This post contains mild spoilers for "Titans" season 4.
A new season of "Titans" is upon us, and it's more unhinged than ever before. A blend of magic and horror, season 4 delves into the supernatural as the titular team finds itself at the center of a prophecy that could end the world for good. With the introduction of the Cult of Blood and its leader Mother Mayhem (Franka Potente), "Titans" shifts gears to deliver the most formidable threat in the series yet. But as with every villain, they need some henchman to serve as cannon fodder for the heroes. Historically, it's usually random guys in S.W.A.T. gear for the Titans, but this time around, the antagonist raises the dead, because why the hell not?
In the fourth episode, "Titans" looks to explain Mother Mayhem's backstory and her intentions with Sebastian Blood (Joseph Morgan). This leads to the superhero team revisiting the asylum from the first season, now converted to a supermarket that is mysteriously deserted. Below it is a huge basement that holds the answers they're looking for, but they encounter some unfriendly, undead faces in the process. Sound familiar? Well, it's supposed to. In perhaps the most surprising development of the season, "Titans" makes a pretty fun homage to "Dawn of the Dead" with direct nods to the zombie flick.
The Undead Super Super Mart
In the episode "Super Super Mart," everything is just as creepy as it seems to be. And the underground basement the Titans visit isn't the scariest thing, either. The location does not show up on any map or online search engine, nor do the workers seem excited to be there. Mother Mayhem enlists the zombified employees of the supermarket to attack the heroes, surrounding them until the Titans are forced to fight back. I'm not sure what possessed the show to do this, but it makes for a pretty entertaining sequence. It does not take place in a mall, but the series plays by the same rules as "Dawn of the Dead" when it comes to disposing of zombies.
After the Titans initially struggle to fend off the undead, Jinx (Lisa Ambalavanar) points out the obvious — they have to cut off the heads of the zombies to kill them. The team quickly gets to work, popping off heads like there's no tomorrow. Even a powerless Raven (Teagan Croft) gets in on the action, buzzing off a zombie's head with a chainsaw in dramatic fashion. The main diversion from "Dawn of the Dead" is that the flesh-eaters arrive with makeshift weapons, instead of the other way around. Nevertheless, heads roll, and the Titans are able to escape them. But one final battle awaits them, and it proves to be their toughest yet.
Dawn Of The Dead DC Villains
When the first trailer dropped for the season, speculation ran amok on how a deceased Deathstroke could make his return. The question is answered in "Super Super Mart" when an undead Slade Wilson appears as a member of Mother Mayhem's army. He still has the fighting skills and metahuman strength but is a lot less alive this time around. So that means he'll be easier to kill, right? Well, the episode consistently flips the "Dawn of the Dead" tropes on its head, literally and figuratively. When Deathstroke's head is punched off by Superboy, he picks it right back up.
Bringing back the classic Teen Titans villain through an elaborate homage to "Dawn of the Dead" was not on my radar, but it was entertaining nonetheless. The direct nod to the film works as a fun gimmick and a neat way to introduce some much-needed action this season. It would be nice if Deathstroke was actually back for good, however, it was important that his appearance did not take away from the main event. And hey, perhaps we'll see him again later this season, dead or alive.
New episodes of "Titans" air on Thursdays on HBO Max.
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