Titans got rolling in season 2 pretty quickly. After a weird first episode, we had this interesting show about a team of people with special abilities trying to learn how to work together. Then we hit this weird cadence of flashback episodes, followed by the team separating. It’s like the show exploded and we’re picking up the pieces. Spoilers follow for Titans Season 2, Episode 10, “Fallen.”
When last we left our Titans, things were grim. The team had scattered to the four winds with the revelation that Deathstroke hadn’t killed his own son before Dick got to the church, but rather had killed his son after Dick got to the church. I feel like everyone’s putting a lot of weight on the timing when the big deal is that the dad was in too much of a battle rage to stop himself from stabbing his son through the chest. But everyone’s really mad, so they all left. When we pick up, everyone is still gone, and Dick got what he wanted: a prison sentence.
Titans is merciful in that it skips over the trial and all the courtroom stuff, but a huge portion of this episode is dedicated to showing us how sad and tortured Dick is in jail, and how badly he wants to be punished for… lying about exactly when someone else killed their child?
Elsewhere, Rachel has wandered into a homeless shelter where she befriends another homeless teen. Donna is out looking for her while calling Dick’s unattended phone over and over. Gar is trying to track down Conner, who ran off after his Kryptonian meltdown.
Don’t split up the party
Jason, Rose, Kory, Hank, and Dawn, meanwhile, could be anywhere. Any good D&D Dungeon Master knows this is why you don’t split up the party. You end up having to run all these separate stories that each take time and coordination. With characters in so many places, it’s inevitable that some will be left out.
Back to Dick, though. This week, Grayson is really wallowing in his guilt. A prison guard sees that he’s an ex-cop and offers to get him a personal cell rather than a shared one in return for some light snitching. Dick just wants to be one of the guys, though, so he ends up in a cell with three men; the guard informs them that their new cellie is a cop.
Dick bonds with his cellmates, who are planning a breakout. One of the younger prisoners tells him about the bird god they believe in; a bird that flies in out of the night to protect people. A sort of “Night” “Wing,” if you will.
Oh, there are other characters
While Dick is wallowing, Krypto the Super Dog shows up at Titans Tower (easily the best moment of the episode) and leads Gar to Conner. They evade a Cadmus strike team, but neither are experienced at evading tails the same way that someone like Dick would be, and the strike team follows the trio home. Soon, Conner is in stasis and Gar is in a containment collar.
Rachel bonds with her new friend at the shelter, only for her new friend’s clearly abusive father to show up and yank her out. Rachel gives into her darkness and terrifies the man until he runs off. Then, and I can’t tell if this was intentional on Rachel’s part or not, she animates a gargoyle that murders the guy while her and her new friend go off to the house the friend is squatting in. Throughout all this, Donna and Gar are repeatedly calling Dick for help with their sideways situations.
In the final climactic moments of the episode, Dick’s cellmates execute their escape plan and, of course, that too goes sideways. Only this time, Dick swoops in out of the night and easily wrecks the guards. His cellmates escape as the prison guards beat the crap out of Dick.
What does all of this mean? Not a lot. I get the sense that all of this is meant to show Dick that the Titans need him and that he is capable of doing good. It’s also to show the Titans that they need him and that separating the way they did is a bad idea.
I think I get what the writers are going for, but what we get in reality is a lot of wheel-spinning and very little change. Things get worse for the characters we do spend time with when they change at all. Again, it was good to see Gar getting some time to be the center of attention. And I think Titans might be the first show to give Mercy Graves any kind of life outside of doing Lex Luthor’s bidding. Those aren’t bad things. But they aren’t enough. I liked Titans season 1, but it too spent a lot of time on the treadmill. After Dick’s revelation, I expected things to finally come together, but two episodes later (three if we count that third flashback episode), we’re further apart then ever.
We’re in the last leg
I’m betting the endgame of the whole season is Dick finally becoming Nightwing; all the pieces are certainly there, and it seems inevitable. But what I mean is not that that happens, but that all of this wasted time is in service of that. And that’s a disservice to most of these other characters. I like the characters on this show. The actors give them a lot of life. So why are we only doing anything at all with Dick and leaving the others to just rot?
Three episodes remain of season 2. That’s about two and a half hours for the show to stitch this all together in a way that feels rewarding. I want to have faith that it can handle that because so far, I’ve enjoyed everything DC Universe has put together. But right now I’m having to admit that I’ve found more of this season questionable than satisfying.