The wait is over. The highly anticipated first episode of Titans dropped on Friday. Titans is the first of the DC Universe’s, DC’s new multimedia platform, original shows that joins their large back library of DC/Warner Brothers video content. As a long time fan of the Teen Titans, going back to the glory days of the Wolfman and Perez the New Teen Titans up to today’s Dan Abnett penned Titans book I was excited when I first heard the announcement of this series. Then the first trailer hit and my feelings changed, I wasn’t sure I wanted this incarnation of Titans with its darkness, ultra violence, and yes that famous quote of “Fuck Batman.” Yet as the premiere date neared I found myself anticipating the first episode, if for nothing else to finally see the Hawk and the Dove on the screen (unfortunately I have to wait for next week for that) but I was hoping for something more than the trailer, maybe a beacon of light or a sliver of hope. I got neither, but still enjoyed the show anyway.
Titans is dark, from the opening scene the tone is set as Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft) AKA Raven’s experiences and empathic nightmare where she relives the tragic fall of the Flying Grayson’s. It’s quickly established that life is not easy for Rachel as her mother is not only terrified of her emerging abilities but Rachel requests to be locked into her room at night for the safety of others. Not locked in his room at night is Detective Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) AKA Robin who is working the mean streets of Detroit after leaving Gotham a few months earlier due to some difficulties with his former partner. Dick may have left Gotham but that doesn’t mean he’s given up his Gotham City alter ego as Robin is soon beating the living shit out of some Detroit thugs that was one of the most brutal fights I’ve seen in a DC show, so brutal I actually cringed at some of the violence, which is a rarity for me but there’s just something about seeing a man get his face slid across broken car window glass. Due to some traumatic experiences (are you seeing a theme?) Dick and Rachel are soon on a collision course to meet one another and the episode culminates with a tense kidnapping, which not only gives the viewer a glimpse of what Raven’s soul-self will look like on the television screen but also establishes the core storyline for this season of Titansas everything and everyone wants to possess Rachel, except Dick who only wants to keep her safe.
We’re introduced to the other two members of the Titan team. Kory Ander (Anna Diop) AKA Starfire has an interesting storyline, as she awakes amnesic after a car crash in Austria. In the process of trying to figure out who she is Kory learns that not only is she very dangerous when it comes to hand to hand combat but also don’t ever fire a gun at her. I liked the Starfire subplot of this episode as I wasn’t sure how she would look on TV and thankfully DC didn’t attempt a full body make-up to make her comic book accurate but there is enough in her appearance, especially when using her powers, that it is clear that she is Starfire. It’s established by the end of Starfire’s story that she will soon link with Robin and Raven, but the reason why is still a mystery.The end Titans episode #1 also gives us a brief glimpse of Gar Logan (Ryan Potter) AKA Beast Boy but not much backstory is given. There is a transformation scene, which is done well but I’m still worried about what Gar is going to look like going forward as the green make up hasn’t looked the best to me in some of the clips I’ve seen. I have high hopes for Gar as he is the comic relief this show desperately needs, as it is a dark and morbid first episode that doesn’t even try and lighten the tone at any time in its 50-minute run time. Gar is also the link to the upcoming Doom Patrol, a show I am also looking forward to and by the future titles of the Titans episodes a team we are going to see before to long.
Overall I enjoyed the first episode of the Titans, more than I thought I would. Yes it’s very dark and very violent but after digesting the entire episode it fits. There is a feeling of redemption running through the show, as our heroes want to be better, they want to do the right thing in a world just wants to keep kicking them when they are down. Even the “Fuck Batman” line, which is here, makes more sense in context and even more so when Dick explains to his new partner on the force about his falling out with his last partner and why he left Gotham. Kory is a blank slate, apparently having a dangerous past but can be a force of good going forward. So yes it’s dark but it can be on the path to light, and that is enough to get me back next week for episode #2, well that and the fact that the Hawk and the Dove are going to be in episode #2. Now that is truly something my teenage self never thought they would see, but next Friday (yes, Titans is weekly, unlike most streaming shows that drop everything all at once) they will be on my screen and I cannot wait.
Titans episode #1 was directed by Brad Anderson & written by Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, & Akiva Goldsman