Thursday, May 11, 2023

REVIEW: 'Titans' - The Titans Prepare to Make Epic Sacrifices During Their Final Battle Against Brother Blood in 'Titans Forever'

HBO Max's Titans - Episode 4.12 "Titans Forever"

With Brother Blood at full power and Conner in critical condition, the Titans join forces to find - and defeat - Sebastian once and for all. But, when an unexpected discovery leads the crew to S.T.A.R. Labs, Kory finds herself at the center of Sebastian's trap.

"Titans Forever" was written by Richard Hatem and directed by Nick Copus

The Titans have the strength to defeat any villain that stands in their way when they stand united. They are collectively stronger than any of them are on their own. They've learned that numerous times. Each of them have strived to follow their own individual paths. However, they always returned to the comfort of the team. They could always rely on Dick and Kory for guidance. They were the surrogate parents looking over the team's young members. The Titans achieved fame as a unit. Sometimes though, their individual paths couldn't be ignored. A destiny was written for Kory. She was proclaimed as the savior of Tamaran. The prophecy foretold her sacrificing herself to defeat Trigon. Of course, Trigon isn't the villain who rises at the conclusion of the season. That's actually a blessing. It would be lame if the entire season was building up to a villain who only came in at the last second to take all the credit. Sebastian was a much more conflicted character. He had dreams and aspirations. His mind was warped by the power he received. He absorbed the life force of others. That infused their beliefs with his. As such, Trigon's true threat to destroy Earth and Tamaran was still viable. It was simply delivered through a different source. That doesn't entirely explain why Kory instinctively knew what Sebastian would do with the wormhole generator once she learned about its existence. She was already having visions of this climactic moment. She could no longer deny her fate. Everything needed to end. That's how this story had to go. It would be a blessing to avoid the inevitable forever. The Titans achieved that in their previous battle with Trigon. That was only a delay. It wasn't an end. This time it needs to be. However, the show has always had a bad track record of killing its characters and letting them stay dead. That's true with the various villains the Titans have faced. Even that is made complicated by Trigon's return this season. However, Kory and Conner both have moments where the Titans grieve their deaths only for them to return to life when the team needs them the most. It was more of a cliffhanger for Conner. He failed to kill Sebastian. Instead, Sebastian grew too powerful after killing his mother. Lex's weapon simply didn't have enough of Kory's energy to get the job done. Everything looked grim for Conner. But Dick has the precise resources to revive him. It doesn't take effect right away. It still occurs with no real consequences or limitations for Conner during the final battle. The same is essentially true with Kory. She seemingly expends all of her energy to kill Sebastian in the Earth's atmosphere. The color of her powers changes once more when she returns to the ground. Beyond that though, there are no repercussions for fulfilling the prophecy she has long dreaded. Instead, she gets to celebrate a happy ending with Dick. That's rewarding given how invested the audience is in their bond. It was inevitable too which robbed the moment of apparent sacrifice from being all that emotional or moving.

The Titans are splitting up though. This truly is an ending. They don't escape those fates. However, it's each of their respective choices to do so. They each have various corners of the world they need to be in next. The Titans thrived on traveling from city to city. They would land in one destination to address a certain threat. Once resolved, they'd pack up to go on the next adventure. They never planted roots anywhere. That has been a serviceable mission. It's not a sustainable life. Plus, they all feel the calling to be of service elsewhere. For Rachel, it's simply relaxing into a life where she doesn't have the weight of the world on her shoulders. Immense pressure was placed on her because of her family. Those bonds are gone. She always accepted the Titans as her true family. They will be able to visit her. However, she wants to enjoy life as a kid for the first time. Meanwhile, Gar deserves the opportunity to explore his connection to the Red and what must be done to protect the source that connects all life across the multiverse. He too will never be far away from any of his friends. He will come whenever they call out for help. He simply has new responsibilities that take him elsewhere. He must explore those mysteries. They have to be understood. That enlightens his path. Elsewhere, Tim declares Robin as the hero Gotham needs. The hero serves as a symbol in that city. He has the potential to succeed where Dick and Jason failed. Gotham deserves that. It doesn't prevent him from continuing his romance with Bernard either. That connection remains as strong as ever. He simply needs to give back to the city he calls home. That matters. Moreover, Conner finally meets Superman. He gets to spend time with his father. That was promised to him once. Instead, he had to make do with a brief moment with Lex. That served as his inspiration this season. He followed those instincts. They didn't produce a more enriching life. Flying may not be a solution to everything either. As such, he still needs Dick's reassurances. Metropolis may be home now. Conner still carries new responsibilities where he has to reckon with the identities of his parents. He's never too far gone. He can still make the right choices when it matters. And finally, Dick and Kory decide to come together as human and Tamaranean. Trigon feared the joining of these two cultures would be impossible to defeat. That's what fueled his vitriol that was then passed onto Sebastian. Instead, it offers a moment of hope for Dick and Kory. They remain a team. Their romance begins anew. It's not weighed down by some prophecy that must be fulfilled either. They know the future as seen through the glimpse of the red balloon and a daughter. They don't have to be stressed out about needing that image to occur. Instead, they can simply delight in the peace of being together and being happy for their friends. That's the final thought that shines through despite this being the end. It's because the Titans worked as a team that they each found their voices. That's powerful as well as a moving note to conclude the series.