The Titans are back b*tches!
Did you know they were called the Titans?? The Titans would like you to know that they were called the Titans and will be the Titans for the foreseeable future! Welcome to the inaugural coverage of Titans season two starting with “Trigon” which is technically the finale of the first season with the second glued onto the end. This season opener is objectively a mixed bag, but it’s still a fun time. So let’s dig into what should be the start of an exciting season and beware spoilers ahead.
1. The Calvary (and Jason Todd) have arrived!
This season opener starts exactly where season one episode “Dick Grayson” left off with Trigon having corrupted Dick Grayson and preparing to “break Rachel’s heart” to bring about the end of the world, which…would be bad. Luckily the fate of the world rests in the likely greasy hands of Jason Todd, who is riding a motorcycle through an empty Wayne Manor like a child. Hawk and Dove arrive to recruit him at the behest of Rachel’s psychic projections in season one. This scene was really entertaining! The chemistry between Alan Ritchson and Curran Walters is really fun to watch with their two different types of “bad boy” personalities clashing and just how both actors commit so much to their archetypes.
They make their way to another great pair that we can only hope to see more of this season: Kory and Donna. They are bickering about getting into Trigon’s bubble around the house and the way they talk to each other comes off as really natural and fun. One of my favorite lines was Starfire’s “You could have put some love on it.” after Donna introduces her as an alien. We also get the first name drop of “Titans” with the suggestions the Titans were already a team in the past that Donna quit. Which is the first, we, the audience are hearing about them as an established group, but what’s a comic book tv show without a retcon?
2. House of Horrors
While fun character moments are happening outside, a horror movie is happening inside which is really great. Gar and Rachel are running away from a possessed Dick in a house that Trigon makes very spooky. But not too spooky. Season one was not afraid to pepper in some jump scares but as someone who is afraid of everything, I really appreciated the show sticking to mild discomfort and horror settings rather than “Boo!”. Brandon Thwaites was definitely having more fun playing possessed Dick than it feels like he did the entire last season.
3. Corrupted Youth.
Trigon allows the rest of the gang into the house for them all to have their own personal corruptions. It is a really interesting concept of seeing all of these characters’ vices or what would lead them down a dark path of corruption but unfortunately, all but Hawk and Dove’s corruptions just have to do with murder which works as a moral threshold but feels cheap after having it repeated so many times in quick succession. Jason’s dark side illusion does feel a little tantalizing with what we know of that character’s history in the comics. I doubt we will see the Red Hood anytime soon but it was a little exciting seeing Jason pick up a gun (not that I support guns…just fictional character, Jason Todd with a gun).
4. Lo, there will be an ending!
Jason, Kory, Donna, Hank, and Dawn are all possessed and in order to break Rachel’s heart, they all beat the crap out of the pure soul known as Garfield Logan with Dick seemingly putting in the killing blow. This is enough to break Rachel’s heart so Trigon can physically remove it and destroy it into the red jewel that now lives on Rachel’s forehead thus completing her corruption. Trigon turns into his more familiar form from the comics which is a bold choice from this show. What is even bolder is to have him walk in direct sunlight so we can see how weird the CGI looks, especially when he kills Rachel’s mother.
But what doesn’t look bad is Gar’s fancy new animal form as a snake as he slithers in to snap Rachel out of her corruption. She, in turn, gets Dick out of his corruption by bringing their story full circle with her recreating her dream of him on the trapeze. She puts herself in danger for him to save her and snap out of it. This scene felt pretty earnest and felt earned based on Rachel and Dick’s relationship last season.Continued below
What does feel strange, is that immediately after Rachel walks out and just defeats Trigon very quickly and very oddly. The abruptness of his defeat leaves a lot to be desired but in the context of being two-thirds through the season premiere and still wrapping up season one, it’s understandable to get him out of there to move on as quickly as possible. Rachel coming into her own is really great and definitely feels earned within the context of the episode but the dialogue is very strange when Rachel says that Trigon has shown her who her family truly is (i.e. the Titans), but then says “Genetics is destiny” before banishing Trigon, which does not make much sense. But immediately after banishing her evil daddy into some blue CGI.
5. New Wig, New Season!
Teagan Croft has a new wig! In canon, whatever dimension she banished Trigon to had excellent hairdressers because this wig is a much-needed improvement. This wig, Dick’s longer hair, and everyone seeming much more refreshed are the noticeable signifiers of season two officially starting. As they wrap up and split ways there’s a moment between Jason and Hank where Jason tells Hank to admit that he likes him, to which Hank says “never gonna happen” and to which I say, “Oh Jason is going to die on this show .” Just throwing that out there.
We also get our first look at Deathstroke which is very exciting. Esai Morales doesn’t have much to do in this episode but his reaction to seeing the Titans on tv is enough to sell the threat of his return to the scene.
Dick also visits another season two addition of Iain Glen as Bruce Wayne. Despite Glen’s age, his Bruce Wayne evokes a certain charisma that feels great for the character and the chemistry with Brandon Thwaites really sells the heart to heart that gives closure to the rift that drove Dick for the first season.
Dick then takes Gar, Jason, and Rachel west to San Francisco to restart the Titans in one of the scenes that got me most excited for this season. The kids explore their new headquarters to the tune of Kishi Bashi’s cover of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” and the bit that hits the hardest is Gar imagining the original Titans suited up and looking up to them. It was hinted in the first season that Gar was a bit of a fanboy of the capes crowd but this scene really sells that he looks up to them and is in awe at the shoes has to fill.
While the tower isn’t shaped like a “T” the zoom out to the skyline of San Francisco leaves us in a brand new direction for the team and for the show.
After catching up with Titans to prepare for this review, going directly into this episode after the finale of last season, it was an excellent blend. However, this season opener for someone who had to wait months for season two could leave a lot to be desired. “Trigon” definitely serves as a better finale than it does an opening episode for season two but it leaves the characters in a totally new status quo that we are eager to see explored. Will “Rose” be a better introduction to season two? Tune in next week to find out!