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Titans - Hawk and Dove - Review

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Titans - Hawk and Dove - Review

The second episode of DC Universe's Titans show is entitled "Hawk and Dove" and right away introduces two classic comic book characters that thankfully look and sound just like you'd want them to. Both characters have been around since the 60's in various incarnations and this version is the Hank Hall and Dawn Granger pair up. DC is expanding its character palette by quickly bringing in versions of characters that are not the Teen Titans and I think it's a very smart and entertaining thing to do.

In a dimly lit grungy wherehouse we first meet the DC Universe hero named Hawk. He is beat up and hung by chains and right away we are reinforced that this is a totally new imagining of the DC Universe by watching him spit blood and F bombs at the group of assembled henchmen in front of him. He banters with them and their creepy leader until the tone changes with the arrival of a set of garden shears. Luckily Hawk has someone else in the title of his comic book and Dove shows up to kick some butt and rescue her man.

Back at the bird HQ in Washington D.C. Hank soaks in a therapeutic bath, washing away all the blood from the bad guys and his various injuries. He injects himself with medicine and pops pills to help with the pain and bruising. I give the show props here for showing the "real world" consequences, ie scars and pain, of being a brutal vigilante. Dawn comes into the bathroom wearing a Superman t-shirt and I just love how the show is so set on continuing to world build. I say bring it on. The comic book world is wide and varied so there's no reason a TV show shouldn't be as well. In a world where a Superman exists, there would be shirts sold with his symbol on it, just like in our boring world. She tries to get him out of the tub and they end up discussing their upcoming supposed last job. They want to retire to Wisconsin and live the good life. Dawn seems hesitant Hank will actually give up the life.

Hank gives Dawn a present in a small box. Not the present she was expecting but inside was a small key. They take a walk and end up on the roof of the building examining a new bird hatch waiting there. He built it himself for her and in a moment of tenderness he takes a dove out of the hatch and tells Dawn they mate for life and that being with her has been the best three and a half years of his life. They tenderly embrace. The scene shifts and in a moment of truly adult comic book situational material, we see Hank and Dawn in their bedroom, mid coitus. Things don't go well for Hank if you know what I mean and he ends up apologizing as Dawn consoles him. Later as Hank sleeps Dawn slips into the bathroom and has shocking flashback fantasy. She remembers back to a night four years ago in a dark alley when Robin joined Hawk and Dove in kicking some bad guy butt. Obviously something about that sequence did something for her. And I absolutely loved the updated rockin' version of the 1981 Kim Wilde classic "Kids In America" jamming out as the trio kick, punch, and slam the villains to some very nice action fight choreography. Hilarious to hear Hawk call Robin Boy Wonder too. He says it with such disdain. At the end of the scene, after Hank has come for the daydreaming Dawn, we see a photo with the three fighters together with another dark haired girl. Dick stands with the girl as if they are together. I wonder if her initials are DT? Hmmmmm....

Somewhere in the middle of Ohio Dick drives Rachel in his Porsche. They pull over and head into a diner. They both get a cup of coffee and Det. Grayson asks Rachel how she killed her zealotous kidnapper. She declares she didn't mean to kill that man and she doesn't know what happened. Dick tells her everything will be OK and she fatalistically declares "where am I going to go anyways?"

At the city morgue Dick's partner and the Zelda t-shirt wearing Coroner go over the weird body of the assassin Raven killed. He declares he has no idea how he was killed and that it was truly some biblical type stuff that took place. His insides basically boiled away and all that was left was his sack of skin on the outside. They're cute and clever together and we'll probably see that Coroner sometime again.

Dick and Rachel are pulled over for the night at a roadside motel. He sits in his german sports car and goes through the list of contacts on his cell phone. I saw Alfred, Lucious Fox, some comic creator names, and a certain girl named Donna Troy. Robin ends up calling Alfred Pennyworth and asks for some help. He tells him it's only a one time thing. Inside the rental room Dick asks the tv watching Rachel if she wants some pizza as he puts on his jacket to go out. At least we know this world has Game of Thrones in it. The two agree on no pineapple on the pizza and Rachel gets up after Dick leaves and checks out his cases. His Robin costume case is locked up but his famous bird computer is unlocked. Rachel Googles herself and finds tons of articles about the murder of her mother. But then she interestingly also finds some results about how billionaire Bruce Wayne took in a certain orphaned trapeze artist so many years ago.

Dicks partner calls and gives him the update that Rachel is in the wind. He of course knows this but asks her to send him all the info the police have on the case. Rachel is watching videos of Dick's parents dying on his Waynetech laptop when the info comes through. She examines all the files and picks up the picture from the autopsy. It comes alive in her hands and shouts at her. She freaks out sees her Raven persona and begins drawing crosses. Dick comes back with the pizza and finds her in the bathtub. He consoles her and calms her down.

A nice normal suburban family sits together at the breakfast table. The two kids play a board game while Dad reads and Mom pours coffee. Hello to The Nuclear Family. Around in various incarnations since the 80's, this version seems to be a sleeper cell activated by their handlers to track down Rachel. With foul language and mysterious formula injections the family gets ready for a road trip.

Dick and Rachel are back on the road and discuss the man who came after her and killed her mother. Dick tells her he was part of a cult. Rachel asks about Bruce Wayne and if the pain of being left behind ever goes away. He says yes and no, and that he won't leave her.

The two make it to Washington D.C. and the apartment of Hawk and Dove. Dawn opens the door and is obviously surprised to see Dick standing there in front of her with a young blue haired girl. Rachel introduces herself and reaches out to shake Dawns hand. When they touch Rachel receives a flash vision of Dick and Dawn together, sans clothing. Rachel seems shocked by the NSFW pictures that just played out in her head. Dick asks to talk and the three head upstairs to catch up. Dick tells Dawn whats going on and that he fears the cult has people within the department. They talk about what they've been doing recently and Dawn asks Dick to help them out just as Hank gets back. He does not like finding his girl with the Boy Wonder. He starts mouthing off until he sees Rachel by the bird coop.

Later on Dawn and Hank discuss the arrival of Dick and Rachel and the timing of it all. Dick obviously causes Hank some stress and Dawn has to ease her partner down. He thinks it's too much of a coincidence that they've arrived but Dawn wants to use Dick to help them take down the group of gun runners from before. Then they can retire off to Wisconsin. Hank is not into it and thinks Dick's only out for himself and that people don't change.

Dick and Rachel talk about Dawn. She asks about them being together and he admits it was awhile ago when they were kids and that its long over. She lets him know Dawn doesn't necessarily think so. Later on in the middle of the night, Dick receives a call on his old Batphone from Alfred. He agrees to something and tells him that he'll be there. The next morning Dick takes the Porsche to the Federal Reserve. Back in the apartment he's preparing an envelope when Rachel and Dawn come back from shopping. The two chat and are happy together as they discuss Game of Thrones. Dawn gets Dick to take a look at the case file of the gun runners they're preparing to take down. Dick uses his famous Bird computer from Wayne Enterprises to see that the building is full of weapons. They discuss Rachel and what is to become of her and Dick tells Dawn his plan of leaving her and a bunch of money with Hank and Dawn. He tells Dawn he's no good staying with people and that Rachel would be better off staying with her. He tells her she doesn't know what he's become. He tries to warn her to not hit the warehouse as there's too many bad guys but just then Hank comes home and misconstrues the whole situation. He and Dick start to tussle in the kitchen and Rachel comes out of her room. She Raven's out a bit, unleashing some psychic force and destroys some glass, stopping the two fighters in their tracks. Rachel apologizes as she walks away, leaving the three heroes standing there stunned.

Dick's partner from the Police force heads home. She finds the Sis from the Nuclear Family in the corner and is attacked by her. She's cut with a pair of scissors as the Bif the son appears and beats her with a baseball bat. They demand to know where Dick Grayson is. Sis stabs Det. Rohrbach in the back as she struggles to get away. Mom and Dad appear and chastise the children for starting without them.

Dick goes in to talk to Rachel and she apologizes to him. Dawn comes in and lets them know that they're leaving to go do that "thing". Dick tries to talk her out of it but he can't. She leaves and Rachel tells him that Dawn needs his help. She asks him "isn't that what you do, help people?". And in a telling moment he reveals that he used to think so. He used to think that it was the best he did. Until he realized all the hurt to some that he had to cause to help the others. Rachel sympathizes and tells him that when she feels the darkness come out, it feels good. He tells her he understands. She then uses some of his advice back at him to make him realize what he needs to do. More nice character development here for these two, and nicely acted as well.

At the gun runners warehouse Hawk and Dove run into some trouble when they're ambushed by all the bad guys Dick warned them about. Luckily Rachel talked some sense into psycho Robin who shows up and brutally saves his friends from certain death. He castrates the main bad guy, launches his throwing R into a guys eye, and proceeds to violently take out the retreating henchmen from the shadows. His face bloody, he tells Hawk and Dove "you're welcome" to their shocked faces.

Back at the apartment Rachel finds the wad of cash and the note Dick left for Dawn and Hank. She's disappointed by what the note says. Later the trio return from their mission and Dawn points out that Dick wasn't kidding when he told her he'd changed. Dick can't find Rachel inside the apartment so heads up onto the roof. She's there and confronts him on the lies he told to her. (Which...isn't she supposed to know when people lie to her? anyways) Hank and Dawn come and Rachel gives Hank the note so he can read it. He's shocked Dick was going to just dump Rachel on them and try to buy them off with some money. Hank and Dawn argue as Dick tells Rachel he was going to come back for her. She touches his hand and she KNOWS he's lying. (so she has to touch someone to know they're lying? OK) Suddenly a door opens and The Nuclear Family is there. Hank walks over and immediately the battle breaks out! Dad attacks Hank. Mom attacks Dawn. Dick gets Rachel away but then the kids attack Dick and knock him over the side of the roof! It does not go well for our heroes! The juiced up family catches them by surprise and they catch a beating. The family gets Hank around the neck with a rope, holding him in restraint. The Father grabs Dawn and throws her back through the bird coop and off the roof of the building! Hank screams until the kids whack him in the head with a bat, knocking him out. The Nuclear Family surrounds Rachel, and grabs her!

Dick crawls back up onto the roof just as Hank starts to come back to. He races down the fire escape to get to Dawn down below. He finds her broken and bleeding but still alive. She speaks with a bloody mouth as Dick flashes back to the moment he lost his family in the accident. He's obviously worried Dawn is not going to make it. We see him consoling her from above as a Raven flies in and lands on the fire escape rail.

This was another great episode of Titans and I am really enjoying the world that DC Universe is creating for their first live action series. It all feels very real, even though we are dealing with otherwordly comic book characters and costumes. The punches and action look authentic and there are real consequences for the characters over the course of the show. I also like the way the writers room keeps the mix of horror, action, comedy, and tenderness looking and sounding fresh and true. Two episodes in and things are tightening up nicely in the directing, acting, and writing of this show. Keep it coming DC Universe, keep it coming.

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