[This review contains some minor SPOILERS!]
The fifth episode of Titans is titled “Together.” Fittingly, this is the first time that the show’s many conflicting elements did indeed seem to come together, as we finally have our core cast in one place as Dick Grayson starts to focus on turning Kory, Rachel and Gar into some kind of organized team.
I should note at the start that many of the problems with Titans to date still remain. There are still a number of logic gaps in the story. For instance, I can’t believe that Dick Grayson would agree to take charge of Gar and let the green-haired punk travel with him, Kory and Rachel without somebody mentioning a) that Gar has the ability to change into a green tiger and b) he has to be naked to do it if he doesn’t want to trash his clothes. But then how would we get the “hilarious” scene where the Titans are training in a random empty barn (because of course Dick just somehow manages to find such a thing when they need a place to train in secret while driving across the country) and Dick is confused by Gar’s request that everyone turn around so he can get undressed before he shows off his powers. That sums up a lot of Titans in a nutshell – too much effort for too little return.
That being said, while “Together” does absolutely nothing to advance the plot of the show so far, it does address the other major failing of the series – showcasing and developing its characters. I’m not sure how much of this I should credit to Ryan Potter’s performance as Gar, but the show has been greatly improved since introducing Beast Boy as a regular. Gar’s character here is an even mix of the snarky Beast Boy Marv Wolfman wrote and the more flighty goofball of the recent animated series. The balance works effectively, creating a Beast Boy that will be familiar to most, while still seeming new and the show could have benefited from this kind of balancing act being introduced to other elements.
On that note, Anna Diop is finally given a chance to start portraying Starfire’s softer side instead of being a 100% badass all of the time. Her interactions with Brenton Thwaites’ Robin in this episode reminded me of Kory in the classic New Teen Titans books and how Kory could be so insightful when it came to observing people. Here, she manages to see through Dick’s facade by watching him when he isn’t throwing up his soldier act and seeing that underneath his confusion at Rachel’s condition and his rough edges there is a good man trying to get out.
The focus on the characters and just letting them talk and be people for a while does a lot to offset the lackluster action of this episode. The Nuclear Family return but I defy anyone to describe the fight scene between Kory and “Sis” in the hotel hallway to me, as the whole scene is shot without any lighting apart from back-lighting. The final action scene also suffers, having been shot through a blue filter that somehow makes a penthouse room on a sunny day look like a smoky bar. Thankfully, all of this is worth suffering through for all the magic little moments of the heroes just talking to one another.