Titans returned on Friday with an episode that was in large part originally conceived as Season 1’s finale. Did DC Universe make the right call in tweaking it to wrap the Trigon arc as well as open Season 2?
As showrunner Greg Walker told TVLine back in December, the decision was made to close out Season 1 with Episode 11 — which ended with Trigon turning Dick Grayson dark — and instead hold the original finale concept to open Season 2. “We’re cannibalizing some of the stuff from Episode 12 [for the Season 2 premiere],” he explained. “We thought it was such a good cliffhanger at the end of 11, and we wanted to go for an even bigger, better Season 2 opener.”
As a result, about two-thirds of Friday’s Season 2 premiere dealt with the Titans’ face-off with Rachel’s truly monstrous father, Trigon. The rest of the hour was an extended epilogue that I would have to assume was all new footage (due to the casting of Bruce Wayne and Deathstroke), in which Dick paid his mentor a visit, Slade Wilson officially came out of retirement, and the “new” Titans relocated to a not-so-hidden hideout.
Picking up right where the Trigon arc left off, Dick had gone dark after being led to believe he killed Batman. Meanwhile, Hank and Dawn acted on the “message” they received last season to “find Jason Todd,” which they did at Wayne Manor. That trio then joined up with Donna and Kori outside the shimmering perimeter Trigon had erected around the farmhouse, as they puzzled over how to penetrate the barrier. Trigon, though, allowed them in, so that he could, one by one, turn each of them dark, with visions of murderous vengeance and drugs.
With everyone inside the house, Trigon cued the Titans to whale on poor Gar, ’til the lad was nearly dead. Witnessing this beating broke Rachel’s heart, which was the key to her father turning her dark as well. Trigon then transformed into a standard-issue, horned DC/Marvel CGI monster, and headed outdoors to A) snap his wife’s neck and B) bring about the end of the world (or at least burn some grass and fell some birds flying overhead). Gar, meanwhile, sneaked up on Rachel as a snake, then took human form to coax her out of her trance, by reminding her of good, happy times. Rachel in turn snapped Dick out of it, by transporting them to the Grayson Circus, where she led him to save her life.
Rachel then confronted Dad outside, as Dick and Gar, and the entranced others, looked on. I don’t remember much of what Rachel said, but she capped it with a taunt about their powerful, shared genetics, after which she unleashed a massive pulse of ribbony blackness. That shockwave blasted Trigon at the very least to whence he came, while also knocking the darkness out of everyone else.
The epilogue started with Dick loading Rachel, Gar and Jason — but not Kori, who declined an invite to come along — into the wagon he borrowed from Donna, then bidding the rest of the “adults” adieu. Dick’s first stop was Wayne Manor, where he addressed some unfinished business with Bruce (Game of Thrones‘ Iain Glenn). With Bruce’s blessing, Dick drove himself and the “kids” to San Francisco, where he introduced them to the suh-weeeet Titans lair. Best moment: Gar “seeing” Robin, Hawk and Dove, and Wonder Girl posing in their respective costume closets.
Weaved within the above, we saw Slade Wilson (NYPD Blue‘s Esai Morales) lay eye
s on a news broadcast about the Titans’ triumph at the farmhouse. Sensing that, as Jason put it on TV, the “Titans are back, bitches,” Slade cleaned up and rendezvoused with an associate, who led him to a secret bunker within a very nice house. Inside, Slade surveyed his medium-sized private arsenal — and the Deathstroke costume itself.
What did you think of Titans’ refitted finale-turned-premiere? And are you already picking up what Esai Morales’ Deathstroke is laying down?