An improvement over its predecessor while still a victim of its own ambition, the sophomore outing of Titans remains a mixed bag.
Following the same trajectory as its first season, Titans Season 2 arrives on Netflix this Friday, January 10, after having debuted on the DC Universe streaming platform. It’s an improvement over that freshman effort, which was mired by scheduling issues and needless controversy, even if this follow-up has to spend its first episode giving it a proper ending. But from there it quickly establishes a new status quo, with the Titans — Dick (Brenton Thwaites), Rachel (Teagan Croft), Gar (Ryan Potter), and Jason Todd (Curran Walters) — living and training in Titan Tower while Starfire (Anna Diop) and Donna Troy (Connor Leslie) go about their own, related business and Dawn (Minka Kelly) and Hank (Alan Ritchson) — the latter particularly — continue to be grossly underused.
It’s still a show, unfortunately, with a strong idea of what it wants to be but without much clue of how it wants to go about being it. Thus, pacing issues abound and there are far too many competing subplots and ideas throughout much of the second season. While it initially seems like Slade Wilson (Esai Morales), aka Deathstroke, is going to function as the season Big Bad, and his daughter Rose (Chelsea Zhang) embroils herself with the Titans, the payoff is rushed in a finale consisting almost entirely of other rushed payoffs and ill-thought-out creative decisions intended to raise the stakes and set up the third season.
Misguided finale notwithstanding, there are still some good ideas in Titans Season 2. Dick’s season-long conversion to Nightwing forms a nice dramatic throughline and some of the character additions — notably Superboy (Joshua Orpin) and his super-dog, Krypto — work to shake things up, even if the show makes audiences wait an inordinately long time for things they know are coming. And on the basic level of action choreography, production, costume design, acting, writing, and the embracing of essential comic-book-y weirdness, Titans Season 2 is at worst as good as its predecessor and at best a significant improvement over it. For fans, there’s a lot here to love — the problem is that there’s also a lot here to frustrate and baffle.
Still, the conclusion that you have to draw is that either way this is a much better show than anyone imagined it would be in the days of its original unveiling and now-notorious “F*ck Batman” marketing. It has a wealth of problems, but they’re issues with structure and storytelling and fine details that can be ironed out, rather than a fundamental conceptual misunderstanding. In large part, this is still a very decent superhero show, and fans of such things will find enough to enjoy here that an inevitable third season seems a welcome proposition.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.