TITANS Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Hawk and Dove

Last week’s episode of TITANS was a whirlwind of television, leaving some intense action and a few long, awkward pauses in its dust. This week’s episode takes the jarring drama that this series has started to guarantee, centralizes it into one setting, and then genuinely flourishes, creating a story that adds depth to characters that previously seemed stuck for eternity in their own brooding mindsets. Despite introducing two new characters while simultaneously leaving behind several main ones, this episode shows that TITANS is completely unashamed and is ready to beat you to a bloody pulp. 

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve probably been expecting TITANS to focus most of its time on the central characters of this famous team (let alone the central characters of TITANS’s entire marketing of the series). This episode, going with the series’ theme of subverting expectations, has zero screen time for Starfire or Beast Boy, both of whom had their introduction in the first episode. Robin, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy, the central four who make up a majority of the Titans’ most famous iterations, have not even fully met yet. Robin and Raven are still trying to secure Raven’s safety, but Starfire and Beast Boy are still on their own path. Hopefully next week’s episode will unite the team, but until that moment happens, TITANS does not have the titular Titans that it promises. 

Even without the combined efforts of the TITANS team, this episode still manages to pack a punch. It introduces Hawk and Dove, a crime fighting couple who are starting to face the consequences that time has on superheroes. You can only get stabbed or shot a certain numbers of times, and Hawk and Dove act as a perfect example of the limit to which this number can be pushed. The entire first half of this episode establishes them as a couple, and by the time Robin and Raven show up, they’re followed by a sudden realization that this show isn’t just an anthology show about superheroes (which I would absolutely watch), but rather there’s a story, one that can be pulled in and out of the limelight at will. 

This is a fairly refreshing aspect of this week’s episode. This shows that TITANS isn’t the type of superhero show where the entire world revolves around the plot of the series, but rather it’s the opposite. The plot is a background element of the world. There is still crime and darkness in this world, and though there are important things to be done, the plot can wait while these superheroes take down a criminal organization or two. 

Robin acts as the main source of resistance to this progression. He’s so caught up in his own story and his own actions that he actively stops the other characters from their own lives. The presence of people who knew him before he left Batman throws him off, but he still maintains the idea that he’s now a solo act, and that he can’t stand being around anyone besides his alter ego. His true intention behind reuniting with Hawk and Dove is revealed when he tries to leave Raven behind with them, effectively controlling all of their lives because of his actions. He doesn’t believe he can care for Raven on his own, so he decides to take her off his back and put her on someone else’s. 

In the end, though, it’s ultimately Robin’s own actions that show him just how selfish he’s been. In the devastating final act of the episode, when Robin is being confronted about his attempt at leaving Raven behind, the group is ambushed by a family of killer assassins, and Dove is knocked off of the roof, assumedly killing her. Robin’s actions, though indirectly, played a part in the loss of an important person in his life. This will definitely play a large part in Robin’s progression from this point on, and his perspective on crime fighting and working with others might open up, allowing him to come out of his angsty shell for the final formation of the Titans. 

TITANS has set itself up for progression and depth for the rest of the series with this episode. Though the first episode introduced the characters, and showed the audience the world that these characters inhabit, it’s this episode that really showed the lengths that TITANS is willing to go. It’s extremely dark, darker than many superhero series before it, but it’s not just going to scary you and leave you. It wants to connect these characters with you. It wants you to care and feel for these people, and then and only then is it ready to break your heart.

Written by William Staton, TITANS Beat Writer

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