TITANS: Episode 3 & 4 Review

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S2/E3: “Ghosts”

With Dr. Light on the loose, the older Titans regroup at Titans Tower to meet up with Dick and the “Teen” Titans to figure out a way to stop him.  Upon their return, all of their old ghosts resurface and they are forced to deal with things they’ve buried deep down for a long time.

In season one we were teased the reasons why the original Titans were no longer together.  We had flashbacks and a few arcs that skirted around it, but no concrete reason was ever given.  Well the secret is revealed very early in “Ghosts” and it’s Slade Wilson (Deathstroke).  Dick shows Donna, Hank, and Dawn the surveillance video of when he found Rose and they immediately are terrified.  They become more upset when he tells them that Rose is there in the tower.

Hank and Dawn continue with their struggle to move on from being Hawk and Dove, and being back at the tower only reinvigorates Hank’s desire to be a crime fighter again.  Dawn is an enigma here as well.  She straddles the fence of being a superhero and normal human, but she fears Hank putting on the costume again because he’ll be tempted to use drugs.  She really has no moral ground to stand on here, yet she still persists.

If Hank is wanting to return to the crime-fighting arena, Donna is someone who assuredly does not.  Donna acts as sort of a moral compass for Dick, and this episode once again highlights that.  She warns him that if he is going to be training the younger Titans he needs to be honest with them about what happened in the past.  She also tells him with Slade back, he needs to be a crime fighter again, and not just “Dick Grayson Camp Counselor”.

In season one I thought Kory (Starfire) was one of the strongest characters, but this year I haven’t loved her arc thus far.  It is cool that they’re exploring her Tamaranean past, but I am not sure how that fits in this show.  Maybe they will pay it off down the road, but for now, I don’t like it.  Her interaction with her Tamaranean Royal Guard ex-lover is awkward, even if it does flesh her out a bit.  There is a moment on a phone call with Rachel that tests her resolve about who she is, but it felt like it was forced in by the writing team.  We need to get Kory to San Francisco ASAP!

The younger Titans are sort of the B side of “Ghosts”, but they still have good moments.  Rose and Rachel have a talk about the “Bad Dad’s Club” and come to an understanding that they’re more alike than they realize.  Gar seems to be the one member Dick has the most faith in.  He knows both Jason and Rachel are unstable, so he leans heavily on Gar to help him out.

The best part of this week has to be the interaction between Deathstroke and Dr. Light (Michael Mosley).  It’s a short scene, but we find out about their motivation and how they plan on taking down the Titans yet again.  Esai Morales’ is chilling in his moments as the character, and Mosley’s silliness is the perfect antithesis to that.

The actual fight between the Titans and Dr. Light is a dud, but what happens next is excellent.  Jason makes a rash decision to go after him on his own with Gar’s reluctant assistance.  It turns out to be a trap by Deathstroke.  We are left only with Gar searching for Jason and finding only a trail of his blood remaining.  With Deathstroke’s plan now clearly in motion the Titans are going to have to respond.

S2/S4: “Aqualad”

The first three episodes of season two of Titans were a continuation of the main story and advanced the overall story arc of this season.  Episode 4, “Aqualad”, is a flashback episode to the first iteration of the Titans and gives us insight into why they fear Deathstroke so much.

It appears their first dealing with Dr. Light was 5 years ago, when the original Titans weren’t split but a confident, strong superhero team.  After a victorious night fighting crime, we see the Titans back at Titans Tower celebrating Garth’s (a.k.a. Aqualad played by Drew Van Acker) birthday.  We get a nice glimpse of the main characters we’ve grown to love at a time when they were younger and not yet jaded by their choices to be superheroes.  We are also introduced to Aqualad, and find out he’s been holding a torch for Donna since he was a boy.  After a conversation between the two during a power outage at the Tower, Donna recognizes her feelings for Garth, but knows her duty at Themyscira means they can never be together.  She contacts Jillian (her San Francisco based Amazonian chaperone and protector) and tells her to make the arrangements for her to return home.

Donna and Garth have a history that dates back to when they were teenagers.  After a discussion of their past, Garth gives Donna an orange soda in hopes she’s reminded that he has a thing for her and always has.  She tells Garth she has to leave the team, but he takes it as a comment about their choice to be heroes, not that she is actually leaving the team.  Dick interrupts them when he tells them he knows where Dr. Light is and that he’s stolen an activator that fires a laser that shoots down nuclear missles.

The team assembles and takes down Dr. Light, with Aqualad figuring prominently in the plot.  The team returns to Titans Tower and Donna is still holding on to the news she’s going back home.  She only told Dick, but she told him she was being forced, not that it was her decision.  Knowing she is leaving, she gives in to her desire and sleeps with Garth.  The repercussions of this play out in the last 10 minutes of the episode, when something else is finally revealed.  Deathstroke has a contract to kill the Titans, and he is going to pick them off one by one.  In a heroic moment, Garth steps in front of Donna when Deathstroke shoots at her.

In her grief, Donna wants revenge and returns to Titans Tower.  The team vows to take down Deathstroke, and Dawn tells Dick that now it’s time for him to “be Batman”.  The first step is finding a weakness, and he puts eyes on Slade Wilson’s family, namely his son, Jericho.  Problem is, Slade has also been following his family since he arrived in San Francisco.  It will be interesting to see which way the writers go with this story, but clearly Jericho is going to be involved in a major way. – Eric Holzmann

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Eric Holzmann is a lifelong Batman fan and a versatile contributor to Batman-On-Film. He loves music, movies, sports, and his dog Leia. He fancies himself a self-taught chef who specializes in trying to make simple meals in 6 steps or less. He is the co-host of the weekly Gotham review show “Live from The Green Room," as well as the reviewer for both the TITANS and DOOM PATROL shows on the DC Universe App. You can follow him on Twitter @Finale33 and Instagram @final_e33.