Episode four of “Titans” finally introduces the long-anticipated character, Blackfire, but it ultimately feels like a filler episode in terms of the story. Aptly titled “Blackfire,” episode four sets up storylines for both Starfire and Nightwing to explore going forward in season three.
Warning: this review contains spoilers for episode 4 of “Titans.”
But that’s the main issue with this episode and “Titans” as a whole. While it has great character moments, the team already feels divided into the Nightwing crew and the Starfire crew. And this continues an ongoing problem with “Titans” from past seasons; the show struggles to give each character adequate time to shine, without separating the team and it leaves big team moments for the season finale.
But episode four isn’t all bad. The introduction of Blackfire was highly anticipated and promoted and in just one episode, Damaris Lewis does not disappoint. The dynamic between Lewis’ Blackfire and Diop’s Starfire is fascinating to watch and Lewis plays a great foil to Diop.
The episode begins with the team grieving over Hank’s death from the past episode, and with Dawn deciding to take time off from being Dove. She leaves the show for the foreseeable future, by traveling to Paris. For the show and the characters, this feels like the right choice; in previous seasons, Hank and Dawn-focused episodes not only took attention away from other characters, but sucked away the energy from “Titans.”
Each character is handling Hank’s death differently; Conner is downtrodden and disappointed in himself, Gar is sad yet resilient, and Dick is determined to catch Jason, convinced there’s no good left in him.
There is a strange moment with Conner; in his grief, he tells Gar that he’s confirmed what a failure he is, by having Lex Luthor’s DNA. If you know the character of Conner Kent, you know his struggle of having both Clark Kent’s and Lex Luthor’s combined DNA. But on “Titans,” they haven’t had time to set this conflict up. So it felt like a moment that came out of nowhere because we haven’t truly seen Conner’s struggles up to this point, not in the same way we’ve explored characters like Rachel, Dick, and Kory.
With Dick now resolved to find Red Hood, he goes AWOL and kidnaps Jonathan Crane to draw in Jason. This leads to another amazing Nightwing vs. Red Hood fight, showcasing their different combat styles; for example, Red Hood only had the advantage by catching Dick off guard and using dirty tactics. Yet, earlier in the episode, the conversations between Dick and Crane were a strange “who’s manipulating who” back-and-forth that the viewer never really gets the answer to.
On the other side of “Titans,” Kory has discovered she shares a psychic link with her sister. After having another blackout and attacking Gar, they team up to find Blackfire, discovering her imprisoned in a cage. While the sisters fight, both physically and verbally, Kory’s good heart ultimately wins and she decides to let Blackfire free so she’s not locked away for hundreds of years. Blackfire is a known villain and she definitely is not off to a friendly start with the Titans, so it’ll be interesting to see where her character factors in this season.
Ultimately, episode four is an okay episode with great character moments. It already feels like the show is diverging on different paths with the title of the show being ignored. And as characters, from Barbara to Crane, keep emphasizing to Dick to make sure there are “no more Robins,” the absence of Tim Drake since episode one is felt even more.