DC’s Titans Episode 9 was a bold move for the young DC Universe series. After the cliffhanger ending of last week’s episode, this week the show took a step back from the story of Rachel Roth’s (Teagan Croft) lineage and Dick Grayson’s (Brenton Thwaites) identity crisis, and focused on the origins of two characters first introduced in Episode 2: Hawk and Dove (Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly). So while fans will have to wait and see exactly what happened after Kory (Anna Diop) was activated and seemingly attacked Rachel, the detour was worth it as DC’s Titans Episode 9 marks a high point for storytelling in Titans‘ first season.
DC’s Titans Episode 9, titled “Hank and Dawn,” opens with the original Hawk and Dove (Ritchson and Elliot Knight) tracking down a sexual predator and filming themselves beating the crap out of him. Their costumes are rough and homemade, and brothers Hank and Donny Hall are stoked to be doing good — like Batman and Robin.
Then we flash to present with Hank watching over Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly) in her hospital bed after her beat down at the hands of the Nuclear Family in Episode 2. Hank is drinking heavily and breaking into the hospital’s pharmacy for drugs to self-medicate. While passed out, he has memories of being a young boy (Tait Blum), playing football for the Elmond Hawks. Young Donny (Jayden Marine) watches from the stands and his coach (Trevor Hayes) notices the younger Hall boy. After the game, the coach is trying to get Donnie into the weight room and Hank send Donnie home and takes his place, knowing full well what is about to happen to him.
The flashback flashes forward in DC’s Titans Episode 9 and Donny (Knight) is now older, watching his brother play football, this time on TV as Hank is in college. Hank takes a brutal hit and Donny goes to him to try and talk him into quitting football for his health. This issue begins to cause friction between the brothers, leading to a fight in the school’s library, which gets them both expelled. Hank blames Donny for ruining his dreams, and the childhood episode with the coach is brought up. Donny is the one to suggest that they seek out sexual predators and punish them. As the genesis of the original Hawk and Dove team begins to form, Rachel (Croft) tries to call out to Hank via the computer screen — a mechanism that will be reused throughout the episode.
Back in real time, Hank is still passed out, and Dawn begins REM sleep from her coma. Her flashback begins as she is performing a ballet with her mother (Marina Sirtis) watching from the audience. After the performance, Dawn learns that her mother plans to return to London to reconnect with Dawn’s abusive father. Dawn obviously hates the idea and tries to talk her mother out it, to no avail. After tea, mother and daughter leave and are walking down the street just as the Brothers Hall are at a paper stand seeing headlines highlighting their nighttime activities. They celebrate and literally run into the Grangers. Hank and Dawn have a brief moment before a car loses control and crashed into the paper stand, killing both Donny and Mother Granger.
Dawn and Hank both attend a survivors group, but neither wants to talk about their feelings. They later connect at a bar and form a survivors friendship of their own. As that friendship grows over time, so does their feelings for one another. She shares the idea of high tea with him; he shares Donny’s favorite pizza place with her. One night at Hank’s place, Dawn finds the Hawk costume and they have a conversation. Hank talks openly about being molested by his old coach, and Dawn gets angry for him.
Hank invites Dawn to sleep over — on the couch — and she gets up and researches Hank’s old coach, finding his address. She goes to confront him and Hank wakes up to find her gone and the results of her searches.
At the coach’s house, Dawn demands that he turn himself in and he pulls a gun on her. She kicks his ass, but the coach gets the upper hand. Hank arrives just in time to join in. Dawn finds the coaches computer and finds images of little boys. Hank tells Dawn to leave and she says, “no.” She closes the front door of the house and the new Hawk and Dove go to town on the child molesting coach.
After the beat down, they return to Hank’s place and make love. All the while Rachel is still trying to contact them through their dreams. The next day, Dawn wakes up and tells Hank they can’t be together and she hears Rachel’s calls for help.
In the present in DC’s Titans Episode 9, Dawn wakes from her coma and tells Hank that they need to find Jason Todd and that Rachel needs their help. The episode ends, and things are about to get very, very interesting.
DC’s Titans Episode 9 was written by Geoff Johns, one of the show’s creators, and a current DC Comics writer. Johns understands these characters and it shows in his script. Alan Ritchson is stellar as Hank, playing him in three different time periods, and each version is drastically different. He was a high point in Episode 2 and that performance carries over here as well. Minka Kelly is the perfect partner for Ritchson and they have real chemistry. I particularly liked that she was the one who sought out the coach, thereby creating the new Hawk and Dove, and the ending pulsed with energy, so when we return to the Titans team proper next week, Hawk, Dove, and Robin will be joining them to help save Rachel from her father.
DC’s Titans Episode 9 was directed by Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman, who, along with Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti, created the Titans series. Goldman brings a high budget feel to the episode, an episode that was light on action, but so heavy on amazing exposition. When all is said and done, DC’s Titans Episode 9 will be one of the highlights of this first season, and is my favorite episode to date.
DC’s Titans returns next Friday with the penultimate episode, and if the bricks laid in DC’s Titans Episode 9 are any indication, fans and viewers are in for an amazing ride for these next two episodes. Join us again next week for the DC’s Titans Episode 10 review and recap.
DC’s Titans is exclusive to the DC Universe online service and is available on Netflix in international markets. All images ©DC Comics/Warner Bros. TV. Video courtesy of TV Promos.