The second season of Titans proved to be an action-packed extravaganza in addition to a continuance of the high-level characterization of each team member that began in season 1. Great battle scenes with often disastrous repercussions brings up a troubling issue with the show not often seen in comic book related properties, though. With death happening left and right to the show’s heroes and villains, there’s only so many characters to cut a swath through before the show potentially whittles the cadre of Titan characters, both good and bad, down to nothing. Yes, there are plenty of Titans team members to play with, but there are only so many well-known Titans villains.
Spoiler Level: High
Maybe, thanks to shows like Arrow or Flash, I’ve gotten too used to entire seasons of comic book shows being generally devoted to one big bad, but Titans season 2 drilled through and killed off three of the most well-known Titans villains very quickly. Not only is the general setup of comics shows to follow one major villain per season, comic book properties don’t normally rampantly kill off many heroes or villains too swiftly. First, I would think they’d want to keep their options open for future seasons. Second, there’s great scenes to be had anytime a fan-favorite villain makes a big return. Think Reverse Flash in The Flash, Deathstroke in Arrow, or Kingpin in Daredevil. The end result, however, in Titans is super gritty realism. A sniper rifle can kill someone with superpowers. This leaves the impression that no one is safe.
Trigon, Dr. Light, and Deathstroke are likely the most popular Titans villains in the comics, not counting Blackfire, who looks to be set for major confrontations in the next season. Unfortunately, all are gone. So, while it is great to see the characters all showing up in plot threads intermingled so well, it leads me to wonder what the showrunners are saving for season 4 or beyond. The show is good, and I’m hoping it sticks around for a while. Although you still have villains like Cheshire and Hive, Titans will be quickly approaching slim pickings at this pace after just another season or so. Personally, I don’t think Mallah and the Brain will cut it.
While season 1 focused quite a bit on the Nuclear Family, which I’d never really seen in the comics and had only heard of, it seemed DC wanted to press forward in season 2 and get to the villains that everyone wanted to see. They definitely accomplished that. It was exciting to see the team go up against their biggest villains.
Season 2 starts with the very quick wrap-up of the Trigon season finale from season 1. If you take the setup of the show as comic book story arcs rather than the 1 big bad per season, it makes more sense. However, counting the cameo in season 1’s finale, Trigon was only in 2 episodes. One of the Titans biggest villains, gone very quickly. Although a bit anti-climactic due to its speedy resolution, the danger was no less exhilarating. Trigon had all the Titans, save for Beast Boy, trapped in dream-like worlds of their own makings. While all had succumbed to these dream worlds, Trigon began his destruction of Earth. Luckily, Beast Boy who had been believed dead, brought Rachel out of her trance at which point she fairly immediately dispatched her father, Trigon.
While celebrating that victory on the news, though, the Titans caught the attention of a villain from their past, Deathstroke. Played pitch-perfectly by Esai Morales, Deathstroke is basically the season’s big bad, but there are so many other villainous plot threads that he doesn’t quite get his due in the climactic episode of the season. However, delving into the team’s past with Deathstroke is one spot where the show truly excelled. There were multiple episodes devoted to the flashback of the team’s previous encounter with Deathstroke which included him killing one of their own. This way, when he shows back up in the present, audiences know why he’s there and why the Titans are as anxious to deal with him as he is to deal with them. Also, though, showing backstory to the team is an elegant way to show that the team has been around quite a bit longer than a 2 season (so far) show would suggest.
Along for the ride with Deathstroke is Dr. Light, a Titan villain known for his sadism and viciousness. While Deathstroke sticks around for the whole season, Dr. Light is not allotted nearly as much time. After Light devilishly and seemingly gleefully attacks the Titans multiple times, Deathstroke kills him having presumably finished using him for his own purposes.
Villains weren’t the only new introductions this season. While Dick Grayson, Robin (Jason Todd), Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire, Wonder Girl, Hawk, and Dove all returned, Aqualad, Ravager, Jericho, Superboy, and even Bruce Wayne were all added. Unfortunately, in the flashbacks, Deathstroke killed off Aqualad with a sniper bullet. For me, it felt like an unnecessary loss to kill him off so soon. Also, his powers are similar to Aquaman, of course, so killing him with a sniper bullet seemed too easy. However, it proves the show doesn’t mess around. While in the comics, villains are known for giving James Bond-like monologues before attacking the heroes, in the show Deathstroke kept it simple and brutal. I do wish, though, that he’d just have been wounded with a chance to come back at a later date since he’s been a character in comics since 1960.
Jericho and Ravager’s entrances, of course, dealt mostly with the Deathstroke storyline since they’re his children. They’re also Titans though, and the show goes to great lengths to show this dichotomy. The plot deftly brings them both into the team in different ways. For those familiar with Ravager, naturally, viewers are left to question which side she’s on. Jericho, on the other hand, is the eternal nice guy. He’s torn between the team and his father, but he’s always on the side of good.
The last team addition, Superboy, brings with him yet another villain of the season, Cadmus and Mercy Graves. Usually, Mercy isn’t seen without Lex Luthor, but Lex remains only mentioned this season. Mercy pushes to get the experimental Superboy, clone of both Superman and Lex, back under control after he escapes.
Blackfire, mentioned earlier, also appears in yet another villain storyline. However, this story is just setup for what is most likely to occur in the recently announced 3rd season out next year. Starfire, true princess of Tamaran, left her throne, and her sister, Blackfire took it. She of course isn’t happy to leave well enough alone and seeks out her sister on Earth. With a couple interactions by proxy during the season, Blackfire is this season’s cliffhanger as, at the very end, she arrives on Earth.
In the finale, most viewers would likely expect the big finale to involve Deathstroke. However, making his fight scene feel as anti-climactic as Trigon’s, the Titans go up against him early in the episode and he’s killed off, rather quickly, by Ravager. Besides Deathstroke and Ravager, this battle includes Dick in his Nightwing costume, finally!
The rest of the episode focuses on Mercy Graves, who has brainwashed both Superboy and Beast Boy into fighting each other in public so that she can auction off Superboy as a weapon. The Titans show up to put a stop to her plans. In the fallout, though, Wonder Girl is killed by a falling power pole that electrocutes her. In this world of ultra-realism Titans has made, her death fits. However, as with Aqualad, her powers are similar to her namesake, Wonder Woman. I can’t imagine Wonder Woman getting electrocuted to death.
Even with all this action and ample amount of villains, the show still focuses mostly on the characterization of the team’s members. While this apparently means the plot development of the villains gets cut to a degree, we do get to see in depth depiction of the heroes. Possibly, it’s like Teen Titans Go in that the show isn’t about who they’re fighting this week, but rather who the Titans themselves are. Though that’s a gag on the cartoon, the hard lean into an almost character study for each Titan is refreshing and interesting to see. We get to find out who they are, what makes them tick, and why they’re fighting those villains that show up.
With the level of writing, action, and production value that DC has thrown into Titans, as their flagship TV series on their streaming service, I imagine most expected a high quality show. I think, with season 2, this show has exceeded those expectations, and I can’t wait for season 3 although I'd like to see the bigger named villains get a better climax with more buildup. Regardless, when each episode starts with that amazing theme song, you can’t help but get pumped for the action to come.
Titans season 2: Only So Many Characters
- Writing - 9.2/109.2/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 9.5/109.5/10
- Music - 10/1010/10
- Production - 9.5/109.5/10
User Review( votes)