“It’s Never Too Late to Change”: A Character Analysis on Terra
By: Josella Arriola
Terra has regained the trust and friendship of the Titans, successfully infiltrating Titans Tower. Slade is quite pleased with this recent development and gives the “thumbs up” signal to proceed with Operation T: Terminate the Titans. Back at the Tower, the Titans congratulate Terra for her hard work and reward her with the last slice of pizza for stopping Slade’s goons. She acts all modest saying that “it’s no big deal”. Beast Boy replies saying that good friends don’t come every day.
After their party, the Titans rest for the night with Cyborg turning on the Tower’s security system while they’re asleep. While he does this, Terra’s eyes look straight in the direction of the control panel. Beast Boy says “Night-Night, Terra,” as he exits the living room. Terra stares at him with a sad expression on her face, knowing that she won’t see them tomorrow because she’ll be gone before they even wake up. She’ll certainly miss all the hospitality the Titans have given her, not to mention their friendship. She proceeds with the plan as she makes sure no one is watching. With much sadness and hesitation, Terra sends Slade an e-mail about the Tower’s security system.
Minutes later, Beast Boy arrives outside her door planning to ask her out on a date, but the words get lodged in his throat and won’t come out creating an awkward silence between them. Terra speaks up first by saying “good night” as a way to break the silence. Beast Boy snaps out of his daze and bestows upon her his present: a silver heart-shaped box constructed with a lot of hot glue. Terra stares at him with uncertainty.
Accepting Beast Boy’s offer of a date would not only jeopardize the mission, but it would also be a conflict of interest. She cares about Beast Boy, as he’s her first friend to accept her without question. On the other hand, she’d only hurt him in the end due to her position as Slade’s apprentice. In order to spare his feelings, Terra makes up an excuse to decline his offer stating that she has other plans in mind. Inside Beast Boy’s mind, he runs through a few different scenarios where he could’ve been smoother in asking her out.
He’s broken out of his thoughts by Terra’s sudden knock on his window. She easily could’ve knocked on his window but she probably doesn’t want the other Titans to overhear them, thus ruining the mission. She accepts his offer of a date, much to Beast Boy’s amazement since just a moment ago she declined. In a scene reminiscent of the flying carpet ride scene from Aladdin, Terra asks as she holds out her hand, “Do you trust me?” Beast Boy grabs her hand and replies with, ”More than anyone I have ever met.” He has complete confidence and trust in Terra.
While they’re away, Slade’s minions arrive at the Tower from Terra’s coordinates. Conveniently, they have a date outside of Jump City. Terra takes Beast Boy to a restaurant called Ben’s Diner, a restaurant she frequently visits. She orders “the usual” for both of them to the waitress. Beast Boy inquires, “What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?” She claims to have traveled to many places but her answer is, “Probably Titans Tower.” As Terra says this, she looks at her reflection on the spoon feeling melancholy and guilty for her betrayal. The “usual” order is an apple pie. After taking one bite of the pie, Beast Boy proclaims “This is the greatest pie in the history of pie.” The pie probably had an “explosion of flavor” in his mouth specifically on his taste buds where tiny pie-shaped fireworks went off in his head similar to Remy in Ratatouille. Pleased with his reaction, Terra informs him that a bakery about 200 miles outside of Gotham makes a “mean cherry” [pie] but for apple pie, this is the best thing.
Slade appears in the mirror’s reflection reminding Terra of her mission. In a fit of paranoia, she grabs Beast Boy’s hand and rushes out of the restaurant without allowing him to finish his piece of apple pie. In her haste, Beast Boy’s Titan communicator gets tossed aside and left behind, just as an incoming call from Robin came in. With no response from Beast Boy, the Titans suspect that Terra and Beast Boy have gone missing. The Titans are locked out of the Tower due to Terra’s hijacking of the security system.
Terra brings Beast Boy to another frequent hangout of hers, an abandoned theme park. She remarks that being at the theme park is the closest thing to “feeling like home” to her. Terra probably feels this way because she views the theme park as a safe haven.
Here, she feels as if all her fears and insecurities are a thousand miles away, and she can just enjoy herself. Having Beast Boy around makes her feel regretful and totally guilty about selling out the Titans to Slade by giving him their secrets and weaknesses.
Beast Boy has been nothing short of a good friend to her. He was always supportive and welcoming to her. When she came back, he embraced her with open arms. “He doesn’t deserve to have his good faith in me shattered. He’s such a great guy,” she may think.
Upon seeing Terra’s saddened expression Beast Boy asks if “everything’s okay.” Terra shrugs off his concern by pretending to be happy even though she’s conflicted on the inside with her eventual betrayal bothering her. Usually, people plaster on fake smiles to mask the turmoil that lies deep within themselves. They have no desire to burden other people with their problems. By showing Terra’s inner struggle between her allegiance to Slade and her friendship with Beast Boy, this reveals to the audience that Terra indeed has a conscience. She’s trying to decide whether or not to proceed with the plan or abandon it altogether in favor of keeping her friendship with Beast Boy. Terra reconsiders carrying out the plan because her friendship with Beast Boy is more important to her.
Terra asks for Beast boy’s trust as proof that even though she’s Slade’s apprentice, their friendship is still intact.
Terra: “…Beast Boy, if you knew something bad about me, would you still be my friend?”
Beast Boy: “Of course.”
Terra: “I mean if you were really my friend. I could tell you anything. And no matter how horrible it was, you’d still like me, right?”
Beast boy: “Yes, I promise Terra, No matter what.”
Following his response, they share a tender moment which leads to a kiss. The moment is ruined by Slade’s appearance. ”Did you think you could get away from me?” After this exchange, Slade starts attacking them. Terra allows Beast Boy to escape using a distraction. A few minutes later, they meet again with Beast Boy begging Terra to return with him to the Tower. With a heavy heart, she tells Beast Boy that she won’t be going with him because she’s been masquerading as Slade’s apprentice.
Slade steps in to support Terra’s claim. He found Terra wandering all alone and took her under his wing to become his apprentice and control her powers. She owes “everything” to him. He taught her how to harness her powers instilling confidence inside of her. Slade points out that the Teen Titans, namely Beast Boy, don’t know how to give Terra what she needs.
For emphasis, I’ll reiterate: Terra wants a friend who will stick by her side no matter the circumstances and give her plenty of encouragement. However, that isn’t the best-case scenario for her. The Titans, especially Beast Boy, gave stability to Terra’s hectic lifestyle. In addition, they were supportive of her during the obstacle course and eagerly welcomed her return with open arms. They even treated her as “one of the team”. But as the conversation goes on, Slade points out that Terra “doesn’t have any friends.” She’s all alone. Searching for Beast boy, Terra stares at her reflection through the funhouse mirrors. Upon seeing a sad, lost, and confused girl in the mirror, she drops to the floor on her knees in shame. Terra realizes that she has become a “monster” similar to Slade and begs for Beast Boy’s forgiveness. They get into an argument calling Terra’s friendship with Beast Boy into question. As a last ditch effort, Terra pleads with Beast Boy reminding him of his promise stating that he’d have her back no matter the circumstances. Shocked, angered, and hurt by Terra’s betrayal, Slade’s words from earlier ring in her ears, “You don’t have any friends.” This line signals the ever-expanding rift in their relationship.
Terra is completely crushed by Beast Boy giving her the cold shoulder. With this motion, her worst fear has been confirmed. Beast Boy, her best friend, rejects her and leaves her out in the cold. Back at the Tower, the other Titans blame themselves for placing their trust in Terra after she backstabbed them. Meanwhile, inside Terra’s Room, Beast Boy lays on Terra’s bed in dog form feeling heartbroken over losing her. His gift of a silver heart-shaped box is the only memento he has left of Terra, the only reminder of all the fun times they’ve shared up to this point.