With Episode 8 ending on a massive cliffhanger, it is only natural that we spend an entire episode on Hawk and Dove’s backstories. Now, do not get me wrong as I wanted this episode however, the episode’s placement just seems odd. That being said, there is some good stuff in this episode. so let us jump in and take a closer look!
[Warning: The following review contains several spoilers]
This episode features the return of fan-favorite characters, Hank Hall and Dawn Granger, in a follow up on the aftermath from Episode 2. Dawn is still in the hospital and Hank waits at her bedside, hoping for her to wake up. In addition, Hank has begun to steal more painkillers from the hospital to numb his own pain. It is during this time, the audience begins to see both characters’ pasts through series of flashbacks. However, during some of the flashbacks Rachael is somehow projecting herself into their memories in order to get their attention, but more on that in a bit.
Starting with Hank Hall, he was star football student throughout school with his brother, Don Hall seeking to be like him; it is also explained that they are half-brothers sharing the same mother. Now, after a middle school football game, Don was taken alone by the football coach before Hank runs across them. Hank realizes where the situation is leading to, and makes attempts for his brother’s safety. However, to ensure his brother’s safety Hank is forced to take Don’s place. Hank is then molested by the school’s football coach off-screen, without Don realizing what had occurred until years later. This incident is one of the major factors towards Hank’s own mental issues, and it is something that is carried forward in his life.
Fast-forwarding to his college years, where Hank has developed a drinking problem while being the big star on football team. Hank is using alcohol as a painkiller to coat his injuries, and attempt to hide them from the school/ others. The drinking on top of concussions and other possibly brain injuries also become the catalyst for his intense rage. Hank is first seen going off on Don, after Don informed the school of Hank’s health. The confrontation then leads to the two fighting one another, as well as teaming up to fight other students in the library. Don always having Hank’s back, and looking into his best interest forces the dean to expel them. Returning home Hank asks Don what their plan in life is now, with Don’s reply being that they should become crime fighters. Soon Hank and Don become Hawk and Dove, a couple of unorganized vigilantes who search out people on the sex offender registry. They even film their escapades together for their own personal record, as well as send images into the press. Hank and Don as Hawk and Dove are quite violent and have no qualms about beating people to a pulp.
Transitioning to Dawn’s history, the audience learns that she was a ballet dancer and that her mother seems to be the only parent in her life still. Her mother is planning to return to England, and Dawn begins to question where she is going to go from here. Not too long after, Dawn and her mother run into Hank and Don who are admiring the newspaper chronicling their outings. During the brief meeting a freak accident occurs causing a truck to get knocked off the street, running over both Don and Dawn’s mother. In the weeks following, Hank and Dawn begin attending the same group counseling session for victims of trauma. They eventually to meet one another outside the group, and being to form their romantic relationship.
Through a montage of Hank and Dawn’s relationship fully developing, Dawn discovers Hank’s costume. Hank immediately is afraid to tell her the truth, but Dawn insist on hearing the whole story. After telling Dawn about what him and Don did as vigilantes, she gets Hank to further open up about his childhood. Dawn finds interesting that as Hawk and Dove, neither Hank or Don never went after their former gym coach realize how he launched their whole crusade. Dawn even thinks now would be the perfect time to do it, but Hank does not want to confront the man. Dawn then takes it upon herself to find the coach, and to seek justice for Hank. Just when she arrives to the coach’s house the confrontation blows up in her face, but luckily Hank was following after her. Seeing his former assailant attacking Dawn, Hank begins to unleash everything on the guy and tells her to leave. However, Dawn chooses to stay and watch Hank finish the job. The dedication to seek justice rang in both their hearts, and showed their love for one another thus leading to the two making love for the first-time upon returning home. In addition, the act signified Dawn assuming Don’s role Dove. Before the flashbacks can progress further, Rachael manages to interrupt the dream waking Dawn up from her coma. Dawn immediately crawls to Hank to tell him “Rachael is in trouble! We need to find Jason Todd!”
Overall “Hank and Dawn” is a deep, intrinsic look into Hank and Dawn as people. I feel more connected to them and understand the reasons why they became who they are now. The placement of the episode in the season seems odd, being only three episodes away from the season finale, but the ending justifies its placement. I definitely can see Hank, Dawn and Jason Todd showing up in the next episode, or the one after as Titans enters the sub-arc that will consume the season finale.
Soundout Side Notes:
- This episode was uncomfortable at times mostly due to some heavy subject matter that most TV shows will not go close to. Titans gets points for being this ballsy.
- Don Hall being hit by a runaway truck instead of a shadow demon created from anti-matter caused by a multiversal Crisis really fits the tone of this show.
- With all the build up for them, I hope Hank and Dawn get their own show soon.