REVIEW: Titans, S1E8 – Donna Troy

Titans finally opened the door into Kory’s (Anna Diop) past memories, and dovetailed it quite neatly with the introduction of the long-awaited Donna Troy (guest star Conor Leslie). Although the show still likes to take its detours from the overarching plot more often than one would expect, this week’s rest stops are illuminating and entertaining all at once. Even better, they morph into important plot twists that excite the audience despite their predictability.

Definitely a platonic bro-sis bond.

The makeshift family added a new member last episode in the form of Rachel’s long lost mother Angela, and she immediately made herself useful by offering her Ohio home as the Titans’ new base of operations. Unfortunately, not everyone was on board with moving there: namely resident dad Dick Grayson (Brett Thwaites), who felt that he was better off finding himself post-Robin and reconnecting with his past rather than forging ahead with the team. He and Rachel (Teagan Croft) shared a bittersweet farewell, but perhaps the more surprising part was that his goodbye to Kory revealed that they had continued their physical relationship after the one night we saw in “Together.” And if the look in their eyes was any indication, the relationship had an emotional component as well.

From that point on, “Donna Troy” was divided between the Titans’ train voyage to Ohio and Dick’s visit to the eponymous Amazon. Donna and Dick’s reunion was much warmer than the one he had with Dawn and Hank – remember them? – and the actors did an excellent job of establishing the familial history between them. While his decision to tag along to her gallery event merely revealed how awkward he is with human interaction, his light stalking of her extracurricular activities gave us a deeper look at other avenues to being a hero in Titans namely on the investigative and undercover journalist side of things. Dick came to Donna because she made a life for herself after quitting her job as Wonder Woman’s sidekick, but he quickly learned that she still fought for justice in a very different way. One he didn’t necessarily know how to approve of, and of course one that he unintentionally screwed up with his recklessly violent heroics. It was a good thing that Donna was an endless fountain of patience and good advice, reminding Dick that ‘quitting’ is a long process that requires self-reflection and time. The exploration of Dick was once again retreading old ground, but it was worth it to meet a fabulous supporting character like Donna who embodied a philosophy opposite of Batman’s.

Definitely not a platonic bro-sis bond.

On the train to Ohio, Rachel and Angela bonded in a beautiful moment that showcased the talent of both actresses while also revealing more about Rachel’s dad and his “cult of personality.” At the same time, Gar (Ryan Potter) was having a crisis of his own. He confided to Kory that he was conflicted about having killed someone, although he felt as concerned about Rachel’s reaction to the death as he did his own. It was a necessary look into Gar’s psychology and the connection between not only him and his tiger, but also him and Rachel. As Kory aptly put it, “You want to make out with her, don’t you?” Sadly there wasn’t much more time for banter between the mothers and their respective kids, because their transport just had to be boarded by a US Marshall out to arrest Kory. At least it wasn’t more “followers” trying to kill Rachel, but it still led to the requisite fiery battle sequence and a reminder that Kory’s flashes of memory were burdensome.

The last few minutes of “Donna Troy” focused on the storylines converging, with Donna partially translating Kory’s ancient language – apparently an offshoot of Sumerian – and Rachel suggesting she use her empathic powers to unlock some of Kory’s memories. Separately, both groups appear to uncover the secret to her mission just as Kory glows green and attacks her friend. Of course, Titans ended on that cliffhanger and the promo for next week only shows Hank and Dawn, so there’s no way to know which direction the story will go after that expected-yet-exciting shoe drop.

Titans airs every Friday on the DC Universe streaming service.