Wait, hold on a minute…did Titans somehow get…good?
Allow me to explain. I have not exactly been the biggest fan of this series, but I somehow still got something of a kick out of it. It was maybe a guilty pleasure. I do recall that, for season one, the episodes I liked best were the ones with guest stars playing characters from outside the team, like Jason Todd, Donna Troy, or initially Hawk and Dove. Then those characters became regulars and they were a lot less interesting.
I chalk that up mostly to the writing. None of these characters were exactly badly cast though I am no fan of Brenton Thwaites’s Dick Grayson. Heck, I really like Anna Diop’s Kori.
No, the problem with Titans has always been the writing. It’s often inconsistent, distracted, and going all over the place. There are moments where the drama seemed turned up to 11 just because, and season two was so haphazard I basically only really liked Bruce Wayne and Krypto.
But then I got to this episode in season three and…the show did something really right.
Basically, well, Hank died.
Now, the set-up wasn’t perfect. Hank answered a phone call from Jason and decided to go get the kid by himself, convinced he could take a kid half his size and, to look at the actor, age. That was dumb, but the show seemed to acknowledge it was dumb. Sure, mostly after the fact, but it was still there.
Oh, and the episode had Alan Ritchson strip down and bare all as fan service for anyone into that sort of thing and then swim a lap across a pool to remind everyone he played Aquaman on Smallville.
Then Jason knocks him out and hooks him up to a bomb that will go off if he gets too excited. Or the timer goes off. Or someone just sets it off. Point is, Hank is in trouble. Jason, by phone, says he will disarm the bomb if Dick robs a bank for a certain amount of money in gold bars. Mostly because of the robbery part since Dick could just wire Jason the money easily.
Now, Dick is smart and realizes Jason wants to taint the Titans. Dawn is emotional and robs the bank herself for one gold bar.
Meanwhile, Dick goes about everything methodically, finding a bomb design in the computer and having Conner build a device to disable the bomb before it kills Hank. Was Conner always some kind of engineer, or is it because he has superspeed and can do it faster? It may not matter.
Also, Hank and Dick are getting along. Sure, they usually don’t, but now they are. It gives the episode more power as time ticks down for Hank.
Now, I already said Hank dies, so clearly the bomb goes off. And, that scene really worked. Jason finds Dawn, gives her a gun and says she needs to kill him to save Hank because he has the detonator. Dick shows up and asks her not to, saying it’s a trick, but Dawn, at the last second, pulls the trigger anyway.
And the gun was the detonator, so Dawn was the one who killed Hank just as Conner was speeding up the stairs with the disarming device.
And Jason still got away.
OK, he also said he wanted the robbery done so the Titans could “grow up,” and that’s rich coming from a kid like him directed to Dove since I am pretty sure Minka Kelly is the oldest member of the main cast…
So, really, a step in the right direction. Hank’s hubris and Dawn’s rage cost both of them, Jason continues to look like a more and more like a dangerous foe, and even the obligatory Scarecrow scene worked better. Maybe Titans finally got its act together.
I can only hope.