WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Titans Season 1 episode "Asylum," streaming now on DC Universe.
Throughout its debut season, Titans has focused on a tormented Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) and his attempts to leave the past behind, not just as Robin, but as Bruce Wayne's adopted son. He believes his time in Gotham City made him a darker person, a theory explored in multiple episodes that have placed him in a position where he's fighting a violent, lethal urge to dispatch criminals.
In the latest episode, "Asylum," it all comes undone. Dick, trying to save his team from the mysterious organization that's been hunting Rachel (Teagan Croft), made a decision that's impossible to walk back from. Even if he wants to, it won't be easy because Dick's actions literally turned him into a mass murderer.
This episode focuses on Rachel finding out her mother is still alive, held in a mysterious asylum -- although how valid this is, we're not sure. Despite this clearly being a trap, Rachel and Garfield Logan (Ryan Potter) take off to rescue her mother. Of course, they get captured, as do Dick and Kory (Anna Diop) who tore off in pursuit of the pair. While Rachel finds a way to escape and meet her alleged mother, the rest of the team is being tortured, drugged and experimented on. As expected, they all eventually unite and bust out of their potential prison.
However, the body count is big and bloody; dozens of doctors and guards are taken down in the escape, with Dick leading the charge, as he believes he's the only one who can maintain control and not kill anyone. Well, that's thrown out the window because after clearing out their enemies, Dick looks at the gas pipes running throughout the establishment, and tells Kory to burn the building to the ground. She's stunned, because earlier Dick warned her about using her powers and triggering an explosion, but that was clearly in the interest of self-preservation as they would have died as well.
Whether his attitude is due to the mental trauma he just experienced, as the drugs had him fighting his younger self in a hallucination. Either way, Dick apparently has no regret as Kory blows the asylum up, with all the incapacitated guards, scientists and potentially other prisoners inside. That's right -- they don't evacuate anyone or give them time to run away. On Dick's instructions, anyone left inside is presumably incinerated in the blast.
It's the darkest moment in the series to date, capped by the final shot where Dick is watching a Robin costume burn. Of course, he didn't enter the facility wearing it, so it could be his mind is continuing to play tricks on him, but it's safe to say, he's one step closer to becoming Nightwing. Of course, we never envisioned an origin for that identity steeped in murder as the catalyst.
"Asylum" is a fitting title for the episode. Apart from physically breaking out of the building, the actual Titans seem to be breaking out of their mental shackles as well. Kory had the chance to say no to Dick, but goes through with the destruction anyway, all too eager to follow through on Dick breaking his "no-kill" policy, something he's spoken with her about numerous times. Even Gar has his dark moment where, while in tiger form, he actually bites and kills his first victim ever. It's a situation he's clearly in shock over and will have to deal with in the upcoming episodes.
But Starfire and Beast Boy are inexperienced and have virtually no training or guidance regarding what it means to be a hero. However, despite the thirst for vengeance lingering in Dick's soul, as we saw when he left his parents' killer, Tony Zucco, to die, should know better, no matter what experience he had as the Dark Knight's understudy. Now, sadly, he's devolved into someone no better than the villains he's trained to take down.
Now streaming on DC Universe, Titans stars Brenton Thwaites as Robin, Anna Diop as Starfire, Teagan Croft as Raven and Ryan Potter as Beast Boy.