REVIEW: Titans S2E10-13

IMDb Premise: Hold up.

Does it work? We’re not doing this.

Titans Season 2 broke our reviewer and now he’s going to wax poetic on the whole affair because English majors are insufferable (includes some spoilers):

I – BOGO

You enter a clothing store,
receipt in hand.
The first outfit looked okay in store
then threadbare in polite company.
The clerk sighs, goes to the back room,
returns with a bin of assorted laundry,
some fitting, others from various racks.
“But this isn’t what I ordered,” you protest.
“What you want is in this bin,” you are told,
“Just pick it out and take it home.”
Except none of the socks match,
the ties reach past your waist,
and the colors defy seasonal categories.
Maybe this is a fit, you think,
your reflection laughing in response.
A lot of fitting affirmations
tend to shrink in the wash.

Any critic who reaches the end of Titans season two and gives it a standard format treatment is lying. To paraphrase a Marvel fan’s rebuttal of Martin Scorsese, how can you deny a viewer’s feelings? But then, to quote Philip K. Dick: “It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” When a show loses its sense, how much do viewers’ feelings matter? Each character or duo in this show is like its own distinct segment, and responding to any single ingredient favorably or unfavorably colors how the other pieces will be perceived. What are the remaining criteria besides calling the whole thing disjointed?

II – Feel Like A Nut, Don’t

In a house of seasoned cologne
that paints and peels the wallpaper,
something sweet would be nice.

The owner pulls a small chain
leading underneath his shirt,
reveals a tiny silver key,
and turns to an oak cabinet
that grew there since time began
(too heavy for any mortal to lift).

He retrieves a small glass dish of m&m’s,
each m and w bright and fresh and new
without a single & to connect them,
and rolled along the tongue they are smooth
until you bite into a fat, hard peanut.

“I didn’t know this was a peanut dish,”
you confess with a hard swallow.
The host readily offers water and comfort:
“That was the only peanut.”
You still don’t trust those m&m’s
and grimace in large malls
where cologne displays loom
and threaten to peel back your memory.

Titans is every bit a superhero melodrama, full of mood swings, redemption arcs, reunions, sudden deaths, tonal whiplash, and snazzy costumes. What is its default mode, though? What is the status quo of the Titans, or at least of the major players within it? The first season seemed to crawl so that the second could run, but instead it took just as many left turns, alternating between credible build-up and incredible swerves. Here are some reactions viewers must have said out loud, somewhere:

Oh no, Dick’s in jail, now he can’t… not… lead the team?

Kori  has a plan to deflect/distract the shooter — nevermind, she got shot.

Rose, one of two people who closely understand Slade’s regeneration powers, cut him with a sword to kill him and left him for dead without checking his body.

That’s okay, though. It is! I stand by my raisin-brain take on what worked best about episode five of season one: “The Nuclear Family seem unstoppable until a couple of smoke grenades roll into view and Dick emerges in uniform to kick ass. Everyone gets in on the battle, but Dick takes them all on with renewed confidence and competence. Of course he fights better in uniform and with his special staff/sticks. Of course the Nuclear Family have trouble fighting back against a masked opponent. That’s how superheroes work!” We get a redux of that energy with the Bruce pep talk and Dick getting the Nightwing suit, right up until Deathstroke is kicking him while he’s down in an alley as his super-powered friends watch from a car. Nobody could have saved him if Slade went lethal as soon as possible, just as later on, nobody saves Donna from sudden misfortune despite being heroes with special abilities. 

III – Menagerie

Sad little bluebird, pecked on the head,
wish it had fallen and landed dead.
Now it’s searching for a thread
to lead its friends to light instead.

Hawk can swoop, Hawk can shove,
but Hawk can’t hold on to his love.
Dove can dance, Dove can fly,
Dove has none to share the sky.

Hurricane Rose, born in storm,
prom date dumped, left forlorn
but alive, more than can be said
for the father she vows to behead.

Two Kryptonians, brave as can be,
neither has seen the sea,
but they know the bite of fleas.
A raven and princess pair up to soar,
headed someplace they’ve never been before.
Meanwhile, at home, a tiger roars.

PS – I called it, I freaking called it about Jericho and the mole.

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.

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