We had a chance to check out the first five episodes of Titans season 4, marking a fun and supernatural return with the show’s best run yet. Here are our spoiler-free thoughts!
From a series premiere that laid the foundations for seasons to come, DC’s Titans has been both loved and ridiculed for its handling of the iconic superhero team. It’s no secret that through the cracks of its messy, sometimes confused storytelling, there has always been an undeniable potential for greatness. While that greatness has been tapped into here and there, it has repeatedly been lost amongst the overstuffed plot-lines and frustrating creative choices in every season.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch the first five episodes of the fourth season that kicks off this week, and I feel confident in saying they return to greatness. That said, one question, and one question only lingers at the back of my mind: can they keep this up? If they can, this could be the show’s best outing yet, and a season of superhero television to remember.
Fun, Thoughtful, and Engaging New Story
Season four takes the team to Metropolis. The season premiere, I would say, gives the characters (and audience) a chance to breathe. It’s refreshingly bright, optimistic, and above all, engaging. Tonally, things do get dark pretty fast, but the Titans keep the warmth and fun where appropriate. It’s a comforting, yet exciting, opener that expertly formulates the groundwork for what’s to come for each and every character.
Yes, you heard me. Each. Character.
Which brings me to my next point! The screen-time and overall attention on each character is balanced; maybe the most it’s ever been. Rest assured, fans, they all get their moments to shine.
In fact, one of the best parts about these episodes is the dynamic of the Titans themsevles. The Titans not only feel like a team/crime-fighting unit, but also a doting family who actually care about one another. Unlike previous seasons, they don’t just feed us this information through lines of dialogue, but instead show us. They give us a reason to love and root for this group of people.
There are some new and returning character dynamics for fans to look forward to, with one fan-favorite pairing in particular coming right to the forefront. I’m dying to unload and tell you all about said dynamics, but for now I have to keep things quiet. I will say this, however, you won’t be disappointed and the writers really have listened. I can’t get into anything, but there are some very interesting things going on with Gar, his powers and his psyche, that both fans of the show and readers of the comics will love.
Episode one kicks things off in a great way, but the second episode is where things really kick up. This episode, along with the next, set the tone and spell out (pun intended) what the battle is this season for the Titans. We’re diving deep into the supernatural this season; on a much scarier, and larger, scale than season one. The Titans have never faced such forces as a group. There’s a real learning curve for them as they unravel who their antagonizer is, what they’re capable of, and what terrifying mysteries are left behind. You can expect some seriously cool horror aspects that deviate beyond what we’re used to. Things get freaky!
Things slow down a notch in episode four, with a good portion dedicated to the backstory of a particular character. It’s an episode that provides important context in relation to some of the season’s biggest mysteries so far…Along with some truly shocking revelations. Following on from that, episode five is game-changing, with stakes rising majorly. The revelations from episode four puts the Titans in a tricky position, and the Church of Blood really put their skates on.
Let’s talk about this season’s antagonists. In the season premiere, we’re introduced to Lex Luthor, a not-quite-Mother-Mayhem, and the sweet Sebastian Sanger. Titus Welliver is an amazing Lex Luthor, and his talents definitely don’t go to waste. Franka Potente’s Mother Mayhem is more niche and cartoony in her villainy, but nonetheless great and a cunning threat to the Titans. When we meet Sebastian, he’s a sweet, delicate man with a dream to one day change the world, before things take a dark turn for him.
While every performance has impressed me this season, I have to give credit where credit is due: Joseph Morgan is marvelous. And we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s to come. As far as new characters go, though, we can’t forget about Jinx. Lisa Ambalavanar delivers a charming performance, elevated by her comedic timing, and has particularly amusing engagement with one of the Titans.
Production Value Improvements
I’m pleased to say that the more technical aspects of the show have been greatly refined. The editing is tighter, the visuals are stunning (and lacking a certain color!), and the CGI is at a new high. The filmmaking style this time around is way more dynamic and elevates the storytelling more than it ever has. As always, the sets and filming locations are well chosen and the cinematography only compliments that. So far, my favorite set is either the RV or Temple of Azareth; both of which are seen in the trailer—I can’t choose!
While we’re on the topic of technical aspects, I absolutely have to put in a word for the fight scenes. They truly kick ass, and that’s not an understatement. My current favorite, and I say current because I totally expect it to be topped, is from the premiere. From a technical standpoint it’s brilliantly done, and keeps you highly entertained. You’ll know which one I’m referring to when you see it for yourself.
With high stakes and enticing drama, the fourth season of Titans is off to a strong start. While individual episodes from previous seasons still stand out to me, these first five episodes are certainly the most consistent and coherent run of episodes the show has had…Ever.
While I’m reluctant to believe they can maintain this quality, the show has never been better, and I’m eager for them to prove me wrong.
Titans returns this Thursday, November 3rd, on HBO Max with a two-episode premiere.