It’s Titans time again for all of you DC Universe subscribers! Last week we reached a peak in the story for the Titans as Deathstroke took his first big victim by killing off Doctor Light; but then tried to make it a double whammy by both preying on Dick’s good nature and trying to drop Jason from a very, very high building. With the cliffhanger of whether Jason would live or die, we get to tune into this week where an all new hero is thrown into the mix. I won’t give too much away, but this episode is pretty super. But anyway! Let’s get down to business with your recap of Titans Season 2, episode 6 – Conner.
If you’re just catching up and need a recap before your recap, you can find last week’s right here!
Our episode opens on a shadowed figure moving through a laboratory. It’s not until the mysterious person enters a room and flashes their Kryptonian “S” tattoo while opening a crate containing a dog (with laser eyes who is very happy to see him) that the person isn’t a mystery at all.
The scene cuts from there and shows an advert for Cadmus Laboratories. Like any other commercial for swanky science stuff, it’s a lot of people seeming worrying happy and talking about how good the future can be. This gets punctuated nicely and labeled as bullshit as the camera pans out from the TV into a hallway, and shows our sweet Kryptonian clone boy — stark naked —throwing a Cadmus security guard across the hall before walking away with the dog.
The young man bends down and looks at the tag on the dog’s collar, then at the shirt that he’s carrying. They say Krypto and Conner, respectively, and the two shake hands after their proper re-introductions because Krypto is literally the best boy. They continue to try and walk out of the lab, which is barricaded with a steel door. Luckily, Conner is Conner and can just push it right over, and he and Krypto successfully escape Cadmus and set out into the world.
Make the title sequence go faster so we can see more of the good dog!
We jump back into things with a man in a suit leading a hungover woman through Cadmus Labs. She asks him why he had to get her up so early, and he shows her the containment room where Conner (or “Agent 13”) had escaped from, saying that eight lab personnel and three security guards were in critical condition as a result. The woman keeps asking how this could have happened, which prompts the entry of another woman, clad entirely in black, who tells her that’s meant to be her job to explain.
The woman in black introduces herself as Mercy Graves, security specialist for Lex Luthor. The man seems flustered and introduces himself as Walter Han, Vice President of Special Projects; but before he can introduce his hungover and flustered colleague, Mercy makes it known that she know exactly who the woman is (but doesn’t reveal her name, annoyingly; for clarity’s sake, it’s Dr. Eve Watson). After expressing Luthor’s disapproval of what’s happened and how much he needs his experiment back, Mercy asks where “the experiment” could have gone. Dr. Watson — trying to gather her thoughts — lets Mercy know that she doesn’t know where he could have gone, but that he has the emotional age of a two year old… so curiosity and wonder could have taken him anywhere.
“He’s experiencing everything for the very first time,” she says. “Mentally, emotionally, physically… he’s a child. He’s experiencing the world like a sponge; sights, sounds, smells. Even the people he meets will have an affect on his future behavior.”
Stop yelling at him! Rude!
As Watson talks about what a sweet, pure dummy Conner is, he’s busy exploring the streets of Metropolis with Krypto; succeeding first by completely stopping busy traffic by staring in awe at everything around him. Eventually he makes it out of the street and is walking along a sidewalk where vendors are selling their wares. While this wouldn’t be anything abnormal to the average person, Conner is completely enthralled — even more so when a black and red Superman shirt catches his eye. In the most adorably naive way possible, he take it off the hanger at the vendor’s stall and begins to walk away with it. The vendor doesn’t take too kindly to that though, and runs after him, yelling at him to ask what the hell he thinks he’s doing.
Being yelled at like that triggers a trauma-like flash of abusive images of an different, much older man yelling, and when we flash back to Conner, he’s visibly shaken and begging for forgiveness. The vendor tells him that it’s alright, but that the shirt costs money. When Conner tells him that he and Krypto don’t have any, the man snatches the shirt back and tells him to return for it when he does. Shaken up and angry, Conner walks away.
Back at Cadmus Labs, technicians are still cleaning up after the mess Conner left as Mercy, Dr. Watson, and Mr. Han try to pinpoint where exactly he could have gone. Watson remarks that his memories are the best clue that they have — a sentiment that baffles Mr. Han who adds that he shouldn’t have memories because he’s only been alive for ten hours. Dr Watson catches them back up to speed by telling them that during the DNA cloning process, it’s possible that actual memories from the lives of the two men that made him could have made it through. This is what we call “unsubtle foreshadowing.”
Oh, Conner, you sweet summer child.
Conner is still exploring the streets of Metropolis with Krypto when he comes across a woman being mugged. Telling Krypto to stay, he follows them into the alley where the mugger has a gun to the woman’s head as he demands her wallet. Conner — using the one phrase that he knows appropriate for the situation — asks the mugger what the hell he thinks he’s doing. The mugger turns the gun to point it at Conner, but Conner simply crushes the gun in his fist and picks the man up by his shirt. He asks the woman if she’s alright, to which she replies that yes, she’s fine and that he was trying to take her money. With money being a new concept that immediately makes Conner’s perfect, dumb baby brain go “Money = Awesome Superman Shirt Hooray!” he throws the mugger into a massive pile of trash in the alley, and in the most polite, creepy way possible asks if he can have her money instead. Seeing what he’s just done to the mugger, the woman hands over her purse. Conner smiles, takes it, thanks her, and walks off because there’s a whole-ass Superman shirt to buy.
“He’s your kid, you need to take care of him, Eve”
Things are, unsurprisingly, still in chaos back at the lab where Mr. Hahn is asking about what they should expect to face when they find Conner. Dr Watson — obviously exhausted by having to deliver so much exposition throughout the episode — tells him that she really doesn’t know, because they were meant to have a year with him after his incubation to help teach him and learn from him. This doesn’t go down nicely with Mercy, who brings up the point that Conner could easily be a murderer walking around by now; more importantly, he has their technological finger prints all over him. Dr Watson has clearly had enough of Mercy’s nonsense though, because she reminds her that Luthor is the one who signed off on the project without her knowledge in the first place, so maybe this will be a lesson for him.
After asking for help from Mercy and her team to catch him, the scene then cuts to Dr. Watson outside of Cadmus Labs, briefing the team on what to expect when they catch him; describing Conner as the world’s most dangerous infant. She explains that the goal is to subdue him by any means necessary, but it will be unacceptable if someone tries to kill him.
As the team is dismissed to move forward on their mission, Mercy informs Dr. Watson that she’ll be going with them to be their expert in the field. She protests enough that Mercy leaves her at the labs, but plants the seed of doubt in her mind on her way out.
Ya’ll better with those Wizard of Oz references. Oh my god.
Back in the city, Conner is walking around sporting a mighty-fine Superman shirt. He and Krypto are having a dandy ol’ time post-accidental-mugging right up until Conner spots the large, black armored vehicles coming down the street. He pulls Krypto behind a building to hide, and tells him that they have to find a way out. And whaddaya know — there just happens to be a food truck with the side painted with a wheat field. The picture sparks a memory of sprawling wheat fields and the gentle call of a woman asking for Clark, which is just enough convincing to put Conner and Krypto on the soonest bus to Kansas.
Upon their arrival, Conner to turns to Krypto and says “Krypto, I think we’re in Kansas” (which really seals the deal for me that this is the best episode of Titans ever). They keep on down the road until they reach a dirt driveway. Conner urges Krypto to come with him, but the dog protests — which only makes sense once they show the mailbox for the dirt road, marked “Luthor”.
The boy and his dog come to a white farmhouse at the end of the driveway where a gentle country song is playing and a blind old man is rocking in a chair on the porch. He asks who’s there and Conner introduces himself, telling the man that he thinks he used to live in the house. The old man tells him that he’s never met anyone named Conner before, but he’s really glad to be meeting him now. He invites Conner and Krypto inside, where Conner has a hard time distinguishing his memories from what he sees inside the house. Old Man Luthor tells him that he’s thinking of the Kent house down the road that used to house Clark Kent who was friends with his son — Alexander “Lex” Luthor.
As Old Luthor is putting on the kettle for tea, Conner seems struck with anger as he looks as a family photo with young Lex Luthor in it. The kettle boils over and Conner breaks the family photo just in time for more traumatic memories to come flooding back of Lex’s father knocking over a bottle of alcohol as he smacks him.
HE CATCHES THE *^&$ING ROCKET!!
The whole ordeal blows over and Conner sits for dinner with Mr. Luthor. He tells Conner that as much as he loves living the small town life, Lex left for Metropolis as quickly as he could because of a “higher calling that made him feel bigger than he really was”. Luthor Snr. continues to talk about Lex, but Conner interrupts to ask him why he beat him. The question makes Luthor defensive and insists that whatever Lex had told Conner is a lie. The two go back and forth over whether Lex was lying, but the argument is cut short when armed men in masks break down the door. Unfortunately, the armed men make a pretty rough mistake of bashing Luthor over the head, and Conner flies into a rage — throwing the guards across the room.
The best fight of the episode breaks out and showcases Conner and Krypto’s awesome powers beautifully. Deflecting bullets away from Mr. Luthor, pushing men through multiple walls of the house with one shove, sucking up tear gas and blowing it back at the enemy; Krypto using his laser-beam eyes to melt a gun, and — even better — plays fetch with a rocket being launched at the house and throws it back at the shooter. (It’s hard to even recap this scene because it’s so incredibly cool and just made my Superboy fan heart sing.)
After the fight, Conner follows after Dr. Watson who is doing surveillance in a van outside the house. Seeing him coming and trying to make her escape, she tries to start the van but finds that Conner has melted her tires. He opens the door to the van and begins to question her as she apologizes profusely. She tells him that people are afraid of him because they’ve never seen anyone like him. When Connor questions what that means, she finally tells him that he’s a genetic clone of Lex Luthor and Superman. Connor looks down at his shirt and admires the Superman logo, commenting that people love Superman so maybe they’ll love him.
Dr Watson is under the gun for everyone waiting to know what her status with Conner is, and with Conner asking so many questions and asking to meet Lex Luthor, she says “Fuck Cadmus” and offers to take Conner and Krypto on the road.
LET HIM CALL YOU MOM, DAMMIT!
Dr Watson and Conner begin to traveling to a safe location at her cabin, and the more she talks to him, the more she realizes that he has hidden depths and intelligence. Somehow, Conner seems to have epigenetic knowledge as well as memories — thus giving him Lex Luthor and Superman’s intelligence.
Conner switches the conversation by asking if he can call Dr. Watson “Mom” since she’s the one that made him, but she says no. Which is a lesson in how to be terrible to your children.
They stop at a rest stop where — while Dr. Watson is in the store — Conner witnesses a man being abusive to his female companion. Watson comes out of the store just in time as Conner is about to “help” the situation, but she stops him by telling that making a scene will make Cadmus find them faster. He says that he doesn’t care, but she explains what the concept of consequences are. Conner threatens to leave when he finds out that he can’t do whatever he wants, and Dr. Watson finally agrees to take him to really find out what — and who — he is.
Who’s actually a good boy?! YOU ARRRREEE!
The scene shifts to San Francisco where, like every mom I know, Dr. Watson is sitting in the car drinking a bottle of wine while Conner is asleep. Conner finally wakes up and Dr. Watson tells him that they’re at Cadmus Industries — a dilapidated facility where “the devil’s work gets done”. Dr. Watson leads him through the old building and explains that if he wanted to meet Lex Luthor, the facility is the best way to describe him.
Conner pipes up to say that he doesn’t want to be there anymore, but Dr. Watson goes on a rant about how bad science experiments exist and how this is her crowning failed achievement before taking another massive swig of booze. Conner knocks the drink out of her hand and, overcome with tears, Dr. Watson explains to him that she’s sad because she’s the reason he exists; and while that doesn’t make him bad, it does make her bad.
She leads him to a door that only he can open because yes, we very much need that metaphor. Conner opens it, bending the thick steel without flinching, and enters a room filled with abandoned cloning tubes full of failed genetic experiments. Shaken and hurt, Conner returns to Dr Watson, grabs her by the throat, tells her that he knows what she is, and asks — once again — what the hell she thinks she’s doing.
He lets her go and she drops to the floor. She regains her strength and explains that he is half-Luthor and half-Superman and that means that he’s still good. Conner apologizes and tearfully admits that he just felt hurt, but Dr. Watson is quick to remind him that the deeds —even if they look bad from the outside — come from a place of good.
As Lex Luthor’s agents begin to descend upon the building, Dr Watson urges Conner to run and to be careful of who he trusts. He begrudgingly obeys her and escapes just in time for Mercy and her team to enter the room — finding only Dr Watson, who claims he had escaped after trying to kill her.
For the price of just one DCU subscription you can save these Very Good Boys.
Conner and Krypto return the streets, though this time they find themselves in San Francisco. He finds a lot fo struggle with in not helping the many people who are crying out for help, but finds the perfect opportunity to help someone truly in need as he sees none other than Jason Todd falling from a building. Unable to help himself, Conner literally flies into action and catches Jason — landing them both safety on the hood of a car. Jason — in the most un-Jason-like fashion — displays an uncharacteristic amount of gratitude to his savior.
Unfortunately, right around the time where we were going to get Jason and Conner being totally dumb best buds, Conner gets shot in the chest—for real this time — with Kryptonite bullets. As the Titans descend on Jason and a suffering Conner to help, the camera pans out to show Krypto in a Kryptonite collar, and Mercy holding the leash and a gun.
I don’t know about you all, but I am very much rooting for Conner. To see what happens, make sure you come back here to The Beat where you can see what happens to The Best Dog Ever and our well-meaning klepto-murder-son!