Episode Reviews - Sisters

Episode #02 - Sisters
Original Airdate - July 26th, 2003

Starfire's sister, Blackfire, seems to click with all the Titans better than she does but possesses a secret of which they are unaware. Deciding that her sister fits better with the group than she does, Starfire decides to quit the Teen Titans.

Review by Steel
Media by Bird Boy
Titans Writers
Written by Amy Wolfram
Directed by Alex Soto
Producer Glen Murakami
Producers Linda M. Steiner, Bruce Timm
Asst. Producer Kimberly A. Smith
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
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, Blackfire
Ron Perlman as Slade
Rind Romano as Kai
David Sobolov as Cron

Note: Slade is listed in the credits for this episode even though he never appeared in it.

Screen Grabs


"Sisters" provided some interesting insight into Starfire and her relationships with both her environment on Earth and her sister Blackfire. While Starfire's awkward-sounding grammatical structure can often become cumbersome and annoying, the episode generally does a good job of portraying her as the innocent newcomer to Earth. From the casual dialogue that revealed that she tried to eat balls of cotton to misinterpreting slang ("Diggin' the scene?"), the episode helped us feel Starfire being shunted to the side as her sister took center stage in a very organic fashion.

While the plot was completely predictable, the episode's primary strength rested in the realistic portrayal of all of the characters involved and the strong characterization in general, largely due to the very natural feel of the dialogue. "Sisters" did an excellent job showing us the nuances of the Starfire/Robin relationship, particularly in the opening fireworks scene, the rooftop of the dance scene, and the final exchange at the top of the Titans Tower. Blackfire was also used to full effect in developing the other Titans. As we saw her play the Titans to keep them away from Starfire, we got glimpses at the nature of their personalities and their interests. Characters feel much more real when we know that they're video game fanatics like us, have a fascination with martial arts, or have a favorite cafe where they can recite poetry and be accepted (sort of reminds me of a place where some of my friends frequent sometimes). Even amidst all of the character development, the jokes kept coming ("betcha Cyborg can do the robot") and the situations were still funny ("You wanna pass me... but you can't pass me, you can't- you passed me!"). Also, the varying moods and tones of the episode were supplemented by the variety of music, with the dance section and the section where Starfire flies to confront Blackfire at the end being the most notable.

Although the story involves aliens from other planets and intergalactic crime, the message of the story hits close to home: The underlying theme that runs throughout the episode is sibling rivalry. Children often feel as though they have to compete for the attention and approval of others to both their parents and in cases where their ages are close, also their peers. While Blackfire's motivations for winning the attention and respect of the Teen Titans were completely different (trying to keep them away from Starfire when she got caught as opposed to self-validation), to Starfire the end result remained the same. She felt as if she was being replaced by her sister and was of no value to anyone, an issue that kids often have to deal with. Essentially, the message of the story that every human being is unique, important, and valuable, and everyone is worth knowing regardless of their intelligence, skill, or personality attributes. Robin briefly touches on this meaning when he's talking to Starfire, but the writer has enough respect for the intelligence of the kids to figure this out on their own. While the plot itself may not have merit, the important message that it conveys by showing the importance of individuality most certainly does.

The episode also raises the question of why Starfire left Tamaran to stay on Earth and why Blackfire was busy planet-hopping. In fact, many viewers may leave this episode wondering what the "origin" of the members of the Teen Titans are and how they came about to be in their current positions. While some origins may be difficult to translate from their original medium (such as Raven's conception which is a rather complicated and horrific ordeal involving an entanglement between her mother Arella and a powerful extra-dimensional being), many fans would demand that some form of a background story must be told. However, while the episode prompts us to think about the origins of these characters, it responds by telling us a great deal about the nature of the main characters in their current situation, possibly also conveying the message that it is not important where an individual comes from but who they are now and how they treat both people and life as a whole in the present.

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