Episode #5: “Together”
The team is all together!
After weeks of building the individual backstories on each of our members, the TITANS are finally one unit and begin the process of becoming a team. Dick is firmly entrenched as the leader of the group and rightfully so. He’s the only one with superhero experience and years of training. His demons still pop in from time-to-time, but the impact of being around the younger Rachel and Gar has begun to soften him a bit. The choice to have Kory as his moral compass seems to be a smart choice as well. She is basically taking the role Batman had to Robin, and it’s something I picked up on easily. She checks him and keeps him in line and focused on what he needs to do.
Their relationship takes an even bigger step in this episode. In an obvious nod to the Nightwing/Starfire relationship in the comics, Kory buys a bottle of tequila to get Dick to loosen up about whatever is bugging him. In the process of this, they wind up in bed together. It was a somewhat predictable plotline since the tension between them has been evident for a few weeks. However, it isn’t a gratuitous scene, and in typical player fashion, Dick blows her off after they’re done.
The Nuclear Family once again is the main antagonist, but now they have a new dad. In setting this up we are given a glimpse into how these normal people are kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming lethal assassins. It creates a distinct conflict for the viewer because while you’re supposed to root against them you can’t help but feel sorry for these people who were forced into this life. It makes their eventual demise a somewhat sad event.
In the end, team building is the essence of what we see in “Together.” Each character reveals their special talents to each other in their own distinct fashion and shows how they complement each other. Dick is reluctant to do so but eventually does when he is forced to become Robin to save the rest of the team. It was interesting that he winds up confiding in Rachel, not Kory, about why being Robin has become difficult for him. This continues the theme of Rachel being the single most important character on Titans.
Finally, during the dramatic final scene of this episode, we are introduced to Jason Todd played by Curran Walters. It is going to be interesting to watch the two Robins interact as the series progresses.
Episode #6: “Jason Todd”
Following his explosive entrance at the close of Episode #5 my anticipation for “Jason Todd” was pretty high, and boy do they deliver.
In the comics, Jason Todd has two iterations. The first one is basically a carbon copy of Dick Grayson, but DC decided to reboot after A Crisis on Infinite Earths and Jason Todd was completely changed. Gone was the more wholesome take and we got a rougher, angrier Jason Todd who was foul-mouthed and rebellious.
Keeping with the theme of the show thus far it should be no surprise that TITANS went with the latter portrayal, and to be honest, it was a perfect choice because of what he means to and for Dick. First, he is his replacement. Whatever went down between Bruce and Dick he was basically his son. Seeing him pick someone else for that role resonates with Dick, and we can see it in his face. Second, and more importantly, Jason Todd is everything Dick is currently feeling minus the restraint. The angry boy inside him is confronted with an actual angry boy and he begins to realize where he is headed if he continues down this road.
The dialogue between the two is fascinating and used as a chance to explore more of the larger Batman mythos, with flashbacks to Dick’s past in Halley’s Circus and having to once again confront the Maroni crime family. There is definitely a big brother/little brother going on between the two as well, as Dick gives Jason some advice that he thinks will save him.
I need to take a moment and applaud Curran Walters’ portrayal of Jason Todd. Whether you like the character or not he does an excellent job making him believable. There is one scene where I feel they went a little too far, but I always remind myself they have a specific vision for this show and they are not straying from it. Walters does the script proud.
This is probably my favorite episode of Titans. It ends on another suspenseful note involving Rachel which will progress the story further, but this episode really fleshes out the Dick Grayson character even more and puts him on the path to becoming the hero he wants to be.
– Eric Holzmann