'Titans' Season 2 Episode 6 delivers childlike Conner Kent with Joshua Orpin’s nuanced portrayal of hopefulness providing refreshing change
'Titans' Season 2's sixth episode 'Conner' is finally here and with it, we get one of the most beautiful origin stories the show has managed to tell so far. 'Conner' follows Subject 13 (Joshua Orpin), the newly emancipated Superboy, as he goes on a journey of self-discovery with his best (and only) pal Krypto the Superdog.
The episode provides a refreshing change from the dark and gloomy tone of the rest of the show. The childlike Conner Kent we meet in the episode has a certain air of hopefulness about him that hasn't yet been dimmed by the cruelty of the world, accentuated and complemented by an excellent soundtrack.
When we meet Conner, he is essentially an infant, a powerful metahuman clone of Superman and Lex Luthor with the mental maturity of a two-year-old. Unlike versions of the character from previous adaptations like 'Young Justice', he's not an angsty teenager.
There's a certain sense of wonder with which Conner sees the world and Orpin pulls off a very nuanced portrayal of the character that highlights his innocence. Conner's inexperience leads to some moments of hilarity like when he unwittingly scares a woman into giving him money so he can buy the iconic black-and-red t-shirt that he wears.
Though there are times when his temper gets the best of him, Conner is still an innocent child who just wants to help others and find out who he truly is. That second desire is what primarily drives him in the episode, leading to him meeting first Lex Luthor's father Lionel Luthor (Patrick MacNeill) and then Dr. Eve Watson (Genevive Angelson), the Cadmus geneticist responsible for ensuring his successful creation.
And so, like Virgil leading Dante through the circles of Hell, Eve takes Conner to the facility where all the failed attempts that led to his creation are kept. Confronted with the dark truth of his origin, Conner lashes out at first before the scientist manages to calm him down and explain that she only wanted to warn him of his potential for both great good and great evil.
What follows is one of the most touching moments the show has ever delivered. "You're not a monster," Eve says lovingly. "You're a person. That means your life is gonna be difficult and complicated and painful and sometimes, full of joy. Just remember, people are not what they say they're going to do, they are what they do."
In the final moments of the episode, the story connects back to the greater storyline of the show. Eve stays behind so Conner can escape Lex Luthor's lieutenant Mercy Graves (Natalie Gumede) and warns him not to trust people or attract attention to himself.
Thanks to the good doctor, Conner and Krypto manage to make it as far as San Francisco without incident, just in time to save Jason Todd/Robin (Curran Walters) from plummeting to his death (from the end of Episode 5). The episode ends with Graves, who has already captured Krypto and placed a kryptonite leash on the Superdog, shooting Conner with kryptonite bullets that incapacitate the young hero.
Though it does end on a dramatic note (as most 'Titans' episodes do), the true highlight of the episode wasn't the action or the drama that is usually a staple of the show. What makes Episode 6 such a heartwarming story is the pure-hearted hero at the center of it, the acting and music that brings out his innocence, and the promise of greatness to come.
'Titans' Season 2 Episode 7 'Bruce Wayne' will arrive on DC Universe October 18.