Titans Season 4, Episode 3 was a fun, frustrating mess that will leave DC fans scratching their heads and wanting more all at once.
There’s something about Titans that sets it apart from all other comic book television. It’s hard to describe what makes this show work, but easy to see why it disappoints at the same time. What’s confusing is why it’s so hard to quit watching. Titans has had its hooks in fans (myself included) for years despite cheesy writing, randomly dropped characters, and a myriad of other issues.
Yet despite all of its problems, Titans routinely shows moments of promise. Sometimes, Titans even approaches true DC TV excellence. Take the brand-new episode of Titans for example. Titans, Season 4, Episode 3, “Jinx” is a mixed bag, but it gave me hope for the future.
I know that I would have a good time rewatching Jinx sometime soon. This episode was far from perfect, but it’s generally an exciting introduction to Jinx. On top of that, I really enjoyed the development of the team, from Superboy to Beast Boy to Raven, and so on and so forth. Each and every Titan got some time to shine, even if it was brief.
TITANS: THESE YOUNG DC HEROES ARE STRANGELY COMPELLING
Maybe that ensemble dynamic is what makes Titans so addictive. Even if it is flawed, there’s just something about seeing the Teen Titans version of the DC Universe brought to life in live-action each week, with a rotating cast of icons. In fact, the biggest problem with this week’s episode of Titans is that it focuses too much on Dick Grayson, AKA Nightwing.
Titans always threads multiple needles at once, telling multiple stories that intersect at the same time. Some episodes feature the Titans unified for longer periods than others, but Jinx opted to split the team into several parts. Beast Boy and Raven, as well as Tim Drake and Superboy paired off for their respective sidequests. Starfire does her own thing for most of the episode, while Nightwing goes on an adventure with Jinx.
Dick Grayson resembles Bruce Wayne in so many ways, both on Titans and in other adaptations of the character. He is the son of Gotham, the first Boy Wonder, and Bruce’s adoptive son. He has access to the Wayne fortune, which he uses liberally and extravagantly, though his demeanor is still modest. He likes women, respect for his authority, and being direct. Nightwing is a mirror image of The Batman, even if he doesn’t want to admit it.
TITANS: DICK GRAYSON ACTS A LOT LIKE HIS DAD THIS WEEK
So before dragging Titans through the mud for presenting Nightwing as a total Dick in his relationship with Jinx, I need to add one caveat. The Batman of Titans eventually becomes a murderous, suicidal tragedy, and Dick watches this happen and tries to stop it unsuccessfully. Perhaps he knows not to become his father. Maybe Jamie Goremberg had this in mind when writing this episode.
But if that’s the case, why reveal Dick Grayson to be such an unremorseful piece of work when he worked in Gotham as Robin? When Jinx and Nightwing split off to go after an Elf Magician, it’s like their sad and twisted sexual-romantic history in Gotham is all they talk about. Dick comes off as a real “Chad” who struggles to respect or connect with the women in his life…which is total Bruce Wayne energy.
Their romance and partnership in fighting crime does not sound like it went well, and Jinx blames that on DIck’s distrusting nature.
Speaking of Starfire, Jinx says “This girl must be different. I figured she was just your next pump and dump informant.” Dick rebukes her callous manner of speech, she says that she’s just “telling it like it is”, and he responds “We both knew the deal. Gotham was just business”. Make of that what you will.
I appreciate director Boris Mosjovski and writer Jamie Gorenberg for painting a rougher, more complex and flawed picture of Nightwing. And I do still like the former Boy Wonder, even if he left me cringing repeatedly when interacting with Jinx. The challenge is how Dick is still supposed to be this “good guy” that we root for despite his ugliness, while Jinx is arguably painted as the jaded, crazy ex-flame. That’s a stereotype which we need no more of.
TITANS: JINX COULD BE A MAGICAL ADDITION TO THE TEAM
Lisa Ambalavanar has already won my heart over with her strong, witty, bold performance.
I really like Jinx, and I think that with the right direction, this could be a fantastic adaptation of the beloved DC comics character. But if she is handled poorly, her arc could be one of Titans biggest blunders yet. Here’s to hoping the adventures of Dick Grayson and Jinx are easier to appreciate next week and beyond.
The team dynamic is lacking in this week’s episode, but the smaller focused stories were working well with the time they had. Superboy’s arrogance, the “Lex side” of his character is really coming to the surface, and he even gets a fun, cheesy super-powered action scene. Tim Drake’s excitement to become Robin is palpable and contagious. Raven showed a newfound exuberance and passion for the little things as she experienced life without her powers.
Raven goes with Beast Boy on a journey into the woods, where they hope to seek out Beast Boy’s connection to the mysterious red force that’s been communicating with him. Their chemistry and budding romance is wonderful, but their arc this week is over before it gets to a strong stopping point, which was annoying. Weekly, serialized storytelling is the format in play here, but satisfying endings are still a must have.
Another issue that I’ve noticed with the writing on Titans is that some of the dialogue feels very interchangeable. Raven might be having a conversation with Beast Boy, and the words one of them are saying sound like they could be said by anyone. If Titans could move past the amateurism of interchangeable and overly expository dialogue, it could become something much grander.
All in all, Titans Season 4, Episode 3, Jinx was more entertaining and engaging than the premiere of the first two episodes. The show isn’t perfect, but it continues to drag me along with charming character moments, superheroes that we already love and want to invest in, and a great ensemble cast who really outshines the script.
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