DC Universe’s Titans is back this week with the second episode of the season, “Hawk and Dove,” which was stronger than the pilot overall. The episode mainly focuses on the introductions of new characters Hawk and Dove, Hank Hill and Dawn Granger respectively. It also featured more glimpses into Dick Grayson’s history with the Bat and his building relationship with Rachel who is still troubled by the events from the last episode. As always, spoilers below the photo.
DAWN AND HANK:
The show immediately opens to a warehouse where Hawk (Alan Ritchson) is being tortured by a group of criminals. At one point the boss tells his cohorts to pull down the vigilante’s pants, then taking out a pair of gardening scissors. Hawk is luckily saved just in time by his partner Dove (Minka Kelly). The scene tries very hard to be edgy and wants to belong in an HBO series. Dove’s fight sequence is well done but heavily relies on quick cuts. Both of the vigilante’s costumes look great and more on the scale of Robin’s look than any other character at this point. I am impressed with how comic accurate their costumes are.
We then cut to DC where Hank taking a handful of pills, injecting himself with something and drinking a beer in his bathtub. Dawn finds him and suggests skipping the mission but Hank assures her that if they shut down the operation they are “talking about walkway money.” After helping him out of the tub, Dawn finds a small box on her pillow from Hank with a key to a large bird cage that Hank built for their anniversary on the roof filled with doves.
The scene then cuts to four years prior where Hawk and Dove are fighting criminals in an alleyway when Robin jumps in to help. The entirety of the scene is backed by a rock-pop version of “Kids in America.” The fight is choreographed well and shows off Robin’s more acrobatic skills but the CGI blood is still jarring and can quickly take you out of the moment. The flashback ends and we are once again with Hank and Dawn in their apartment and get a close up on a picture featuring the pair plus Dick Grayson and an unknown girl outside of their costumes on the wall.
DICK AND RACHEL:
Dick and Rachel are still traveling together and the scene picks up in a diner where the two are drinking coffee. The show makes a point to establish that Rachel is “not a kid” after she snaps at Dick for offering her hot chocolate over coffee. Once being served said black coffee, she proceeds to pour a lot of sugar in it. The show is likely trying to show that Rachel doesn’t feel like a child because the trauma she has faced but is ultimately still is a child.
Dick then asks her if she remembers anything that has happened like what just occurred. Rachel tells him she did not mean to kill that guy. When Dick pushes her to explain how she did it, Rachel stares into a reflective napkin holder as if waiting for her demonic form to emerge. Realizing she is not going to answer, Dick tells Rachel he knows some friends that will keep them safe and help them lie low for a while. Dick Grayson acting as a mentor and big brother is very refreshing in this otherwise dark and dreary show. Also, as a fan of the comic book character, I appreciate that we are slowing beginning to see the Dick Grayson so many readers love.
The show then cuts to Dick’s partner, Amy Rohrbach (Lindsey Gort), at the morgue with the body of the man Rachel killed last episode. The coroner, Charlie, explains all his organs had been ruptured leaving him more or less a bag of blood. Charlie then calls the death “fucking biblical.”
We cut back to Dick in his car while Rachel sits in the hotel room. He goes through his long list of contacts including some fun DC easter eggs like Donna Troy before finally buckling down and calling Alfred. Inside the hotel, Rachel uses his computer to google herself and Dick. Here she learns he is the ward of Bruce Wayne and rewatches videos of his parent’s death. The computer then begins to print out the information Amy sent to Dick regarding Rachel’s case including the coroner’s report of the man Rachel killed.
At that moment, she begins to have a breakdown as the mirror shows her demonic form demanding Rachel let her out. Rachel draws crosses on the hotel stationery and says the “Our Father.” Dick returns as she is repeating the prayer over and over again in the bathtub. He hugs her and comforts her. It’s then he notices she drew a series of crosses on paper and posted them around the bathroom as if to ward herself.
The scene cuts to a family seemingly cut out of the 1950s who have their Saturday morning interrupted by a strange man arriving at the door, telling the father he is “activated.” He then gives the man a picture of Rachel at the police station. Telling his family that they’re going on a family trip, the “activated” man opens a cabinet in the kitchen containing guns, ammunition, and a strange drug in syringes that the whole family eagerly takes.
This scene is bizarre and does not fit the tonality of the rest of the show. It is bright, oddly cheery, and features the song “Mama Loves Mambo” by Perry Como. Following the family taking their “shots,” we are back in the car with Dick who is explaining to Rachel that the man who took her is part of a doomsday cult. He also speaks briefly to her about his childhood growing up with Bruce Wayne.
HANK, DAWN, DICK, AND RACHEL:
The next area of the show focuses on uniting our four characters. Dick and Rachel have made it to their destination and knock on Hank and Dawn’s door. Rachel shakes Dawn’s hand is able to see she and Dick have slept together at some point using her empath powers. Dick asks if they can talk and Dawn lets them in replying “You are about four years too late but sure.”
He explains to Dawn that Rachel killed someone and they need somewhere to “regroup.” The pair catches up a bit and tries to navigate the awkward tension and the feelings they still have or at least had for each other. Dawn explains all the injuries Hank has dealt with but reassures Dick they are still doing good. She also admits after this final mission they intend to quit for good. Hank finds the group on the roof and confronts Dawn and Dick. Dick explains that it is “not like that.” But Hank is visibly upset and says, “It sure looks like it to me.” Once inside Hank accuses Dawn of calling Dick for help with the job but she reassures him she is with him, not Dick. She suggests that Dick does help on the job though so the two of them can heal but Hank doesn’t trust him.
The scene cuts to Dick tucking Rachel into bed and she asks about him and Dawn. He admits it was when they were kids and he did not mean to hurt her. But she disagrees saying it is not an excuse and points out that Dawn isn’t over it. While trying to sleep, Dick receives a call from Alfred. In the morning, he heads to the Federal Reserve. He is writing Hank and Dawn a letter when Dawn comes back from shopping with Rachel. Dawn is incredibly kind to Rachel and this is one of the first times in the show we have seen genuine happiness from the character.
Once Rachel is in her own room Dawn begins explaining the case to Dick where a man is moving small handguns and trying to “corner the pre-teen market.” Dick researches the area and she asks him about his relationship with Bruce and tells him it’s a big responsibility taking Rachel in, drawing a parallel between Dick’s relationship with Bruce. He responds that he isn’t taking her in and he isn’t good at staying with people, alluding to their history.
He mentions that he was able to secure some money from Alfred and hopes he can leave Rachel with Hank and Dawn for a while. Dawn objects just as Hank walks into the room. Hank infers incorrectly from the situation and starts an altercation with Dick. The fight is broken up when Rachel screams for them to stop and glass crashes around them shocking everyone in the room including Rachel.
We cut back to Amy Rohrbach who is home in her apartment and attacked by the creepy family we saw earlier. Before knowing if Amy lives we cut back to Dick knocking on Rachel’s door in hopes to console her. Dawn walks in and tells him that she and Hank are going because they have that “thing,” referencing the arms deal. After they leave Rachel tells him Dawn needs his help, “that she can feel.” Dick tells her he used to think he could help people and Rachel admits, in maybe the worst bit of acting of the otherwise well-acted episode, that letting the darkness out sometimes feels good. She convinces Dick he does need to help them even if he is scared.
HANK AND DAWN:
We then cut to the job where Hawk and Dove are trying to intercept the gun deal. Hawk notes that Dick was wrong and there were only a few guards. After picking up the guns from the van Hawk is shot. The two then try to evade the gunfire but are quickly surrounded and we see the boss from the beginning of the episode who is still obsessed with Hawk’s pants.
The pair is saved by Robin who enacts a brutal takedown and stabs the boss with the very scissors he threatened Hawk with. Robin then proceeds to take out the remaining men in a sequence that reminded a lot of the warehouse scene in Batman v. Superman. All of the fight scenes are well done outside of the gratuitous use of CGI blood splatter. Robin then leaves the pair clearly upset as Dove attempts to keep Hawk standing.
HANK, DAWN, DICK, AND RACHEL:
While everyone else is on the job, Rachel finds the letter Dick wrote for Hank and Dawn. The envelope included a large sum of money Dick got from Alfred and intended to give the couple to help take care of Rachel. The notion that Dick intends to leave her despite promising otherwise leaves Rachel upset. She confronts Dick about the letter once he returns. The scene had the chance to be very touching but Teagan Croft’s acting leaves something to be desired. Hank and Dawn find the two on the roof and Hank is upset that Dick would just leave Rachel. Hank is also concerned Dick is dangerous considering the level of brutality he showed during the fight.
Seemingly out of nowhere the family who previously attacked Amy appears on the rooftop. Hank approaches them and is knocked down by the father. As Hank and Dawn take on the family, Dick tries to get Rachel to safety. The pair, even with Dick’s help is easily thwarted. The mother of the family then kick Dawn into her birdcage and off the roof. Hank then screams out to her but is knocked unconscious by the son.
The family then surrounds Rachel and the scene cuts to Dick climbing back up on the roof and Hank attempting to shake off his injury. Dick runs downstairs in hopes of finding Dawn. After finding her on the ground Dick performs CPR. The episode then ends on a CGI Raven.
This episode, Hawk and Dove, is better than the pilot. The focus on the relationships between Hank and Dawn as well as Dick and Rachel are well done. This episode felt significantly less disjointed partially because it focused on less storylines. If the remainder of the season focuses on the relationship between the characters more than just their superhero counterparts this show will do much better and solidify itself as more than just a copycat CW superhero show.
Minka Kelly is delightful as Dove and a stand out of the show. Her ability to be caring, nurturing, and still incredibly brutal while fighting shows the complexities she has as a character and Kelly’s range as an actress. My favorite moments with Kelly were as Dawn opposed to as Dove. Seeing Dawn interact with the other characters through their own respective relationships was the highlight of the episode.
The horror elements that I wasn’t too fond of in the first episode are still present but not as a focus, though there is still a heavy reliance on Christian symbolism. There was one significant jump scare that did catch me off guard. The music choices in the show continue to be very odd and similar to a CW show which outside of Supernatural, has flawed licensed choices. In regards to the story of the episode, I wish we knew more about this cult and this strange family. As far as villains go, they are not my favorite. I am however more excited about the series going forward with the conclusion of this episode.
Episode 2 is available on HBO Max