The fourth episode of the DC Universe Titans series saw the proto-team finally get to know Beast Boy. It also introduced a whole new group, the titular "Doom Patrol." So far, Titans has been something of a slow-burn series, but this feels like a real turning point for the DC Universe TV show.
It's a classic trope that there's always a fight whenever superheroes cross paths for the first time. For the second episode running, though, Titans avoids that cliche. Instead, while there's a brief tense confrontation, both the Titans and the Doom Patrol are united by their compassion for Raven. Her powers are flaring out of control, and for the first time the series gives a clear look at just what that might mean - as she stands before a shimmering portal.
The series is still a long way from providing viewers with answers to its many mysteries, but by the end of the episode at last there's have a recognizable Titans team. So where will the group go from here? And what's next for the Doom Patrol?
- This Page: The Doom Patrol and Their Future
- Page 2: The Curious Parallels Between Robin and Raven
8) Who Are The Doom Patrol?
The Doom Patrol are a classic comic book team created by writers Arnold Drake and Bob Haney, and artist Bruno Premiani. Dubbed "The World's Strangest Heroes," they're a group of social outcasts who are shunned by society because of their weirdness. Although there have been a number of different incarnations of the team, Titans introduces the classic lineup: the Chief, Robotman, Elasti-Girl, and the Negative Man. The DC Universe version seems to be heavily influenced by Grant Morrison's take, where the Chief was a morally ambiguous character. Morrison even hinted that the Chief could have been responsible for some of the tragic accidents that led to the Doom Patrol's creation.
There are strange similarities between the Doom Patrol and Marvel's X-Men, both teams that were created in the 1960s. The Doom Patrol and the X-Men are two teams of misfits who battle against prejudice as much as against super-villains, and each group is typically led by a man in a wheelchair. Co-creator Drake actually suggested Stan Lee ripped the idea for the X-Men straight from his team.
7) Weren't the Doom Patrol Supposed to be in Episode 5?
DC has been quite open about the fact the Doom Patrol would appear in Titans, and it makes sense; they've crossed over with the Teen Titans several times in the comics. Curiously, though, when DC first announced this cameo, they said it would be in episode 5. It's possible the plot got shuffled around a little, perhaps with earlier scenes involving Beast Boy cut. That would certainly explain why Garth was strangely irrelevant to the plot of Titans until this episode.
6) Why Did Beast Boy and Raven Build A Fire?
While "Doom Patrol" is easily the strongest episode of Titans to date, it's far from perfect. One of the oddest scenes is one in which Raven and Beast Boy stop in a forest to build a fire. There's no real reason they'd do this, not least because they're quite near the Doom Patrol's base at the time. It seemed to have happened purely for story purposes, giving Garth and Rachel time to bond, and providing an opportunity for them to cross paths with a pair of hunters.
5) Are the Police Finally Noticing Something's Odd With Dick Grayson?
Speaking of plot contrivances, Dick Grayson's detective badge really is starting to feel a little absurd. He'd only been in Detroit a day before he began his road-trip with Raven, and none of his colleagues seem at all troubled by his absence. At last, in "Doom Patrol" one police officer actually seems to be nonplussed when Dick shows his badge. "Long way from Detroit, huh," he asks. Naturally, Dick doesn't bother to respond, and the officer tells him what he needs to know anyway. Still, it's nice to see Titans lampshade this increasingly odd detail.
Page 2 of 2: The Curious Parallels Between Robin and Raven
4) Does Robin Have Any Self-Control At All?
Titans' version of Robin appears to have next to no self-control. In one scene, he knocks on the door of a hunter who's seen Raven. Furious when the guy refuses to answer his questions, Dick forces his way in and proceeds to beat the hunter to a pulp in front of his son. While it's no secret that the Dick Grayson of Titans has a violent streak, this is the first time he's lost his temper and lashed out a man who is (for all he knows) an innocent.
Interestingly, though, a later conversation between Dick and Starfire leads to a moment of self-reflection for Robin. He's forced to face the fact that he's a lot more like Raven than he likes to admit - that there is a darkness within him that pushes him to lash out. There's a neat parallel between Dick's momentary loss of self-control and the unleashing of Raven's power later in the episode. The conclusion - in which Dick holds the teenage girl, promising her she's not alone - is thus really a moment of catharsis for Dick too.
3) What Was Going On With Raven At The End of The Episode?
From Dick's loss of control, to Raven's. Towards the end of "Doom Patrol," there's a chilling moment in which Raven surrenders to the darkness within her. Furious after the Chief tranquilizes Garth, she allows the darkness to manifest - to spectacular effect. As in previous episodes, Raven generates a strange black ectoplasm. This time, it's used to toss the Chief around like a rag doll, and frankly he's lucky she only breaks his back. After all, it's not as though Raven's dark side has any qualms about killing people.
Drawn by Raven's screams, Robin rushes down to the basement and sees the clearest manifestation of Raven's powers to date. Raven is stood at the center of a vortex, the ectoplasm swirling around her, and she's facing what clearly looks like a portal. It's likely that this portal is the aforementioned "doorway," and that Raven's demonic father Trigon wishes to use it to invade our world. Fortunately, Robin is able to stave off the apocalypse by forcing his way through the ectoplasmic storm and assuring the girl that she isn't alone.
2) Where Are The (Finally Assembled) Titans Going Now?
"Doom Patrol" feels like the turning point in the Titans story, the end of the first act and the launchpad for the second. Up until now, it's been a slow-burn series, but each character's quest feels as though it's been completed. Robin has learned he can't just abandon Raven, and he's successfully found her; Starfire has discovered a little of her own personal history, and realized she needs to stick with the girl; and Raven has discovered some of her own terrible secrets. But as the team drive away, assembled at last, one question remains unanswered. Just where are they going next?
1) When Will We See The Doom Patrol Again?
In truth, this episode of Titans is a back-door pilot to next year's Doom Patrol series. Given that's the case, it's so very appropriate that it ends with a haunting tune; "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when..." Fortunately, the future isn't quite so mysterious and enigmatic as the song would suggest. Back in October, DC released a calendar that confirmed when the next series would be released. Doom Patrol will return in February 2019.