Titans: Dick Grayson review S1 E11

The timing of yet another Dick Grayson-focused episode of Titans was questionable. This also made the decision to spend so many episodes on side characters seem like a bad choice. Titans’ first season ended on a weird note that felt more incomplete than anything else. At least it accomplished its goal of making me ready for the second season.

I thought it was funny how many folks bashed the premise of Batman going on a murderous rampage without watching the series. It was obvious Trigon was screwing with Dick’s mind and there was no choice of being misled as the episode played out.

Dick Grayson was in his happy place. He’s literally chilling in a pool in sunny California when his son dive bombs him. Dick married Dawn and she’s pregnant with their second child. It’s interesting in Titans that Dawn is the one that got away from Dick. We never did find out what happened with Dick, Dawn and Hank.

One thing that’s very clear from Titans is its comic book roots. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m giving the writers the benefit of the doubt that they’re not being sloppy with their storytelling. Instead, we’re getting teases and hints that will get paid off later.

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I kind of like the choice not to pay off everything as it allows some mysteries and subplots to get picked up in the future. At the same time it would have been nice to get more resolutions to some of the questions raised this season.

In Dick’s perfect world, Rachel and Gar are in college now — their days as out of control metas long behind them. Things start crumbling though as Jason Todd shows up in a wheelchair. The Joker killed Commissioner Gordon and now Batman is ready to kill him. Literally. With Alfred already dead and Batman on the outs with his allies, including Superman, Jason says Dick is the only one who can get through to him.

Reluctantly, Dick agrees to return to Gotham and is shocked at how far it’s fallen. His initial efforts to reach Bruce fail, but his biggest surprise is when Joker is found on a car after being thrown from a rooftop. Trigon appears as a Gotham officer who wants Dick’s help, but Dick wants none of it.

At Wayne Manor, Dick tries to talk to Bruce, who won’t let him into the Batcave. One of Titans’ major priorities next season should be casting Batman. This whole keeping such an important character in the shadows is silly especially since the writers keep bringing him up.

Dick reveals Joker isn’t dead and Bruce doesn’t have to deal with the same regret that he does after he let Zucco get killed. He’d been in a dark place until Rachel came along and helped him get to the light. It was a nice scene that summed up Dick’s arc this season.

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Unfortunately, it didn’t mean a whole lot as Batman goes to the hospital and kills Joker. And for good measure goes to Arkham and kills off his incarcerated Rogue’s Gallery. Including Scarface! Kory arrives to help. She’s now a federal agent who’s managed to avoid keeping her identity secret.

With Bruce clearly on the warpath, Dick tells the officer about his identity and leads the assault on Wayne Manor from a mobile tactical unit. But agents and Starfire prove no match for Batman as he kills them all. The visual of Batman loading up the freeze gun is going to make for a very unfortunate gif. From Titans’ less is more approach with Batman, this was an effective way to show him as a psycho force of nature. Dick orders the few surviving agents to detonate the charges, which traps Batman long enough for Dick to go full-Batman and kill The Dark Knight.

This proves to be the final act to turn Dick to Trigon’s side. As expected, it was all an elaborate mind screw that turned Dick to the dark side. Rachel isn’t happy about this and pleads with her daddy…the devil to release him. Nope, now it’s time for Operation: Break Rachel’s Heart to begin.

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It’s a killer cliffhanger, but given Titans’ non-binge format, this felt like a solid weekly cliffhanger, not a season finale.

In a lot of ways, this season finale felt like a comic book arc that’s gone on three issues longer than you’d prefer. It’s not bad necessarily, but it’s reached the point where you’re ready for something else.

I think this was a tough ask to get viewers to invest 10 weeks and pay off so little. The Titans barely really got together and only actually battled the Nuclear Family. Pacing definitely was a weak spot for the season now that it’s wrapped with some entertaining episodes, but not enough progression on many of the subplots.

Thankfully we know there’s no suspense and Titans has already been renewed for a second season. We don’t know when that next season starts yet, but I’ve got higher hopes for it than when this series was announced. That’s a big win for a somewhat unlikely DC TV success story.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

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