And so we get the Titans season premiere... a week after the season premiere. Such are the wonders of having the season finale of season 1 delayed until the beginning of season 2.
"Rose" starts with "Three Months Later" and continues from there. So we see Dick training Jason, Rachel, and Gar at Titans Tower in San Francisco. Which is now the official name for the swanky penthouse facility Bruce Wayne set them up with last episode.
Donna and Kory are hunting meta criminals in Chicago. In this case, it's a supervillainess named Shimmer (Hanneke Talbot). She can transmute things, as we see when she transmutes a newspaper into steel and throws it as an edged weapon at the two heroes. They pretty easily put her down.
Hank and Dawn have moved to Wyoming to run a drug rehabilitation... ranch. While Hank teaches recovering drug addicts to ride horses, Dawn looks on admiringly and then sneaks out at night as Dove to beat up local meth makers. That doesn't seem to do much for the whole secret identity thing, since Dove looks a lot like Dawn and you'd think someone would put 2 + 2 together and figure "White-haired woman moves in, and white-haired female superhero beats up crooks = same person".
But there's still no real back story on the characters, or the history, or whether this is tied to the DC cinematic universe, or its own universe, or the CWVerse, or what. So whether Dove is a well-known public hero or not, I have no idea. That's also what bugs me about the occasional mention of the old Titans: Robin (Dick Grayson), Wonder Girl, Aqualad, and Speedy (Roy Harper, who gets a couple of name checks). Everyone acts like the old Titans are a thing. But in the movies, the Justice League just became a thing. So how did their sidekicks become a thing if the League just became a thing?
Not to mention Christian Bale and then Ben Affleck are Bruce Wayne in the movies. But here we have Iain Glen. So... I guess Titans doesn't share a setting with the DC movies? I'm not sure if they've mentioned Flash/Kid Flash yet. But if Flash is part of the Justice League--and he usually is--that means there are three Flashes in live-action running around, including the CW one.
But I guess we're not supposed to worry about any of this. And I'm sure this approach will pay off for DC in the long run. <sarcasm> My gripe with it on Titans is it leads to the occasional missing plot logic like... how "big" are the old Titans?
Another good example is at the end, when Jason and Gar identify Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, as Rose Wilson's father. So Deathstroke is a big deal in the Titanverse? But not a big enough deal a clerk at a backwoods grocery recognizes him? Granted, the bearded wild-haired Slade doesn't look like the clean cut soldier Slade we see on Jason's computer screen. But this would all make some kind of sense if we understood more about the world the Titans inhabit. Are super-types a big thing, or aren't they? Are we supposed to be impressed Jason recognizes Deathstroke but Gar doesn't? Confused? Scared? Indifferent?
Speaking of Slade's daughter, Rose (Chelsea T. Zhang) is running around San Francisco beating up on cops in a well-choreographed fight scene. She eventually drops unconscious of her injuries, and Dick just strolls out and finds her. He brings her back to Titans Tower and we get a few scenes about whether Dick has the right to take her in, and if he's doing better or worse or the same as when Bruce took him in. This involves a call to Bruce, who is pouring over some coded pages. And what follows is an interesting conversation between Dick and Bruce about how Bruce raised Dick. I thought they covered it last week about how Bruce gave Dick a target for his rage after the Graysons' death. And it still means we know a lot more about Dick than Gar, or Rachel, or Donna, or Jason. So get used to Titans being subtitled The Dick Grayson Show.
And I'm warming a bit to Iain Glen as Bruce Wayne. Not as Batman: I still can't imagine him putting on the Batsuit and punching out Joker and Two-Face and Mr. Freeze. He looks like Tweedledee and Tweedledum would give him a hard time. But as a retired superhero I get an elderly Bruce Wayne vibe from him that works. Although again, if he's supposed to be retired or not, I have no idea.
Dick eventually decides to let Rose go because if you love someone, you let them go free. Or some such motivational poster motto. But as he drops her off in a parking lot ("If you love someone, set them free in a parking lot"?), something glows and then explodes in the back of Dick's SUV and they get out just in time.
Oh, earlier we saw Dr. Light (Michael Mosley) escape prison past a hallway full of dead guards. He has sub-dermal circuitry just under his skin that lets him absorb light and fry the guards. And it looks cool. And Light and Shimmer were both members of the Fearsome Five in the comics. So, my speculation last week about the Titans needing a supervillain team to fight is coming to pass. Yay!
We also saw Hank's most recent drug rehabee show up at his cabin, glow with light, and explode. So apparently Light can super-light-charge people and them blow them up. Why Light has a hate-on for Hawk and Dove, but is going for this "Blow up their house but let them escape instead of pick them off on the lawn" scheme, I don't know. I guess H&D were members of the old Titans. Which jibes with their comic book histories, and kinda jibes with some dialogue last year. I don't recall if they said they and Donna met, and I'm not going to go back through season 1 and check.
Also, Hank finds out about Dawn's secret vigilante career and tells her he's leaving her if she can't let it go. That's when their cabin explodes, so no resolution on that and they head to San Francisco to compare notes with Dick on the exploding Lightsicles.
Also, Kory gets abducted by someone from her planet. Who calls her "highness", so presumably we'll get some backstory on her in future episodes.
"Rose" brings us up to speed on what happened during the season break. Although there wasn't a season break episode-wise, since last week's "Trigon" is a carryover from season 1. While I wouldn't say "Trigon" makes a bad season premiere, "Rose" makes a much better one.
I'm sick of Dick getting the lion's share of the attention, but I was already sick of that last year. It is what it is. I'd rather see more of Ryan Potter, who has an easy chemistry with Teagan Croft. Gar is still the odd man out on the show: the F/X budget just can't handle the near-constant shapeshifting he does in the comics. Like when he spars with Jason and does some light kung-fu. Instead of shapeshifting, which is his power. Potter does a decent job of covering for the lack of F/X with his performance. But a lot of scenes with Gar are him sitting around doing nothing except showing off his green coloration.
We see a little bit of the Trigon-style darkness hanging around Rachel. I like her a little better this year when she's not all "Fate of the universe is on my shoulders". I'd rather see more of Donna and Kory, and "Rose" gives us that. They also have some cute banter: Kory likes "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge but it drives Donna to distraction. Later the two of them go out for tacos and take down Shimmer almost as an afterthought. I'd rather see The Adventures of Donna & Kory than The Dick Grayson Show any day of the week.
So overall, "Rose" is a decent Titans episode. It gives us a little bit of everyone on the team, even if it goes overboard (again) on Dick. It sets up Rose and a future Deathstroke although there's no hint of Conner Kent. And we get the gathering of the Fearsome Five with Light and Shimmer, even if Light's intro is a bit confusing. He's in a cell, and then someone... kills his guards and lets him out. But they're not there when he emerges. It's a bit haphazard, but Titans is a bit haphazard.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Written by Gislef on Sep 14, 2019