Titans - "E.L._.O." - Review By Patrick (November 19, 2019, 8:30 pm)
Titans - "E.L._.O." - Episode 23 Review
After what was kind of a "filler" episode last week I was really looking forward to seeing how Titans was going to bounce back. The Dick Grayson prison inmate storyline not only stretches our suspension of disbelief rubber band way too far, it's unnecessary. How does a reborn righteous Dick deal with being an inmate after getting out/breaking out as we know he has to do to eventually move the story forward? Let's find out...
Gar is repeating a conversation with Rachel he previously had because the Cadmus scientists are probing his brain in open brain surgery!! Aggghhhh what a way to start an episode. Super cool but animal testing is wrong! Diving right in...literally. Probes dig deep into his melon and issue responses. Great special effect there. Really sold it. Mercy Graves is in charge of this little operation and seems to be finding out just what it is that makes the green kitty cat tick. Yikes. Poor Beast Boy.
Inside the prison Dick Grayson is trapped in solitary confinement. He tosses and turns with fever and sickness until phantom Bruce Wayne makes another appearance. Good old Jorah. He harasses the prone Boy Wonder by making him relive his meeting with Deathstroke. He points out some very interesting things. Jericho's mother said "they" when she sent him in there to talk to Slade. So our suspicions are proven correct and it seems to me Jericho is still alive. Interesting move having him phase into his father just as he kills him. This follows the comic book story line and it's great to see the writers go to the well for that material. Use what got you there I say. There's also many other times in the comics that Jericho has been body-less so it'll be interesting to see how far they take it.
Rachel walks among gravestones at the funeral for Dick Grayson. It seems to be a dream sequence or some sort of magical connection just due to the tone of the scene. Dick suddenly appears and implores her to not give up. She grabs his hand to read him and she gets a flash of an old diner. Out of nowhere Deathstroke's sword skewers the former Robin, bloodily killing him instantly. Woah sweet! More shocking action, keep it up Titans! The mercenary turns his steely one eye upon Rachel and she screams bloody murder! Her head interestingly does a Jacobs Ladder shakeycam demon thingy and then she wakes up in the squat flat she's crashing in. The diner flashes through her once again and she tries calling Dick. His mailbox is full because he's in jail.
Donna walks around the destroyed Titans Tower calling out for her friends or anyone. She receives a static filled call from Rachel begging for her help. Raven tells her to meet her at the Elco diner and then the call quickly disconnects. Donna immediately splits. Kory is trashed and playing video games in Las Vegas! I love it! After some life coaching from a youngster Kory clears her guts good and catches her breath. Dawn drive her truck down the road when she hears a radio ad for the Elko diner. Ok so something is going here. Dawn talks to her girlfriend truck and throws away some of Hank's things. She can't leave the picture of her and her friends so she goes back and gets it. In what might be a bad idea Rachel decides to have a Tarot Card reading with her friend at the squat house. The cards ring true and when one of them semi comes to life and screams out at her, it's more than just a sign. A friend walks in and tells the two girls that Dani's father is dead. Something Dani had wished for but never thought would happen. Rachel is shocked and then so was I after Dani tells her that her Dad used to beat her til she peed blood and that she hopes he died screaming. Damn. Brutal...and awesome. I say that that's exactly what that street urchin would say. Kudos writers. Either way Rachel decides she's out of there and tries to catch a bus. The teller asks her a crossword puzzle question and Rachel tells her she wants to go to ELCO. Bingo thats the answer and its meant to be.
Back in Vegas, Kory has her second wind and is partying it up big with a underwear model reject boy toy she picked up somewhere. They fool around but he blows it by analyzing her because he's a psychiatrist or something. Dude, you messed up big time. Starfire takes a break and lays down her story for him before throwing his ass out the door. The TV goes on and a strange commercial for the Elko diner comes on. The funny cowboy hat wearing man says to get to Elko's diner, times running out. At the same time elsewhere in Nevada, Dawn's radio goes nuts and what sounds like a message from Rachel is barely heard coming out of the stereo. She pulls off.
Dick wakes up from his fever dream to ghost Bruce Wayne grilling him. He tells him he's missing something and that Jericho talked to him. He tells him it's time to get out of the prison cell and to quit his moping. Dick feels sorry for himself some more until Bruce's words get under his skin and he flips out a bit. Guards rush in and Dick fights them until he is submitted by nightstick. Somewhere outside Gotham City Jason and Rose canoodle at house they broke into. They play boyfriend and girlfriend for a while until they argue about not doing more. Yes I see you costume department, putting rose in a RED HOODie sitting next to Jason. Very clever. Jason says he's into being more open and honest but Rose isn't so down. She remains reserved and unsharing.
Rachel is back at the dreamland cemetery and she's watching Dick about to be sliced again by Deathstroke. She calls out to him but he doesn't hear. She tries to run to him but she runs in place instead and can't get there. Darn dream running, it never works am I right? She wakes up on the bus and sees the Elko Diner outside the window. She gets off the bus and we find out that Kory is already inside the diner and is seriously jonesing for some of those jelly donuts Elko Joe was hawking in his commercial. So much so she accidentally melts the bell at the counter. Rachel walks in and can't believe Kory is there. Dawn walks out of the bathroom just as Donna walks in the door. The ladies can't believe the coincidence and then BAM! in walks the actual, in the flesh Bruce Wayne! He's Batorchestrated all this? Not that I don't think he couldn't pull it off, but he put dreams in Rachel's head? He produced an Elko Joe commercial? OK. Bruce says he's been watching from a far and that he's sorry for the way things have gone. He gives them a pep talk about getting the family back together and then cooly grabs a jelly donut and takes off. Kory nails it when she asks if Bruce just mansplained them into getting the Titans back together? Great great line. Yes, he sure did. I'm pretty sure he also sends a news report to the TV for the ladies to watch, filling them in on the location of the imprisoned Dick Grayson. Outside in the parking lot they fight over the plan of action. Donna has no sympathy for Dick and tells them he's done this to himself and he needs to undo himself too. Rachel tells them she's been having dreams again and that she needs their help. Dawn and Donna say tough and take off. Kory on the other hand is ready to leap into action.
In Dick's prison cell a still sick Grayson calls out for Bruce but only gets a bird call in response. The bird flies away, touting his freedom is the prisoners face. Defeated, Dick lies down on his cell floor and passes out, succumbing to his sickness. Jason Todd takes Rose to one of his favorite places. An old high school that he used to squat in. He tells her his story of living on the streets and finding refuge, literally, in the theatre. At first Rose mocks and ridicules him, keeping him still at a distance. He professes his admiration for her and quotes some sick lyrics from West Side Story and she joins him in reciting them! She's a theatre nerd too! Awwww. Back on the prison cell floor Dick awakens, his fever broken. Ghost Bruce is there needling the former Boy Wonder. Telling him Deathstroke has taken hostages referring to his son Jericho. Dick is still slow on the uptake and continues to resist. Bruce lays out the pity party and Dick has had enough. He fights back and then his theatre of the mind really takes over. He starts to battle against his former mentor and we get a really sweet action sequence here. Nice job by the stunt team to really sell us on the Dynamic Duo going against each other. Bruce has the advantage unfortunately, even in Dick's mind. Bruce tells Dick to get over himself and to wake up and grow up. Cool Lethal Weapon moment when Dick pops his shoulder back into place. He finally composes himself as he and Bruce spar. His movements are quicker and stronger and more determined. He watches his memories on a monitor and finally sees Slade as he truly was in the house. His hands use sign language and communicate to Dick! Jericho is in there! (Nice catch by Ivan in the Comments on seeing that the first time it happened!) A shadow falls across Dick in his cell and Nitewing is born.
Rose slips away from Jason and picks up his phone. She marvels at his thirsty new wallpaper and erases Donna's call notice from it. Then she calls her Dad from poolside! Whaaaaaa! The hurt, the betrayal! The Judas Contract has come due! Rose was in on it all along! She's been working for her Dad the whole time! She tells him she's done being his pawn and that she quits. Guess she really does like Jason. Slade doesn't take the news well and crushes a nice whisky glass in response. Rachel and Kory go to town inside the jail on the way to rescue Mr. Grayson. They take out the guards and Starfire uses her mojo to blow down the door. Inside they find a message but no Nitewing. Written scratched in the wall says the message "Jericho is alive".
Gar sits in Titans Tower playing a video game. Rachel comes in and we see that he's being fed an illusion. He's still at Cadmus Labs and they're running an experiment. Mercy Graves activates a musical trigger and Gar transforms into a tiger! He attacks and kills the poor research assistant, and I imagine Rachel in his mind, running the experiment, much to the pleasure of Ms. Graves.
Fantastic episode here. Great pick up from last week and we finally got Dick houdini'ed out of jail. We have confirmation Jericho is still alive and we set up the band getting back together to, I imagine, once and for all take Deathstroke down. I thought the special effects were great, Bruce Wayne appearing was great, and poor Gar getting brainwashed and turned into a weapon was sad but great. Lots to wrap up in the last few episodes here, lets hope they keep the ball rolling and end with some bangers!