Here we are folks, the end of the first season of Titans. After a season where half the episodes were detours away from the main plot, should we be too surprised that the season finale is one as well? Not really, but without any further delay, let’s dive into Titans Episode 11 “Dick Grayson.”
[Warning: The following review contains several spoilers]
I got to give credit to the DC Universe marketing team, as I saw advertisements everywhere for this episode. Why all that extra effort? Batman; the answer is always Batman with DC! Yes, that is right, after talking about him all season, since Dick Grayson uttered his infamous “F— Batman” line, Batman is finally here… Sort of… Kind of… Not really! We do in fact see Batman in this episode, however, this is a twisted version of reality created by Trigon and Dick Grayson’s mind.
After the last episode’s cliffhanger where Dick enters the barrier created by Trigon, he slips into a dreamscape that plays out his “perfect” world. Dick is married to Dawn and they have a son with another child on the way. Dick and Dawn have left their costumed lives behind, as well as live in a beautiful house in L.A. Dick remains as a detective, currently for the L.A.P.D., while Rachael and Gar have gone off to college. Kory is (somehow) a federal agent working for the FBI, and a brief appearance by Hank shows that he is still an alcoholic. Dick’s perfect life seems to be exactly what he wanted all this time, and finally allows him to break free from his inner darkness. However, that all changes with the arrival of a wheelchair bound Jason Todd.
Jason appears to Dick for the first time in five years because Batman has gone off the rails. Alfred has passed away, Barbara Gordon is missing, Jason is paralyzed from a bullet wound during a fight with The Riddler, and The Joker has killed Commissioner Gordon. With Dick having left Gotham, it seems like Bruce’s entire support system is gone. This is the worst case scenario for the character of Batman, not just this series’s incarnation of the character, but for the character as a whole. This herein lies the most interesting part of the entire episode, a what if scenario that is the worst possible outcome of the war on crime.
Naturally with this being a world created by Trigon, the whole situation is manipulated to make it seem like everything is Dick’s fault; all to have Dick blame himself for Batman’s rampage. After deliberating with Dawn, Dick decides to go back to Gotham to try and save Bruce in order to stop him from crossing the line and killing The Joker. As he travels through Gotham, Dick sees how Gotham has degraded now that Batman has started to give up on his mission and seek revenge. Dick eventually arrives too late, only to find The Joker thrown out of a building and onto a police car. The fall somehow manages to not kill the Joker, but he is then transported to a hospital for intensive care. At the crime scene, Dick checks in with the residing detective of the crime scene, who suspiciously is played by Trigon’s actor. Now, this is an interesting angle to take on this dream world, as the audience can see flashes of blue light to know that Trigon is messing with this reality. However, to see Trigon insert himself as part of it shows that Dick is not in control of his destiny here.
Dick goes to Wayne Manor and attempts to talk to Bruce and stop him from crossing the “murder line.” Unfortunately, his pleas fall on deaf ears as Bruce refuses to see him, staying locked in the Batcave. After meeting with Kory at the hospital and reconnecting with her, Dick steps into the Joker’s room a second too late from stopping Batman, who escapes through the window. Dick calls Dawn to tell her what’s happened and to get some counseling. Unfortunately for Dick, Dawn invited Hank over to paint the new baby’s room. This is where Dick’s jealousy comes back hearing Hank’s voice in the background, and Dawn’s jealously comes to light when Dick leaves the call to talk to Kory. It is at this time that it is clear this is no longer Dick’s perfect world, and it is in fact a reflection of his own thoughts. All of Dick’s negative traits come to light within this world, with most being provoked by Trigon himself.
Kory’s call to Dick is to tell him that Batman has slaughtered all the inmates in Arkham Asylum, as well as the guards and doctors. Batman has gotten a taste of blood and he has fully been unleashed upon Gotham. This parallels the common thread in a lot of modern Batman stories behind his “no murder” rule, that if he crosses the line once then he will never stop killing. It is shown perfectly in this episode as Batman wipes out all of Arkham with no discrimination. It is also great for showing how destructive Batman truly can be if he is not on the side of good. In truth, that is what this episode sets out to prove, that if pushed to the absolute limit, Bruce becomes more dangerous than any criminal he has ever faced. This commentary on the Dark Knight’s ideology and psychology is so interesting however, it is admittedly disappointing to see here in Titans. What I really want to say is if this was not the season finale, I would be much more welcoming of this episode, but as it stands, this detour does not make for a good finale.
After the Arkham incident, Dick gathers a strike team to take the fight to Batman. Dick reveals Bruce’s secret and forms a plan to capture Bruce and take him in. Yet, this plan fails as Batman begins to murder all of the swat team members sent after him. Even with all the lines Bruce has crossed, I am not entirely certain that he would start murdering the police in the way he does here. Naturally, this could be seen as Trigon’s further meddling as he is among the officers slain. In a way, the ending to this dive into Batman’s psyche is the weakest, as it seems like he would never do this. Perhaps, this was the message being said. The idea that once that line is crossed, all of Bruce’s training and skills would make him unstoppable.
Kory tries to fry Batman with her fire powers but is unsuccessful as Bruce has Mr. Freeze’s Cold Gun prepared, which seems to kill Kory. Dick is forced to activate the explosives at Wayne Manor which collapses the Batcave on top of Bruce. Dick then goes down to the cave, where he finds Bruce crushed under some rubble and he decides to end his life by crushing his neck. In a very poignant moment, Dick talks about how Bruce got what he wanted as Dick has now accepted the darkness. With the final line of “F— you, Bruce,” Batman dies and the dream reality collapses. Once back in reality, Dick has dark eyes and now is under Trigon’s control. Trigon then tells Rachael that Dick accepted this on his own as it cuts to the credits. This is where the season ends, and I do not think it is a very strong cliffhanger. Word has it that there was a twelfth episode filmed that is now being held, and reworked as the season 2 premiere. I really wish we would have gotten that rumored episode now instead of waiting an unknown amount of time for the next season.
However, there is one final scene appearing after the credits. Somewhere in Metropolis, a man, with a Superman tattoo on his shoulder, breaks out of a Cadmus facility and picks up his dog on the way out. This is naturally a set-up and tease for Conner Kent/ Superboy and Krypto. This scene really created excitement for season 2, and some might say that this is another detour. Yet, Superboy is commonly a part of the Titans team in the comics. Now, this tease has me very excited as Conner Kent’s character often deals with a dark side and anger issues that should perfectly fit with this series. In addition, seeing Krypto is a total surprise and I am really excited to see these two in action whenever Season 2 premieres.
Overall, “Dick Grayson” is an interesting episode for delving into the psychology of both Dick and Batman. It provides a neat alternate future that will not come to pass otherwise. It gives me a similar vibe to the episode, “How Long Is Forever?” from the Teen Titans animated series. However, I do not think it works well as a season finale. Furthermore, plans are not entirely clear as to why this season was cut short by one episode, and having that episode held for next season, but we can only hope that it is all worth it in the end.
Soundout Side Notes:
- Batman’s face is never seen throughout the episode which gives him a very menacing demeanor. It is almost like viewers are seeing Bruce the way that criminals do, a terrifying silhouette instead of a person.
- That may not have been intentional from the start however because, as I have said before, limited budget.
- With Hank still in Dawn’s life and how twisted this show’s storylines can be, it makes me wonder how many of her kids are his instead of Dick’s.
- Trigon being a great manipulator is a cool take on the character, as well as being very budget friendly.
- It is nice to see the Ventriloquist and Scarface make their live-action debut, but it is a shame that they were just bodies. Maybe one day they will get their due.
- I wish we could have seen Donna in Dick’s dream world. I wonder what role she would have had in his mind.
- Got to love the hotel manager who charges extra for sheets, way to make a living in a hellhole dude.
- Here’s hoping that twelfth episode had Hank and Dawn arriving with Jason Todd to save everybody, otherwise episode 9 is a waste being have been late in the season.