"Asylum," the seventh episode of Titans, may have finally set the heroes up to get answers to the many questions viewers have been wrestling with for the last few weeks. It features yet another side-quest, this time to the asylum Doctor Adamson works at. The mission naturally goes terribly wrong, with every member of the proto-team put through the wringer in some pretty horrific ways. It's clear that "Asylum" is also meant to be a key moment in Dick Grayson's character arc, with the episode ending with the burning of his Robin costume. Will the show soon see him embrace the Nightwing identity?
Unfortunately, at this stage, Titans has had far too many side-trips. The visit to Hawk and Dove has, so far, seemed to serve no purpose in the show's overarching narrative; the two characters haven't been mentioned since episode 3, and Robin seems to have forgotten that his old flame is currently badly injured. Given Raven's new healing powers, that seems odd. The entire encounter with the Doom Patrol, while a tremendous episode, was essentially setup for a future DC Universe TV show. Even last week's Robin-centric story was a side mission for Dick and Jason Todd. Out of seven episodes to date, four of them seem to have been irrelevant to the overarching story.
Still, by the end of "Asylum" the Titans have rescued Raven's mother. That surely means some of the mysteries surrounding Raven's birth, and the origins of her powers, are about to be revealed. Hopefully the main narrative is about to move on. In the meantime, let's look at all the key questions raised by "Asylum."
- This Page: Raven's Mother and Bruce Wayne's Resources
- Page 2: Do We Need To Start A Kill Count For Titans?
10) Who is Angela?
Angela Roth, commonly called Arella, is an important figure in DC Comics. A Gotham runaway (because everything dark in DC Comics comes from Gotham sooner or later), Angela fell in with a group of cultists and was tricked into becoming the lover of the demonic Trigon. It was only after she'd slept with him that Trigon revealed his true nature to the horrified Angela, and she fled from the cult. Soon after she gave birth to Raven, she gave up maternal care of her daughter. In character terms, the Titans version appears fairly accurate. Notice how Angela reacts to seeing Dick Grayson's violence; in the comics, she's a pacifist, and indeed such violence would appal her.
9) Why Didn't Dick Tell Raven How Quick His "Recon" Would Be?
This episode of Titans really all spins out of one error on Dick Grayson's part: he doesn't tell Raven how quick his recon would be. She assumes he's going to spend days working out the best way to attack the asylum, when in reality he's simply going to turn on one of Bruce Wayne's computers, look at some satellite images, and put together a strategy. It's highly likely none of the Titans would have been captured had Dick just been up-front with Raven right from the start.
8) Just What Resources Does Bruce Wayne Have?
Speaking of Bruce Wayne's computers, it's clear that Batman has some pretty sophisticated tech. It seems Batman has literally every building in the entire United States under observation - to the extent Dick is able to pull up everything from plans of the tunnels beneath the asylum to thermal images that tell him how many people are inside it. This is definitely evoking memories of "Brother Eye," a sophisticated surveillance system that Batman developed in the comics - that ultimately went catastrophically wrong.
7) Who Are The Organization?
Unfortunately, the villains of Titans - the much-vaunted "Organization" - are becoming increasingly generic. On the one hand, they seem to be little more than a group of cultists, with Doctor Adamson believing so fervently in Raven's powers that he slits his own throat so she will be forced to heal him. At the same time, though, "Asylum" presents them as being a group of mad scientists. That's most apparent in their experiments upon Starfire, when they decide to cut her open without even putting her under anesthesia. Notice that countless people from the facility flock to the scene to watch the dissection; oddly, there are more spectators than Dick detected in the building using his thermal imaging scans.
6) How Did The Organization Prepare In Advance For Starfire?
The Organization's experiments upon Starfire are pretty confusing. For one thing, they seem to know far too much about how her powers work. How did they even know that Starfire's energy could be depleted? And why did they just happen to have a fireproof room ready for her? It's all pretty convenient. It doesn't help that this arc sees Starfire - who up till now has had a bad temper, but also a degree of tactical skill - make significant strategic errors. When her powers prove unable to break through the walls of her cell, she simply continues to expend her energy until she runs out of juice. She'd have been wiser to realize she wasn't getting anywhere, and bide her time.