced to his new partner Amy. These feelings might be connected to is split from Batman, but there’s no time to dwell on that as Dick decides to don the Robin suit for the first time in over a year. He brutally takes down a number of criminals on his way to taking down a child abuser/drug dealer. He verbally dismisses Batman as he leaves the scene.
Somewhere in Austria, a fiery-haired woman wakes up in a wrecked car. She discovers bullet holes in the car, and the shooters quickly return, chasing her into the woods. She is able to escape, though she has no memory of who she is. She identifies her name as Kory Anders from a passport and finds a hotel key in her purse. Hotel employees recognize her when she returns, though they are unable to give any knowledge regarding an oddly marked key also discovered in Kory’s purse.
Kory discovers a bound and gagged man in her suite’s closet. She prods him for information about her identity, but things quickly devolve when he’s able to free himself. Kory easily dispatches of him, learning that club owner Konstantin Kovar might know more about her before killing him. Kory follows the lead, confronting Kovar at his night club. The shooters from before flank Kovar in his office as he berates Kory for her betrayal. He speaks of a girl Kory was searching for before shooting her. Bad move. The attack awakens Kory’s powers, causing her to engulf the room in flames. With Kovar and his heavies reduced to ash, Kory finds a picture of Rachel.
The Boy From The Circus
Dick and Rachel quickly meet once she arrives in Detroit. She is brought to the police station after escaping a partner of her mother’s killer under the guise of a homeless shelter employee. Dick is called in to question Rachel, seeing as he has a thing for protecting kids. Rachel immediately recognizes him as the boy at the circus in her dreams. She believes that her dreams led her to Dick, and gets a glimpse of Dick’s past with Bruce Wayne when she touches his hand. She tells him about her mother’s murder and Dick begins to leave the room. She begs Dick to lock her up due to the forces inside her, but Dick leaves her in the interrogation room.
Dick runs into Amy outside the station. He shows her his warmer side, saying that his preference to working alone spawned from his former partner in Gotham. Dick walked away because he was becoming too much like him. The two share a smile before Dick learns that Rachel was telling the truth about her mother’s murder. He returns to see Rachel being abducted by another officer.
Dick’s pursuit leads him to an abandoned home where Rachel is being held by her mother’s murderer. The man begins speaking of the force within Rachel in biblical overtones. He tells her she is damned from within before producing a knife. He says he must perform the ritual to close the doorway and save the world before Rachel possesses him. A dark force enter through his mouth and liquefies his organs, killing him from the inside out. Dick catches a glimpse of the act before helping Rachel escape. The two are on the run together as Rachel expresses dissent to her mother’s belief that monsters didn’t exist. She is one.
She isn’t the only one though, as a tiger is found in an electronics store. The beast escapes store security and morphs into a naked Gar. He smiles at the video game he boosted from the store and runs into the woods.
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