Titans 1×10, “Koriand’r,” gives us (not enough) backstory on Kory while also providing us with some pretty major plot-related reveals.
Truthfully, I’m a bit conflicted on this episode. I was disappointed by the lack of Kory material and screentime, but I was intrigued by the haunted Roth home and the introduction of Trigon.
See, on the one hand, I’ve been looking forward to a Titans episode titled “Koriand’r” since we were first introduced to the badass who is Ms. Kory Anders. While the main character and emotional core of this season is clearly Dick Grayson, and the plot clearly revolves around Rachel Roth, Kory is far and away my favorite character.
She’s done badass fight scenes and emotionally intimate scenes (not to mention physically intimate scenes — heyo!) equally well. She’s the co-leader of the team, Dick’s partner and equal, Rachel’s adoptive mother and some combination of mom and big sister to Gar.
And Anna Diop herself is so damn charismatic and so damn good that she absolutely lights up every single scene that she’s in. Even the way that she walks is badass.
If it sounds like I’m a little bit in love with her, well, it’s because I am — but if you’re watching this show, then it’s pretty much guaranteed that you are, too. Dick Grayson has never been so relatable as when he’s looking at Kory with literal heart eyes.
Which is why this episode, as good as it was (and really, it was very good), was a bit of a disappointment to me.
Every episode of Titans that’s been named after a character or group of characters have featured those characters heavily. “Doom Patrol” was basically a backdoor pilot for the 2019 DC Universe TV show, “Jason Todd” and “Donna Troy” made us all fall in love with their titular characters, while both “Hawk and Dove” and “Hank and Dawn” were so focused on their characters and so damn good that, despite the fact that they broke up the general momentum of the season, I am now convinced that we need an entire Hawk and Dove spinoff.
But that, unfortunately, was not the case for “Koriand’r.” Because while we do get to see Kory’s spaceship, and we do get to see her process some of memories as they return to her, we don’t get to spend as much time with her or learn enough about her backstory as I felt like the character deserved. We definitely not spend as much time — by a long shot — as I wanted to spend with her.
What we do learn about her relates directly back to what’s going on with Rachel, which makes sense given that this whole season has been about Rachel. I’m certainly not begrudging the fact that Titans made sure to keep the main plot moving forward, nor am I complaining about what forward movement this episode of Titans did give us on the plot-related front because it was horrifying and awesome and made me say “oh shit!” at least half a dozen times.
I guess what I am complaining about here is the fact that I thought an episode titled “Koriand’r” would focus primarily on Kory — an almost self-contained tale the way that “Jason Todd” or “Hawk and Dove” or “Doom Patrol” were. Instead, we were only given a few shaky flashbacks to her journey down to Earth, a bit of Trigon related exposition on her ship and the start of a new outfit.
We — and Kory — deserved more than that. I mean, I’m not going to start a #korydeservedbetter Twitter campaign about it or anything, but I do feel let down by this episode on the Kory front.
Okay, now that I have that out of my system, let’s go ahead and talk about the non-Kory related bits in this episode of Titans because they’re definitely worth talking about and praising.
Since this was partially a Rachel-focused episode, that meant that it was very much a horror episode. Titans does a really good job committing to whichever genre sandbox it decides to play in week by week, and this week’s episode was no exception.
There’s a feeling of eeriness surrounding the house that grows throughout the episode. Much of this is filtered through the viewpoint of Gar, who is haunted by what he did while he was a tiger in the asylum — first by a creepy mirror, then by a very real looking vision of the man he killed. All of this culminates in poor, dear Gar bleeding out on the (bathroom? living room? There’s some tricky editing here) floor.
Luckily, Angela’s old cop friend comes over to help, and he wants to call 911 but of course none of the cell phones work because they are in a nexus of evil and demonic energy. So he goes downstairs to use the landline, which also doesn’t work. But then when Angela comes down — ostensibly to help him — she goes ahead and stabs him instead, revealing to us that this whole damn thing was a setup all along and we’ve all been bamboozled.
Honestly, I’ve felt uneasy about Angela since she decided not to be forthright with Rachel about who her father is (AN ACTUAL DEMON, Y’ALL) and why she can do what she can do.
And, of course, the fact that she basically immediately banned Kory from her home at the start of this episode didn’t endear her to me any further, especially when it was so obvious that what happened wasn’t under Kory’s control and, just two episodes ago, Kory risked a hell of a lot to ‘rescue’ Angela from that asylum.
But then we find out that Angela is essentially a devil worshipper, in that she literally has slept with and (likely) will continue to sleep with a demon and has masterfully played us all. She is also the worst because not only did she manipulate everyone around her, she tricked and coerced her very vulnerable, very scared 13 year old daughter into bringing her world eating demon lover Trigon back to Earth.
And as disappointed as I was in the lack of focus on Kory this episode, I also understand it a bit given how late in the season this episode is. It’s been clear for a while that all roads would lead to Trigon and this episode did a fantastic job setting up his entrance into our world.
The episode ends with Dick running towards the house while Kory and Donna are trapped outside of it, unable to pass through whatever devil forcefield Trigon erected around it.
I’m amped for next week’s episode, which I hope not only brings Donna and Kory together to kick some demon ass, but in Hawk, Dove and Jason Todd as well. I’m ready for a big superhero team-up and showdown!