Recap / Teen Titans S 5 E 5 Snowblind

The Teen Titans are summoned to Russia to help a village under attack by a radioactive monster. While there, Starfire comes across a peculiar young man with radioactive powers he can't control…

Tropes:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: A more justified case than usual with Red Star: people fear and hate him because he destroyed a city, and there's a monster with suspiciously similar powers repeatedly coming to attack them.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Red Star's powers are generating uncontrollable blasts and explosions of nuclear energy, which puts any human near him at constant risk. He himself is a very nice person however, and tries his best to minimize the danger his powers put other people in by keeping himself far away from everyone else. Starfire tries to convince him that his powers can actually be used for good instead of just being a minimized risk, though it takes a while to get through to him.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Red Star calls the (very large) bear at the beginning of the episode "mishka". That's what Russian teddy bears or bear cubs are called. Considering the complete lack of fear Red Star has towards it, that connotation was definitely intended.
  • Big Bad: The radioactive monster.
  • The Cameo: Dr. Chang is seen in Red Star's Flash Back.
  • Child Soldier: Red Star was originally just some kid enlisted in the Security Force who was then picked as a test subject to create the perfect Super Soldier. The experiment (which had Gone Horribly Right) happened years ago and in the present Red Star looks barely older than the Titans. This means that he must've been quite young in the flashback to when it happened, not just seeming so because he was small.
  • Clear Their Name: The Titans were summoned to stop a monster, which they initially assume is Red Star.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: The reason behind Red Star trying to convince the hunters to stop chasing him, since he knows his powers could activate at any point and kill all of them and he can't stop it. The hunters don't listen until Red Star starts glowing and the leader realizes who he is. At that point they start running, but it's an open question if any of them survived the nuclear explosion that followed a couple seconds later.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Red Star going out into a snowstorm to free a bear caught in a hunter's trap tells us quite a bit about him before we even know his name.
  • Evil Poacher: While it's unclear if the hunters at the beginning of the episode are outright poachers or if they're licensed to hunt bears, they have no problem with chasing Red Star down and beating him. While Red Star did release the bear they caught, attempting homicide on someone who is unarmed and who tried to run from you is pretty unjustifiable.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Starfire. Lampshaded by Raven and when a villager gives her a Nice Hat.
  • Expy: Red Star's backstory of being a weak young soldier who was given powers as part of a government plan to create supersoldiers puts Captain America in mind.
  • The Faceless: Red Star's face is initially hidden by the shadow cast by his hood, which he later takes off to put Starfire at ease.
  • Genius Bruiser: Red Star is a tall, buff guy who can smack around a giant monster made of radioactive goo with his bare hands. He's also a Gadgeteer Genius with a fondness for snowmobiles.
  • Glorious Mother Russia
  • The Heart: Starfire. She convinces Red Star to help people and stand up for himself and tells off his old superior when he tries to blame Red Star for the monster and gets him to listen to her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Red Star destroys the monster but releases way too much energy in doing so. Starfire has to take him into the stratosphere so he overload without harming anyone.
  • Hostile Weather: The blizzard that rolls in with the monster prevents the rest of the Titans from following Starfire when she chases after it, splitting her and Red Star from the others until the storm dies down; throughout the entire episode, the snow prevents easy travel until Red Star volunteers his snowmobiles.
  • I Am a Monster: Red Star's felt this way about himself ever since he got his powers, though Starfire tries to convince him otherwise.
  • I Found You Like This: Red Star's explanation of how the proximity alarms on the nuclear plant went off and he found Starfire collapsed in the snow when he went to investigate. Since leaving someone out in a snowstorm in Siberia would be a death sentance, he brought her back with him and is very glad to see that she's recovered.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Red Star's powers, though the details of the procedure and how much actual radiation was involved in giving him his powers is unclear.
  • Late to the Tragedy: By the time the Titans arrive, the village is already pretty thoroughly destroyed.
    Cyborg: The signal we got must've been a distress call.
    Starfire: We are too late.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Despite the fear the village feels towards him and his complete seclusion in an eerie abandoned nuclear facility, Red Star is a genuinely kind and good person who's doing all he can to not hurt people.
  • Monochrome Past: Red Star's flashback explaining how he got his powers is in grayscale.
  • Mugging the Monster: The hunters at the start of the episode, who chase Red Star to the edge of a cliff and who initially laugh when he says that he doesn't want to hurt any of them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Red Star's horrified reaction to finding out that his attempts to discharge his radiation harmlessly created the monster that attacks the village.
  • Neutral No Longer: What Starfire's influence eventually brings about in Red Star, convincing him to get past his fear of his own power and help the village against the monster.
  • Nuclear Nasty: The monster, which is animated nuclear runoff and acts as Red Star's anger and fear at his situation given a physical form.
  • Oh Crap!: The hunters' reactions to realizing that the person pleading for them to leave because he doesn't want to hurt them is Red Star. At that realization they start running for their lives, though it's unknown if they made it far enough away from Red Star to survive when his power burst out of him in an explosion of radiation.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Red Star accidentally leveled an entire city when his powers first manifested, and he has to regularly shed his power to prevent them from exploding out with force like that again. The fact that his powers explode outwards in a bright sphere that looks similar to a nuclear bomb and are radioactive just make his similarities to an actual WMD all the clearer.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Red Star and Starfire establish this sort of bond over the episode.
  • Pent Up Power Peril: As a result of his powers, Red Star builds up large amounts of radiation; when he doesn't shed it periodically, it explodes out of him with the force of a nuclear explosion.
  • Poisonous Person: Both the monster and Red Star give off deadly amounts of radiation, which makes touching (or even getting too near them) lethal for humans. This complicates fighting the monster, as the only one who can directly touch it is Starfire; the rest have to stick to projectiles, severely limiting Robin and Beast Boy's effectiveness against it.
  • Power Incontinence: Red Star has to discharge nuclear energy every few hours or he overloads which is why he isolates himself. Unfortunately his isolation becomes a moot point when it's pointed out that even though he contains himself so that no one around will get hurt, the runoff from his energy releases escapes out into the environment.
  • Reflective Eyes: We see the lead hunter's Sinister Shades reflect Red Star as the space under his hood glows red, which is what triggers the hunter's horrified realization of just who Red Star is.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Starfire gives one to Red Star when he refuses to help her and the other Titans fight the monster, saying that it's too dangerous for him. Starfire says that while he might be content to be a coward, her friends are in grave peril and she will not hide from her fear. This triggers an outburst of Red Star's power, forcing him to expel it by channingly it into the containment system before it can do any damage, revealing to both Starfire and the audience why he thinks it's too dangerous for him to leave and that he's so convinced he'd only cause more damage trying to help.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: The Titans remark that the containers of energy that Red Star expels and has stored are enough to power a city; Red Star replies that they'd never accept it from him.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Nothing in Red Star's life goes right for him, with the powers he was given turning out to have blessed him with suck.
  • Sinister Shades: The lead hunter from the start of the episode wears a pair of shades to mark him out from the mooks with him.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Despite his commanding officer no longer considering him part of his group and having had no contact with them while in the nuclear plant, Red Star still wears a uniform of the Russian armed forces.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Starfire, who has withstood the cold and vacuum of space in previous episodes (and flies into space at the end of this episode), is grounded by a short flight through a Siberian snowstorm.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: The Titans (apart from Starfire and Beast Boy, much to his regret) done it, since they're in Siberia in the winter.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: The people of the village are as terrified of Red Star when he returns to help fight the monster as they are of the monster itself.
  • Unfamiliar Ceiling: Red Star finds Starfire unconscious in the snow during the storm, and takes her back to the facility her lives in out of concern that she'd freeze. While she freaks out a bit on waking up, he explains that he's keeping on the other side of the thick walls so that his radiation wouldn't hurt her, and welcomes her over to his quarters and feeds her when she explains that her species isn't harmed by radiation.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Subverted. Starfire wakes up after falling unconscious in the snow to find herself in an eerie abandoned facility, with a figure with a hidden face watching her through a thick wall of glass. She naturally assumes the that's she's been taken captive and prepares to fight her way out, but after a bit of explanation it turns out to have been an Unfamiliar Ceiling situation instead and she is free to leave whenever she wants.
  • Was Once a Man: Subverted with the monster. The general says it used to be one of his soldiers that later became an abomination, but it turns out that no, it was a case of mistaken identity. Red Star was his soldier, and while the actual monster's existence was indirectly caused by him, the monster itself was never anything but a monster.
  • What the Hell, Townspeople?: When the old general tries to pin the entire blame of the monster on Red Star, who's come back to help fight the monster. Starfire does not take this well.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: What Starfire tells Red Star when he hesitates before returning, assuring him that he's a good person and that he doesn't need to live his life afraid of his powers.
  • You Are Not Alone: Starfire and the other Titan's message to Red Star after he explains why he feels he needs to be isolated, for everyone's safety. Robin even welcomes him as a member of the Titans when he decides to help them. Though tragically, it doesn't last long.
    Robin: You know, Red Star... even if you have to be by yourself, it doesn't mean you have to be alone.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: Starfire's reaction to finding out about Red Star's powers, arguing that her own starbursts and his explosions are similar, and that if he works with his powers instead of trying to suppress them as much as possible he can do a lot of good for the world.

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