Titans streams new episodes on Friday’s via the DC Universe platform. The second season will debut internationally on Netflix later in 2019.
Dick finally reveals the truth to the team and, in flashback, we learn the secret behind Deathstroke’s vendetta against the Titans. After the murder of Garth/Aqualad, Dick, Donna, Dawn and Hank befriend Jericho Wilson (guest star CHELLA MAN), Deathstroke’s son. Realizing that Slade’s devotion to his son might be Deathstroke’s only weakness, Dick is eager to use the information against his nemesis. But as the Titans’ friendship with Jericho grows, and he’s taken into the fold, Dick is forced to make a choice between loyalty and revenge.
For the third time this season Titans is diving back in to the realm of flashbacks to tell us a story which it believes is relevant to the ongoing story line of the season.
The issue I have with “Jericho” is that it has been a number of weeks since we saw the first part of the story and that we are, again, interrupting the narrative flow to fill in the gaps of the past.
Admittedly this is another brilliantly executed episode with some slick fight choreography which really poses Deathstroke (Esai Morales) as a major threat to the team. It also features one of the best Themyscirian lasso fight scenes every committed to film.
But given all the talk of ghosts this season it feels like we’ve taken a little too long to get here. Putting those feelings aside however there is still a lot to enjoy here.
“Jericho” – obviously – spends a lot more with its namesake, played by Chella Man. He’s a compelling actor in the role and the script makes delicate work of his disabilities. I commend Man for wanting to bring a deaf, queer hero to the screen and I also commend writer Kate McCarthy for ensure those characteristics remain a facet of who he is and not plot points for exploiting.
Where the episode could have made better use of its subject matter might have been in mixing the flashback scenes with the story in the present day. Something Titans has so far failed to do in almost all instances where flashbacks have been used.
To see Dick (Brenton Thwaites) explaining to the Titans, old and new, exactly what happened on the day Jericho died would have given this episode a greater emotional impact. It could also have played heavily in to the ending of the previous episode in which he came clean to Jason (Curran Walters).
Imagine a scene where Dick is turned on by his peers for his part in Jericho’s death and only Jason stands by his side. Cementing the relationship between the Robin’s and flipping much of the season on its head. A definite missed opportunity for the series.
I did relish the opportunity to see more of Deathstroke’s origin story though. There was some interesting choices in regards to what moments from his backstory we saw: being experimented on by the military, breaking out, returning home (now with one eye) and then brief moments of how his assassin career ruined his home life.
Morales brings a vulnerability to Slade Wilson in this episode which I have found to be lacking in other live-action representations. Putting him in the context of family life, Titans is able to shine a different light on the character which is very much in keeping with the bountiful shades of grey the show likes to portray.
The timeline becomes a little muddy as the episode goes in to flashbacks within flashbacks but in all honesty this is only an issue if you treat Titans as a show which doesn’t require a lot of thought. In many ways its a gift that director Toa Fraser (Swamp Thing) trusted the audience would be able to follow a more complex narrative structure.
Ultimately this is the most important story beat of the season. It explains everything which came before and sets up what is to come and whilst I feel we should have gotten there sooner it’s still an incredibly satisfying 45mins of television.
Whilst “Jericho” loses itself in it’s loop of flashbacks it tells the story that Titans needs right now in order to propel itself towards Nightwing and the inevitable endgame.
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.