In the latest episode of DC Universe’s Titans, we’re back in “brutal/gross” territory instead of “brooding and moody” (though God knows there’s still plenty of brooding and moodiness to go around). Hiding out at a motel, the heroes—well, “heroes”—spend some time getting to know each other’s powers and personalities. They also sleep together, in case we missed that this is no longer the “Teen” Titans. Meanwhile the family hunting them gets a new “dad” and then traces down their location, leading to a bloody battle and the revelation to Kory, Rachel, and Gar that Dick is in fact Robin. They manage to restrain the family, so that Dick can trace them back to “Dr. Adamson.” While Dick is on his way to meet Adamson, Adamson explodes the heads of the family with a remote control and announces that “they” are coming to kill him now that his identity has been revealed. Just then some kind of military team breaks into the room where Adamson and Dick are speaking, but are subdued by the new Robin. I assume this is either Jason Todd or Tim Drake, though I suppose they could go dark horse and have it be Damian Wayne…
Throughout, we’re given repeated discussions of the importance of knowing the truth, especially the truth about the people we are associated with. Dick has Gar, Kory, and Rachel show their powers to each other, but when he is hesitant to do so himself the other three push back. Gar asks him, Rachel commands him specifically to “show what he can do”, and Kory… uses her wiles to get him to talk. If you know what I mean. And when the evil family attacks, Dick reveals that he is Robin and the danger is gone with just that revelation (it’s a little unclear why the family stops fighting when they do, especially after showing that they also have some kind of powers—apparently they’re willing to fight all of the heroes until one of them turns out to be Robin? The one without any actual superpowers? Strong writing isn’t really this show’s selling point).Likewise, when Dick confronts Adamson and demands to know the truth about why they are hunting Rachel, we find out that the revelation of Adamson’s identity was his “weakness.” Not in a Rumpelstiltskin way, but in that once his cover is blown he’s killed.
So we have a contrast set up: the heroes get stronger by revealing who they really are to each other, but the villains are weakened or even have their heads explode when they are revealed.
Clearly there is something to this for the Christian, though we also don’t want to push it too far. Part of becoming a Christian is realizing who we really are deep down and exposing that truth. Now, the other side of that is that what we find if we are being honest and measuring ourselves by the standard of Scripture and God’s Holiness, who we are isn’t all that pleasant. The next step after that realization must be confession and repentance. To use the episode’s terms, for us to find out who we are and agree with God about it is to explode our own heads and to have our sinful identities replaced with the Identity of another. And while we still continue to find sin within ourselves, we do not look to ourselves for the truth that will save us. Our lives cease being about living as who we ‘really are’ and start to be about conforming to the alien righteousness given to us by Christ.
Like I said, I wouldn’t want to push the analogy too far. It’s just the first point we have something somewhat more substantive in this series, and I wanted to make the most of it.
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.