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"Troq" is the forty-fifth episode of the Teen Titans series and the sixth episode of Season 4. This episode is a special on racism.

Synopsis

The Titans meet Val-Yor, an alien who is on the verge of destroying his enemies; The Locrix. The Titans volunteer to help and immediately take a liking to him, but their opinion of Val-Yor may soon change once they find out what he truly thinks of Starfire.

Plot

The Titans meet a courageous and seemingly kind other-worldly hero named Val-Yor. He greets all of them, except Starfire, saying, "I see you have a Tamaranean," as if she is some sort of animal or property. The Titans don't realize how rude he is being. After surviving an attack from an alien race known as the Locrix, Val-Yor informs the kids that these robot creatures intend to take control of Earth. When the heroes volunteer to help, Val-Yor takes the five of them into space with him in his ship.

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Beast Boy amazed with Val-Yor

He gives Robin, Beast Boy, Raven and Cyborg all jobs to do, completely ignoring Starfire when she asks what task she should complete. When Val-Yor's ship is boarded by a battalion of "Crixies" (slang for Locrixes), he calls each of the kids except Starfire to come help him fight. Assuming he simply forgot about her, Starfire joins the battle. When Starfire is fighting, she is knocked into and nearly sets off the Quantum Eradicator, the device Val-Yor plans to use to destroy the Locrix. Val-Yor then shouts at Starfire to watch where she is going. When the menace is defeated and the ship secure, they all start walking back toward the control room. When she and he are alone, Starfire tries to apologize, saying she was only trying to help. Val-Yor angrily replies that he doesn't need any help from "a stupid Troq." Starfire is taken aback, realizing how he views her.

Later, as the Titans are attending a briefing for their next mission, they all talk about how Val-Yor thinks of each of them. However, Starfire is shown to be deeply upset from her encounter with Val-Yor, but the Titans remain oblivious to her sadness. and instead race to the briefing while Starfire slowly walks behind them. At the briefing, Starfire keeps her distance from the others, while she is actually avoiding Val-Yor. Throughout the meeting, Val-Yor keeps calling her "Troq" and "Troqie." Not knowing what the word means, the Titans just assume it is a nickname as Val-Yor had been referring to the rest of them using slick names, such as "Sunshine" (Raven), "Metal Butt" (Cyborg), "Spike" (Robin), and "Champ" (Beast Boy).

Soon, Val-Yor and the others discover that the Locrix have an energy field around the planet, which makes it impossible for them to get to their home world. Val-Yor then instructs Starfire to go out into to space to remove a few so the ship can get through. Robin is apprehensive and asks if it's safe for her to go. Val-Yor, however, doesn't exactly care, stating there are only a few of them. Starfire then begins to stand up for herself and asks Val-Yor why he doesn't do it himself, seeing as he is more than capable. Val-Yor replies that he needs to be inside to navigate and points out that Starfire's people can withstand the hostile conditions of space, making Starfire more angry.

As Starfire is preparing, Cyborg confronts over if she really wants to do the mission, but Starfire merely reveals she wants to prove she is useful. They are soon interrupted when Val-Yor calls Starfire to get moving while again calling her Troq, Cyborg becomes confused and asks her what "Troq" means. Starfire replies, "It means nothing" and heads out. Starfire begins to slowly move each of the fields away, while Val-Yor and the Titans watch from the inside of the ship. Starfire is able to stop two of the fields from touching each other, but accidentally activates one and only has 20 seconds to move it before it explodes.

Robin (seeing that Starfire is in extreme danger) decides to go and help her, but Val Yor stops him saying it's too dangerous. Starfire then begins to move the field as far away as possible and soon it goes off. The Titans are shocked and begin to worry, but thankfully Starfire reveals herself to be alright. While the others are relieved, Val-Yor looks rather upset proving he was just using Starfire as cannon fodder.

Later, as Starfire is arriving back onto the ship, Cyborg meets up to congratulates her and raises his hand for a high-five saying, "Way to go, Troqie!" but Starfire angrily tells him not to call her that, much to his surprise. Cyborg points out that Val-Yor calls her Troq all the time, but Starfire states that it's still not right. Seeing that something is wrong, Cyborg questions Starfire stating, "I thought you said it didn't mean anything." Realizing he misunderstood her, Starfire reveals to Cyborg that Troq isn't a nickname that doesn't mean anything; it’s actually a racial slur that literally means "nothing," and that whenever Val-Yor calls her that, he is really saying that she is worthless, a nonentity.

Cyborg is horrified by the revelation that Troq is a racial slur and that Val-Yor would call Starfire that despite having just met her. Seeing this, Starfire explains that on other planets some believe Tamaraneans to be inferior and Troq is what they are called. Cyborg (now finally understanding) also realizes why Starfire hasn't fought back: she knows if she hits him, it will only confirm what Val-Yor already thinks of her, and Starfire agrees before asking him if he knows what being judged because of his looks feels like. Cyborg replies that he absolutely does; he’s part robot. He then decides its time to tell Robin the truth. Starfire tries to stop him, believing it's better to inform Robin later. Cyborg assures that Robin would want to know now, giving Starfire a reassuring smile.

At the control center of the ship, Robin and Val-Yor are talking where Robin reveals one of their past missions to him and is more pleased when Val-Yor states Robin reminds him of himself when he was younger. However, they are shortly interrupted when Cyborg and Starfire arrive, and a Cyborg asking for Robin’s ear privately. While Val-Yor is distracted by Beast Boy, Cyborg explains to Robin what Troq really means and that's what Val-Yor has really been calling Starfire. Furious about what Val-Yor has been calling Starfire this whole time, Robin decides to see to it that he apologizes, but Starfire stops him, stating the mission is more important. However, they soon realize they have arrived at the Locrix homeworld and prepare for battle.

As Val Yor is giving the Titans their missions, Robin speaks up and asks about Starfire, but Val Yor just wants her to guard the ship. However, having finally had enough of Val-Yor, Starfire stands up for herself and states that she is going with him. Val-Yor argues back that he gave her an order, but Starfire states she doesn't take orders from him, revealing if her friends are going into danger, than so will she.

When they have infiltrated the planet, Starfire helps Val-Yor install the Quantum Eradicator. When things begin to go awry, however, Starfire helps a physically hurt Val-Yor to safety against his wishes. Val-Yor is saved, and the Locrix are defeated.

Back on Earth at Titans Tower, Val-Yor thanks the Titans for their help. But Robin coldly points out that Starfire is the one who he should really be thanking. Beast Boy (who has learned what Troq really means) agrees stating "Yeah, she's the one who saved your sorry butt." He reluctantly does so, saying that Starfire is "one of the good ones." Starfire finds his statement offensive. Val-Yor tells her he's trying to give her a compliment. Raven (who has also learned what Troq means) coldly replies "Then why does it still sound like an insult?" Val-Yor tries to make an excuse, saying it was a misunderstanding, but refusing to listen to anymore, Robin demands that Val-Yor leave Earth.

Val-Yor leaves after letting them know he thinks that maybe Earthlings are just like the Troqs, but gives a secret smile. Robin and the others apologize for letting Val-Yor treat her like that, and for not doing anything about it once they discovered the truth, but Starfire says there was nothing they could've done as there are others just like Val-Yor that prejudge and mistreat others, but there are also a lot of people who don't judge others based on what they look like or where they are from, and that those people are true friends.

Characters

Main Characters

Supporting Characters

Villains

Trivia

  • Val-Yor calls the Titans all Earthlings, which is not true because Raven isn't technically an Earthling, though her mother Arella is human.
  • The fact that Cyborg has told to Starfire that he is half-robot can be interpreted as a metaphor, due to the fact that he is also a black person, and during history black people have been highly discriminated against. Cyborg likely did not mention it because he thought that Starfire, being from another planet, probably wouldn't understand it.

Gallery

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Click here to view the gallery.

See also

Troq (Transcript)

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