AQUALAD ❤ WONDER GIRL
Writer: Jamie Gorenberg
Director: Glen Winter
If you enjoyed the previous episode of Titans, then this week’s Aqualad is something you’ve been waiting for. The show continues to lean more into the light heartedness, while still incorporating it’s darker origins. The more I watch this show and the more news that drops about The CW‘s Arrowverse crossover this year, the more I’m hoping to see Brenton Thwaites announced as part being part of it.
Like last week, this episode puts most (read all) of the focus on the original incarnation of the team. We see Dick and Dawn in a relationship, Hank all kinds of mellow, Donna acting like a Mean Girl, and introduced to Aqualad himself, Garth. Dick is also the Robin most would expect from the Titans team; a happy non-brooding leader. There’s also an odd Deathstroke montage that doesn’t seem to do the character much justice.
The first scene of the OG Titans team in Aqualad shows this young team, 5 years in the past, taking on some street level thugs—which makes sense; a young team shouldn’t be taking on Batman level villains this early in their career (despite some having some training from Justice League members). A majority of the episode focuses on Garth and Donna’s relationship, or lack thereof. This accomplishes two things—what happened to Aqualad and why Donna was so hostile to Dick about reforming the Titans last week. It’s unclear if their battle with Dr. Light is the Titans first big baddie; but even if it isn’t, it seems to go a bit too easy for the team.
A STEP BACK
While Titans has seemed like it’s been improving dramatically in Season 2, Aqualad takes a tiny step backwards. I really loved the backstory to the OG Titans, but something was off. I’m not sure if it was the writing or the performances, but it seemed more 90210 than usual. I’m also overly confused over the Hank, Dawn, and Dick triangle—I thought Season 1 established Hank and Dawn being a couple before joining the Titans; yet by the time they get to Titan Tower, Dick and Dawn are a couple? Once again, some 90210 bullshit that I don’t need in my superhero shows (which doesn’t mean I don’t like drama in them).
My other big complaint is that at the end, and I’ll write this as best as I can without a major spoiler, it’s seems very uncharacteristic for Deathstroke to give up when there are loose ends no longer in view. Why wouldn’t he walk around the corner to make sure no one was still there (knowing that he missed at least 1 target)? There was a whole montage establishing how good this guy was!
I think it bears mentioning that in an episode titled Aqualad, I don’t think we got enough time with him to really get to know him. Again, with out any major spoilers, I’m not sure how this made me care for him? It made me understand, and maybe even care more for, Donna more; but I feel like it needed more love for Garth.
Going forward, I’d like to see more episodes like this: focusing on the original team and what drove them disband the team. I just need tighter writing and a little less teen drama (especially when the characters are all in their early 20s). That being said, Titans runs the risk of having too much story to tell for Titans 2.0 if those characters aren’t intermingled within the story. I don’t think there’s much to worry about quite yet, but there’s a lot to get to only 9 episodes left.
Aqualad was mixed bag. It’s what I wanted—an entire episode focusing on the original Titans team—but lacked some quality either in the writing or performances for this episode to really sit with me in a meaningful way. I think there could have been a more effective way to tell this story with a Donna-centric episode, set in the present with those sweet Berlanti style flashbacks. The best parts of this episode were the ones focusing on Donna and Garth as it were, however it was nice to see what the entire OG team was up to 5 years ago.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment
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