WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Titans Season 2 episode "Ghosts," streaming now on DC Universe.
There were clear indications in the final trailer for Titans Season 2 that the original team suffered a traumatic loss in a previous conflict with Deathstroke that led to their disbandment. However, Donna Troy's insistence that there are "ghosts" (plural) in Titans Tower suggested that may have been more than just Drew Van Acker's Aqualad. Now, the season's third episode offers support for that belief, as well as an explanation for why Slade Wilson withdrew from the world: He murdered his own son, Jericho.
In DC's 1980 revival The New Teen Titans, Deathstroke became the team's archenemy after his eldest son, Grant Wilson, turned to the H.I.V.E. (Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination), the terrorist organization that previously sought to hire Deathstroke, to imbue him with abilities equal to his father. However, his powers were unstable, and resulted in his death during a fight with the young heroes. An enraged Deathstroke stepped in to fulfill Grant's commitment to H.I.V.E., a crusade that culminated in the seminal "Judas Contract" storyline. That's the same arc that introduced his estranged younger son, Joseph (aka Jericho), who allied himself with Dick Grayson to rescue the kidnapped Titans and stop his father; he subsequently joined the team.
In Titans' appropriately titled "Ghosts," Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) is drawn in multiple directions as he contends with a tense reunion in Titans Tower with Donna (Conor Leslie), Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly) and Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson), drawn back to their former headquarters by the threat of Doctor Light; a brewing mutiny by Jason Todd (Curran Walters); and the realization he has Slade Wilson's own daughter, Rose (Chelsea Zhang), under their roof. But he's also grappling with guilt about what happened in the Titans' previous encounter with Deathstroke.
"Deathstroke is the reason we shuttered this place," Donna sharply reminds Dick after he not only reveals the identity of their house guest, but shows security footage of Rose being attacked by Slade in San Francisco. "We limped away; I didn't come here for Round 2." She later encourages him to tell Jason, Rachel (Teagan Croft) and Gar (Ryan Potter) what happened, and of the original team's "sins," but leaves the word hanging with no elaboration. Although Aqualad is never mentioned in the episode (that will change with Episode 4, titled "Aqualad"), a contemplative Hank stands in front of a placard bearing his name, erasing any remaining doubt that he died at the hands of the assassin.
However, Jericho is named, by Gar as he recites highlights of Deathstroke's dossier. "I.N.T.E.R.P.O.L. says he retired years ago, after the death of his son Jericho," he says, adding, "I tried having the computer find --," before Dick cuts him off: "I'll take it from here."
When later questioned by Dick about why surveillance-camera footage shows her being pursued by her own father, Rose matter-of-factly explains, "He killed my brother, said big brother fell in with the wrong crowd." Pressed about when, she says "four or so years ago," which matches with I.N.T.E.R.P.O.L. intelligence. It also may align with the disbanding of the original Titans, considering Doctor Light had been in prison for about five years at the time Deathstroke freed him in the previous episode.
We know that Jericho will be portrayed by Chella Man, who's seen only briefly in the Season 2 trailers (seriously, Shimmer receives more screen time), but there's been no indication whether that role will play out in Titans' present, or be relegated to flashbacks, like Aqualad. However, there are certainly enough clues to suggest Jericho allied himself with the team in the past, and paid the ultimate price for his "betrayal" of his father. It's obvious from the Season 2 premiere that Slade Wilson (Esai Morales) was left emotionally scarred by his earlier conflict with the Titans, and was drawn back into action by news that the team has re-formed. We can add to that not only Donna's mention of "ghosts," implying there was more than one loss in Titans Tower, but also Dick's eagerness to prevent Gar from digging deeper into Jericho's reported death, and the presence of seven display cases in the dressing area of their headquarters (Robin, Wonder Girl, Hawk, Dove and Aqualad, plus two others; Jericho and the previously mentioned Roy Harper, maybe?).
That's not to suggest Jericho is truly dead, though. In the comics, Jericho can "possess" the body of anyone with whom he makes eye contact, and control their motor functions. It's possible Deathstroke, and virtually everyone else, believes Jericho is dead, but he instead transferred his consciousness into someone else (as he did in the comics with Slade, his spirit lying dormant within his father for years after his apparent death). Perhaps, then, Dick's desire to cut short Gar's investigation isn't to keep from laying bare the Titans' "sins" to Rachel, Gar and Jason, but to keep Jericho's secret: that he still lives, safe from his father, within a new host.
Streaming now on DC Universe, Titans Season 2 stars Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson, Anna Diop as Kory Anders, Teagan Croft as Rachel Roth, Ryan Potter as Garfield Logan, Curran Walters as Jason Todd and Conor Leslie as Donna Troy, with Minka Kelly as Dawn Granger, Alan Ritchson as Hank Hall, Joshua Orpin as Superboy, Chelsea Zhang as Rose Wilson, Chella Man as Jericho, Drew Van Acker as Aqualad, Esai Morales as Deathstroke and Iain Glen as Bruce Wayne.