WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Titans series premiere, “Titans,” streaming now on DC Universe.
Next to the headline-grabbing declaration of “Fuck Batman,” the element of the first trailer for DC Universe’s Titans that drew the most attention was the alley fight sequence in which Brenton Thwaites’ Robin appears to slaughter multiple criminals with something akin to abandon. It was a shocking display from a former sidekick trained (at least traditionally) by his mentor not to kill and not to use guns. But, as is so often the case, the trailer was more than a little misleading.
The sequence, which unfolds in the first act of the Titans premiere, marks the first appearance in Detroit by Robin. Although Detective Dick Grayson has been on the job for a month, after moving from Gotham, the so-called Boy Wonder disappeared from sight more than a year earlier. But when he tracks down Tyler Hackett, a child abuser who somehow walked free after brutalizing a little girl, Dick is spurred into action, and into the familiar red-and-green costume.
Robin interrupts a drug deal in an alley, giving the heavily armed criminals a chance to walk away, if they leave behind the drugs, the guns and Hackett. Of course, they don’t take him up on his offer, and instead decide they can take on the “birdie,” who’s without his crime-fighting partner. What follows is an undeniably savage fight in which bullets, and Robin’s throwing star-like Batarangs, fly. A lot of blood spills, and bones crunch, but if you watch closely, there are no obvious fatalities.
Robin’s opening volley is to send one of the thugs flying into the windshield of a car using a cable gun. Amid a hail of bullets, he throws five R-shaped Batarangs, whose razor-sharp points find their marks, notably in shoulders and hands. Cloaked in smoke, he moves in for close-quarters combat, breaking a wrist and an arm as he goes. The closes he comes to killing anyone is when a criminal opens fire as Robin disarms him, sending his associates ducking; the Boy Wonder then slices at the necks of two others, which certainly dances close to the line, to say nothing of the carotid artery. That’s followed by more punching, a knife to a thigh, a shattered ankle, a trash can to the head, and thorough beatings with his bo staff — but still, no verified kills.
Dick’s most savage attack is reserved for his initial target, Tyler Hackett, whose head is pulled out of the window of his getaway car, and his face ground on the jagged glass, leaving him disfigured — just as he left the little girl. “If you ever touch your little girl again, I’ll find you,” Robin warns, signaling he doesn’t intend to kill Hackett. He does, however, beat him to within an inch of his life, kicking him repeatedly in the sternum, and then getting in a few blows with the staff, just for good measure. Hackett undoubtedly suffers a broken breastbone and numerous broken ribs, and will have a nasty scar to remind him of the encounter, but he’s still alive.
That there are no fatalities is underscored by a later scene at the police precinct, as the detectives and patrol officers look at security-camera footage of Robin. There’s no mention that he actually killed anyone, though. The concern is simply that he’s in Detroit, and could attract the same types of criminal elements that plague Gotham — y’know, “psychopaths, painted freaks in drag.”
So, no, there’s no evidence that Robin kills anyone in the Titans premiere. However, the same can’t be said of Raven (one) and Starfire (at least four). Keep your eyes on those two.
Now streaming on DC Universe, Titans stars Brenton Thwaites as Robin, Anna Diop as Starfire, Teagan Croft as Raven, Ryan Potter as Beast Boy, Alan Ritchson as Hawk, Minka Kelly as Dove, and Lindsey Gort as Amy Rohrbach. A new episode debuts each Friday.
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