Director – Carol Banker
Writers – Richard Hatem & Jeffrey David Thomas
This week’s episode of Titans was easily the most hyped thus far, primarily for one reason. The full length live action debut of a certain Jason Todd! Since his explosive entrance at the very end of last week’s episode, “Together”, expectation has been at fever pitch waiting to see how the meeting of the Boy Wonders past and present would pan out. Suffice to say, the fan base was not left wanting with this treat of an episode. 50 minutes of action, profanity, moments of reflection, flashbacks and a tantalising glimpse of a certain vehicle in a certain cave.
Let’s start with just the one gripe from this week. The rest of the Titans were relegated to bit part players this week as the story almost exclusively focused on the journey taken by Dick and Jason. Despite being a necessary evil as the story really only had room to service the two Robins, it was a shame that Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy had relatively little to do other than sit around in the Wayne safehouse, babysitting the unconscious Dr Adamson, dutifully waiting for Dick’s return. That aside, this was a universally well received, powerhouse of an episode.
So, what of Curran Walters’ performance as Jason Todd? Absolutely pitch perfect. Wonderfully encapsulating the Robin-era Jason, he is a mixture of wide-eyed enthusiasm, foul language, arrogance, and above all, a genuine sense of glee regarding his dream job as the new Robin. Genuinely happy to meet his predecessor, the spark between the two is palpable, as Dick’s weary personality meshes with the over enthusiastic Jason perfectly to create moments of genuine humour.
Dick – “Why are you doing this?”
Jason – “This is the dopest gig ever! Hanging out with Batman, kicking bad guys’ asses, being famous, driving the goddamn Batmobile…”
Dick = “He lets you drive the Batmobile?…..”
This Jason Todd is so uninhibited in everything he says and does, which is a welcome change from the overtly PC characters that proliferate our screens. He is just a force of nature, only concerned with enjoying his new life. One wonders if Dick sees the younger version of himself in Jason, as this reminds him of the time he first donned the cape and mask.
The plot devices that take our dynamic duo away from the Titans group involve the murders of Dick’s former friends from his circus days, which without wishing to take a spoiler filled path, takes us through a journey involving Tony Zucco, the man that murdered Dick’s parents, and his scarred, demented offspring, Nick. Weaving a double narrative through flashbacks involving Dick effectively sending Zucco to his death (and that exquisite look at the Batmobile), and the present day investigation into the circus murders and the long standing vendetta behind that, the Robins find themselves working together to track down the killer. This leads to yet more outstanding action choreography, as both of them get their chances to shine. Here we see that dark, violent side to Jason, instilled in him from his troubled and traumatic upbringing on the wrong side of the law. The way in which he brutally despatches a team of well-meaning cops, and his f-bomb filled explanation to Dick afterwards is a quite brilliant piece of television, bang on the nose for the character and his comic book roots. It can be enjoyed below.
It’s a great moment for two reasons. One, it shows the motivation and mind set of Jason perfectly, and hints at darker roads to come for him in the future (anybody heard of Red Hood or read A Death in The Family?….) Secondly, it is most likely now that this is the start of Dick’s transition into Nightwing, as he will finally start to throw off the Robin persona and become something new. This is masterful storytelling and a credit to the writers of this episode, as they manage to enhance two characters with one exchange of dialogue, screenwriting at its best.
The final line of dialogue spoken by Dick in the episode to Starfire is a great hint too that his Robin is soon to be no more. Confirming his imminent return to the Wayne safehouse, Kory playfully asks him how many Robin’s she should expect this time. His answer? “None”. Now, whilst the teaser for next week’s episode does show him to be once again in the full regalia, it is seemingly just a matter of time before that familiar black and blue costume gets it’s own live action debut!
A quite brilliant episode anchored by two magnetic leading performances, the show is building up each week to be better than the week before. All killer, no filler. No pointless throwaway episodes, no villains of the week, just tight storytelling and must see television. Roll on episode 7!