Titans Season 2, Episode 9 “Atonement”
Atonement appears to a tipping point on this season of Titans, as Dick comes clean about exactly what happened to Jericho, leading to most of the team leaving Titans Tower. The old team members; Donna, Dawn, and Hank, are disgusted with his lies and want nothing to do with the team. Rose is upset about the revelations about her brother, and Jason goes with her. Even Rachel decides enough is enough. Gar stays. Kory also leaves, but only because her Tamaranean troubles have cropped back up. Dick then decides to exile himself, leaving only Gar and the unconscious Conner in the tower.
Each of the characters has their own thread the episode follows. Each of these threads could be interesting story hooks, but there just isn’t enough time for any of them. Hank and Dawn try to start over again, but their past catches up with them. Their past from the beginning of the season, when they were running some kind of halfway house. But there wasn’t enough of that for it to really be a storyline and it basically hasn’t been mentioned for seven episodes, so it doesn’t really work here. Kory meets up with Faddei, who tells her that her sister has taken over their planet, and they have to deal with her. Unfortunately, Kory’s sister, Blackfire, manages to possess Faddei. Again, this is a promising storyline, but there really hasn’t been enough done with it to matter. I guess it establishes Blackfire as a potential foe for the (entirely theoretical) team, but that is little.
The best part of the episode is Conner and Gar. At first Gar is alone in the tower as Conner recovers. When he wakes up, instead of calling Bruce like he is supposed to, he and Conner bond over video games and plot out what they will do as superheroes. Even that ends in tragedy, since Conner is essentially superpowered newborn is unable to understand the nuance of something like a man getting arrested. So Conner fights with a bunch of cops. Gar runs off, leaving him alone in the tower and Conner wandering the streets on the run from the authorities.
Dick’s story sees him seeking atonement for getting Jericho killed from Jericho’s mother. It, predictably, goes poorly. For some reason, Dick just takes Slade’s abuse. Like I really need someone to lay out exactly what is going through Dick’s mind, because his actions over this season, and including what I remember of last season, make no sense. The answers don’t actually answer questions, they merely make the questions not make a lot of sense. So he gets himself arrested for . . . some reason.
That problem is broader than Dick. Hank and Dawn have never really fit in, like they are in their own show separate from everyone else. Donna Troy remains a mess. The supposed stars of the show, Kory, Rachel and Gar, have been pretty well sidelined. Everyone’s motivations and character manage to be broad and ill-defined. And the show seems determined not to clear things up. It makes it disappointing, because this show is so good when it is good.
This episode makes me realize that while this season has been building, it has not remotely been building to what I thought it was. All I’ve wanted, essentially since this show started, was to see the team together and in action. Season 1 had an understandably slow build, as they had to put the team together. Here, the team is together, but they just refuse to be a team. Naively, I assumed that all the bickering and bullshit was what the team was working through until they came together for the last part of the season. Now, with time left in the season dwindling, the team has broken up after accomplishing precisely nothing as a team.