At its current place, Titans isn’t a good enough show to pull off a concept episode like Souls.
It requires more nuance, patience and plotting to make that work and all three are in very short supply this season.
Still, this was actually an entertaining episode in this middle section and probably not so coincidentally because of some returning Titans.
Rachel is at Themyscara/Paradise Island trying to figure out some way to resurrect Donna, but her efforts of using her powers are…frowned upon by the Jedi Council. At least her “master” Myrrah (Tenika Davis, Jupiter’s Legacy) is still trying to help her out.
For her punishment, Raven has to deal with the sand. Scratch that, she’s tasked with rebuilding a unique sculpture under the watchful eye of Lydia (Valerie Buhagiar).
Rachel’s been gone way too long. Her powers and struggle to maintain control of them made her one of the more interesting Titans. Her close bonds to Kory, Dick and Gar didn’t hurt either as she helped make up the show’s original family unit.
DC and Marvel comic books have made resurrections so commonplace it’s not even worth getting worked up when a character gets killed anymore. It’s just a matter of when they’re coming back.
Tim being in a black and white realm on a train speeding somewhere seemed like a gateway to being back somebody. And when he bumps into Donna Troy, we’ve got our answer.
Donna follows Tim off the train to help calm him down only to get pursued by ghouls. It’s not entirely clear if these ghouls are warped aspects of Rachel’s probing attempts to get Donna back.
Just as it seems the ghouls have them cornered, a car appears to rescue them — driven by none other than Hank. Some of the jokes about Hank’s death seems somewhat flippant and reducing the impact of his heavily dramatic death episode.
It’s really just Hank being Hank though. Donna and Tim’s arrival has him thinking the loophole of death being a one way street might actually be true.
Donna isn’t sure if she wants to go back and she’s still trying to make sense of her death. You and me both, Donna. Tim wants another shot at life since he died a coward running from Crane. Crane shooting Tim continued to make no sense, but if it’s in service of getting Donna and Hank back to the land of the living I’ll allow it.
Of course, Hank returning is a pipe dream. Some of his body is probably still splattered against the wall at Wayne Manor. Donna’s body is intact and Tim is in a state of near death. But sure, I’ll play along since Hank brings some badly needed humor to the season.
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Hank explains the rules of this waiting area allows them to create whatever object they want out of thin air. Maybe some jetpacks? The ghouls are on either side of the bridge to cross over back to the land of the living.
After a few botched attempts, Donna conjures her sword while Hank summons nunchucks. Tim would conjure up something, but he’s too busy cowering to do anything. This take on Tim feels off on too many core levels. He’s terrified of action, is paralyzed by fear and has no worthwhile gadgets.
Hank stays on the bridge so Donna can get Tim out. There was no easy solution here, but since the writers seem intent on redeeming Jason the best way to do that was to wipe out Jason’s most heinous act in killing Hank.
No dice. At least Hank doesn’t get killed a second time. Pour one out for Malcolm the bartender. He survived and just returned the way he came to find his brother Don. Don was hoping to find Hank so together they could fight against the ghouls. This is about as solid a happy ending that Hank could get so this was fine.
Also it’s a nice comic book nod to have Hawk and Dove fight ghouls in the afterlife since Don got killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths battling the Anti-Monitor’s shadow wraiths.
On the other side of the bridge, Donna and Tim brace for what’s next when Tim jumps back to his body with paramedics reviving him…or so they think.
Rachel has made peace knowing she can’t restore Donna and is packing her things when she hears a ruckus and sees Donna’s body is gone.
In the needless subplot of the week, Bruce approves an updated will and testament and ignites his castle. This depressed Bruce really makes no sense. Why wouldn’t Dick tell him Jason is still alive? Would Bruce really be so detached from everything at Gotham that he wouldn’t see what’s happening?
And the biggest question — why would Donna go to Bruce’s castle and rescue him just in time from his suicide attempt? Seems like she’d check in with Dick first before randomly checking in on his mentor.
Souls was an episode that was kinda all over the place. That’s the norm for this season, but it was a welcome break from the crushingly bleak main storyline in Gotham.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: HBO Max
Check out one of the classic Teen Titans stories, Who Is Donna Troy? on Amazon.