Souls Is The First Titans Episode Of Season 3 With Teagan Croft’s Raven
After more than half of season 3 of Titans has aired, we’ve gotten our first episode with both Teagan Croft’s Raven and Conor Leslie’s Donna Troy. Well, we did get a glimpse of a black-clad Donna in the season 3 premiere episodes of Titans. Yet, it wasn’t really a substantial introduction. In Souls, however, we check in with a number of characters we’ve not seen in some time. There’s Iain Glen’s Bruce Wayne, missing since he killed the Joker. Then there is Alan Ritchman’s Hawk who died in the third episode. We also find out that the situation Jay Lycurgo’s Tim Drake found himself at the end of the last episode was much more dire than we first thought. And, while death is never really permanent in the comic book context, this does feel like a final goodbye to one of these characters.
Season 3 of Titans has been the best of the series so far, but it is a nearly criminal that the first episode with Raven took this long to get here. The season is two-thirds of the way through, and it feels strange to sideline a character that much of the first two seasons focused on. It makes more sense to keep Conor Leslie on the sidelines, since the storytellers wanted Donna’s death to feel permanent. Yet, I cannot fathom why they would want Raven out of commission for so long. Especially so much of both seasons devoted time to showing her struggling to adapt to her powers.
Of course, some folks criticized the Raven story very heavily. So, this could all just be a decision by the storytellers to really make us miss her.
Spoilers to follow.
Image by Ben Mark Holzberg via HBOMax
The First Episode of Titans With Raven Takes Place on a Different Kind of Themyscira
Unlike the Themyscira in the DCEU, this one is less active and more rigid and robotic. From their manner of speaking to the type of training we see Raven doing, we get a tiny sense of why Donna was so disenchanted with the island home of the Amazons. (Also, it feels like they go out of their way to not mention the most famous Amazon, but I digress.) It appears that there is a ritual that can bring back any Amazon who has died, but it doesn’t work with any kind of consistency. We’ve also seen Raven bring the dead back to life, yet again her powers aren’t working as they should. However, the other part of the episode perhaps explains why that is.
Keeping the focus on Raven, most of us hoped this time away would allow the storytellers to essentially soft-reboot the character. After all of her uncertainty and self-doubt, she could return from Themyscira as a confident and efficient superhero. While that may be in the cards, we didn’t see much evidence of that in practice. Still, Raven’s attitude throughout the episode does indicate that she is a bit more adept at controlling her abilities than before. Yet, as is always the case with Raven, it seems that the problem is more emotional than practical.
It seems that the first episode of Titans in season 3 that gives us Raven is showing us how she comes to terms with Donna’s death. She fails her “test” shown in the episode, but its purpose was less about her capabilities and more about accepting that there are some things she cannot control. Of course, it does undercut this emotional journey a bit knowing that while Donna seemingly gave in to death, she’s not actually gone.
Image by Ben Mark Holzberg via HBOMax
The Black and White Beyond Is Where Hank Will Likely Stay
As good as it was to see Raven again (and her super-dope Themyscira duds), the truly interesting story doesn’t take place on the mortal plane. Rather, Donna and Tim Drake are passengers on a black and white train in the afterlife. It takes people to their “final destination,” though it is possible to get off the train early. In fact, as Tim jumps from the train disoriented, Donna follows him because she’s not as done being a hero as she thinks. They face off with Lynchian “ghouls” in the forest of the afterlife, until they are saved by a mysterious man with a sick ride. Yes, after his death in the third episode we get to see Hank again.
The scene in which Hank talks about his death was perfect. It drove home (no pun intended) for me how much I will miss his antagonistic character. In a bit of a twist, Hank is the most powerful character in this realm. He understands the rules and is able to summon everything from martinis to guns out of the ether. The thrust of this part of the episode is Hank trying to take Donna, Tim, and himself back to the mortal plane. Predictably, only Donna and Tim are able to make it. Yet, Hank is reunited with his late half-brother Don, played by Eliot Knight, and together they are going to fight the ghouls and save lost souls. If this is the last time we see Hank, it’s a fitting end to a character I never thought I’d see in live-action.
So, Tim Drake is back. However, we instead catch up with Donna Troy whose body and soul is not in Themyscira but rather in the right place to stop Bruce Wayne from burning himself alive.
Titans debuts new episodes Thursdays on HBOMax.
What did you think of the first episode of Titans in season 3 to feature Raven and Wonder Girl? Share your thoughts, theories, and reactions in the comments below.
Featured image via HBOMax
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.