Titans Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Hawk and Dove
Titans introduces two additional heroes in its follow-up to the premiere episode
If there was any doubt at any point that this was a supremely adult take on familiar, classic and childhood DC Comics sidekicks, look no further than Episode 2. If there was also any doubt over whether this show is trying to build a B-Team out of an assortment of B-list superheroes, the likes of which the general audience has most likely never heard of, again look no further than this episode. It resolves both quandaries, makes its intentions pretty clear, and delivers a tightly coupled episode that introduces two new heroes along with a family of crazy psychopaths. That’s some gripping stuff.
Superhero duo Hank and Dawn who’ve adopted the monikers of Hawk and Dove respectively are eager to retire from their aggressively violent and stressful lifestyle. They believe that one last job of apprehending a criminal lord will leave them with enough bounty to escape this dual life forever. For the most part, both actors are convincing in their roles, even if their performances come across a bit hackneyed and artificially forced at times which unfortunately again, reminds me of Gotham. The costumes are as gritty and real-world as can be in the world of Titans without making them come across as silly, which they would if they were placed in Nolan’s universe. Thankfully, the show makes it work tonally and the duo never feel out of place, even though the sex scenes can get a bit weird as they’re interjected for no reason at times.
It turns out though that the duo share a past with Robin that involves Dick and Hank having butted heads over Dawn. This is almost instantly clear the moment Dawn has the briefest of visions eyeing Dick in a manner that totally gives it away before the rather unnecessary reveal of them in bed. It’s good though that so much history is conveyed without getting too much into the specifics although I would’ve preferred that the showrunners keep it even more minimal and avoid any overt references entirely. Still, it’s the nature of the world we live in I guess, where even the most obvious of details need to be reiterated for them to register with the audience watching it.
Starfire is entirely absent from the episode, perhaps in transit all the way to meet Rachel, who has a lot more beastly occurrences in this episode than in the prior one. Her innate ability of being able to sense a person’s past by merely touching her is also revealed. Meanwhile, there’s a wacky family of psychopaths in town who get their boost of strength by injecting each other with some form of drug that drives them violently crazy. Nothing more is revealed save for the fact that they seemingly arrive out of nowhere to kill H & D and end up doing some serious damage which I’d rather not spoil here. Hopefully it’s not permanent and is just the show’s way of trying to end an episode on a cliffhanger.
I’m in two minds about the teenage love-story triangle between Dick, Hank and Dawn. The viewer in me loathes it, having seen it far too often in romantic comedies and countless other teen movies that have plagued the movie industry. Having said that, I totally get the purpose of introducing or including that angle in the context of the show; being something that deals with teenage superheroes, teenage emotions are important to be presented. It’s why I anticipate a lot of arcs about finding oneself and getting out of messy life situations and shaping of characters which are synonymous with teenage growth, so I guess I’m fine with that in this context.
I’m also aware that my comic knowledge is rather slim at this point and I’m seeing stuff I haven’t largely heard about in the comics. Save for the Batman stuff (it was cool by the way to see Dick interact with Alfred, which gives a shimmer of hope that we could also see Bruce Wayne on the show himself someday), most everything else is new territory for me, having largely been used to A-list DC heroes and well-known teams like the Justice League. But that’s partly the fun in the show – getting to see a side of the DC Universe that I simply haven’t been exposed to in a long while. I sincerely hope Titans continues to not only introduce but develop these new characters and maintains its tight storytelling which should continue to make it an engaging watch, no matter who’s on screen.