"How Long is Forever?" is the fourteenth episode of the Teen Titans series and the first episode of Season Two.
After Starfire falls through a time portal with a villain named Warp, she has an adventure alone in the future, and now she must find her friends' future selves and get back to her own time.
One morning, Starfire intends to celebrate a traditional Tamaranean holiday, Blorthog, the Day of Friendship, with her fellow Teen Titans, but she finds them bickering over trivial things (Cyborg and Beastboy are fighting over the game controller, Raven refuses to give back Beastboy’s nail clippers as she hopes to “keep his toenails off the coffee table”, and Robin is struggling drown out Cyborg and Beast Boy’s yelling with his ghetto blaster, which is distracting Raven from her book). Starfire tries to initiate her tradition, but everybody is too hung up in their own issues to listen. When Cyborg makes her drop one of her pear necklaces, she gets fed up and assembles everyone’s attention. She warns them of “Rekma“, the concept of "the Drifting Apart", which would occur, and result in the death of close friendships if they are not truly valued. The Titans reassure Starfire that this is merely typical roommate behavior, and they would always remain friends. However, their conversation is cut short when Robin’s communicator alarm rings, and the Titans rush off to their mission.
At the technological museum, a time-travelling villain calling himself Warp, attempts to steal a valuable artifact (which would be priceless in the future) called “the Clock of Eternity”. The Titans engage him, but Warp's knowledge of the Titans and his futuristic weapons fend them off easily. As he opens a time portal to return to his time one hundred years in the future, Starfire impulsively charges him and both vanish into the time-stream. As they are adrift, Starfire rips off a lens from Warp's chestplate; this results in both of them suddenly dropping out of the time-stream.
To her astonishment, Starfire finds herself in the middle of winter, and before her stands Titans Tower, decrepit and crumbling. As she investigates the structure, she encounters Cyborg as its only occupant, who has also fallen into disrepair and is now hooked to a bulky power generator. He reveals to Starfire that she is now twenty years in the future; the Titans have disbanded following her disappearance and gone their own ways. Starfire assumes that this is due to Warp's tampering with the time continuum and decides to seek out the others in hopes of finding Warp, and forcing him to fix whatever damage he caused. Cyborg can’t go with her in his current condition (that bulky power generator is his only life-sustaining power source since his last power cell died years ago, so he now claims to be “obsolete”). However, he points her in the direction of Beast Boy and Raven. He lost touch with Robin a long time ago. In the course of her search, she finds a bald Beast Boy carving out a miserable existence as a carnival curio, and learns Raven has gone insane from loneliness, thinking that all around her is just an illusion.
As she tries to find Robin, Starfire encounters Warp again, who has also aged due to her theft of the lens, which is actually a vortex regulator, the heartpiece of his time-travelling technology. He demands it back to enable himself to return into his own time, but not before Starfire demands that he restore her past. Warp replies that he has done nothing to damage her own time, because history cannot be changed at all. He explains that he went back in time to steal the clock because history said it disappeared, and history says it disappeared, because he went back to steal it. The course of past, present, and future is inevitable. He takes back the vortex regulator, but before he can finish her off, he is attacked and forced to retreat. Starfire's defender turns out to be Robin, but with a new super identity: Nightwing.
In his new hideout, Nightwing re-encourages Starfire by the fact that the Titans have always prevailed even against the impossible before and may do so yet again. With an old Titans Communicator he had since the Titans departed, he alerts the other Titans, then he and Starfire proceed to the tech museum where it all began. Warp is already there reattaching the regulator to his chestplate, but before he can escape, Nightwing and Starfire attack, gradually joined by the other Titans. This time, Warp's weapons are ineffective as the Titans are wise to his tricks; a bullseye hit by one of Nightwing's birdarangs on the already damaged regulator causes the device to go haywire, reducing Warp to an infant. Cyborg uses the regulator to open a portal into the past for Starfire to get home, and with a last happy look at her reunited friends and the stolen clock in her hands, she steps through the portal and reappears in the museum with the clock right back where she started, proving that Warp's theory was wrong.
After telling the others about her adventure in the future, the Titans realize how important their friendship really is. They spontaneously start to participate in the Tamaranean holiday, much to Starfire's joy, and Robin begins to express an earnest interest in his future identity...
- Written by:
- Directed by:
- The song Robin was blasting at the beginning was the same one Beast Boy was listening to at the beginning of "The Lost Episode" implying that Robin and Beast Boy might like the same kind of music.
- This episode and "The Sum of His Parts" is the only time the word "die" has been used.
- Starfire is shown having a Mumbo alarm clock.
- From Warp's perspective at least, Starfire committed a time paradox.
- Starfire says "Oh, it's never too late" at the end. It is unknown if this is the first time she uses a contraction noun.
- It is unknown why Raven was shown with a white cloak in this episode, but it is likely due to the fact that her insanity resulted in none of her emotions being prominent, therefore representing full and complete balance; her insanity also causing her to lose control of said emotions.
- The future world is set 20 years into the future, but has not been destroyed by Raven as she did in Season 4 (which was not 20 years ahead of present time). A possible explanation is that Raven's insanity rendered her mind inaccessible by Trigon, therefore his "gem/portal" became useless.
- The likely reason for this future of the Titans splitting up is Starfire disappearing for 20 years.
- Her undying dedication to her friends is probably the reason they hadn’t split up. But when she disappeared, they lost that reason Starfire gave them not to split up.
- The cause of future Beast Boy becoming bald was due to stress.
- This episode features the only appearance of Robin as his adult superhero identity like in the comics: Nightwing. As well as the only appearances of Future Beast Boy, Future Cyborg, and Future Raven.
- This was the first episode to air in 2004.
- Warp’s theory of time being set in stone mirrors the same theory H.G. Wells had when he wrote “The Time Machine”.
- The two teenagers that were harassing future Beast Boy resemble members of the Mutant Gang from the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, which was another story that is set in the future.
- This episode is very similar to an episode of the 2003 series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles called Same As It Never Was, where Donatello is sent into a possible future in another dimension thirty years from his time, where the Shredder rules the world, Raphael is missing an eye, Leonardo is possibly blind, Michelangelo is missing his arm, Master Splinter and Casey Jones are dead and his brothers are no longer a team. Donatello's brothers all die in the end of that episode, and Donatello is sent back to his dimension.
- This episode also has similarities to CW's The Flash's Nineteenth episode of the third season. Both episodes take place in the future and both episodes take place during the year 2024. Teen Titans aired in 2004 and if the show is following the same year that would mean that this episode would take place in 2024. The same year The Flash traveled to in said episode of Season 3. Both plots are similar as well, the team is abandoned due to Starfire's disappearance while in The Flash, Team Flash is disbanded due to Iris' death. Both main characters are attacked by a villain from the Future. Both Starfire and The Flash try finding answers on what happened in the future, many of the future team members share similar personality's, both Team Flash and The Teen Titans are reunited to take down the episode's respective villain.
- Starfire is shown being cold in this episode, but in "Kole" and "Snowblind", she is not cold despite being in colder conditions.
- This also goes for "Troq" and where she is flying through space without any gear at all (the average temperature of outer space is -450 degrees)
Click here to view the gallery.
Click here to view the episode transcript.