The slow unfolding of plot and emphasis on brutality, introspection, and angst continues in the latest episode of DC Universe’s Titans (Episode 7, “Asylum”).
Having kidnapped Dr. Adamson—the mastermind behind the previous attempts to capture her—Rachel learns that her (biological) mother is being held in a facility of some sort. On their rescue mission, Kory, Gar, Dick, and Rachel are all captured and subjected to various kinds of torture in an effort to compel Rachel to summon her “father.” Kory is operated on surgically, Gar is tazed, Dick is given a drug to force him to face his “inner demons”, and Rachel is made to watch all of this. In case you’re wondering, Dick’s “inner demon” is… himself as a child who hates what he has become as Robin. This confrontation begins to erode Dicks’ sanity.
But don’t worry! Rachel manages to kill Adamson, rescue Gar, Kory, and Dick, and help Dick be able to once again brutalize a team of (undoubtedly underpaid) security guards. They then blow up the facility (including said incapacitated security guards, and presumably all of the other patients and doctors in the building). They also rescue Rachel’s mother, though we don’t get much explanation.
The focus of the episode is clearly the moment when Dick’s consciousness is slipping away, and Rachel brings him back by reminding him of the commitments that they have made to each other. There is a point here. We all have an inner darkness in that we are all sinners who have rebelled against God. Our natures are fallen, and so now shaped and defined by original sin. Of course we are saved from this through repentance and faith in the completed work of Christ on the cross.
One of the tools we are given in our ongoing war against sin in this life is the church. By joining a church, we are committing (among other things) to helping each other wage war against our inner darkness. Titans has given us a picture of that, however poorly understood on the part of the writers. After all, the church is not where we begin, it is a place where we find travelling companions and support along the way. The church is not ultimately why we fight our sin, it is our place to support others and be supported. Our commitments to each other do matter and they are important—far more important than most modern Americans care to admit. But they are not the beginning or foundation of our war against our inner darkness. Titans, and the modern world, doesn’t really get that even at the best of times.
Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO.