04 Sep Titans Episode 1 Review
Titans has finally arrived. Overall this episode was not a bad start to a series with a lot of bad press. I went in with an open mindset and yes, some things rubbed me the wrong way. But by others I was pleasantly surprised – Starfire for one. Moderate spoilers within for the first episode.
So, it starts off with an angsty suburban Raven and unfortunately that wig does not improve on second glance. You must wonder why they didn’t use wash-in, wash-out purple dye on the actress herself. She has short blonde hair, simply style it the right way and huzzah!, a more natural Raven. If Tom Felton could bleach his hair for his entire childhood than she could dye it for one season. I also thought she was by far the weakest of the main four, which is especially funny considering that Beast Boy has a five second cameo at the end and that’s it. We see Raven and her mother wrestle with the ‘demon’ inside her, and she acts like a girl possessed. Even managing to scratch her mother (Sherilyn Fenn) during the night despite the fact she was locked in her crucifix adorned room.
She goes to school, comes home, watches her mother get shot in the head and runs away. I must say killing Sherilyn Fenn on camera with a gratuitous shot to the head and then doubling back to make sure we admire the CGI hole in her head is an odd choice but okay.
My main problem with the episode though, as a massive fan of the three original Robins; Dick, Jason and Tim, is how they have amalgamated Dick and Jason into one guy. In Batman the Animated Series writers gave Tim Jason’s backstory and some of his attitude but skimmed over Jason himself completely. Dick is moody, enraged and less likeable than the character I grew up with, and look I know this is a darker Dick and he’s had his ups and downs in the comics but this is our first look at a live action Dick Grayson. He is also way too old to be Robin, by the time he became a detective in the comics he was Nightwing already. When he leaves Batman, he leaves behind the Robin persona, his and Jason’s Robins should not overlap but from that infamous preview it seems they do. Dick’s cracks about his old partner in Gotham don’t really land either. The first case we see him take on is a child abuser which seems very Jason case, who famously as the Red Hood looks out for homeless/abused kids and unprotected sex workers. Not saying Dick hasn’t handled a fair few of these cases himself but it stuck out to me.
Just before that big fight in the alley Robin calls out, “I’m only here for Tyler Hackett”. The other guys are all self-confessed drug dealers who target children, but Dick is only interested in Tyler. Not that that stops him beating them to a bloody pulp. The fighting style was way too vicious – scraping a thugs bloody face off the wall, snapping ankles, inflicting ‘R’ shaped stab wounds and the crème de la crème of it all, ramming Tyler’s’ face into the shattered glass of his car window. Not to repeat myself but was I watching a Red Hood fight or does Dick need therapy? (All the Robins need a bit of therapy tbh). The upside is his “Fuck Batman” was not as cringy as in the trailer and didn’t feel so edgelord. Maybe those other guys will turn away from their life of crime after that encounter, though I doubt any of them have medical insurance so they are going to need some money for their hospital bills – more crime it is! Sidenote if Dick hooks up with his hot blonde partner, whose company he eschews at first and then reluctantly confides in, I swear to God.
Now to the highlights of the episode, Starfire. Her storyline is one we’ve seen before but not with her as the lead. It reminded me of Killing Eve a little actually, a great show if you haven’t seen it yet. Her eyes look amazing when not lit up by that CGI light and I can forgive her wig when compared to some. Yes, her dress and necklace are both very saturated on screen but the actress, Anna Diop, is worth the watch. Her tangling’s with the Russian mafia over the whereabouts of Raven while stuck in an amnesiac state are fun to watch and she’s the one I want to see more of most.
Raven and Dick meet up in the police station after she gets herself arrested, it’s a whole thing. She immediately gets lured into another dangerous scenario and follows someone shady down a darkened street for like the second or third time this episode. Dick saves her but it’s not all that interesting. She ends up killing the guy who killed her mom and Dick doesn’t really push her when he enters the room where she clearly just killed him and is somehow tied up again? Dick did Batman teach you nothing? You lost those detective skills in favour of pure angst? The episode ends with Beast Boy stealing some video games, #relatable. All in all, not a bad start to the season, I know I complained a lot, but I genuinely liked some things as well. Would love to see Barbara Gordon pop up but she’s not been announced so maybe next season. One final caveat – if Batman is a killer (As Brenton Thwaites has said he is) how is Jason’s storyline going to work out? “No, I can kill random thugs but not the Joker, soz Jason, love you though xoxo Batsy.”