Since Titans first aired back in October 2018 (January 2019 for UK Viewers), fans have wanted to know more about the original team of Titans in the show, which consisted of Dick Grayson as Robin still, Donna Troy as Wondergirl, Hank and Dawn as Hawk & Dove and a so far unseen character, Garth who is also known as Aqualad (portrayed by Drew Van Acker). Fans also wanted to see the reason for them disbanding as a team in the first place, and until now, we have only ever been led to assume it was due to a confrontation with Slade Wilson, a.k.a Deathstroke, but maybe there was more to it than that?
Episode four, titled ‘Aqualad’, takes us back five years prior to our main story in the show, giving us at least an episode without the inclusion of Rachel, Koriand’r, Jason Todd or Gar, which hasn’t happened since the early episodes where we had either only just met the characters or hadn’t yet been introduced to some of them, meaning that this episode is unique to the previous ones, making it even more interesting.
If you’re a fan of backstories and learning about the history of a team and it’s characters, then this is an episode for you, as it takes us back to a time when the original Titans were still learning their place in the world, discovering new threats who would later go on to become old enemies.
The plot concentrates on the emotions of the young Titans, as they try to stay strong for one another, but later discover that their emotions are bleeding into their work, making it difficult for them to find their place in the world. Dick Grayson and Dawn are together at this point, due to some form of separation from Hank, but whilst they both remain on the team, Hank seems to be putting on a brave face when it comes to Dawn and Dick being close with one another. Donna Troy tries to fight her feelings for Gar, whilst Gar does everything he can to prove his love for her, making for some uncomfortable scenes between the two.
Donna must later decide whether her decision to return to the island of Themyscira is the right decision to make. Should she follow what she believes to be her destiny, or follow her heart? This is one of the main focuses of her story.
Dr. Light (Michael Mosley) returns in this episode, as a new villain for the Titans in this time frame, meaning that they are still unsure of how to fight him, but later they soon discover his abilities and learn a thing or two about this mysterious meta-human. However, as always with Titans recently, the biggest threat still resides in one name, Deathstroke. Just like Dr. Light, this name is new to the Titans in this time frame,and they have no prior knowledge of Slade Wilson or his enhanced abilities, but as we see in the final moments of the episode which is set a week later, the Titans have certainly done their research.
This episode gives us two new characters that we will hopefully see more of (maybe not in the time of the main storyline, but maybe in some more flashbacks or original team episodes such as this one). One of those characters, is Gar a.k.a Aqualad, who seems like a great addition to the team before they disbanded. We get to see his relationship with the rest of the team, and of course his love for Donna which makes for some truly heartwarming and emotional scenes.
The second character we are introduced to, is a mute character who we soon discover is called Jericho (portrayed by Chella Man) who, if you’re a fan of the DC Comics, you will recognise as the name of Slade Wilson’s son. This means that we will not only be getting a deeper look into the history of the original team of Titans, but also a look into the history and personal life of Slade Wilson, which will give us some insight into why he seems to hate them in the main storyline for Titans.
One thing I almost forgot to mention is that this episode doesn’t just give us a look at the Titans discovering new villains that later become their sworn enemies. It also shows us that the Titans fight small crime as well, as we get to see them work as a team to stop a group of muggers from attacking a family in a car. This scene gives us the brutal action we’ve come to love, as well as an insight into how the team originally worked, with Dick Grayson at the helm as always, Hank and Dawn as the muscle, with Donna and Gar as the cleanup for anyone who tries to get away. It shows us more of Dick’s great leadership skills, which we hope he continues to prove to us in the main plot of the series when we come back to the new team of Titans.
The CGI in this episode seems to have really improved as I said it would over the course of it’s episode releases. Donna Troy’s lasso, Dr Light’s ability, and even the Atlantean magic of water manipulation used by Aqualad is looking incredible, which helps to really immerse the audience into the world of Titans and DC Comics.
Overall this episode is brilliant for giving us a look into the history of the Titans, and by the looks of things, this isn’t the last time, so bring on episode five because it is going to be intense! The final segment of this episode is filled with emotion that gives us just a glimpse of what is to come, and may even help us understand what it could be that truly causes the team to disband.
Directed by: Glen Winter
Written by: Jamie Gorenberg
Cast: Drew Van Acker, Brenton Thwaites, Chella Man, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Ryan Potter, Chelsea Zhang, Curran Walters