The roller coaster is only going up, my friends! Much like how the second movie in a superhero trilogy gets down to business, season two of Titans sees the Titans of the present and past building relationships and flexing their powers where appropriate (or accidental, in the case of Raven’s killer shadow powers). Let’s see how Dr. Light comes up short against the superhero party this time, eh?
Spoiler Alert – Similar to my review of this season’s first three episodes, if you’re reading this article, then you had better be comfortable with reviewing major plot points.
Episode 4 – “Aqualad”
Premise: Aqualad used to be a thing, along with the original Titans, but so was Deathstroke 🙁
Does It Work? Surprisingly well! The first season of Titans, along with the early portion of this season, kept teasing about what the original team was like and some huge mistake they made, so actually flashing back to that period fills out a lot of details. Unfortunately, Deathstroke was also more active back in the day, filling out a lot of targets with lead (if he’s being professional) or a sword (if he’s adding a personal touch), scored to a jazzy number.
Deathstroke’s lingering menace over the episode works well, as does Dove’s lingering matchmaking menace. Why can’t Donna just read in peace instead of being forced to make small talk with Romeo of the Sea? Ah, so this is one of those friend groups.
- There’s something to be said about Garth’s birthday party being the same coworkers standing around drinking beer, right? No family, no outside friends. Let this be a lesson to you viewers: have a life outside your job!
- Speaking of which, don’t hit on your coworkers, either. Garth puts out terrible signals, from “but I’ve crushed on you since I was twelve” to pursuing Donna as she boards a plane (how rom-com of them).
- There’s a moment when Garth and Donna are in bed together where he stares at her for an elongated beat and I was halfway expecting him to get sniped. It would make sense – Deathstroke is shown to kill through windows!
- How does Deathstroke get away after offing Garth? This is a serious question, I can’t let my suspension of played-enough-Hitman-to-handwave-it-away grant a pass. He shoots Garth from ground level on the airfield, and the plane is chartered to Themyscira – where are the guards and surely amped-up security? Donna’s teacher, Jillian, splits a bullet with a throwing star, so that’s probably a second Amazon right there, and we already know they can run super fast, so again, how does anyone escape them?
- Light gets chumped in this episode via some… odd fighting choices. Maybe it’s just me, but the choreography felt like some fighting game team combo attack of flying takedowns (do Light’s rays kill or just kinda hurt?). However, this does line up well with Donna’s newer fighting style from last episode, “just swing a motorcycle into him.”
- I refuse to believe that Dick would ever harm someone who collects David Bowie on vinyl, but I do appreciate the dangling mystery of what happened to Jericho, especially when this elongated Aqualad flashback introduced and murdered him in the same episode.
Episode 5 – “Deathstroke”
Does It Work? As a return to the present storyline, yes, the viewer is brought right back up to speed and the vehicle is already rolling toward some rising action. Robin chumps Light in detainment (small feat), Deathstroke decides Light is terrible enough to just put him out of our misery, and the Titans continue not suiting up against a known super villain. Everyone debates whether to trade Rose for Jason, leading to a standoff where Dick and Starfire fight Deathstroke as a captive Robin watches, his life hanging in the balance from the side of a skyscraper. These are all interesting developments, from everyone’s “I hate Jason but I guess we should save him” takes to finally seeing Deathstroke in action.
- I know bulletproof vests don’t magically stop all bullets, but I was genuinely surprised by Dick’s holding one as a makeshift shield. Same goes for Deathstroke repeatedly shooting it, though? It was a fun moment. Pass.
- Deathstroke was not surprised at all that Light lost to Robin again. He probably counted on it. Even without satellite coverage of the moment, Bruce probably called it, along with Light’s getting killed off by a more competent villain.
- Starfire interrupting Deathstroke to burn him like a boss. Between her and Donna (is she still Wonder Girl?), the ladies don’t take any crap and I love it.
- If Rose can fight Dick to a standstill and Dick can kinda-sorta fight Deathstroke to a standstill… could they have just handed over Rose and let her kick her dad’s ass and saved everyone a bunch of trouble? Dropping Jason off a skyscraper is a good time, though. Nevermind.
- Gar’s Kids Club keeps Raven around to angst about powers and gives Rose some good hang time in the penthouse. That’s nice, but the adults run the show in these episodes.
Episode 6 – “Conner”
Premise: A strange young man, Conner (Joshua Orpin), breaks out of Cadmus laboratory with a white dog. Why were they being contained, and where should they go? Conner follows vague memories to where Alexander Luthor grew up before Cadmus researcher Dr. Eve Watson catches up to him and drops some wiki knowledge on him about his two dads.
Does It Work? WHO CARES, KRYPTO IS FINALLY HERE AND A GOOD BOY! For that matter, Conner is kind of a friendly dog, too. Catching up to the present moment from another pair of eyes, again, still works. I was worried with episodes 1-3 of this season that we would be stuck in the Titans penthouse and concrete hallways the whole time. Episodes 4-6 have changed things up enough times that the worry has been laid to rest. I am also grateful that, unlike season one, we are not watching road trips. The narrative is jumping through time instead of interchanges.
Conner’s innocent nature, complete with working through his powers on some Cadmus goons and wiping them out, feels like a more natural outlet for violence on this show than the broken glass and incinerations of season one. Conner isn’t Superboy yet, so he can stumble; Dick was a cop* when he put people in the emergency room.
…Oh, and Jason lives, that’s neat too. Glad to see the DC Universe “live or die” poll wasn’t going to actually determine his fate.
- Dear Conner, please tell Dick about the legend of Krypton known as Nightwing as soon as possible so he can stop marching around in dorky tactical pants.
- There will never be enough scenes with Krypto in them. What an actor, walking to the correct mark one moment then flipping a rocket around in midair the next.
- I have to believe there have been enough Conner takes from Young Justice to inform this version and prevent the show from screwing him up.
- Three cheers for Genevieve Angelson’s Dr. Eve Watson, a woman who thought she could enjoy just one social night and got called in for a total FUBAR.
- For that matter, pour one out for the Cadmus goon squad who had to deal with Conner… somehow… with no precedent or real guidelines. “Here are a bunch of guns and explosives for bringing in Conner and Krypto, but don’t kill them, but we don’t know what would kill them, just swarm and hope they surrender.”
- *Is Dick on personal leave from the Detroit force, or what? I’ll be amazed if the show follows up on this detail.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 for the show; 5 out of 5 for Krypto. Here is a photo of Krypto from New York Comic Con. Every convention should have a canine segment.
Thomas is a teen services librarian who reads way too many comics. He can be found gobbling pancakes at the nearest diner with Jessica Cruz, Forsythe Jones III, Jane Foster, and Hellboy. He reviews media for the public here and graphic novels for librarians at No Flying, No Tights.