Movies & TV / Reviews

Titans 1.10 Review – ‘Koriand’r’

December 14, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Titans -- Ep. 110 -- "Koriand'r"
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Titans 1.10 Review – ‘Koriand’r’  

[Warning: spoilers abound for those who have not seen Friday’s episode of Titans.]

When you’re running a television series with a relatively shorter-than-normal episode count, pacing is essential. You have dole out information in an exact manner that doesn’t make any part of your season seem bogged down or rushed. Let’s face it; even the best shows stumble from time to time when it comes to narrative flow.

Thus far, Titans has walked that tightrope like, to excuse the obvious reference, a Flying Grayson. It diverted attention a bit last for Hank and Dawn’s origin, but still kept the seasonal arc in our mindset. That said, it left a lot of story yet to go considering there are only two episodes left in the season’ As a result, “Koriand’r” must do some heavy lifting in terms of exposition so that the season finale can get right into the action. Fortunately, Titans’ showrunners have built up a nice bank of viewer faith thanks to its successes thus far. And this episode continues the trend by doling out a ton of information without feeling like a slog.

Titans Kory Gar

“Koriand’r” sends the Titans on two different tracks in order to accomplish everything that it has to. After Dick and Donna arrive to save Rachel (and company) from an enraged Kory, the elder heroes go off to discover the mystery of Kory’s identity. That leaves Rachel and Gar at the house in Angela’s care. And sure, the episode is named after Starfire. But it is the events back at the Roth house which really drive the storyline forward toward next week’s climax.

Rachel’s seasonal arc has primarily focused on her destiny, and whether her powers are evil or not. And that makes sense. After all, she is the MacGuffin of this first season — albeit a well-realized, fairly multi-dimensional MacGuffin. There was never really any doubt that by the time the season ended, the show would find a way to use her powers to bring Trigon back. Trigon is Chekov’s Demon Lord; you don’t tease the arrival of an all-powerful villain without delivering.

Titans Rachel Angela

The only question was what would compel Rachel to bring her father back. The answer comes via Angela, who in a wonderful twist is her evil baby daddy’s side. I don’t doubt that there are many who saw this coming. Even they have to admit that this was a very well-done build-up. With help from a very sympathetic portrayal from Rachel Nichols, the last several episodes have effectively built Angela Roth as someone we could get behind.

Even this episode pushes the misdirect before throwing the harsh truth in our face. Every moment up until the reveal suggests Angela is in danger, from the ominous score as she enters an upstairs room to the sudden arrival of a childhood friend who is now a cop. That scene tries to make us think Thomas is a threat…right up until Angela shoves a knife in his gut. I like to consider myself genre-savvy, but it wasn’t until the last moments before the reveal that I had a clue as to what was going on. I credit that to Titans’ ability to make us care about Angela and Rachel both.

But no…Angela is a villain, and she skillfully manipulates her daughter into summoning her father. That puts everything about her actions in a new light. Taking care of Gar and Rachel just gave her the chance to poison the former and manipulate the latter. Kory’s disastrous memory reveal gave her the chance to isolate Gar and Rachel from the older trio. And Gar’s “illness” lets her convince Rachel to stick her hand in the mirror and pull Trigon out. We don’t have enough on Trigon for a full read yet. But between Kory’s exposition dump and his letting Dick in so he can break Rachel, he’s off to a good villainous start.

Titans Dick

Kory’s big reveal is the trickier part of this week’s split. Exposition dumps can be as tedious as they are occasionally necessary. And the more outlandish information you have to provide, the greater the chance for a misstep. For Kory, we have to learn that she’s an alien who came to Earth to prevent a demon lord from taking over the universe, so yeah…that bar is pretty high. But Gabrielle Stanton, who also co-wrote the fifth episode “Together,” is up to the challenge. She keeps the humanity in the dialogue while revealing the necessary information. And the three actors make the whole thing seem as natural as possible.

If there is a flaw in this episode, it is that it undersells the Tamaranean reveal. It’s a necessary evil, mind. Kory’s heritage is no surprise to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Titans, and the show has to hard-sell the threat of Trigon considering how mysterious he’s been. And to be fair to Dick and Donna, they’re probably pretty familiar with aliens thanks to their association with the Trinity. Still, outside of the grandeur of her ship there’s a bit of a “Yep, moving on” feel to it. For a show that has done a nice job building its world, that just felt lit a minor slip.

But finally, the stage is set for the big climax. Dick, Rachel and Gar are stuck inside that house with an incredibly powerful demon, with Kory and Donna stuck outside. Also, Hank and Dawn are presumably on their way with Jason Todd (unless that’s a tease for season two?). That all adds up to a potentially explosive season capper, and one I’m strongly looking forward to.

Titans Rachel Gar

Some Final Thoughts:

• Donna is staying as a permanent member of the team after this, right? Please tell me Donna is staying on as a permanent member.

• The visual effects on this series have been decent for a show of this kind and probable budget. I have to give special call-out to how they handled Rachel’s visit to the mirror world to get help from Hank and Dawn. Sometimes, something as simple as low lighting, backwards signs and reversed audio tracks is all you need to be effective.

• Trigon is played by Seamus Dever, perhaps best known to TV fans for his role on ABC’s Castle. It’s a nice surprise, especially since I’d have pegged him the least likely Castle alum to play an archvillain.

• Advice from a fan of genre storytelling: if you find yourself in a house with walls full of creepy old photos, run. The owner of the house is evil, even if its your mother who you think you rescued from a cult.

• Next week: Dick faces off with a brutal Batman in what appears to be a Trigon-created vision/nightmare world. That should be fun.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
"Koriand'r" delivers the right mix of plot twists, character interaction and exposition to set up Titan's season one finale for next week. The surprises were effective and the character work was solid from the cast. If this show sticks the landing next week, Titans season one will stand as one of the better superhero TV series to date.

article topics :

Titans, Titans Review, Jeremy Thomas