On the Titans Season 2 finale this week, the character of Dick Grayson finally donned the Nightwing costume. Now, delaying this until the end of the second season of the flagship series for DC Universe might have made sense. However, pretty much everyone watching the show expected him to become Nightwing. Thus, rather than a heroic moment where Grayson assumed an earned mantle, the fanbase merely shouted a collective “Finally” at their screens. Beyond that, however, this episode actually fails to compare to the Titans season 1 finale, which wasn’t really a finale at all. In fairness, any review of the Titans season 2 finale should look at it through two lenses. The first, of course, is as an episode of television that resolves the season-long arcs of the series. The second, though, is as the flagship series of a streaming service whose future is less-than-certain in the age of the streaming wars.
As a reason to subscribe to DC Universe and an example of what they can do, the Titans season 2 finale is an unmitigated success. They introduced new characters and kept the stakes high. Everyone saw growth or regression. If DC Universe is to remain separate from the other WarnerMedia streaming service, HBOMax, Titans is a good example of why. They can create a self-contained universe full of big names and deep cuts from the comics. (I still marvel every so often that Hawk and Dove are major characters in this series.) They will inevitably start spinning off shows. Essentially, super-producer Greg Berlanti hopes to replicate his CW successes on DC Universe.
Now, as an episode of television? The Titans season 2 finale left a lot to be desired, just like last year.
Image via DC Universe
Titans Season 2 Finale Delivers Nightwing, Surprising No One
From the moment Dick Grayson burned his Robin costume near the end of the first seasons, fans knew he would assume the mantle of Nightwing. Yet, for some reason, the producers decided to delay this reveal until the final episode. There is no good reason for this. Throughout the season, Dick Grayson has just been out there doing superhero shit with his face open to the world. Villains, if not the public-at-large, might at least wonder about the billionaire’s adopted son out there kicking ass. The series wanted to give Grayson a hero’s journey of sorts, allowing him to step out of Batman’s shadow. Yet, he’d already done that from the pilot episode.
The audience had to endure imaginary standoffs with Bruce Wayne (including one made manifest in the real world thanks to Raven?). They had to wait while Dick, inexplicably, decides to send himself to jail. Also, we had to wait for him to get over a character’s death that was, clearly, not his fault. Now, if they had made it so that no one but Dick thought he was responsible for this death? That would have been interesting. But, nope, everyone blamed him for the death of a character he had almost nothing to do with. In fact, since the death was a sacrifice of sorts, it undercut the character’s agency. Of course, because comic books, the character isn’t even actually dead.
Still, with Dick Grayson fully Nightwing and ready to assume leadership of this Junior Justice League, the show should markedly improve in Titans season 3.
Donna Troy Deserved So, So Much Better
Image via screengrab
If Titans didn’t know what to do with Dick Grayson, then it definitely didn’t know what to do with Wonder Girl. First, she’s constantly angry. She loses her love interest at the hands of Deathstroke. Then, Deathstroke kicks her ass, almost killing her. (Regular human Dick Grayson can fight him to a draw, but an Amazonian warrior can’t?) She gets angry at Dick for the character death that resulted from him looking to avenge said ass-kicking. Donna is a terrible babysitter, losing an out-of-control Raven almost immediately. Finally, after going toe-to-toe with Superboy, she’s killed by electricity? Not only does this show massive inconsistencies with her power levels, but it just doesn’t make sense. Of course, like with Nightwing, this is setting up “Wonder Girl” to make the transition to the character Troia. Raven can bring people back from the dead, and she’s almost certain to do that next season. She goes off to Themyscira with Donna’s corpse.
The Titans Character Problems Mar an Otherwise Excellent Season 2 Finale
Image via DC Universe
If you’ve gotten this far through my review of the Titans season 2 finale, you might think I didn’t like it. I did, I just lament many of the story choices made throughout. Still, this was a solid episode and season of superhero television. The appearance of Lex Luthor’s right-hand Mercy Graves was a highlight. Their villainous ability to mind-control superheroes is genuinely terrifying. Hopefully, this is something that will be explored next season. Nonetheless, it was a great way to show how the villains could take the broken Titans and turn the public against them. The show had too many plates in the air to fully capitalize on this. Yet, it’s the one natural set-up that demands to be paid off in future seasons.
The next season of the show will undoubtedly be better. The team is together now, and it can develop a more procedural element. The Titans need to face off with more costumed creeps. We also need to see how the justice system and public reacts to them. It also will allow them to serve as a launchpad for countless many new series set in this universe. Both for the DC Universe streaming service and as part of the slate of new shows Greg Berlanti will develop for HBOMax. Despite its stumbles, Titans is an ambitious and entertaining superhero show.
What did you think of the Titans season 2 finale? Share your thoughts, critiques, and hopes for next year in the comments below.
Featured image via DC Universe.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.