Titans S01E02 "Hawk and Dove" Review

When last we saw the Titans, they had yet to come together as a foursome and tonight's episode continues in that regard. However, in the place of further character content for Starfire and Beast Boy we learn more about masked vigilantes Hawk and Dove (Hank Hall and Dawn Granger) who not only fight crime together but are involved romantically. Their relationship may not be perfect but it's evident that their connection is real. After a sufficient amount of back story to their crime-fighting and the occasional domestic dispute, we are re-introduced to them in present day.

Dick struggles to take care of Rachel. From the audience perspective, he is every bit the tender caretaker that she needs right now. But Dick doubts his own abilities to look after her, particularly since he continues to wrestle with his complicated history with Bruce Wayne. He brings Rachel to Dawn, whom Rachel can immediately sense has a complicated, once-romantic history with Dick. Eventually, Dick and Hank end up in a fight over this shared history but Rachel's dark powers manifest and she separates them accordingly. Dawn is compassionate and understanding of Rachel being lost and confused regarding her powers. Dick wants to leave Rachel in the care of Dawn and Hank and when Rachel later discovers this she is furious at Dick having lied about promising to not ever leave her behind. But an ominous new threat arrives before they can resolve this fight.

A villainous group known as 'The Nuclear Family' is activated through the injection of some mysterious serums which they each inject into their arms. This leads to them having incredible strength and an even eerier disposition as they work together to hunt down Rachel, per the orders of their handler. They first attack Dick's new partner, Detective Amy Rohrbach, demanding to know where Dick is since Rachel is bound to be with him. Dick is busy helping Hawk and Dove take down an arms dealer that the pair have fought before. But Dick's manner of taking him and his crew out is far more brutal and impactful than the comparatively short-term damage Hawk and Dove had previously done. Fast-forward to Rachel and Dick arguing about Dick's attempted abandonment of her, The Nuclear Family shows up and attacks the group. Dick, Hank, and Dawn are all defeated. By the time Dick gets back up to the roof and regains his bearings he is horrified to find that Rachel has been kidnapped once again and that Dawn has been badly injured. The episode ends with him attempting to keep her alive via CPR.

Though it seems strange to veer "Titans" off course from the prior introduction of Starfire and Beast Boy, both of whom are entirely absent this week, it's still overall another solid episode. Robin's brutal style of action is a real feast for the eyes of those who enjoy the art of fight choreography and how filmmakers can artistically present it. On a deeper level, it's also a fascinating character detail for Dick considering how much of himself he keeps concealed within himself. But the internal pain and traumas he tries to keep hidden come exploding out of him when he battles various foes. This new villainous group "The Nuclear Family" was also well put-together in how menacing they came across. From the acting to the other filmmaking aspects that clearly communicate how much of a threat they are, it was all very effective. Hank and Dawn were also an interesting addition to the show, as the enhanced world-building made us all the more intrigued to see what other characters will be brought into the story.

"Titans" airs on Fridays on DC Universe.


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