Here we are once again with another episode of Titans, now streaming on DC Universe! We’ve been watching things unfold (in the worst way) the past few weeks, including Dick’s big reveal (and then going to prison), Conner and Gar’s capture, and the split of the team…again. But let’s not get to hung up on all that. Onwards and upwards (hopefully) to your recap of Titans Season 2, episode 11 — “E.L._.O.”
But if you want to go back and watch the mess hit the fan, you can find last week’s recap right here!
Episode eleven opens up with Gar speaking straight-on to the camera. He’s addressing Rachel and trying to tell her that he saw out out-of-control her powers are in the training room. It’s soon revealed at he’s saying all of this because one of Cadmus goons is literally poking around in his brain as the shot pans to the back of Gar’s head where part of his skull is open, and his brain exposed. As he talks, another scientistic in the room writes down names on a board, and the neurosurgeon continues to prod into Gar’s exposed brain. He rapid cycles through emotions and keeps talking about Rachel as Mercy, from the comfort of a cordoned-off observation room, watches his brain activity on a computer. As they hit the anger center of his mind, Mercy tells them to probe deeper, and Gar’s eyes begin to turn green.
But it’s not just Gar who’s having a super fun time with mental torture. The scene then jumps to the state prison where Dick is still being held; now in a solitary unit where the guards have clearly been mistreating him. He tosses and turns, covered in sweat and mumbling to himself, as we once again see the return on Dick’s subconscious manifestation of Bruce Wayne.
Dick repeats to himself that he’s alone — trying to reassure himself that Bruce isn’t there; but Bruce tells him that he’s clearly sick, but that at least he’s in the Penance Palace: solitary confinement. Dick rolls himself over and tries to go back to sleep and ignore him, but Bruce presses on, telling him that sleeping is all he does and that it’s time that Dick woke up. He tells him about all the stupid things that Dick has done recently — including going to Adeline to apologize for what happened to Jericho; but he also tells Dick that maybe he hasn’t read between the lines enough.
TITLE SEQUENCE IS A GOOOO
We come back to a scene in a graveyard where Rachel is walking up to join a group of mourners at a funeral. As the priest is reading a eulogy, Rachel looks on in horror as the shot pans out to show a gravestone reading “Dick Grayson”. Before she can gather herself, a hand reaches out and grabs her shoulder. It’s Dick, who tells her “Don’t give up”. She can’t understand what he means, but he just repeats himself. In desperation, she grabs ahold of his arm, visualizing where he’s trying to lead her. She asks what’s happening, but suddenly Dick is pierced through the chest with a sword. Blood pours from his mouth and he collapses; revealing Deathstroke standing in front of her. Rachel begins to scream and thrash — waking her from her sleep. She tries to catch her breath, but all she can think about is what Dick had said to her. She picks up her phone and tries to call him; but of course there’s no answer.
Back at Titans Tower, we come back to where we left Donna at the end of our last episode. She’s in the Tower alone and calling for Gar, but before she has enough time to panic about that, she gets a phone call from Rachel. As soon as she picks up, however, the call gets scrambled and Donna can’t make out what Rachel is trying to say except “Donna” and “Diner”. She tries calling Rachel back, but it goes straight to voicemail.
The first of many exhausting commercials.
Next thing we know, we’re in a spaceship. While it might seem that Kory has gotten a ship up and running to make her way back to Tamaran, she’s snapped out of her trance in the stars by a little girl telling her she’s been playing on the same game for over an hour.
Text on the screen lets us know that Kory is in Las Vegas, and is clearly having a time of it as she gets out of a space themed arcade chair. The little girl talks some more trash and tells her to get her life together, but before Kory can make one of her usual quippy clapbacks, she’s overcome with nausea and vomits into the nearest trash bin.
Kory isn’t the only one we’re keeping up with again though, as “Somewhere in Wyoming” shows Dawn in a pickup truck driving to San Francisco. We are saved from listening to any more of her terrible butt-rock on the radio as she turns the dial. The station is an advert for Elko’s Diner in Elko, Nevada — which Dawn then ignores and tunes to another station playing “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore. (It’s most definitely a great choice, let’s be honest.) Anyway! We see Dawn drive into a work yard. She parks the truck, gets out holding a box of photos and keepsakes from her life with Hank, and puts it in the dumpster. Dawn goes back to her truck and looks back, hesitating and reconsidering, before getting in saying “no no no no”. She ends up losing to herself though, as she goes back to the dumpster to at least grab one photo of her, Hank, and Ellis before finally leaving.
Well that’s a scene jump.
Rachel has taken up squatting with the rest of her young friends, and sits with the girl from the shelter (see previous episode) who is doing her tarot card reading. All of the cards she reads out seem to line up perfectly with what Rachel has experienced up until now, but the future card throws her for a loop when she reads out the meaning behind the Hanged Man; brutality, and the need for sacrifice, or the possibility of loss.
Before Rachel can talk more to Denny about what she’s seen, another young woman — Ariel — enters the room and tells them that Denny’s dad is dead. Rachel asks what happened, and the Ariel says that it looks like he had been attacked. She apologizes to Denny and assures her that it wasn’t her, and Denny tells her that she knows. She also tells Rachel that she must have wished for his death a hundred times over because he used to beat her mercilessly, and that she hopes he died screaming.
There’s a sudden jump in the scene, and Rachel is now at a train station. The woman behind the ticket counter asks her where she wants to go, and as Rachel looks to the departures board, Elko, Nevada pops up on the screen. Taking it as a sign from her vision, Rachel chooses that as her destination.
Kory — sad and horny on main — is all of us.
It’s not all dead abusers and weird omens though, because the next scene shows Kory sucking the face off of a random man. She brings him to her lavish penthouse and is seriously trying to suck his whole face into her face. There’s a moment of exposition and humor though, as the man says that he’s not normally one to analyze random strangers, but since he’s a psychiatrist, he thinks she having a manic episode.
That doesn’t seem to be too much of a deal-breaker for either of them as Kory straddles him on her marble staircase; but when he suggests that she should actually talk to him about her escapism, Kory seems to really slow down. She gets off of him, grabs a glass of champagne, and begins to tell him about how she was able to discover new things —like friendship, love, and freedom — after forgetting who she was last year. She takes another drink and tells the man that he should probably leave, but he looks on empathetically and tells her that he doesn’t feel that she should be alone right now. She isn’t hearing it though, and the man grabs his clothes, leaves her his business card, and leaves the penthouse.
Just as he leaves, the TV in Kory’s living room sparks to life and plays the commercial for Elko’s Diner “located in Elkoooooo, Nevada!”
And speaking of Elko, Nevada (UGH), we jump back to Dawn who is still driving her pickup down the road “somewhere in Nevada”. Suddenly, her radio turns on without her control. She tries to readjust it and turn it off, but before she can, Rachel’s voice comes through the static and is begging for help. Dawn sounds exasperated as her engine light comes on, but turns her truck at the nearest exit; sending her down the road to Elko, Nevada.
Get it together, Dick.
Bruce is still carrying on about Jericho to Dick, who is laid up in bed in solitary confinement. He keeps mentioning what special powers Jericho had how Dick should have given him more attention. Dick gets up to wash his fevered face in the metal sink, and Bruce tells him that they don’t have much time and that life in the balance. Dick asks him to be less enigmatic, and Bruce tells him that he’s the one in charge, and that Jericho spoke to him. He thinks Bruce is still just fucking with him, but Bruce tells him that it’s time to get out of prison.
Dick doesn’t plan on going anywhere though. He tells Bruce that he’s in prison and solitary because it’s where he deserves to be; but Bruce counters that Dick’s bitching and cowardice and pity party are hereby over. No one likes being told that their being an absolute whiney ass though, and Dick finally loses his tempter as Bruce tells him that he just wants people to feel bad for him. When he blows, he flips his bed against the wall and begins shouting at his imaginary Bruce, signaling the guards to defend on his cell. As they begin beating him, Bruce tells him that they’re running out of time again.
Jason is…the sensitive one?
If you’re really into sudden, stark, changes in scenery then this is clearly the episode for you! Because next we get to see the back garden of a beautiful bungalow, where Rose sits up in an outdoor bed…and Jason is lying next to her. She looks around, startled, as Jason wakes and tells her good morning. She tells him that it’s the afternoon, but that he needed sleep after busting so many drug rings last night. They make out for a while before Jason starts taking selfies of the two of them lying in bed, but Rose raises her hackles and tells him not to post them. Jason gets defensive and remarks about how they’re a couple and they should be able to take pictures together, but Rose tells him that he doesn’t even know her as she leaves the bed.
He asks her why she’s acting strangely, but Rose being Rose just tells him that he asks too many questions for someone who doesn’t like giving answers. She also tells him that the only thing they’ve done since getting to his hometown is beat up some crackheads, and that she hasn’t even seen Wayne Manor. Jason gets angry at the sound of Wayne Manor, and tells Rose that that version of him isn’t the real him. Rose softens and sits back down next to him and tells him that she wants to see the real him then. He agrees, but only if she’s willing to do the same.
No, really, Kory is all of us.
Rachel — once again in her dreams — sees the same graveyard as before, now with Dick standing right in front of her. She approaches him, but Deathstroke is closer. Rachel screams for Dick to watch out over and over as she runs towards him, but Deathstroke takes a swing with his sword before she can reach him.
She wakes up on a bus and yells for the bus driver to let her off.
Meanwhile, at Elko’s diner, Kory is banging on the counter like a petulant child. A woman comes out from the kitchen and asks for what she needs, but Kory insists that she speak to Elko Joe from the commercials. The woman doesn’t seem to know what Kory’s talking about, so Kory tries to order some donuts like from the commercial instead. The woman tells her that they don’t make donuts — just pie and cake. Exasperated, and clearly not in a good space, Kory tells her that she’s had a hard couple of days, so if she could just make some donuts that she would really appreciate it. The woman tells her that people in hell want ice water, and Kory absolutely goes off. She tells the woman that her sister killed her parents, stole her destiny, and marooned her on planet Earth, so she’s gonna need some donuts. She slams her hand down on the bell on the counter and melts it…which seems to change the cooks mind pretty nicely.
As the woman disappears back into the kitchen, Rachel, Dawn, and Donna all enter the diner one at a time. Once they all establish that everything is real, they start trying to figure out how they’re all there out of coincidence. Donna tells them that Rachel called her and told her to come (even though Rachel insists that she didn’t), Donna says that her engine light went out, and Kory says that she’s only there for the donuts. But before anyone can say anything further, the door to the diner opens; and in steps Bruce Wayne. Yes. The real one.
Bruce mansplains family and gets called out for it.
A few hours have passed and Bruce has gathered everyone to sit in the diner. He says that the news of what’s happening to everyone is extremely troubling — especially since no one knows what’s happened to Conner or Gar. Bruce says that he’s aware of what’s happened to all of them and that’s he’s very sorry; that living in the aftermath of a family blowing up can be a lonely place to be, but that no matter what, they are a family of choice. With that in mind, he’s asking them to make another choice and come back together like a family, too.
Bruce gets up and tells him them that if they don’t protect one another, no one else will. He then takes a donut and leaves the diner.
The group is left to talk it over, and they all agree that the circumstances of having Bruce try to put them back together is absolutely ridiculous. Before anyone can make a move to leave though, a TV on the other side of the diner switches on by itself, and plays the news footage of the escape that Dick helped facilitate.
Donna is the first one to walk out, saying that she’s going back to San Francisco. Rachel tries to grab her and tells her that they need to go and try to save Dick, but Donna makes it very clear that Dick is on his own. That doesn’t sit well with Rachel and she asks Donna what’s wrong with her. Donna tells Rachel that she’s known Dick for a long time, and whatever cross he’s put himself on, he needs to get himself down, too. Dawn agrees, and she had Donna start walking to their respective cars — but they’re departure is interrupted by Rachel telling them about her dreams with Dick dying. She begs them for their help, but they tell her that finding Gar is more important right now in the grand scheme of things.
The only two left at the diner, Rachel is at a loss and asks Kory if she’s going to leave her, too. Kory, defiant as ever, says that there’s no way she’s leaving and that they need to go.
*Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk starts playing
Still confined to his solitary cell — dirty, sweating, and shaking with fever — Dick calls out for the apparition of Bruce over and over. Bruce doesn’t come though; instead he sees a giant black raven outside his one sliver of a window. He calls out to the bird but it flies away, and Dick curls up shivering in a ball on the floor of his cell.
Elsewhere, Jason Todd has brought Rose to his old home in the rafters of a theater building. He tells her about his troubled childhood and his period of delinquency, and she tells him that maybe he’s not as shallow as he seems. The two seem to genuinely connect, but Rose snaps out of it and begins to act cold. When Jason calls her out on it, she tries to push him away and he tells her that if he wants her to go, then she should go. She tries to make it better, but Jason tells her that he understands what it’s like to need to push people away because you think you’re bad, but that every moment he spends with her he has a new lease on life, and that there will be some place just for them.
The scene jumps back to Dick, still on the floor of his cell. He wakes, and the hallucination of Bruce is back; telling him that Dick needed to rest and build up his rest for his escape so that he can save his people from Deathstroke. Dick reminds him that he has no plans to escape, and that he and Deathstroke have a truce. Bruce makes mention of the fact that Deathstroke might not kill anyone that he can see, and that if Deathstroke has wanted to kill him in Adeline’s house, he would have. He talks Dick through the idea that the Deathstroke and him have a common enemy: themselves. Dick doesn’t believe anything Bruce says, and tries to make “I said that I was sorry” a believable sentence. Bruce pushes his buttons though, and Dick starts to fight him. Even as a hallucination, he’s Bruce Wayne, and can fight like the best of them — dodging every one of Dick’s punches. Eventually he gets his hands around Dick’s throat and throws him to the other side of the room, which has transformed into a fighting stage.
Somehow, Dick has batarangs which he throws at Bruce; but again — it’s Bruce Wayne — and he catches them with deft hands while telling Dick that he’s fighting the wrong fight. The two come to blows again, and Bruce tells Dick that it’s time to grow up and leave his bleeding conscious at the door. The fight continues, morphing into something more like a training session as Bruce tells him that he’s not Robin anymore. He’s stronger, faster, and more like a bird of prey. It’s revealed that Dick is practicing in his cell alone, but the scene jumps back and forth between him shadowboxing and him fighting Bruce.
Suddenly, Dick is alone in a room where there are tons of screens showing moments that he’s lived through with the Titans. Dick stares at them and begins to connect the pieces of the puzzle before turning to Bruce, and then to the wall of his cell.
OOOOOH SNAP. (Jk we totally saw this coming).
In a beautiful house, Rose is sitting on the arm of a sofa. She picks up Jason’s phone and sees that the background photo is the picture that he’d taken of Rose and himself earlier in the day. She calls him “thirsty” before a message from Donna pops up on the screen, asking for Jason to contact her because the Titans need him. Rose solemnly deletes the message and puts the phone down.
Soon after, she’s walking around poolside, clearly with a lot on her mind. She pulls out her cell phone and calls her father — Deathstroke. When he picks up, she tells him that’s she’s done being a part of the game he’s playing with the Titans and that she quits. Rose throws her cell phone into the nearby pool, and — on the other end of the call — Slade crushes his drinking class in his fist.
Messages, tigers, and music, oh my…!
Back at the prison, things seem to be getting a bit dark as a guard comes barreling down the hallway screaming. Following him is the black ooze of Rachel’s powers, which sneak up behind him and strange him. Soon after catching up with him, Kory shows up with another guard, who she throws against the wall. The two badass ladies stroll down the hall until they reach Dick’s cell, and Kory uses her powers to knock down the door. Inside, however, they find a completely empty cell except for one scrawled piece of writing on the wall that simple says “Jericho is Alive”.
The scene (seemingly) switches back to Titans Tower where Gar is playing video games in the living room by himself. In walks Rachel, who tells him that she’s been looking for him. The two hug and Gar explains to her how he and Conner were kidnapped.
At this point, it’s revealed that Gar is sitting in a threadbare room at Cadmus Labs, talking to one of the scientists. From the other side of a protected wall, Mercy Graves instructs the scientist in the room with him to sit closer. In Gar’s minds eye, he is sitting with Rachel in the Tower and telling her everything that’s been going on. Just as he starts to talk again though, Mercy presses a button a remote control and classical music begins piping through the speakers in the room. Even in the simulation/hallucination, Gar seems to focus on it. Fake Rachel tries to ask him if he’s alright, but the more the music plays, the more Gar begins to turn green. Eventually he morphs into his full tiger form, and mauls the scientist in the room with him.
Mercy looks on from the room as the tiger tears her colleague apart and — with blood splattering all over the glass — she he silently smiles.
That’s all for this week’s episode of Titans season 2, episode 11 — “E.L._.O.” Make sure to come back next week for the next recap right here on The Beat!