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Teen Titans Season 5:
No More Titans for you!
(This article is the final (hopefully) update to an older article from 2004. If you aren't familiar with it, click HERE to start at the very beginning.)
At some point in 2004, I thought it would be a good idea to review all the episodes of the Teen Titans cartoon. The problem was that the show hadn't been cancelled and new episodes kept coming out. Season Five's come and gone and I've been dreading this update. Not because it's the last, but because it'll mean that I have to draw your attention to a much older article I wrote a long time ago (or so it feels). My love for the Titans has waned, but my hatred of being harassed via email has held true. As such, I dedicate this FINAL update to the kind folks who have been emailing incessantly to tell me that the show was canceled and that this needed to be done. That said, dear God, there are some weird themes in the final season. Now, there are a lot of theories as to why the show was canceled. My theory, which is reinforced by the final season's "plot," is that superheroes end up getting repetitive over a period of time. There are only so many times you can watch Starfire shoot thermonuclear blasts of "love" at the enemy or Robin cave in people's skulls with his kung-fu fighting stick. So what's the solution? I don't rightly know, but the makers of this show sure had an idea that they stuck to:
They decided to leave the Teen Titans completely out of the last season. That's not completely true, but for about 80% of the episodes there are OTHER heroes running around. More interesting heroes with neater and new powers. Hell, the Teen Titans don't even seem necessary or don't appear at ALL in at least half of the episodes you're going to see reviewed here. It's kind of a sad finale, but I guess the idea was that if you KNOW your show's been canceled you might as well introduce a bunch of new characters in hope that one of them gets their own series. I guess. Let's DO this.
Episode 1-2: Homecoming
And so the slow removal of the Teen Titans begins in earnest. The Teen Titans come to the rescue of another super hero group, known as the Doom Patrol. The Doom Patrol ends up being another team that's very old and was popular in comic books back in the day...as such they take over the show when they reclaim Beast Boy, their lost member. Their enemies end up being the "big bad guy" for the entire last season...so the last season is literally dedicated to the Doom Patrol, even if they only show up in the first two episodes. Let's share some highlights:
This is Mento. He's the Freshmaker, and he also leads the Doom Patrol. He's got all sorts of mental powers, due to his super-helmet and the phallic things he's glued onto it. Besides a giant brain, known cleverly as The Brain, he brings other enemies with him into the show:
Including a tea-drinking gorilla known as Mister Mallah. An evil Gorilla. Who plays chess. And drinks tea. I'm terrified, aren't you?
The season's main premise is that THE BRAIN and his gorilla lover (not completely a joke if you read the comics) have enlisted the aid of every villain that was ever on the show. I'm serious about that...every villain that's ever appeared shows up by the season's end. It doesn't make a lot of sense if you think about it too much, since some villains were from other time periods, dimensions, trapped in unholy relics are are just plain dead. Whatever. I'm beyond caring at this point. It means lots of villains, lots of evil, and, well, everyone wins when that happens.
Tangent: I didn't know about the Doom Patrol until I saw this cartoon. Since then, I've dug through their old comic books and all I can say is that if you only read one comic book...ever...let it be Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol series that came out in the 1980's. The Doom Patrol's actually older than the X-men (by about a month), but obviously incredibly less popular outside of comic book circles. Grant Morrison took over the series when it came back in the 80's and, well, he worked some weird voodoo with it. The guy took a cliché superhero team and turned it into a surreal philosophical work of Art. With Dadaism, alchemic symbolism, and a living base that's a transsexual street (you read that right), it's definitely different. If you've ever read Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, John Gardner...you'll dig the literary value of Morrison's Doom Patrol. I'll shut up now, but check out the cover art for a few of his comics and you try to tell me that they look "just like any other spandex-wearing hero funnybook". (Click them if you're curious.)
Of course, the Doom Patrol in the cartoon has nothing to do with Morrison's literary work, but it did allow me to stumble onto the guy's work. Let's move on.
Episode 3: Trust
Hotspot, a character that appeared early in the series, gets his own episode where a lady who's name is a type of make-up (Madam Rouge) is after him and his honorary Teen Titan communicator. She has the ability to change her shape, which lets her do all sorts of things. In some cases those things are quite horrible. Watch as she takes a "powered-down" Hotspot deep inside her. Because that's what she likes.
Ignore the fact that her womb and shoulders are forming arms that are sucking in the poor guy. Note her constant eye contact. That's the screwy sweet-jesus-she's-making-the-porn-face terror of the moment.
Do you like it inside me? The struggling makes it better, you know. :shudder:
Here she is, looking down at her misshapen body, gloating as her abdomen has completely enveloped her victim. If you've ever seen the "giant crotch" scene from Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, you already know just how screwed up this is. Luckily, it doesn't last forever...just long enough to make me uncomfortable.
So. Very. Messed. Up.
Episode 4: For Real
Control Freak, from many episodes prior, returns. Only the Teen Titans aren't home. Instead, we get another episode starring only the Titans East. While that does mean tiny Mexican pleasure for all, it also means we get the magic douche that is Aqualad. See previous seasons to justify my hate. The best part of this episode has nothing to do with Control Freak's battle, though. Instead, it's what he does away from the fray:
He sits in a geeky chatroom and talks about Teen Titans. Since people's posts are actually read aloud (it's a T.V. show, what did you expect?), we get to hear people say "LOL" and other online-centric crap. The episode is actually pretty good, because it address the fickle nature of fans and fan sites. As someone who's gotten a few angry emails from Teen Titan maniacs over the past two years, I understand it far too well. I mean, really, this episode almost feels like it was written just to tell the psycho fans to go screw themselves and get a life. Which, without question, is awesome.
Episode 5: Snowblind
Say hello to Red Star. He's a Russian experiment that's empowered with nuclear energy.
Red Star's got a problem. Whenever he gets angry or fights for too long...
He turns red and has to vent his energy or he'll explode. In the middle of combat he's about to go nuclear...so what do the Teen Titans do?
Wow. Talk about shitty friends. They throw him into space so he can blow up safely. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a nuclear explosion just outside of the earth's atmosphere only irradiate more of the planet than letting him blow up in one place? Since when is outer space the safe alternative to atomic weapon disposal? The worst thing is that this won't be the last giant nuclear device the Titans shoot into space this season. No wonder global warming is such a serious deal these days.
Episode 6: Kole
At the North Pole, the Teen Titans stumble onto the old 1940's science fiction theory that underneath the top of the planet is a hole that goes to the Lost World. It's a place where cavemen and dinosaurs are still around. Apparently, this was a real theory at the turn of the last century and, well, people still thought it would be fun to use. In the land of dinosaurs, the Titans meet a lumpy caveman named Gnark and his girlfriend. Now Gnark is annoying as all hell, first off because he can only say one word: Gnark. So Gnark asking for a reuben sandwich translates to: "Gnark." Gnark asking his private dancer if she goes all the way translates to: "Gnaaaaark." Damn, it's obnoxious. Luckily Gnark has a girlfriend. Who he uses to bludgeon the crap out of velociraptors.
A Neanderthal beats up giant lizards with his crystallized 13-year-old girlfriend. God bless the world and its infinite strangeness.
Episode 7: Hide & Seek
Raven has to baby sit super powered toddlers and protect them from Mister Mallah. So, it's a naked gorilla chasing tiny kids. The weird thing is that I don't quite understand how a gorilla, no matter how intelligent, really counts as a super villain. But, that's just me. In the end, his ass gets beat by a giant teddy bear (no joke), and the kids become official Tiny Pre-Teen Titans.
Episode 8: Lightspeed
The Hive 5 (which actually has six members) fight Kid Flash. There's not much else to say except that See-More (the kid with the eye powers that I told you I liked before) has a new way to discretely travel around town:
Oh yes. I'm sure no one will notice the giant fluorescent balloon EYEBALL hovering slowly across the city's skyline.
Episode 9: Revved Up
Stolen straight from a Cherry Popping Daddies Song (or the real life hotrod enthusiast/painter Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, if you're older and want to be smart when the trivia questions start flying), the Titans have to race Ding Dong Daddy to win back Robin's secret briefcase. We don't know what's inside it, but all the villains from the series who can afford gimmick cars are after it too. While the episode is trippy as all hell, as how else would you describe a pink prom limo being driven by a high school girl and her spider-for-a-head boyfriend. (If you've been following the whole series, your sharp eyes will also tell you that you're correct about Red X being in the back seat there.)
The funny thing about this episode really is the ending. The entire purpose of the show revolves around Robin getting his secret briefcase back. In the end, he decides to trust his friends with whatever secret he's been hiding. As he slowly opens the suitcase...the episode ends. It's a lot like the suitcase from Pulp Fiction. You never REALLY know what the hell was inside there. Even worse, unless I'm missing something major, whatever the hell was in that damn suitcase does NOT end up becoming important later. So ultimately the attempt at plot fails even though the attempted WEIRD succeeds greatly.
Episode 10: Go!
This episode reveals the origins of the Teen Titans. You know, how they all met...because when there are only three episodes left on your show it'd be a shame to have never done a flashback episode. Those are sort of required. While I won't bore you with the story, we do learn how Starfire learns foreign languages so quickly...
Apparently her people can suck face to learn whatever language they need to speak. Of course, considering how poor Starfire's English is...maybe she just needs to sleep with the guy. Oddly enough, whenever I tell people I have trouble speaking German they all suggest the same thing: Get a German girlfriend (or boyfriend, whatever). So the whole kissing someone/sleeping with them strategy actually comes highly recommended when it comes to learning a foreign tongue. Particularly if you're willing to put it in your own mouth.
Episodes 11 & 12: Calling All Titans & Titans Together
Did you like any one particular character from this show? Whether they were hero or villain, there's a 99% chance that they'll appear somewhere in these two climatic episodes. They also throw a bunch of new characters at you...mostly for effect. Most of them don't have any lines but that doesn't stop them from having names and their own detailed history if you're willing to buy a bunch of comic books. The episodes involve the regular Teen Titans recruiting random people as well as those very same random people being ambushed later by random villains. I'll share my personal highlight and leave it at that:
Almost all the Titans get captured by almost all the bad guys until, well, good wins out in the end. The Brain, you know...the evil guy who's just a ________, (answer found on bottom of page) in the ends activates a thermonuclear device. The Titans don't know what to do...so they lop in into space. Again. God Damn it, don't we have satellites and astronauts up there? Is it really safe to keep lobbing atomic devices into our upper atmosphere?
The Teen Titans sure seem to think so. Space: The Final Frontier...for radioactive waste.
And there you go. The entire gang of heroes (most of which were introduced in the final season, including the ones that I thought were supposed to be dead) pose a few times and the plot of the final season comes to an end. Good wins and all the bad guys are captured. It's actually not a terrible two-part episode. You get to see EVERYONE fighting EVERYONE ELSE...I've re-watched it a few times just to see what the heck is going on in the background. You know, because I'm the kind of guy who wants to know why the man with a caviar dish on his head just caught fire. This is where the show ends, if you like finishing on a positive note. If you don't check out the series' true conclusion:
Episode 13: Things Change.
If you like despair and sadness with a touch of the melancholy, then you'll love the finale of Teen Titans. Since the Teen Titans were literally out of town for the entire season, this episode is about them coming home to find that, as the episode title suggests, things have changed. All their old hangouts are closed and Terra (the hippy traitor from Season Two) is back but doesn't seem to remember her time with the Titans. The whole thing plays out like a soap opera, while a random monster shows up to fight everyone except Beast Boy...so the final episode is really just the green-skinned kid trying to remind his ex-girlfriend who he is. We've all been there, right?
Teen Titans doesn't end with a whimper. It ends with Beast Boy ascending into heaven. Well, not really, but it ends with him deciding it's time to grow up and move on. He runs out into the bright sunlight and the screen goes white. The show's over. In many ways I'm glad to hear it...and it's an interesting final message. It doesn't say "write to the television station kids and demand our return." What it does say is that kids grow up and put childish things behind them. Definitely surreal for a fading cartoon aimed at children.
No more Teen Titans...at least for a while now. I'm told they've got a full-length movie coming out soon. If enough of you bastards harass me I'm sure I'll end up throwing it on here...but hopefully, just maybe, I'm done writing about the Teen Titans. It's been an interesting thing to come back to now that I'm deep into year 2 of Head Injury Theater, but man...The next time I say I'm going to review something that isn't complete yet...someone stop me, alright?
In the meantime, I STILL say watch out for Mind Control Squid.
Copyright 2006 jared von hindman, except for images that are used via Fair Use for Review Purposes. Oh, and the answer was Brain, you retard. What, did you think someone called The Brain would be nothing but a toe or something? Jeez. By the way, all of you who pestered me about getting this final page on the Teen Titans...thanks for the gentle though somewhat obnoxious reminders. I'm talking to you, Felipe.