Thursday, November 3, 2022

REVIEW: 'Titans' - Conner Faces a Difficult Decision to Learn More Information From His Father in 'Lex Luthor'

HBO Max's Titans - Episode 4.01 "Lex Luthor"

After Superman requests a meeting with Conner, the Titans travel to Metropolis for exclusive access to S.T.A.R. Labs. But when unexpected complications arise, including the re-emergence of Lex Luthor, Conner faces a tough decision.

"Lex Luthor" was written by Richard Hatem and directed by Nick Copus

The Titans have become a makeshift family. They rely on each other no matter what. That's what makes it so difficult when they are separated. When they operate as a collective unit, they are unstoppable. The third season fractured them largely by sending them off on different journeys. Those interests carried them elsewhere. It wasn't until the end that they could all stand united once more. They saved Gotham. They weren't planning on staying though. Instead, they wanted to resume the lives they started in San Francisco. They are quickly sidetracked on that quest. They land in Metropolis so that Conner can better understand his lineage. His journey is similar to the quest the other Titans have been on. As such, they approach the situation with wisdom and guidance. They respect the choices he makes. They are thrilled by the prospect of meeting Superman too. They issue dire warnings about what Lex Luthor potentially wants. They act as a team. That's the most cohesive element of this premiere. Sure, plenty of mysteries abound. Characters are connected through their shared visions of blood. That's an eerie visual. One that haunts everyone who encounters it. Of course, they keep those visions to themselves for the moment. They lose control as they are pulled into this despair. For Rachel, that's simply screaming. For Gar, it's transforming into animals he has never conjured before. The audience doesn't get to see all of that. Instead, the narrative lingers in the horror alongside the confusion. All of this seemingly comes from Lex's quest to become Superman. He wants to inherit those powers so he can spread his influence far and wide. He's been trying to defeat the famed hero for over forty years. He hasn't accomplished that task. He hasn't exactly been held accountable for his numerous schemes either. He fills an entire wing of archives at the Daily Planet. His crimes are extensive and notable. Everyone knows exactly who he is. That's how that generation of heroes and villains have been lifted up. Right now, the public is enamored by the Titans. They see them as uniformly good. However, they don't fully understand who they are. They don't fit neatly into those preconceived notions. That has plagued Conner on numerous occasions. It's been frustrating to an extent as well. It's made him non-committal. That's even true of the final action here. It looks like he killed Lex. He didn't. Instead, he killed the creature that came out of his father's lifeless body. It makes no sense whatsoever. Conner went into this meeting wanting answers. He needed to know why he was created. He needed to know what Lex wanted from him. The truth is far more mysterious and complicated than anyone could have guessed. The Titans know to never trust Lex. The show is aware of those audience expectations as well. And so, Lex is killed.

Of course, it's hard to believe that Lex is truly gone for good. The show has lessened the impact of death over the years. Several characters have come back to life previously. Some have had arduous journeys in the afterlife. Others spent only a brisk time there. Lex was clearly planning for something more to happen. The narrative already proved his ability to stay one step ahead of the Titans. Kory went in to gather information. Dick and Tim were nearby to monitor the situation. They trust her to retrieve all the information necessary to understand Lex's motives. However, Lex proves his process by sending ninjas after her allies. Dick defeats them. He repeats his annoyance with ninjas. All of this showcases how Lex has earned his reputation as the one person Superman and Batman fear the most. And now, the Titans are engaging with him. Lex presents his humanity. He wants his legacy to live on through his child. Of course, the truth about Conner's creation is probably much more complicated. That's a reasonable assumption to make at this point. Again, the audience should naturally be skeptical of every detail that happens. That too can be an alienating promise. It removes the impact of some of the drastic actions taken across the story. As such, the stakes have to increase their severity. Right now, it's all about settling into a new city. It offers new opportunities. It's exciting to see Tim so happy as part of the team and quickly form a crush on Bernard, who works at S.T.A.R. Labs. Gar finally gets a suit that will allow him to transform without having to get naked all the time. Meanwhile, Rachel's powers are becoming more linked to the ongoing concerns of the narrative. Everyone is coming together in the hopes of remaining strong. They fear what's coming. That's just a tease for now. Conner hopes to engage with his father in a way that provides greater understand of who he is. He only has a limited amount of time with Lex. It's informative. It simply ends in disaster. That too proves how Lex's interests don't always prevail at the end of the day. He can't plan for every move. He still found the potential for survival in an ancient temple. That too presents an eerie environment. One where certain people are experts and expect their inclusion to be welcomed. Instead, it may only bring further despair. These are cryptic clues as to what's to come. They aren't nearly as fun as the opening sequence of the Titans enjoying a round of bowling. That's absolutely fantastic. It allows these characters to feel real instead of jumping from disaster to disaster. They never get the time to step back and reflect on what they've done. They still may not get that opportunity. At least the season is starting off with plenty of intrigue while presenting a more united Titans with tons of resources at their disposal.