WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Titans Season 2 episode "E.L._.O.," streaming now on DC Universe.
There's no better detective and strategist in the DC Universe than Batman, who employs his intellect, combat skills and technology to defeat a wide range of villains, from the maniacal Joker to the tyrannical Darkseid. However, on Titans there's one thing the Dark Knight can't do: keep his secret identity ... well, secret.
Mind you, once someone learns that Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) is -- or rather, was -- Robin, it doesn't require a leap of logic to deduce that Batman is, in fact, his adoptive father, billionaire-playboy Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen). But on the live-action series, Titans Tower is a Wayne property that uses Wayne technology to do everything from monitor power fluctuations in San Francisco to determine a genetic match between one of the building's mysterious guests, Rose (Chelsea Zhang), and Deathstroke (Esai Morales). And when the Titans disassembled in last week's episode over Dick's lies, he left Gar (Ryan Potter) with Bruce's phone number, should any problems arise.
Plus, let's not forget that Hank (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn (Minka Kelly) dropped by Wayne Manor in the Season 2 premiere in hopes of finding Dick, only to surprise Jason Todd (Curran Walters), not only with their presence but with their knowledge that Bruce is Batman.
However, that disregard for secrecy reaches new heights with this week's episode, "E.L._.O.," as Bruce displays not only a cavalier attitude about protecting his alter ego -- Rose even laments that Jason hasn't taken her to Wayne Manor -- but also the, frankly, remarkable reach of Wayne tech.
With Dick still in a Nevada prison, where he's ill and hallucinating in solitary confinement, and the rest of the (former?) Titans scattered across the country, from San Francisco to Gotham City, Rachel (Teagan Croft) has a nightmare about the former Boy Wonder being murdered by Deathstroke. She wakes, only for an image of the Elko Diner to flash through her mind. Later, when she's spurred to find Dick again, she arrives at the bus station just as Elko, Nevada, appears on the departure board (it's also the solution to the crossword puzzle the attendant is working on, hence the episode's title).
At an empty Titans Tower left wrecked by the by the abduction of Gar and Conner (Joshua Orpin), Donna (Conor Leslie) receives a garbled call from Rachel, pleading for her to come to -- where else? -- the Elko Diner. Not-at-all coincidentally, somewhere in Wyoming, Dawn's truck radio picks up a commercial for the Elko Diner, and then later broadcasts a message, purportedly from Rachel (her truck then breakds down ... outside the Elko Diner). And Kory (Anna Diop) responds to a strange television commercial for the "best donuts north of Area 51" at ... well, you can probably guess.
There certainly appears to be a supernatural hand at work in bringing together these people in one place. It's reminiscent of when Rachel reached out to Hank and Dawn in Season 1 to bring them to Ohio, to save her and Dick from Trigon. However, when the four women meet at the diner, they discover there are no doughnuts (at least not initially) or "Elko Joe," who appeared in the TV and radio adds. There's only an irritated cook, and flies swarming a cake. They're at a loss for what drew them there, at least until Bruce Wayne saunters into the diner and greets them: "I'm so glad you all could make it."
He's quickly brought up to speed on the disappearances of Gar and Conner (and the bloody paw prints and broken glass left in their wake), although it seems likely he already knew all about that. However, the real reason for his appearance is to counsel them about the splintering of their "family of choice." "Breaking apart was a choice," he continues. "In light of this news, I'm asking you to make another one: to come together."
"If you won't protect one another, who will?" Bruce asks as he takes a jelly doughnut the cook made at Kory's insistence, and then leaves just as he arrived.
"So, let me get this straight," Kory says with a chuckle. "Bruce Wayne somehow miraculously arranged for us all to meet in this diner in the middle of nowhere to mansplain us into putting the Titans back together?"
The answer is, yes, although we're left to wonder how. The phone messages and radio and TV spots can perhaps be explained away by sophisticated technology, and perhaps surveillance of Donna and Kory's doughnut conversation during their stakeout in the second episode of the season. But that doesn't account for the image of the Elko Diner that Rachel sees or, for that matter, the appearance by Elko, Nevada, in the crossword puzzle being studied by the bus station ticket agent. However, there is a Justice League in the world of Titans, so perhaps Bruce engaged the services of a telepath like Martian Manhunter or a magic user like Zatanna to implant the image in Rachel's mind. The crossword puzzle may be mere coincidence. Maybe?
But why Elko, Nevada, population 18,297? The answer arrives with a news broadcast that "miraculously" breaks through on the diner's static-filled TV set, conveying Dick Grayson's role in an escape from a nearby penitentiary. Although that doesn't move Donna and Dawn to go to his aid -- "He put himself up on that cross," Donna observes -- Kory and Rachel break into the prison to free Dick, only to find that he's already gone.
That's because he worked through the mystery surrounding the death of Jericho (Chella Man), the source of so much guilt -- with the help of that other Bruce Wayne, the one that serves as his mocking, dancing conscience. See? There's nothing Bruce Wayne, real or imagined, can't do. Well, almost nothing.
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.