In Titans’ most bonkers episode yet, Bruce Wayne haunts Dick Grayson. Needless to say, we have so many questions.
Following a strong start, Titans season two episode seven, ‘Bruce Wayne’, takes a bizarre, and regressive turn in its plot development.
Essentially a study of Dick Grayson’s (Brenton Thwaites) fractured mind, Titans: Bruce Wayne also delves into the harm secrets cause and PTSD, but the treatment of these elements could have been better.
There was much to enjoy and appreciate in this episode, but there were also some regressive moments that set the show back to the mistakes we saw in season one.
We look at what worked, and what didn’t, in Titans: Bruce Wayne. Spoilers ahead!
If there is one thing that seems to go under the radar in superhero stories, it is PTSD. The trauma of facing death at every turn should be something that is thoroughly discussed in this genre, but the depictions thus far have been hit-or-miss.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe somewhat dealt with PTSD with regards to Tony Stark, and Titans has handled it in the first season and earlier in the second season.
I’m glad to see that Titans: Bruce Wayne doesn’t brush recent events under the carpet.
Jason Todd (Curran Walters) fell 15 stories off a building following an attack by Deathstroke (Esai Morales). He may be a superhero, but coming so close to death leaves a mark.
For the majority of Titans: Bruce Wayne, Jason keeps reliving his fall. We see him stand in front of his window, day and night, with loud music on, ‘falling’ again and again.
He has a brief reprieve, when Rose Wilson (Chelsea Zhang)—daughter of Deathstroke, and fellow survivor—comes to complain about his music.
But their romantic interlude doesn’t last—Rose discovers evidence that her brother was connected to the Titans, something she wasn’t informed about. She is rightfully angry, and Jason is left alone to fall again.
I liked the simplicity of how Jason’s PTSD is treated. No histrionics. No grand gestures. Just one man reliving the worst moment of his life alone.
In any other scenario, people would have been crawling out of the woodwork to help Jason. But he’s with the Titans, and a more dysfunctional, splintered group of heroes has never been seen. There’s nobody to help Jason, and that is the Titans’ most fatal flaw.
Dick and Bruce
Something that has been made abundantly clear throughout Titans is that Dick Grayson doesn’t hold his mentor, Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen), in the highest opinion.
Though the two had made peace at the start of Titans season two, Dick isn’t exactly running back to Bruce for guidance and help.
And we finally learn the reason why.
It has been heavily alluded to that Dick and the Titans had something to do with the death of Jericho, Deathstroke’s son. We weren’t sure what it was, but it has been eating Dick and the Titans up.
So much so, that Dick starts imagining Bruce mocking him in his head. The Bruce Wayne we’ve met is sedate and calm—the one in Dick’s mind is a cocky smart-ass who isn’t afraid of telling Dick where to get off.
This leads to some of the most hilarious scenes we have seen in Titans, including an homage to the 1960s Batman TV show where Adam West’s Batman had a couple of dance scenes.
The sight of Iain Glen’s Bruce Wayne dancing with two chorus girls was hilarious but also quite cringey—though Glen’s uncanny Adam West-like appearance did sell the moment. Why exactly Dick would imagine his mentor in such a form one cannot begin to fathom, however.
Aside from this very bizarre moment, we do have some good scenes of Bruce really digging through the fog of Dick’s mind in Titans: Bruce Wayne.
There’s a particularly strong moment later in the episode, when Dick goes to confront Deathstroke, not so much to get revenge for Jason, but to silence Deathstroke and stop him from revealing the truth about the Titans’ involvement with Jericho.
The Bruce in Dick’s mind forces Dick to accept that his intentions aren’t noble and, that to bring back some semblance of hope in his and the Titans’ lives, he has to fess up to the truth.
Thwaites does a startling job of breaking down Dick’s defenses while still keeping it together and there is a small and touching gesture from Glen’s Bruce that shows how strong the bond between Dick and Bruce really is.
And so, Dick heads back to Titans tower, to face not only Deathstroke, but the truth that can quite literally kill him and his friends.
Questions We Have After Watching Titans: Bruce Wayne
As I mentioned earlier, Titans: Bruce Wayne is more regressive than the episodes we have seen so far in Titans season two.
I can’t help but wonder why the show has gone back to the male gaze in this episode. What was the point of the burlesque club setting? It was so unnecessary, especially considering how beautifully Doom Patrol handled a similar setting in their season one episode, ‘Danny Patrol’.
Also, why the Jason/Rose pairing? It’s come out of nowhere—Rose fawning all over Jason when they have had nary a scene together thus far is peak homosocialism.
In the final scene of the previous episode, Conner (Joshua Orpin) saved Jason and viewers could see the instant connection between the two of them. But instead of engaging with that aspect, Titans: Bruce Wayne chose to go with a romantic pair that makes no sense, nor has any canon existence.
There’s another thing that’s bothering me about Titans: Bruce Wayne. When did Kory Anders (Anna Diop) become a medical expert?
I can understand why Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly) would be mending Conner, but Kory has shown no medical abilities so far.
One would have expected Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) to be at Conner’s side, considering the experience he and Dawn have of patching themselves up. This was another regressive move—the women as nursemaids—in this episode which impacted my enjoyment of it.
When, oh when, are we going to get more of Gar Logan (Ryan Potter)? It often feels like Titans has completely forgotten about the character, in favour of all the new additions.
And finally, why did everyone turn on Jason in the end? He’s just survived certain death and the moment things go a bit awry in the Tower, everyone turns on the new guy, Jason. Why not Rose? If anyone was trying to play tricks on the team, it would be Deathstroke’s child, surely.
Plus, why does Jason talk about a poison inside of him? I’m not sure what part of comics canon this is alluding to—it’s nothing I’ve come across as a fan of Jason Todd’s, not unless this is a reference to the Lazarus Pit. Or this could be creative license on the part of the writers of Titans: Bruce Wayne.
In any case, the real poison, as Dick points out, is the secret they’ve been hiding about Jericho’s death.
We should hopefully learn more about Jericho in the next episode, which one can only assume will go back to being as subversive and enjoyable as the earlier episodes of Titans season two.