Titans: Ghosts review S2 E3 – the team sees the Light

Right now my biggest complaint with this season of Titans is having to wait a week for another new episode. That’s it. Ghosts was another superb episode that shows how much more confident the Titans showrunners have become in making this season feel like a modern take on the Teen Titans.

The writers aren’t asking viewers to settle for a vastly different spin on the characters and Titans universe in general. In all of the right ways, Titans is playing out how a comic book version would appear if it debuted in 2019.

As the season keeps rolling on it’s interesting the difference in how the team dynamics are played compared to Arrowverse shows, which have similarly massive casts. With Titans it’s clearly a team-focused show so each episode invests worthwhile time on the various characters. In the Arrowverse, the main hero’s support staff has one role that gets expanded to include super powers. Instead of character development, the support staff’s screen time is devoted to power development.

I loved all of the little nods to Teen Titans continuity. Dr. Light is a tool and is awkward around Slade Wilson, who wants to see how the Titans operate so he can destroy them slowly. This is a subtle nod to Slade’s mindset with The Judas Contract. Also, Dr. Light contracted Deathstroke to protect him in Identity Crisis so this pairing isn’t unusual.

titans ghosts review - donna, dawn, dick and hank

Kory reconnected with an ex-lover from Tamaran, who wants to bring her back home on orders of her sister, Blackfire. This was another core storyline for the Teen Titans comic and this introduction to this subplot was more engaging than a simple guilt trip to return. It made sense that ultimately it was Rachel’s issues controlling her soul self made Kory decide to stay. She’ll probably need a fully formed Titans team to take on whoever is sent to retrieve her next. These layers of subplots that get introduced to get paid off later were the hallmark of the Marv Wolfman/George Perez comic run and it’s awesome seeing that used in the show as well.

While the team is barely coming together, Rose is filling that outsider slot nicely as she starts getting to know the others. I’m very curious if the writers are going to have Rose serve as a proxy for Terra in a Judas Contract adaptation or if they’ll stick to the more traditional take on the character. With this rollout and how it’s playing out, I’m leaning toward the former. Esai Morales is really nailing Slade’s cold and calculating side, isn’t he? Poor Joe Manganiello looked like he was going to be an awesome Deathstroke in Justice League, but now we’re getting a pitch perfect portrayal on the small screen.

Dick’s sparring session with Rose results in him altering his fighting style towards the escrima sticks that become his primary weapon.

The Hawk and Dove scenes continue to be a highlight. Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly have such a strong chemistry and understanding of their characters that it seems like DCU has to be considering a spin-off, right?

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It was cool seeing Dick, Donna, Hank and Dawn team up to go after Dr. Light. I guess the showrunners are waiting to debt Donna in costume as it seemed weird they’d just go in their civilian attire. OK so maybe another complaint would be the lack of costumes. The tension with the old team is very well done with Donna, Hank and Dawn questioning why Dick restarted the Titans and why he’s got Slade’s daughter with them.

Then there’s the mystery of what happened to the old team when Slade was after them. Maybe it has something to do with Garth aka Aqualad getting killed by Deathstroke? It would explain why he hasn’t been mentioned and why the old Titans are so rattled at the thought of facing him.

Jason is already reckless and he’s got the exact kind of temperament that could ultimately lead to him getting killed. And eventually becoming The Red Hood? What’s key though is Curran Walters isn’t playing him like this obnoxious twit, but the kid who constantly feels the need to prove himself. In the comics, Jason was always in Dick’s shadow and Titans takes it further having him report directly to his predecessor.

titans ghosts review - robin

Desperate to save face, Jason goes after Dr. Light. Initially getting punked out, Jason starts utilizing his Titans training to beat the crap out of Dr. Light. Nice job Jason! But why is Dr. Light laughing? Oh, Slade is there decked out in his Deathstroke gear. By the time Gar makes it to Jason’s screams, there’s only a trail of blood. Now that’s an effective cliffhanger.

Ghosts keeps Titans’ red-hot streak going strong with another multi-layered episode, foreshadowing of The Judas Contract and Robin looking like Deathstroke’s latest victim.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: DC Universe

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