Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 9, 2020)
An update on the old Teen Titans comics, Titans runs on the “DC Universe” streaming site. Season Two includes 13 episodes, all of which appear in this 2-disc Blu-ray set. The plot synopses come from the package’s insert.
Trigon: “Trigon (Seamus Dever) sets out to win the Titans over to his side by embracing their inner darkness.”
Even with the usual “previously on Titans” intro, S2 launches with a bang, as it picks up right where S1 stopped. That feels a bit disorienting, but it still creates an action-packed episode that kicks S2 in gear right out of the gate.
Rose: “A threat from the past drives the Titans – old and new – back together.”
After the Titans’ reorganization in “Trigon”, matters feel a bit unfocused here, as we follow the formal “New Titans” as well as the former members. Still, some intriguing moments emerge, and this seems like a fairly good “reboot” episode.
Ghosts: “Secrets threaten to tear apart the Titans from within.”
“Ghosts” maintains a somewhat scattered focus, though at least the threat of Doctor Light (Michael Mosley) adds coherence. Enough drama occurs to make this a generally positive program.
Aqualad: “The original Titans thrive as a superhero team until a new villain arrives.”
Am I crazy, or does the series act like we’re supposed to know who Aqualad is? This marks the character’s first appearance in Titans, so this feels odd. The episode includes some good action but leans a little more toward soap opera than I’d like. I do enjoy one scene that parodies the Joel Schumacher Batman movies.
Trivia criticism: at the episode’s end, we see a discussion of David Bowie albums. This involves a debate about the US vs. UK covers of the Ziggy Stardust album.
Oops – both are the same! Some earlier Bowie albums like Man Who Sold the World featured alternate covers but not Ziggy. It’s annoying when TV or movies try to act like they know minutiae like this to seem cool but then they blow it.
Deathstroke: “The Titans try everything to save Jason Todd (Curran Walters) from Deathstroke (Esai Morales).”
Deathstroke played a major role in 2018’s animated Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. That’s a much more comedic affair than this series, of course, so don’t expect silliness here. “Deathstroke” opens up some narrative threads, though it includes less action than one might expect.
Conner: “Conner Kent (Joshua Orpin) and Krypto escape from Cadmus Labs.”
This plot thread seems out of nowhere, but I won’t complain, mainly because it creates such an interesting way to involve Superman in the series. Though it essentially ignores the Titans, this becomes a pretty terrific show.
Bruce Wayne: “Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) sets out alone to track Deathstroke.”
The actual Titans return here, and we find an episode about haunted characters – fairly literally in Dick’s case, as an imaginary Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen) taunts him the whole show. Some of this feels a little soap opera, but the show manages to move along characters fairly well.
Jericho: “Dick befriends Jericho Wilson (Chella Man) to gain intel about Deathstroke.”
A flashback episode, we see what happened to Jericho and learn more about him and his powers. Ala “Conner”, this becomes an effective exploration.
Atonement: “In light of Dick’s confession, the Titans disband and go their separate ways.”
Though Titans usually opts for a somber tone, “Atonement” displays some actual humor, mainly because it focuses on the semi-goofy Gar (Ryan Potter) as the one who attempts to reunite the splintered team. The breakup itself feels contrived, but the episode manages some good moments.
Fallen: “Titans Tower comes under attack by Mercy Graves (Natalie Gumede).
That synopsis feels a bit deceptive, as it implies a large physical assault. Instead, “Fallen” focuses on the actions of the Titans as separate members, and it does fine in that regard. While not a great show, it moves along some narrative elements.
EL_O: “The Titans team up to rescue Dick and Gar Logan.”
Expect a transitional episode here, as “EL_O” exists mainly to bring the gang back together. It can plod a little but it gives us enough forward momentum to work.
Faux-Hawk: “Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) finds himself at a new low.”
That synopsis implies a grim, depressing episode, but “Faux” brings back Hank with some rare-for-Titans comedy. The rest of the show finds the push toward a Titans reunion, a theme that seems a little old – just come back already! – but the episode still seems reasonably good.
Nightwing: “The Titans battle Deathstroke and more.”
A “Titans vs. Deathstroke” finale felt inevitable many shows ago, and this finally comes to us. Expect an action-packed program that brings S2 to an exciting and satisfying close.