There will always be blowback when you burn a supersuit.
Titans‘s penultimate second season episode did the job it needed to do — put everyone in place for the finale and confirm a few key developments like Jericho (Chella Man). But that mission statement means it may be the least compelling episode of the year. Although, that may be down to the program’s established format and the expectation an episode will focus on a few characters instead of updating all the storylines. This meant Rose’s (Chelsea Zhang) big reveal was relegated to a handful of minutes instead of an entire episode.
But man, where those minutes a revelation. From the very different way Rose presented herself before meeting Slade (Esai Morales) to the way Deathstroke he trains her; this screwed-up family history underlines the reasons she would ultimately walk away from his plan for Jason (Curran Walters) of all people. In fact, the things they share in common make their mutual attraction a little more understandable. One thing we would’ve like to have seen, though, was Rose planting all those important items around the tower to sow distrust. It’s .. sort of there in dialogue, but it would’ve been nice to tie that bow.
Also, we have to admit, the show pulled off a magic trick in making us care about Jason’s emotional state. For one thing: it turns out he has one. We’ll admit, we were never really happy to see him return from the dead in the comics and never gave any title featuring him much of a shot. It left us viewing him as more of a joke or footnote than a real character. The Batman: Under the Red Hood animated film went a long way toward making him more of a human character, but his reaction to Rose’s confession here made him something we’ve never really seen him be — a kid trying to process the insanity of the superhero world. His nominal girlfriend was sent to break up his band. We have to give Walters all the credit for making Jason so vulnerable in that moment and we hope it leads to a more emotionally rich version of the character next season.
Meanwhile, we appreciate seeing Hank (Alan Ritchson) hit rock bottom, but there’s only so much pity porn a viewer can take. The show is going to need a really good reason to bring him back next year. Hell, they’re going to need a good reason for him to rejoin the team next week. As it stands, the guy needs to do some soul-searching and that’s not his strong suit. But perhaps, like Jason, it could lead to a more compelling Hank Hall. Alternatively, it could lead to Monarch, which would be an amazing swerve for this show.
Finally, we enjoy Dick’s (Brenton Thwaites) contribution to this episode was a visit to the superhero tailor. Stu (Currie Graham) was a delight and one of those things which makes so much sense in the context of the DC Universe that we hope he and his team spill back into the comics. Also, it was nice to see someone annoyed by Dick’s burning his costume. That more than made up for the show holding out on the Nightwing reveal for another week; although, we were at the costume reveal event yesterday and it was cool to see it in real life.
With one episode remaining, we’ll be interested in seeing if the show can get everyone back in the tower, let alone defeat any of their adversaries, before the credits role.
Titans streams Fridays on DC Universe.