The first three episodes of Titans were outstanding. There’s no other way to put it. For this show, at least… a show that has, in my humble and correct opinion, been unnecessarily botched and broken from the get-go… it was an amazing bow and hopefully an indication for greatness to come.
Greatness, I’m assuming, thay will come after this episode because this one… was not great.
Don’t get me wrong, compared to the missteps in the past, “Blackfire” is competent enough and tells an acceptable story, but coming on the heels of an episode where one of the Titans was exploded like a baggie of expired ham in the most traumatic way possible, this was not the episode the show needed.
In fact, the fallout was limited to Superboy feeling sorry for himself, Garth getting fed up with everyone, and Dawn leaving on a jet plane where we don’t know if she’ll be back again. It was condensed to a ridiculous degree and then dropped from the narrative in favor for a Nightwing vs. Red Hood fight that goes exactly like we thought it would when the plot first started, and a decent story of Starfire finding her sister.
But, by gosh… we didn’t need that episode, we needed one that centered on Dawn, Superboy, and Garth. The heroes that tried and failed to save one of their own. It was a traumatic event and the characters and audience needed time to digest it, not just dismiss it like it was nothing as piece of Hank dripped off the wall like scattered pepperoni!
The Dick vs. Jason fight was such an incredible non-event that was placed into the episode strictly to remind us that Red Hood is a thing. Just about everything was back at square one by the end and it might as well have never happened. It was just there to burn the minutes that could have been devoted to something else more substantial like, oh… I don’t know… mourning the teammate that was just burst like a balloon filled with pizza sauce.
The Starfire story was a little more interesting simply because I found the exasperated Beast Boy highly entertaining. The poor guy was almost fricasseed by a sleepwalking Starfire and then locked in a trunk by her and he reacted in a perfectly understandable way, his anger eventually giving way to the helper that he is at heart. I enjoy that so much about him.
Starfire as well, although not to the same degree, was also enjoyable in this episode and I enjoyed her character arch of choosing to do the right thing over the easy thing. Bringing Blackfire with her is definitely going to lead to some interesting situations and plant plot seeds for later, but that was the sin of so many Titans episodes of the past: Set up future events and then execute them in the most disappointing way possible.
Hopefully, that won’t be the case.
The breaking leg of this storyline, however, is Damaris Lewis as Blackfire. I found her performance… well, to say it was flat would be granting it more dimension than it actually had. I took a look at her acting resume and it is rather thin, but I’m hoping with more time and guidance and a better handle on her character, the performances will improve. Right now, though, it was staggeringly lifeless.
I hate that Titans ignored the trauma of Hank’s death, especially given the evil machinations of it, but “Blackfire” was… well, it was decent. I’m trying not to let my disappointment in the direction color my experience with the episode itself, but it’s hard.