It’s ridiculous how much better this season of Titans has been over the first year. Each episode feels like it’s setting the new high mark for the series. Deathstroke is only the fifth episode this year, but it seems like it will be very tough for many, if any, to top it.
Titans has reached the stage where I’m anxiously awaiting Friday more so for the next hit of the show than the start of the weekend.
This episode finds the old team still desperately trying to keep their past sins a secret from the younger members. The teen squad has some issues of their own as Raven’s soul self keeps emerging and Gar is feeling very guilty about his role in Jason’s abduction. Rose is indifferent as she barely knew Jason, which is the right mindset for her in this case.
Thankfully help arrives with Kory, here to play momma bear for Rachel, a BFF for Donna and a sounding board for Dick.
Dr. Light runs his mouth and starts aggressively questioning Deathstroke when he learns Jason has a tracker in him. Slade calmly digs the tracker out of Jason’s leg and uses it as a bullet to flip the switch on Light. Dr. Light seemed to be taken off the board too soon, but it did seem like the appropriate outcome when he started popping off at Deathstroke. Compare that to Felicity mouthing off at Ra’s al Ghul in Arrow’s third season with no repercussion. You don’t disrespect the Demon’s Head, but if you talk smack on The Terminator you’ll get a bullet in your head.
There’s been so much improvement on this season of Titans and easily one of the strongest has been making the team’s most prominent villain absolutely terrifying. On the DC live-action front, he might be the most fearsome and outright scary villain this side of Heath Ledger’s Joker. He’s calm, calculated and methodical and completely dangerous.
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The Titans haven’t pieced together Slade was working with Light, but he helps them out with a phone on Light’s body. He’s got a simple request – Rose for Jason. This divides the team as Hank argues Rose isn’t even a Titan while Kory calls them out for becoming monsters if they were to proceed. Rose overhears and tries to get away before getting broken by Rachel’s soul self, which the CGI team did a fantastic job of making it look like her hood and cloak from the comics in a different format.
Hank tells Dawn he can’t leave Jason as it reminds him too much of being sexually abused by his coach and waiting on someone to save him. The Hawk and Dove episode last year was one of the best and I’m glad the writers didn’t abandon that subplot. Hank is full of bravado, but he’s also able to be vulnerable as Alan Ritchson has been incredible in this role. Ritchson has been a solid actor in plenty of roles, but this is easily his career best work and the Titans casting crew were smart to hire him.
Ditto for Minka Kelly, who gives Dawn a softer, but equally intense fire. Seeing Hank broken up motivates her to tell Dick he was wrong for bringing the Titans back and once they kill Deathstroke, she’s going to burn the tower to the ground herself. Whoa, Dawn!
Dick comes up with a plan, but it’s really just to draw the Titans away from Deathstroke, who he plans to confront one on one. This is smart since Dick feels the most responsible for corrupting the Titans with his actions following Garth’s murder. There’s a lot of layers to this subplot and it’s impressive how fleshed out this story feels even at this point of the season.
Slade isn’t biting and doesn’t want to make Dick a martyr. He’s got another idea and shows Jason on a gantry with an explosive attached. Dick prepares for the end when Kory shows up. She didn’t buy his line about liking her new hair. Anna Diop might be the MVP of this series and the writers have really positioned Kory well with her connections to so many characters. We end up getting a terrific fight scene reminiscent of some of the strongest Arrow battles. Dick uses his bulletproof vest to catch the bullets while Kory blocks them with her powers.
This isn’t a chump fight and gets a lot of time to breathe. It ends with Slade tossing a flash bomb and getting to the trigger. Dick grabs Jason’s hand, but he…can’t hold on and Jason falls as the credits roll.
It’s another in a long line of “do I really have to wait until next week???” cliffhangers.
Do any of the Titans fly? Next week’s episode is titled Conner so maybe he’ll be in the neighborhood to catch a falling Boy Wonder. Otherwise we’re gonna need to find a Lazarus Pit pronto.
Terminator is the new high mark of the Titans. I really can’t wait for next week.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: DC Universe