It’s been built up all season, but Jericho finally reveals what happened with the Titans, Deathstroke and Jericho in easily the best episode of the series. But the way this season has gone so far there’s a high possibility it could get dethroned by the end of the year.
This was another flashback episode, but one that was well placed in the current narrative. Dick was confessing to Jason how he killed Deathstroke’s son, but like most things in this season it’s not as simple as Dick makes it sound.
Essentially, Jericho was the Titans’ spin on The Judas Contract Part III, for my money one of the most effective villain origins ever. The show took some liberties with the story — Adeline doesn’t shoot Slade’s eye out after the tragedy that befalls Jericho being the major change.
Over the weeks of hanging out with the Titans, Jericho has gone from pawn to a friend the team feels horrible about using for intel on Deathstroke. That culminates when Jericho reveals why he can’t speak, which was a pretty strong re-enactment from the comic even with a different setting.
The episode comes down to a matter of trust. Jericho trusted Dick with sharing his powers of being able to hop into other people’s bodies. I still think this confirms who’s been playing mind games with the Titans last week now. Already feeling guilty, Dick and Dawn decide to reveal they’re the Titans and why they originally started hanging with him.
Dick and Dawn’s confession was the first time in years someone was straight with Jericho and he happily accepted their invitation to join and leave his mother. Adeline wasn’t pleased with this and basically sicced Slade on the Titans to get Jericho back. Esai Morales has been incredible in this role of Slade and it’s going to be very hard to picture anyone else following him at this point. Apologies to Arrow’s Manu Bennett, but Morales is the definitive Slade Wilson now. He captures the cool as ice demeanor, yet Morales shows that deeper side of Slade who genuinely wants to do right by his family.
Costuming was interesting this episode as Dick mostly stuck to red shirts like his Robin outfit while Donna wore all black like her Troia attire. Jericho wore a vest in an homage to his comic book costume as well.
I loved Wintergreen’s interaction with Jericho when he questioned why his friends would name themselves after the losers, the Titans.
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Deathstroke has always been one of the cooler characters in the DC Universe. So cool that he seemed challenging for the current live-action regime of Warner Bros. to get right. With this season of Titans it’s clear Deathstroke just needed to be in the right hands to be the ice-cold bad a$$ assassin he was in the comics. The episode was building to these big fights and they blew my expectations away.
First, Slade killed Gillian and her fellow Amazon bodyguards and lured Donna in for an ambush. Deathstroke’s arrival in the museum had a Darth Vader vibe from Empire Strikes Back or Rogue One. The fight with Donna was very well staged and it showed how Slade could beat an Amazon full of rage. He sliced her open twice before burying his sword deep in her back with a warning to stay away from Jericho.
The costumed Titans came to Donna’s aid, but Robin left to confront Deathstroke who was meeting Jericho. This meeting place was the same church Dick found the pictures of the Titans last episode. Jericho had basically agreed to give Slade another chance when Robin arrived. I felt a little of that Obi-Wan/Anakin vibe from Revenge of the Sith when Robin crashed Jericho and Slade’s moment.
Robin has been trained by Batman so he wasn’t going down easy. You can tell the writers actually understand Slade as a character as he coldly defended against Robin’s attack while unleashing all of his main weapons from the sword to the bo staff armed with bullets(!) while Robin used smoke bombs to gain the upper hand. Slade eventually started beating the crap out of Robin and went for the killing strike with his sword when Jericho stepped between them and took the sword right through the chest.
In an interesting decision, we didn’t get to see Slade’s reaction. Instead, we shift to Hank and Dawn disgustedly walking towards the Titans’ elevator. Donna has a better sense of what happened and while she doesn’t blame Dick, it’s clear she wants to get away from this too and offers Dick a place to crash if he’s in New York. The final scene of Dick remembering Jericho’s excitement in arriving at the Tower was a gut punch.
This was an exceptional hour for what’s becoming one of my favorite comic book TV seasons ever. Jericho is the new high mark for the series and it’ll be a long wait every week to see if a challenger can take the throne.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: DC Universe