Teen Titans
Air Date
October 2nd, 2004
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Spellbound (Teen Titans)


(Opening shot: the crescent moon, partially hidden behind dark clouds in the night sky. Pull back to ground level, putting Titans Tower in view, and cut to a close-up of the snoring house pet, the moth larva last seen in "Betrothed." Pan across the darkened space, the operations center, and stop on Robin, who sits before the window/screen. It shows three images: long shots of the museum, a stretch of the bridge over Jump City Bay, and the waterfront carnival. Cut to a close-up of these, with a digital clock readout ticking over to 12:00, and tilt down to the insomniac Boy Wonder; chin in hands, he rests his elbows on the computer keyboard.)

(Cut to a close-up of the pensive teen's face. The sound of a door opening o.c. makes him turn around; pan to the main entrance, where Cyborg has just come in.)

Cyborg: (yawning widely) You still up? (He walks in.)

Robin: I've got work to do.

(Cyborg mulls this over for a second. Cut to a close-up of the highway view, then pan to the museum and the carnival in turn. Not a soul in sight on any of them.)

Cyborg: Well, whatever you're looking for is probably asleep, like you should be.

(He heads back to the door, stopping to activate the Tower's security systems with a palm scan as he did in "Betrayal.")

Cyborg: Lockdown initiated. Good night.

(Out he goes, shutting the door; Robin continues to ponder the scenes arrayed before him. Cut to a close-up of his narrowed eyes, then dissolve after a moment to inside the entrance to the Tower's basement. An electric light flickers fitfully o.c. as the camera tilts down to the base of the long stairwell that leads to the floor. Pan across the machinery that hunkers silently under the inadequate glow, and stop on several stacks of boxes. Robin is here, and he pulls one down from the top level and sets it on the floor. Snap to black, which immediately resolves into the interior of the container as he pulls off the lid. Cut to one corner of it and pan slowly across the contents; assorted memorabilia used by Slade or connected with him, including the mask Robin cracked and broke in half during the pair's fights in Part Two of "Apprentice." The two halves have been reattached, though the fracture down the left side is still there.)

(Robin regards the items for a moment and lifts the mask for a good look, stirring up clouds of dust as he does so. His lungs protest slightly with a coughing spasm; suddenly the lights come on and the next voice takes him by surprise.)

Cyborg: (from o.c.) He's not coming back, you know. (Cut to him at the switch.) That's all that's left of him. Nothing but dust.

Robin: We can't be sure. He was never captured, never found.

(He is referring to Slade's disappearance in Part Two of "Aftershock"; recall that the last anyone saw of him was his dropped mask being engulfed by the erupting lava in his cavern lair.)

Cyborg: It's over, Robin. Slade's gone.

(The alarm goes off, accompanied by flashing red lights.)

Robin: Trouble!

(Both run o.c. toward the stairs. Cut to a close-up of the damaged mask and zoom in slowly, then fade to black.)


Act One

(Opening shot: the crescent moon among the night's cloud cover. Tilt down to a winding stretch of mountain road; in the distance, an explosion flashes up among the trees. At the blast site, freshly smashed vehicles burn in the road as several people crouch behind riot shields. The wreckage is swept aside and replaced by a thick stone leg that steps into view: Cinderblock is on the loose again. Cut to a close-up of his feet and tilt up as the sound of panicked voices is heard; with a roar, he slams his clasped hands to the pavement, and the hiding people, prison guards, disappear as the road buckles. They end up tumbling near or against the guardrail, out of business for the time being.)

(Now Cinderblock has lifted one of the vehicles with a roar, but a starbolt to the chest caches him off guard. More shots drive him back a longer distance; finally he gets his footing, and the camera cuts to a long shot of the Titans and zooms in.)

Robin: Drop it, Cinderblock, before we drop you.

(Cinderblock throws the vehicle at them; quick pan to their vantage point, where Raven stops it cold and tears it apart with one swing of her hands. The Titans charge, Robin with his fighting staff in his hand, Beast Boy becoming a triceratops. Another starbolt barrage drills into the igneous chest and is followed by Robin's staff crashing against the square head. Before Cinderblock can react, the green horned skull rams home, bulldozing him all the way to the guardrail with enough force to snap it. After a moment's teetering on the precipice, the behemoth regains his balance and flings Beast Boy aside. Cut to a close-up of the oncoming Cyborg; he ducks to avoid the hurtling changeling, who reverts to human form with a scream. Sonic cannon out, a yell on his lips, Cyborg leaps high over the battlefield as lightning rips the sky. His muzzle and Cinderblock's fist meet in a blinding flash; when it clears, the other enormous meathook comes around and punches Cyborg to the ground. One blocky foot stomps the impact site, leaving a deep crater with the bionic brawler smashed into its floor.)

(He struggles to get up; cut to just behind him and tilt up to Cinderblock, who lifts one fist to finish him off. Under Raven's influence, a large clamp extends into view on a cable and fastens itself around his chest-part of the vehicle he threw at the team a short while ago. Quick pan to her in midair, struggling to maintain her hold on the massive enemy. Under her grip and Starfire's new onslaught, he is slowly pushed back toward the guardrail; Cyborg soon joins them, popping up from the footprint crater to fire his cannon. Robin watches the three-way attack, which comes to a very abrupt end when Cinderblock thrashes his entire body to send the clamp's cable whipsawing through the air. It lashes Raven and Starfire to the ground; they skid across the broken pavement to land near several of the guards.)

(Now Robin goes on the offensive, snarling and twirling his staff overhead, and Cyborg climbs out to lend a hand. The still-clamped Cinderblock gets cannon fire at his feet and a flurry of staff blows to the head; next, Cyborg leaps to try another high-powered strike, but again he is swatted down. The twenty-ton foe leaps impossibly high, breaks free of the restraint at the top of his flight, and comes straight down toward Robin. Standing in the giant, growing shadow, the teen runs for his life, but is thrown upward by the shock waves of Cinderblock's impact. Long shot of the guardrail, seen from past the cliff's edge; he goes flying over it, and the camera tilts down quickly to follow his plunge for a moment.)

(A fresh roar greets the other Titans as they regroup. In a blink, Beast Boy has become a tyrannosaurus rex, and he lets go with a thundering bellow while all four charge. Cinderblock does likewise; cut to a letterbox view, top two-thirds of the screen, as the five silhouettes rush toward each other. Fullscreen, long shot of the area: another infernal explosion rocks the place. Cut briefly to a close-up, then pull back to a patch of forest lower down the slopes. Robin is here, knocked out and sprawled on his face, dropped staff lying close nearby.)

(As he lifts his head, something black swishes past the camera and surprises him back to full consciousness. Standing up with his trusty weapon in hand, he braces for action, but is met by nothing but lightning for a moment. Suddenly, his eyes go very wide; after the next flash, we can clearly see Slade standing behind a tree, intact and with a brand-new mask firmly in place. It would appear that the leader's fears were justified after all.)

Robin: Slade!

(He rushes, the staff put away now, but his former master easily outdistances him and leaps toward the treetops. The chase moves into the upper reaches of the forest, with Slade staying well ahead.)

Robin: Stop!

(Slade does no such thing; Robin whips out a birdarang and lets fly. The target stops on a thick branch and faces down the whirling projectile without so much as a finch, and, after a crack of lightning, he is gone, leaving the birdarang to stick deep in the tree trunk. His mind reeling as this super-quick escape, Robin vaults over and pulls his weapon free just before a drenching rain begins, soaking him to the skin.)

Slade: (from o.c.) Too slow, Robin.

(Overhead view of the puzzled hero; tilt up to show Slade watching him from a higher branch. The rain does not splash off his armor, but simply seems to disappear on contact.)

Slade: You always were.

Robin: (pulls out his grappling hook) I knew you'd come back.

(The line is fired upward toward Slade, who just watches incuriously as it wraps around the branch. Robin hauls himself up to strike, but a lightning flash gives Slade the cover he needs to leap away across the high boughs. Off they go, working steadily up the height of a colossal old tree and then traversing the forest once more; not one of Robin's lunging attacks hits anything but air. Finally, they stop at opposite ends of a thick limb; cut to Robin, gasping for breath, and pan to the implacable Slade.)

Slade: Already out of breath? (Zoom in on the Boy Wonder.) Don't tell me you've gotten soft. (Back to Slade.) Save your energy. You're going to need it. (Extreme close-up of his eye.) I merely freed Cinderblock to get your attention. And now that I have it...

Robin: (pulls out his staff) What are you planning? (Zoom in on Slade.)

Slade: Seismic generators, Robin. (holds up a controller) Three of them.

(Cut to a sequence of three shots, the same locations under surveillance in the prologue. A large cylindrical device with a flashing red light is immediately seen at the bridge and museum; tilt down from the carnival's rides to show one attached to the pier's moorings.)

Slade: (voice over) Placed on fault lines all over the city. And in three short hours, (Back to him.) they'll trigger an earthquake so magnificent, it will break your city in two.

(On the end of this, zoom in on him in two steps, ending with an extreme close-up of his eye.)

Robin: Not if I break you first.

(With a fresh yell, he charges and begins swinging his staff as if trying to break every home run record ever set. Slade evades the strikes with ease, then dives off the branch; Robin follows suit and throws his staff like a javelin. The anonymous criminal stands pat as it hurtles down at his head, and then is suddenly gone amid the glare of a lightning strike. The staff sticks in the ground, and Robin lands near it, wrapping himself in his cape in an attempt to stay dry. Cut to his perspective, panning across the forest, then back to him. Sullen frustration is stenciled on his face in big block letters as he moves to pull his weapon free.)

Beast Boy: (from o.c.) Uh, sorry to interrupt your little nature hike, but... (Quick pan to him, in human form and ripping hair out.) ...WHERE WERE YOU?!?

(Pull back. The other three Titans are with him; Raven has created a shield, open in front and curving around her back and head, to keep the rain off her. On the next line, it unfurls over the others, taking the shape of her "soul-self.")

Beast Boy: We had to finish off Cinderblock by ourselves, in the rain, and...

(He trails off into a violent sneeze, turning briefly into an elephant before resuming human form.).

Beast Boy: (voice sounds very congested) Great. Now I've got a cold.

Robin: (retracing his staff) Slade. He's back.

Cyborg: You sure it was him? I mean, you kinda had Slade on the brain lately. Maybe--

Robin: It was him. He's going to create a massive earthquake, and we have three hours to stop it!

(Cut to a slow pan across four teammates who are having a rather hard time with this. Beast Boy sniffles loudly, that cold set in very quickly indeed.)

Cyborg: I don't get it. The dude fell into a pit of lava. Who lives through something like that?

Raven: Apparently, Slade.

Beast Boy: Yeah. He's pretty...pretty...

(Three more sneezes, during which he turns into a capybara, a velociraptor, and a fish. When he is himself again, he wipes a dab of snot from the end of his nose.)

Beast Boy: ...slippery.

Robin: We'll worry about how Slade survived later. Right now, all that matters is how we stop him.

(Cut to a close-up of him on the end of this.)

Robin: Cyborg. (Pan to Cyborg; he continues o.c.) Check out the bridge. (Cut to...) Raven, take the park. (Pan to...) Beast Boy, the pier. (Pan to...) Starfire... (Back to him; zoom in.) ...we're going after Slade.

(Lightning plays across his face. Cut to a pan through the undergrowth, following Robin and Starfire.)

Starfire: Fear not, Robin. We will stop him.

Robin: We have no other choice.

(His communicator beeps, and he pulls it out and flips it open.)

Cyborg: (over the communicator) Robin, I'm at the bridge.

Robin: Did you find the seismic generator?

(Cut to the big man, standing by one of the span's abutments. Nothing out of the ordinary.)

Cyborg: Man, I can't find diddly. No signs of anything unusual.

(Wipe to Raven outside the museum. She has her communicator out and that curved shelter up.)

Raven: Nothing here either.

(She moves aside slightly, exposing the position of the alleged generator; zoom in on the empty space, then cut to the carnival and tilt down to the pier moorings. Beast Boy is here, communicator in hand, but no nefarious machinery is present.)

Beast Boy: I got bupkes.

(He sneezes, turning into a tiger. Close-up of his communicator as it falls into the mud by the paws.)

Robin: (over the communicator) They're there. Keep searching.

(More sneezes send the ill Titan through crab, flamingo, horse, sasquatch, a long green streamer of snot running down on this last. Pull back to a long shot of the waterfront; one more nasal trumpet blast leaves him as a brontosaurus. From here, cut to Robin and Starfire.)

Robin: (throws his communicator down) I told them exactly where Slade put the generators. I shoulda gone to find them myself. (Close-up of the device; she stops to pick it up.)

Starfire: They will be found, Robin. You must have faith in your--

(Lightning. Cut to a close-up of his feet, tilting up; both have stopped, Robin staring straight ahead, Starfire looking at his back. Without a word, he charges off.)

Starfire: Robin?

(He barrels ahead; cut to his perspective. The trees part to reveal Slade standing in a clearing. Pull back; he skids to a stop in the squishy dirt to face the archenemy.)

Slade: Tick-tock, Robin. This is going to be easier than I thought. You've gotten sloppy while I was away.

(This taunt spurs Robin into a yelling charge, accompanied by a handful of discs flung forward; they whistle toward the armored figure and explode at its feet, but he does not even twitch. As the smoke clears, the former apprentice rushes through it, but is easily sidestepped. Slade stops the next attack and counters with a palm thrust that drives Robin to his knees; a steel-clad foot comes down next, but the Boy Wonder slides away and faces off again. This time, he tries a low roundhouse kick that Slade avoids without difficulty. As Robin stands up, the camera moves around him in a circular track; the masked psychopath comes into view behind him, raises one arm, and knocks Robin flat. Pan away from the two to put Starfire in view at a distance.)

Starfire: Robin!

(Back to the combatants. Slade whirls and runs in her direction.)

Robin: Starfire, stop him!

(The camera shifts to frame her; their enemy charges straight past, but she looks wildly around as if still trying to figure out where he is. Up comes Robin after a moment, finding nothing but a rain-soaked forest as far as the eye can see. Close-up of him, teeth clenched in frustrated fury, and pan to the totally bewildered Tamaranean. She looks around, still trying to bend her brain around what has just happened, and Robin seizes her arm, startling a gasp out of her.)

Robin: What happened?!

(Close-up of the green-gloved fingers clamped into her flesh, then tilt up to her face.)

Starfire: (rattled) You are hurting me.

Robin: Slade ran right by you! How could you let him get away?!

Starfire: (eyes tearing up briefly) But...Robin...there was no one there.

(Her puzzlement is now explained: she never saw Slade coming. Cut to a close-up of Robin, eyes bugging out, panting hard, having no clue what to make of her words, and fade to black.)

Act Two

(Opening shot: a tilted view of a skyscraper in Jump City. The torrential rain continues as Beast Boy wings into view as a pigeon. Camera follows him as he makes his way to Cyborg and Raven at the curb, the latter still keeping the rain off herself, and sneezes himself into pig form just short of ground level. Splashing down in the gutter, he ends up as himself and sniffles loudly.)

Beast Boy: I've looked everywhere. I think Slade sent us on a... (More sneezes: giraffe, armadillo, and goose.)

Raven: ...Wild goose chase? (He resumes human form.)

Beast Boy: Can I please go lie down now? (Cyborg checks his forearm panel.)

Cyborg: I've run a complete sweep of the city's seismic faults. They're all clean. I'm thinking all this seismic-generator stuff is just another one of Slade's tricks.

(Pull back a bit as Starfire lands behind him.)

Starfire: I am not so certain that Slade is behind this.

Cyborg: What happened? Where's Robin?

Starfire: Robin...has elected to search on his own.

Beast Boy: Huh? Why? (Pause.)

Starfire: He said he saw Slade. I tried to see him, I truly did, but I could not. I have never seen Robin so angry...so angry at me. (Cyborg moves closer.)

Cyborg: Let's go find Robin.

(Dissolve to a slow pan across a long stretch of twisted industrial wreckage, lit by a red glow and a few shafts of light from overhead. From here, dissolve to more of the same and tilt down to a door at floor level. It falls off the hinges, revealing Robin on the other side; he looks around warily and advances across the floor. Pull back slightly and dissolve to an overhead pan, following him through the place; he ducks under a low pipe and passes beneath a catwalk. The camera motion reveals Slade standing at its railing. Head-on view of Robin, still walking along; the catwalk is now deserted. He finally reaches a large chair on a raised platform, the catbird seat Slade often used in the first season. This place is now identified as the remains of his original lair, which self-destructed in Part Two of "Apprentice.")

(One steel-soled foot stirs up dust lying thick on the floor, while he rubs a finger along the chair arm and eyes the residue left on it. The large monitors that gave Slade such a good view of the heroes now show only reflections of the jumbled machinery; one has been broken away almost entirely. Robin crosses in front of the blank glass sheets, throwing his image across all of them as if in a hall of mirrors. Behind him, in the distance, a figure, Slade, drops into view; he spins into a run, seeing it race along a broken catwalk, and gives chase.)

(When he skids to a stop and cranes his neck toward the walkway, he sees nothing but the snapped railings and fractured planking. The black-armored foe whips past behind him, just barely clearing the camera, and Robin beats feet again and stops near a swinging gear axle.)

Slade: (from o.c.) So, here we are again. (Robin's perspective; pan across the place.) The old haunt. (Back to him.) Just the two of us.

Robin: Slade! Show yourself! (His perspective; pan back.) Come out and fight!

(When the camera stops, we now see Slade standing atop a mountain of smashed gears.)

Slade: Relax, Robin. I'm not going anywhere.

(Cut to Robin, who starts to climb the pile of machine parts with gusto. As he reaches the top, pull back to show that the mastermind has vacated the area. The change in weight distribution causes an axle to slide out of position, triggering a partial collapse of the pile. Robin is thrown downward, as are a few gear wheels, and he just barely manages to stay ahead of the avalanche. He hits the ground in a crouch, then comes up for a dead run; behind him, the biggest gear of the bunch topples over and crashes flat down. The impact dumps him flat and skids him up against some other debris. No time for a rest, though, another wheel rolls by, too close for comfort, and he rolls away to avoid being crushed by its fall. Pan to him, badly winded by this spell of high-speed mountaineering.)

Slade: (from o.c., as Robin stands) Brings back memories, doesn't it?

Robin: All I remember is how much I hated you! (Camera tracks in a circle around him and zooms in.)

Slade: (from o.c.) What I remember is that you couldn't defeat me...at least, not all alone.

(Robin picks his way through the chaos and stops at an electrical panel. The throw of a breaker switch causes much more light to pour from overhead; he stares up at an emergency lamp that has come on. After a few flickering moments, the bulb explodes with a flash, and Slade is suddenly there behind him.)

Slade: Pity your friends are of no use to you. (Cut to Robin.)

Robin: Why couldn't Starfire see you? (Pan to Slade.)

Slade: I believe you are familiar with cloaking technology.

Robin: I'm familiar with all your tricks. That's why you're not going to get away with it.

(He yells and charges in to try a quick string of blows, but Slade dodges all of them and flees. Robin goes after him for a few steps, then stops and looks at some of the light entering from the ruined ceiling. Nothing there; now he gazes elsewhere, and the camera pans through the sea of scrap iron, among which the figure of Slade leaps in at a great distance. The Boy Wonder starts off that way, but turns around to go back the way he came. Pan to follow him; he stops upon hearing Slade's voice, and the nemesis is brought into frame, standing atop a gear.)

Slade: Our time apart may have made you soft... (Robin glares.) ...but it's only made me stronger.

(He swings and vaults away, ending up perched on a tilted wheel whose axle still runs through it. When Robin does likewise to pursue, the gears he pushes off from collapse under his weight. Pan ahead to the snapped end of a catwalk, where Slade touches down from a long jump and stands to look back at Robin. The young fighter leaps across the empty space, but comes up a bit short and ends up hanging from the cracked wood by his fingertips. Pull back toward ground level to show just how precarious his situation really is, high enough to get killed or badly injured if he falls, coupled with the threat of landing in a thicket of jaggedly broken columns. Back to the catwalk; he pulls himself partway up.)

Slade: Your friends won't find the generators, and they can't see me. (walks to Robin) They can't see the truth, Robin, even when it's right in front of them.

(Robin swings down under the catwalk, gets both feet planted on the underside, and pushes off with enough force to heave himself up past the edge. He comes up in a fighting stance.)

Robin: Then I'll have to take care of you myself! I've stopped you before! (Close-up of the steel-masked face.)

Slade: Robin...if you've "stopped" me...

(Zoom in slightly on the next-to-last word, then cut to Robin.)

Slade: (from o.c.) ...then why am I still here?

(A fresh yell and charge; again, every blow that comes Slade's way is a gutter ball. The attacks stop when one of those green-gloved fists is caught in a steel one. A cruel squeeze sets the bones grinding against each other, and Slade throws a crushing jab that drives Robin back along the catwalk. He comes up for a new rush, still hitting a whole lot of nothing as Slade backs up, and gets thrown back along the planking almost to its end. This time, he raises himself to a kneeling position and stops to catch his breath; the dust clears away from him as he looks up.)

Slade: You can't even touch me.

(Yet another charge and a howl of fury. Cut to Robin's perspective, barreling right at Slade, who casually sidesteps at the last possible instant. Pull back to an overhead view; the Boy Wonder drops screaming over the far end toward a mess of smashed equipment. He fires off a grapple, snaring the railing and turning his plunge into a swinging arc to touch the ground safely.)

Slade: (from o.c.) How can you save a city, Robin... (Pan to him, approaching.) ...when you can't save yourself?

(A devastating right jab puts the masked teen on the floor, leaving him to slide toward a pile of gears. It takes him some moments to raise his head, at which point he sees the assailant leaping in with a yell. Robin is struck and thrown down; as he tries to stand, the end of his cape is seized and he is slammed to the ground once more. Now Slade gets a handful of his tunic and drags him up by it. The other five fingers curl into a fist, Robin's eyes pop in surprise, and he gets nailed with a blow that staggers him severely. A second lunging punch lays him out.)

(In a trice, he is on his feet and steadily backing up before Slade's advance. He takes one hit after another, putting up no discernible resistance, and is finally driven against a propped-up gear wheel. The force of this impact leaves him barely able to straighten up and facing another huge hand that reaches down for him; it delivers a killer left hook that nearly turns Robin's head through 180 degrees. Another crushing blow, then a third, and the young man is left crawling away as fast as he can, that is, very slowly. Slade grabs one ankle to drag him backward; cut to a pan across the smashed lair, stopping at the entrance whose doors fell off to let him in the place. Beyond it is a hallway.)

(Cut to inside this passage. The other four Titans are heading up fast, but stop when Cyborg's forearm beeps. He checks it.)

Cyborg: Robin's locator signal! He's nearby!

(Through the walls, they immediately hear his scream of pain and a couple of loud crashes.)

Raven: Very nearby.

(Off they go; cut to just inside that doorway as Starfire floats into view at it. More grunting from the o.c. Robin, and he backs woozily into view. Seen from the knees up, he is in rather bad shape, judging from his torn clothing.)

Starfire: Robin!

(He charges off; the other three reach the doorway and Cyborg turns on his shoulder-mounted flashlight. All four spectators stare pop-eyed, and the camera cuts to their perspective of the smashed hideout and pans across it. The bright circle picks out Robin, who keeps staggering backward across the floor. Slade is nowhere in sight, but the angry young man continues to react as if being ruthlessly pummeled by the longtime adversary. Back to the foursome.)

Beast Boy: Um, since when is Robin into mime?

(Robin whirls to face them, exposing a plethora of injuries to clothing and person that includes one eye nearly swollen shut.)

Robin: SLADE!!

(A collective gasp; Starfire lifts one hand, lighting it up brilliant green, and the camera cuts to a long shot and pulls back. The glow plays across the machine room like an emergency lamp and exposes every piece of rubble left behind from the self-destruct sequence Slade triggered. He is still not even close to the place, though. The four teammates look around in confusion.)

Robin: What are you doing here?! You're supposed to be finding the generators!

Cyborg: I don't think there are any generators, man. We looked everywhere.

Robin: Slade must be cloaking them, just like he's cloaking himself! That's why you couldn't see him!

Starfire: But if I could not see him, why could you? (Brief, stunned pause.)

Robin: What are you trying to say? (Raven puts herself ahead of the others.)

Raven: Robin, are you sure you really saw Slade?

Robin: Saw him? I fought him! (points at his injuries) You think I did this to myself?

(Cut to a slow pan across the bemused late arrivals and stop on Beast Boy.)

Beast Boy: Dude, this is the only way out, and we were standing here the whole time. No one got past us.

Cyborg: No one was in here but us.

Robin: I don't have time for this. (He heads for the door.) I have to find those generators.

(His exit is promptly blocked by the big man's broad, armored chest.)

Cyborg: There are no generators! There is no Slade!

Robin: I know what I saw! (backs up) I have to stop him! I'm the only one who can! (pulls out a birdarang) And I'll take down anyone who gets in my way!

(Cut to Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Raven, who stare wide-eyed. They see he has gone insane. Back to Robin, a starbolt lances into view, blasting his squarely in the back, and he collapses smoking to the floor. The drop exposes Starfire, who has moved around behind him to deliver the shot. As the glow from her hand and eyes fades, we see that she is absolutely devastated about having committed this act of mutiny. With an almost inaudible groan, Robin lifts his head a bit and opens his eyes; cut to his perspective of the other four gathered around. The view blurs and fades to black as he passes out.)

(More labored breathing is heard, and the view resolves into that of a different ceiling, as of an eye opening-this is still his perspective. The storm continues outside. Cut to a close-up of his head, with sensors hooked up to the temples, and pull back slightly. He is lying on a bed in a dark room and struggling against a broad leather strap that runs across his chest; in a longer overhead view, more of these restraints run the width of the mattress to hold him down. Pull back slowly again to frame computer readouts on the wall behind him; the numbers flick by rapidly, registering his vital signs. This is the Tower's infirmary. Close-up of him; the next voice brings him up short.)

Starfire: (from outside) But must we keep him restrained?

(Cut to a long shot of the closed door and pan a bit to center it. Through the large glass panel, her silhouette is visible next to those of Cyborg and Raven.)

Cyborg: He threatened us, Star. He's dangerous. (Beast Boy pops up.)

Beast Boy: Dangerous? Try totally flipped-out coo-coo labonza!

(He sneezes himself into a new form and falls backward with a crash.)

Raven: We've gotta run some tests on him.

(Cyborg nods. Back to Robin.)

Raven: (from outside) Figure out what's going on.

Slade: (from o.c.) Alone again, Robin?

(Those three words set off a fresh surge against the straps. Cut to the infirmary windows, pan quickly from one corner of the room to the next, then cut back to bedside. Slade emerges from the shadows.)

Slade: As long as I'm around... (Close-up of his face.) ...you are never alone.

(Fade to black after he has moved close enough to fill the screen with his face.)

Act Three

(Opening shot: an extreme close-up of a heart monitor signal on the infirmary wall. Robin's grunting is heard, and the camera pulls back to put him in frame, still straining against his bonds for several seconds.)

Slade: (from o.c.) Relax, Robin.

(Robin does so; pull back to show the enemy standing at the foot of his bed.)

Slade: I promise... (pulls out a pointed hand tool) ...you won't feel a thing.

(Electricity crackles from the tip as he holds it near the camera. Pan away to the infirmary door and zoom in; Starfire's silhouette is visible through the glass. On the start of the next line, cut to her and the other three Titans in an adjoining room. Cyborg and Raven watch Robin's condition on a wall of monitors, while Beast Boy, back in human form, has collapsed in a chair with an ice bag on his forehead.)

Starfire: Please. You have uncovered the cause of his strange behavior?

Raven: So far, everything looks normal.

Starfire: But he is not normal! Robin would not do these things. He would not threaten his friends, he would not shout at me or...there is a cause! And you must find it!

Beast Boy: (removes the ice bag) Star, I'm sure there's a good explanation, okay? Maybe Slade really is invisible and we just can't--

Cyborg: No.

(Cut to a shot of the entire group and zoom in on the heart monitor as he continues, until only the cardiac signal fills the screen.)

Cyborg: He still woulda shown up on my radar. I'm telling you, he wasn't--

(The rhythm turns to ragtime and the screen begins to flash red; Raven and Cyborg move for a closer look.)

Raven: His heart rate is off the charts!

Cyborg: Blood pressure, neural kinetics... (Pull back; Starfire watches, horrified.) ...most people can't survive this kind of stress!

(The scrambled beat continues for another tense second or two and then flatlines.)

Starfire: Robin!

(She rushes away; cut to inside the infirmary door, which slides open to admit the quartet. A shocked gasp from Starfire.)

Beast Boy: Wow.

(Their perspective, panning slowly across the room. Now there is nothing in Robin's bed but a pile of unfastened straps: he has somehow managed to free himself and clear out of the place. A second bed lies overturned near the window.)

Beast Boy: And I thought I didn't like going to the doctor.

(Cut to the abandoned bunk and tilt up as Starfire lifts a couple of the sensors that were affixed to the crazed Titan's temples.)

Starfire: But where is Robin? (Thumps are heard from above.)

Cyborg: (points to it) There!

(Tilt up to the ceiling. An air vent hangs open on its hinges, marking the Boy Wonder's escape route into the ductwork. It takes Beast Boy only a moment to transform into a hummingbird and flit up after him, but before he can enter the passage, a metal sheet slides across to block it and he crashes head-on into this. Similar barricades come down over all the windows; a gasp from Starfire, and the camera pans to the door, which gets sealed off as well. A shrill emergency signal sounds off.)

Cyborg: Whoa!

(Cut to Starfire by the bed. Beast Boy, back in human form, tumbles down onto it and actually seems a touch grateful for the landing; this is the sort of thing he has wanted to do ever since he got sick. Pull back on the next line to frame Raven in the foreground; she is at a computer and typing furiously away.)

Raven: Robin's activated the quarantine protocol. Nothing can get in or out.

Starfire: We shall see about that!

(She hurls a starbolt at the blocked door on this last word, but it ricochets off the sheet metal and bounces all over the place, just missing Cyborg's head.)

Cyborg: Careful, Star!

Starfire: (pounds on the door) We must find Robin!

(She lets up, leaning against the barrier and supporting her weight with her fists. Cyborg puts a hand on her back to comfort her for a moment. He then gently pushes her away, kneels, and extends a chainsaw blade from his left arm. As he attacks the surface, sending up blinding sparks, the view shifts to behind Raven. She gets herself into a midair sitting position, the hem of her cloak just clearing the ground, and Beast Boy turns to her.)

Beast Boy: What are you doing?

(Head-on view of her; the cloak is draped over her body, arms and all, and her eyes are closed.)

Raven: Finding Robin. (chants) Azarath Metrion Zinthos...

(Zoom in on her in three steps during this, one step per word, to an extreme close-up. On "Zinthos," she opens her eyes to give the camera a glowing stare, after which the camera pulls back and her "soul-self" materializes and soars toward the ceiling. It passes through the sheet closing off the air vent; cut to inside the ducts, moving quickly along and around the corners. We are following the projection, which slips through the blades of three fans before dropping through another open vent and straight toward Robin. Raven's voice is heard next, communicating telepathically with the tormented Titan.)

Raven: (voice over) Robin... (Fade to white.) ...we're here to help you.

(Wipe to the operations center, on whose window/screen a series of Slade images is quickly flashing by. Zoom in, reflecting Raven's exploration of his memories.)

Robin: (voice over) Raven! What are you...? You have to get out! Slade! He'll destroy you!

(A computer console opens, showing a schematic of the Tower; zoom in on a particular bit of it as a pounding heartbeat makes itself heard.)

Raven: (voice over) Robin, your heart.

(Fade to black, which resolves into a view of the basement stairs as if a door were opening. Move quickly down them.)

Raven: (voice over) You're in danger. You have to trust me.

(Now the camera has reached the open box of dusty Slade souvenirs; cut to a close-up of it, the mask's eye flaring red, and pan quickly to a black corner.)

Raven: (voice over) Slade isn't here. (Snap to a pan across a cavern.) He's not in the Tower.

(During the pan, a couple of shadows are seen cast in a pool of light whose source is around a corner. A spiky-haired young fellow has his left hand on a book held up by a second figure, while his right is raised as if taking an oath.)

Robin: (voice over) No! (Advance up a long staircase.) He's here! He's real! I've seen him!

(Snap to black, which parts like an opening curtain to show the center ring of a circus big top. Tilt up among the spotlights to frame two figures plunging from the heights.)

Raven: (voice over) Then let me see him... (Fade to white.) ...through your eyes.

[Note: The scene in the cave depicts the swearing-in rite that Batman's prospective sidekick had to undergo, while the circus shot shows the parents of Dick Grayson, the original Robin, falling to their deaths. These have been cited as evidence that the Robin in this series is actually Dick.]

(Now the view resolves into an extreme close-up of his eye as he backs away from the camera and the heartbeat fades away somewhat. He has climbed back into the ducts, where a fan whirs just behind him. Taking a few deep breaths, he closes his eyes and stands up-and when he opens them again, Raven's pupils and violet irises have appeared within his mask's outlines.)

Raven: (voice over) See, Robin? (Camera rotates away as he turns to look.) There's no one here. There never was.

(Stop on Slade, who has entered the ducts unseen. He throws a punch straight at the lens; cut back to the infirmary, where Raven snaps out of her trance and Robin's head with a scream and is hurled backward to the floor. As Beast Boy leans over her, she sits up with a terrified gasp.)

Raven: SLADE!!

Cyborg: You saw him?

Raven: I don't know if he's real or not, but he's real to Robin, (stands up) and that's all that matters. The stress on his brain is destroying his body. (Cut to a pan across the others; she continues o.c.) Robin truly believes he's fighting Slade... (Close-up of Starfire.) ...and Slade is winning.

(Cut to Robin, who comes up for a punch; pull back to frame him and Slade just inside the basement door. He is thrown down the stairs, but turns the tumble into a series of somersaults and finds a footing; the master criminal charges at him and delivers a kick that forces the wind out of Robin's lungs. The Titan's next couple of punches hit nothing, his wrist is seized, and his arm is bent viciously up behind his back. Bones grind against one another as Slade applies leverage in just the right spot, after which Robin is flung over the rail. Once again, his acrobatic skills come in handy and he manages to flip himself onto a lower portion of the stairwell.)

(Robin looks around, having briefly lost sight of the opponent who keeps getting the upper hand, and the camera tilts up to show Slade standing on a high girder behind him. A leap from this high perch puts the two at close quarters again, and Robin takes a body blow and is thrown down the stairs one more time. He fetches up against the railing only to get kicked away from it; now he slams into a different section, leaps backward to avoid the next strike, and pushes off from a girder for a counterattack. Before he can make good on it, though, one steel-booted foot slashes through the air and comes down on his chest, smashing him against the landing.)

(The half-conscious Boy Wonder is hauled up by his cape and thrown the rest of the way to the floor; only a stack of boxes stops him from rolling all the way across the basement. One of the overhead lights flickers a bit, and each time it comes on, Slade disappears. This continues as he descends to the floor and approaches the huddled, groaning Robin, who tries to crawl away.)

Slade: You always knew it was going to end this way.

(He grabs a handful of black hair and drags Robin up to deliver a final, fatal blow.)

Robin: (weakly) No.

(Close-up of Raven in the infirmary.)

Raven: Robin!

(Pull back. She sits cross-legged on the bed, having snapped out of a fresh trance; Cyborg is still trying to saw through the door, while Beast Boy has become an octopus and is working on the sealed vent. Starfire approaches.)

Raven: I can feel him. (Cut to Starfire; she continues o.c.) He's not gonna make it!

Starfire: Then let us end this battle!

(Close-up of a patch of floor. She reaches down and digs all ten fingers into the tiles.)

Starfire: (from o.c.) NOW!

(Pull back; tearing up a large section, she dives under the floor. Cut to a close-up of Robin's hand as he reaches with the last of his strength toward the bottom basement step.)

Robin: (from o.c., nearly gone) Slade... (Pull back to frame both.) ...stop...

(A kick sends him tumbling away; Slade moves slowly toward the collapsed fighter.)

Slade: No, Robin.

(More flickering light that temporarily makes him vanish.)

Slade: I won't stop. Not now, not ever. (kneels over Robin) I am the thing that keeps you up at night. (hauls Robin up) The evil that haunts every dark corner of your mind. I will never rest...and neither will you.

Robin: My friends say...you're not real.

Slade: Oh, I'm very real.

(He shoves Robin away to slam into a girder. More flickering away as he approaches.)

Slade: Could you have gotten all those bruises from someone who wasn't there?

(Close-up of the half-pulped face on the end of this, then back to Slade.)

Slade: You can't even touch me.

Robin: All these...bruises... (Extreme close-up of Slade's eye; Robin continues o.c.) ...but you don't have a scratch.

(A lightning flash whites out the screen; when it clears, we are back in the forest, watching Slade go right past the unseeing Starfire.)

Starfire: There was no one there!

(Cut to the bridge across Jump City Bay; one of the alleged seismic generators is attached to an abutment.)

Cyborg: (over comm) There are no generators! (Lightning; the device is gone.) There is no Slade!

(Now Slade stands at the point where Robin threw his birdarang; another strike, and he has vanished. On the next line, cut to him punching in the air duct, then to the point where he first appeared in the forest, then to the moment when he bailed out just before Robin threw his staff, then to him coming down the stairs.)

Slade: (voice over) I am the thing that keeps you up at night. The evil that haunts every dark corner of your mind.

(Flicker, brief disappearance, and Robin has hooked an arm around a girder to drag himself partway up. The pieces of this puzzle, starting with Slade's impermeability to rain and ending with these recalled words, are finally snapping together in his brain.)

Robin: Every dark corner...you're only in my mind...only in the dark. (straightens up) My friends are right. (Close-up of Slade; he continues o.c.) You aren't real!

Slade: (charges) I'm real enough to finish you!

(On the end of this, cut to an extreme close-up of Robin's hand on a circuit breaker switch; he throws it, and the camera pulls back. The area is instantly flooded with light; zoom in on Robin as the lunging destroyer evaporates.)

Robin: Lights out, Slade.

(Overhead view: much of the basement is still in darkness. The camera moves slightly to put the door in view, and Starfire flies in to hover high over the young man who has had the everloving bejesus beaten out of him five times over.)

Starfire: (drops to him) Robin!

Robin: It's okay, Starfire.

(The others come in, Beast Boy in human form; Robin collapses into her arms.)

Robin: It's okay.

(She finds this almost impossible to believe right off hand. Cut to a close-up of her worried face and tilt up to frame the other three at the top of the stairs. From here, dissolve to the exterior of the Tower and zoom in slowly. The rain has not let up one bit. Another dissolve puts the camera back in the infirmary; the quarantine has ended. Robin sits on the bed, sensors hooked to his forehead, and all others save Beast Boy are in view, looking at the o.c. readouts.)

Cyborg: Looks like Slade pulled off one last trick.

(Close-up of a human figure on the screen.)

Cyborg: (from o.c.) His mask contained a chemical reagent that infiltrated your central nervous system. (Cut to Robin.)

Robin: The dust. (pulls off the sensors) It made me see, hear, and feel Slade, even though he wasn't there. (Pull back to frame Starfire.)

Starfire: And the more you fought, the more harm it did to you. (Pan to Raven.)

Raven: (rubs her chin) And anybody else who got in the way.

Cyborg: (smiles) Scan says you're all clear now, though.

Robin: Yeah? Well, just to be sure...

(He pushes off the bed, crosses to the door, and flips the light switch. Cut to his perspective, panning across the darkened room and back; the only living things in sight are Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire. Back to him; he turns the lights on with a weary relieved sigh, knowing that this waking nightmare has truly come to an end. Zoom in slowly.)

Robin: I've been fighting Slade for so long, I guess it's hard to just let it go. But sometimes, I feel like I'm the only one still looking for him, the only one who can stop him.

Starfire: Robin, you are never alone.

Cyborg: And if Slade really does ever return, we'll be ready. We've got things covered here. (Cut to Robin; Cyborg continues o.c.) Why don't you get some rest?

Robin: (smiling) Sounds like a good idea.

(Exit Robin. Behind Cyborg is a drawn curtain; through it the silhouette of Beast Boy is seen sitting up.)

Beast Boy: Okay, he's better. (He opens the curtain, showing himself a true wreck.) Now what about me? (He collapses into another bed.) I'm dying over here!

(He proceeds to sneeze himself into the forms of a guinea pig, a koala bear, and a frog, letting off a pathetic little croak as this last. Sight gag: Raven and Starfire, in "Super Deformed" style, have a good laugh at his expense. As they trail off, Raven looks to one side; the gag ends, and the camera cuts to Cyborg at a map screen. Raven steps up behind him.)

Raven: What is it? (Starfire joins them.)

Cyborg: The reagent in Slade's mask didn't trigger itself. There was a signal. Somebody triggered it... (Cut to the girls; he continues o.c.) ...from outside the Tower.

(Raven and Starfire greet this news with stunned silence. Cut to an overhead view of the again-darkened basement and zoom in slowly on the stacks of boxes. The one containing the Slade items still lies open on the floor; dissolve to a closer shot of it at the foot of the stairs, zoom in, then repeat these steps twice more as the lights flicker a bit. By now, the only item seen is the cracked black/red-orange mask, whose eye glows bright red just before the view fades to black.)

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