Oh, look, another Dick Grayson episode. Because that's what the world needs.
In fairness, this week's episode of Titans, "Fallen", has a bit more than just Dick. Conner gets his moments in the sun, and Rachel and Gar have their bits. There's no sign of Hank, Dawn, Rose, or Jason. And Donna is... around. She's looking for Rachel, and calling Dick to ask for his help. Not exactly a strong foot forward.
On the one hand, I'm glad to see Ryan Potter as Gar getting more to do. And Teagan Croft as Rachel is fairly talented, so it's nice to see Rachel doing something, even if it's a dead-end plot that doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything else. For a season that has focused primarily on Deathstroke, "Fallen" is a bit of a letdown. I... guess Deathstroke is the Big Bad, the equivalent of last season's Trigon. But he was ailing last week, and isn't present at all this week. We've got three more episodes to go in the season, and this week is Dick in prison! Rachel as a runaway! Donna as a complaining detective! And Conner and Gar dealing with Cadmus! Only the last part really has much to do with anything season-wise, since Cadmus seems to be shaping up as the Big Bad, supplanting Deathstroke.
But what is Rachel's dead-end plot, and what is Cadmus up to? Rachel meets up with another young girl, Dani (Sydney Kuhne), at a soup kitchen. Dani has an abusive boyfriend (one review says he's Dani's father, but I don't think the author knows how that "age" thing works), and Rachel soon pins him to a wall with her darkness powers. Rachel eventually lets him go, but her darkness possesses a nearby gargoyle to animate it, and it tears the boyfriend apart. Dani takes Rachel to her "home" where she and three other teenage girls are squatting in an abandoned tenement. And that's it.
The banter between Rachel and Dani is good, as they bond over dysfunctional families and chameleons. Although it's more of a "They like each other after a few seconds" bonding. I would have liked to see more of them bonding and less of Donna griping to her phone about not being able to find Rachel.
Conner tells Krypto to leave him after word continues to spread he injured four police officers last episode. Krypto gets Gar and leads him to Conner. Poor Krypto, Conner doesn't deserve him. They flee the Cadmus soldiers and go back to the Tower, where the soldiers and their leader, Mercy Graves (Natalie Gumede), finds them and launches an attack. Krypto gets kryptonite-netted, Gar turns into a tiger and gets tranqed, and Mercy convinces Conner they can "fix" him so he surrenders.
Back at Cadmus, Mercy puts Gar in an anti-shapeshifting suit (so he can't turn into a mouse or a fly like in the comics, but just a tiger), and tries to recruit him into Cadmus. Props for her mentioning Niles Caulder and we finally get some reference to Gar's background. But Gar would rather be a Titan, and Mercy figures getting the Titans there is a good idea. Why Cadmus would want Dick, Hank, and Dawn, I have no idea. She presumably doesn't know about Rose or Rachel. If she read a paper five years ago, she probably knows about Donna and her Titan membership. If she assumes the current Titans are related to the old ones, she can put two and two together and figure Donna is a member of the new team.
The main plot is Dick. Yes, the episode has lots of Dick. *heh* Dick pleads guilty to the assault he made last week, and ends up in a Nevada prison. When he refuses to help out the prison guard who knows Dick is a Chicago police detective, Dick gets put in a cell with three Mexican prisoners. There's a complicated bit of business where one of them, Rafael (Orel De La Mota), gets threatened and is told to kill... Dick. I think. But Rafael doesn't, and Dick overhears the conversation. He doesn't seem too worried.
The sum of this is the three prisoners are planning to escape, and Dick catches on. Dick is trying not to get involved in anything, but Rafael's... brother? Luis (Julian Works) believes in a mythical bird-god named Azul. A bird. That wings. Through the night. Dick warns them they can't possibly escape, and when their leader, Santos (Rey Gallegos), gets killed in a prison yard stabbing, Dick is all over them about their chances being even worse. But Luis believes in Azul, and Rafael tells Dick to shut it because he'd rather escape and be someone, then sent back to Mexico and be a nobody. Or something like that.
The next morning, the guards transfer Luis and Rafael. Who manage to pick the locks on their manacles, attack their guards, and get beat down in a matter of seconds. Then Dick shows up, kicks ass, and the brothers escape. Dick stays behind to cover their escape, and gets captured.
That's it for this week. Bruce Wayne gets a mention when Gar starts to call him. But otherwise none of the senior heroes seem interested in helping out their protégés. There's no Wonder Woman, lord knows what Aquaman is doing about Aqualad's death, Superman isn't at all interested in a kid with Kryptonian powers beating up cops in San Francisco, and Batman is... working on cryptology in his manor.
Thwaites gives broodiness. Potter is suitably chipper, and why the creative team doesn't feature him more, I don't know. I'd rather see Gar than do-nothing Donna. Kory isn't around this week. Rachel gets some spotlight, even though as I noted earlier, her subplot doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
We have three episodes left, and there's no indication of where the show is going. We've had Deathstroke, and Blackfire, and Cadmus, all introduced. But three episodes doesn't seem like enough time to turn any of them into a major season-ending threat. The Titans aren't anywhere close to back together again, so there's no reason for Deathstroke to get off his butt and try and kill them. Blackfire and her alien soldiers will presumably be a big threat next season. That leaves Cadmus, which just got introduced four episodes ago and don't seem to be that big a threat. Cadmus is another big-corporation super-threat. And having Lex Luthor as an unseen CEO doesn't help. It's all talk, no show.
The current approach also means the Titans have split up. So the show is less Titans and more Angsty Young Adults on Their Own. The whole is greater than the parts that make it up. The creative team doesn't spotlight the modern-day Donna, and Hank and Dawn aren't doing much better. After a strong start, Rose sits around and eats cereal, when she shows up at all. If the creative team is going to treat, say, Donna, as a secondary character, then commit to it and make her a secondary character. As it is, the creative team keeps pushing her like she's a big part of the show, but then don't give her anything to do.
Joshua Orpin isn't bad as Conner, and I like his chemistry with Potter. But right now Titans seems overstuffed with characters. There are ten main characters, and five of them don't show up this week. And of the five who do show up, Dick is one we've already had featured numerous times. The show is Titans, not Dick Grayson. Conner has done well given the focus of Titans is shifting to Cadmus. But as Deathstroke goes, so does Rose. Now that he's gone, there doesn't seem to be much of a role for her in the Titans. Except as a cereal killer. *heh*
So I'm hoping that the creative team will do some kind of triumphal "The Gang's Back Together" bit and the Titans will unite to battle some major threat. But with three episodes left and the third titled "Nightwing", that doesn’t seem very likely. Plus, that's what I hoped for the end of season 1 and Trigon as the Big Bad. Instead we got one Titan fighting him solo while the others sat around and watched. It's looking like we'll get roughly the same for the season 2 finale. Hopefully the creative team will surprise us.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Written by Gislef on Nov 9, 2019