TITANS Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Origins

TITANS leaves its third episode with more questions left unsolved than answered. Many of these questions feel as if they were meant to leave the audience yearning for more, but this yearning is outweighed by the feeling that TITANS is moving at 50-percent speed. Don’t get me wrong, TITANS has plenty of thrills that make the show worth the watch, but for the third time in a row I’m left wondering exactly what TITANS is heading towards instead of actually getting to see it. As of now, TITANS seems to support audience prediction instead of clear context. I believe that there is moment of clarity coming soon, but we may have to wait another week to find it. 

One of the longest, yet most frustrating questions TITANS itself proposes and then leaves out in the wind is swept up in the constant teasing of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Though I wish I meant that Robin was constantly making fun of Batman, continuing the theme of the first episode (and every piece of marketing for the series), it’s rather the constant lingering presence of Bruce Wayne that results in nothing other than constant audience teasing. This would be completely normal for a show of this sort if TITANS didn’t do this over and over again throughout the entire episode. 

This week’s TITANS acts as a deep dive into Robin’s past. That past undoubtedly involves Bruce Wayne, and yet TITANS does everything in its power to show you Bruce Wayne without actually showing him to you. Want a blurry portrait of him on the wall? Sure! Want his practically indistinguishable voice talking to Alfred about his “extracurricular activities?” Why not! Want a hand attached to what feels like a non-existent body reaching out to Robin? Sounds perfect for a gullible superhero television audience like us! At some point, TITANS is going to have to realize that they’ve essentially spent all of their time building Robin’s character background around his relation to Bruce Wayne instead of on him as a grieving individual. We can only be reminded a certain number of times from random people that Bruce Wayne went through the same trauma as Robin before we need to hear it from the man himself. 

Outside of Robin’s troubled backstory is an entirely different question that has started to rise, one that finally starts to introduce what can only be assumed as TITANS’ first “big bad.” Throughout the episode, characters constantly announced the presence of a terrifying “he,” someone who is getting ready to wreak havoc on the world. Described as the “destroyer of worlds,” this villain seems certain to be Trigon, both from the fact that TITANS focuses so heavily on Raven and the presence of her father, and that an actor as already been cast to play the role… Okay, one of those seems a little more certain than the other, but still, hopefully we’ll be getting our first glimpse at Trigon soon. 

I would be remorse if I didn’t mention anything about one of my new favorite superheroes in all of DC’s live actions series. Starfire, the woman with no memories, continues to kick absolute butt in this episode. For anyone who criticized Starfire going into this series, I hope you’re wallowing in the fact that Starfire is the funniest, deepest, most badass character in the entire series. You may say, “Raven is the deepest character in the show, Starfire doesn’t even have memories to give her depth,” I urge you to see how Starfire’s trauma and her past not only guides her and her action, but it also guides the series itself. Deep down, nobody knows Raven like Starfire, even if she doesn’t remember anything she knows. Plus, who doesn’t love all the disco? Anytime Starfire beats the crap out of some morons while disco plays in the background are the best moments of the entire series, hands down. 

Though I do so for consistency and to avoid confusion, I feel hesitant to actually call any of these characters by their superhero names. Each of them feels as if they are about to fall into their rightful place as superheroes, but that moment has happened yet. I do not doubt that moment is coming, and that the official formation of the Titans will happen, but until then, it doesn’t feel right to call Rachel Raven or Kory Starfire yet. Even Dick doesn’t seem to be Robin anymore, almost as if he abandoned that title in Gotham. Soon we’ll have our official Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy, and I predict, Nightwing coming together to form the true Titans team. 

For those wondering what the DC Universe-built world is like, I would suggest trying out a subscription purely for this upcoming week’s episode. Not only will it include more of Beast Boy, the long forgotten Titan of this series who’s only had cameos so far, but it will also introduce members of the Doom Patrol, the team that DC Universe’s next live action original series will focus on. Though I have a feeling that these characters may be just as angsty as literally every single person in TITANS, it seems to be an introduction worth viewing, if only to get a glimpse of how DC’s streaming service will continue to build itself beyond TITANS.

Written by William Staton, TITANS Beat Writer

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