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The ending of Titans season 1 explained

The finale for the first season of Titans – the DC Universe streaming service's first original series — gave the audience a few surprises, not the least of which being that it was the finale. It didn't give fans the usual big climactic battle most superhero TV shows feature in a season ending, and a post-credits scene added a surprising development as well as possibly introducing two new regular members to the Titans cast. 

Part of the reason it didn't feel like a finale is that it wasn't originally meant to be. Titans showrunner Greg Walker confirmed in an interview with TVLine that what was originally meant to be the season 1 finale will instead act as the season 2 premiere. They wanted to end the first season on a huge cliffhanger and "go for an even bigger, better season 2 opener."

We'll have to wait and see if they succeed with the season 2 premiere, but as far as the goal of ending the first season with a cliffhanger, they've clearly succeeded. The episode, titled "Dick Grayson," ends with Dick (Brenton Thwaites) possessed by the demon Trigon (Seamus Dever) and most of the regular cast M.I.A. We don't know if anyone else is possessed or even where any of the other Titans are. 

Here's exactly what happened at the end of season 1 of Titans.

Was any of it real?

Most of the Titans season 1 finale is a Trigon-induced hallucination. Dick Grayson believes he's married to Dawn, a.k.a Dove (Minka Kelly). They have a young son and Dawn has a baby on the way. Gar (Ryan Potter) and Raven (Rachel Roth) are off at college and Kory (Anna Diop) is an FBI agent. Jason Todd (Curran Walters) arrives in a wheelchair, warning Dick that Batman has finally cracked. Dick goes to Gotham to stop his mentor before the hero can kill the Joker, but he fails. Once Batman starts killing, he can't stop, and everyone in Arkham is on his hit list. Dick gives Batman's secret identity to the GCPD and helps them raid his home, but Batman is ready for them and he kills almost all of the cops, including Kory. Dick's virtual future ends when Batman reaches out to his old ward for help, and instead Dick murders him. 

For the most part, nothing in Dick's Gotham vision was real except for Dick and his choices. Trigon himself appears in the vision as a GCPD detective, and it's possible he was real. Otherwise, none of it happened. Kory isn't dead, neither is Batman or his rogues' gallery. Jason Todd is still walking, and Dove isn't having a kid anytime soon. 

There was one hint that someone on the side of the angels was able to infiltrate the dream, and we'll get to that in a minute. 

What happened to Dick?

The Gotham hallucination enabled the demon Trigon to possess Dick. Dick awakens from his vision in the same house where we left Trigon, Raven, and Raven's mother Angela (Rachel Nichols) in the previous episode. His eyes are blackened and a dark, infection-like coloring spreads from his eyes. Season 2 of Titans will open with Dick Grayson completely under Trigon's control.

So why the visions? Why bother toying with Dick before taking him over? Was Trigon just being a sadistic jerk? Was he just playing with his "food?"

Well, he's a demon, so Trigon probably has plenty of sadism to spare, but no. He wasn't just being a jerk — Trigon needed the Gotham hallucination in order to ensnare Dick. The season's seventh episode, "Asylum," ended with Dick burning his Robin suit as a symbol of rejecting the darker urges he'd suffered since involving himself in the death of his parents' killer. Trigon needed to drag Dick back down to that dark place, and the Gotham hallucination was his way of doing it. He pushed him to the point of committing one of the darkest acts he could imagine — murdering his own mentor. He didn't really kill Batman, but it felt real to him, and that was enough. Once he stepped over that line, he opened the door for Trigon's influence.

Why didn't Trigon kill Dick?

You'd think Trigon could have killed Dick Grayson rather than possessing him. Actually, he could've blocked him from entering his presence. At the end of the season's penultimate episode, "Koriand'r," Kory and Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) both try to follow Dick into the house where Trigon was summoned, but they're blocked by an invisible barrier while Dick is allowed to pass through. So why did Trigon want Grayson and none of the others, and why possess him rather than kill him?

Titans showrunner Greg Walker told TVLine that Trigon lets Dick into the house specifically to turn him, and that it "has a lot to do with [Trigon's] plan for Rachel." Considering their emotional connection, this suggests that Trigon needed more from his daughter than to simply bring him into the world. 

In most likelihood, Trigon needs to emotionally manipulate Rachel into doing what he wants, and that's where Grayson comes in. That also explains why he let Dick through the barrier and not Kory or Donna Troy; Rachel doesn't know Troy very well, and Kory tried to kill her not too long ago. But Rachel still trusts Dick.

There could be another reason. With his connection to Batman, Dick has access to people and resources no one else in the Titans could match. That could make Dick much more useful to Trigon as an unwitting ally than as a corpse.

Why did Raven's mom switch sides?

In the season's second-to-last episode, we learn Angela — Rachel's biological mother — is just as committed to bringing Trigon into the world as her former captors were. Angela murders her unfortunate new suitor Tommy Carson (Jeff Roop) and on Kori's newly discovered ship, Dick, Kori, and Donna find proof of Angela's true allegiances.

So really, Angela never switched sides. She worked in the service of Trigon all along.

Which naturally leads us to the question of why Angela was being held in the institution the Titans freed her from in the season's 7th episode, "Asylum." It could be that keeping Angela there and making her appear to be a prisoner was all a part of Trigon's followers' plan. They may have known only Rachel's biological mother could convince her to willingly bring her father into her dimension, and perhaps they thought the only way to get the Titans to trust Angela was to make them think they'd rescued her. 

It's also possible things are a little bit more complicated than that. While Trigon's followers are utterly devoted to him, perhaps they didn't see eye-to-eye with Angela. Maybe when the final battle comes, Trigon and his followers won't necessarily be on the same side.

What can the Titans do now?

The Titans aren't in great shape at the end of the season finale. Dick is possessed by Trigon, Rachel seems to be at least emotionally under his influence, and we don't even know where Gar is. Kory and Donna Troy were left outside the house where Dick was turned by Trigon, helpless so far to save their friends. 

One possibility is that Rachel isn't as duped by her parents as she appears to be. Rachel spent the entire first season fighting off her father's influence and it seems strange she would give in to his wishes now. There was at least one tiny sign during Dick's Gotham illusion that Rachel has already made her move against Trigon, and we'll talk about that in a minute.

There's Kory and Donna, who were left outside the house at the end of "Koriand'r." They're both women of action and they're not going to wait outside for long. Considering they're both completely free of Trigon's influence, they may be the best chance their friends have right now. We also shouldn't forget Hawk & Dove. Episode 9, "Hank and Dawn," ended with Dawn waking in the hospital and telling Hank they needed to find Jason Todd; this after both received psychic cries for help from Rachel.

And finally, there are two characters who showed up in the post-credits scene who — if they are who we think they are — could be the two of the most powerful Titans yet.

Will Kory try to kill Rachel?

The first season's eighth episode, "Donna Troy," ends with Kory suddenly regaining some of her memory, and the first thing she does is try to kill Rachel. Kory learns that while she has spent most of the season protecting Rachel, her official mission is to kill her. Later, in "Koriand'r" we learn Kory is from the planet Tamaran and she was sent to Earth with the express purpose of killing Rachel in order to stop her father's entry into our dimension. 

Since the Titans stopped her from Rachel, Kory hasn't had a lot of time for reflection, so it's tough to say what she'll do. On one hand, Rachel has brought Trigon into the world, so you might think the damage is done; Kori's free and clear. Even if Kory wanted to kill Rachel, what would be the point?

Unfortunately, Kory might not be off the hook. Considering the fact that we know Trigon possessed Dick Grayson mainly because of his plans for Rachel, that means the demon still needs his daughter. If he still needs Rachel, then she's a potential target and Kori's going to have to decide whether or not she's willing to kill a friend.

What happened to Kory and Donna Troy?

The real Kory and Donna Troy don't appear in the Titans season finale. Last we saw them, they'd tried and failed to get through the same barrier that parted for Dick and let him into the house where Trigon entered the Titans' dimension. As far as we know, at the end of the season finale Kory and Donna are still outside, trying to figure out what they should do.

It may be that Kory and Donna will be the key to taking down Trigon. Kory's still waking from her amnesia, but considering she was sent to Earth specifically to stop Trigon, there may be more information she has either buried in her memories or waiting to be discovered on her ship that could help them save their friends. 

Donna Troy, on the other hand, is so far the most mysterious member of Titans. We know Wonder Woman was her mentor, we know for some reason she set aside her superhero career, and we know she was able to partially recognize Kori's Tamaran language. It's likely season 2 will give us more of Troy's story, and part of it might be the key to Trigon's defeat.

What happened to Gar?

Gar is presumably absent from the Titans season 1 finale. We see a hallucinatory version of Gar with Rachel — on a video call with Dick and Dawn from college — but like almost everything else in Dick's dark vision, that wasn't real. 

In the previous episode, Gar almost died. He developed a mysterious and fast-acting illness and was saved by Trigon's powers. As that episode ends, Gar and Rachel are sitting together in the house with Trigon and Angela, but when the first cut comes from Dick's vision to the house, Trigon, Angela, and Rachel are all there, but Gar is conspicuously absent. To all appearances, the real Gar never appears in "Dick Grayson"... but does he?

Shortly before Dick leaves for Gotham in his vision, his son gives him his favorite toy — a stuffed tiger — to protect him on his journey. It could be that Gar now has some kind of psychic connection with Dick, acting as a poison pill to Trigon's influence. If so, it could be Rachel's doing. Rachel might have somehow used her powers to protect Dick. It could be that Trigon opened the door for this by using his power to heal Gar. It could also be that Gar himself has nothing to do with it, but that Rachel used a tiger hoping Dick would recognize it both as a warning and to alert him that she was helping him.

How did Raven contact Hawk & Dove?

Episode 9, "Hank and Dawn," took us back to the hospital room where Dawn (Minka Kelly) recovers from her fight with the Nuclear Family, and Hank (Alan Ritchson) keeps a tireless vigil. From both of their perspectives, we learn how and why they became Hawk & Dove. Rachel occasionally interrupts their flashbacks with psychic calls for help. In episode 10 we learn Rachel called to them while Kory tried to kill her. 

What's strange is that Hawk & Dove each receive Rachel's calls for help in the past, before they ever met Rachel. What's going on? Why did Rachel send her messages into the past and how did she do it?

In the comics it was shown as early as her first appearance that Rachel's psychic powers could play havoc with time. In 1980's DC Comics Presents #26, Robin suffers from a psychic temporal shifting. While trying to deal with terrorists, he keeps flashing forward in time to a battle with an extra-dimensional blob. He's allied with the other New Teen Titans, even though the team doesn't exist yet. The issue ends with Raven stepping out of the shadows, revealing she's the one who's been messing with Robin's perception.

As to why Rachel reached out to Hawk & Dove in the past rather than the present, she probably had no idea she was doing it. The Raven of New Teen Titans was much more well-versed in her powers than Rachel of Titans.

What happened in the post-credits scene?

The Titans' season finale featured the potential introduction of two DC heroes — one who has been rumored to be an upcoming part of the series for a while, and another who was more surprising (and possibly less housebroken).

The post-credits scene features a naked figure, mostly hidden in shadows, raging through Cadmus Laboratories in Metropolis. Scientists who are either dead or injured lay all over the place. The scene ends when the figure opens a cage, freeing the dog inside. Just before the screen goes black, the dog's eyes glow bright red. 

In most likelihood, the naked man is Superboy and the dog is Krypto, though the latter is sadly lacking his little doggy super cape.

There have been a few different characters named Superboy and one of them was Kon-El, a clone of Superman who Cadmus Labs developed after the 1984 Death of Superman event. His origins were retconned eventually, but the clone origin gained traction again when 2010's Young Justice not only featured Superboy but the first two episodes revolved around the discovery of the clone. 

Krypto's appearance is more curious. It may be that the Titans version of the superdog will be a clone, and it would make sense that scientists would try their cloning techniques on animals before people. 

Will the Justice League get involved?

We know certain major DC characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman all exist in the timeline of Titans. But so far, they haven't shown up and the question of whether or not they eventually will is an interesting one.

Ironically, the season 1 finale — which takes place mostly in an illusory Gotham City– served as proof of how much the show's creative team does not want to bring the DC big guns into their show. They went to great lengths to keep the faces of Batman and all his villains hidden. Whenever we see corpses, Titans shows us just enough to identify them (e.g., a lifeless hand reaching out for a familiar, scarred coin), but everyone remains faceless even within the illusion.

On the other hand, you have to wonder just how long Titans can keep going without a more direct connection to its heroes' mentors for at least a guest appearance or two. Dick Grayson and Donna Troy have their respective connections to Batman and Wonder Woman. If the post-credits scene of the season finale is an indication, then it seems likely Superboy will become a series regular whose connection to Superman is obvious. Just as CW's Supergirl eventually gave a guest spot here and there to Supergirl's more famous cousin, you have to wonder if indefinitely keeping the Big Three at bay will damage the longterm integrity of Titans.