The second episode of Titans adds more to the series in every way. But it does have some flaws that seem to be inherent in DC properties.
The first episode of Titans was a great introduction to the characters and world of the series. There were some rough steps with the literal start of each character, as the show fell into some tropes of introductory/exposition dialogue, but past that the episode was almost surprisingly solid. The second episode helps open things up more, with Dick (Brenton Thwaits) taking Rachel (Teagan Croft) to meet Hawk and Dove aka Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly). In the process we get to see a bit more into Dick’s past, and who he was fighting alongside Batman.
The episode really shines with the scenes featuring Hawk and Dove. Ritchson and Kelly were perfectly cast in the roles, and honestly there’s another case here where the still photos of the costumes don’t do them justice. The way the characters move in them, and how the characters are presented in this world works one hundred percent. Their relationship and the details of their characters also add some more weight to the struggle of being a superhero. Hank has to take steroids to help keep his body in one piece. Dawn is haunted by memories of their past. It’s solid material all around.
We keep hearing Dick say that he went too far working with Batman. That it’s changed him in a way he’s not proud of, but we haven’t gotten to see that yet. The scenes with Hawk and Dove show us for the first time what kind of toll this can take on your body and your psyche. Then the flashbacks to a younger Dick, followed by him helping them take out a crime ring, help paint a clearer image of Dick’s issues. Up until the end of the episode, things move in a good direction.
Then the villainous Nuclear Family show up, attack Dick, Hank, Dawn, and Rachel, and kidnap Rachel as the episode ends. In the process, Dawn is thrown off the roof of a building, and injured to the point of potentially dying. I will say that in subsequent episodes they show that she has survived for now, but this really upset me a lot and turned me off from the show for a bit. The entire episode sets up Dawn as the one shining light for Hank and to some extent Dick. She’s something good for them, and helps guide them both. Then she’s nearly killed and it’s supposed to set them both off on some sort of new paths.
DC is infamous for this type of storytelling, and it’s something that has been seen frequently in comics, and has been coined as Fridging. The term came about when, in the comics, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner came home to find his girlfriend’s mutilated body in his fridge. The point being that he could not have growth as a character, and his story could not move forward without harming the woman in his life. The term was used a lot earlier this year when Deadpool 2 came out and critics accused the filmmakers of fridging a character from that film. That one is still up for debate. But this episode and what they do with Dawn is the epitome of fridging. There’s not a single reason for them to have nearly killed her character, when they could have done the same thing to Hank, and it would have given the same results.
There’s too many times where stories focus on violence towards women, and it’s wrong. There’s a million ways to tell every kind of story. And constantly saying, we have to hurt, mutilate, and kill women for this to mean anything, is despicable. I pray that Titans doesn’t continue to do this throughout the series. Because it honestly, legitimately made me stop watching the show for weeks. (Having watched through Episode 5, I will say the show hasn’t done this type of thing again… yet.)
The second episode of Titans is currently streaming on DC Universe, with new episodes dropping every Friday. Be sure to check back with us as we take a look at each new episode.