“Nightwing” is the 13th and final episode in season 2 of Titans, and started streaming on 29 November 2019.
I get it, the writing is inconsistent, the plot meanders and anastomoses like a wild river, but I’ll be damned if at the end of the day it doesn’t leave you satiated.
So sure, Deathstroke was taken out a bit too quickly, as was saving Gar and Conner, but there were still GREAT action sequences sprinkles with humour. More importantly – it left ample time to properly acknowledge the aftermath of battle and loss. It showed that healing is a long process, not just one comforting talk. We revisited some key relationships to see how they’ve evolved, got a peek at some new ones, and got a sense that the Titans as a crime-fighting team can now well and truly begin.
Donna, Kory, Rachel, and Dawn have re-gathered at Titans tower. Rachel is still worried about Dick, but Donna says finding Gar and Conner is more urgent. Luckily, Dick is on his way to rejoin them himself. When Deathstroke attacks the ladies, Nightwing makes his dramatic entrance.
Wow, watching Nightwing go up against Deathstroke made me realise how we haven’t had a proper, full out fight scene with Dick suited up since the “f–k Batman” scene in the pilot. The escrima sticks are here too!
Ravager shows up to help Nightwing, and eventually deals the fatal blow that kills Deathstroke. She calls out to Jericho, letting him inhabit her body and talk to Dick.
Titans vs Titans
With Deathstroke handled, the regrouped Titans head to the fair, where Mercy Graves has set Conner and Gar against each other. Her big plan is to have “evil tiger Gar” attack people and “good customizable super soldier Conner” defeat him as a demonstration to bidders trying to buy Conner.
To no one’s surprise, Conner whacks tiger Gar out of the park, quite literally. Rachel approaches Gar and eventually is able to grab his paw/hand to use her healing powers on him, which allows him to retrieve his memories with the Titans and undo Cadmus’ brainwashing surgery.
The other Titans have less luck approaching Conner, which devolves into a fist fight between Wonder Girl and Superboy. Dare I say it, better than Batman vs Superman. Hank also shows up to join the fun.
Meanwhile, Bruce jams the bidding network…while drinking tea. Can we just accept that Bruce Wayne in this universe is a British expatriate? Yeah?
Dick conjures a plan where Rachel uses her powers to connect Dick and Conner’s minds. Inside Conner’s head, Dick finds that Conner has essentially been trapped in a black box by Mercy’s brain surgery. When he punches through the wall, the sunlight gives Superboy enough energy to break free from Mercy’s control.
Afterwards, the Titans make quick work of Cadmus.
Protectors of the city
But the night isn’t over yet. Just as civilians mill back into the fairgrounds, applauding the Titans for saving the day, a powerline tower begins to collapse. Donna runs under it, holding it up long enough for everyone to get to safety, but the electricity is too much for her and she pays the ultimate price.
Everything that came after this was so poignant and so powerful Titans. It might have been a tad anticlimatic that Donna Troy fell to a freak incident after the main fighting was done, but it was also a call to what the Titans were meant to do – protecting people, not fighting demons and assassins. And that’s important.
The show handled killing one of its main characters really well. I love that Dick was the first one to her. I love Bruce’s voiceover as the Titans brought her body back to the tower. I love the scene where they brought her casket and rope to the Amazons, the wet tarmac making it look like they were standing on the ocean, even Jason showing up to see Donna off from a distance.
You look at the airstrip and remember how years ago, Donna survived an assassination at a similar location, and realise all this time she was marked for death. But at least when she went, she did so giving herself for people, on her own terms.
What happens next
Rachel asks to follow the Amazons, thinking she could somehow revive Donna with her growing powers. Dick reminds her that they “can’t always change the world”, to not burden herself, but Rachel insists on trying and Dick lets her go.
I love that we revisited Dick and Rachel’s relationship, which was one of my favourite things about Titans from the beginning. Everything started when they found each other. The way Dick helped Conner break free from Mercy’s control was similar to Rachel breaking Dick out of Trigon’s at the start of the season. That Dick came up with the idea shows that he trusts Rachel even if neither of them understand her powers. He trusts her to be on her own and follow the Amazons, that she is not just a stray he has to protect.
It was also a moment of growth for Rachel, in that while she still struggles to reign in her powers, she is actively trying to use it for good instead of being scared of losing control.
On the other end of the spectrum, Kory’s powers have been slowly diminishing. This couldn’t be more untimely, as Blackfire has fully possessed a human body on Earth.
It takes time
Back at the tower, Dick is left wondering how to move on without his Titans co-founder. He chats with Bruce, and the two make good. Bruce advises Dick to make sure his Titans family don’t retreat into themselves.
Dick then check on Gar, and apologises for leaving him alone at the tower. He also asks for Gar’s help cooking, though Gar still stays in his room with Donna’s old Frida Kahlo book. It’s so important that Dick didn’t rush Gar in his healing, letting him know that he could come out “when you’re ready,” and that the show let Gar take his time to recover. The show never really resolved how Gar got over mauling someone in “Asylum”, and now he has more blood on his hands. I hope they address it in season 3.
Hank apologises to Dawn, and while their romantic relationship is now no more, they agree to keep fighting as Hawk and Dove.
Then, because this show isn’t all dark and dour, we have a nice Titans family dinner. Dick calls everyone his family and remembers Donna. They all drink Donna’s favourite soda, which turns out to be quite polarising.
Kory talks to Bruce and learns he has no recollection of ever gathering the Titans ladies in Elko. So…did Rachel somehow conjure an image of Bruce to get the crew back together?
Halfway through dinner, Gar picks up an alert about some stuff going down. Duty calls, suit up! And there’s the classic shot of our full Titans team walking down the street, ready to fight. Plus tiger Gar and Krypto running around at their feet. Titans, go!
As “We Are Family” plays over the end credits (yes, they really went there), I have a few lose questions to ponder.
I’m going to assume that the Wilsons are the only ones who can inflict permanent harm to each other, since otherwise Deathstroke could have healed himself and run off while the Titans were at the fair. It would also explain why Jericho stayed dead, and Rose permanently needs that eye patch.
I wonder if there is a way to revive Jericho’s body so we can see more of Chella Man. If Rachel finds a way to bring Donna back, maybe she can bring Jericho back too. For now though, I like how both Wilson kids (sans Grant, if he’s out there) are in Rose’s mind.
I’m also not ruling out a Deathstroke return completely. Every hero or hero team has that one nemesis they can’t get rid of.
Blackfire looks really impressive, and I look forward to her showdown with Kory.
Curran Walters confirmed Jason will be in season 3. I hope they don’t rush to reintegrate Jason into the team, because he needs time to cool off. I also pray they don’t go for the Red Hood storyline just yet, just for the sake of doing it.
With all that said, I really, really enjoy Titans, and can’t wait for more. It’s been a pleasuring covering the show for you all. Signing out for now.
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