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The ending of Titans season 2 explained

With "Nightwing," Titans season 2 comes to a close with a much stronger sense of completion than anything viewers got the first time around. The series' first season ends with Dick Grayson possessed by the demon Trigon, Kori and Donna stuck behind a mystical force field, Gar and Rachel powerless to do anything, and the rest of the team hundreds of miles away. In contrast, "Nightwing" gives us the explosive conclusions to the two biggest conflicts in season two — the team's clash with the vengeful Deathstroke, and their liberation of Gar and Conner from Mercy Graves, special assistant to Lex Luthor. 

Be forewarned, the rest of what follows includes plenty of SPOILERS.

"Nightwing" sees the dead brought back to life, the supposedly unkillable killed, and the death of one of the original Titans. Thankfully, when the smoke clears the team finds itself more united and with a larger roster than ever. 

But the team doesn't get there without hardship. There's a lot going on in "Nightwing" — and in Titans season 2 as a whole. Titans, like a lot of superhero fiction, includes just about every genre under the sun. Between the demonic possessions, the psychic possessions, the star-crossed politics, the brainwashing, the drug abuse relapses, and all of the drama between the team's members, Titans can get a little complex. So if you're confused, keep reading for the ending of Titans season 2 explained.

The emergence of Nightwing in Titans season 2

Dick Grayson's evolution from Robin to Nightwing has been simmering ever since the very first episode of Titans. While he's still dressing as Robin in the beginning of Titans' first season, the rude phrase that shocked fans as soon as the first series trailer dropped was a signal that the Boy Wonder needed to get out from under the Dark Knight's shadow. He eventually burns his Robin costume — an act that earns him no end of ire from Bruce Wayne's suit-maker Stu in season 2's penultimate episode — and assures Jason Todd that he's no challenge to Jason's role as Robin. Eventually he's forced to ask himself exactly what Todd asks him: if he isn't Robin, who is he?

Dogged by his own inner Bruce Wayne throughout Titans season 2, Dick eventually comes to terms with the need to evolve beyond Robin, as well as beyond being merely Dick Grayson. When Dick gets himself thrown in prison, he finds more inspiration from a fellow prisoner who carves an image of his home village guardian — Alazul (or "blue wing" in Spanish) — onto their prison cell wall. Once he finally realizes Jericho is alive within his father's body, Dick breaks himself out of prison. Eventually he makes his way to Stu who, along with Lily, has already been busy making Dick his new outfit. In "Nightwing," the titular hero finally arrives and gives Deathstroke the fight he deserves.

The salvation of Jericho in Titans season 2

While we see Slade Wilson accidentally kill his son in the flashback episode "Jericho," there have been hints for a while that Jericho was alive. In Titans season 2's 11th episode, it's finally confirmed that before he died, Jericho psychically jumped into Deathstroke's body and has been waiting for the chance to escape. As he's reviewing his memories of his last face-to-face with Slade, Dick notices something that escaped him earlier — while Slade himself offered no forgiveness, his hands made the ASL sign for "I forgive you." 

But Dick can't save Jericho on his own. For Jericho to escape his father's body, he needs another one to inhabit. That's where his sister Rose, a.k.a. Ravager, comes in. At the end of Titans season 2's 11th episode, we learn that Rose originally agreed to stay with the Titans on Slade's orders as his mole, but in large part because of her love for Jason Todd, Rose tells Slade to go to hell. Since Jason has left her by "Nightwing," her loyalties seem iffy at first, but thankfully Rose turns on her father and encourages Jericho to jump into her body to save himself moments before Rose kills Slade. 

It remains to be seen exactly how Jericho and Rose are going to handle being two minds in the same body, but considering Rose lets her brother out to talk to Nightwing right after Slade's death, we already know Rose will be better about sharing than her father was.

The plans of Mercy Graves in Titans season 2

On the face of it, Mercy Graves' goals don't seem very complex — she's got dollar signs on her mind. "Nightwing" opens with Mercy remotely introducing Conner to a group of world leaders willing to pay top dollar for their own super soldier. After showing the bidders Conner's super-speed and immunity to bullets, Mercy tells the group to tune in later that night. The show Mercy has planned includes triggering the brainwashed Gar into going on a rampage in a crowded carnival, and then sending Conner in to stop Gar. Once the Titans show up, Mercy keeps the camera rolling in hopes that seeing Conner beat up on bonafide superheroes will drive the bidding up even further. Eventually things don't go as Mercy hoped, and we learn her unforgiving employer Lex Luthor is calling to find out what the problem is. 

While Mercy wants top dollar for Conner's super-powered services, it's likely money is not Lex Luthor's ultimate goal here. In "Conner," the episode that shows us Conner and Krypto's escape from Cadmus, we learn Lex and his people went to great lengths to successfully create Superboy. To do all that just for money isn't Lex's style, at least not as he appears in most media. In most likelihood the money is just a fringe benefit to the main goal — getting Lex's own super soldiers in place in an influential government. 

Nightwing brings Superboy back to the light in Titans season 2

Psychic visions and illusions are definitely a recurring thing on Titans. They can be used against the heroes, but they clearly can also serve as a benefit, sometimes even proving to be the thing that saves a hero's life. It's Trigon's psychic infiltrations that bring most of the Titans under his sway in the season 1 finale and season 2 premiere, while the visions Rachel gives Dick are exactly what frees him from her father's control. The same proves true for Conner in "Nightwing," and this time it's both Dick and Rachel who enter Superboy's thoughts and free him from Cadmus' conditioning.

Why is it Dick, instead of Rachel, who appears to Conner? A couple of reasons seem likely. First, Rachel is able to free Dick by entering his thoughts in part because she and Dick have grown close. No one in the Titans really knows Conner very well at this point. Gar probably knows him best, and by the time Rachel hits Conner with her powers Gar's still down for the count. Second, Dick's recent experiences in prison and his evolution to Nightwing help him relate to a teenage boy who's barely had the chance to figure out who or what he is. Third and finally, it's just cool. As the thematic sons of Superman and Batman respectively, Superboy and Nightwing needed to share some screen time in the season finale. 

The death of Donna Troy in Titans season 2

Initially, once Dick and Rachel's efforts free Conner from his conditioning, everything seems cool. Dove hears a young girl complaining that her doll was left on a ride, so she grabs the doll and brings it to the girl. As she does, a metal tower — damaged during the melee with Superboy — falls toward Dove and a group of civilians. Donna Troy charges forward and holds the tower aloft, but the energy from the tower electrocutes her. She's able to keep the tower up long enough for Dove and the innocents to escape, and finally she drops the tower and collapses, dead, on top of it. 

It seems strange that something like this could kill Donna Troy. Even excepting that power levels of the characters in the show can differ quite a bit from their counterparts in the comics, moments before, Donna proves herself to be the only Titan capable of holding her own in a fistfight with Superboy. Anyone who can survive a few punches from a brainwashed Conner should be able to survive an electric shock fairly easily. 

Maybe that's just it, though. Maybe her fight with Superboy is the answer to how the shock kills her. She does prove herself able to withstand hits from Conner, but not for long. It could be that her confrontation with Superboy weakened her to the point that something that would normally only stun her could prove fatal. 

Donna Troy's honor guard

We see the assembled Titans hand Donna's casket and her golden lasso over to what appears to be an honor guard of women on an airstrip. These are Themyscirans, the tribe of woman warriors who hail from the same mysterious island as Donna Troy and Wonder Woman. We meet many of them earlier in the season, though sadly most are killed by Slade Wilson. While Deathstroke kills Aqualad in the flashback episode that bears his name, we learn in "Jericho" that Slade's true target was Donna's benefactor Jillian. He finally succeeds in killing Jillian and her guards shortly before his fateful meeting with Robin and Jericho. 

It's no surprise the Themyscirans would ask to bring Donna's body back to their island, though it is interesting how their leader — whose name we don't learn — looks at Dick. She regards him with a great deal of respect, and that shouldn't be too surprising either. It's likely Donna and perhaps even Wonder Woman have told their fellow Themyscirans of the Dark Knight's protege, and it's only natural they would respect someone they saw as an accomplished warrior as well as a loyal ally of one of their own. 

Rachel's evolving powers in Titans season 2

In "Nightwing," we see Rachel's powers evolve in ways we haven't seen before. After Kori is shot by Deathstroke, Rachel's able to heal the wound. Later when Gar is still in tiger form and recovering from the beating he took from Conner, her powers again are able to heal rather than hurt — letting her snap Gar out of his brainwashing and without the kind of psychic infiltration she uses on Conner. 

And even though these are the first times we've seen Rachel's powers manifest as healing rather than hurting, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. After all, toward the end of the first season Trigon is able to heal Gar from the deadly illness that overtakes him (though, to be fair, Trigon was also the cause of the illness). This is why she leaves for Themyscira with Donna's corpse — she hopes she might be able to develop her powers enough to bring Donna back to life. The island may be the perfect place for Rachel. The Themyscirans are more used to the existence of the kind of magic that courses through Rachel, and are probably better-equipped to survive when her powers go awry, as they tend to do.

The future of Hawk & Dove after Titans season 2

The decision Hank and Dawn appear to make at the end of "Nightwing" — to stay broken up, but to still work together in the Titans — may seem strange in light of everything. It's sure to bring plenty of tension and conflict in season 3, particularly if Dawn and Dick Grayson's old romance reignites in wake of the breakup. But beyond planting seeds for future drama, there are some good reasons why the pair would make that choice. 

First of all, they've done it before. In both of this season's flashback episodes, "Aqualad" and "Jericho,"  Dawn and Dick are a couple though Hank still remains on the team with them both. Second, by the end of the second season Titans has become a family once more, and it's a family that both Hawk and Dove helped create. Whether they're going to continue their romance or not, they both have good reasons to stay and neither has the right to expect the other to leave. 

Third, and perhaps most likely, they both may hope that if they continue to fight crime alongside one another, whatever they had will be rekindled. It may not be the healthiest choice in the world, but considering the kinds of decisions both have made in the past, it certainly won't be their worst. 

The revelations about Bruce Wayne in Titans season 2

Bruce Wayne shows up throughout Titans season 2, but mostly as a phantom. He appears regularly to Dick as a part of his psyche, both to pay tribute to Bruce Waynes of old and to harshly force some much-needed revelations upon Grayson. Toward the end of "Nightwing," we're surprised to learn we got even more of Phantom Bruce than we knew. In "E.L._.O.," season 2's 11th episode, Rachel, Kori, Donna, and Dawn all receive different messages summoning them to a diner in Nevada where Bruce Wayne appears and encourages them to do what they can to keep the Titans together. When Kori mentions this meeting to Wayne in "Nightwing," he politely tells her she must be mistaken because he doesn't remember the meeting she's talking about. 

We can't explain this yet though Kori offers one possible explanation to Dawn — that the Bruce Wayne they met was an illusion unconsciously created by Rachel, along with all the messages that summoned the Titans to the diner. There's some proof to support this. In season 2 we see Rachel lose control of her powers and attack both her teammates and herself in her sleep, and in "Fallen," Rachel's powers — without her knowledge — bring a stone gargoyle to life who hunts down and murders Rachel's friend's abusive father. 

So could Kori be right? Absolutely. But until Titans season 3 at the earliest, there's no way to know for sure.

The wrath of Blackfire in Titans season 2

Titans' first season ended with a post-credits scene introducing Conner and Krypto. This time around, instead of a post-credits scene, we get one right before the credits, and rather than introducing us to a new Titans ally, we see the return of a villain we see only briefly earlier in the season — Blackfire. The alien queen is Kori's sister who led a violent coup on their homeworld of Tamaran, and sees Kori as an unacceptable loose end. 

We see a woman in a grocery store parking lot buckling her daughters into her car. She's about to unload her groceries when some kind of purplish substance strikes her in the ear. The woman walks away from the car, transforming into the much younger-looking Blackfire. We first see Blackfire as only a hologram in "Atonement," but now it looks like she's found a way to physically manifest on Earth. 

How? Well, the substance that hits the unsuspecting woman in the ear is the same substance that strikes Kori's friend and former lover Faddei in "Atonement." Somehow the substance has the ability to allow Blackfire or another Tamaran to possess the victim's body. It suggests there are already Blackfire-loyal Tamarans on Earth –  otherwise, who shoots the woman with the substance in the first place? It could be that Blackfire will be the big bad of season 3, and that rather than demons or mercenaries, next year the Titans will be facing an invasion of body snatchers.