The Asylum was definitely the bleakest and darkest episode of Titans yet. Up to this point, the show runners have balanced the violence with some strong character building. With this episode, the darkness won out making for a rougher watch than the rest of the season.
Dr. Adamson has a proposition for Rachel. He’s got the location of where her birth mother, Angela, is being held. And he promises to help Rachel get better control of her powers. He dramatically illustrates how powerful Rachel is by slicing his throat and guiding her to healing him. The amount of fake blood this show goes through must be impressive.
Adamson clearly can’t be trusted and Dick and Kory agree he’s shady. Gar plays along, but just so he can go with Rachel without their ‘chaperones.’ But they almost immediately get caught and Dick and Kory’s rescue attempts don’t turn out so well either.
Dick is forced to go through a psychological nightmare where his younger self calls him out for being so violent. It’s not Batman or Zucco’s fault. This was unnerving in the right way, but the literal banging Dick upside his head was too on the nose…and cheek…and forehead.
Kory and Gar were simply tortured to gauge the extent of their abilities. The asylum staff was largely shrouded in shadows as they conducted their experiments.
On one hand this made them come off more sinister, but it also raised the question of how these random people could do easily take out the Titans.
This episode also felt too early for the torture/isolation scenes. We’ve barely gotten to know Gar so aside from feeling bad for him, there’s no sense of how being caged like an animal affects someone when they’re imprisoned. Or if Kory has deeper phobias for being strapped down to an examination table.
Eventually Rachel decides she can find her mother without Adamson’s help and says I don’t want you to be healed anymore — cue throat geyser. Heck of a way to go.
It seemed strange that Rachel was so focused on finding a woman she’s never met as opposed to getting her friends first. At least they have skills that would be useful in a fight. Angela (Rachel Nichols) is reluctant to come along at first, but Rachel persuades her to join the great escape.
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They find Gar, who uses their distraction to maul his captor. Gar continues to be disappointing with his powers. He could have easily escaped if he turned into a mouse, fly, snake, etc. We’re going to need an episode to explore his powers and why he’s just turning into a tiger. He’s not proving very useful at this point.
After the gang reunites, Dick has Kory burn the asylum down. He didn’t get any answers, but Dick was able to burn his Robin costume with no extra effort. Cool, now no one will be in costume.
The Asylum was an odd episode as it didn’t do much to advance the story beyond bringing Rachel and Angela together.
Next week will be another universal expansion episode. If it follows the normal pattern it won’t do much to develop the main plot either.
It’s a good thing that Titans has been renewed for a second season as we’re not getting much in the way of a traditional arc.
I’m still not sure what the focus is, but it’s refreshing Titans has avoided the standard big bad villain and still be entertaining.
The Asylum was a decent mind screw for the Titans, but the follow-up will prove most important here.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment