Director – Alex Kalymnios
Writer – Richard Hatem
Finally! After the tease laid out by the end of season one, Titans has unleashed Superboy into the world that has been so expertly crafted up to this point. Was it worth waiting for? Without question it was. Left just long enough to keep everybody interested without stretching our patience too thin, “Conner” was a masterpiece of an episode. Dedicating an entire episode to Conner Kent and his loyal dog Krypto was a bold move that paid off in spades, especially with the way they were brought into the main story arc right at the end, in a logical and action packed way.
Literally picking up where season one ended, with a naked Conner cutting a swathe of destruction through Cadmus Labs in scenes reminiscent of prime-era Schwarzenegger at the start of The Terminator, it isn’t long before he is united with Krypto. Before we go any further, a special mention must go this wonderful dog. Whilst his origin in terms of the show’s world has yet to be revealed, (is he Kryptonian or a lab creation?) he is truly a Superboy’s best friend. With the same gamut of powers, his participation in a very special action sequence, possibly the best of the season so far, is a must see moment. Don’t mess with a dog that has heat vision, even when you’re armed to the teeth, as it just won’t end well for you. It remains to be seen how large a role this canine commando will play moving forward, but hopefully we shall see plenty more of him and explore that backstory too.
The casting of Joshua Orpin as Conner/Superboy is a slam dunk. Earnest without being too much that way, whilst capable of switching on the anger befitting of the character at the drop of a hat. Orpin has the physical stature of the Man of Steel from which he was cloned and also manages to convey the morality of Superman that he has inherited. But, the Luthor side of his DNA is right there too, which is going to create a very interesting dichotomy as we get to know the character more.
Presented as a literal man-child that is seeing and hearing the world for the first time ever, that even picks his name according to the circumstances he finds himself in, the characterisation is spot on. The screenplay from Richard Hatem serves to make Conner a sympathetic soul, as he slowly tries to piece together who and what he is. His interplay with two other characters solidifies his place in the world, the first of which is Dr Eve Watson, played superbly by Genevieve Angelson. A key player in his creation, riddled with remorse regarding her work for Luthor, she helps to inform Conner and the audience of his backstory. By default, she is his mother, both literally and figuratively. The bond they form in the short time they have together is believable and touching, as he wants somebody to help him find his way and she wants a shot at redemption.
The other key interaction is between Conner and a certain Lionel Luthor. Depicted by Peter MacNeill as an old, broken and blind shell of a man, he helps to fill in the blanks for Conner regarding the kind of man that one of his “dads” actually is. With some of Clark and Lex’s memories having endured into this clone, even to the extent that a memory of Martha Kent briefly manifests, Conner is drawn to Smallville. Meeting Lionel is a watershed moment for him, as the hatred of the Luthor bloodline is laid bare. The influence of Lex weighs heavy over the episode and it would be a nice pay off for him to make an appearance at some point, as it would be to see Conner’s other father fly in for an appearance. With rumours circulating that Superman may make a cameo similar to that of Batman in season one, as a peripheral figure, it is exciting to see where the character will be taken.
No spoilers here, but the ending of the episode brings the character firmly into contact with the main Titans team, as he heroically enters the fray. With the cliffhanger ending of last week’s episode resolved in a satisfying way, we were treated to another right here. The coming weeks are going to be extremely interesting indeed, as Conner is integrated into the team, the Deathstroke situation gathers pace and the traumas of the past are further explored. As if all that were not enough, next week’s episode is entitled “Bruce Wayne”. An Iain Glen-centric episode you say? Sign. Me. Up!