This Titans review contains spoilers.
Titans Season 2 Episode 5
“Deathstroke” manages to be both an entertaining but incredibly frustrating episode that still moves the main plot forward – even though Conner Kent is still nowhere to be found.
First up, Dick is not being a great leader. As foolish as Jason was to go after Dr. Light, Dick deserves some blame for being secretive with Robin and the rest of Titans 2.0. It is such a Bruce thing to do. Add to that his bone-headed plan to then confront Deathstroke solo (this must be a Robin thing) and present himself as a sacrificial lamb to Slade.
Were it not for the arrival of Kory, Slade would have made quick work of the unarmed Grayson. Their fight succeeded in showing Deathstroke’s capabilities after a few episodes largely teasing his skills. Still, Kory was holding back on her Starfire powers against this guy in a fancy suit, but somehow that didn’t frustrate me as much as watching Jason drop from a building. If there’s one thing two Robins together should be able to figure out, it’s how not to fall from tall structures. Bruce would be so annoyed at his wards.
It would seem that Deathstroke, as bad as he is, has a legitimate grudge against Dick and the Titans. But what’s annoying is the big gaps we still have in that backstory. The Titans have clearly engaged in some really ugly business that changed them all, but we no idea what happened. And at least Dawn, and maybe Donna, place some blame on Dick. Additionally, it appears Slade holds them all accountable for Jericho’s death, and that Dick indeed manipulated the kid. But we don’t see any of this. Despite last week’s flashback, there is a lot that we should know about the past right now.
All that said, the present versions of Titans 1.0 sell the trauma they experienced – and how ready they are to become monsters by giving up Rose. Alan Ritchson in particular displays range as Hank flashes irritation at Jason for getting captured, at Dick, then fear and willingness to trade Rose for Jason. He also has a moment where he gets to revisit his own past traumas and how he’d always hoped someone would rescue him from that darkness.
Meanwhile, Titans 2.0 are coming apart at the seams. Rachel is getting close to her Raven self, and I enjoyed Teagan Croft’s delivery this week more than in the past. I want more edge from her, and it is fun watching her deflect Rose’s blows (much to her own surprise) before her powers get out of hand.
The Rachel and Rose moments are effective in bringing superpowers back into the mix. Perhaps Kory was a bit too premature to encourage Rachel to use her powers. Unfortunately, Gar doesn’t get to show off his powers too much. I really thought he was going to infiltrate the grown-up talk by posing as a mouse or something. Instead, he spends the episode lashing out because of his own guilt in joining Jason on their foolish recon mission for Dr. Light.
Oh, by the way, it is lights out for Dr. Light, and I am okay with that. For a brilliant scientist, he was too much of a muscled-goon.
“Deathstroke” ups the threat level of Slade and gives him some solid moments tormenting Jason and Dick. He wants to make these young heroes not only be afraid, but understand how they have been manipulated into not being afraid. But Titans would do well to explain more about Slade’s grudge and the terrible Titans past.
Aaron Sagers is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.