REVIEW: Titans, S1E10 – Koriand’r

Titans has spent its first season pursuing one major plot thread while stopping along the way to bring audiences up to speed with the backstory of various characters, whether they be members of the core four or supporting characters who give the team a boost before getting their own spin-off series in return. In an episode called “Koriand’r,” one could reasonably assume it will finally be Kory’s (Anna Diop) hour to shine. And yet she only got a few scenes in which to digest major surprises about her history, most of which tied back to her interest in Rachel (Teagan Croft).

Someone save my son!

Instead of flashing back to Kory’s past, the way nearly every other Titans episode has done with Dick (Brenton Thwaites) and his old friends, “Koriand’r” focused more on Rachel and Gar (Ryan Potter) being at the mercy of Angela’s haunted house. The atmospheric horror was taut, with several well-placed jump scares and an overall sense of foreboding every time Angela ‘helped’ her daughter. Gar especially got some chilling moments as he struggled to accept first Rachel’s outbursts and then the ghosts of his recent past that were drawn out by the dark energy of the house. But ten episodes into an eleven-or-twelve episode season, we should already have a better idea of the villain and we should have equal development for the four main characters considering how often the series has chosen to elevate characterization over plot.

But let’s dissect the development we do get for Kory, because there were still some moments that jumped out. First, her attempt to kill Rachel from two weeks ago dissipated very easily once Donns knocked her out with Wonder Girl’s lasso. She had no left over desire to hurt her loved ones upon waking, and was instead horrified to realize she had attacked not only Rachel, but Gar as well. Even though her memories were beginning to seep back in, they did not affect her compassionate nature – nor did they change Rachel and Dick’s opinion about her either. Both characters defended her as a warm and loving person to naysayers, although Donna’s concern was much more genuine than Angela’s.

Not you, Angela, sit down.

As gratifying as it was to hear Kory spoken well of – except for one writing misstep in which Donna inexplicably wrote Kory off as another “dangerous woman” Dick has fallen for before dredging up his unnecessary history with Dawn – it would have been much more gratifying to hear more of Kory’s thoughts on herself or to see her memories play out in real time as flashbacks. It may feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but Titans had had more than enough time to prove its investment in the four heroes and somehow it’s the characters of color who keep coming up short. Hank and Dawn were given an entire episode smack dab in the middle of a climactic fight sequence, one they didn’t even show up to help out with after, yet Gar was only allowed one scene at the start of an episode about the Doom Patrol and Kory only got to spend a few minutes at most with her ship in “Koriand’r.”

On the flip side, Rachel’s inner struggle has been the beating heart of the season, and this week Titans finally brought her father into play just in time for the finale. From the start, Angela’s rescue at the asylum seemed so easy that it had to have been planned. The pieces came together in “Koriand’r,” with the house driving Kory, Rachel and Gar to extremes in different ways while only Angela herself seemed calm and unaffected. Kory discovered the truth of her allegiance to the demon Trigon just in time for Gar to suffer a near total collapse, becoming ill enough for Rachel to cut a deal with her dad in her desperation to save him. The feeling of being too late played out nicely over the course of the episode even as time was wasted with a side character named Tommy, who appeared only to expose how evil Angela was despite the audience already being well aware. Nevertheless, the hour ended on a strong note with everything set up for the finale and Rachel’s soul hanging in the balance – not to mention the fates of both Earth and Tamaran.

Titans drops every Friday on the DC Universe streaming service.