"Apprentice - Part 1" is the twelfth episode of the Teen Titans series and the first season. It is followed by "Apprentice - Part 2".
The episode begins with Robin chasing Slade through a desert. They arrive in a valley, where Slade starts taunting Robin. Robin attacks Slade but he dodges all of Robin's attacks. Robin throws two Birdarangs at Slade, but misses and destroys some boulders nearby. Slade continues taunting Robin while hiding amongst the dust of the destroyed boulders. Slade says that he and Robin are "very much alike". Robin angrily responds that he is nothing like Slade and punches him in the face. He says that Slade is a criminal and a psychopath and that all he cares about is destruction. Slade responds by saying that Robin destroys everything that he cares about. He gestures around at the fallen boulders and Robin realizes that they are his teammates turned to stone. Angrily, Robin pulls off Slade's mask, but receives a painful surprise: the "Slade" he was chasing was actually Robin himself!
Robin wakes up, sweating and panting with shock. It turned out all to be a dream. Cyborg enters Robin's room and informs him that Slade has showed up. The Teen Titans rush to the Main Ops room, where Slade appears on the large TV screen. Slade reveals his master plan to them: the building of a Chronoton Detonator, which could potentially have the power to stop time forever. He also says that he can activate it with a remote in his hand. Slade laughs and disappears off the screen.
When the transmission has terminated, Raven rewinds the video and, with careful analysis, deduces the location of Slade: a warehouse on Pier 41 at the Jump City docks. The Titans rush to the docks, only to find an empty warehouse at Pier 41. Slade's minions appear and ambush the Titans, surrounding the warehouse to prevent their escape. With the cry of "Teen Titans, GO!", the Titans rush off to dispatch Slade's minions. However Robin's anger grips him, and he bashes up Slade's minions mercilessly and then proceeds to attack the other minions that his teammates were attacking. The other Titans are shocked and hide in a corner of the room while Robin destroys all of Slade's minions, who turn out to be robots.
After Robin has dispatched all the robots, he continues to hit the robots with his Bo-staff, releasing all his hatred for Slade. Starfire tries to calm him down but Robin just walks out of the warehouse, seething with anger. Robin spots a suspicious person and chases after him, grabbing him by the shirt and demanding him to reveal the location of Slade. The person tells Robin that he doesn't know what's going on. The person is revealed to be an innocent civilian worker who was just walking around the area. Robin gets angry again and is about to punch him when Raven pulls Robin away from the worker with telekinesis.
Robin ignores his teammates and tries to walk away again. Beast Boy comments that Robin is acting like Slade. Robin shouts at Beast Boy never to compare him to Slade. Beast Boy is about to argue with Robin when Starfire sneezes and makes an explosion with a Starbolt from her nose. Starfire explains that she is allergic to Metallic Chronium, a rare mineral that can also be used to power Slade's Detonator. Beast Boy suggests that they use Starfire to track where Slade is keeping his Chronoton Detonator.
The Titans follow Starfire as she continuously sneezes over and over, eventually leading to the underground sewers. They soon spot one of Slade's minions loading the Chronoton Detonator onto a small speedboat. Suddenly the wall beside them are smashed open and Cinderblock's arm reaches out to grab Robin. Starfire wants to help him but Robin yells out to her to go after the Detonator. Starfire reluctantly flies away just as Slade's minion starts the engine and drives away. Starfire lifts up Cyborg Raven flies ahead and Beast Boy transforms into a hawk, and together, the four of them chase after the speedboat.
Meanwhile, Robin's anger manages to gain him a surprisingly easy victory over Cinderblock. He finds a tracking device with Slade's base marked on it and takes the device from the unconscious Cinderblock. Robin smiles, realizing the moment has at last come for the two of them to face off.
Back in the sewers, the Titans are chasing the speedboat. Slade's minion activates the boat's defense systems, sprouting two machine guns from the back of the boat, which fire at the Titans. The Titans manage to evade the attacks and at the same time Starfire and Raven manage to drop Cyborg onto the boat, where he beats up Slade's minion. Before Slade's minion faints, he activates the auto-pilot system in the boat, causing the boat to speed off through the sewers, with the three remaining Titans in hot pursuit. Cyborg tries to cancel the auto-pilot but he cannot because he doesn't know the code required to access the boat's computer system. In desperation, Cyborg pulls out the keypad and smashes the internal system, which stops the boat in the middle of the sewers.
Slade stands in front of his screen, analyzing what the Titans are up to. Robin suddenly bursts in from a door behind Slade and confronts him, demanding him to give up the remote for the Chronoton Detonator. Slade comments that he was afraid Cinderblock was too much of a challenge for Robin. Slade puts the remote on the ground and walks away from it, telling Robin he can pick it up if he wants it. Robin runs towards it but is intercepted by a kick from Slade. The two begin their showdown, Robin refusing to lose the fight. Throughout the fight Slade constantly remarks that they are very much alike. Robin fully denies it and suddenly his long-hidden anger is fully released. Robin roars as he dodges Slade's punches and strikes him hard in the face, hurling him across the room. Robin rushes over and picks up the remote. To his surprise, the remote falls apart in his hands! Robin looks towards Slade and demands for an explanation. Slade told him that there was no trigger because there was no detonator.
While Robin and Slade were fighting, the rest of the Titans were busy trying to disarm the Chronoton Detonator. Cyborg isn't sure which wires to cut to deactivate the machine. He decides to try his luck and cut a random wire, but he accidentally cut two of the wires instead! The Titans hold their breath as the moment comes... but passes away harmlessly as the machine short circuits itself and collapses into the sewer waters. Beast Boy congratulates Cyborg on his good work, but Cyborg doesn't smile. He explains that he didn't disarm the machine; the machine was a fake and was never intended to freeze time. The Titans gasp in shock as they try to grasp this revelation.
In Slade's base, Slade reveals the truth: he never intended to stop time. Robin is at a loss of words, unable to comprehend the situation. Slade looks towards the screen again and it now shows the other Titans in the sewers. A gun suddenly appears from the speedboat and shoots the Titans, but they try to jump into the water to avoid being hit by the beams. Slade says that they weren't supposed to get hurt just yet; the gun had fired Nanoscopic Probes into the blood systems of the other four Titans. The probes, when activated, can kill the person who has them in their blood. Robin growls that they will never listen to Slade's demands; not even death will force them to obey him. Slade tells Robin that it wasn't about the other Titans and it was just about Robin. Slade announces his final and most shocking plan: he plans to make Robin his apprentice! He needs someone to carry on his legacy and has chosen Robin to be that person. If Robin does not serve Slade, he will activate the Nanoscopic Probes, causing the other Titans to die from inside. Having fallen into Slade's trap and having no other choice, Robin reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, the other Titans have climbed out of the sewers and are unaware that they have been injected with the probes. Starfire desperately tries to contact Robin via the Titans Communicator, but nobody picks up. The reason why he isn't picking up is because Robin has taken off his suit and is now donning on one of Slade's uniforms. Slade declares that Robin is now his apprentice.
- Written by:
- David Slack
- Directed by:
- Michael Chang
- The title refers to Slade making Robin his apprentice.
- In Robin's dream, when the unmasked "Slade" is revealed to be himself, it is a loose parody of The Empire Strikes Back.
- A section of the fight between Robin and Slade is reminiscent of the first fight between Clark and Bizarro in Smallville.
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