Titans returns from hiatus with an episode struggling to move on from the past and embrace its future.
The old Titans reluctantly return to Titans Tower to strategize against an old enemy. But the secrets of the Titans’ past threaten to tear apart this newly formed team from within.
Week three of Titans season 2 and we find ourselves confronted by an episode unafraid to take risks and challenges the series’ new found status quo.
Written by Tom Pabst (Paranormal Activity 2) the episode picks up immediately where we left off in episode 2 (reviewed here) with Jason (Curran Walters) and Gar (Ryan Potter) using the computer in Titans Tower to identify Rose (Chelsea Zhang) and her father Slade/Deathstroke (Esai Morales).
It’s not long before Rachel (Teagan Croft) is asking questions as to Slade’s connection to the Titans when Dick (Brenton Thwaites) reacts quite obviously to what’s on screen. Dick immediately shuts them down and send them off to train in a clumsy “lets not talk about it” cliche.
But “Ghosts” can easily be forgiven for this tiny misstep as it leads in to some really excellent sequences for all of the main characters.
The Tiny Titans/Teen Titans – however you would like to refer them – go back to the training room and we’re treated to our first impressive fight sequence of the episode. The Titans stunt team are doing an amazing job already this season of distinguishing this show from other comic book fare.
This time Rachel get’s in on the action and soon her soul self (or her inner Trigon) is starting to break out. Having almost put an end to Jason we’re finally treated to a bit more of his personality ripped straight from the comics.
Curran Walters has done an admirable job of playing Jason as a bit snot nosed and arrogant thus far on the show. But here he’s able to push his performance in to full on narcissistic and nasty, bigoted territory. The way he reacts to Rachel’s abilities is definitely played for an analogy to racism/sexism/homophobic or any other ism you can think of. But both actors portray the scene brilliantly.
Teagan Croft has come on leaps and bounds from season one, coupled with the improved writing in season two and she has become a standout character in a very large pool of heroes and villains.
Unfortunately Gar is still lost in the ensemble. Though his screen time has drastically increased over these three recent episodes he is currently serving the story. He was the scapegoat in “Trigon”, the computer expert in “Rose” and now Jason’s fall guy in this latest episode.
For those more interested in the adults in the room: there is plenty more going on with the OG Titans. With Donna (Conor Leslie), Dawn (Minka Kelly) and Hank (Alan Ritchson) back at Titans Tower there’s plenty of conflict between the group.
I’m still unsure why the series chose to ramp up the addiction story line with Hank so fast. But it pays off in this episode as it leads to two very intense moments with Dick. The first: in anger; allows Hank to vent some of frustration and finding himself back where he started and surrounded by the ghosts of his past. The second is much more poignant and allows the two a moment alone to bury the hatchet.
The episode is further littered with plenty of scenes from the season’s main trailer. Particular highlights are the conversation between Donna and Dick around why they had originally chosen to shut the Titans project down. Whilst their relationship retains the brother-sister nature introduced in season one, Donna is on the ropes here and much like the others not happy to be surrounded by the ghosts of her past.
There are plenty of character moments which allow all of the OG Titans react to history coming full circle and it makes the episode incredibly compelling to watch.
We get a lot more of Doctor Light (Michael Mosely) this week also. Though his first confrontation with the Titans is little underwhelming, in part due to their lack of coherence as a team, he is still a formidable foe. This scene also features this episodes somewhat shaky CGI moment-of-the-week.
His confrontation with Jason at the episodes climax is possibly the best fight sequence so far this season and led to another almighty cliffhanger.
He feels like the first step forwards something more sinister as he works with Deathstroke to plan taking down the Titans. We’re given enough of a glimpse behind the villainous curtain to give his character context and motive which was very much appreciated in an already busy episode.
All this and there was still time to catch up with Kory (Anna Diop) following her kidnap in the previous episode. I honestly felt the show would cast her aside for a week or two before catching us up so I was incredibly impressed that (early) in this episode we found her waking up in a hotel room.
Though a very slow moving plot this opened up Titans to a whole new world of storytelling as we dove deeper in to life, love and the class system on Tamaran.
Robbie Jones as Faddei and Diop have some great chemistry on screen. Their scenes didn’t feel forced but the weight of their off-screen history was still omnipresent throughout their scenes together.
“Ghosts” is another excellent example of Titans 2.0 in full swing. A keen sense of pacing and outstanding fight choreography make this the most compelling episode of the season (so far).
Titans stars Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson/Robin, Anna Diop as Starfire, Teagan Croft as Raven, Ryan Potter as Beast Boy, Alan Ritchson as Hawk and Minka Kelly as Dove.
Titans season 2 is available to watch now on DC Universe in North America. internationally the show will be available via Netflix.