Titans streams new episodes on Friday’s via the DC Universe platform. The second season will debut internationally on Netflix later in 2019.
Titans Tower comes under attack by Mercy Graves.
“Fallen” marks an interesting turning point in Titans second season. It presents a series which has come on leaps and bounds from its first season, but which also refuses to let go of some of its cliche tropes.
With only three episodes remaining in the second season we’re still yet to see the group fully functioning as a team. The idea that we’ve moved on from forming Titans 2.0 has cemented but only by tearing down everything we’ve built so far.
Whilst, from a narrative perspective at least, it feels necessary to push Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) down further before he can become Nightwing, the series has done so by once again separating him from everything he holds close.
With the character locked up in prison, he once again turns his back on helping others and finds himself presented much as he was before burning the Robin costume back in the episode “Asylum”. Given his re-connection with Bruce and the old team it feels like a creative step backwards for Dick even if it does eventually lead to a monumental step forwards.
A number of characters are missing in this episode as the series finds itself struggling slightly to balance a larger number of plot threads which are all vying for the viewers attention.
With Starfire (Anna Diop), Hank (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn (Minka Kelly) all ticked off last week, this week we’re back to Donna (Connor Leslie) and Rachel (Teagan Croft) with Jason (Curran Walters) and Rose (Chelsea Zhang) entirely absent. There’s also a lot more from Conner (Joshua Orpin) and Gar (Ryan Potter).
This season Titans has functioned better as an ensemble piece, utilising the strong bonds between cast members to create a core narrative which has felt very much centered on the Titans-family. Breaking the team apart has fractured the delicate balance which the show had created and right now it doesn’t quite feel right.
There’s still a lot to enjoy in “Fallen” however. Rachel’s story seems to be taking an interesting turn as her powers are beginning to effect the world around her. With Donna hot on her trail it may not be long until she has to confront her inner demons which may, or may not, include the return of Trigon. Whilst her story has been another of the season’s slow burns her character remains one of the most improved over season 1.
Whilst Dick’s prison journey is laden with cliche’s it does provide the biggest twist of the episode. The origin of the Nightwing name. Comics fans will know that Dick hears the name Nightwing for the first time as Superman tells him an old folk tale from Krypton-lore.
Instead Dick learns the name from his Mexican prison buddies. At first his relationship with his cellmates feels forced, but once he learns of their escape plans and they open up to him it’s a surprisingly impact-ful scene. The ensuing riot when the father is stabbed and the boys then try to break out were clearly designed to push Dick on that final step towards forging a new identity and finally it feels like he has earned it.
Back at Titans Tower there’s a whole lot more story to tell between Conner and Gar as the two struggle on their own with Mercy Graves (Natalie Gumeda) on their backs.
It seems telling of just how over-stuffed this episode was when I had almost forgotten the entire subplot despite it giving us another awesome Krypto scene and finally allowing Gar to shape shift again.
I’m concerned for Gar given Mercy’s ominous words at the end of the episode. She pleads a convincing case in trying to bring him over to the Cadmus side and I would hate to see his character squandered for the sake of a plot-twist.
What strikes me most when thinking back over “Fallen” is that whilst all of the individual stories are entertaining or have aspects to them which are compelling, as a whole the episode feels as if it is being pulled in far too many directions.
This week Titans puts an interesting spin on the Nightwing origin. It repeats some of the series past mistakes but still presents an interesting hour of television.
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.