Season 2 Episode 1: Trigon
I am trying something new here. For the next twelve weeks, a new episode of Titans will be hitting the DCUniverse app. I am going to write a review of each one.
‘Trigon’ pick up where things left off almost a year ago. Rachel/Raven’s father, the demon Trigon, has shown up. Donna and Kory are stuck outside the farmhouse where this demon summoning is occurring. Inside, Raven and Gar are on the run from Dick. Dick has turned evil, thanks to the events in the hallucinatory finale last season. As Raven and Gar escape from the demonically controlled Dick, back-up arrives; Hawk and Dove have teamed up with Jason Todd and tracked the team down. Together with Kory and Donna they try to get into the farmhouse to help.
That turns out to be exactly what Trigon wanted. Each member of the team goes through the same thing Dick did; visions that get them to give in to their dark side. There are some interesting ways that happens here. Donna faces the death of her father, Kori finishing her mission to stop Raven from summoning Trigon, etc. It is a good look at characters who maybe didn’t quite get the focus that some of the others did in the last season. It ends with everyone, save Gar, turned to the demonic side. The now evil team then assaults Gar, until he can snap Raven out of her evil trance. Then Raven uses her powers to do the same for Dick. While this was going on, Trigon has assumed his true demon form and killed Raven’s mother. Raven confronts him and pretty summarily defeats him. With Trigon gone, the team goes back to normal.
Then the show moves into wrap up; the various characters go their separate ways. Dick has a little heart to heart with Bruce Wayne and decides to officially bring the Titans back, with Jason, Raven and Gar sticking around to be on the team. Donna, Hawk and Dove go back to their lives, while Kori heads to her home planet. Meanwhile, Deathstroke the Terminator has heard the Titans are back and decides to come out of retirement to take them on.
There is no getting around this: this episode is not really the first of a new season, it is the finale of last season. I don’t know why DC decided to hold it back for this season; I would guess there were some reshoots at the end once they knew the show was coming back for a second season. Adding in the bit with Bruce and the final reveal seem like late additions. That makes it hard to dig into, though, because it has been a year since the set ups that this episode pays off. It took me a while to remember exactly how things left off, especially with characters like Hawk and Dove. Once the show finishes with the Trigon plot, which is fairly well executed horror themed superhero stuff, it does get into setting up the coming season. At least, I hope that is what it was doing. The team goes their separate ways, but other than Hawk and Dove I find it hard to believe they won’t all be back. And I would bet against Hawk and Dove coming back.
While the immediate problem has been solved, the larger problems these damaged teens and no longer teens have issues to sort out. Dick appears to have wrestled with his dark side, for now, and Raven is ready to do something other than run from her devil daddy. The big revelation of this episode is Slade Wilson, i.e. Deathstroke. In the comics, he makes for a much more interesting villain than Trigon, who has never been all that interesting. Deathstroke manages to be both obviously evil, he is an assassin who spends a lot of his time trying to kill teenagers, but also to have some depth. With Deathstroke working to tear this nascent team apart, I am sure things will get interesting fast.
The other thing that needs to be addressed with the show is the darkness that seemed to kind of doom the show’s reception last year. A lot of people seem to have written it off from the first trailer, which is really doing what is a very good show a disservice. There is darkness in this show, but it has only rarely felt out of place. There is darkness inherent is so many of these characters. The first season, and this episode, primarily focused on Raven and Dick. Raven’s story is straight up dark; she is the child of a literal demon. Fighting her demonic heritage is a big part of her character. Dick is a dark character if you really look at it. His parents were murdered by the mob and he was taken in by a billionaire who suffered a similar tragedy and decided to take revenge on the very concept of crime. He has not lead a normal life, or on free of darkness. Now, comic book Dick Grayson is usually notable for how bright a character he is, especially in the context of Batman characters. This show, at least so far, has gone a different direction, but not one that is unheard of. That said, this episode feels like it purged a lot of the remaining overt darkness. I don’t expect the show to be lightness from here on, but I expect the buoyancy that shined in the middle episodes of last season to take over a little more.
That is all for this week, but I am really ready for the actual start of the new season next week.