On the previous episode, Dick (Brenton Thwaites) went to Chicago after the group faced off against the Nuclear Family. There he found Dr. Adamson who sent a whole lot of trouble his way. After being saved by the new Robin, Jason Todd (Curran Walters,) Dick and Jason work together to track down the man who is killing off Dick’s old circus friends.
This episode delves deep into Dick’s history and particularly his relationship with Bruce. Despite that, Jason Todd steals the show. For some perspective, Jason Todd is probably my second favorite comic book character of all time so I went into this episode with concerns but overall, was pleasantly surprised. As always, spoilers below the picture.
Titans begins with a flashback of the funeral of Dick Grayson’s (Tomaso Sanelli) parents. There he is told by Clayton Williams, the strongman from Hayley’s Circus (Lester Speight,) that being taken in my Bruce Wayne is a good thing despite Dick’s concerns. At this point, Dick is aware his parents were murdered and can’t help but want revenge for their death.
Following the flashback, we open with Dick Grayson and the new Robin, Jason Todd dragging Dr. Adamson’s (Reed Birney) body following the altercation with the SWAT team he called. Jason is immensely excited to be Robin and be a Robin hanging out with the original Robin. Walters’ Jason Todd is the brazen, spunky kid I remember from the comics. He takes on the persona exceptionally well. While he is on screen you can’t help but smile.
While driving together, Jason mentions him and Bruce have been together for almost a year and that he was able to track Dick down with his tracker that at some point Bruce put in Dick’s arm. Jason says he was picked up by Bruce after trying to steal the Batmobiles hubcaps. A lot of the origin stories in this show are immensely murky compared to their comic counterparts but I was so excited to see Jason’s remain the same. Despite Jason’s clear excitement to be speaking to Dick about his new suit and tenure as Robin, Dick is visibly upset at Bruce and obviously feeling replaced.
The two end up at driving to one of Bruce’s safehouses. While in the elevator Dick questions Jason about why he is doing this and why he didn’t take his own name. Jason responds that the point is being Robin. He is clearly happy filling Dick’s shoes and feels honored to hold the mantle.
After dragging in Adamson’s body, Dick attempts to remove the tracker from his arm just as Kory (Anna Diop) calls him. Kory, now finally having changed clothes, demands to know where Dick is. Dick explains the situation and Kory updates him on the state of the Nuclear Family who blew up last episode due to a bomb placed in their head. Dick tells Kory to drive everyone to his address because they will all be safe there.
The two have far more chemistry, even on the phone, here than they did in previous episodes so I am happy to see having them sleep together paid off. My initial concern was their relationship would feel rushed but so far the pair is acting like parents of an unruly group of kids which is endearing.
After getting off the phone with Kory, Dick tells Jason to head home to Gotham after dropping off the tracker. Jason defends Bruce from Dick’s characterization that the two of them are just animals in his zoo. Jason tells Dick that he can’t go home and hands him a file from Bruce containing the pictures of people Dick knew from the circus who are all now dead. All of the deaths carry the M.O. of the Moroni crime family. Dick also mentions his parents’ killer, Tony Zucco (Richard Zeppieri), also worked for the Moronis. Jason tells Dick that Bruce sent him to find Dick since the cops couldn’t find the killer, also known as the Melting Man.
After finding the location of Atlas the Strongman, Clayton Williams, Dick intends to head to Milwaukee. Before Jason can press more about being told to stay put, Kory, Rachel (Teagan Croft), and Gar (Ryan Potter) arrive at the safehouse. Jason lets the team in and Dick is annoyed. The comedic chemistry between the cast is fantastic and Gar is a great addition to the main cast.
While Jason, Rachel, and Gar hang out in the main room, Kory and Dick speak in the bathroom about the still unconscious Adamson. Dick updates Kory that Adamson worked for “the organization” who are somehow connected to Rachel’s father. Dick also explains who Jason is and the two have another moment of Kory trying to get Dick to open up. Since the last episode, the two are working better together and their chemistry is significantly more believable. Dick tells Kory he will be back but he is taking Jason to check up on the lead about the circus victims. She is very understanding and promises to hold down the fort in his absence. While she isn’t the Kory I know, I am starting to warm up to Diop’s character. Her acting is fantastic and within this episode and the last, she has helped ground Kory into being a more human character and less of a bizarre version of a femme fatale.
Jason and Dick hit up a speakeasy where Clayton works as a security officer. After mentioning he is a bouncer Jason gives Dick more insight into his childhood where he was taken to bars with his uncle as a kid. Jason grew up on the streets and was bounced around foster care. He relays all this with a carefree demeanor that the character has always carried in the comics. Once again, Walters’ performance and ease to which he creates Jason’s charisma is refreshing compared to some of the more questionable acting within the show.
After entering the speakeasy while Jason waits outside, Dick speaks to Clayton and the two have a small reunion since the last time they saw each other was Dick’s parents funeral. Dick informs Clayton of the fate of their friends from Haley’s Circus. Dick worries that Clayton is going to be the next victim. While the two reminisce, Jason, sneaks into the speakeasy via a door an employee left open in the back. While trying to snag a drink, Jason ends up in a bar fight which Dick has to break up.
Before even beginning to be able to scold Jason, an explosion from outside rocks the speakeasy. Dick and Jason head outside to find a car on fire from there Dick gets a phone call from Clayton’s phone. The man on the line is not Clayton and tells Dick he arrived just on schedule heavily implying he also intended to kill Dick. Dick initially thinks the man is Tony Zucco but is corrected when he says “You must be thinking of my father.”
The show flashback to the arrest of Anthony Zucco, the man who killed Dick Grayson’s parents, while Robin, Dick Grayson, watches the coverage from the Batcave. The show then cuts to Dick speaking with a Gotham detective who informs him that they are cutting Zucco a deal. Dick clearly upset berates the detective for making the deal unknowingly in front of Zucco’s son, Nick Zucco (Kyle Mac.)
We then see Tony Zucco being transported in a prison jumpsuit while a suspicious car tails him. However, before the car can fire a shot, Robin, Dick Grayson, jumps on top of the armored vehicle holding Zucco. Robin takes out the two policemen and begins to beat up Zucco. Despite begging for his life, Robin is relentless in his attacks. The car following, carrying the Maroni’s men, finally fires a shot and Robin leaves Zucco for dead. The scene is immensely upsetting and shows the brutality Dick Grayson was willing to employ.
Returning to the present, Dick tells Jason he has to take care of this himself. Now dressed as Robin, Dick prepares to encounter Zucco’s son who revealed himself on the phone. There he finds Clayton tied up as acid begins to drop onto the man. Nick Zucco, wearing a bizarre mask, reveals himself to Robin and tells him that both him and Clay will die. He reveals to Dick that he knows what Robin did to his father and how that was the catalyst for murdering all of the members of Hayley’s Circus. He also reveals that once Dick let Zucco die, the family lost federal protection and the Moronis attacked Nick’s mother, sister, fiance, and him. Nick reveals his disfigured face. The makeup job isn’t bad but it does clearly look like a plaster mold more than charred skin. Overall, it is better than other special effects done by the show.
Nick then drops a bit of acid on Clay who begins to writhe in pain. Just as Dick threatens Nick to let Clay go, he quickly replies no but is sassed by Jason Todd, also now in his Robin suit, who somehow followed Dick into the seedy area. With the two now working together, Dick is able to cut Clay lose while Jason takes on Nick. After being shot by a bullet laced with acid, Jason falls down but before Nick can get in another shot Dick attacks him.
Finally taking Nick down, Jason goes to deal with the cops while Dick takes care of Clay. Jason then proceeds to take down the responding officers in a concerning display of violence. Previously, Jason casually mentioned he didn’t trust cops but his feelings are deeper than he initially revealed. Dick breaks up the fight and scolds Jason who admits that while Batman might not be ok with he beating up cops, Batman is also not here. Jason screams at Dick and rubs his identity crisis of whether or not to be Robin in his face.
Jason leaves in a huff and Dick returns to Clay who is now back home in his apartment. Dick tells Clay he is trying to give up Robin. Clay believes Dick that Bruce did right by him and Dick admits that Bruce did the best he could. After leaving Clay, Dick calls Kory to tell him he is on the way back. Kory jokingly asks “How many Robins should I expect?” Dick replies, “none.” Kory then speaks to a now conscious Adamson who tells her he won’t talk to anyone but Rachel.
So far, this is my favorite episode of the series. Jason’s character is so well done and Walters steals the scene from even Thwaites, who otherwise has carried the show. Walters embodied Jason’s swagger and nonchalant style with ease. He is easily my favorite character of the episode and the season. Additionally, the chemistry between Dick and Kory is finally organically growing and becoming believable. Despite having few scenes together, the ones they do have are emotionally vulnerable and very sweet.
The dynamic between Jason and Dick is well done. The two have an odd competitiveness with each other than is only exasperated by Jason’s desperate need for approval from Dick. Jason clearly adores Dick and looks up to him but still at the end of the day a troubled kid in need of attention.
The one major concern I have is the character of Bruce Wayne. Despite not having a single speaking role, Bruce plays a huge part in the series. Within the flashback, he is heavily mentioned and Jason also speaks highly of him during his conversations with Dick. I hope they cast an actor for the character soon because hearing so much about him and seeing so many moments in the flashbacks where he could clearly be around without him is becoming unbelievable.
Episode 6 is available on DC Universe and the next episode drops Friday, November 23.