Episode Reviews - Masks

Episode #09 - Masks
Original Airdate - September 20th 2003

Slade sends a team of Robotic Commandos to steal a high-tech chip. Now Robin is more determined than ever to find out who Slade is -- and what he's planning. But while Robin is obsessively researching his arch-nemesis, a mysterious new bad guy called Red X tries to steal the same chip.

Review by VortexInfinite
Media by Bird Boy
Titans Writers
Written by Tom Pugsley, Greg Klein
Directed by Michael Chang
Producer Glen Murakami
Producers Linda M. Steiner, Bruce Timm
Asst. Producer Kimberly A. Smith
Music by Kristopher Carter
Casting and Voice Direction Andrea Romano
Animation Services by Lotto Animation

Titans Voices
Greg Cipes as Beast Boy
Scott Menville as Robin
Khary Payton as Cyborg
Tara Strong as Raven
Hynden Walch as Starfire
Ron Perlman as Slade

Screen Grabs


Sound Clips
"Patience, Robin...Patience." (MP3, 275kb)
"You Almost Got Hurt." (MP3, 340kb)
"On the contrary, Robin...it's just begun." (MP3, 261kb)
"You Wanna Yell at Me Too?" (MP3, 491kb)

After having fleshed out pretty much every other member of the Titans, the series takes an excellent look at Robin's nature as well as Slade's mysterious mind. "Masks" makes it clear who Robin trained under and how this fact can cause tensions between him and his teammates.

Throughout the series, Robin has been the least characterized member of the Titans. He has done little more than shout "Titans, Go!" before jumping into the fray. This has been one of his most annoying traits and does little more than suggest he is a control freak. "Masks" actually explores this issue and does it in a clever way.

After failing to discover Slade's motivations during his attempt to steal the microchip, Robin begins burying himself in newspaper clippings and gadgetry used by his nemesis. This is very Batman-ish and makes it clear that Robin has a problem with unfinished business and mysterious foes. He is a detective at heart.

While most of the team decides to leave Robin alone, Starfire attempts to reach him. This was a great episode for the Starfire-Robin relationship. In addition to seeing Robin save Starfire at the cliff, we learn that Starfire has come to understand Robin deeply. Perhaps better than he understands himself. One wonders what Robin is willing to do for Starfire and vice versa ("He could have hurt you," he says when she confronts him).

Obviously, Robin's very skilled when it comes to technology. This opens up the question of why he doesn't use his cloaking and speed abilities as Robin, but that will never be answered. As Red X, he's as nimble as always, but he also has a huge variety of attacks. As Cyborg says, "That dude knew how to take each of us down."

Many have said that Red X's identity was too easy to figure out. I, for one, didn't realize until Robin pulled his mask off. However, the point of the episode wasn't Robin's secret. It was his desire to learn more about Slade and his inability to place trust in his teammates.

As for Slade, we do know that he is after more than the Titans' destruction or some petty thefts. He has an active interest in Robin. After saving him from a fatal plummet, Slade says "I'm not through with you yet." Does he see it all as a game or does he think he can use Robin for his devious purposes in the future? Time will tell.

The ending actually makes the viewer think. Starfire's comment hits home for Robin. "You [Slade and Robin] are similar. Slade didn't trust you...and you didn't trust us." Nothing must hurt Robin more than realizing how alike he and his enemy are.

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