TITANS S02E09 “Atonement” review

Titans streams new episodes on Friday’s via the DC Universe platform. The second season will debut internationally on Netflix later in 2019.

Synopsis

In the aftermath of his confession, Dick’s fear that his secret would break up the Titans comes true. Abandoning Titans Tower, the heroes all go their separate ways.

Review

This week Titans chose to make a decision with its characters which felt like it was ripped right from the series’ first season. It, once again, broke up its characters and sent them on their separate ways.

Following the revelation of how Jericho really died, revealed in the previous episode (reviewed here), nobody felt particularly trusting of Dick (Brenton Thwaites) and so two-by-two all of the Titans old and new hopped in a taxi and left him behind.

Whilst in some ways it makes sense that they all felt betrayed by their friend and leader, it seems a shame for the narrative to choose to break the team apart again. Despite the work we’ve seen him do with Rachel (Teagan Croft) and Jason (Curran Walters) neither chooses to stand by his side. Even Kory (Anna Diop) leaves him behind.

It feels like the narrative is making one final push towards his transformation in to Nightwing but sadly it also doesn’t quite sit right with me. We’ve now seen the team come together to break apart on a number of occasions and I’m struggling to see what could bring them back together again at this stage.

Broadly speaking there’s still a lot going on in “Atonement” to redeem it as an episode. Finally a light is shone on Ryan Potter as Beast Boy as he’s left alone with the unconscious Conner (Joshua Orpin) in Titans Tower. 

Though not the sole focus of the episode it still brings great levity to the episode as we see him waking up on day one alone and starts his adventure as King of the Tower. Even more hilarious is just how quickly he tires of the situation. 

Potter carries his scenes well, proving just how criminally underused the character has been so far this season. Though he’s always in the background this is the first time the story has served him well. Judging by the preview image for next week he’ll have yet more to do before the team come back together again.

With Conner waking from his coma, Joshua Orpin is given some great material in this episode. The relationship between Conner and Gar works well on screen. Conner’s naivety complements Gar’s youthful energy well and makes watching them play computer games somehow still compelling.

When the two venture outside of the tower things don’t quite go to plan and I was surprise at how Gar reacted to the situation. It presented the character with a challenge where he could have stepped up and, given the Dick left him in charge, it was a shame he chose to turn and run.

Gar has certainly had some setbacks this season and it will be interesting, given that this episode was called “Atonement” to see if he is able to achieve this at some stage. Given the next episode is called “Fallen” it may take some time…

I’m also intrigued by the decision to have Conner painted as a more villainous character to the San Francisco public. His actions make sense given the childlike nature of the character but it’s not yet clear how the writers will be able to redeem his character and make him a hero in the future.

There are plenty of sub-plots at play in “Atonement” with Kory meeting with her sister Blackfire (guest star Damaris Lewis). It adds further context to Kory’s alien origins and is being painted as a very interesting social interest story. Though it is unlikely to happen I would welcome the show taking her off-world to restore balance on Tamaran. 

Hank (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn (Mika Kelly) have returned to Wyoming to pick up the pieces of the life they left behind when Doctor Light caught up with them earlier in the season. It leads to an interesting musical moment for Titans and I wonder if this is the beginning of the end for these two.

Of all the characters appearing in Titans second season they have the most to live for outside the hero life. Being Hawk and Dove also seems to do the most damage to these two. Whilst I would absolutely welcome a spin-off featuring the pair maybe that’s something which should be set in their heyday and not the present as I’m not sure the characters deserve more than they have already been through.

 Returning to Wyoming feels like an odd choice for the pair who are trying to escape their demons. Running back to where they had a happier life would make sense if it wasn’t for the fact it was destroyed by Doctor Light, who killed their friend Ellis in the process. It seemed inevitable this would cause them more trouble but I wonder how loaded his sister’s threats truly were.

The most interesting of the side stories belongs to Dick Grayson, of course. He seems to be the only character taking the episode title to heart and searching for real atonement. He visits Adeline (Mayko Nguyen) to apologise for the death of Jericho. Of course the conversation doesn’t go to plan and I was genuinely surprised by how her character was written in this episode.

It was refreshing to see her as anything other than the broken women for her to react so strongly to Dick’s apology was exciting to watch. He’s not the only one to blame himself for Jericho’s death and it makes sense that she would equally blame him for his part in it.

When it transpires that Deathstroke (Esai Morales) is also in the house Dick confronts him in a very off scene which feels a little out of character for both. It leads in to a cliffhanger which also feels out of character for Dick.

Theory time… I think we’re looking at Deathstroke having been inhabited by the spirit of Jericho, who used his powers as her died to transfer his consciousness. As the episode comes to an end it’s Dick who is taken over by Jericho and this is why he acts out of turn. Is Jericho forcing his killers to atone for their sins?

Verdict

“Atonement” is perhaps the slowest episode of Titans second season but it features some interesting character beats and finally shines a light on the excellent Ryan Potter as Beast Boy.

7/10

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. 


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About Neil Vagg 3938 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG