After the episode we experienced last week? It took me by surprised that the next one was called Conner. I mean, how dare they end an episode on such a cliffhanger and then throw us into another character origin story outside of what was unfolding? That is one heck of a way to mess with viewer’s emotions! Especially when they were bold enough to start another poll deciding the fate of Jason Todd. Now at the same time, I struggled feeling this because Superboy is an awesome character when written right. After the focused episodes we got from Aqualad, Rose, and Deathstroke, I also had confidence that they could pull this off without taking us too far out of the situation at hand.
Where I commended this live-action adaptation of the hero most is the fact that they actually explored who Conner is as a clone. In most cases it tends to end at the fact that he is a clone and two-halves of two of the greatest individuals on the planet. Not many take that step further to actually address how being a clone like this also came with the shared memories, the dominant personalities, and of course the flaws which he had to overcome in order to be his own person. These things matter, and throughout the episode we got all of that and then some. Not to mention at the same time we got a sense of wonder being able to see the world through his eyes. It was appreciated that while they did this, they did not make it all about wonder. In a world like this, you are going to experience a lot of things. Particularly how difficult it can be to be exposed to the bad, the unobtainable, and so forth.
Conner’s characterization was appealing in contrast to even some comic versions I read. This may still be Conner at the early stages, and it may strictly be the DCU version, but still it was cool to see this Conner who was much more Clark than anything else. He was a blank slate ready to become something, and through this episode it was an experience walking down that path with him. It was even interesting to see Krypto taking on similar traits too. If it wasn’t his strong moral compass, then it was the excitement of getting a Krypto who actually uses his powers and gets in on the action.
As the Cadmus geneticist, Eve Watson, she really stood out as the head scientist in charge of Conner as an experiment. You could have seen it coming a mile away that she was going to play the role of the protective creator. That’s just how these things go, but it was the approach which broke her from the mold. It made a big difference that it didn’t start with her breaking him out, defying from the start, or having an initial attachment until making contact. Everything was a natural progression which did not prey upon motherly instincts, only the ability to understand right from wrong. This created the perfect opportunity to inform Conner of his true heritage to send him on a path of self-discovery without leading him aimlessly. Through her we too got the best understanding we could outside of Supergirl of how corrupt Cadmus can be. Not just Cadmus, but Lex as well. This is the first time he is mentioned in Titans and they did not disappoint in letting us know that he is already at that point where you know that he is not a good guy behind the scenes.
The only disappointment you could have is the fact that we didn’t actually see Lex. Though I will also say that this is probably for the best considering at this point we should have gotten our fill of him on-screen. There’s only so much that you can do while bringing in one new face after the other.
That said, what brought this episode together was seeing where this was going to connect by the end. As you were approaching the end of the episode, the last thing you would have wanted to see was to follow an origin that wasn’t leading to anywhere important yet. Again, it was painful at first knowing that we were going to have to continue waiting in suspense to find out the fate of Jason Todd. In some way Superboy’s story was going to have to lead into that moment. The point they chose was excellent considering the last thing on your mind would have been a surprise ally to keep things from getting too out of hand.
Where last week was more of a thrill, Titans “Conner” turned out to be more endearing than most episodes we have received up to this point. If anyone had their reservations about the introduction of Superboy into the story? I think this episode did more than enough to put us at ease, and actually applaud the first live-action version of the hero that doesn’t come off as a cardboard cutout.