‘Titans’ 1×02 Review: ‘Hawk and Dove’

You’ve heard the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Well, Hawk and Dove prefer to fight instead. Sometimes together and other times each other.

This week’s episode of Titans introduced two new heroes who did not disappoint. After taking Rachel under his wing, Dick brings her to what he believes is a safe haven. Unfortunately, his old friends aren’t exactly happy to see him, and chaos ensues when a new antagonist emerges.

Keep reading to find out why this new superhero drama continues to impress me in their second outing!

Hawk and Dove

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The series did not waste time in introducing these two. The episode opens with a chained-up Hawk being tortured by some shady arms dealers. He’s mouthing off to them – because of course he is. It’s his defense mechanism. And just when you think that he’s definitely screwed, his badass and capable girlfriend swoops in to save him.

Titans is making sure we know all the women on this show are fierce. They don’t need saving. Sometimes they’ll be doing the saving.

After that close call, Hank’s feeling a lot more pain than usual. Still, he’s obsessed with shutting down the shady organization that thwarted him. He promises Dawn that this is the last job and then they’re out of the vigilante game. Naturally, Dawn believes him. She loves him enough to see this through with him.

Hank and Dawn have been together for three and a half years and he wants her to know that they’ve been the best years of his life. Gifting her a key, he takes her to rooftop of their apartment building to show her the bird coop he’d built. Inside were a handful of doves. “They pair for life,” he tells her and she thanks him with a kiss. It’s a very sweet moment between the two, which is nice and lighthearted in comparison to what happens to them both by the end of the hour.

It’s easy to root for Dawn and Hank. Their relationship makes sense. That doesn’t mean that Dawn doesn’t think of past loves from time to time. And one particular past love happens to be Dick Grayson, who’s about to fly back into her life.

The love triangle nobody asked for

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It’s a little unfair to label them a love triangle to be honest. But that’s what they kind of are. In a flashback that takes place four years earlier, we see Dick fighting side by side with Hank and Dawn. Bruce has told him to stay away from the pair but he of course disobeyed his partner. There’s a hint of flirtation between Dawn and Dick but confirmation of their previous relationship comes when Rachel later meets Dawn and shakes her hand. She sees a vision of the two making love. Talk about awkward!

Dick arrives with Rachel in tow, confusing Dawn. She hadn’t heard from him in four years but she’s not in a position to turn him away either. Not that she would. It’s obvious she isn’t that kind of person. Talking on the rooftop, Dick explains to her that there are people after Rachel and they need a place to lay low.

Hank walks in on their friendly reunion and assumes the worst of his girlfriend and her former lover. There’s bad blood between the two men and Dawn is likely the reason. The timeline fits. Dick left Dawn four years earlier and she’s been with Hank for three and a half. Despite his reservations about having Dick around, Hank agrees to let him and Rachel stay. At least until they can regroup and figure out their next step.

But then Rachel finds out that Dick was actually planning on leaving her with Hank and Dawn, which angers Hank. And he has every right to be upset. So does Rachel.

There is definitely a lot of unresolved tension between these three but I don’t see the writers pushing this drama further than they need to. Dawn is with Hank, and Dick isn’t harboring any feelings for her. It looks like they really are just friends and I like that. I wish more shows had a handle on how to properly include a triangle and resolve it without sacrificing any of the characters involved.

Detective Amy Rohrbach deserved better

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When Detective Amy Rohrbach was introduced in the Pilot, I really liked her as Dick’s new partner. I loved their scene outside of the precinct. I really liked that he opened up to her even if he did have to speak in code. He couldn’t tell her that his former partner in Gotham was Batman and that the reason he had to leave was because he’d become too violent. He still told her enough for her to get it, though. I was even finding myself momentarily shipping the two of them and I wondered if Dick should trust her or if she’d die by the end of the season.

It seems like I was right on both counts. She was trustworthy but she’s also probably dead.

While her partner was away doing his own thing, Amy was trying to figure out who kidnapped Rachel from the precinct and what happened to the mysterious cult member that Rachel killed. The body they found had all its internal organs burst and according to the medical examiner performing the autopsy, the cause of death was “biblical.”

Being the good partner that Dick didn’t really deserve, she sends him all her leads. It’s a good thing too because when she gets home, she comes face to face with a psychotic nuclear family that is looking for Dick.

The family attacks Amy and her fate is left up in the air by the end of the episode. It’s possible Dick’s new partner is dead, which saddens me because I really liked her. I may be jumping the gun here and I kind of really hope I am. But I’m not feeling very optimistic at the moment. I still hope I’m wrong though.

That Nuclear Family was terrifying!

(Photo: Warner Bros. Television)

The Nuclear Family in Episode 2 of ‘Titans’ (Photo: Warner Bros. Television)

At first, their introduction seemed a little jarring. On the surface, they looked like the most average family in America currently living in the suburbs. Then the doorbell rang and that perception changed completely. This family of assassins has been activated to find Rachel and bring her to the people looking for her.

We don’t really get a taste of how villainous they are until they break into Amy’s apartment and attack her.

The teenage daughter cuts Amy’s hand with shears from the kitchen before stabbing her in the back. Her teenage brother beats a bloody Amy with a baseball bat. Then mom and dad show up and we don’t know what happens to Amy after that. Although, I’m still inclined to believe they killed her a part of me really hopes they just left her for dead. But these people are obviously professionals and I’m sure they don’t make mistakes like that.

They find Dick and Rachel pretty easily after that encounter.

On the rooftop of their apartment, the family engages in a full on fight with Hank, Dawn and Dick. This show has some of the best fight choreography in any superhero show. The fighting is brutal. There’s no finesse to them but there doesn’t need to be. These heroes are street fighters. That much is clear.

They throw Dick over the side of the building, lasso Hank by the neck and hold Dawn hostage in front of him. She only has enough time to scream Hank’s name before the father of this crazy family throws her through the rooftop bird coop and over the side of the building. They knock Hank out with the baseball bat after that and take Rachel with them.

Dick is then seen pulling himself up over the side of the building from where he was thrown. When he sees Rachel is gone and Dawn is also missing, Hank’s painful whispers calling out for the woman he loves gives Dick the push he needs to run to the other side of the rooftop. Looking down a the pavement below, he finds Dawn’s battered body.

The scene that followed was an emotional one. Dick flies down the fire escape, barely making it all the way down, he rushes to her side. While Dick is trying to save her, the show flashes back to the day his parents died. Dawn’s fate is still up in the air when the credits roll.

Like Father, Like Son

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Dick’s relationship with Rachel is easily one of my favorite dynamics in the series. The Boy Wonder is a lot like his adopted dad and his connection to Rachel highlights this very well. As soon as he learned that Rachel was in trouble, his initial instinct was to get her to safety. Dick is also a lot like Bruce because he struggles with dealing with family. He doesn’t know how to do relationships, whether they’re romantic or platonic. He tells Dawn as much. That’s why he bites the bullet and asks Alfred for money to pay off Hank and Dawn so they can take care of Rachel.

He doesn’t feel like he can do right by Rachel. But his protective nature kicks in just like his dad’s because the moment those psychos show up, Dick’s instinct is to protect Rachel at all costs.

Dick’s biggest fear was to become too much like Bruce. That’s why he left Gotham. But that ship has sailed because he is way more like Bruce than he’d care to admit.

“You don’t know what I’ve become.” he tells Dawn. She doesn’t get it at first but later that night, when she sees him in action after all the years between them, she gets it. Dick isn’t the same person she once knew. This is a much darker, more weathered version of the man she may have loved once.

The thing is that through Rachel’s point of view, it’s easy to see the hero beneath the violent vigilante. “It’s what you do, isn’t it? You help people.” she reminds him when trying to convince him to help his friends with their final mission. And as soon as Kory Anders comes into his life, I’m sure Dick will finally learn to love romantically as well. So while Dick is very much like Bruce in a lot of aspects, he’s not his adoptive father slash mentor where it counts. This series has put Dick on a journey to find himself. I’m sure that as soon as he does figure out who he really is, that’s when he’ll be ready to take on the mantle of Nightwing.

Highlights

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  • Hawk mouthing off to the bad guys while being chained and tortured made me love him even more. I was worried Alan Ritchson wouldn’t impress me but he did.The actor has definitely come a long way since his Smallville days.
  • Rachel pouring a pound of sugar into her coffee was totally me. I love coffee with my sugar too.
  • All the Easter Eggs on Dick’s phone! We saw Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth and Donna Troy! The only name I wanted to see that I didn’t see come up was Barbara Gordon. I wonder if she exists in this universe and if Dick has met her yet.
  • Rachel was watching Game of Thrones throughout this episode and the scene we got to see on her screen was the iconic argument between Arya and The Hound from season four.
  • I laughed out loud when Dick realized what Rachel was watching and then asked her if she should be watching that. Rachel is thirteen years old so probably not.
  • Dick’s “obviously” when Rachel told him not to get pineapple on their pizza was the most relatable that I’ve ever felt watching a superhero show.
  • The Dick and Rachel hug when he finds her in the dark surrounded by scribbled crosses broke my heart. He can try to leave her but he wouldn’t get very far. He’s already way too invested in protecting this girl from others and from herself.
  • Dawn and Hank are so very good together. I love both these characters and I need them to be okay after what happened in this episode.
  • The family’s attack on Amy made my heart beat faster. I was so worried for her. I cannot stress enough how much I want her to be alive.
  • Dick and Hank fighting was great. Rachel stopping their fight was even more epic. Their shocked faces were hilarious.
  • Dawn and Rachel’s connection is so important.
  • Hank is a drunk and yet I still feel bad for him. But I was ready to throw elbows when he pushed Dawn away from him because he let his jealousy get out of control.
  • There were four major fight sequences in this episode and each one was incredible. The stunt team on this show deserves the recognition. They’re doing a phenomenal job.
  • I gasped when Dawn was thrown from the roof but if I’m being honest, I would have been okay with her dying from that fall. It would have given Hank the motivation he’d need to go after that wannabe Manson family.
  • Please don’t paralyze Dawn so you can turn her into your own version of Oracle. That would just make me resent her. Don’t pull an Arrow!
  • I missed Kory and Garfield but they wouldn’t have fit in this episode.
  • Once again, this episode has left me wanting more. That’s not a bad thing. I just wonder if this show was meant to be binged instead of watching week to week. I’m totally okay with waiting for every episode but I wish I could have watched them all in one sitting.

A new episode of Titans will be available to stream every Friday on the DC Universe streaming service.