Review: TITANS 4×02 – “Mother Mayhem”
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Nick Copus
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Teagan Croft, Ryan Porter, Joshua Orpin, Anna Diop, Jay Lycurgo, Joseph Morgan, Franka Potente
Reviewed by: Joshua Raynor
In the wake of an unexpected demise, Connor finds himself framed for murder while the Titans try to piece together Luthor’s suspicious connection to Rachel’s haunting and clear their teammate’s name.
Positives – Raven
This episode starts off like a horror movie as the Bone-faced Man (still unclear as to whether or not this is supposed to be an earlier version of Brother Blood) terrorizes a family. The red color filter over this scene really helps accentuate the horrors that were taking place, and the incredibly creepy sound design throughout the episode just adds to it. We also got our first mention of the word “Metrion”, furthering the link to Raven and her demon heritage.
Speaking of Raven, we really get to see her come into her own in this episode. Her time on Themyscira really helped her to focus and unlock her abilities. We see her use darkness manipulation, which was something I always thought would be difficult to translate to screen compared to what they do in the comics and in the animated shows, but I think they did a really good job with it. It never looked hokey or goofy in any way. She also uses an energy blast at one point, and we get some dream walking, which was really fascinating to see.
She went on to face off against the Bone-faced Man inside of a nightmare. But my question is… was it actually him? Did he have the ability to dream walk also, or was it just the little girl’s manifestation of her fear? It’s unclear as to what his abilities were, or if it was even him doing any of these things.
But even with all these new powers unleashed, Raven still fell fairly easily to Mother Mayhem, seemingly losing her powers in the process, and causing her hair to turn white. How will this shake out for Rachel now that her demon side is gone? Has she now become White Raven? It was teased last season with her wearing the white cloak on Themyscira, but now it just might be a reality.
Positives Cont. – Tim & Gar
Tim’s training continues as Gar teaches him about tracking. I still love how they are taking their time with Tim, and not just rushing him into the role of Robin. He goes to his first crime scene here and is barely able to handle seeing a bloody corpse. His arc, while understated in comparison to the rest of these characters, is one I am really invested in. They’re really trying to build something with him, making him stand apart from the previous Robins – Dick and Jason. And will we see the budding relationship of Tim and Bernard grow? I hope so.
Another interesting storyline happening is the one with Gar. He’s beginning to hear voices calling out to him, calling him a “skinwalker,” which, for those unaware, is a term used for a shapeshifter. When this happened, it triggered an almost transformation, allowing us to actually see Gar with the green skin he’s so well known for in the comics and cartoons.
This is intriguing as it points toward a tribal origin for Gar’s powers. Is it something more than just the Chief’s experiment? Hopefully, we’ll learn more about where these powers came from, and like Rachel’s time on Themyscira, maybe it’ll allow Gar to fully embrace who he is, green skin and all.
Positives Cont. – Kory & Lex
It’s revealed that Lex had been spying on Kory for a while now… but to what end? We also learn that the entirety of the LexCorp inner circle, other than one, died the same way Lex did, and when Kory confronts the last survivor about it, he dies too. And we even get another giant blood snake. What does the snake mean? Is it just random, or does it mean something specific? These are the types of questions that I hope get answered soon.
We know that Lex was using the occult to try and fight death, but how does Kory fit in to it? My only assumption is that it has something to do with her new powers. Powers that even she doesn’t know the full extent of. As we learned in the previous episode, she is only using less than one-tenth of her full power. Perhaps Lex uncovered something about it that seemed promising to him in his fight to stay alive. This could also explain why her powers were the only thing that could stand up to Mother Mayhem at the end.
Positives Cont. – Sebastian
The slow build continues as we dive deeper into the character of Sebastian in this episode. We learn that he is not the Bone-faced Man, as I postulated in my previous review, but now that he’s gone, that opens up the door for Sebastian to take his place, and it feels like it’s just a short matter of time before we see him become Brother Blood.
In this episode, he struggles to convince some arrogant tech board to take his newly developed program seriously, but more importantly, we meet his loving mother. She was the one thing truly anchoring him to try to be a good person and change the world for the better. She believed in him with all of her being. And she was taken from him, somewhat unceremoniously, seemingly by Mother Mayhem herself.
It’s obvious that she’s been grooming him to inevitably become Brother Blood, buy why? What is it about Sebastian that makes him so special to her? Whatever the reason, we see Sebastian fall deeper and deeper into her grasp as the blood visions continue, and we see at the end that it just might be his time.
Positives Cont. – Superboy
At the end of the last episode, Lex Luthor dies a gruesome death by way of some dark magic, and Connor is left to take the blame. Lex warned him that all it would take is a single mistake for people to view him as a villain, and we get to see that in full force here.
And although Connor is exonerated in the end, what this portion of the episode does it allow Connor to have some much-needed character growth. He begins to see the world for what it is and will now have to find a way to come to terms with that and push forward as the hero we know him as or give in to it and become the villain many think he’s capable of being.
Positives Cont. – Mother Mayhem
The last thing I want to mention in this section is Mother Mayhem. We get to see her in all her powerful glory, and boy is she impressive. She manages to take out the Titans fairly easily, using different techniques for each of them. That is, until Starfire steps up to bat. And now that she has Raven’s powers, how much more unbeatable will she become, especially with an entire blood cult at her beck and call?
So last week we got Azarath, and this week we got Metrion… I was hoping Zinthos would be saved until the third episode to really tease what’s truly happening, but as we saw at the end, they jumped right into having the blood cult chanting the entire phrase, “Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos,” as well as the Bone-faced Man saying it in the nightmare. They seem to be moving really fast with this storyline, which worries me.
I feel like Bone-faced Man was too easily defeated and should’ve had a much bigger fight with Raven in his secret lair. It could have made for an incredible action sequence, but, unfortunately, this ties into my previous critique about it moving too fast.
Speaking of moving too fast, Connor getting arrested and exonerated in the same episode felt like a bit of a cop out to me. I know there’s a lot going on, but if they had stretched things out to the next episode, I think it would have felt a bit more high-stakes than it did.
Lastly, I was a bit bummed by how little screen time Dick had in this episode. He had a nice scene with the little girl that was very heartfelt, and we did get to see him do some detective work, but it was just such a small amount.
Overall, I think this was a great episode that helped further along some incredibly interesting storylines, even though some of them did feel a bit rushed. Hopefully, it will lead to some amazing things in the upcoming episodes, though.