[This review contains some minor SPOILERS!]
One week after it seemed like Titans was finally starting to build some momentum and go somewhere now that its core cast were together, the series once again regresses to go off on a tangent that is ultimately much ado about nothing. One step forward. Two steps back.
Dick Grayson’s investigation into the mysterious Organization that is hunting Rachel Roth on behalf of Rachel’s equally mysterious father is put on hold after Dick is confronted by Jason Todd – a young man who introduces himself as the new Robin, after saving Dick from an ambush of The Organization’s men. An amiable child of the streets who calls everyone “bro”, Jason takes great glee in being Robin and in finally getting to meet the man who started it all. Dick, by contrast, is horrified by the zeal which this new Robin shows for inflicting pain and the speed with which he was apparently replaced by Batman with some random kid who boosted the hubcaps off the Batmobile.
Any chance of brotherly bonding is put on hold, however, as Jason reveals that the fortuitous rescue was blind luck and that he came looking for his predecessor because of a series of murders with one common link – all the victims were former performers at the same circus as The Flying Graysons and the killer has been trying to get Robin’s attention.
The damnable thing about “Jason Todd” is that it tells a good, engaging story. It’s probably the most straight-forward analysis of Dick Grayson’s character so far in the series and – barring more lengthy flashbacks to Dick’s childhood shortly after his parents death – manages to stick to its single storyline rather well. It must also be said that Curran Walters nails the character of Jason Todd right out of the gate. The problem is that while this would all make for a fantastic episode of a Nightwing solo series, this is meant to be an episode of Titans and the Titans are barely in the episode!
Despite the focus of the show seemingly being split between Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth so far, this episode does nothing to advance the main storyline. The focus here is on further exploring Dick’s many, many, many emotional issues and revealing just what specific incident caused Dick to retire as Robin. Brenton Thwaites does a fantastic job with this material, but his performance does nothing to stop the script by Richard Hatem and Jeffrey David Thomas from feeling derivative of both Batman Begins and the “Robin’s Reckoning” episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
The best thing that can be said about “Jason Todd’ is that it is an entertaining 50 minutes of television and it tells its story well. The problem is that, much like every second episode of this series so far, it seems to be an entertaining episode of an entirely different show that just happens to be doing a crossover with Titans this week.