Titans season 2, episode 3 review: Ghosts

Titans -- Ep. 203 -- “Ghosts” -- Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Titans -- Ep. 203 -- “Ghosts” -- Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Titans continues to set things up with its third episode of season 2, with one of the more interesting aspects being the focus on Jason Todd.

Spoilers ahead.

The third episode of Titans season 2, entitled “Ghosts”, shows that the team is disjointed and unsure of itself. The only complaint thus far this season is that the story has been a bit slow. But as the season has now finished three episodes, the pace of the storytelling will hopefully increase.

Worthy adversary

The first episode of Titans season 2 was fine in terms of finishing off the story from the end of last season. However, Trigon (Rachel’s demon father) feels like an enemy that is too big. The stakes are just so large with that character in terms of being a worldwide threat. And honestly, the CG version of Trigon doesn’t look all that real.

The shift towards (Slade Wilson) and Doctor Light (Arthur Light) gives viewers a much more believable pair of villains for this particular Titans team. Doctor Light’s powers, in particular, also count upon CG effects but look a lot better on screen. This makes the fights more believable.

And then there’s Deathstroke. Wilson is a more calculating villain – always looking to test his adversaries. Slade speaks of putting the Titans “in crisis” during the episode. That alone makes it easy to get hooked on this particular bad guy.

Deathstroke is going to go the extra mile to screw with the Titans. It just feels like Wilson is a different kind of danger. Yet the threat is very much to the team and not the world at large. It gives the storytelling more focus.

History and mystery

One of the better aspects of this second season of Titans is that the titular team has a previous history. The first Robin (Dick Grayson), Hawk (Hank), Dove (Dawn), and Wonder Girl (Donna) once formed the original Titans team. It is a nice detail for the show, as it now establishes that the roster of the Titans has a past (mistakes and all), and can now be fluid going forward with this new iteration.

But the other great part is that the original team stopped working together because of their last battle with Deathstroke. What exactly happened has not yet been revealed but, clearly, Donna thinks Dick is foolish for starting another Titans team.

Clearly, the past will be revealed as the season continues. But for now, Grayson keeps being referred to as a “camp counselor” or “den mother” to this young group of heroes. It is clear that Dick has no identity (at least as a superhero) since burning the Robin suit in season 1.

If handled properly, this season should have a strong story in building towards Grayson becoming Nightwing. It is clear that Dick doesn’t know what he is at this point. But he wants to do the right thing, which has always been the main drive of this character. But without the Robin identity, Dick really seems unsure of himself at this point in the series.

The second Robin

Jason Todd’s inclusion in the first season of Titans was refreshing. Todd has had so little screen time over the years. So, it feels like it is time for Jason to get his just due. In Batman: The Animated Series, Todd was never an acknowledged Robin – going directly from Grayson to Tim Drake. In Young Justice, Todd’s death is acknowledged, but no time is spent with Jason as Robin. Although the show did seemingly acknowledge that Jason could return as the Red Hood – at some point in the Young Justice continuity.

So with Titans, it is finally time to see Todd in action as Robin. Since the character was voted upon by fans to be killed by the Joker in the “A Death in the Family” storyline from 1988, Todd always carries the burden of being unworthy of the Robin mantle.

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Titans has shown that Jason is aggressive, arrogant, and vastly different from his predecessor (Grayson). But there is also another side to be explored with this show. Jason refers to himself as a “dirty little favor to Bruce” when speaking with Beast Boy (Garfield Logan). There is a vulnerability underneath the vulgarity and ego of this character.

It is clear that Jason has a low opinion of himself, and it feels like he is worried that his life as a superhero might get taken away at some point – like he doesn’t deserve to be Robin in the first place. So he is constantly acting out (and acting tough) because he knows no other way to show he belongs. Everything else, including his bravado, is just masking his insecurities.

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The writers have struck gold with Todd’s inclusion in Titans and, hopefully, they continue to explore him. We shall certainly see. New episodes of Titans’ second season are released every Friday on the DC Universe streaming service.