Val-Yor, a hero from another planet, enlists the help of the Titans to fight the Locrix: a mechanical race bent on galactic domination. Despite his heroism, however, Val-Yor turns out to be prejudiced against Tamaraneans and treats Starfire with disdain. This is missed by Titans at first, as they do not realize that Val-Yor's nickname for Starfire is in fact a racial slur; and even when Cyborg eventually discovers the truth and tells Robin, Starfire refuses to let them do anything about it until their mission is complete. She finally stands up for herself when Val-Yor tries to leave her behind while the rest of the team infiltrates the home planet of the Locrix. Not only does she participate in the mission, she accompanies Val-Yor into the Locrix headquarters and winds up saving his life. With their mission over, Robin demands that Val-Yor apologize. Val-Yor makes an attempt to do so, but succeeds only in delivering a backhanded compliment to Starfire. The Titans point out that his apology is no less offensive than his original insults and ask Val-Yor to leave. He does so, deciding that Earthlings may be just as bad as Tamaraneans.
The Titans apologize to Starfire about how Val-Yor treated her, and assure her they would have stepped in and done something sooner if they had noticed the discrimination sooner. While Starfire is grateful, she says that it wouldn't have mattered if they did. Some people can't change their prejudices. However, for every bigot, there are many others that accept people for who they are and where they came from, and she'd rather value the kindness of her friends than hope for a racist jerk's validation.
- Affectionate Nickname: Val-Yor gives each of the Titans one of these... except Starfire, who he calls by the anti-Tamaranean slur "Troq". Cyborg, however, mistakenly thinks "Troq" is this trope, but learns better after a moment where he's Innocently Insensitive.
- Aliens Are Bastards:
- The Locrix, who are apparently bent on galactic domination according to Val-Yor.
- Val-Yor hates Tameranians, and calls them racial slurs like "Troq". It's also hinted at that not only Val-Yor and his species, but other aliens also treat Tameranians this way.
- Ambiguous Syntax: Cyborg asks what "troq" means, and misunderstands Starfire when she says "it means nothing".Cyborg: I thought you said it didn't mean anything.
Starfire: No — I said it means "nothing."
- An Aesop: Bigotry is bad and hurtful, no matter how much a bigot might dress it up.
- Bittersweet Ending: Val-Yor and the Titans left in bad terms with the former still racist and declaring that Earthlings are just as bad as Tamaraneans. However, the Locrix are destroyed and the Titans learned a lesson that while some people may never change their views, there will be others like the Titans who don't judge on appearances.
- Broken Pedestal: The Titans towards Val-Yor when they discover what a racist Jerkass he is when he calls Starfire "Troq". Of course, they only realize this once they all realize what the word actually means.
- Bullying a Dragon: Averted, if only for the fact that Val-Yor is shown to possess abilities that put him on or at least near Starfire's own level, so from his perspective the "dragon" in question isn't so tough. Even so, the only reason Starfire holds back from hurting him is that it will only serve to confirm his views on her.
- Corrupted Character Copy: Val-Yor looks an awful lot like Captain Atom.
- Discriminate and Switch: Cyborg, who has been judged by his appearance, but not because he's black, but because he's part robot. It looks like Cyborg and Starfire are not so different for that matter.Starfire: You know what it feels like to be judged simply because of how you look?
Cyborg: Of course I do. I'm part robot.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: According to this video, Starfire's experience mirrors that of African-Americans in WW2.
- Exact Words: When Cyborg initially notices that Starfire seems bothered by Val-Yor calling her "Troq", he asks her what it means, to which she replies, "It means Nothing". Due to her broken English, Cyborg misinterprets this as it not being a big deal, which leads to his Innocently Insensitive moment, and then the Wham Line when Starfire tells him what "Troq" really means.Cyborg: What's up? I thought you said it didn't mean anything.
Starfire: No; I said it means "nothing". When Val-Yor calls me "Troq", he is saying that I am worthless - a nothing.
- Fantastic Racism: Val-Yor, against Tamaraneans. Note that he fails to notice any irony in the fact that one of the reasons he hates the Locrix is for their own Fantastic Racism against "organics".
- Fantastic Slurs: To call someone a "troq" is to call them "nothing" or "worthless".
- Flat "What": Robin's reaction to learning what Val-Yor has really been calling Starfire all this time. Very much not played for laughs: he sounds like he's ready to kill the guy. Luckily, Starfire calmly tells him that there are more important things than her feelings.(Cyborg whispers to Robin and tells him what "Troq" really means)Robin: What?Cyborg: And that's what he's being calling her this whole time.
- Foreshadowing: Val-Yor drops his friendly tone with the Titans the moment he notices Starfire.
- Get Out!: When Val-Yor weakly defends his racist slur against Starfire wasn't a big deal, Robin interrupts and coldly tells him it's time for him to go.
- Guilt by Association: Val-Yor now views humanity on the same level as he views Tamaraneans all because the Titans call him out on his racism.Val-Yor: I thought you Earthlings were alright. I guess I was wrong. You're just like the Troqs.
- Guilt-Free Extermination War: The Locrix wish to wipe out all organic life. In turn, no one objects to Val-Yor's plan to destroy them all.
- Hard Truth Aesop: Sometimes, bigots won't let go of their prejudiced views no matter what.
- Hate Sink: Val-Yor, who spends most of his screen time as a racist Jerkass in a Very Special Episode about racism.
- Hypocrite: One of the main reasons Val-Yor opposes the Locrix is due to their Fantastic Racism against organics, but he's very bigoted against Tamaraneans. While he's not violent about his prejudice like they are, that doesn't really reduce his hypocrisy.
- Innocently Insensitive: Cyborg calls Starfire "Troqie" before he understands what it means. This leads Starfire to explain that it is a racial slur against Tamaraneans, and Cyborg to begin to see Val-Yor's true colors.Cyborg: Way to go Troqie!
Starfire: (furious) You do not call me that!
Cyborg: (Confused) But Val-Yor calls you Troq all the time!
Starfire: That does not make it right!
Cyborg: What's up? I thought you said it didn't mean anything?
Starfire: No; I said it means "nothing". When Val-Yor calls me Troq, he is saying that I am worthless - a nothing.Cyborg: Star...Starfire: There are those on other planets who feel Tamaraneans are inferior. "Troq" is what they call us.Cyborg: So he's calling you a terrible name. And you know that if you punch him out, it'll just confirm all the bad stuff he thinks about you.Starfire: Yes.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Val-Yor, seeing Starfire, is surprised that the Titans "have a Tamaranean". His tone made it seem like he thought they kept her as a pet before Robin called her part of the team.
- Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Val-Yor, who exists to show that racism is bad and that some people like him will not change no matter what.
- Master Race: The Locrix wish to exterminate all organic life.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: The Locrix.
- The Nicknamer: Val-Yor comes up with innocuous nicknames for the other Titans: Spike, Metal Butt, Sunshine and Champ (Robin, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy respectively). At first, they assume that "Troq" is simply a nickname they don't understand, and are pissed off once they discover the meaning, which means "worthless" and "nothing".
- Nicknaming the Enemy: Val-Yor calls the Locrix "Crixies".
- Noble Bigot: Deconstructed. Barring Starfire, Val-Yor genuinely liked the other Titans and is trying to stop an evil alien race, but he's also still a racist, and Starfire saving his life didn't change that. All it did was make him think Starfire was "one of the good ones", causing the Titans to lose any remaining respect for him. Val-Yor showed that no amount of nobleness would make bigotry acceptable.
- "Not So Different" Remark: Cyborg and Starfire can both relate on what it's like to be judged by others because of how they look: For Cyborg, he's part robot and for Starfire, she a Tamaranean (who Val-Yor greatly despises).
- Rejected Apology: Starfire tries to apologize to Val-Yor for almost destroying his ship. He cruelly rejects her apology by calling her a "stupid troq." This is sadly justified...not Val-Yor's cruel behavior towards Starfire mind you, but the fact that Starfire didn't even need to apologize to the jerk in the first place.
- Selective Obliviousness: The Titans seem to not have any problem with Val-Yor when he asks to help him kill off a race of sentient robotic beings, but when they find out how Val-Yor was treating Starfire, they start treating him with hostility, not seeming to care about anyone else that Val-Yor was affecting but their teammates.
- Tranquil Fury: When Cyborg tells Robin exactly what Troq means, his voice doesn't rise, but the venom in it is audible.
- Ungrateful Bastard: In spite of the fact that she saved his life and by extension the mission, Val-Yor continues to act racist towards Starfire with only a half-hearted acknowledgment towards her and when the Titans defend her, he calls them all "just like the Troqs" in spite of the fact that they assisted him in completing the mission.
- Very Special Episode: About racism, naturally.
- Visible Sigh: Starfire, after stopping the two mines from colliding.
- Wham Line:Cyborg: I thought you said it didn't mean anything!Starfire: No — I said it means, "Nothing."
- What the Hell, Hero?: When the Titans find out about Val-Yor's Fantastic Racism.
- After finding out from Cyborg on what Troq really means, Robin gives a slight one to Starfire for not saying something sooner.Robin: (whispering to Starfire) Starfire, why didn't you say something?
- After finding out from Cyborg on what Troq really means, Robin gives a slight one to Starfire for not saying something sooner.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: When Val-Yor says that Starfire is "one of the good ones," none of the Titans take it well. Raven asks point-blank why why something that is supposedly a compliment still sounds like an insult.