Dear Hero Club readers, I apologize for the delay in this review. The sixth episode of Titans, titled “Jason Todd” did not inspire me to write as much as the previous five episodes. I am not entirely sure yet, why this happened but maybe the reason will become more clear later in this review. Now, this episode of Titans broke ground by having the first live-action appearance of Jason Todd, the second Robin. So far, Titans has done a great job of introducing a multitude of live-action debuts in its short time in existence. However, did Titans manage to bring Jason Todd to life? Let’s find out with this review on episode 6.
[Warning: The following review contains several spoilers]
Starting our character discussions this week is Kory, Rachael and Gar, all at once. After last week’s attack by the Nuclear Family and the subsequent death of said family, Kory and the kids are waiting to hear from Dick. When Kory gets ahold of Dick, she finds out where he is staying and heads out to catch up with him. For the rest of the episode, Kory works as a sounding board for Dick’s angst and as a watchdog over Adamson who is being held in the bathroom for most of the episode. Rachael and Gar get to have some fun banter with Jason, but pretty much do nothing else this week. The three non-Batman connected Titans do not get a whole lot to do this week, but they become the shining lights within a dark episode.
Now, despite being titled “Jason Todd,” this episode is all about Dick Grayson, as we get several flashbacks for him. First batch are focus on his surrogate family at the Hayley’s circus. In addition, viewers get to see the day of his parent’s funeral where Dick is reluctant to go with Bruce Wayne, and wants to stay with the circus. Here we meet Clayton Williams, portrayed by Lester Speight, who is the strongman for the Hayley’s circus. Clayton convinces Dick to go with Bruce Wayne promising him that his “life will never be the same.” The other flashbacks that follow then involve Dick tracking down Tony Zucco, his parent’s killer. As Robin, Dick intercepts a prisoner transfer van that is holding Zucco; who is to be released to assist Gotham City Police Department in taking down the entire Maroni crime family. In the attack, Dick almost kills Zucco after revealing who he is, as Robin. The scene is incredibly powerful as Brenton Thwaites is able to portray the complicated emotions that Dick is feeling. He wants to kill Zucco so badly and yet he cannot bring himself to do it. However, the Maroni family shows up to silence Zucco, and Dick selfishly lets Zucco get gunned down instead of saving him. The decision makes Dick feel like he got justice for his parents but his actions allow the Maroni family getting away, and the GCPD losing their case. It is entirely possible this incident is one of the reasons why Dick and Bruce Wayne had their falling out as crime fighting partners. Furthermore, we still do not learn the exact reasoning behind the split, but more information should be revealed in the coming weeks.
Moving onto present day Dick Grayson, this episode’s plot kicks off with the aftermath of “Together” in which Jason Todd saved Dick from the Organization’s hit squad. Dick and Jason take the unconscious Adamson to a safe house of Bruce Wayne’s to lie low for a bit. Dick, as usual, is ready to kick Jason out and handle things on his own, but Jason stops him to reveal the real reason why he is there. Bruce has sent Jason to find Dick in order to tell him about a packet of images that have been addressed to Robin. These images are of different members of the former Hayley’s Circus who have been killed by the mysterious “Melting Man” serial killer. Jason then explains he was able to find Dick due to a tracker placed in his arm. Jason also mentions how he has a tracker as well, but knew it was put in whereas Dick did not know of his own. With the interactions between Dick and Jason, it seems that Bruce Wayne has developed his Robin training program based on mistakes made with Dick’s time as his partner.
Dick removes the tracker and after meeting up with his team, goes with Jason to track down the one surviving member of the circus, Clayton Williams. The scenes between Dick and Clayton really show the bond they share. Dick’s parents may have been his only blood family, but the circus was his family too and all but Clay are now gone. After unmasking the Melting Man killer to be Tony Zucco’s son, Nick Zucco who was able to piece together that Dick is Robin and seeks revenge. Dick and Jason manage to work together to stop Nick Zucco from killing Clay. and after a heated conversation the two go their separate ways. With Dick getting a lot of focus this week, the audience learns more about his tragic history. I am really starting to understand who Dick Grayson is in this show, and who he is going to become as the series progresses. I think that when Kory asked Dick “How many Robins can I expect?” and Dick replies with “None!” it really shows that his transition to Nightwing is imminent.
I have to give credit to Titans, they translated Jason Todd perfectly from the comics. Jason is a street kid who tried to steal the hubcaps off the Batmobile, and was taken in by Bruce Wayne to be trained as the new Robin. Jason is now a 19-year old punk who is trying to prove he is an adult to everyone he meets. Jason is portrayed by Curren Walters, an up-and-coming actor who really captures the cockiness of Jason Todd, but also the wonder of being Robin. He definitely has a more stable relationship with Bruce than Dick does, and is very much still in the early days of the eager Batman sidekick. Jason has been Robin for about a year and Dick’s comment of “He didn’t waste any time” seems to imply that Dick left Bruce only about a year, or so ago.
Jason’s suit is an upgrade from Dick’s and due to this it seems to have made Jason more reckless in fights. Jason feels invincible when he is Robin which leads to him attacking a group of police officers who arrive at the scene after they took down Zucco. Jason brutally attacks the officers and probably killed most of them with Jason’s reasoning for the attack is because the GCPD beats on him every night. Dick stops Jason from finishing off the officers, while Jason yells at Dick that he knows who he is whereas Dick does not. This is the last we see of Jason for this episode and possibly for this season. It is not clear when Jason Todd will return to Titans, but the next time he does, he might be breathing less than he is now. Jason is brought to life perfectly in this episode of Titans, and Curren Walters is the main reason for this; he did his research as an actor and put in the effort to bring Jason to live-action for the very first time.
Overall, episode 6 of Titans is solid, but it is not as enjoyable as previous episodes. I think the reason why I was stalled when writing this review was due to not being sure how to frame this episode. For the past few weeks, I have been able to break down each Titans episode by character, so that the reviews would have some structure. Whereas, this episode was different, as it is story driven. I think the show’s characters are its’ strongest aspect and I really want to see more of the Titans than the stories currently playing out. Luckily next week’s episode, “Asylum” gets us back on track with the team and the Rachael storyline. I look forward to seeing that episode and eventually reviewing it!
Soundout Side Notes:
- Dick’s parents died in 2002, this makes Dick 26-27 years old based on previous clues.
- Kory’s got a shiny new outfit. Just thought that was worth mentioning.
- Kory has Rachael and Gar trained well. This little family is adorable.
- If Gar wants to be a Robin badly, he should check to see if the “We Are Robin” movement has started in this universe.
- It was nice to see the Batmobile. Hopefully Titans will show us Batman sometime.
- Clay asks Dick if Bruce knows that he is working with Robin. Bruce Wayne’s secret identity will always be kept when it is so unbelievable that he could be Batman.
- Titans definitely has a formula this season. The odd numbered episodes focus on the team while the even number ones focus on guest stars. Wonder who we will see in episode 8….