Titans: Season 4
DC’s attempts at doing television and movies are notoriously bad. I did like the Supergirl TV series, but I couldn’t motivate myself to watch much of the other series in that group. The only movies I’ve really liked are Wonder Woman (the first one), and Aquaman (for the giant war crabs, obviously). But there is a second group of DC shows that appear to exist in an entirely different part of the DC multiverse (and the various Superman shows may be a third reality). This group comprises Titans and Doom Patrol, and I quite like them. They are somewhat darker than the Arrowverse shows, and perhaps that makes them less silly.
Both shows have had their final seasons. DC apparently made the decision to cancel them even before they announced that James Gunn was being brought onboard to try to bring some sense and order to the DCU. I’m way behind on Doom Patrol, but I am caught up on Titans.
Season 4 opens with a bang: Lex Luthor is murdered. That’s a fairly bold statement, and one that clearly separates these shows from the Arrowverse and anything Superman-related. I’m not sure that Lex would be quite that easily taken in, but I applaud the concept.
The plotline for the season once again revolves around Rachel’s demon father, Trigon. The Titans might have defeated him, but he still has a cadre of fanatical devotees on Earth who are desperate to bring him back. Obviously this involves Kory as well, as she was originally sent to Earth from her homeworld in order to kill Rachel and thereby prevent Trigon from gaining power.
As plots go it is pretty thin, and parts of the resolution seem to happen much too easily. But along the way some great things happen.
To start with. Kory has some totally kick-ass costumes. Whoever was in charge of costume design did a magnificent job for her.
There is also character development. Let’s start with Connor. This version of Superboy was created by Lex using both his own genes and those of Superman. Connor is therefore a man with two fathers, who happen to hate each other. This is not good for his mental health, and in this season he tries to deal with being part-Lex, with some pretty awful consequences.
Next up is Tim Drake, who is keen to become the new Robin now that Jason Todd has made such a mess of his life. Obviously he needs training so there’s growth happening there. But in addition he gets to be canonically gay, having a relationship with a STAR Labs scientist called Bernard who is adorably geeky.
Garfield Logan gets to find out a whole lot about his past and his role in the world as Beast Boy. He’s so much more than a kid who can turn into green animals. In the process he learns some awful truths about Niles Caulder, and there’s a cross-over episode with Doom Patrol.
This season also introduces Jinx, who in this reality is a kind of cheeky, female version of John Constantine. She and John clearly know each other, and are friends in that limited way that either of them can be friendly with anyone. Lisa Ambalavanar absolutely steals the show in the role, and I’m very sad that there won’t be another season because I’d love to see more of her.
Dick, Kory and Rachel have less development to do, which is partly because Kory and Rachel are so heavily involved in the whole Trigon thing. Dick just needs to find peace, and to somehow be happy as himself rather than as the kid whose life was turned upside down by Bruce Wayne. Now that the show has ended, perhaps he will get that.