IT’S NEW TITANS EPISODE DAY ON DC UNIVERSE! (Now with Aqualad!) With last week being a massive team-up between the new Titans team and the old Titans, some of the past vitriol coming back to the surface about Deathstroke, and Jason getting into some serious trouble at the hands of Doctor Light, Episode 4 does a great job of giving some explanation behind all of the worry and anger. But anyway — let’s move on to TITANS season 2, episode 4 – “Aqualad”.
And if you missed some of the lead-up from last week, you can check out my recap of it right here
The episode actually acts as a flashback to five years ago where Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson is showing off his ridiculously fit dad bod in the mirror before returning to his sitting room where the news is playing. Reporters are talking about “the trial of the century” as the camera pans over to Slade’s Deathstroke mask sitting on the corner of the couch.
There’s a quick cut to outside of a courthouse where a man exits his car, only to have his eye shot out before he even reaches the door. Some charmingly light jazz pipes into the scene as Slade is revealed, in full costume, and perched with a sniffle rifle from a parking garage hundreds of yards away. The man is rolled off by the coroners and the scene gracefully melds into the next, showing the inside of a prison holding area with two detainees and a lawyer — all three of whom are shot dead by an unknown assailant (Hint: he strokes Death); and again to see a judge taken out in his chambers by a sword to the chest.
But at the end of the day, Slade is just a laid back, guy, ya know? He returns back to the apartment where Wintergreen is awaiting him with a drink. He delivers Slade’s next assignment which he says is easy, and in San Francisco.
Slade — now in San Francisco after an indiscernable amount of time — pulls up the a curb next to an empty phone booth and peers through the window of an apartment building; watching a young man making dinner. The boy happily jumps in surprise as the door to the apartment opens, and his mother enters. He signs at her frantically and leads her to the kitchen to show her the dinner he’s made for her. She’s completely thrilled until she notices that the window is open, which she quickly shuts and reminds the boy that they “can never let their guard down”. (Oooo. I bet this will all come back and be relevant later!)
TITLE SEQUENCE DISTORTED GUITARS N’ STUFF WOOOO
A random family is driving in a van down the street, quarreling about directions to their destination, until they’re cut off by a pick up truck full of bad guys who start wailing on them! Luckily, the old Titans team is close by and has no trouble taking care of the ne’er-do-wells. Hawk, Dove, and Dick take the down the majority of them; but as one gets away, Donna turns to (*gasp*) Aqualad, who manipulates the water from a nearby fire hydrant to take him down. He remarks (in literally the most flirty 1990’s center-parted boyband hair way) that they’re a good team, but Donna rebuffs him by telling him that it’s just the job.
Apparently the Titans used to know how to have a good time though, because the next day all five of them are partying and having drinks to celebrate Aqualad’s birthday. Hank playfully messes with Garth by saying “How old is 22 in fish years? 90?” but Garth responds by telling him that even a 90 year old fish is faster than a beer-bellied bird. (Burn.)
While everyone else is partying, however, Donna is in her bedroom reading Frida Khalo with headphones on. Dawn enters her room, rips off her headphones, and demands that Donna actually allow herself to have some fun.
“Why don’t you give Garth a chance? You have great chemistry,” says Dawn.
“We did,” responds Donna. “When we were kids. I’m just not into the whole Atlantean ‘live for the moment’ thing. I’m here for a limited time and focus is crucial.”
Dawn continues to try to coax her out to he party with no success, but ends up — literally— dragging Donna out of her room.
Breaking News: Mad Zappy Guy Beats up Sassy Nerd
Elsewhere, Doctor Light is stirring things up in a different way as he asks some guy where an activator is. For such a little guy he talks a lot of trash to Doc Light. The man refuses to give him the activator so Light kicks the absolute crap out of him.
“I’m not giving you what you want you twisted fuck!”
And with that, Light summons all the power he can possibly siphon, and fries the scientist.
Don’t be Batman. Just be a Dick.
Back at Ye Olde Titans Tower, the Titans are subjected to Dawn singing a really weird version of “Happy Birthday” despite the actual song being public domain, and Hank jokingly apologizes for not being able to fit all 90 candles on the cake. Before Dick can do his (apparently famous) singing, Dawn asks that they all take a group photo. As soon as she snaps it, however, the power goes out in the entire neighborhood. Everyone splits up, with Donna and Dawn going to get candles and Dick checking to see if the mainframe computer is still up; leaving Garth all alone in the living room.
In the computer room, Dawn joins Dick (with no candles) to see if the computer held up well enough. She ends up sitting in his lap and they start being gross.
“So the whole Batman thing turns you on, huh?” says Dick in the most 100% smooth way possible (LOLJK) and Dawn replies by telling him that she doesn’t want him to be Batman — just himself.
Back in the living room, Donna has returned with lit candles. Garth tries to talk her into a date at an Italian restaurant, but she’s insistent that she doesn’t have time for dating if she’s prepping to go back to Themyscira. The power comes back on, and Donna sees herself out of the room with the excuse of needing to put all the candles out. When she’s out of view she sends a text to a unknown number to say that she needs to see them.
“I’m here to rob a building make dumb quips; and I already made my dumb quip”
Doctor Light shows up on the steps of a massive, high-security building and — in the worst way possible — says to his cronies that it’s time they make a withdrawal.
Apparently the Titans already have it on their radar though, as Dawn informs Dick that there has been an explosion.
Meanwhile, Donna is walking into a mysterious, super-posh building where she meets a woman who asks her right off the bat what all the fuss is about. They walk along as the woman insists that just months ago, Donna has been begging her to stay in San Francisco just a little bit longer so that she could have a break from Diana while getting to spend time with her “indie rock group of vigilante friends” (PERFECT).
“As a young girl — the idea of becoming a warrior? I couldn’t wait. But now that the time has come to actually commit…”
Donna admits that she knows it’s her destiny, but the woman pinpoints her wanting to leave on Garth; urging her, next time, to not deflect from her feelings, but ultimately giving Donna time to figure out what exactly it is that she wants to do: stay or leave.
Back at the bank, however, the Titans are taking tally of injured civilians just as Donna walks up from her little errand. They all agree that someone should comb through the surveillance footage to try and ID the suspect. Donna volunteers and teams up with Garth to watch all of the footage. Nothing seems to be happening until Doctor Light shows up, but all of that seems to fall by the wayside as Garth offers Donna an…orange soda? They drink it together and reminisce about their childhood growing up together before Donna gets so far in her feelings that she tells Garth she has to leave. Just as things heat up, Dawn barges in and lets them know that they are having a team meeting.
In the living room, they uncover who Doctor Light is and read off his wrap sheet — citing him as a low level threat until recently when he fried the man with the activator.
With the team meeting over, Donna returns to her room to read, but gets distracted by the group photo Dawn took from Garth’s birthday party that’s laying on her beside table. Little does she know, though, that across the compound, Garth is asking Dick for advice on how to win her over.
As Dick and Garth part, Donna comes walking down the adjacent hallway and enters the mainframe room where Dick is working. While Dick is unwilling to discuss his conversation with Garth, Donna interrupts to tell him about the conversation with Jillian, and to announce that she’s being pulled and going back to Themyscira immediately. Dick protests and insists that she has more time, but Donna pushes back harder — trying to put off saying goodbye. Before they can get too wrapped up though, the computer’s alarms being to go off; showing a hit on what the stolen activator was for: a military-grade laser designed to take down nuclear missiles.
SWEET SUIT-UP MONTAGE YAAAAS
(Does what it says on the tin.)
The team suits up as dramatically as possible and march down the hallway of the Tower; talking about what to do about the laser and, subsequently, Doctor Light.
It looks like they’re right on time, too, because as they’re leaving, Doctor Light has snuck onto the military compound and hooked himself up to the laser. However, time is a construct, and the Titans are there to start mowing down his cronies not two second later. Dick rips Light off of the laser as Donna lassos him into submission, but Light is just too powerful; beginning to fire the laser beams at Dick and Donna with full power. Garth comes tot he rescue though, believing that he can take on Light himself — giving the rest of the Titans just enough time to set up a plan of attack and spear through the power source on his chest.
“No, but really, do you just want to get a beer and some burgers?”
Later, at Titans Tower, Donna receives a text from Jillian letting her know that she’ll be leaving at midnight. Just as she reads the text, Garth appears in the hallway to ask her if she wants to go for beer and burgers with the rest of the team. I guess Donna really likes beer and burgers because she jumps on him like a rabbit and they literally kick their way into her bedroom to get it on.
After a strategically placed cut scene, Garth is laying in post-coital bliss before rolling over and realizing that Donna is no longer there; having left a bottle of their orange soda on the pillow in her place.
Donna gets into the elevator just as Dick comes to see her off; leaving him alone in the empty living space until Garth comes through. He and Dick talk through their feelings of Donna leaving and Dick is forced to tell Garth about everything that Donna told him.
At an aircraft hangar, Jillian checks with Donna to make sure she made her brief goodbyes; but just before Donna can get on her plane, Garth shows on the tarmac, asking her if she only slept with him because she had “an out”. She gets upset and apologizes to him, but explains that that’s what happens when she lives for the moment. He encourages her not to run and Donna rebuffs him by telling him that she can’t choose between him and her destiny. Garth ups the ante by telling her that he loves her and has always been in the love with her — which has Donna running back to him. Just as she says she will no longer be leaving for Themyscira, a bullet comes whizzing up; striking Garth directly through the heart. The camera zooms in on where Deathstroke is crouched behind a truck hundreds of yards away. Another shot rings out and Jillian launches a throwing star that splits the bullet in half. Deathstroke flees, but Jillian and Donna are left mourning Garth’s body.
Later, Donna tells Jillian that she still can’t leave because the team needs her now more than ever. While Jillian agrees, she warns Donna about the dangerous nature of a path of vengeance.
Back at the Titans Tower, Dick begins to run a search on the person who gunned down Garth as Dawn and Hank remove the decorations from his party. The tone of the scene is solemn as Donna enters the Tower just in time for Dick to announce that he’s found the shooter.
“This is the time,” says Dawn. “Be Batman.”
No, not that kind of Batman.
A week later, a scene starts in a sunny record store where the mute young man from the opening scene is looking for a specific David Bowie record. Dick walks in and offers to trade him for a mint condition Uk-cover Ziggy Stardust vinyl and introduces himself. The boy signs out his name — Jericho. And Dick leads him to the back of the store to look at more records; an angry look falling over his face.
And that concludes another week of Titans Season 2! It’s nice to see that we’re getting a little bit of back story on everything that’s starting to ramp up in the currently timeline, so make sure you come back to read next week’s recap of episode 5!