S1:E5 — When the Nuclear Family tracks them down, Dick, Kory, Rachel and Gar decide to stop running and work together – and the team that will be known as “The Titans” is formed.
I think it’s fair to say that if this week’s episode fails, for any reason, then it’s a wrap on the season (not that I won’t keep watching…I’m writing these for you, you know). I think the halfway point is a fair point to stop and take stock of what we’ve seen and see if there has been any improvement at all and if this series, which let’s face it, the app is anchored by, is worth the money spent to make and watch it (technically, halfway would be 30 minutes into next week’s ep because it’s an 11 episode season, eyeroll).
So, what happened?
In a word, alot. (Ok, that’s not actually a word, despite what comics tell you; it’s “a lot.” Don’t say you don’t learn anything from Forces of Geek.)
About four minutes in, they-that-would-be-Titans hole up in a crappy no-tell motel and the clerk immediately flirts with Dick, so you know she’s gonna die. And spoiler alert, that happens later. Suddenly, though, it’s starting to take shape.
Although at this moment in the episode, we don’t know what’s up Dick’s butt about his past, things are starting to look, in a word, familiar. There’s a really…I wanna say “cool” but I don’t want to be dismissive in a GenX way, but the training sequence is…fun.
As fun as something this dark can be, and honestly, the show has it’s fun moments. They’re there (thank you Ryan Potter for being the Gar Logan we know and love) and it all adds up and works. It’s…cool. There are little innuendos thrown around, and they work. They’re funny and clever.
Of all the episodes so far, this is the most like a comic book. When it’s Dick’s turn to show the team what he can do, he balks and it fits with what we have seen, but it really pays off when Dick appears as Robin during a fight with the Nuclear Family. It’s really spectacular and worth it and the best fight scene since the Hawk and Dove flashback. I like how Beast Boy reacts when he realizes that Dick is Robin (“That’s Robin!”), and it’s perfectly on model.
Last week, I mentioned that Kory and Dick hook up, and I might have judged that too harshly based on…I’m not sure what, to be honest. I feel like, if you watched this like a movie, the hook up would make sense. It wouldn’t feel rushed. It wouldn’t feel earned, per se, because real relationships don’t work that way, but you know what? It’s high time we stop judging tv shows, movies, cartoons and comics as being “unrealistic.” We’re supposed to sit here for 40 some odd minutes and just shut the brain off and enjoy. It’s odd because we judge the Marvel movies by some really high standards, and that’s fine, but not everything can be that grandiose or epic. Things sometimes need to be sublime. More importantly, these shows are just supposed to entertain, or not. They’re not supposed to be steeped in realism. In a way, these things are hyper-realistic. Too much so. They are so realistic they fall into parody, and that’s where the disconnect comes.
But, as Peter David says, I digress…
Where I have a “problem” with Dick and Kory hooking up is that it seems like Kory has ulterior motives. It’s hard to put a finger on, because in the comics and cartoons, Kory is more than a little naive. Here, on the show, she appears to have more layers, or more nuance I guess, and it is feels like the rug is going to be pulled. She tries to get Dick to open up…with tequila. They do a shot, and I can’t imagine they get drunk immediately, but it leads to one of the best lines in the series so far (“I want them [the boots] on.”).
The thing about the scene is that Anna Diop gives Kory a very vulnerable…uh, position. She snaps out of it when it’s over, but in that moment, when she and Dick give themselves over to each other, she’s not hard to read. She’s not hard, at all; she’s tender. Again, nuance.
After the fight with the Nuclear Family, Dick goes off on his own to take on Dr. Adamson, the older gent we’ve seen in just about every episode, who is hunting Rachel for…someone?
See, I didn’t think he answered to anyone, but when confronted by Dick, he gives up that he is working for Rachel’s dad. Comic readers will recognize this as Trigon, but it’s hard to pinpoint. My gut says Brother Blood, but I don’t think that’s possible (I thought the guy Rachel killed in the first episode was Blood, but not so much).
We get a Lethal Weapon 1 style ambush on the penthouse and Dick has to take on a SWAT team (not the cops, but maybe some military contractors) and it’s yet another great fight scene that is topped off when Dick is rescued by…
Will you watch next week’s episode?
So, like I was saying at the top of the article, this is the halfway point, and you have to kind of hit your stride and start really pulling out all stops. The halfway point brought us the Titans, teaming up and fighting side by side, two great fight scenes in one episode, and the intro of Jason freakin’ Todd.
Guys and gals…I think we have a hit.
EXTRA POINTS & NIT PICKS:
- This week’s top of the show “Previously on Titans” was perhaps the longest so far and in need of serious editing. It clocked in at just under two minutes. Here’s a tip: You don’t have to include everything from every issue. Just bottom line it, man!
- Soundtrack was merely ok this week. For those of you scoring at home. The use of Tie A Yellow Ribbon by Tony Orlando and Dawn was perfectly set, though.
- I like that Dick refers to being Robin as being a “civilian contractor.”
- Beast Boy wanting to meet Batman = fanboying at its best.
NEXT WEEK: S1:E6 – JASON TODD
Vito Delsante is a comic book writer, graphic novelist, editor, letterer, and the co-creator/writer of STRAY with Sean Izaakse, and THE PURPLE HEART with Dean Haspiel and artist, Ricardo Venâncio. He’s written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, AdHouse Books, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and his stories have been reprinted in other countries. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Michelle, his daughter, Sadie, his son, James, and his pitbull, Kirby. You can find him online at incogvito.com and you can follow him on Twitter @incogvito