"Winner Take All" is the twenty-second episode of the Teen Titans series and the ninth episode of Season 2.
Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy are transported to an alternate dimension where they along with many other heroes are invited to compete in "The Tournament of Heroes" by The Master of Games to see who is the best hero.
The episode begins with the Titans playing cards reflecting natural disasters, in which Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven have very quickly lost to Robin. However, Cyborg defeats Robin with a card (Meteor) that dominates over all the other cards. Robin gets upset after losing to Cyborg and demands a rematch. However the two of them, along with Beast Boy, get transported to an alternate dimension, leaving Starfire and Raven confused. The male Titans arrive at a Tournament of Heroes, hosted by a being calling himself the Master of Games. Along with them are Gizmo, who makes Cyborg suspicious as he thought it was a tournament of only heroes, Aqualad, making Beast Boy show off more than ever, Speedy, seemingly a doppelganger to Robin, only with an exclusively bow-and-arrow motif, and two other heroes named Hot Spot and Wildebeest. The 8 of them are told they are there to compete to see who the best really is, with the Master of Games giving away a prize to the winner, as well.
With the Titans introduced and ready for battle, the Master of Games sends the champions into a fight for glory. Robin faces off against Hot Spot, Beast Boy against Wildebeest, Cyborg against Gizmo, and Aqualad against Speedy. The battles start, and Robin dodges Hot Spot's attacks, while Beast Boy and Wildebeest fight it out in a cage match. Speedy fights in Aqualad's turf, and Cyborg battles in a bunch of platforms while managing to take on Gizmo and his inventions. Robin ends up getting the best of Hot Spot using his gadgets and martial arts, Cyborg defeats Gizmo by tearing off his backpack, Speedy manages to defeat Aqualad with his ice arrows, and Beast Boy, after shifting to every animal he can, unfortunately falls out of the cage and loses to Wildebeest. Worried about their friend, Cyborg and Robin ask about Beast Boy, when the Master of Games tells them that he was escorted home safely. Unable to reach him, Cyborg gets worried, and wakes up Robin in the night to tell him he is not sure this thing is safe. Robin assumes Cyborg wants to tire him out so he could win easier, and closes his room door. Cyborg still curious, wonders around until he finds the Master of Games with new powers, the powers of the defeated heroes (and Gizmo)!
Cyborg confronts the Master, but is defeated and drawn into a gem worn by the Master. All of the losers have been put into the gem, and now the Master can harness their powers as much as he wants, with Cyborg as the latest addition. The next day, Robin wonders why Cyborg is not there, and the Master tells him Cyborg was snooping, and was disqualified. The Master of Games tells the remaining heroes that they must now engage in a final three-way battle, and Robin is still unaware of the evil plan. Robin and Speedy defeat Wildebeest together, and they face off. They do all they can, with all their weapons, and Robin ends up prevailing. After Robin wins, he asks the Master for the prize, finding out there was not a prize, and the Master has taken everyone's powers. Robin challenges the Master to a final battle, and manages to get Cyborg and Speedy back. Cyborg fires his sonic cannon at the Master quickly, and the three of them take the Master down by firing an arrow into his jewel, freeing the others and rendering him powerless.The Master concedes defeat and disappears, leaving only his jewel behind.
With the "contest" over, Robin makes the other heroes all Honorary Titans, (Aqualad is already an Honorary Titan) except for Gizmo, who is not a hero. Robin, learning that winning is not everything, uses the Master's jewel to send everyone home. After they all disappear, several heroines appear, among them Starfire, Raven, and Terra. As the Master of Games appears before them, his jewel mysteriously repaired, welcoming them to the Tournament of Heroines. Starfire states to Raven, "I have a bad feeling about this".
- Terra (cameo)
- Written by:
- Directed by:
- Also featuring:
- This was the final episode of the series to air in the United States during Cartoon Network's "Powerhouse" era and therefore the final episode with the original 1992-2004 Cartoon Network logo on the bottom right corner. 3 months later (June 14, 2004), the era was replaced with the Cartoon Network "City" era with a newly updated Cartoon Network logo which would be seen on the bottom right corner on the remaining episodes of Season 2 as well as the remaining seasons of the series.
- It is most likely that the female Titans were able to be freed just like the male Titans did after the episode ended.
- It is unknown why Beast Boy did not transform into a flying animal when he fell out of the cage.
- It is unknown why Gizmo is in this competition since he is not a hero, which is mentioned by Cyborg in the episode. Also, it is unknown why Robin gave Gizmo a communicator if they were enemies.
- In this episode, it is apparent that Gizmo would probably want to become an honorary Titan, or at least get his hands on a Titan communicator in order to obtain some information from them.
- In this episode, it looked as if Raven was not concerned about Robin, Beast Boy and Cyborg, as she did not attempt to bring them back in the same manner as shown in "Cyborg the Barbarian".
- It is possible for Argent, Kole, Bumblebee, Jinx, Pantha, Wonder Girl or Ravager to be amongst the unseen heroines: However, Starfire and Raven actually first met Argent, Kole, Bumblebee (in person) Pantha in later episodes; Jinx was not a Titan in Season 2 (although Speedy, Hot Head and Wildebeest were not Titans until the end of this episode and Gizmo was never a Titan at all), and Wonder Girl and Ravager were only seen in the comics.
- Even though the Master of Games captured Gizmo and used his powers, he and Gizmo were both joined with the Brotherhood of Evil, rather than fighting each other, likely due to their equal hatred of the Titans.
- This episode was written by the late Dwayne McDuffie, who greatly contributed as a writer for the DC Animated Universe.
- This is an episode where Robin acts competitive.
- Terra joined the Teen Titans in the episode before this one, yet she is not seen during the card game at the beginning (perhaps a reference that she was sending information to Slade like she was in the episode "Betrayal"). At the end though, she appears behind Starfire and Raven and is in the next episode "Betrayal".
- This was the last episode of the show to premiere on the Saturday Video Entertainment System block before it was cancelled a month later (April 10, 2004).
- This episode's title song is sung in Japanese.
- Tara Strong and Jim Cummings previously worked on The PowerPuff Girls as Bubbles and Fuzzy Lumpkins respectively and they later starred in My Friends Tigger & Pooh as Winnie the Pooh Tigger and Porcupine respectively.
- This is the only episode in the series that Terra appears in that does not focus on her prominently.
- This is also the only episode in the series to feature Terra without the presence of Slade.
- The Master of Games' absorption power was used as inspiration for Kevin 11 in Ben 10.
- Aqualad became an honorary Titan at the end of "Deep Six", but after Speedy beats him, Robin and Cyborg are not worried about him.
- The VS character screenshots contain elements from the online game Battle Blitz.
- The VS character portraits of the eight male heroes are similar to the VS character sprites in the online game.
- Robin's VS character portrait also resembles his sprite in the game.
- The text font in the screenshots are loaned from the game.
- It should be noted that this episode bared a resemblance to Mortal Kombat, as the champions were put to fight the competitors that rivaled them or the Master of Games could have possibly handpicked them to combat each other, much like how Shang Tsung decided who was going to battle next.
- The explosion scene from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker has been used when Hot Spot threw a fireball at Robin, missed, and exploded.
- At the end of the episode, Starfire makes a reference to a common Star Wars gag by saying "I have a bad feeling about this" when teleported to the Tournament of Heroines.
- Robin gave Aqualad a communication even though Robin already gave Aqualad one in "Deep Six".
- When the "champions" are discussing whether or not to participate in the games, Robin's voice is heard, but his mouth is not moving.
- When the Master of Games is discussing with Robin about the final match between them, the color of the skin on Cyborg's arm changes from Cyborg's skin color to Master of Games'.
- Despite Speedy's bow being broken by Robin during their fight in the finals, it is fixed after he is freed from the gemstone. This may be a result of the gem's powers.
- While the Master of Games presents Gizmo, Gizmo's gloves were missing when it shows his bare hands.
- Before Gizmo, Aqualad, Wildebeest, and Hot Spot get transported to their battle arenas, we can quickly see that Gizmo had pupils on his eyes.
- When Cyborg faces Gizmo, we can see that his left ear looked like a real human ear.
Click here to view the gallery.
Click here to view the episode transcript.