Titans: Season 2 Premiere: Ep. 2.1 “Trigon” — a review

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I am a fan of DC Universe’s first season of Titans. I posted my proof of this here.

I also didn’t mind that the first season ended at eleven episodes instead of the planned twelve, because the news accompanying this revelation was that we were getting a second season. That’s always great news with any series that captures my attention and holds it for any length of time. And, Titans accomplished this.

It still does. Sort of.

I liked the second-season premiere—”Trigon”—because it was the payoff of the first-season setup. As Season 1 ended, we got to see Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) going fully dark, all of his violent daddy-issues with Batman coming to the fore. Batman is not the star of this show, of course. (Come to think of it, Batman seems to be the not-star in several series that seem to be, at least peripherally, about him. Discuss this among yourselves.) We get teasing glimpses of someone in what appears to be the batsuit, as The-Man-Formerly-Known-as-Robin-and-Not-Quite-Yet-Nightwing makes an energetic attempt to end his life. This is all part of Trigon’s Grand Design, you know.

Originally, Trigon was going to appear in the climax of the first season, to be confronted by this ad hoc superhero group. Making the viewer delay gratification for this moment was the correct decision, in my opinion. Anticipation is a pleasurable thing. Sometimes even better than the event you might be anticipating. This is the cornerstone of my personal stolen “looking forward” philosophy of happiness, that the pursuit of happiness is the key to achieving it. It’s worked for me.

This episode is an excellent case-in-point. The end of the first season had me looking forward to Season 2. And, while I enjoyed this season premiere, it still fell short of my expectations.

Which doesn’t mean I didn’t like it.

I liked it. It just had a few problems, They are not insurmountable, but they are still there.

After all the buildup, the Trigon (Seamus Dever) storyline was dealt with and dismissed around 30 minutes into this premiere. The father-daughter showdown between Trigon and Rachel/Raven (Teagan Croft) was anticlimactic, and followed a series of dream sequences in which the other members of the Titans were seduced by the dark side. In the end, it seems to be Raven alone who vanquishes Trigon. Oh, yeah: SPOILERS. Come on, really? Is this even a spoiler? Even with his cool Satan-like appearance and his supposed all-powerfulness, we knew the Titans were going to take him down. Maybe we didn’t expect it to happen so quickly or with so little fanfare. Or maybe we expected it to be a team effort, since this is a show about a team of superheroes. Right?

The subject of dreams and dreaming is threaded throughout this episode, and a part of me thought, after Trigon was banished, that all of this was just a continuation of a dream. Trigon is playing the long con here. At moments I even felt that Trigon was going to do an old-fashioned horror movie villain jump scare and come out of a mirror or darkened doorway to grab one of our heroes. Like Freddy or that scary dude from that movie about the flying killer ball. Or Carrie White’s hand-from-the-grave at the end of her movie. Even after our new team moves into the Titan Tower in San Francisco at the end of the episode, I still had this thought in the back of my mind.

The injection of a new plot with Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (an unrecognizable Esai Morales) seems to invalidate this. Longtime comics fans will understand the Deathstroke/Titans connection, and this looks like it will be fun. I predict that Slade Wilson will be our Joker fill-in for the Jason Todd plotline as well. Mark my words.

We also get our first in-series look at an older Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen), although my first impulsive thought was “Hey, I thought he died at Winterfell.” I liked the actor in this role, and even liked the fact that Bruce is an older man in this series universe. Will we ever see him in the full-on batsuit? Again, this isn’t his story, but who knows? We’re apparently getting the Connor Kent Superboy in the series, so anything could happen. I apparently missed the post-credit scene which showed Superboy escaping from Cadmus at the end of Season 1. With Krypto, no less. I discovered this only when reading about the series on-line. The lesson to be learned here: maybe I should watch more credits.

Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) gets to engage in a little action here, even turning into something other than a green tiger, but the rest of our team seems sidelined. Hawk (Alan Ritchson) and Dove (Minka Kelly), and Donna Troy (Conor Leslie), seem to be little more than window dressing through most of the episode. Kory Anders/Starfire (Anna Diop) likewise gets little to do, and seems to be semi-retired from the Titans at the end of the episode. This would be a serious misstep, so I hope she returns in Episode 2. The Jason Todd version of Robin (Curran Walters) also becomes a begrudged part of the team. Even though his character in the first season was off-putting, he is a welcome addition this season. He should liven things up a bit. We’ll see if my prediction comes true.

The first episode of Titans for its sophomore season was uneven, at best. The adjective “disjointed” may be the most apt to describe it. It felt very much like two halves of two separate episodes stitched together.

That being said, I’m still on board for what comes next. A superhero show based out of San Francisco, with another actor in the Bruce Wayne role (if not Batman). I liked last season and feel like I’m in good hands. Let’s see what happens.

Firewater’s Why-Isn’t-Dick-Grayson-Nightwing-Already? Report Card: B

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That seems like a low grade, I know. There’s room for improvement here, and I expect it.

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