This episode is a mess, no two ways about it. Spoiler alert. I have to use spoilers in order to talk about this one.
The first half of the second season premiere for Titans was actually shot as the finale for the first season, and details the climactic battle between Raven (Teagan Croft) and her evil father, Trigon (Seamus Deaver).
In the season finale as aired, we saw Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) fall under Trigon’s power, after experiencing an imaginary reality in which he murdered Batman. This episode picks up immediately after that. Hawk & Dove (Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly) go to pick up Jason Todd (Curran Walters), the new Robin, and join Kory Anders (Anna Diop) and Donna Troy (Conor Leslie), as they enter Trigon’s house. The plot is derived from the first story arc of the New Teen Titans series that began in 1985. As in that one, we see the various members of the team also experience imaginary realities that play on their fears and weaknesses, prompting them into actions that leave them vulnerable to Trigon’s influence.
But Raven is the real prize, and Trigon only corrupted her friends in order to turn them all against Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), whose death sends Raven over the edge, enabling Trigon to fully take control of her power.
Or at least, that was the plan.
Even just looking at this part of the episode, I had issues and questions. Why did Raven rouse Dove out of her coma, and send her for Jason Todd, when Robin doesn’t actually do anything of significance when it comes time to take down Trigon? What was Raven’s plan with the kid?
And did Beast Boy originally die in the season finale? We keep hearing that he is dead, and he looks like he is. But then he suddenly shows up in the body of a green snake. It took me a moment to register that. In the comics, Gar Logan can take the form of any animal, but in the first season he could only adopt the body of a tiger. No one comments on, or even seems to be aware of, the fact that Gar has manifested an ability that no one knew he had. And he didn’t appear to change form while he was being beaten, so it’s not like he morphed into a snake body in order to avoid being killed.
But it is Beast Boy who manages to talk Raven down, get her out from under Trigon’s spell. Raven then defeats her father and frees the other members of the team. The group splits into two, with Kory Anders opting to head out on her own. And the episode ends.
Oh, no, actually it doesn’t.
There is a massive change of tone and pace as the episode goes on for about another twenty minutes. This second half was clearly not part of the finale for season one, leading me to believe that a severe editing job was done on that episode, to make time for this new stuff.
Iain Glen makes his debut as Bruce Wayne (although I still see him as Jorah Mormont). Dick Grayson comes to meet with Bruce, and express the feelings he had been dealing with about the way Bruce raised him. Emotionally, this really doesn’t jibe very well with the intensity that Dick had been displaying earlier in the episode, most likely a result of the long break between the filming of the two parts.
Deathstroke (Esai Morales) also shows up, in a couple of scenes that require one to know who the character is in order to understand why we are even watching him. Then we get a really long sequence as the team, now consisting of Both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, as well as Raven and Beast Boy, move into their new San Francisco headquarters.
None of this matches the energy of the first part of the episode, making it all feel like a very long and slow epilogue, more than the base from which the second season will grow.
Still, I have to admit, for all its problems this episode did not dampen my enthusiasm for the series, or my expectations for the rest of the season. I think it was a terrible idea to merge two episodes into one, and that decision resulted in a very flawed season premiere.