TITANS Season 1 Episode 7 Review: Asylum

Rachel’s birth mother is alive. This bombshell sends the team on a whirlwind, throwing them off the groove that they recently developed. This isn’t to say that the episode is what is thrown off, but rather the opposite. TITANS, as a show, flourishes when its central Titans struggle to identify as the characters they’re embodying. All of our heroes are off of their axis, they’re being tortured both as individuals, and as actually developing characters. Their exact weaknesses are thrown in their faces, and as the episode progresses, the Titans realize just how important each and every one of them is to the stability of the team, and to their own, personal stability. 

The Titans, now captured after a failed attempt at rescuing Raven’s mother, are trapped, tortured and bombarded with their past mistakes. Each of them is isolated from the others, having to deal with their problems completely on their own. It feels right to start with Beast Boy, the latest addition to the team. He’s trapped in a cage, reflecting the beast that lies within him. The beast is one that he has no real control over, he can use the beast but he doesn’t understand it. His torture focuses on his lack of control, and the electric shocks reflecting an outside control of the beast within him. As he begins to escape, his lack of control breaks him, and he accidentally kills the man in charge of his torture. Beast Boy has a long was to go as a hero, but his development, as his scenes show, is completely out of his control. 

Next is Starfire, who has her lack of memory or understanding of her world thrown in her face. She has surgery performed on her while she’s awake, and though this pain seems insurmountable, it is the fact that she doesn’t understand her own biology or her own existence that highlights the horror of her torture. She has a regenerating factor in her body, one that can help her heal in even the most life threatening situations. She doesn’t known where this ability comes from, so her alien origins and the mystery that surrounds her entire part in this series is highlighted. She doesn’t know what’s going on, she doesn’t know why anything is happening, but all she knows is that she’s having surgery performed on her and she feels nothing but pain. Starfire, as a hero, is going to find out a lot about her past in the next few episodes, but nothing is worse than having this mystery exploited and used against her. 

Next up is Dick Grayson, who goes through what feels reminiscent of a Scarecrow hallucination. He imagines a younger version of himself, the age when he first lost his parents and started his life with Bruce Wayne. This version of him despises everything that Dick has become, he feels like Dick has wasted the life the role that Robin gave them. He describes how Robin was supposed to cure their heartache; it was supposed to save them from the horror that they had to deal with. Dick, who recently abandoned the actual title of Robin, has to deal with the consequences of moving on from a part of his life that once took the most control. Robin has to find out who he is now outside of Robin, but the part of him that is Robin is still clinging onto him, holding on to his every move and mistake. 

Lastly, we have Raven. Raven’s torture is the least extensive, but her torture comes from the extent to which her family and friends are being used against her. She tries to stop the Organization from doing these horrific things to those she cares about, but to do so, she has to step in and deal with her situation. She’s been so afraid of it, but as we’ve seen, this horror can’t control her for long. She has to break free, and once she does break free, she can rescue her mother, and in turn, rescue her friends. She is the anchor of the Titans, the reason why they’re even together, but its Raven’s breakthrough from the confines of her situations that makes her character development so impactful. She knows her father is coming, but she can’t just wait around. She has to do something, and she has to do it fast. 

TITANS is heating up for a climactic finish to its inaugural season. It’s been constantly building and building, with no official end in sight. We still have no idea what’s going to happen, and that’s been a tool that TITANS has used all season. It teases information in front of us, but the moment where we most need it, it vanishes. I hope that TITANS will bring everything together, and that it will find a moment of clarity and purpose. But until then, we’re left wondering, waiting, and anticipating. So, let’s just see what happens.

Written by William Staton, TITANS Beat Writer

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