REVIEW: Titans, S2E1 – Trigon

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“Trigon” picks up right where Titans‘ first season left off, acting in every respect like the finale it should have been. Despite the attempted explanations, it is still unclear why the powers that be needed to rework the battle of Raven’s dads into a premiere. But the end result is that the show already feels like it’s in a sophomore slump before it’s truly begun. “Trigon” allows Rachel (Teagan Croft) to wrap up the demon storyline in a lackluster way before providing a glimmer of hope with Dick’s (Brenton Thwaites). As for the rest of the cast? They get little more than cameo appearances, which feels like par for the course.

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Gar, the beating and bloody heart of the team

The first half  of “Trigon” is spent building the villain up as an all-powerful monster that requires all the backup possible to stop, only for the entire crew to have their eyes turned black in the amount of time it takes to blink. They each ostensibly go through a trial similar to Dick’s last season, but they go by so quickly and seem so disconnected from each other that the moments have little impact. In fact, the only powerful piece in those thirty minutes is when Gar (Ryan Potter) appears to be killed by the brainwashed Titans in order to break Rachel’s heart. Their affinity for each other was established enough for the moment to hit home, and the fact that Gar was able to recover and thus return Rachel to herself was the kind of payoff Titans needs more of.

Rachel then immediately snapped Dick out of his murderous trance, but while the show has taken great pains to establish their father-daughter bond, it was an unnecessary diversion when the goal is stopping Trigon from ending the world. After all, Dick didn’t help Rachel stop her real father when the time came – no one did. The episode could’ve been a lot shorter if she had turned her powers against him from the start, as she didn’t seem to need any assistance on that front aside from one of Gar’s pep talks.

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Well, that was easy.

Once Trigon was dispatched, Titans easily moved on to setting the table for the actual start of Season 2. Dick took the kids – Rachel, Gar and Jason (Curran Walters) – on a road trip to Titan Tower, while Kory (Anna Diop) inexplicably stayed behind to find her planet. Tamaran sounds like a great plot in theory, but there’s no established reason why she needs to be alone – or with Donna (Conor Leslie) – to find it. Finally, Hank (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn (Minka Kelly) decide they’re going to retire temporarily to focus on their mental and physical recovery.

In order to get the keys to Titan Tower, and presumably cover the rent, Dick finally has a face-to-face conversation with Bruce. Guest Star Iain Glen makes a great father figure, but he feels more like a Wayne out of Batman Beyond than a man training Jason in the present. Nevertheless, they have one of the best scenes of the episode as Dick acknowledges that Bruce did his best as a parent and now it’s his turn to try a hand at it. More impact might have been felt if they had any real interactions last season, or if Dick’s fever dream had actually inspired some inner conflict, but it’s a solid start.

Also a solid start? The introduction to Slade Wilson (Esai Morales), who seems like he’ll be a lighter and more sardonic villain for a less gloomy version of Titans. We’ll just have to see if he lives up to his potential when the next episode drops Friday on DC Universe’s streaming platform.