Here’s a TITANS mid-season update. What do we think so far? Airing on the DC Universe app, let’s take a look at episodes 1-6. There’s plenty of things to go over, including the Titans meeting for the first time, the Doom Patrol, and Jason Todd.

TITANS Mid-Season: The First Episode is an Introduction

TITANS first episode, titled “Titans”, focuses primarily on Rachel Roth (Raven) and Dick Grayson (Robin). Rachel has dreams of Dick at a young age when his parents died at the circus. When a man kills the woman she thought was her mother, Rachel goes on the run. In Detroit, cops find her and bring her in. Grayson, a detective, questions her. When she reveals that she knows about his past, it sparks Dick to look into who Rachel is.

He also looks into the people who are after her. He takes care of Rachel and decides to help and protect her. That’s a good thing, as Rachel is in a constant struggle to control her manifesting dark supernatural powers. By the end of the first episode, the audience gets an introduction to each soon-to-be Titan. We get a little bit of Starfire, who wakes up in Vienna, not knowing where or who she is. We also see Beast Boy at the very end of the first episode, stealing video games and running off in the form of a tiger.

TITANS Mid-Season
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The stand-out part of the episode is definitely Grayson going out as Robin. He fights a group of thugs in an alleyway, viciously beating them, blood spattering on his face. This scene is where that highly controversial “Where’s Batman? F-Batman” line from the trailer comes into play. I will say that the F-Batman line does land better with more context. Grayson reveals to his new partner Rorbach that he has issues with his last partner (Batman) and that he was becoming too much like him.

TITANS Mid-Season: Robin Connecting with Old Allies

Episode Two, “Hawk and Dove,” sees Robin taking Rachel to see some old friends, Hank and Dawn. Also, heroes, Robin used to work with Hawk and Dove when they were all younger. It also seems that at one time Grayson and Dawn were romantically involved.

TITANS Mid-Season
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Robin attempts to pay Hank and Dawn to take care of Rachel. He feels that he’s no good at family. This stems from his desire to not be like Bruce Wayne. He doesn’t want to take in an orphan. An organization sees Rachel as the answer to their prophecies and goals and they come after her. They send a seemingly normal nuclear family to retrieve her. In actuality, they are brainwashed, trained assassins.

They go after Rorbach, and after getting Grayson’s location from her, they kill her. Robin goes with Hawk and Dove to stop a gun running operation, and they see firsthand how much Robin has changed. How much darker he’s become. Rachel finds a note with the money Grayson intends to leave with Hank and Dawn. This causes Rachel to feel betrayed. While they are all on the roof dealing with it, the nuclear family arrives. They knock Dawn off the roof and take Rachel.

TITANS Mid-Season: Starfire Sees Rachel as the Key in Episode 3

Next, for our TITANS mid-season update is “Origins.” After finding pictures of Rachel in Vienna, Starfire goes to find her, hoping that something about Rachel will trigger her hidden memories. She thinks her name is Kory. She saves Rachel from the nuclear family, killing the father. Together, Rachel and Kory go to a convent where they think Rachel once lived with her mother. While there, they learn that Rachel and her mother were on the run from her father. One of the nuns reveals that the key Kory found belongs to a locker at the roller rink nearby. Inside the locker is another key to a storage unit.

TITANS Mid-Season
Image from DC Universe

Grayson finds them at the roller rink, having tracked them down. They go back to the convent. The head nun promises to protect Rachel from harm. Kory steals Dick’s car, and he goes after her. After they leave, the nuns drug and lock Rachel in a room beneath the convent. The storage unit belongs to Kory. She and Dick discover that she must have been looking into and studying Rachel much longer than she previously thought.

There are several writings on the wall in another language that Kory can read. As she’s reading the notes, she believes that Rachel is part of a prophecy about a Destroyer of Worlds. Meanwhile, Rachel’s darker persona demands to be let out. Rachel tries to not give in but eventually relents. The result is that Raven ends up causing an explosion, blowing the roof off of the convent. Dick and Kory hear this and they head back. Rachel runs into the nearby forest.

TITANS Mid-Season: Beast Boy and the Doom Patrol (Sounds Like a Band)

The next episode in the TITANS mid-season update is a proper intro for Garfield Logan (aka Beast Boy). Furthermore, it’s also an introduction for the group of people he’s been living with, the Doom Patrol. DOOM PATROL will be another series on the DC Universe app next year. The team consists of Robotman, (voiced by Brendan Fraser), Elasti-Girl, and Mister Negative. They are all persons the majority of society would consider freaks.

TITANS Mid-Season
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Episode 4, aptly titled “Doom Patrol”, begins with Gar finding Rachel in the woods. They had briefly met at the roller rink and she goes with him to a big house. There she meets his housemates: Cliff the Robotman, Larry (Mister Negative), and Rita the Elasti-Girl. The Chief isn’t home, and Cliff warns that Gar shouldn’t have brought Rachel as their group is meant to be a secret. Soon, the Chief arrives with a new patient.

The patient was in an accident that covered her body with liquid nitrogen. Rachel calms her down and they get her stabilized. Later, the Chief tells Gar that he’s very disappointed in him and his selfishness. Later, the Chief tells Rachel about his work and his attempts to help people like Cliff, Rita, Larry, and Gar. He offers to help Rachel. She reluctantly agrees. Dick and Kory find Rachel just as the Chief tries to surgically remove her power.

Raven fights back, her darkness beginning to consume the room. Dick gets her to calm down, telling her that he won’t leave and that she doesn’t have to fight on her own. As Dick, Kory, and Rachel go to leave, Gar decides to go with them. The rest of Doom Patrol encourages him to seek more from his life.

TITANS Mid-Season: The Titans Fight Together

In Episode 5, the Titans, “Come Together.” Hiding out in a small motel, Dick tries to get the group in order. They need to work together to stay alive, and that means knowing how they operate. They go to an old barn and show each other what they can do. Kory, then Gar, then Rachel. When they ask Dick to show what he can do, he says he can keep them alive.

Meanwhile, a new father joins the nuclear family. They go to the car dealership where Dick sold his Porsche for a van and learn his location. Kory tries to get Dick to open up about his past. Dick is struggling to share, as he’s trying to move on from his past. They drink and have sex, but Dick is still unwilling to open up. Then, they are attacked by the nuclear family. Dick goes on the offensive as Robin, revealing his alter ego to the others. They defeat and tie up the nuclear family, but they are refusing to give up their employer.

TITANS Mid-Season
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Dick finds the employer’s name and location in their car. He decides to go find him, telling the others that he’ll return. Gar asks him if he knows Batman and if they’ll get to see him. Dick says no, resulting in a somewhat meta interaction, letting the audience know alongside Gar that we won’t be seeing the Dark Knight any time soon.

Dick tracks down the employer, a man by the name of Doctor Adamson. As he questions him, a strike team arrives from Adamson’s organization to kill them both. They start to beat down Grayson until another Robin arrives knocking them out. He introduces himself to Dick as the new Robin.

TITANS Mid-Season: Dick Has Been Replaced

Episode 6 is great as it introduces us to Jason Todd, the second Robin. As a result, it’s a really great way for us the audience to see why Dick left Batman and why that might not be so bad as we think.

Essentially, Jason Todd has come at Batman’s request due to a case that is personal for Dick. Someone is killing members of the circus Dick and his parents were a part of. Jason found Dick via a tracker in his arm Bruce put in there that Dick was unaware of. This angers Dick and he almost immediately cuts it out once they arrive at one of Bruce’s safe houses in Chicago with an unconscious Adamson.

TITANS Mid-Season
Image from DC Universe

We learn that one of the main reasons Dick left was because he felt like his mask was giving him a license to be something much darker and more violent than he wants to be. Staying with Batman wasn’t helping him resist his own personal darkness. Jason can’t understand why Dick would leave. He believes that kicking the crap out of bad guys with Batman is the best gig ever. Kory, Rachel, and Gar come to the safe house. Kory and Dick talk about Jason. Dick admits he’s struggling with the idea of being replaced. Kory says it shouldn’t be a problem if he truly doesn’t want to be Robin anymore.

TITANS Mid-Season: The Difference Between Dick and Jason

Dick discovers that the man behind the murders is Tony Zucco’s son. Tony Zucco was the man who killed his parents. When Zucco was going to be released for giving names a few years prior, Dick confronted and severely beat him. As he was doing so, the Maroni crime family came to kill Zucco before he could talk. Instead of saving Zucco, Dick let the Maronis kill him. This is probably one of the bigger reasons Dick felt like he had to leave.

TITANS Mid-Season
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Dick confronts Zucco’s son and Jason secretly arrives to help. After apprehending Zucco’s son, the cops arrive. Jason offers to take care of them. Jason assaults the cops, savagely beating them. Dick intervenes, saying that there’s no way Batman is on board with attacking cops. Jason says he’s not, but he’s also not here. Jason says that when he wears the Robin mask he can do whatever he wants. The cops in Gotham used to beat him, so now he’s going to beat them.

He tells Dick that the real difference between them is that Jason knows who he is, while Dick stands there wearing a Robin suit despite not wanting to be Robin. This contrast between the two Robins perfectly shows Dick’s inner conflict with himself. He sees the temptations that come with being Robin, and he’s trying to resist. Jason, however, sees no problem and is completely fine embracing his darkness. It’s precisely the path that will contribute to him becoming Red Hood.

TITANS Mid-Season Conclusion: The Trailer was a Terrible First Impression

Yes, the season is dark. Yes, Robin says F-Batman. However, context is everything. Knowing more about Dick Grayson’s current situation and outlook makes sense as to why he’s trying to distance his life from Bruce Wayne. Furthermore, the show absolutely benefits from having the world already established. Hawk and Dove are older, having fought for more than a few years. Dick is well on his way to eventually becoming Nightwing. It allows for the Titans to integrate themselves in an origin-type situation albeit in ways that are beyond the typical expectation.

For instance, the Doom Patrol episode is great, as it literally introduces a whole separate team of characters before the team that the actual series is about even fully gets together. And it works! Why? I think it’s because the producers have tapped into a narrative series construction that is close to that of actual comics. In the comics, other characters and teams pop-in, meet and fight within other comics all the time. The series is only on DC Universe, where the assumption could be made that the bulk of its audience is those already familiar with the comic narrative.

The trailer does a terrible job of communicating this, preferring to let us know that this show is darker than any TITANS shows we’ve seen before. I will concede that the darkness can be over the top at times, a result of this over-stressed point. Regardless, I will say that I am enjoying TITANS so far. Each episode of TITANS mid-season has become remarkably better as they go on. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next as we go into the back-half.

TITANS is currently streaming on the DC Universe app.

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