Titans season 1, episode 9 review: Hank and Dawn (2023)

Titans season 1, episode 9 review: Hank and Dawn (1)
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by Andre Farquharson Follow @lildre_cains

The ninth episode of Titans is a change of pace, for the better, as we explore the origins of Hawk and Dove.

Titansreturned for another episode on Friday, Dec. 7, continuing the previous storylines. What went down in “Hawk and Dawn”?

Where It All Began…

The episode begins with a flashback to Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) as Hawk and his brother Don Hall (Elliot Knight) as the previous Dive recording themselves taking justice into their own hands in making a sexual predator confess his crimes on camera. The amateur vigilante heroes brutally strike the man with a kick and punches.

After the opening titles, Hank sits by a comatose Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly) as he seeks a way to deal with the pain he currently feels. Hank steals a drug that seems to contain one of the compounds Hydrochloride as one of the properties. Whatever it is, it appears to make Hank doze off.

We flashback to a young Hank (Tait Blum) playing football as Don (Jayden Marine) watches from the sidelines. Coach Vincent (Trevor Hayes), a sleazy pedophile, Hank, realizes that they are related. After practice, the younger Hank catches Don with Coach Vincent. Hank thinking Coach Vincent will let him practice for the team wants to stay and see the white room. Hank, knowing the coach’s true intentions dissuade his brother from staying.

“Come on, Donny,” Hank insists.

“But I wanna see the white room,” Don replies.

“Now!”

“If Donny wants to stay, I can give him a ride home later,” Coach Vincent says, patting Don’s shoulder. “It’s no problem at all.”

“We need to f****** go,” Hank crudely informs Don.

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In response, the coach is less than pleased about what Hank is doing and uses his profanity as an excuse to blackmail him with Don in the crossfire. Coach Vincent threatens Hank’s scholarship and to exclude him and Don out of their private tuition. Hank then uses less strong language, but more provocative insults to push Don away. It succeeds, but even Hank is not safe next for what is to come for him in the ‘white room’.

The System which failed Them

Years later, an older Don (Knight) and Hank (Ritchson) are enrolled at University. Don watched as Hank suffered another injury on the field after playing against the Dayton Hogs. Celebrating his victory, Hank of the Kesel Lions, is at a party where his brother checks if he is fine until Hank falls unconscious after receiving a head commotion. At the doctors, Don discovers Hank’s injuries are more severe than he claims after repetitive head trauma. The doctor prescribes Hank with painkillers, although the football star is determined to finish the season.

After finding out Don spoke to an athletic director to lay Hank off most of the season, Hank is furious and causes a heated argument in the library, which results in a scrap with other students after Hank lashes out. Don joins in to protect his older brother. The Principal calls them in for disciplinary action regarding the fight and wants Hank to write a formal letter excusing his actions. Don, out of fury, at the humiliation of Hank being done so in this way, suggests expelling them both instead in a bold manner.

Feeling guilty over what Hank went through all those years and his sacrifice with his coach in the locker room when they were younger and forcibly giving up his football career, Don suggests Hank can vent his anger to good use: punishing criminals and sex offenders in their neighborhood after their hometown and the system abandoned them and their mother, which leads to the initiation of their costumed identities and their first active duty as the original Hawk and Dove sometime in April 24, 2009.

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B-Street Tragedy and the new Dove

On that fateful day in December 2009, Dawn (Kelly), who had spent the afternoon with her mother, Marie Granger (Marina Sirtis) after one of her ballet dancing performances, whilst spending an afternoon tea, Dawn and Marie discussed problems back at home in London, England. Marie is moving back to London from Washington D.C. back to her husband. Dawn is against this as he was an abusive father to her, her mother and sister, Holly. Hank and Don, celebrating their heroics after they bought a newspaper at the book stand, bump into Dawn and Marie. Don and Marie become victims of a road accident involving a lorry in their direction.

Later, Hank and Dawn meet each other once again at a support group for accident victims. They grow closer and Dawn eventually finds out he and his late brother Don are Hawk and Dove, respectively. Dawn, coming to understand the motives behind his vigilantism, recognizes there is a deeper meaning, which involves the abuse from Coach Vincent.

Unlike the second episode of Titans, which featured Hawk and Donny’s successor of the Dove mantle, Dawn, in “Hawk and Dove”, it had the right pace in storytelling and was not as talkative.

Akiva Goldsman, who directed this episode, did well to get across to the audience the feeling of sorrow and pain from both Ritchson’s Hank and Kelly’s Dawn, also cementing their path as star-crossed lovers.

The high points of “Hank and Dawn” were not only the writing of Geoff Johns in fleshing out some of the characters, but also the performances from Ritchson and Knight, who were definitely believable as siblings who grew up from the slums and in Kelly, suitably, as her character provided a hole Hank could fill.

Altogether, this was not a bad episode, only the actual timing and placement in conjunction with the narrative when it came to fleshing out Hank and Dawn was quite abrupt. Dawn needed some more screen time in order to explore more of her perspective in crime-fighting and the scene with her and Marie felt shoehorned. We managed to get one instance, but it was not enough.

The cinematography in most of these episodes in terms of the color tones was for the most part consistent, but here, there were scenes that did not have to be so dark within interior shots. Other scenes, like at the University, had lights that were pretty well handled and had warm yellow tones.

Titans Takeaways:

  • While this episode, “Hank and Dawn”, is a change of pace, exploring the origins of Hawk and Dove before they became a superhero couple.
  • Don Hall, the original Dove, is the one responsible who had the idea to enact justice in a proactive manner using costumed identities.
  • We learn the reasons why Dawn Granger became the second Dove and how Hank Hall grew to become the aggressive bruiser he is today.
  • It seems that Batman may have a point for Dick Grayson, the first Robin, as to not join in with Hawk and Dove. Their methods of crime-fighting are not counterproductive.
  • Throughout the episode, Rachel Roth, has been attempting to reach either Hank or dawn in some kind of vision (presumably astral projection) within their dreams.
  • Hawk and Dove’s next mission are revealed: to search for Jason Todd – the second Robin – for unknown means.

Next:50 greatest super heroes of all time

Titanswill return for another episode on Friday, Dec. 14, with “Koriand’r.”

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