Last week, we talked about how the season 2 premiere of DC Universe’s Titans felt like a finale. As it turns out, there’s a reason for that – because a huge chunk of it was the finale. The showrunners held it back under the mistaken notion that they were giving us a cliffhanger instead of a weird, nonsensical ending. While I did enjoy parts of the season 2 opener, there was so much weird stuff going on that it was hard to focus on the good.
Light spoilers for Episode 2 follow.
The second episode, however, feels like the actual start of something. With Trigon out of the way, the Titans have relocated to the Titans Tower in San Francisco. It’s not shaped like a T, but the fact that they apparently have a whole tower to themselves in San Francisco should remind you about just how wealthy Bruce Wayne is. The new Titans are training, while we see each of the original Titans doing their own thing. Hank and Dawn are helping kids with addiction problems at a farm in Wyoming. Donna Troy and Kory Anders are staking out a minor villain. Just as things seem to be going smoothly, though, old enemies resurface and new allies appear.
Life after Trigon
The new Titans have been living together for a few months now, and they’re starting to look like a team. We get tons more interaction between the different members of the team, seeing the dynamics that develop between the many different pairings. We see the competitive nature of Jason and Gar’s relationship and the sibling interactions between Dick and Rachel.
All of these moments serve to bring these characters to life. They exist outside of conflict, even if conflict is ultimately what these characters are all driven to chase after. These idyllic moments don’t last long, though, as is inevitable.
Setting up the Pieces
An unseen figure breaks out a man covered in markings like a printed circuit board from his prison cell. In San Francisco, the Titans spot a silver-haired girl with a bandaged eye fighting like a demon before collapsing in an alley. Dawn can’t resist the call of the uniform and is suiting up to take down a meth lab in rural Wyoming. Donna and Kory get their criminal, but Kory soon runs into another of her kind who is soon dragging her off to who knows where.
One moment I especially like here takes place between Hank and Dawn. In the opening minutes of the episode, Dawn acted very much the part of the good little wifey-wife, watching passively as her husband grows while she waits for her destiny as a mother. But even as she’s telling Hank that he’s all the excitement she needs, she’s already going off to do vigilante work again. When Hank finds out, he’s understandably pretty ticked. This worked for me on two levels. From Hank’s perspective, vigilante work is a compulsion that Dawn can’t give up; it’s an addiction to be cured. From Dawn’s, the work is satisfying, and she’s reluctant to give up something that gives her purpose. It’s a reminder that Hank and Dawn are more than just two hot people with great jawlines and a solid roundhouse.
Lighting the Fuse
Our circuit-board villain – Dr. Light – has been busy while this is all going on. Hank and Dawn watch as the young man they were trying to help stumbles in with light flooding from his insides. Dick has taken the bandaged girl, Rose, for coffee and some Real Talk™. While they’re talking, a bright light shines from the back of Dick’s jeep, and the pair gets out just in time for the vehicle to explode.
Now we have stakes. Titans new and old have been attacked by Dr. Light. Kory is missing. The reveal of Deathstroke at the end of the previous episode is now directly connected to the Titans as the Bat Computer makes a DNA match for Rose. These serve to bring the team together in an organic way.
The episode as a whole is a much better way to start the season than the previous episode.
Batman, but with Tartan
The only thing I really don’t like from this episode is the moment that Dick calls up Bruce. I don’t believe for even a split second that this guy is Bruce Wayne, nor an active Batman. He’s a warm, genial grandpa. The conversation between Bruce and Dick might as well have been a verbal hug, and we know for a fact that Bruce is not capable of that kind of warmth. Glen doesn’t have any kind of physicality to him that would make you think he’s capable of putting on the Bat Suit. And then there’s that just-barely-covered Scottish accent. Why did they cast this dude? He’s a fine actor, but he’s only slightly better as Bruce Wayne than Scarlett Johannson was as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell.
But it’s also barely two minutes out of a 40-minute episode that I otherwise enjoyed. There are some fun fight scenes, great character interactions, and tons of setup that leaves me excited to see how the season will go down when shit really starts popping off. I’m excited for Titans season 2.
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