DC Entertainment has a lot on their hands in regards to their cinematic worlds. To top off this year, James Gunn came out with a new slate for DC Studios, seeing the end of the DCEU. Shazam! Fury of the Gods came out in February only to come out on digital three weeks into its run. The Flash remains focused to reboot the universe while Blue Beetle‘s placement in the new universe remains a mystery. Aside from movies, shows like CW’s The Flash and Doom Patrol are nearing their own finales in the new age of DC. For HBO Max’s Titans, this show falls into that category, but its payoff leaves a bittersweet resolution for the iconic team of heroes.
The finale of season one’s first part saw the team, led by Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites), face off against Mother Mayhem (Franka Potente) as she fully influenced Sebastian Blood (Joseph Morgan) to become Trigon’s new vessel. Though Starfire (Anna Diop), Raven (Teagan Croft), Superboy (Joshua Orpin), and Robin (Jay Lycurgo) were able to divert the two Trigonic cultists successfully, Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) disappeared from the scene and Jinx (Lisa Ambalavanar) died at the hands of Mayhem. With the Titans at a new crossroads, their mission to save the world has become a lot more complicated as the rise of Blood pressures the team to go farther than they ever have.
To be completely honest, while the season’s first few episodes were a mixed bag for me, these next episodes improve on those branching storylines from the season’s beginnings. The episodes still have center on Starfire and the Tamaranean prophecy that sees Trigon’s rise. The first three episodes help solidify Starfire’s purpose while building on her chemistry with Nightwing from the season’s first half. The tidbits we get between Starfire and Nightwing continue to hone in on what makes this relationship beloved. The performances feel natural, albeit the writing sometimes feels cliché, but it just continues to blossom wonderfully. Mind you, this is just on the surface; there are several more improvements like Beast Boy’s storyline.
Beast Boy’s story in this season has mostly remained personal with Gar going deeper into his animalistic roots in the Red. While this storyline has been occurring behind the Titans’ campaign, it gets pushed to a higher level that perfectly centers Gar’s character and role in the team. It feels like Beast Boy had a lot more purpose this season and the writers put him on the right direction with this closer examination of his powers and his characterization. Plus, Potter puts on a really great performance as Gar, providing a great balance of sweetness and seriousness in each scene. Be on the watch for the episode “Dude, Where’s My Gar?”, trust me, it’s more than just the title.
Besides improvements with Beast Boy’s characterization, Superboy’s development also left me intrigued. The first part of the season imposed the question of who will Superboy grow up to be: Superman or Lex Luthor? Though Luthor is out of the picture physically, his shadow hides in plain sight with clues and plot devices to propel Connor to embody his creator. Superboy’s actions this time have much more impact than what he had done previously and it really allows Connor to show these different shades to his personality that we haven’t seen.
Furthermore, Tim Drake and Raven’s relationships flesh themselves in ways that test the waters. Raven and Sebastian’s familial bond completely shatters by the start of this half. Gone is the empathy shared by the two as Sebastian takes his new role as Brother Blood. However, the bond still remains, fueled by Raven and Sebastian’s need for retribution. This relationship provides another layer of grittiness on top of Superboy’s storyline, though you can be certain these layers intertwine.
Meanwhile, Tim and Bernard’s (James Scully) relationship still feels a bit unnatural with the show’s pacing, though it’s remedied by better performances this time around. It provides some lightheartedness as the show presses forward, though it wants to try everything at once in the moments it can. Although, it does move away to make room for Tim’s maturing into the next evolution of Robin, which allows for Lycurgo to showcase his own take on the role. This definitely had potential to grow out, but I understand why everything had to be packed into this season.
Besides the characters, the action gets really, really dark. Sure, you still have those superhero-y fights with special effects, but we also get more physical, hard-hitting sequences with the right amount of gore. The choreography keeps getting better and better and the creative team seems to nail the mark. Outside of the action, the gore we get may be a bit too much for some in certain scenes. However, with a bold tone that Titans has, it fits in line while also heightening the stakes of each episode in a way that will keep you hooked. Plus, can we talk about those suit designs? The team finally mastered these too!
Overall, Titans‘ fourth season is a bittersweet sendoff, even if there are some bumps in its journey to find its footing. As one of the last vestiges of the old DC, it leaves the show on a high note while paving the way for new opportunities for such a great cast as this ensemble. What the future holds for the Titans in the new age of DC Studios remains unknown.
However, there’s no doubt about the fact that Titans has incredibly impacted those that wanted this team to come to life. Who knows? Maybe one day, we’ll get to see the Titans together again.
The second half of Titans‘ fourth season will begin its run on April 13 on HBO Max. Additionally, you can read our review on the first part of the season here.