Titans: How Season 3 Episode 3 Saved The Show

Heavy spoilers for DC’s Titans. Now available to stream on HBO Max.

Titans 2018
Titans: (from left) Beast Boy, Superboy, Krypto the Superdog, Nightwing, and Starfire

While some television shows are lucky enough to be a widely acclaimed success right from the beginning, DC’s Titans, on the other hand, stumbled in its earlier episodes from a bout of growing pains. Much of what we witnessed in both season 1 and season 2 of the show amounted to a mixed bag of excellent episodes versus the not-so-excellent episodes. That being said, we are pleased to announce that the opening three episodes of its third season, released simultaneously through HBO Max, has managed to salvage the show’s reputation after that godawful season 2 finale, proving to be a step in the right direction that the series desperately needs.

It is precisely in episode 3 of the new season that we are able to catch a glimpse of the show’s storytelling done right by concluding in a manner that most audiences of any superhero offering would not have anticipated: the brutal death of Hank Hall, a.k.a. Hawk.

Hank Hall’s final moment before he is blown to smithereens
Hank Hall’s final moment before he is blown to smithereens

Granted, this is not the first time we have seen a Titan die on the show. In season 2, we are given the deaths of both Aqualad in a flashback sequence and the poorly handled “death” of Donna Troy, a.k.a. Wonder Girl, in the finale. Yet, as viewers have pointed out, there was no added importance attached to these scenes, as Aqualad was already dead in the present timeline and therefore merely used as a plot device, and Wonder Girl’s death was eventually going to be reversed by having the character resurrected in Themyscira as hinted in the final moments of the season 2 finale.

Hank Hall’s explosive death
Hank Hall’s explosive death

Hank Hall’s death, however, came as a complete shock to audiences. After all, the fan favorite duo of Hawk and Dove has been a part of the series since the very beginning, and to have one of the pair meet their untimely end was a moment that viewers could never conceptualize in their minds. As most superhero offerings go, the protagonists that eventually die are shown to go out in a heroic blaze of glory, reminding audiences of their courageous efforts in giving their last breath to protect the innocent. Why Hawk’s demise is thoroughly different and therefore more effective is in the bold, subversive writing that accompanied his death. In short, we do not see Hank Hall dying valiantly. Instead, he dies helplessly, while viewers are led to believe that the character would eventually be saved by his fellow Titans at the last possible second.

This moment, to us, is the one that truly saves the show.

Of course, Titans has always been a much grittier and darker series in comparison to most superhero shows, but there always existed the same typical genre cliche whereby the main cast is imbued with enough plot armor to escape any high-risk situation. Yet, by subverting that expected result in the final moments of episode 3, it has now allowed for the show’s narrative to forge a more unique path, and so long as it maintains this momentum, we can undoubtedly say that Titans has finally found its sweet-spot where storytelling is concerned.

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