"Haunted" is the thirty-first episode of the Teen Titans series and the fifth episode of the Season 3.
Ever since Slade disappeared, Robin has been asking himself the same question: Is Slade truly gone? Robin's question is soon answered when he comes across Slade himself when he threatens to destroy the city. Robin is ready to take him down, except for one problem: None of the other Titans can see Slade. Now the Titans are starting to wonder if Slade is truly back or if there is something seriously messing with Robin's mind?
This episode begins at midnight, with Cyborg tiredly asking Robin why he is still awake. Without removing his gaze from the large crime computer's screen, Robin informs Cyborg that he still has work to do. Cyborg yawns and heads off to bed himself. Shortly thereafter, Robin heads to the basement of the tower, and opens a box full of Slade artifacts and removes Slade's mask. As dust billows from the mask, causing Robin to cough, Cyborg turns on the lights from behind him and informs him that Slade is really gone for good this time. Robin claims that they can't be sure of that, as Slade was never captured or located. Just then, the Tower's alarm systems go off, causing him to drop the conversation (and the mask) as they both head upstairs. The camera lingers on Slade's cracked mask before fading to black.
Afterward, Cinderblock is shown attacking the authorities, the cause of the alarm. He is about to throw a car at one of the officers, when he is stopped by a barrage of Starbolts to his chest. A fight then ensues between him and the Titans, during which Robin is tossed into a nearby wooded area. Regaining consciousness, he is startled and angered to see Slade standing near a tree in the clearing. Robin chases him, the two of them jumping from branch to branch. Robin throws a Birdarang, but misses due to a flash of light from a lightning strike. Slade taunts him and the chase through the branches resumes. Robin catches up to Slade, but is unable to land a blow on him. After more taunts, Slade reveals that he freed Cinderblock to create a diversion that would allow him to set his latest plan in motion: three seismic generators, each placed on key fault lines around the city, capable of causing an earthquake with enough magnitude to split the city in two, which will be fully operational in three hours. Robin attempts to subdue Slade, but Slade vanishes after more lightning flashes.
The other Titans find Robin in the woods and question his absence in the fight, Beast Boy explaining they had to capture Cinderblock in the rain without his help. He then develops a cold and starts sneezing and inadvertently morphing into different animals. Robin tells the group that he had encountered Slade and learned of his latest evil plot; the others are shocked at this revelation, as they knew Slade had drowned in lava and could not have possibly survived. Robin informs them that all that matters at the moment is that Slade is stopped before the generators activate, and orders Raven, Cyborg and Beast Boy to find and deactivate each of the generators at the fault lines while he and Starfire hunt down Slade.
While Starfire and Robin are walking through the woods in search of Slade, Robin calls the others asking them if they've any luck finding the generators, but they all say they can't find anything. This causes Robin to get foul-tempered, and he claims that he should have done it himself. While Starfire attempts to calm him down, he suddenly sees Slade after another lightning strike and runs toward him, leaving her behind. They fight, with Robin taking many hits while being unable to land any himself, which Slade attributes to Robin getting sloppy during Slade's absence. Starfire, seeing Robin hitting the ground after a punch from Slade, calls out to him. Slade uses this distraction to escape, running past Starfire while she's concerned with Robin. Robin yells for her to stop Slade as he rises to his feet, but she cluelessly looks around and is unable to spot Slade at all. Robin angrily grabs her arm and berates her for letting Slade get away so close to her. Confused, she sheds a tear and tells him that there was no one there, causing Robin's eyes to go wide with shock and fear.
The remaining three Titans, somewhere in the city, converge and are all confused as to why they couldn't find Slade or his generators, and suspect that it is all just "one of Slade's tricks". Just then, Starfire meets up with them, and after being asked by the others where Robin is, reveals that he opted to continue the search on his own, since she, for whatever reason, was unable to see Slade. She also says that she has never seen Robin so angry, let alone at her, before Cyborg suggests they go find him.
Robin is then shown to have arrived at Slade's old hideout, and snoops around. He then spots Slade once again, and, in trying to get the jump on him, is nearly crushed by a falling pile of rubble, Slade taunting him all the while. Robin asks Slade why Starfire was unable to see him, and he replies that he had been using cloaking technology. He then explains that the Titans are unable to see him or the generators, and are therefore unable to stop him. This leads Robin to vow to stop him alone if need be, resting on the laurel that he has done so before, but Slade says that this is impossible, as he is still here and at large. This tears Robin and he rushes toward Slade, but is again unable to land even a single blow as Slade continuously dodges every one of his attacks. Slade then goes on the offensive, assuring him that he will never save the city as he cannot even save himself, before continuing to brutally beat Robin.
The other Titans, tracking Robin's communicator, hear him screaming nearby. Rushing to his aid, they find a badly bruised Robin taking punches from seemingly no one. Realizing his teammates can't see Slade due to the cloaking device, he yells Slade's name in an attempt to clarify and gain their assistance. Starfire quickly charges a Starbolt in her hand, illuminating the room with green light. Robin, seeing that Slade has once again vanished, turns to the other Titans and reprimands them for not searching for the generators. Cyborg tells him that there are no generators, as they looked everywhere and were unable to find anything. Robin believes that Slade is cloaking them with the same technology he is cloaking himself with, and explains to Starfire that that is why she couldn't see him, but this makes her question why Robin was able to see him in that case. The others start thinking that this may all just be in Robin's head, as, aside from not even being able to see Slade, it having been impossible for him to escape since they were blocking the only exit. Robin, using his bruised body as proof, assures them that Slade is real, and asserts that he must find the generators himself. Cyborg stops Robin, and yells "There are no generators! There is no Slade!" Robin angrily replies that he is real, and since he is the only one who can see him, must stop him himself, and he will take down anyone who gets in his way. The others look at him in shock and disbelief, just before Starfire knocks him unconscious by hitting him in the back with a Starbolt.
Waking up in the infirmary and restrained to his bed, Robin overhears the other Titans discussing his abnormal behavior, and that they are planning to run tests on him. Just then, seeing Robin is all by himself, Slade returns. Meanwhile, after running said tests, the results show that Robin's vital signs are normal. Starfire refuses to believe this, as Robin would never threaten or yell at his friends, and demands that they must find what is causing him to behave so violently. Beast Boy suggests that Slade may actually be invisible, but Cyborg refutes this as his radar showed no indication of Slade's presence, and would have even if he were invisible. Just then, Robin's heart level, blood pressure and neural kinetics go off the charts, just before his heart level flatlines. This provokes them to burst into the sickbay, but Robin is nowhere to be found. Before they can try to find him, Robin (offscreen) activates the Tower's quarantine protocol, and every entrance/exit in the Tower closes. Worried for Robin's safety, Starfire unsuccessfully tries to force her way out of the sickbay, leading Raven to use her powers to find Robin. She eventually does, and, telepathically communicating with each other, argue over the presence of Slade in the Tower. However, Slade appears and throws a punch at Robin, which Raven feels and gets thrown back by. This makes her realize that Slade is indeed real, at least to Robin, and that, in fighting Slade and losing badly, the stress on his brain is killing him.
In the basement, Robin and Slade continue fighting, with Slade easily dodging Robin's attacks and badly injuring him with his own. Robin eventually becomes too weak to even stand up, and the lights start flickering, Slade disappearing each time. Back in the sickbay, Raven, still monitoring Robin telepathically, informs the others that she is sensing he is close to death. This leads Starfire to tear a hole in the floor and fly towards the basement. Meanwhile, Robin tells Slade to stop, but he refuses and continues attacking him. Robin then informs Slade of the other Titans believing he isn't real, and Slade says that he is real, and could not have bruised Robin so badly if he wasn't. Robin compares his bruised body to Slade's, which doesn't even have a scratch, and Slade says that he is "the evil that haunts every dark corner of his mind". This all makes Robin realize that Slade is only in his mind, but only in the dark, and says that his friends are right, and that Slade isn't real. This makes the Slade vision charge toward Robin to finish him off, but Robin turns on the basement's lights, causing the vision to vanish. Just then, Starfire appears, and Robin assures her that he is safe now. She then carries him back to the infirmary.
Cyborg reveals that Slade's mask contained a hallucinogenic chemical reagent that, when he breathed it in, entered Robin's bloodstream and infiltrated his central nervous system, which caused him to hallucinate Slade, even though he wasn't actually there. He also reveals that the chemicals are now cleared from his body, but Robin, just to be sure, turns the lights off, and Cyborg is proven right when no signs of Slade surface. Robin then says to the others that he had been fighting Slade for so long, it was hard to just accept that he was done for. He also says that he feels that he is the only one who still believes Slade isn't truly gone for good, and that he is the only one who can find and stop him. Starfire and Cyborg reassure Robin that he is never alone, and that if Slade does ever return, they will be ready for him, before advising Robin to get some rest. After Robin is gone, Beast Boy appears in the sickbay's bed, still sick with a cold and sneezing and inadvertently morphing into random animals repeatedly, causing Raven and Starfire to laugh. However, their laughter is cut short by another revelation from Cyborg: the reagent in Slade's mask didn't trigger itself, there was a signal; someone triggered it from outside the tower, making the girls go wide-eyed. The scene then switches to Slade's mask in the basement, and the camera slowly zooms in on it as the eye hole starts glowing red, ultimately ending this episode in mystery.
- Silkie (cameo)
- When Raven is in Robin's mind, there is a glimpse of Robin swearing an oath to Batman, as seen in his original appearance in Detective Comics #38. It also shows Robin's parents, John and Mary Grayson, falling to their deaths; due to a sabotaged trapeze wire during a circus performance.
- This is also the first time Raven used telepathy.
- While Beast Boy was sneezing on the sidewalk in the rain, Raven kneels down and looks as if she is concerned about his sick condition.
- Several subtle hints to Slade merely being a hallucination are given throughout the episode; during the first fight scene in the woods, the rain doesn't appear to be falling on him (unlike Robin and Starfire), and the branches don't move when he jumps from them. Also, during the second fight scene in Slade's lair, his footsteps and landings from jumping are completely silent.
- This episode features a rather out of character moment from Raven as she was seen laughing when Beast Boy turned into a frog (while croaking in a similar manner to Michigan J. Frog) despite her constantly stating that he was never funny, though it is likely she finds his current condition funny, and not Beast Boy himself.
- This is one of the darkest and most serious and dramatic episodes of the series. Incidentally, it succeeds one of the most memetic and silly episodes of the series, which also happens to be another bottle episode.
- This is the only season three episode to prominently feature Slade.
- The glowing red eye could have been an implication to Slade's revival and return, as well as him working for Trigon during the time, which would later be revealed in the episode "Birthmark" of the next season. However, it is not mentioned who actually activated the mask.
- This is the first time we see Raven's "soul-self".
- Silkie appears at the start of the episode for the final time before his official introduction in "Can I Keep Him?".
- The flashing images of Slade during Raven's telepathic communication with Robin shows all previous episodes which Slade appeared in (such as "Masks", "Apprentice - Part 1").
- Starfire's starbolt being deflected off the walls of the quarantine protocol is a reference to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, when Han Solo fired a blaster bolt and it deflected off the walls of the trash compactor.
- When Starfire says "You are hurting me," she is animated like a Disney Toon character.
- At one point during Robin's final battle with Slade, his bruises disappear for a split second.
- From the scene where Robin easily defeats Slade by turning the lights on to when Starfire catches him, the animation is out of sync.
Click here to view the gallery.
Click here to view the episode transcript.