If there is one interesting quality Titans possesses, it is the way it eschews the grammar of superhero television as defined by executive producer Greg Berlanti. Going into the first season, one would expect the various characters — and at least a few of the friends they picked up along the way — to unite in a big brawl against Trigon (Seamus Dever), sending him back into the void behind the mirrors while dubbing them the “Titans.” Also, a number of their individual traumas would be resolved with Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) finding his new identity, Rachel (Teagan Croft) learning how to control her powers, Kory (Anna Diop) regaining her memory and Gar (Ryan Potter) coming to grips with the animal inside of him.
Oh, and Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) would be there for the snark.
Instead, the final episode of Titans first season defied all expectations by spending the entire hour inside Dick’s mind for his “final” confrontation with the Batman. The nightmare Trigon provided is quite convincing and accomplished despite the lack of a powerful visual like the Batman Who Laughs. But like “Hank and Dawn” a few weeks back, it sacrifices the momentum of the overall story for an examination of a character. In the earlier case, it was effective. Here it is less so as it is unclear if Dick really gave into the darkness, as Trigon claims, or if Dick’s attempts to go back to his dream homelife was stifled by the demon. Leaving Dick a muddle as the season ends may not have been the wisest choice narratively. But it does ask an interesting question about his propensity for violence. Hopefully, the show will resolve it, at least partially, in the Season 2 premiere.
Nonetheless, it seems a shame to leave the other characters out in the cold just for Dick to not resolve his anger and trauma. Yes, it is meant to be a big cliffhanger to mull over during the hiatus, but note how much more effective the Connor Kent moment was in generating excitement. The episode could have resolved part of the story, left Trigon as a viable villain, and served Kory, Gar, Donna and Rachel better.
And yeah, let’s talk about the Connor Kent moment. It was a genuine surprise and the biggest shift in the series since Donna proved to be a refreshing change from the angst of the others. A live action Connor is not something anyone ever anticipated, but he gives the group another heavy hitter and a very different sort of angst. He, more than the resolution of Trigon, is the thing I’m anticipating most about the new season.
Which, again, suggests this episode may had been the wrong choice. That’s not to say it was bad. On a technical level, it is one of the series’ most accomplished episodes. It just seems like the characters deserved to be more united at this point than the division Rachel’s father created. But again, that may just be an expectation from shows like Arrow and The Flash bleeding through.
Nonetheless, I’m still excited to see the group really become a team and mature a little in the season to come.