It is the midseason finale of Titans and the Blood Moon is upon us.
1. This Seasonal Structure Overall
“Brother Blood” is the midseason finale of the fourth Titans and it is a largely functional if not satisfying finale. It does everything an episode like this should do, but that doesn’t mean it had tension or drama within it. As Sebastian Blood gets an extended This is Your Life segment showing how his entire existence was fait accompli there was no doubt that he would choose to drink from the chalice of blood and bathe in the hot tub of blood, potentially dooming the world in the process.
These last two episodes have in many ways been reversed. “Brother Blood” features all the perfunctory plot machinations maneuvering the chess pieces around, which is normally the job of the first episode in a two-part narrative. “Inside Man” is what has all the finale-esque moments of character actualization and potential for growth.
In the interim HBOMAX will begin broadcast of the first batch of Doom Patrol season four. With how the titular Titans get magicked away perhaps we’ll see Garfield Logan make a cameo of sorts with this similar but different version of the group. As someone who is interested in the structural shifts within the television industry, I am very curious to see how this all plays out. This is also a release schedule that might become more popular and effective for streamers, to build and retain interest. Anime functions on a similar distribution known as cours. While this particular episode wasn’t a tense thriller, on a macro level it was an effective ending to this chunk of the season and has me wanting more. This first half of the fourth season is plainly functional in ways the first two seasons, and most Netflix originals, were not.
2.It’s a Wonderful Life
I’ve never really liked this version of Sebastian Blood. Joseph Morgan is giving a good performance for what he’s given to work with. There’s just something at once pitiful and unremarkable about Sebastian. That lack of distinction is highlighted in the c thread for this episode as he stares longingly into the hot tub of blood revealing ghosts from his past and how people were abusive. Did not respect his intellect. The girlfriend flashback was more his doing and going the full beta incel. That’s what it is! In another show Sebastian Blood would just be an incel mass shooter, the only remarkable thing being his toxic sense of rage – which is becoming depressingly banal in America. Throughout the show he has just been a macguffin made flesh, a meat puppet, for the writers to push the story forward. With these flashbacks that feeling becomes depressingly meta, and not all that clever.
3. Man It’s been a LONG Night
Comedy is a tough act, often in these sorts of shows it is used to undercut sincere feeling and emotion in an attempt to show how, if not mature, “cool” the series is. There was a streak of black humor in the first season that I kind of enjoyed, but it largely whiffed and continued to whiff for me. Maybe it worked better for you, I tend to hate quips and one liners (I’ve never been a webhead.) Ironic visual humor is more my style. This doesn’t mean all dialogic comedy is bad “Brother Blood” features an effective humors moment as the team stands around as Conner continues to descend into Luthordom. They remark about how wild this night has been. 2 hours ago they were fighting zombie Deathstroke! After that Gar turned into a virus!! And Tim kissed Bernard!!! The inclusion of that last bit and congratulatory reaction made that moment land it was sweet. It also was a nice reminder of how absurd this show has gotten, in a good way. While some episodes were more monotone, the tonal variance and balance of it overall has been the best this show has ever been.
4.Going Through an Emo Phase
I like ironic visuals, so Conner going through an emo phase and shaving his head at the start of this episode was just wonderful. He’s trying to act so hard and more like Daddy Luthor in order to project strength and he just looks so silly. Joshua Orpin commitment to being a straight-faced dick lands, it’s the more agro version of his doe eyed naïve face he had been doing since season 2. As far as twists on the Superboy and the Leather Jacket phase goes this is a good one. That Superboy was a jerk, but you kinda liked that about him. This one is just a dick, and you kinda hate that about him.Continued below
5.Beast Boy the Red and White Raven
Beast Boy getting in touch with the Red has been an ongoing thread this season. That is a connection to animal life that he shares with Buddy Baker and Mari Macabe who get shoutouts in this episode. This season has become very chatty about how established it is with known characters. Him becoming sort of temporally unstuck in time is odd and honestly not that effective. The first sequence with Conner in the stairs was. After that it just continued without much of a point. Maybe his turning to the Red is what teleported the team out of danger? Maybe they’re now lost in the Multiverse set to come back and stop this evil from happening or wind up in a dark future where it did? This midseason finale could be very similar to the first half of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Garfields journey is supposed to be a tease for more, I’m just not all that intrigued. Ryan Potter gives a solid performance though.
Raven is now White for unexplained reasons, other than it being an easter egg to the comics. There is a willingness in this show to just throw costume changes at people. Which isn’t an inherently bad thing, it happens in comics all the time, but much like Beast Boy there’s been little indication or justification for “why”
Overall “Brother Blood” is a solid episode of TV. It does everything an episode like it should do. Is any of it surprising? Not really, but at least the previous episode made me care about the characters so now theoretically I’m invested in what comes next.