Titans Makes DC’s Afterlife MUCH Weirder – How It Works

Warning! Spoilers for Titans season 3, episode 9 below.

DC just introduced a bizarre new take on the afterlife in Titans season 3, episode 9 as Tim Drake finds some unlikely allies and even manages to bring one of the show’s most important characters back to life. Jay Lycurgo joined the already crowded HBO Max series for season 3 in the role of Tim Drake, ushering in a slightly modified backstory for the boy who, in the comics, becomes Batman’s greatest incarnation of Robin. He is inadvertently caught up in Red Hood (Curran Walters) and Scarecrow’s (Vincent Kartheiser) ongoing battle against Gotham City when a man juiced up on anti-fear serum strolls into the Drake family noodle shop and opens fire, severely injuring Tim’s father.


Tim later confronts Titans leader Dick Grayson, revealing he is a lifelong super fan of Batman and Robin who also happened to be at the circus the night Grayson’s parents were murdered. Over the years, he studied the crime-fighting duo religiously and eventually managed to put all the pieces together, discovering both Dick and Bruce Wayne’s secret identities. Tim wants to take over the mantle of Robin, believing that Gotham needs both the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder but is initially turned down. While trying to assist the Titans and prove helpful, Tim is shot by Scarecrow and later awakens to find himself in a strange black-and-white afterlife, sitting on the same train as the late Donna Troy (aka Wonder Girl).

Thanks to the unexpected return of Hank, who was blown up by Red Hood earlier in the season, Titans was able to clarify some of the rules surrounding this unique take on what comes after. Tim is told early on by the conductor that the train is “almost at his stop.” As soon as he attempts to escape the train, he is swarmed by supernatural specters that bear a resemblance to Dementors from the Harry Potter films. Hank later explains these “ghouls” have the ability to steal one’s soul, and if they catch a person, it means a one-way ticket “all the way down” to Hades.

Essentially the black-and-white realm and its mysterious train appear to be some kind of DC purgatory or halfway point in between a person’s final destination and the underworld. It appears to be both a physical and a metaphysical place, as the characters do seem to experience physical pain while also gaining the ability to manifest items simply by thinking hard about them. Of course, Titans uses this interesting concept to arm its heroes with weapons. The episode ends with Tim Drake and Donna crossing a bridge at the end of an upside-down tree (for some reason) that takes them back to Earth, while Hank stays behind to hold off the ghouls. He is later reunited with his dead brother Don, and the two once again take up the mantle as Hawk & Dove, presumably helping passengers safely cross to the other side.

Concepts such as death and the afterlife are tricky within the DC universe. The standard “Christian” versions of both Heaven and Hell certainly exist within the comics, as do numerous pantheons of gods and deities from across different cultures, species, and religions. The general rule seems to be that whatever the individual personally believes in will influence where they end up after death. HBO Max’s Titans never explicitly states what is on the other side of its not-so-subtle train, but the likely answer is that it depends on the person taking the journey.

Hank’s specific use of the word “Hades” rather than “Hell” in this episode is potentially interesting, however. DC follows the traditional mythology of Hades being one of the original Olympic gods and ruler of the underworld, and as such, he ties in closely to the Amazon warriors of Themyscira and the history of Wonder Woman. With Donna Troy also coming back to life at the end of this week’s episode, and Rachel (aka Raven) currently in Themyscira for that very reason, it’s possible Titans could be setting up for the arrival of its next big villain—the devil himself.

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About The Author

Michael Killam (34 Articles Published)

Michael Killam is a core features editor for Screen Rant covering film and television. He is a former professional wrestling journalist with more than 10 years experience, traveling all around the country and to some of the coolest arenas in the world covering entertainment’s wonderfully bizarre red-headed stepchild. Follow him on Twitter @MikeKillam.

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