Titans is a fantastic show when it wants to be but there sure does seem to be a lot of waiting around. This might actually be the one show that could benefit from an old school villain of the week. Instead the audience gets to watch Titans, old and new, gather at headquarters in San Francisco and brood for an hour.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s interesting and there is some character development, but it’s not all that different from last week. That’s a problem and puts the show in danger of getting stale. That being said, there are still some redeeming qualities to this week’s episode.
If the show excels anywhere it’s in its fight scenes. Watching Gar, Jason and Rachel spar (blindfolded no less) is great entertainment. The show has clearly learned from shows like Daredevil and Punisher that all fights tell a story and it approaches each sparring match as an opportunity to further the plot. Unfortunately that’s one of the few times the plot gets furthered.
This is a shame because there are some truly interesting characters in play right now. Deathstroke has returned to get revenge on the Titans and it’s unclear whether he knows that his daughter has fallen in with them. Meanwhile C-list villain Doctor Light actually manages to cause some serious damage while still reinforcing why he’s such a lightweight villain.
This episode and the last seem to be made for world building. They exist to backload better stories down the road. That’s fine but could probably have been done in half the time. Given that the show has so few episodes you would think they would make them count more. Ideally in a show with only 8-10 episodes per season every single second counts. But one gets the impression the Titans are holding their breath for something.
Chances are that something is Connor Kent. Teased at the end of season one the introduction of a Superman clone would change the odds in a fight rather quickly. It’s the same reason Hulk and Thor weren’t in Captain America: Civil War, the introduction of either of them means the other side instantly wins. As great as Deathstroke is he doesn’t stand a chance against Superman or one of his “offspring.”
Still, the show has always been an underdog. No one thought it would succeed when it first came out and it quickly blew everyone away. All good underdogs know how to use it to their advantage. The show seems ready to redeem itself in future episodes but it better do it fast before the audience loses interest.