When the first season of Titans hit DC Universe, it was set for a 12-episode run that was later cut back to 11. The season ended rather abruptly with an episode-long dream sequence in which Dick Grayson’s id took over and let him live out his worst fantasies. It was a weird episode to watch and an even weirder episode to end on. Despite this, the overall season was a good watch. Now, the first episode of Titans season 2 is up on DC Universe, and we know where that last episode went. Here’s our review of Titans season 2, episode 1.
We’re not going to hold back on spoilers for season 1 or this first episode.
Rachel Roth, better known to Teen Titans fans as Raven, was the central character of the first season of Titans. While Dick Grayson/Robin was essentially the protagonist, the events of the series swirled around Rachel. In the climactic episodes of the season, Rachel met her mother, who we learned was a devotee of the demon Trigon, and that Rachel was the child of her human mother and Trigon, her demonic father. Starfire was sent to Earth to kill Rachel and prevent a prophecy from taking place, while Dick wanted to do whatever it took to save the young woman for whom he’d become a friend and protector.
Trigon trapped Rachel inside her mother’s home, and Dick ran in after her. Instantly, Dick was transported to a dream world where he was married to Dove, with whom he had a child. The show was not shy about letting us know it was a dream. We watched as a wheelchair-bound Jason Todd begged Dick to come back to Gotham and stop Batman, who had become unhinged and planning to kill the Joker.
In the final moments of the show, Dick’s eyes went oily black as he killed Batman in his dream, giving himself over to Trigon in the process.
Titans hit the ground running
Season 2, Episode 1 picks up right where we left off. Rachel, Dick, and Gar are trapped in the house with Trigon while the rest of the current and former Titans are stuck outside. Of course, these people are superheroes and vigilantes. They can’t hold back, and they run in, too. One by one, the Titans fall to Trigon’s illusions, each giving into their darkest wishes and temptations.
As Rachel starts to give in to her sadness, Trigon adopts his demonic form. It’s worth mentioning here that he doesn’t look much worse than Steppenwolf did in Justice League, which says more about that movie than it does about this show. Rachel’s forehead gem, meanwhile, looks as glued on as it is.
Things move quickly here, as Rachel embraces her full power with some modicum of control, and sends her father reeling back to his plane of existence. That sounds like I’m skimming over a lot, but I’m really not. The show spent a lot of time talking up Trigon, only to deal with him in the first half of the first episode of this season.
That was fast
The last 20 minutes are spent on the Titans themselves dealing with the aftermath of the fight. The elder Titans go their separate ways while Dick, Jason, Rachel, and Gar hop into a jeep and head for San Francisco to the Titans’ high-rise luxury suite/secret training base.
This episode feels like the last episode of season 1. It feels like episode 12. It finishes the fight the previous season started and does it almost immediately, and then gives the characters time to get some closure and to start a new thing. The new thing, of course, is season 2. It’s a truly weird way to start the season off.
I can’t help but think of The Good Place, season 2, episodes 1 and 2. After a surprise ending to season 1, it was easy to guess where the show would go for season 2. And it did go there… for just two episodes. In a brilliant bit of writing, the show comedically rushed through the expected season, subverting our expectations, and then gave us a totally unexpected season 2.
Titans just feels like someone turning in the last page of their essay 8 months later.
Ye wanne git some haggis in ma Batcave, wee Robin?
Digging into the details, there’s a lot to absorb here. To deal with his past, Dick meets with Bruce Wayne, played here by Iain Glen. He’s best known for playing Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones. Glen seemed like weird casting from the start; he seems like downright bizarre casting now. If you watch Supergirl on the CW, you’ve probably noticed that Lena Luthor’s accent changes depending on how on-point actress Katie McGrath is that day. In that case, we could shrug our shoulders and wave it away. Maybe the adopted Luthor maybe was born in Ireland, and so her accent comes and goes. I know people who have lived in America for years and still have almost invisible accents. It makes sense.
Here’s the thing.
Bruce Wayne ain’t Scottish anymore than I’m William Wallace. Bruce Wayne is a Gotham native. If he’s going to have an accent that isn’t the neutral Midwestern that we usually get, it would be something in the middle of Boston, Chicago, and New York accents.
But Glen barely bothers to hide his Scottish accent throughout the short scenes in which he portrays the billionaire philanthropist/vigilante. And looking at him, it’s just impossible to imagine him as Batman. It’s hard to see how the Titans team could’ve gotten the casting for not one but two Robins so perfectly and then biffed it when picking out Batman.
There’s a team here
Speaking of two Robins, there’s a detail I like here. Early in the episode, Hawk and Dove go to retrieve Jason Todd from Wayne Manor, and then later Wonder Girl meets him. Each of these three non-teen Titans gives Jason the perfect amount of stinkeye. Not just for his cocky attitude, but also that Batman has selected another young man to train in less-than-lethal combat. It’s a small thing that fits the world just right. There’s a moment when they refer to “Titans… and new Robin,” that was great, too.
The episode is not without its charms, though; Rachel and Gar are running from Trigon early on, and he’s stretching out and twisting the house around them, and the effects for that stuff are super cool. Seeing Conor Leslie suit up as Wonder Girl for a split second is dope, too. The Titans seemed to have more interplay, too, and it’s getting easier to envision them as a team.
This is a really weird way to start the season, but I’m optimistic. The team members have great interplay, and I can actually imagine them becoming a team this time around. I’m excited to see where things go. Will Dick become Nightwing? That would be cool as hell, and it seems like the right direction. Rachel’s powers are under control, and she can start to grow as a person. There’s potential here. But it still feels like Season 1, Episode 12.
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