Titans‘ latest episode, Atonement turns the spotlight on Gar Logan/Beast Boy.
Unfortunately, things don’t turn out so well.
It’s the moment fans have been waiting for since Titans returned for its second season—an entire episode dedicated to Gar Logan/Beast Boy (Ryan Potter).
Nine episodes into the second season, with barely a few scenes to his name, Beast Boy finally gets the spotlight episode in Titans: Atonement.
But if fans were hoping to see Beast Boy spend the episode shape-shifting and fighting crime, they are set to be disappointed.
Titans: Atonement leans heavily into Beast Boy’s comedy potential by pairing him up with newest pseudo-Titan, Superboy (Joshua Orpin).
And as fun as that pairing turns out to be, the events of Titans: Atonement take a dark turn, one that the Titans will have a great deal of trouble coming back from.
So, what happened to the Titans and what can we expect to see from them in the remainder of the season? We break it down.
Beast Boy in Charge
We’ll start with the hero in the hot seat—Beast Boy.
Having spent the majority of the season in the shadows, cleaning up after everyone, and not really doing any superhero-ing at all, Beast Boy is suddenly entrusted with Titans Tower and Superboy in Titans: Atonement.
He takes to it really badly—by the end of day one of being on his own, he is practically in a depressive state. By day four, he is close to losing his mental stability until Superboy wakes up.
There are parallels to be drawn between Titans: Atonement and Star Trek: Voyager’s ‘One’, which focused on a character having the sole run of the ship and slowly succumbing to loneliness.
I was hoping for something similar in this episode, but Titans doesn’t push far enough. In the show’s defence, the episode did focus on a number of other story arcs, but four days is a very short time for someone to hit rock bottom.
However, there was definitely some hilarity to enjoy in Beast Boy’s downward spiral, especially his geeky interests. The hero may not know who Bruce Springsteen is, but he knows his Star Trek, Back to the Future, and Stephen King. We noticed those easter eggs, Titans creators!
Superboy is in the house
Beast Boy comes alive once Superboy is awake. Superboy’s innocence, earnestness, and eagerness to absorb everything in the world continues to be charming and adorable.
Orpin imbues these characteristics in Superboy without coming across as cringey, which I commend. Superboy is the kind of character that could easily have destroyed the show, but instead he is a great addition.
The chemistry between Beast Boy and Superboy props up the episode. They’re effortlessly comfortable with each other, revelling in their shared freedom in Titans Tower, while discovering the world of superheroing.
When Good Deeds Go Bad
Unfortunately, that is where things get dark in Titans: Atonement. It seems nobody can look at Superboy without immediately recalling one of his fathers—the big blue boy scout himself, Superman.
Superboy is the only one who insists on remembering that his other father is none other than Lex Luthor.
But it’s assumed that Superboy will follow in his good dad’s footsteps and be the hero he was meant to be. And that would be fine, if Superboy had some context for the way the world works.
He doesn’t and it leads to disaster—particularly property damage, and a number of wounded, and perhaps even murdered, police officers.
Superboy isn’t evil, but he is a dangerous amalgamation of power without knowledge. And it’s going to come back to hurt the Titans very badly after Titans: Atonement.
By the end of the episode, Beast Boy is calling Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites), crying for help. This is yet another sign of how woefully unprepared the Titans are, which calls into question Grayson’s leadership.
Why has Grayson had the Titans cooped up in the training room so long if at the end of it, they are still so ill-equipped to handle real-life situations?
Also, why didn’t Bruce Wayne pick up when Beast Boy called? Did Grayson even inform his former mentor about Superboy? It’s going to be a long wait till next week to find out.
Nobody came out of Titans: Atonement in a good state. If Beast Boy is reeling from Superboy’s actions, and Superboy himself is probably locked up somewhere in Titans Tower, the rest of the team hasn’t fared better.
For one, Titans: Atonement begins with everyone abandoning Grayson after learning about the truth behind the death of Jericho, son of Deathstroke (Esai Morales).
Grayson takes it upon himself to face his past, and goes to apologise to Jericho’s mother, Adeline (Mayko Nguyen). But she isn’t in a forgiving mood, and neither is Deathstroke. Together, they condemn Grayson to life of loneliness. One wonders why that wasn’t the title of this episode.
By the end of Titans: Atonement, Grayson has bought tickets to escape to Greenland, only to change his mind, making a scene in the airport that led to him being nabbed by the police.
What is his plan here? Does Grayson believe he needs to be sent to prison for Jericho’s death? Is that where he thinks he will be loneliest? The writers have me stumped.
Meanwhile, Starfire (Anna Diop) manages to get in a kind of win—she thwarts her sister, Blackfire’s, attempts to assassinate her. It does mean the end of her friend and Tamaranean confidante, Faddei (Robbie Jones) though.
Like Grayson, Starfire is all but cast out of her former life—she learns that Blackfire has killed their parents, along with taking Starfire’s rightful throne. She is, like the others, alone.
Are we going to see a Tamaranean force led by Blackfire arrive on Earth to destroy Starfire? I feel like there isn’t enough time in this season to complete that story arc, but it could be something we see in season three.
Hank and Dawn
The most unlikely Titans pair to face loneliness in Titans: Atonement are Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly).
The two have been inseparable throughout the series, even during flashbacks when they weren’t together, they were still good friends.
But in Titans: Atonement, Hank and Dawn come face to face with a recent loss—a young boy who they were coaching back to health in rehab. Hank decides that death and pain follow them everywhere and that the best way to combat it is by not just leaving the Titans but each other.
This is an unexpected move on the part of the writers. In the Hank and Dawn relationship, Hank has clearly been the more dependent of the two—Dawn is more than capable as a person and a hero to deal with the world.
Hank is haunted by his demons, so much so that he needed Dawn’s help to get revenge on his childhood abuser. So, where is this decision coming from to leave Dawn? Especially as Hank’s first move after leaving Dawn is to look for drugs. I see this ending badly for Hank.
What’s next for the Titans?
A little more than halfway through the season, and Titans: Atonement has thrown a spanner in the works for the titular team of heroes.
As we see, the remainder of the Titans haven’t fared any better than Beast Boy, Grayson, et al.
Jason Todd and Rose Wilson go off together, but we don’t yet know where. Rachel Roth and Donna Troy also leave together but Rachel decides to disappear partway through their journey.
The Titans have completely broken up—like a boyband—and it is going to take something of a miracle—or an existential threat—to bring them back together.
It seems that Deathstroke is no longer a threat—he has cursed Grayson and that seems to be enough for him for now. Blackfire seems to be waiting for Starfire to do something before bringing her forces to Earth.
So, what will bring the Titans back together? Rachel losing control of her abilities, or Grayson being in serious danger (it worked last season), could be the key to bringing the team together again.
Or perhaps the team will hear about the events surrounding Superboy and come back to rescue him and Beast Boy?
No matter what they decide to do, not only are the Titans in a bad state, but they are also going to have to deal with a terrible public image. How is all this going to get wrapped up in a few short episodes? We can’t wait to find out.