WARNING: This feature contains SPOILERS For Titans Season 1 Finale.
Many fans of the Titans series were left perplexed by its first season finale. The first original live-action series created for the DC Universe streaming service, Titans was meant to present a gritty reimagining of the classic Teen Titans comics. The show went on to establish a radically different universe than those seen in the Arrowverse and DC Extended Universe, with a season-long story arc that introduced many subplots but resolved very little.
Titans' chief storyline centered upon two characters - police detective Dick Grayson (Robin) and Rachel Roth (Raven), a teenage girl with mysterious powers. The two were thrust together after the murder of Raven's mother, leaving Dick to protect Raven from a mysterious group called "The Organization" trying to find her on behalf of her father. Along the way, they met Dick's old friends Hank and Dawn (the vigilantes Hawk and Dove) and eventually joined forces with Gar Logan (a teenage boy who can shape-shift into a tiger) and Starfire - an amnesiac alien who was also seeking Raven, though she didn't remember why. Starfire stepped up to act as protector to Gar and Raven, as Dick confronted an evil from his past alongside the new Robin, Jason Todd, and sought out the advice of his closest friend, Donna Troy (aka Wonder Girl).
This winding story ultimately led into a finale that was seemingly unrelated to the preceding episode, which ended with Dick going into a farmhouse alone in search of Raven and Gar, as a magical barrier prevented Starfire and Donna from following. This was par for the course for Titans, which had previously ended its eighth episode 'Donna Troy' with a cliffhanger, only to devote the next episode to revealing the origins of Hawk and Dove. What follows will explain the chief villain of Titans, the nature of the finale and what viewers can expect to see in Titans' second season.
- This Page: Who is Trigon?
- Page 2: What Was Robin's Dream Really About?
- Page 3: How Does This Set Up Season 3?
Who is Titans' Trigon?
Like many of the characters on Titans, Raven's father Trigon has been changed somewhat from the comic books. Originally introduced in New Teen Titans #2, Trigon was the result of a union between a holy woman of the mystic plane of Azarath and the god that she worshiped. This act caused Trigon, upon birth, to become infected with all of the evil which the people of Azarath had cleansed themselves of over millennia of monastic living. This transformed Trigon into their ultimate personification of evil, making him a demon of colossal power, who began conquering whole star-systems across multiple dimensions. Despite his near-omnipotence, Trigon was still dependent upon his children opening the way to various worlds for him to take up permanent residence in a dimension.
The Titans version of Trigon is not imposing as his comic book counterpart - at least not yet. Trigon is usually depicted as a red-skinned, horned giant with four eyes, and the first season of Titans obviously avoided that depiction. Thus far he has only been seen in a human form, played by Seamus Dever. In 'Koriand'r', Starfire discussed what little she knew of Trigon's background and how he was a being from another dimension who had come to our reality and destroyed a world before being banished. Trigon was also briefly summoned to Earth to sire a daughter (i.e. Raven) who could act as a doorway to allow him to return to our reality permanently.
While Trigon's powers are not discussed on Titans beyond having the capacity to destroy an entire planet, he possesses a diverse portfolio of superpowers in the comics. In addition to being effectively immortal, Trigon is telepathic, telekinetic, super-strong, virtually invulnerable and is capable of shape-shifting, size-shifting, transmuting and manipulating matter and even altering reality around him by sheer force of will. The only powers we see Trigon utilize before the Titans finale are his healing a wounded Gar Logan and sensing the unusual nature of his body as he is repairing it.
What Was Robin's Batman Dream Actually About?
The season finale, 'Dick Grayson,' opens with the former Robin living an idyllic life in Los Angeles. He's married to Dawn, has a loving son with another child on the way and works as a detective with the LAPD. Everything is perfect, until a wheelchair-bound Jason Todd shows up on his doorstep to ask for his help. It seems that Gotham City has become worse than ever, and with The Joker having killed Police Commissioner James Gordon, Jason forever paralyzed by The Riddler and Batgirl having disappeared, Batman is starting to talk about killing his various enemies. Jason is afraid that Dick may be the only person capable of talking sense into their mentor.
At first, Dick is reluctant to get involved, but anytime he voices a desire to stay with his family there is a flash of light and something happens to make him reconsider. First, when Dick's son says that he can take his stuffed tiger with him to keep him safe when he goes to Gotham. Then, once Dick is in Gotham and starts to think about going home, the TV suddenly shows a news report about Batman throwing The Joker off of a rooftop. This is a big sign that something strange is going on, even ignoring the time jump, Dick and Dawn being married with children and Jason Todd disapproving of a murderous Batman.
Dick later runs into Starfire (who is now working as an FBI agent) at the hospital to which a barely-breathing Joker is transported. Unfortunately, Batman arrives shortly thereafter to finish the job and goes on to a bloody rampage at Arkham Asylum, killing both inmates and staff. This leads Dick to approach the GCPD and reveal Batman's identity as Bruce Wayne and offer to coordinate the attack on Wayne Manor to bring him in. After multiple police-officers, FBI agents and Starfire are killed, Dick is ultimately forced to blow up the Bat Cave and crushes Batman's windpipe after telling him that he finally succeeded in getting Dick to give in to his inner darkness.
As Dick does this, we shift back to reality and find Dick standing before Raven, Trigon and Raven's mother, Angela, with his skin turned pale and his eyes dark, like Raven's when she uses her powers. When Raven demands to know what Trigon did to Dick, her father explains that he did nothing more than offer Dick "a path that wound down many roads" but that Dick ultimately chose to "embrace his darkness rather than deny its existence." The episode ends with Dick apparently in Trigon's thrall, assuring a horrified Raven that soon everyone will see things as he does.
None Of The Character Arcs Are Actually Resolved
The chief reason why Titans' finale confused viewers is that it did nothing to resolve any of the season's ongoing character arcs. It was announced early on that Trigon would be the chief villain of the season, yet he didn't appear in the flesh until the last second. Not only is Raven's conflict with her father and his followers not resolved, but it does not truly begin until the cliffhanger ending of the finale, as Raven begins to realize the full depth of her father's power and evil.
Every other major character arc also remains untouched. While Starfire showed some signs of starting to recover her memory in 'Koriand'r', we still know little about her past or who she really is, despite now knowing something of her motivations. Hank Hall's medical problems and the relationship issues he and Dawn Granger were experiencing haven't been touched upon since the ninth episode 'Hank and Dawn', which ended with them being told they had to find Jason Todd in a dream vision. Even Dick's search for identity and new purpose outside of being Robin - the main focus of the season - remains unsettled, with Dick reverting to embrace his inner darkness, becoming a thrall of Trigon.
In fact, the dream-nature of the final episode means Dick is the only character who even experiences anything in the finale at all. All the other characters are alternate versions of themselves, and figments of his imagination. Raven and Gar barely even appear, only making a brief video chat cameo.
Page 3: How Does This Set Up Season 3?
The Titans' Origin Story Isn't Over Yet
The obvious takeaway from this is that the show has subverted the audience's expectations and that the origin story of the Titans isn't over just yet. While it has been typical of superhero shows like Arrow and The Flash to end their seasons with a climactic battle with a major villain, there is no reason why Titans should have to do this beyond convention. The story the writers are telling could be too big for one season to contain and, when one considers the source material, there is no way to build to a battle with an enemy like Trigon in a mere ten episodes.
The pacing on Titans to date has been much slower than most other shows of its kind. It took four of the first season's eleven episodes for the core team to meet and join forces. It took even longer for the chief villain, Trigon, to be explained before he was introduced. It seems likely then that Trigon will be the chief villain for more than just the first season.
This also leaves the proper formation of the Titans to the beginning of season 2, with Trigon being their first real battle. While the events of the first season certainly brought them together, the true formation of the Titans as a group is still being left for season 2.
What Evil Robin Means For Season 2
Having Robin turn evil presents a number of challenges to the Titans. As in the comics, Dick Grayson is the leader of the team and in the reality of Titans, he is the one character with ties to every other hero seen on the show so far. By turning Dick to his cause, Trigon has effectively hindered the only resistance against him. Trigon has also inflicted a major emotional blow against Raven, eliminating the closest thing she has to a mentor figure following her adoptive mother's death. Doubtlessly Trigon hopes to further draw his daughter under his control by bringing Dick into the family.
Thankfully, the Titans are far from helpless despite having lost Robin. Donna Troy and Starfire are still close at hand and both have proven themselves to be capable in a crisis. In a pinch, Donna could prove to be just as effective a leader as Dick, possessing a fine tactical mind from her Amazon training. There are also several wild cards in play, with Hawk and Dove being aware that Raven is in trouble and having been told they need to find Jason Todd, though they have no idea why or who he is. That leaves many avenues for the Titans to help Raven when the battle against Trigon begins anew in season two.