Man, the Titans are really bad at their jobs.
As has become clear, Titans is a show about incompetent, would-be heroes. Unlike, say, Barry Allen or the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this group just cannot pull off the basics of heroing as defined by Superman back in the late 1930s. There are no patrols, no good public P.R., and, as it happens, no costumes.
Nonetheless, the show has evolved into something fascinating because of it. It all starts at the top with Dick Grayson’s (Brenton Thwaites) spectacular inability to lead. As we’ve said before, it is not accurate to the comic book character, but it is still interesting to see him in this light. Discovering all the ways the character could fail underscores what a remarkable character he is back in the pages of New Teen Titans and other comics. Here, he is wholly unequipped for just about everything. He seems to always make the worst possible choice and inspires very little loyalty. Look at the way Donna (Conor Leslie) abandons him despite the fact her hands are not clean either. And even when Dick attempts to atone, it is as Adeline (Mayko Nguyen) suggests: a self-serving attempt to wash the guilt away.
That said, he was 100% correct when he told Slade (Esai Morales) that Jericho (Chella Man) deserved better from both of them.
The theme of incompetence extends over to Hank (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn (Minka Kelly) as well. They really did let Eli fall by wayside. Also, the notion they could go back to Wyoming and pick up the pieces was just insane. But as they are caught in cycles of addition and pain, we expect them to reunite before too long.
Sadly, the grown-ups inability to be good role models trickled down to Gar (Ryan Potter) and Conner (Joshua Orpin), who both at least proceed from a good-intentioned form of heroism handed down from the Justice League. Let’s face it, the Titans Gar talks about never existed, even when Aqualad was alive. Despite his intentions, though, Gar managed to unleash a monster when he took Conner on a walking tour of San Francisco. But maybe if Dick had bothered to teach him more than fighting, he would’ve been prepared to talk Superboy down.
That said, Gar and Conner turned out to be a great pairing. Hopefully, we’ll see more of that before the finale.
Once again, the only person coming off as capable is Kori (Anna Diop), even if her reluctance to go home led to Blackfire’s (Damaris Lewis) coup and the murder of their parents. Nonetheless, she saw right through Blackfire’s ruse and was willing to head for Tamaran when Faddei (Robbie Jones) alerted her to the problem; which is more than Dick could do under similar circumstances. His response would be to get arrested on a domestic terrorism charge.
Also, we’ll be fair to Rachel (Teagan Croft) and Donna. Neither was exactly incompetent, but both displayed poor judgement. Then again, we never saw them after Rachel bolted from the Lyft, so maybe we’ll discover Donna ran after her and they hashed out whatever needs hashing out. Donna always seemed the most capable of the original group, so maybe she’ll come to her senses and figure out that these people need each other to amount to one competent adult.
Granted, doing so puts them in Slade’s crosshairs again, but that confrontation is a given at this point.
Titans streams Fridays on DC Universe.