Titans - Hank and Dawn - Review By Patrick (December 11, 2018, 9:30 am)
Titans - Hank and Dawn - Review
I have to be honest here...I'm a little bummed we're getting another side story, ie. Jason Todd, so soon and especially after that killer cliffhanger Titans left us with last time. The show has been getting consistently better and better so we'll see how it goes. We're now getting the DC Universe origin story of Hawk and Dove, two characters that have been around since the late 60's and the Silver Age of comic books. The two generally represent the rougher more destructive side of war in Hawk and the gentler more graceful side of peace in Dove. Created by Steve Skeates and comic book legend Steve Ditko the duo work together in synergy to combat evil and deliver justice.
Brothers Hank and Don video record themselves on their first mission, a stakeout of a local creeper who was recently arrested for uploading dirty pix. In full costume they hilariously fumble and bumble their way through it but end up seeing the guy on the street. They catch up with him in the park and start beating the snot out of him in attempt to convince him to plea guilty. They take turns recording and pummeling with a smiling Hank declaring that Batman and Robin now have company being superheroes.
In the present, Hank sits in Dawns hospital room drinking away his sorrows. He sits and thinks about the battle they had with The Nuclear Family. Evidently the alcohol isn't enough to ease the pain so Hank breaks into the hospital's pharmacy and steals some powerful drugs. This seems to do the trick and Hank sleeps in his chair, knocked out from the chemicals strong effects. Hank dreams of his childhood and the football team he was on when he was younger. His younger brother Donny is there to cheer him on. Later on in a very dark scene, young Hank and young Donny interact with the football coach. It seems the coach is intent on molesting Donny and in a moment of heartbreaking bravery Hank stands up to the older man but ends up taking Donny's place in the end so that his brother doesn't have to be hurt.
Later on in life Donny watches his brother get leveled on the TV while playing College football. He races to find him and does, back at the frat house downing beers. Dons worried about his brother and tries to get him to take it easy. Hank brushes him off until he passes out on his feet! At the doctor's office the two discuss migraines and Hank's concussions with a Doctor who tells Hank he needs to rest and take it easy. She prescribes him some pills but he says he doesn't like them. Hmm. That'll change.
Donny is in the library studying when Hank barges in yelling at him. Don has told the Athletic Director about Hank's concussions and they've benched him. The two brothers loudly hash it out with Donny professing he only did it to help his brother out. Hank is super pissed off and loud. A random student tries to get Hank to quiet down and Hank decks him! From there it's on as the kids friends jump in and Hank and Don proceed to beat the crap out of all of them. In the Dean's office Donny doesn't like what she's selling him so he makes her kick he and Hank both out of the school. Dejected, they head back to their apartment. There Hank goes to his medicine cabinet to grab some pills but misses the screaming apparition of Rachel yelling out his name! Woah!! How did she get in there?
Hank tells Donny that he has an anger inside him. That football helps him get it out in a good way. Donny and the audience both know where that anger comes from, the locker room that Coach took Hank into and molested him. Hank protests that nothing happened. Donny doesn't push it but suggests finding another positive way Hank can let his anger out. Hank says maybe Boxing would do but Donny doesn't think so. He tells Hank he has another idea. He shows him on the computer all the locations of the local sex offenders in their area. They both get themselves all worked up thinking about righting wrongs in their neighborhood, handing out some justice. Donny's into it and soon Hank is too. He wonders what they're going to call themselves and Donny picks up their yearbook, with a big ole screaming Hawk on the cover. But next to him, on the computer monitor, Rachel's ghostly face once again calls out to Hank! She pleads to him but he doesn't see her as he is too far down the rabbit hole of dreamland to notice her. What is going on here?!
Dawn lies in her bed oblivious to all around her. She dreams herself of a beautiful ballet in front of large theatre audience. She is the lead ballerina and her mother is in the audience, watching and appreciating. The ballet ends and everyone applauds. Later Dawn has breakfast with her mother. They chit chat and her mother tells her she's going back to London and back to "him". Dawn can't believe it and tells her that she should do what she and her sister Holly did which was leave him alone and be done with him. There's lots of bad blood history there and Dawn doesn't want to see her mother get hurt as she loves her very much.
Hank and Don freak out over the press coverage of Hawk and Dove. Seems their little vigilante session made the paper and the two can't believe it. Dawn and her mother walk along the side walk and accidentally get bumped into by the energetic boys. As the group chats, a speeding van evading a police car suddenly appears and horribly crashes into Donny and Dawns mother, instantly killing them both. What a terrible accident and props to the show for pulling it off in such a shocking and sudden manner. You really feel the instant heavy loss the characters must feel.
Outside of a community center in the city, Dawn stands on the sidewalk before she goes inside. She and Hank attend some kind of pain/loss therapy group in the gymnasium together. Neither one wants to talk about their story. Later at a bar Hank is drinking his sorrows away when Dawn walks in and tries to talk to him. He's a jerk to her right away but apologizes and tells her being an asshole is his coping mechanism. He tells her his kid brother Donny was killed and she asks him to tell her about him. They head outside later and part ways, agreeing to possibly see each other next time. Well next time at the meeting Hank is not there and Dawn shares what happened to her mom and how she feels about it. She claims her mom's death was an accident and that she hates that there's no one to blame. (I thought there was a driver in that black car but OK go on...) The therapist tells her life's not fair. Thanks jerkface, geez. Dawn wants to know why can't we make it fair? Interesting angle here. Really nicely sets up Dawn's motivations without being too heavy handed. Outside the center Hank waits and asks Dawn if she wants to get a drink and talk about her mom? She nods yes and off the two go.
Hank and Dawn have brunch where Dawn and her mother ate before. Dawn shows Hank how to eat? and then the two visit one of Donny's favorite places to go for a slice of pizza. At night, back in Hank's kitchen he's trying to cook for Dawn and it's not going well. He's burning something fierce and Dawn offers to help but the sadly patient didn't make it. They cancel that dish and move into the den for wine and ice cream on the couch. After awhile Hank offers Dawn the couch so she doesn't have to travel at night and they cutely flirt a bit. As Dawn goes for a pillow in the closet she spills the Hawk and Dove costumes hidden from up on high. Hank's secret is out. He shows her the footage of him and his brother and he perks up as he watches his bro and he kick some butt. Dawn talks with him and gets him to reveal what really happened with him and the coach. He tells her he never wanted to go after his assailant because then it would make it all too real. A nicely acted scene there between the two. It really showed some of the developed depths of the characters that Titans has grown as the season has progressed.
Dawn tries to sleep on the couch but she can't so she gets up and wanders into the bathroom. She eyes the giant pill bottles Hank has and goes for a walk around the apartment. She pulls out the yearbook and looks up the coach that assaulted Hank. Later Hank wakes up and finds that Dawn is gone. He sees the computer has been running and that the address of the coach is still up on the screen after Dawn looked him up before. He takes notice and walks off. Dawn pulls up her car to the front of the coaches house. She rings the doorbell and the coach answers. She tells him he needs to turn himself in for what he did to Hank Hall. Ballsy move there girl. He tries to close the door but she pushes her way inside. He threatens to call the cops and she tells him to go ahead. He reaches for his phone but instead pulls a gun out of a drawer and points it at Dawn! AAhhh! She performs a jui-jitsu move on him and then it's a fight! She punches him over and over again until he throws her off of him. They tussle, he kicks her, she stabs him in the leg with a shard of broken glass! Ouch! (Also sets up she likes stabby knife type things when she becomes Dove) The coach reaches for his gun and just as he's about to pick it up a giant boot comes in and oh so satisfyingly steps on his hand, crunching it underneath. Hank has arrived. He proceeds to beat the snot out of the sick bastard until the man apologizes and Dawn interrupts the beating by telling him she's found pictures of kids on his computer and that he's a sick sick puppy. Hank is not a happy man. He tries to get Dawn to leave but she won't. She shuts the door as Hank goes back to beating the man.
At the apartment Hank and Dawn are quiet in the darkness. Reflecting on what just occurred. Dawn makes her way over to Hank and begins to slowly undress. Hank comes to her and begins to undress as well. The two come together and kiss and embrace in the shadows. In the morning Dawn starts up and out of bed. She tells Hank that last night never happened and that they can't be together like this. As she walks away she sees a vision of Rachel in the Hawk helmet! The girl screams out her name as Dawn says WTF? WAMMO! This is enough to wake Dawn up out of her coma dream-like state! The poor girl crawls her way out of her bed and wakes Hank up. He calls out for a doctor but Dawn stops him and tells him that they need to find Jason Todd and that Rachel needs their help! Gaaaahhhh!! More cliffhangers!!!
OK so what I thought was going to be a nothing episode turned out to be a great episode. Originally the thought of telling Hawk and Dove's origin story was not appealing at all and I thought it was a step backwards for the series. Now while I will say nothing really happened to advance the overall Titans plot, the episode itself was such fun to watch that I'm OK with that. The performances by the two mains was very nice and it was beneficial to actually see how they met and better yet how they both needed special therapy to get through the horrible circumstances that happened to them both. And the Rachel cries for help spaced throughout the episode was so great. Really a smart idea. Wonderful way to bridge both worlds. I also wan to point out the incredible lighting and the super amazing sound design and score for this episode. The pounding electronic rhythms really added to building the drama this heavy episode called for.