Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Akiva Goldsman
Following the positive acclaim that the pilot episode received last week, Titans had to accomplish two things this week, with its 2nd episode, “Hawk and Dove”. Firstly, it had to progress the story arc and give the viewers a sense of where the plot is heading. Secondly, it had to provide the same level of thrilling action, tense scares and gritty, realistic dialogue on a par with last week. In this writer’s opinion, it ticked all those boxes and more besides.
Sidelining Titans members Starfire and Beast Boy, this episode focused on two key story lines, bringing them colliding together at the halfway point. The opening section is based around two new additions to the cast, in the form of Hank Hall (aka Hawk) and Dawn Granger (aka Dove). A crime fighting duo that have been working in tandem within the comics since the late 80’s, to see them on the TV screen is a real treat and incredibly well realised. The costume department deserve a huge amount of credit for their work here, as they are incredibly comic accurate. Seemingly O.T.T. compared to the more functional offerings served up on the likes of the CW, these wonderful outfits are lifted off the comic book page and are a feast for the eyes.
The character dynamic between the two is realised brilliantly through the performances of Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly. Ritchson, who will be familiar to all Smallville fans from his portrayal of Aquaman, plays Hall as a muscled, blunt instrument, struggling to perform at a high level both on the streets and in the bedroom with Dawn, who is played by Kelly with a real mixture of levels. Tough as nails when brutally despatching armed thugs with ease, but softly spoken when at home with Hank, it’s a real dichotomy of a performance, and an excellent one at that. Their relationship is a really interesting one, full of love and respect but also sadness.
Their existence is thrown into disarray with the arrival at their apartment door of Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth. Seeking to keep Rachel safe from her pursuers, Dick has brought her here to be taken care of until he can figure out his next move. Flashbacks to years past show that Dawn and Dick had a romantic entanglement, which immediately makes him unwelcome in Hank’s eyes, as his barely concealed rage towards Dick threatens to spill over at any second. This creates an opportunity for some very interesting scenes, as the actors manage to portray that their are still some feelings between the characters that haven’t gone away despite their estrangement. Will these feelings resurface? Only time will tell.
More crumbs of the past are dropped in this week, as references are once again made to Robin’s falling out with Batman, but the cause and events that lead up to it are still to be revealed. I simply can’t wait to see how the show fills in the blanks. Will we get a portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman on screen? We can only hope to see it. We did however, get an Alfred Pennyworth cameo this week, albeit in voice form only as Dick calls him to arrange for money to be wired over for him to pass to Hank and Dawn for their trouble and time. Incidentally, the names listed on Dick’s mobile phone directory (Bruce Wayne, Donna Troy, Lucius Fox etc), are wonderful Easter eggs for all the fanboys out there (especially me), and great teases for future appearances too. Whatever the cause of Bruce and Dick’s falling out, its after effect on Dick is there for all to see, as he employs excessive levels of violence when assisting Hawk & Dove in the field. Taking no prisoners, there is a huge level of rage built up in the Boy Wonder, barely contained when he adopts the Robin persona.
A new set of villains were introduced this week also, in the form of the “Nuclear Family”. Creepy is a word that doesn’t come close to describing this mob. On the face of it, a seemingly everyday, normal family. The reality is something very different indeed. For anybody that hasn’t seen the show yet, no spoilers, but suffice to say they are evil incarnate, hired by an as yet unrevealed party to track down our heroes by any means necessary. Their means involve torture, bloodshed and pain, as the final showdown of the episode reveals the extent of their power against Robin, Hawk, Dove and Raven combined. Quite the brutal smackdown, it doesn’t skimp on the violence and really ends the episode on a cliffhanger, with the fate of a principal character very much in the balance….
Roll on next week, as the show is getting better and better. Its adult tone, combined with its excellently choreographed combat scenes, weighty dialogue and nuances performances, is making this weekly appointment viewing. Bring it on!