Titans, S2 Ep12, Faux-Hawk, Review by Case Wright

Yep, you guessed it! This is a FUN episode. After huge plot points, this show really likes to bring some comic relief. “Faux-Hawk” is no exception. It’s got perfume ad sets, tigers eating people, cage matches, and Wondergirl tying up a dude that is totally not burned into my brain.

“Faux-Hawk” opens with Jericho getting stabbed by dear old Deathstroke, but right as death was coming- Jericho possessed his Dad, but not like anyone else. Deathstroke is able to keep Jericho in his mind and hang out with him in a….perfume ad? I guess- Deathstroke for Men.

Yes, Jericho is trapped in his Dad’s head, but I gotta say Deathstroke has a point. They both agree that Dick and the Titans lied and manipulated him, creating a direct line to his own death. Jericho, sure, your Dad is a supervillain assassin, BUT he’s SOOOOOOO Cool!!!! Come on, Bro! He even tried to make his Dad walk in front of a truck. Boo!

Back in San Francisco, Gar is getting some coffee. Uh Oh, he’s hearing music. He’s gonna start eating people aaaaand that barista is lunch. Oh well, that’s one way to get out of San Francisco.

Walter of Evil Cadmus, lets Dawn and Wondergirl into his home and Wondergirl uses the sexy rope of truth on him. My favorite line: Walter says – I deserve nice things. HA, buddy Minka Kelly and Conor Leslie just pushed their way into your home. Nice things?! Dude, more like you won lotto twice, found the holy grail, and got the last unicorn as a pet. They find out they control Gar and Superboy now. Ok…totally not something I’d like. If this happens to Cadmus employees on the regular, I’ll forego Dental and 401k. Cadmus, call me.

Now for off-the-wagon Hawk is a steel cage fighter! This is fun!

He’s all on blow and winning and taking beatings. He’s got a groupie and is too hurt to perform… aaaaand he’s asleep.

Starfire is having performance issues. Uh-oh, what will we call her, if she can’t make fire. She’s got serious guilt for not going back to Tamarin to take the throne.

Jason and Rose are doing their thing, but then he sees a text. Gar is in trouble. Jason want to blow it off, but Rose has gone good and wants to confess. People are just spilling their guts left and right. 3 years ago. She’s hit by a car and she starts re-building herself. She confronts her mom- what’s up with my healing ability?

She tracks down her Daddy Deathstroke. Ok, this family reunion has serious comic relief. He puts his pistol on the counter like he’s putting away keys and she shoots herself in the hand and it heals. Great exchange: Dad, I’m freak. Eh, Circus always needs us. Beats cubical work.

Everything you expect to be dark, goes to humor and it’s so fun! Later, she goes to prom ….. but it’s her dad who picks her up. Unlike the whiner Jericho, she’s tough and full of snark- She’s her father’s son. Ladies who can throw out clever one-liners and snark are a true treasure. To you Rose, I know you’re into …. murder, but I got my own hobbies too; more cooking and math related – we could make it work. 😉

Gotta say, really like Deathstroke. He’s trying to reconnect with his daughter – it’s through murder, but still. He’s been supporting her mom and the stepdad. It’s sweet. Her date shows up and starts honking. Fuck that guy.

Daddy got her Cape uniform. It’s bring your daughter to murder day. Awww. He’s got a bad rap. Team Deathstroke all the way. Swordfights! Deathstroke tells Rose that she had a brother that a highly trained gang of psychopaths murdered her brother. Deathstroke – you magnificent bastard! She asks for socks and underwear and he gives her a bankcard with 1,000,000USD. Ok, he’s a superdad. Jericho- thumbs down. Good showing not telling BTW!

He’s bringing her in to destroy them from the inside. That’s great. She busted out Doctor Light, infiltrated. I have so much fun with my daughters. Team Deathstroke! All the way!

Poor Rose, just spilling her guts to Jason and he’s not taking it well. The truth shatters Jason’s heart and it’s a great performance. Rose is all the Titans need us and Jason says- NO. I’m done with everyone. This is the beginning of the birth of Red Hood. Nightwing was born from relief, pain, and redemption. Red Hood is the product of betrayal, rage, and self-pity.

The final battle is coming!!! They’re all in San Francisco. Dick has been taskered by Jericho’s mom to extricate Jericho from Deathstroke’s head.

Then, more awesome. Hawk and Dove are cage fighting! Titans is the greatest thing to happen to tv since color.

Dick goes to Stu’s shop. Oh Stu, he’s just the creator of all the bat uniforms. There’s a SECRET LAB!!!

The episode ends with a guy who stole Hawk’s uniform. Comedy ensues and it’s pretty funny… Until it turns out he sold the suit to get blow. He gets home and the drugs are waiting for him.

Everything is ready for the final fight!

Titans, S2 Ep11, “E.L._.O.” Review by Case Wright

“E.L._.O.” begins with Gar getting brain surgery. Ew. They’re actually playing with the brain. Yuck! He’s talking and they’re squishing and triggering his anger and tiger changing.

Dick is in solitary for assisting in an escape. He’s delirious and sick. Good news, Ghost Bruce Wayne is mocking Dick again. I love it! Iain Glen is such a badass. He’s trying to lead Dick to understand there’s something going on that he’s missing.

Raven is being called in her dreams to help Dick at a taco place I think or a diner. I love tacos and diners. I’m think I’m hungry and a real cheap date. She’s staying in a crackhouse, but she has a cellphone. Where does she charge it?

This is coming clear as a Heroine story. They are doin it for themselves. Starfire is hanging in Vegas playing video games, drinking, and puking, but on the mend. Dawn is tossing everything ?but a photo post-hank. Yep, she left.

This mission story is still going?! UGHHH. Raven’s mission friend does tarot. *eyeroll* If you’re gonna mess with nonsense from the Dark Ages, why not become an alchemist or apothecary? At least then, you might make gold or treat a rash. Then, Raven is drawn to the Elko Diner.

Starfire is getting lucky. He blew it. Just kept talking and talking, but she did open up to a bit of exposition. Get on the road to Elko already; we know you’re going too.

Dick is recovering and Bruce is trying to make him understand Jericho and admonishing him- Pity party is over! LOVE IT!

Rose and Jason are squatting in some rich person’s home and busting up drug rings. She’s connecting to him and she wants to see the real Jason Todd and he will, but my guess is that her share won’t be so great.

This next scene is pretty cool. Raven, Dawn, Wondergirl, and Starfire all end up in the same Elko diner. Aaaaaand, it’s Bruce! The real Bruce. Bruce is so awesome. He’s bringing them back together. Then, he just leaves! Awesome! Dawn and Wondergirl are like screw Dick Grayson. Raven and Starfire decide to help Dick.

Dick is freezing is in cell and he sees….a RAVEN. He gets the idea for Nightwing….I hope!!!

We learn about Jason Todd. He squatted at a theater and watched thespians do their craft. Rose gets a little closer and then clams up. Damn, the leather jackets in this show are totally badass. They could bring it back.

I thought Jason was soulless. He’s not. He’s just broken and sad.

We are back with Dick in prison. He’s fighting his Ghost Bruce. Slowly, we are seeing Nightwing be born. So cool!!!! He realizes that Jericho IS ALIVE!! He’s hanging out in Slade’s mind. With that realization, Dick can forgive himself and let Nightwing be born!

Rose calls her Dad that she’s done with him and his games. Going against Deathstroke….interesting choice.

Fun, Raven and Starfire bust Dick out of Prison, but…..he’s already gone leaving a note scrawled on the wall: Jericho is alive. AWESOME!!!

Meanwhile at Titans Tower, Gar is home, but he’s being controlled by Cadmus. He’s imagining that he’s home, but They are controlling him. When he hears classical music, he become a tiger and eats an evil scientist.

This episode was a lot of fun; it had been kinda dreary and now it’s got it’s MOJO back!!!

Sign Me Up For Lawn Mowing Simulator!

There’s a lot of people making fun of the lawn mower simulator right now but I just watched the trailer and I’m ordering.

Yes, the trailer make it look like Lawn Mowing Simulator just a game about mowing lawns but we all know what the game is really about.  How many weird pictures can you mow in the grass before the homeowner comes home and figures out what you’re doing?  How many sticks and stones can you run your lawn mover over before you have to replace the blade?  Is your lawnmower powerful enough to destroy a pair of roller skates?  If you accidentally clip the neighbor’s yard, do you even it out or do you just play innocent and say you have no idea how that happened?

I did some research and I discovered that this game is not just about lawns.  It’s also a business simulator, where you build your landscaping business from the ground up.  You get chances to upgrade your lawnmower and there’s also mini-games involving trying to find and remove objects from the yard before you actually start cutting the grass.

I’ve actually always enjoyed business sims so this looks like the perfect game for me.  I get the sense of accomplishment of building a successful business without having to worry about accidentally shooting people just because I pushed the wrong button.  Sign me up!

Titans, S2 Ep10, “Fallen” Review by Case Wright

“Fallen” begins with “Inmate: Dick Grayson” Assault on Federal Officer. Plea: Guilty. 7 Years. No Probation. Ouch.

I don’t like his odds in Gen Pop, but who knows? Everyone is trying to call him, but he’s out of touch. Gar let Superboy loose. Wondergirl lost Raven. Dawn lost Hank. This is a downer! Raven is at a mission/halfway house. Crypto is running a meth lab.

The guard at the prison has set Dick up for death. That sucks. His cellmates are Gangbangers gone good. I guess, kinda cliche, but hey why not.

I’m not a fan of the Raven subplot at the mission; so, I’m not covering it. The only thing that I haven’t liked.

Mercy Graves comes in and captures Gar, Krypto, and manipulates Superboy. She convinces him to go back to Evil HQ. Gar is being brainwashed.

Dick is deciding whether or not to help the reformed gangbangers. He does and gets caught. This episode had a lot of potential, but it fell a little flat until the end. Wondergirl returns to the tower. It’s as broken as the Titans. Not every episode can be great.

Titans S2 Ep9, “Atonement” Review by Case Wright

“Atonement” begins with Dick’s confession. We learn that he told the old Titans that Jericho was already dead when he got to the Church that he died trying to save Dick from Deathstroke. He lied to everyone. Hank, the most direct, decks Dick and everyone leaves…..except Gar. I guess technically Conner too, but he’s unconscious.

This episode is all about admitting fault. No one is clean. This is Rock Bottom.

Then, we learn that Blackfire has sent her “Royal Goon Squad” to kill Starfire and her bodyguard. That must be the most awkward Thanksgiving ever. Blackfire wears the crown now and she killed many many people. Starfire’s hesitancy to wear the crown cost lives.

Dick abandons the Tower, leaving Gar holding the bag. WHAT?! You did this. You don’t get to run off. Oh well. Gar sees his mission as getting the Titans back together. Sure. Why not? He even reads to the unconscious Conner. By Day 3, he’s flagging. Conner wakes up and is a bit confused, naked.

Hank and Dawn are back in Wyoming and living in a new cabin. Then, Dawn takes Hank, a recovering alcoholic, to a bar. Ok. Not my first choice. Then, they are confronted by the sister of the boy Doctor Light killed. His death is on their heads.

Dick goes to Jericho’s mom to apologize. She does not let him off the hook at all. She directs him to look for forgiveness in the other room. Guess who’s there? Deathstroke. She’s cold blooded!!!! He’s moved back in like a Supervillain parent trap? Deathstroke sentences Dick Grayson to live alone and that if he re-assembles the Titans – they all die.

Then, the comic relief: Gar takes Conner into the city and he takes up Park Goat Yoga. Nah, he thinks cops are bad and attacks them and even the dog gets in on it. Oops.

Hank and Dawn split up. Blackfire has possessed the bodyguard, forcing Starfire to kill him. Then, we see Blackfire. And she is…is EVERYONE on that planet gorgeous? Can I go there?

Dick decides to go to Greenland, but changes his mind and gets himself arrested. Hank goes to a bar and orders a diet coke …. then some drugs. Alan Ritchson really plays the broken addict role well.

This episode worked like a 2nd Act spin around; everyone is at their nadir. Lost. Broken. Such a great show!

Titans S2 Ep8, “Jericho” Review by Case Wright

Stephen King described his worst fear as a person who has power over you, that is SUPPOSED to take care of you, but doesn’t. “Jericho” is about deceit and the pain and misery that causes, which leads to Dick’s downfall and the death i.e. collateral damage that is Jericho. Taylor/Sutton, Hatfield/McCoy, Titans/Deathstroke there’s always collateral damage, but this is much worse because the team knew Jericho was Deathstroke’s son and were using him from the start. Therefore, Deathstroke calling Dick a con man was accurate.

The story quickly shifts to Slade/Deathstroke. They’re all at a campfire and we learn Deathstroke’s origin story from Jericho. He kills A LOT of people and doesn’t stop snacking. Really. Then, he comes home, changed. His son can speak and it looks like he can have a life, but not so much. He becomes a killer for hire and SPAMS everyone on Linkedin to be his contact. Thugs attack his family to get info from Deathstroke. Oops. They all die, but not before his business leads to his family getting attacked and Jericho losing his voice via severed vocal chords. The backstory from Jericho leads to Deathstroke’s agent.

Deathstroke learns that the Titans are using his son to get to him. Well, I have to admit that I’m on Team Deathstroke on this one. Soon, we learn Jericho’s ability. He’s able to possess people. That’s weird. We flashback to a road rage incident where Jericho uses the power and his dad witnesses it. I feel so badly for Jericho being used like this. Dick is totally blinded by rage and revenge. Dick decides to take Jericho as a Titans member and tell him about how they were pursuing his Dad. It actually goes quite well; Jericho joins the Titans and try to stop Deathstroke. I’d be pissed.

Jericho leaves his mom and she sends Deathstroke to get him back. She’s coooooooold Blooded! Ice water in her veins. Deathstroke’s agent sends him to meet his Dad/Deathstroke. Dick is fine with manipulating anyone for revenge. Deathstroke versus the Titans. Yikes. Not gonna end well for them.

The next scene is one the best fight scene ever! Deathstroke Vs Wondergirl! FIGHT! There’s swords, knives, rope, and Ryan Seacrest hosts. It’s CRAZY!!!

Jericho confronts his dad. He’s wearing the Deathstroke armor without a mask. In reality, he’s naked. All of these capes are their true selves in costume. He says, “You wanted the truth…. This is who I am. This is who I’ve become.” This brilliantly calls back to the episode “Conner” where Eve says to Conner that he is person. “A person is what they do, not what they say.”

I thought I saw the best fight, but the Deathstroke v Robin battle was epic. Deathstroke has like stick-sword-gun! WTF?!!!! Just as Deathstroke is going to deliver the Coup De Gras, Jericho leaps in and takes his father’s sword, killing Jericho.

We cut to the Tower. Hank and Dawn hate Dick now. Their quest for revenge caused Jericho’s death- an innocent kid. To her credit, Wondergirl offers her continuing friendship because she knows that she, Dick, and Deathstroke all held the killing sword. This show just delivers again and again. Esai Morales deserves an Emmy for this performance!

Titans S2 Ep7 “Bruce Wayne” Review By Case Wright (Dir. Akiva Goldsman -He’s basically done everything, he might be directing your life right now)

Titans really is Dick’s show. Dick, like Batman, is a detective. In this episode, Dick is trying to track down Deathstroke, but it’s also a journey for Dick to resolve the demons of his past. The rot is insidious and destroys everything. This episode is about facing demons and the rot that grows when they are ignored. Sadly, I’m personally familiar with this. This episode is so realistic with the depiction of pain, loss, and redemption- you might need therapy afterwards.

The title “Bruce Wayne” is a misnomer in the title because it’s actually the psychic break of Dick seeing his mentor Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen) mock him. This is pretty awesome. Iain Glen approaches role with no boundaries. He inserts himself as the greatest foil to mock Dick at every turn, which is nice because Dick is so rigid, seeing this side of his psyche makes him 3-Dimensional. The true test of a leader isn’t just accomplishing the mission; it’s have the team accomplish it together, utilizing all of their strength because that creates a pattern of victory. If you think I’m not correct, how many bands stay together after they get really famous?

Bruce is rebuking Dick’s leadership especially with Jason that he led all of these kids into Deathstoke’s hands- “right into their bloodfeud”. We’re learning the depth of Dick’s culpability in creating the feud is unknown even to the other original Titans members. It’d be hypocritical of me to claim that I’ve never taken revenge or wanted it, BUT it ALWAYS leaves collateral damage and we learn more about this feud the collateral damage was EPIC.

The show is great about keeping the subplots going without distracting the A-Story. Eve is trying to find Conner; she frees Crypto to do it. Conner is sick from the kryptonite bullets etc etc and gets all better. Rose is trying to (AND SUCCESSFULLY) seducing Jason and they have CHEMISTRY!!!! We see just how deep Rose’s infiltration has worked. Jason is seeing things. Alcohol is being left for Hawk, orange soda is left for Wondergirl (it’s a thing), photos appearing for Dawn, records are appearing, crosses are all over Raven’s room, and Colonel Mustard is in the parlor with a candle stick. JUST MAYHEM!

I love the detective parts of the story. Dick works the case to find Deathstroke by going to ex-girlfriends and known associates. It’s fun because ACTUALLY how cops investigations. I’ve personally done many investigations and they are always fun! Bonus, you get to see Bruce Wayne dance in burlesque….it’s better than it sounds.

Rose drives a deeper wedge by revealing Dick’s secret to Jason by using her brother Jericho the boy Deathstroke was stalking to get to her dad. Now, if Jason were less infatuated, he might realize that he’s being played by Rose.

Sidenote: Wow! The acting talent of both Chelsea Zhang and Curran Walters is palpable. They play off each other perfectly. It’s Emmy-worthy performances. The cast as whole is like a supergroup. Without even a near-second, this greatest show on tv in 20 years.

We learn that they think Doctor Light killed Jericho. Not so. Dick has blood on his hands- they will drip drip drip the details until the suspense is ratcheted like a suspension wire on the Golden Gate.

Just when Dick realizes that the enemy is in the house, we see just how bad Jason blames himself. He climbs up to the top of the Tower to end his life. It’s almost too believable. It hurts to watch. Right when we think it’s about to end with Jason’s death, we learn brutally as Dick metaphorically undresses himself, revealing that he killed Deathstroke’s son. He is the poison and the rot at the center of the team.

This episode is so great that it should be in a masterclass for acting, writing, and directing. It is so riveting and Breton Thwaites confession is so believable – it hurts.

Artwork of the Day: Private School (Artist Unknown)

Artist Unknown

This book, which apparently every parent need to read, was first published in 1959 but this edition is from 1964.  You can tell that the girl in the blue, polka-dot bikini has truly been corrupted because she’s not only lying in the grass but she’s also smoking a cigarette.  That was wild behavior in 1964.

Sadly, the identity of the artist is not known.

Music Video of the Day: When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters (1981, directed by ????)

The 11th music video to play on MTV on August 1st, 1980, the network’s first broadcast day, was When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane and the Chartbusters.

This song and video are may not be as well-known as some of the other videos that aired that day but, in many ways, the video for When Things Go Wrong does predict what would become the standard MTV music video.  As opposed to the performance clips that most bands of the era used as music videos, this video tells a story, complete with horses, ships at sea, and gothic cliffsides that look like something out of Wuthering Heights.  This is the type of narrative video that would largely replace the stodgy performance clips of the past.


The First Videos Shown on MTV:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles
  2. You Better Run by Pat Benatar
  3. She Won’t Dance With Me by Rod Stewart
  4. You Better You Bet By The Who
  5. Little Suzi’s On The Up by PH.D
  6. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard
  7. Brass in Pocket by Pretenders
  8. Time Heals by Todd Rundgren
  9. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
  10. Rockin’ in Paradise by Styx