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Teen Titans: Season Four Episode Guide

 Episode 40: Episode 257-494

“The Control Freak is a dork, yes? ” 
– Starfire

Originally aired: January 17, 2005
Written by David Slack
Directed by Ben Jones

When Control Freak busts out of jail, throwing him back in should be as easy as clicking a remote. But after CF hot-wires some high-end A/V equipment and escapes into a TV. set, things get … a little weird. Can the Titans make their way through the wacky world of television to catch the channel-flipping bad guy? Or will Control Freak make our heroes flip out?

Alex Polinsky as Control Freak

General Episode Notes:

  • The original title of this episode was “Don’t Touch That Dial.”
  • The episode title “Episode 257-494” refers to the actual production number of the episode.
  • Control Freak’s mug shot shows the number “257-325” – which is the production number of FEAR ITSELF, Control Freak’s first appearance.
  • The production number 257 is seen again with “Agent 257.”
  • The Mijo & Tito are a reference to Lilo & Stitch [a child and an alien friend; “Mijo” is Spanish for “friend.”]; The alien shown looks like Soto from EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY. When Beast Boy flips channels in THE BEAST WITHIN, he sees a scary scene with Soto’s shadow and a boy resembling series producer Glen Murakami. This is perhaps related to Miyo & Tito.
  • The TV chef show appears again. It was also seen in NEVERMORE and THE BEAST WITHIN.
  • The evil villain from “Clash of the Planets” looks a lot like Baron Karza, an evil Micronaut from 1970s Mego’s toy line. Producer Glen Murakami has mentioned that Cyborg’s look on the series is inspired somewhat by the Micronauts.
  • The monster movie “It Came From Jones’ Lake” is a nod to the director of this episode: Ben Jones.
  • Writer David Slack is a big fan of the Japanimation series, “Battle of the Planets” – which has multiple references in this episode.
  • “The Hooten Boys” is a reference to Chris Hooten, the series colorist.
  • Baron Ryang (the Baron Karza type guy) is named after Titans’ prop designer, Norm Ryang.
  • Beast Boy uses the “Hakjoon Chant” to banish Control Freak to the 2-D prison. He chants the name Hakjoon Kang. This is a reference to Hakjoon (Hak) Kang, Teen Titans Background designer (and designer of the T-Tower itself!).
  • When trapped in “Clash of the Planets.” Cyborg says, “I remember this scene. We’re in the first episode of season four.” This episode is the first episode of season four of Teen Titans.
  • The guest on “The Actor’s Studio” is Dr. Victor Payton – which is a reference to Khary [Cyborg] Payton’s father.
  • Raven is tackled by the football team, The Steel City Tigers. Titans East is based in Steel City.
  • When Robin waterskis, he ‘jumps the shark.’ “Jumping the Shark” has become slang for the moment when a show goes downhill. The phrase originated from an episode of “Happy Days” where Fonzie jumped a shark on waterskis in California.
  • Control Freak says he is a 12th level Space Samurai. “12th level” is a term used in Dungeons & Dragons.
  • When Control Freak becomes the 12th level Space Samurai, he calls himself “Count Rol Freak-O”

TV and Movie References:

  • There are multiple references to “Battle of the Planets:”
  • – Beast Boy talks about “Danger Team Five” and the character shown looks like Mark or Jason from “Battle of the Planets”. There’s also five members of the G-Force team on “Battle of the Planets.”
  • – “Clash of the Planets” is a takeoff on the title “Battle of the Planets”
  • – The “Clash of the Planets” logo is exactly like the “Battle of the Planets” logo
  • – The robot is called “7Gorn7” which is reference to Seven-Zark-7, their computerized coordinator
  • – When Beast Boy explains “Clash of the Planets,” one of the fat fanboys is dressed like Princess from “Battle of the Planets.”
  • – The small robot who hugs the boy at the end of “Clash of the Planets” looks like Seven-Zark-7.
  • There are multiple references to “Star Wars:”
  • – Control Freak’s training is similar to Luke Skywalker’s Jedi training
  • – The weapons of “Clash of the Planets” are exactly like light sabers
  • – Control Freak becomes a powerful being similar to Darth Vadar
  • – Control Freak revealing he is the boy’s father is exactly like the Luke/Darth scene from “The Empire Strikes Back”
  • – Control Freak uses Jedi mind powers
  • – Beast Boy attempts Obi Wan’s Jedi mind trick when he grabs Raven’s robe and says: “You don’t need our identification.”
  • – Control Freak uses an energy ball similar to the Emporer in “Return of the Jedi”
  • The opening sequence is an exact parody of the opening sequence of the 1950’s sci-fi show, “The Outer Limits.”
  • The 7Gorn7 Robot looks just like Robbie the Robot – who was seen in “Lost in Space”, “Forbidden Planet”, “The Outer Limits”, and countless others.
  • The 7Gorn7 name contains two references: Seven-Zark-7 of “Battle of the Planets” and the Gorn from “Star Trek” the original series.
  • The Mijo & Tito are a reference to Lilo & Stitch [a child and an alien friend]
  • Control Freak says: “We have the technology” – which is a reference to the opening sequence of “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
  • The “Hooten Boys” are a reference to “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
  • The rhyming pelican is similar to a Dr. Suess character.
  • The Beast Boy/Control Freak chase scene is a takeoff on a Road Runner cartoon, with Control Freak as Road Runner and Beast Boy as Wile E. Coyote
  • Beast Boy is trapped in a 1950s sitcom similar to “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.”
  • A few James Bond references:
  • – Agent 257 is just like James Bond, Agent 007 [who often wore tuxedos]
  • – Control Freak acts like Bond’s nemesis Blofeld when he is seen in shadow stroking the white cat
  • A villain stroking the cat in shadow is also similar to “Inspector Gadget’s” arch-enemy, Dr. Claw.
  • The guard robots with one red eye are a reference to the Cylons from “Battlestar Galactica.”
  • The Xinthos commercial is a parody of a pharmaceutical commercial: “The makers of Azarath and Metrion, are proud to introduce… Zinthos. New and improved Zinthos gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. And becuase it is blue, Zinthos goes with everything. (scrolling warnings at bottom) Zinthos isn’t right for everyone, and may cause bloating, cramping, hair loss, disturbing visions, fits of rage, and the growth of Additional eyes. Children under the age of three should not be exposed to Zinthos. Do not get Zinthos wet, or feed it after midnight. If you experience trouble meditating, stop saying Zinthos and consult your ancient scrolls immediatly. New, blue, Zinthos.”
  • The warning to “never feed Xinthos after midnight” or “get it wet” is a reference to the movie, “Gremlins.”
  • The newscaster looks just like Ted Koppel
  • Control Freak’s training is similar to Neo’s in “The Matrix.” Control Freak says, “I even know Kung Fu. Woah” – which is a dig at Keanu Reeves, who played Neo.
  • “Stuntfest” is a parody of extreme reality shows like “Crocodile Hunter” and “Fear Factor.”
  • Control Freak says, “Hasta La Vista, Titans.” This is a reference to “Terminator II”… where Terminator uttered the famous line, “Hasta La Vista, baby!” Control Freak wears sunglasses, which is another signature Terminator bit.
  • The interview show is a parody of “Inside the Actor’s Studio”
  • The 1960’s “Batman” TV show is referenced when the Titans “T” zooms in and out to change scenes; The music is even similar to “Batman.”
  • Control Freak says, “There can be only one.” This is a reference to the famous line from “Highlander.”
  • When Count Rol Freak-O says “There can be only one!”, he strikes the classic He-man pose, with lightning and all.
  • Beast Boy’s final move which defeats Control Freak is similar to the “Dragonball” series.
  • When Control Freak is banished, he is thrust into a mirror-like device; This is similar to the imprisonment of the Phantom Zone villains in “Superman I” and “Superman II.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on “Battle of the Planets” and Teen Titans: “And what drew me to the show was, I was a big fan of “G-Force” or “Battle of the Planets” – whatever you’d call it – when I was a kid. So I quickly realized this was my opportunity to do “G-Force.” And what I liked about “G-Force” was that it seemed like it was made for me. Fun, exciting. So I put guidelines as to what kinds of stories we were looking to tell.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on “Episode 257-494”:  “That was a fun episode. Ben Jones did an amazing job. He always adds a lot. Like that part at the end where the girl was still with Cyborg. That wasn’t originally in the script. That was something that Ben and his storyboard artists added in. And that was my favorite gag in the whole episode. That was very funny. At first I was like, “Oh, Cyborg got the girl out of the TV.” But then somebody said, “Or maybe they’re still IN the TV.” So I loved that. I thought it was just brilliant.”

In the comic book series, Beast Boy was once a star in a sci-fi space series before joining the Teen Titans. Needing a change of scenery, Beast Boy left home and traveled to Hollywood where he became an actor in the television show Space Trek, 2022, playing an alien metamorph named Tork. Both Beast Boy’s acting ability and the show’s episodes were less than memorable, and soon Beast Boy found himself out of a job and looking for a place to stay.

From the Xinthos commercial: “Zinthos isn’t right for everyone, and may cause bloating, cramping, hair loss, disturbing visions, fits of rage, and the growth of Additional eyes.” The additional eyes and fits of rage are a reference to Raven’s demonic heritage. Raven’s father, Trigon, had four eyes. When Raven gave into her dark side and Trigon corrupted her, she had four eyes and red skin.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 41: Cyborg The Barbarian

“Don’t do anything. Don’t touch anything. Sci-fi rule #1: You start messing with the past and you got monkeys ruling the future. ” 
– Cyborg

Originally aired: February 12, 2005
Written by Simon Racioppa and Richard Elliot
Directed by Alex Soto

Cyborg is mysteriously thrown into the distant past and lands in the middle of a barbarian village that needs his help. But with the nearest charging station 5,000 years in the future, Cy has no way to recharge, and his power supply is dwindling.

Kimberly Brooks as Sarasim
Michael Clark Duncan as Krall

  • This episode originally aired out of production order.
  • Cyborg’s love for waffles – as seen in CRASH – is remembered by Raven in the opening scene.
  • When Cyborg worries about messing with the timeline, we see an image of a ‘baby’ Warp from the episode HOW LONG IS FOREVER?
  • Cyborg’s comment about “monkeys ruling the future” is a reference to the “Planet of the Apes”. In the movie, a human survivor discovers the Statue of Liberty and realizes he is on earth; Cyborg’s visual shows the Statue of Liberty in the background as well.
  • The face on the Statue of Liberty is Irineo Maramba – a storyboard artist for the series.
  • The face on the sun is a caricature of character designer Derrick Wyatt.
  • When Cyborg digitally avoids messing with the past, it looks just like the video game, “Frogger.”
  • “It’s about time someone went Broze Age on your butt” is a reference to the movie “Pulp Fiction” – albeit a slighly cleaned up quote.

Story Editor  Rob Hoegee on “Cyborg The Barbarian”: “We knew that this season was going to have some departures from previous seasons. We knew there was some darker stuff coming, so we wanted to balance it. I story edited that. Richard Elliot and Simon Racioppa wrote that and did a great job. We wanted to a fun – and somewhat dramatic – action piece. We also wanted to focus on one member of the team away from the rest. We had some discussions about that; Whether we should cut back to the other Titans to see what they were up to. But we decided that once Cyborg was in the past we would just stay with him throughout the whole episode. And it really freed us to create a story that took on a life of his own. ”

“[…] We definitely took some cues from “Conan” and those sword-and-sandals movies. Y’know, where the good guys are good. The bad guys are bad. And everyone smells. [all laugh]. The end. […] But I liked giving Cyborg an emotional story – a story where he would be able to really connect with someone. And I also liked the end where he was abruptly pulled from the heat of battle with absolutely no idea how it’s all going to turn out. I felt it was a very cool way to play that.”

The name Sarasim is a reference to Cyborg’s love interest in the comic book series, Sarah Simms. But the similarities end there.

A far cry from a barbarian queen, Sarah Simms was a teacher at West Side School for the Handicapped – where the students coped with prosthetic limbs. The children looked up to Vic, who had his own ‘metal prosthetics,’ of a sort. Vic and Sarah Simms remained close friends. Although each of them danced around the idea of a romantic relationship, this would never come to pass. Sarah first appeared in NEW TEEN TITANS #8 [1981] and remained a supporting player in the Titans book until the late 1980s.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 42: Birthmark

 “I have to say Raven, when I found out the truth I was very impressed. All this time I had no idea the power lurking inside you. The glorious destiny that awaits. It’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it? “
“But honestly, did you think you could just blow out the candles and wish it all away? Today is the day it begins. You’ve known this all your life. It is going to happen. And no matter what you wish… no matter where you go… no matter how you squirm… there is nothing you can do to stop it. “
– Slade

Originally aired: February 5, 2005
Written by David Slack
Directed by Michael Chang

Slade is back and this time he’s after Raven. But the Teen Titans question why.

Roger Bumpass as Dr. Light
Ron Perlman as Slade
Kevin Michael Richardson as the voice of Trigon

  • Kevin Michael Richardson – who provides the voice of Trigon – also plays Mammoth and the Joker on WB’s “The Batman”; The voice of Trigon was originally Keith Szarabajka in the episode NEVERMORE.
  • Trigon first appeared in NEVERMORE as a vision inside Raven’s head.
  • Dr. Light’s surrender to Raven is due to his frightening defeat at her hands in NEVERMORE. Dr. Light also uses his souped-up super-suit, which was seen briefly in WAVELENGTH.
  • Slade was last seen as a hallucination in HAUNTED. He rises from his molten burial from the events in AFTERSHOCK part two. Beast Boy even mentions Terra’s role in Slade’s defeat: “Terra took you down. WAY down.”
  • If Slade was in his molten burial, then he definitely did not activate the Slade mask in the episode, HAUNTED.
  • Raven and Robin refer to their mind-meld, which took place in the episode, HAUNTED.

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on Slade’s role in season four: ” [Director] Matt Youngberg had the inspiration for how to bring Slade back. We knew we couldn’t just bring him back with no explanation after the events in season two. So when we bring Slade back, he’s both stronger and weaker. He’s got super-powers that he never had before, yet you see him working for someone – which we’ve never seen him do. And we made a concerted effort to write Slade a little differently since he’s not in charge. We wanted a less serious version of Slade. And I think because he’s not as serious in BIRTHMARK, that makes him that much scarier. It’s not his mission. He doesn’t really care. And that makes him that much more terrifying. ”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on “Birthmark”: An episode like BIRTHMARK was great to write; There’s a lot of cool and scary stuff that happens. That was a difficult episode to break; Glen [Murakami], director Michael Chang and I were up pretty late one night figuring out how the story would work. Ultimately, we came back to the metaphor: It’s something Raven doesn’t want to face. It’s like the movie, “The Terminator.” There’s this day that’s supposed to happen and Raven is running from it. And Slade is chasing her. I ran an idea by Rob and Amy – I think it was Amy that came up with the brilliant idea that Raven stops time. I felt that kicked the episode over the top in terms of making it interesting. That inspiration, I thought, was on par with Glen’s idea to set NEVERMORE inside Raven’s head. It suddenly made the episode magical, yet also scary. There’s that period when time is stopped, where there’s this very isolated feeling for Raven. We thought it gave it a very unique feeling.”

” [The episode’s pace] is relentless. It’s just about all fight scenes. I like writing stuff like that, even though it nearly killed the crew [laughs]. But we had Michael Chang directing that one – and he and his crew did a beautiful job. The episode came out looking fantastic and I couldn’t be happier with it. It’s really scary!”

Raven is the daughter of a union between Trigon the Terrible, a powerful extra-dimensional being, and Arella, a woman who was part of a cult to try to bring Satan to earth. Instead, Trigon came and took Arella as his bride. Arella was rescued by an extra-dimensional pacifist cult and taken to the other-worldly dimensional world known as Azarath. There, she gave birth to Raven. The moment Raven was born, Trigon’s evil influence was felt in Azarath. The grand-daughter if the original Azar herself raised Raven and trained her to keep her emotions in check, lest Trigon’s evil side within her would be set free.

Raven was plagued with prophetic dreams that she would one day be claimed by her evil father. Raven’s origin story was told in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS mini series #2 [1982] and NEW TEEN TITANS #1-6 [1980].

After some time with the Titans, Trigon returned to claim his daughter once again. When Trigon took over the world, the skies turned red and flesh became stone – as seen in the future vision in this episode. That story was told in NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) #1-5 [1984]. It was also collected in a trade paperback entitled “The Terror of Trigon.”

Raven’s hair grows long in the future vision; Her hair actually ressembles her comic book counterpart in that vision.

The future vision also shows ravens with four eyes. Four eyes signify the mark of Trigon.

Dr. Light continues to reflect his bumbling persona from the comic book series. In this episode, he commits a crime the Titans see from their living room.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 43: The Quest

Robin: “I have to go alone.”
Cyborg: “That guy takes himself way too seriously…”

Originally aired: January 29, 2005
Written by Amy Wolfram
Directed by Ben Jones

When Robin is defeated by the malicious martial artist Katarou, our hero decides that if he wants to be the best — he needs more training. So he embarks on a difficult quest to seek a mysterious, legendary teacher known only as … The True Master.

Takayo Fischer as Chu-hui [True Master]
Kevin Micahel Richardson as Bear and Snake
Keone Young as Katarou

  • This episode was originally aired out of production order
  • When Starfire misses Robin, she remembers events from past episodes: The ferris wheel ride from SISTERS, the prom dance from DATE WITH DESTINY and the balcony scene from BETROTHED.
  • Starfire interacts with the Starfire puppet from SWITCHED.

Producer Glen Murakami on developing Robin: “I didn’t want Robin to just be the little kid who gets into trouble. I don’t want him to seem like he needs the father-figure. I don’t want him to just be the sidekick. So when we talked about him, we talked about how we could make him really cool. And I made everyone to look sort of awkward, like teenagers. They have big hands, big feet and big heads – they’re kind of gangly and scrawny. I thought that awkwardness made them look kind of anime.”

“I just didn’t want them super-buff like the Justice League characters. I wanted them to have a clumsy quality about them. And like all teenagers, they would really be into footwear. Big clod-hopper shoes. That’s why I gave him the metal [steel-toe] combat boots. The spiky hair. I wanted to get rid of the shorts. I just wanted him cooler. Like a Bruce Lee or something like that. I just didn’t want him to copy Batman. I wanted him to be his own person.”

Story Editor  Amy Wolfram on “The Quest”: “That one came out of Robin’s character. We get to see another side of him and challenge him. Since he’s a master of martial arts – what would happen if he met someone better than him? Where would he go and what would he do? So we took him away from everyone else and challenged him. At what point do you give up? Especially a character like Robin – who never gives up.”

“[…] Yeah [laughs]. We had a lot of fun with [the other characters dressing like Robin]. We started thinking about what the other Titans would be doing at the tower while Robin’s away. I was talking with [Director] Ben Jones and some of the other guys, and I said, “I think it would be funny if one of them dressed up like Robin.” With Robin gone, it’s sort of like, “What do you do when mom and dad are away?” So then we thought about each of them doing it. And onec we got the drawing back with each of them in the Robin outfit… it was like, “Yeah! This is fun.” Even Silkie gets into it.”

When Beast Boy dons the Robin costume, he breaks through a paper mache ring held by Starfire. This is an exact recreation of the cover for DETECTIVE COMICS #38 – the First appearance of Robin – declaring him the “Sensational Character Find of 1940.” Beast Boy is declared the Sensational Character Find of 1965, which is the year of Beast Boy’s first appearance in DOOM PATROL #99.

The inclusion of this cover homage supports the “Robin is Dick Grayson theory” if anyone is still keeping track.

Robin mentions being “trained by the best” – an obvious reference to Batman.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 44: Employee of the Month

“Hiya, Tommy, Say, be a sport and hand over our supreme creator, would ya? ” 
– Bob

Originally aired: February 19, 2005
Written by Rob Hoegee
Directed by Alex Soto

Beast Boy has only one real dream in life — to someday, somehow own a Moped. And when Robin won’t buy him one and Cyborg won’t build him one, Beast Boy has only one way to make his dream come true he has to get a job.

Tom Kane as Bob
Rob Paulsen as Source

  • Beast Boy’s love of mopeds is first seen in WINNER TAKE ALL and later in EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY.
  • The goth kid from SISTERS who also appeared in CAN I KEEP HIM? is seen in the Meaty Meat.
  • Character designer Derrick Wyatt also appears in the Meaty Meat.
  • The Tidwell 3000 Moped is a reference to series storyboard artist Scooter Tidwell.
  • Beast Boy uses Van Wyk BBQ Sauce – a reference to series storyboard artist Adam Van Wyk.
  • Rob Paulsen – the voice of the Source – has done a tremendous amount of voice-over work in animation. He is perhaps best known for his work on “Animaniacs” as the voices of Yakko, Pinky, and others. He also played Arthur on “The Tick” animated series.
  • Robin’s new gear – the bird helmet and scallop cape – is a direct reference to the uniforms worn on “Battle of the Planets.” Series Producer David Slack is a big fan of the show – which was also heavily referenced in EPISODE 257-494.
  • When Beast Boy sells vacuum cleaners, the house he approaches looks just like the house from “The Brady Bunch”. That house was also seen as Killer Moth’s home in DATE WITH DESTINY.
  • Beast Boy bears a striking similarity to the character of Haruko from the anime series “FLCL” when he rides his moped; Haruko rode a moped and wore a helmet and scarf similar to Beast Boy’s.
  • This episode is partially inspired by the movie, “Soylent Green” where the secret ingredient of food source in the future… is people! The Source’s line, “The secret is …. water!” is similar to Charlton Heston’s revelation in “Soylent Green.”
  • Beast Boy facing down the multiple Bobs is reminiscent of the “Matrix” movies – where Neo faced off against multiple Agent Smiths.

Story Editor  Rob Hoegee on “Employee of the Month”: “[That]  one was a hard episode to write. Just in terms of it being so illogical – yet making it logical. David mentioned earlier about giving each of the Titans their moment to shine. So this was Beast Boy’s moment. And the idea of the talking space tofu – I think that was Glen’s idea. We have these weekly story meetings where we talk about various ideas. I remember the space tofu came up, and Amy was like, “I’m out!” And in turn, I said, “Well, I’m in!” [laughs].

“And Rob Paulsen did such a great job as the voice of The Source. Then there were the cows. And the Bobs. I don’t know – my brain just exploded with wackiness. And there you go. Beast Boy finally got his moped. That was actually a big, big part of it. The genesis of the story was pretty simple: I decided once and for all, Beast Boy would resolve to get his moped. And of course, circumstances wouldn’t allow it so he would have to get a job. I remember we did decide to mix the two ideas: And episode with Beast Boy getting a job and an episode with talking space tofu. And it kind of went from there.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on “Employee of the Month”: “Right. I remember one day I was talking to Paul Dini, and he drew me this picture of Raven with a hotdog-on-a-stick hat on – and he said, “I want you guys to do that.” And we all kept it in the back of our heads to do a story where one of the Titans would have to get a job. ”

This episode has the spirit of the Silver Age era of DC Comics. During the 1960’s, many DC Comics contained stories with strange alien encounters and unbelievable events. In the 60’s, The Teen Titans had their share of alien encounters and adventures.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 45: TROQ

Cyborg: “TROQ? What does that mean?” 
Starfire: “It means nothing.”

Originally aired: May 9th, 2005
Written by Amy Wolfram
Directed by Michael Chang

A brave hero from outer space called Val-Yor comes to Earth, and asks for the Titans help in defeating an otherworldly menace known as The Locrix. But according to Val-Yor, Starfire may be the real problem …

Stephen Root as Val-Yor

  • Stephen Root – voice of Val-Yor – also provides the voice of Bill on “King of the Hill.” Root also starred as Jimmy James on the NBC sitcom, “Newsradio” and appeared in the movie “Office Space.”
  • When the Titans hear a loud rumbling noise, one of the Titans guesses, “Giant worms?” – a reference to events in the episode, TITAN RISING.

Story Editor Amy Wolfram on “TROQ”:  “It’s definitely an “After School Special” type of episode. It wasn’t necessarily to tell a message – but it was a story we wanted to tell a long time and didn’t have a way to tell it. […] It did seem like [a] Starfire [story] because she is so sensitive and sweet. I think Cyborg does face that sort of [racism]. He faces it on two fronts: By being a robot but also by being black. But Starfire – she is a fish out of water – but she would also be able to see the character for what he was. The other Titans were a bit dazzled by him at first. He was by all accounts a hero. And he was trying to save the world. The forces he was fighting were evil. But then again, just because you’re a hero, doesn’t mean you don’t have your own prejudices and things like that.”

In DC Comics, there was a great hero from the planet of Daxam known as Valor. He bears no relationship to Val-Yor except for the similarity in name only.

When Starfire returns from space, her hair is puffed out; Starfire’s original comic book design featured a large, giant mane of hair.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 46: Prophesy

“Tick, tock, Raven. Time is running out. ” 
– Slade

Originally aired: June 4, 2005
Written by Tom Puglsey, Greg Klein
Directed by Ben Jones

Why did Slade come back? What is he planning? Ever since the return of their arch-nemesis, the Titans have been searching for answers. But is there something Raven isn’t telling them?

Virginia Madsen as Arella
Ron Perlman as Slade
Kevin Michael Richardson as Trigon

  • This episode follows up events from BIRTHMARK
  • This episode is directed by Ben Jones, who also directed X. Viewers will remember a strong John Woo influence in that episode, including Woo’s signature white dove. Series director Ben Jones has used white doves in two previous episodes: X and BUNNY RAVEN. And now, white doves appear on Azarath.
  • Virginia Madsen – voice of Arella – is an accomplished screen actress, appearing in such films as “Class”, “Dune”, “Candyman” and the oscar-nominated “Sideways.” Her brother is actor Michael Madsen, featured as Susan Sarandon’s boyfriend in “Thelma & Louise”, as well as in “Reservoir Dogs” and “Kill Bill.”

Producer Glen Murakami on Raven: “We always said that Raven was “the girl from the wrong side of the tracks.” We always thought Raven was the most powerful of the Titans – but she constantly has to keep her powers in check; She was to hold back her power. We always thought that was interesting about Raven. She had a lot of control issues. She comes from a troubled past. It’s a different story from Terra’s. Terra is about being reckless, whereas Raven’s story is about self-control.”

Story Editor  Rob Hoegee on “Prophesy”: “There was the idea to carefully plot out season four and really have a pronounced build-up. We wanted a feeling of dark menace.. of foreboding… a harbinger of terrible things to come. We got a taste of that in BIRTHMARK, which was very personal to Raven. But this needed to be the moment when the rest of the team was brought in. PROPHESY lets them fully grasp and understand what they are about to face. It was ultimately the opportunity for Raven comes clean as the Titans begin to prepare themselves for the inevitable.”

Producer/Story Editor  Amy Wolfram on “Prophesy”: “It also gave Raven’s story the feeling of a legend or a legacy. She’s always known this. And the idea of a prophesy fit well with that. Raven’s known since the time she was a child that she’s not like other people. We mentioned that a lot in previous episodes, but here we really see exactly why Raven is the way she is.”

Story Editor  Rob Hoegee on the first glimpse  of Azarath, Raven’s birthplace: ” I was really pushing for that. I think it was time to see where Raven came from. I think we reached a point in the series to do that – to really show where these character came from and what their histories are. Raven is coming to terms with this prophesy and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to prevent it. So it makes sense for her to return to Azarath and try and get help from her mother. And then she realizes that, sadly, it’s too late. And it seems like everything has been set in motion long ago and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on the first glimpse  of Azarath, Raven’s birthplace: “It seemed important to show Azarath. I remember there was some debate if we could even draw anything that could live up to what people had imagined. I think, ultimately, the art certainly lived up to it and looked fantastic. Whenever Raven was in trouble, she called on the power of Azarath; So when Raven is in the greatest trouble of her life, it seemed like we should take her to Azarath. And to discover that place had been destroyed… well, I think that just raises the stakes even higher.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on establishing the ghostly Arella as being dead: “Well, we wanted to be subtle about that. It is open to interpretation to some degree. My take on that was we were watching something that had happened in the past even though Arella is there in the present with Raven. The white doves represent the spirits of those long departed. And Arella was speaking in past tense. You can take from that what you will.”

Raven’s mother, Arella, appears in this episode. Angela Roth, involved in a mystic cult, was chosen to become the bride of the demonic Trigon. Abandoned by the demon after mating with him, she was taken in by the pacifistic disciples of Temple Azarath, a group who had centuries earlier forsaken life on Earth to pursue their own nonviolent lifestyle. Angela was given the name “Arella”, which means “messenger angel.” In their interdimensional world, Raven, Arella’s daughter by Trigon, was born. Raven grew up on Azarath and learned to control her emotions, lest Trigon’s evil would burst free. Raven and Arella’s story was told in NEW TEEN TITANS #1-6 [1980].

Raven would sometimes let her evil side show – which sometimes would cause her own teammates to fear her. Eventually, Raven became increasingly corrupted by Trigon and became the vessel that brought him to earth. Once on earth, Trigon lay waste to the planet until he was eventually destroyed by the combined forces of the Teen Titans. It all happened in NEW TEEN TITANS [second series] #1-5 [1984].

Raven mentions, “I’m not just a person. I’m a portal.” When Raven was reborn in a new body by Brother Blood, one of her new abilities was to act as a ‘doorway.’

Other references in this episode: Trigon lay waste to Azarath in NEW TEEN TITANS [second series] #1-5 [1984]; The 4-eyes is the mark of Trigon; The sculptures in the library look like the Azarathians from the comic book series.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 47: Stranded

 “So – you are now prepared to explain why I am neither a girl nor your friend?
– Starfire to Robin

Originally aired: June 11, 2005
Written by Melody Fox
Directed by Alex Soto

An exciting battle on a distant space station ends with a tremendous explosion that blows the T-Ship apart — and sends the Titans flying off in five different directions to crashland on a Strange alien world. Will our five shipwrecked heroes ever be able to get back together and find their way home?

Dee Bradley Baker as Space Monster

  • Blink and you’ll miss it: While Beast Boy is attempting to rebuild Cyborg, Silkie is seen amid the flying tools and gadgets.
  • While rebuilding Cyborg, Beast Boy shape shifts into a Wookie, the same race as Chewbacca from the “Star Wars” movies
  • The rebuilt Cyborg with Beast Boy in a suit on his shoulder? That’s an homage to the Japanese animated opus, “Giant Robo.”
  • Starfire’s powers being linked to her emotions was established in season one’s episode, SWITCHED.

Story Editor  Amy Wolfram on the Robin/Starfire relationship and “Stranded”: “It was definitely something we had established. I mean, Robin and Starfire have this little relationship, but what is it? That whole episode was about being separated and trying to communicate – in each of the subplots as well. I think every relationship hit that point where you ask, “Well, what is this?” So I think Starfire needed to know that Robin really did care about her.”

“Amy: We had shown Starfire jealous before. And we had shown Robin jealous. But they never talked about it. So Cyborg calls Starfire Robin’s girlfriend just joking around. But they did have a special relationship. We felt it was time that they dealt with it in one way or another. And we felt it was a satisfying way to deal with it.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on the Robin/Starfire relationship: “I also think that in series TV, you can only play out a flirtation for so long. People tune in to see how things escalate. If Raven and Trigon have the same fight over and over each week, that wouldn’t be any good. I remember when we were working on that episode, we wanted to grow their relationship and take it to another place. But we didn’t want to grow it so much that it would no longer be interesting.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on “Stranded”: “That’s where I think metaphor works really well. Someone says something that puts the elephant in the room. And all of the sudden, nothing works right. The team is scattered and Robin and Starfire can’t communicate. Amy and writer, Melody Fox did a great job on that one.”

Producer Glen Murakami of Robin/Starfire: “Here’s the thing about Robin and Starfire: I didn’t want them to be a real couple. I wanted them to like each other and make that pretty clear. But getting into an actual relationship was too complicated for what the show was. I think it would make the stories too complicated.”

“The show was always supposed to be really, really iconic. And be about metaphors. I wanted the characters to be universal. And make the characters relatable. And by coupling them up, the characters would start to be defined by their relationship – rather than by themselves. I thought that would take away from the characters. I think it’s enough to know that those two characters like each other.”

In the comic book series, Starfire immediately was attracted to Robin, but he kept her at arms’ length. Denying his emotions for some time, he finally admited his feelings when Starfire was injured during a space adventure in NEW TEEN TITANS #23-25 [1982]. After that, Robin and Starfire began a serious relationship that lasted years. They broke up after a disastrous wedding attempt in NEW TITANS #100 [1993].

Regarding feelings and relationships, Robin says to Starfire, “I’m not very good with that.” In that respect, Robin takes after his mentor, Batman; In the comics, Starfire was often hurt when Robin would become emotionally withdrawn or distant.

Beast Boy declares, “You were my best friend,” when he believes Cyborg was gone after the ship crashed. In the comics, Beast Boy and Cyborg were [and still are] best friends.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 48: Overdrive

Beast Boy: “Dudes! Cyborg is now more… Cyborg-y than ever! ” 
Starfire: “Agreed. He now opens up even larger cans of the butt-whoop.”

Originally aired: July 18, 2005
Written by David Slack
Directed by Michael Chang

Cyborg is a guy with a “can do” attitude. And with the new Maximum 7 processor upgrade driving his circuits, it looks like he can do more than ever before. But when Cyborg meets his multi-tasking match in the duplicitous Billy Numerous, can Cy really push himself to the max?

Jason Marsden as Billy Numerous
Greg Cipes as Adonis [uncredited]

  • Billy Numerous appeared briefly in DECEPTION; This is his first ‘full’ appearance; Billy was created for the animated series.
  • Jason Marsden – the voice of Billy Numerous – has done a lot of voice work in animation; Jason provides the voice of Snapper Carr on “Justice League” as well as Firefly on “The Batman.” Jason also starred as a young Burt Ward [who played Robin] in the TV Movie, “Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt” in 2003.
  • Pictures hanging on Cyborg’s wall include: A dance photo with Cyborg and Jinx from DECEPTION; Cyborg with his car, first introduced in CAR TROUBLE, and Cyborg in a football uniform, hinting at his life before his accident.

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on “Overdrive”: “Y’know, it’s a funny thing when you get into the fourth and fifth season of a show. You finally get around to some things that you promised you would do when you started it. One of my first thoughts about Cyborg was this: He is the only Titan who has powers that are upgradable. So I thought there was something interesting there. The challenge was to do it in a way that was interesting and grew his character.”

” […] The easy metaphor with the enhancement chip is drugs. And we didn’t really want to do a drug episode, per se. [laughs] Even though that metaphor is strong. I think by using Billy Numerous in that episode, it became something different. It was now about trying to do too much – which seemed to fit with Cyborg’s personality. He’s someone that loves life so much, it’s conceivable he would want to do it all. So we addressed another problem with kids today: many of them are overbooked. They have school, afterschool activities, things on weekends… and trying to watch Teen Titans on weekends… all their hours are accounted for.

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on the Hive Academy kids: “Billy Numerous was so much fun to write. And that was great because it was such a collaborative effort. [Character designer] Derrick Wyatt named Billy Numerous while he was drawing him. All those characters turned out to be a lot of fun. As a writer, I really enjoy getting the character first and working backwards.”

There were a few comic book tales in which Cyborg’s robotic side threatened to take over his human side. After the Titans were captured by the Wildebeests, Cyborg was almost destroyed but was rebuilt by Russian scientists. This rebuilt Cyborg was a brain-dead cybernetic storm-trooper – as seen in NEW TITANS #77-78 [1991]. Cyborg eventually merged with the planet Technis and lost part of his humanity in the process; He returned as “Cyberion” in NEW TITANS #127-130 [1995]. Cyberion threatened to turn earth into a new Technis world in JLA/TITANS #1-3 [1998]. Later, Victor Stone was returned to Cyborg.

The Maximum 7 processor is made by S.T.A.R. Labs. In the comic book series, S.T.A.R. Labs is responsible for various medical and technological breakthroughs. Both of Cyborg’s parents worked at S.T.A.R. Labs. The accident that killed Cyborg’s mother and almost claimed the life of Cyborg occured during one of his father’s experiments. Cyborg also later had a long-standing romantic relationship with Sarah Charles, a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs.

In this episode, Cyborg coaches a little league team where the kids are wearing prosthetic limbs. In the comic book series, Cyborg befriended Sarah Simms, who taught children with prosthetic limbs [seen in NEW TEEN TITANS #8 in 1980]. These kids also appeared in the episode, SUM OF HIS PARTS.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 49: Mother Mae-Eye

“You’re ever so welcome, my children. And remember: Mother loves you. ” 
– Mother Mae-Eye

Originally aired: June 25, 2005
Written by David Slack
Directed by Ben Jones

Every child needs a mother — even five superpowered sweeties who live in a giant “T” …

Billie Hayes as Mother Mae-Eye
Kevin Michael Richardson as Mammoth, See-More
Lauren Tom as Gizmo, Jinx
Greg Cipes as Private Hive [uncredited]

  • Billie Hayes – the voice of Mother Mae-Eye – is perhaps best known for her role as Witchiepoo on the beloved TV series “H.R. Pufnstuf,” but in addition to her numerous television and film appearances, she has also done extensive voice work in films, such as Disney’s “The Black Cauldron,” and numerous TV series.
  • See-More and Private Hive appeared briefly in DECEPTION; This is their first ‘full’ appearance – as members of the “Hive Five.” Both characters were created for the animated series.
  • Silkie is seen very briefly when Mother is trapped in the pie.
  • Starfire eats her pie with a Tamaranean large fork – as seen during the feast in BETROTHED.
  • The Mumbo alarm clock appears again; It originally appeared in Starfire’s room in HOW LONG IS FOREVER?
  • Starfire calls Mother Mae-Eye a chlorbag – the same Tamaranean insult she used for Beast Boy in the episode, FORCES OF NATURE.

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on “Mother Mae-Eye”: “MOTHER MAE-EYE has a really interesting story. After Amy Wolfram, Lou Hirshorn, and Joelle Sellner so successfully did a musical number in BUNNY RAVEN, we wanted to do a whole musical episode. We ever went so far as to break the story for that one during season three. But after we talked to the guys upstairs about it, it just looked like we weren’t going to be able to afford to do it. They were game, but when we looked the budget, we knew we just couldn’t do it well. So we set that idea aside. But the character we originally envisioned for that episode became the inspiration for Punk Rocket – which we used in the [Post Cereal] webisode [THE LOST EPISODE].”

“So all of the sudden we needed a show ten, and we needed it pretty desperately [laughs]. So we pulled the team together; Rob and I went to lunch and talked about how we didn’t have many good female villains – and we talked about an evil mother character. Then we remembered the character Witchiepoo from [the 1970s TV show] “H. R. Puffinstuff.” So we came up with an idea about a mother who hypnotized them. So I called up Amy to tell her about it…”

“[…] I talked it over with Amy on the phone and she helped me out with it. Then, that night I talked with Glen [Murakami] and [Director] Ben [Jones] on the phone and we broke out the basic beats of the story. I think Ben came up with the whole pie thing – that sounds like a Ben thing. So between 10am that morning and 10pm that night, we had the makings of an episode. So that one came about pretty fast; I hope that doesn’t show.”

“[…] And then we got Billie Hayes to do the voice. And she was just tremendous. And I have to tell you… that laugh she does? Recording technology does not do it justice. It runs a shiver down your spine when you hear it in person.”

Producer/Story Editor  David Slack on the Hive Academy kids: “All those characters were used in season three’s DECEPTION. So we had all these designs. It’s hard to design great characters and those were all such great designs. They were sitting there waiting to be used. Kevin Michael Richardson did the voice for Seemore, and I think that’s what made Seemore just so funny. He got even funnier in my opinion, because of Kevin. It seemed like, if we were going to be doing an episode about a mother hindering her kids, we needed evil kids. And there were the Hive kids.”

Mother Mae-Eye combs Robin’s hair with spitcurls; This was Robin’s look during the 1940s through the 1960s in the comic book series. Also, this was the traditional hairstyle worn by the Dick Grayson Robin.

Cyborg refers to Titans Tower as “my tower.” In the comic book series, Cyborg’s father built Titans Tower as a gift to his son. Cyborg’s father felt tremendous guilt – it was he who gave Cyborg his bionic parts to save his son’s life. The origin of Titans Tower was revealed in the classic NEW TEEN TITANS #7 [1981].

In this episode, Mammoth, Jinx, Gizmo, See-More and Private Hive form the “Hive Five.” In the comic book series, Mammoth, Gizmo and Jinx were members of The Fearsome Five – a criminal group that battled the Titans.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 50: The End (part 1)

“It’s a beautiful day for the end of the world.” 
– Slade

Originally aired: July 2, 2005
Written by Amy Wolfram
Directed by Alex Soto

The stars are aligned. The sun is in eclipse. All of Slade’s labors are about to reach fruition — and the Titans are about to face their greatest challenge ever. But is there really any hope of preventing the end of the world?

Kevin Michael Richardson as Trigon
Dee Bradley Baker as Plasmus

  • Starfire puts mustard on her pancakes and pizza; Starfire mentioned mustard as her favorite food in season one’s SUM OF HIS PARTS.
  • Plasmus’ human form was designed to look like series Story Editor/Producer David Slack.
  • Cyborg proposes a game of “stankball” – a sport he and Beast Boy played in SPELLBOUND.
  • During the battle with Trigon’s minions, Beast Boy assumes the form of the Were-Creature from THE BEAST WITHIN.
  • Trigon’s appearance at the end of this episode differs from his appearance in NEVERMORE. But – it should be noted – the “Trigon” in NEVERMORE was a manifestation in Raven’s mind.

Producer Glen Murakami on “The End” [from Wizard Magazine]: “This is a different kind of threat,” Glen Murakami explains. “The Titans aren’t trying to stop a bomb from going oft, they’re trying to save their friend.” Raven’s mysterious background will be explored, as will her bond with Robin. And the Titans once again face off with Slade, resurrected as Trigon’s emissary. “The one question I heard all of Season 3 was, “Where is Slade?’” says Murakami. “For the first time he’s dealing with somebody more powerful than himself.”

Producer Glen Murakami on “The End”: “I’ll tell you the biggest problem with Trigon: He’s too powerful. Here’s a character who’s like Satan and he comes to earth. Well, what’s he going to do? Why doesn’t he just level everything? On some levels, it just doesn’t make sense. So, what can you do storytelling-wise? I like that arc, but it’s frustrating from a story-telling aspect. How do you resolve those issues? You can’t do a whole episode with Trigon blasting the Titans. How can you have the Titans fight him and make it believable?”

“But our director Ben Jones, looking back, actually had a pretty cool idea for the episode. He thought it woulda have been cool if Raven turned all the Titans to stone before she blasted Trigon. And we thought that was great, but it was too late to go back and the change it. So we were like, “Darn it! We didn’t we think of that?”

Story Editor Rob Hoegee on “The End” (part 1): “Typically with a three-parter, there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. So structurally, it worked out well to divide them up. We sort of approached it like any given episode; A typical episode will have three acts. So part one, Raven turns into the portal; Part two was sort of our “Search For Spock” in that Raven was lost and Robin had to find her; And part three is where Raven is redeemed and saves the day.”

Story Editor Amy Wolfram on “The End” (part 1): “I just felt that there was something interesting to that prophesy. The thing about it, was that it was absolutely destined to come true. There was nothing that Raven could do to stop it. And some people feel that maybe she gave up to soon. But the reason was because she saw her friends in trouble. It was a whole self-sacrifice thing. So that story became a touching story on “What would you choose to do if this was your last day?” Would you do something crazy? Or would you just choose to spend it with your friends? And that’s what it came about. It came about that one day. So that was a turning point when we realized that. This was Raven’s last day, to her at least.”

“[…] It’s a journey for all the characters. If all the characters were the same as the day we met them, it’s definitely less interesting.”

Producer / Story Editor David Slack on “The End” (part 1): “I think Glen was a stickler about that. Once we reached a certain point with a character, he was always careful that we didn’t just put them back to the same place before a certain episode. Even with subtle things.. like Beast Boy in THE BEAST WITHIN and Starfire in TRANSFORMATION. That kind of stuff happened with all of us – but I credit Glen with making sure the characters grew in subtle ways over time.”

THE END [parts 1-3] was inspired by the comic book tale, “The Terror of Trigon” which originally ran in NEW TEEN TITANS [second series] #1-5 [1984]. It is also available in trade paperback. Raven had to fight Trigon’s dark influence over her. This dark side grew as she exposed emotions. Eventually, Trigon came beckoning to Raven and she could no longer resist. Trigon’s presence was unleashed! During Trigon’s resurgence, Azarath was destroyed and Raven fell under her father’s control, taking on her father’s appearance as well (red skin and four eyes).

Raven’s psychic confrontation with Trigon was something that happened quite often in the original comic book series. Raven would resist his evil and Trigon would try to push her over to the dark side.

Raven sacrifices herself to spare her teammates; She did the exact same thing in NEW TEEN TITANS [first series] #5. She agreed to serve at her father’s side if he would spare earth.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 51: The End (part 2)

“Only a minor setback. Nothing two old friends can’t handle.” 
– Slade to Robin

Originally aired: July 9, 2005
Written by Rob Hoegee
Directed by Michael Chang

The stars are aligned. The sun is in eclipse. All of Slade’s labors are about to reach fruition — and the Titans are about to face their greatest challenge ever. But is there really any hope of preventing the end of the world?

Ron Perlman as Slade
Kevin Michael Richardson as Trigon

  • Starfire mentions how she channeled Raven’s powers in the episode, SWITCHED
  • Slade’s fate is retold from the events seen in AFTERSHOCK [part two]
  • Slade mentions not having luck with apprentices, referring to Robin [in APPRENTICE] and Terra [in AFTERSHOCK]

Producer Glen Murakami on redesigning Trigon: “He just wasn’t cool enough. I looked back on that design, and it was good at the time for that episode. But now, looking at the story for season four, I thought he’s got to be scarier; He’s got to be meaner. He had to work better for the story we were doing now. I think the newer Trigon does look cooler.”

“We did things like that through the coarse of the series. Like with Plasmus. When the animation came back with Plasmus, I sorta thought “Well, that’s just like Clayface.” I remember the first character designs of Plasmus were closer to the comic book version. But I did want the animated version to be more of a monster. Then the animation came back, and he seemed sort of boring. So we redesigned him as we went on. We did that with Dr. Light, too. He came back and we gave him a powerpack. We try to even have the villains grow. If we weren’t satisfied with the initial pass, we went back and refined them.”

Producer David Slack on adapting the “Terror of Trigon” comic book tale: “That story – THE TERROR OF TRIGON – which has just been reissued in trade paperback – for my money, it’s the best story that Marv [Wolfman] and George ]Pérez] did. Incredible artwork, a really, really interesting story… smart and emotional. So a lot of that stuff has made it into version. Of course, there’s some adjustments. I wouldn’t look for [the psychic Titan] Lilith to show up. That just didn’t work out for our version. But there’s definitely some ways in which we’ve been really faithful to the material that will hopefully be enjoyed by all.”

“It’s been [a bit] difficult to adapt it. A lot of it is trying to remain true to the source material while being appropriate for your audience. In the end, it’s a balancing act. And even though some of it is dark and scary, it’s hopeful as well. So hopefully it balances out.  And as I mentioned, we’ve also done some really weird funny stuff to kind of balance it out. ”

Story Editor Rob Hoegee on “The End” (part 2): “Well, I didn’t want to depict a complete lack of hope. That’s one of the great things about the Titans and young people in general. You can have an adult say, “This is an impossible situation with absolutely no way out.” And any kid will just say, “Well, I’m gonna try anyway.” They don’t know the meaning of “giving up” In that type of situation. Here, the world is taken over by Trigon and it’s now flame and ashes – but as long as there’s one glimmer of hope, these guys are going to go for it. And that’s what I love about all these characters – especially Robin. He’s such a tenacious character. He’s even going to team up with his worst enemy to make sure his friend is safe.”

Story Editor Rob Hoegee on the Slade/Robin team-up: “That was a fantastic amount of fun. Especially since I had written APPRENTICE, PART ONE. This is almost going full circle with their whole relationship. And that, to me, was one of the highlights of the episode. I really got a chance to dig deep and explore the nature of their relationship. And even though their scenes were pretty brief, I was was very happy with how it all came out.”

Producer / Story Editor David Slack on the Slade/Robin team-up: “That was one of my favorite moments in the whole series. It’s the ultimate extension of the father-son metaphor. It’s this bizarre fishing trip in hell! [laughs] There’s not a lot of time in an action cartoon for your main hero and main villain to just sit there talking.”

Story Editor Rob Hoegee on unmasking Slade: “I think we knew if we were going to unmask Slade, it would be in a tricky way. We weren’t going to really show who’s under the mask. I think the unmasking scene also opened up another mystery; What happened to Slade? Why is he doing what he’s doing? In showing that brief glimpse under the mask, it reveals Slade’s motivations a bit.”

THE END [parts 1-3] was inspired by the comic book tale, “The Terror of Trigon” which originally ran in NEW TEEN TITANS [second series] #1-5 [1984]. It is also available in trade paperback. Raven had to fight Trigon’s dark influence over her. This dark side grew as she exposed emotions. Eventually, Trigon came beckoning to Raven and she could no longer resist. Trigon’s presence was unleashed!

Many elements are borrowed from that original story in this episode. The earth after Trigon’s emergence is similar to the comic book story. Stone becomes flesh. The skies burn red. And during Robin and Slade’s journey, they pass walls of twisted flesh.

Slade mentions the rings of Azar were a means of protection from Trigon. In the original comic book tale, the psychic Titan known as Lilith used Raven’s rings of Azar as a means to Trigon’s eventual defeat.

In that story, the Titans also face dark versions of themselves. Composed of black and grey coloring and glowing red eyes, these doppelgangers tormented the Titans with their failed hopes and dream – and worst fears.

Evil-Cyborg mentions how Cyborg “doesn’t have a momma.” In the comic books, Cyborg’s mother was killed in the same accident that forced Vic Stone to be grafted with cybernetic parts.

Raven’s disappearance is something that happened in the comics as well. After Trigon’s defeat, Raven appeared cleansed of his evil and disappeared in a flash of light. Her body, now purged of Trigon’s evil, actually rose from the ashes of battle. Raven lost her memory and was later located by Dick Grayson – and both were captured by Brother Blood. When Dick Grayson found her, she wore her white cloak for the first time. Raven disappeared in New Teen Titans (second series) #5 [1985]. Dick located Raven in New Teen Titans (second series) #22 [1986].

Slade was initially the Titans adversary as Deathtroke, the Terminator. But after his contract with the H.I.V.E. to kill the Titans was dissolved, Slade gave up his vendetta. With his son Jericho as a member, Slade even became the Titans ally, especially when the team was abducted by the Wildebeest Society. This happened in New Titans #72-84 [1991-1992]. Slade remained a sometimes-ally for quite a few years after that.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

 Episode 52: The End (part 3)

“Yeah, it is the end of the world. But so what?
We’re still here. Still fighting. Still friends. ” 

– Robin

Originally aired: July 16, 2005
Written by David Slack
Directed by Ben Jones

The stars are aligned. The sun is in eclipse. All of Slade’s labors are about to reach fruition — and the Titans are about to face their greatest challenge ever. But is there really any hope of preventing the end of the world?

Ron Perlman as Slade
Dee Bradley Baker as Plasmus

  • The prophesy detailed in BIRTHMARK and THE PROPHESY is fulfilled in this episode; But Raven subverts that same prophesy to her advantage.
  • Fans will remember that Robin and Raven share a special bond from their mind-meld in HAUNTED.
  • At the San Diego ComiCon of 2005, the cast did a special table read of this episode [act one] followed by a screening of that first act.
  • One line of dialogue was cut before airing; When jumping through the molten rocks and lava, Slade quipped, “It’s not the heat. It’s the humidity.”

Producer Glen Murakami on Robin/Raven: “We always said that Raven was “the girl from the wrong side of the tracks.” We always thought Raven was the most powerful of the Titans – but she constantly has to keep her powers in check; She was to hold back her power. We always thought that was interesting about Raven. She had a lot of control issues. She comes from a troubled past. It’s a different story from Terra’s. Terra is about being reckless, whereas Raven’s story is about self-control.”

“Season Three’s episode, HAUNTED, sort of built up to that. I really wanted to do that scene where Raven goes in Robin’s mind. I thought it would be very cool for Raven to have a bond with Robin that would be different that the other characters’ bond with Robin. That Robin could understand Raven on a different level. And that would help set up the Trigon story.”

“And we always wanted that on the show. We wanted all their relationships to be different. Robin and Starfire’s relationship is different than anyone else. And Robin and Raven’s relationship is different. It’s funny that everyone wants relationships to be romantic. Robin and Raven are similar in some ways; They have a certain understanding of each other. I think that’s cool. I think that’s how people are with family and friends. Beast Boy and Cyborg are like brothers; And Robin and Cyborg are like brothers. But all the relationship dynamics are different.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on adapting the “Terror of Trigon” comic book tale: “We all read those original comics and there’s a lot to draw from there. A lot of those image just stay in your head – there’s just incredible imagery in that story from George Perez. Once the city is frozen, they explain in just a few panels why the Titans are left to handle this – they have the shots of Batman and Superman turned to stone just like everybody else. That’s one of the questions the fans have. “where are Batman and Superman?” We didn’t show them specifically, but we did use the imagery of the people frozen in twisted stone.”

“Then there’s the big stone T [of the Titans Tower] which is used as a throne by Trigon. The enormous white Raven rising over the city. Definitely, all of those images demanded to be in the story. I think to some extent, by not using those images, you just aren’t doing the story. And then there’s Glen and our directors, who had a huge role in bringing those image to life in animated form.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on “The End” (part 3): “I think the whole story of Raven became a metaphor about the fear of growing up, among other things. Most people I knew when we were kids were excited about growing up; There was an excitement about being old enough to do various things. But there was also this fear. You have to get a job and have responsibilities. You can’t play in the afternoons anymore. And the even greater fear: maybe you wouldn’t even want to play in the afternoons anymore. You’ll change. ”

“So I think Raven’s fear was centered around this fear that she would grow up to be like her father. And I think that it a metaphor that does resonate quite strongly for a lot of people. Most of us, no matter how much we love our parents, wouldn’t choose to be just like them. And unfortunately, someone with a bad parent carries that sense of legacy. That fear that you will grow up to be like them. That metaphor is clear in Raven’s speech to Trigon; Sometimes your parent is someone who you want to grow up to be – and other times, that parent may just be someone who helped to bring you into this world. And sometimes your family are your friends.. the people who take care of you.. not necessarily anyone you are biologically connected to. That may be too philosophical for a kid’s cartoon show. But it’s there anyway!”

THE END [parts 1-3] was inspired by the comic book tale, “The Terror of Trigon” which originally ran in NEW TEEN TITANS [second series] #1-5 [1984]. It is also available in trade paperback. Raven had to fight Trigon’s dark influence over her. This dark side grew as she exposed emotions. Eventually, Trigon came beckoning to Raven and she could no longer resist. Trigon’s presence was unleashed!

Many elements are borrowed from that original story in this episode. Trigon referes to himself as “Trigon the Terrible” – as he was known in the comic book series. Trigon uses his eye-beams; In the comics, those beams would reduce a human to ashes! The final battle with Trigon is even visually similar to the final battle in NEW TEEN TITANS [second series] #5 [1984].

In that same issue, Raven is instrumental in Trigon’s defeat. Once he is vanquished, she is cleansed in white light and disappears. Raven’s long hair in that sequence also ressembles her comic book counterpart.

Raven mentions: “I was protected by the monks of Azarath. I was raised by my friends.” It was the same in the comic book series; Raven was raised by the monks of Azarath until her 18th birthday. Sensing Trigon’s evil, she fled to earth to gather the Titans. Eventually, the close group of friends would regard each other as a surrogate family.

For anyone in favor of a Robin/Raven pairing, there is an interesting comic book tale that deals with their relationship. Once free of Trigon’s evil, Raven was at last free to explore her emotions. At first, she thought she was in love with Dick Grayson; She even unwittingly used her powers to make Grayson believe he loved her as well. Raven later realized there are different kinds of love. It all happened in NEW TEEN TITANS [second series] #36-39 [1987-1988].

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Visit the Teen Titans Animated Series Guide for more information. Titans Go!

End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author

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