Another week, another new episode of Titans. This episode, titled (rather unceremoniously) “Jason Todd”, picks up immediately after the closing moments of the last. Focusing almost entirely on the new and strained relationship between Old-Robin, a.k.a. Dick Grayson, and New-Robin, a.k.a. Jason Todd, the episode follows the duo as they attempt to track down a serial killer who has a penchant for acid-baths, and as luck would have it, his sights are set on Dick. Kory, Rachel, and Gar make minimal appearances, though they do contribute a few good laughs.
First, let me just say that I did, overall, like this episode. It focuses on one major conflict, with that conflict being character driven, and nearly every action serves the purpose of pushing that conflict to its logical conclusion. It’s well-crafted, it’s evenly-paced, and it’s engaging. Curran Walters turns in a performance as Jason Todd that is decidedly his own, albeit a tad cheesy. The character is clear foil to Dick Grayson, and Walters uses a style that is both energetic and laissez-faire to accentuate that idea. While Dick is generally contemplative and solemn about his upbringing as Bruce Wayne’s ward, Jason is outwardly excited and grateful for it. Whether or not Bruce does more harm than good with his adoption and subsequent use of orphans in his fight against crime is not a new line of debate, but it’s still effective and, in this instance, boiled down to the important talking points.
All of this introspection, however, is to the detriment of the episode’s villain. He serves no purpose other than to continue the “Monster-of-the-Week”-formula that is still severely crippling the show, and the climax of the whole thing is such a one-note affair that you could practically sleep through it without missing a beat. This isn’t anything new to the narrative strategy that the writers have taken with the show, but at least with earlier episodes it was still vaguely connected to the overall plot. With both the character development and active threat being almost entirely removed from the show’s main story, what exactly does this episode contribute?
At this point, the show is on its second half, and as such, we should be building towards a central threat and, ultimately, a satisfying conclusion. Yet, I find myself asking this week, “What purpose does this serve?” Why is it that, with no proper antagonist other than the vaguely defined “Them” referenced by Anderson in Episode 5, we’ve devoted a whole episode to saying, once again, “Dick doesn’t like Batman.” That is, perhaps, an oversimplification of the internal struggle that Dick goes through when faced with his replacement and what it means to him; but at the end of the day, it’s a development that doesn’t fit in the spot it’s been given. This would have worked better either earlier in Season 1 or at the beginning of Season 2. Make no mistake, in a vacuum, Episode 6 is one of the better episodes of the series thus far. However, as a piece of a larger story, it never manages to become anything more than filler.
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