Titans: Hank and Dawn

Wow. A very heavy episode of Titans this week. I had no idea about the origin of hawk and dove. The original, Hank and Donnie or the new duo Hank and Dawn. But I couldn’t have asked for a better way to be educated. Hanks backstory had me shaken and in tears. People really don’t realize that child predators are so real and all around us. It was something I’m glad they included.
Dove, so poised and beautiful, not to mention incredibly strong. Both physically and emotionally. Yet she also has her past demons that always seem to find a way to creep back into her life.
But nonetheless, the way that Dawn and Hank were brought together was nothing short of an immense horror. I don’t think a lot of people realize what it feels like to lose a loved one. Let alone right in front of you. It gave me chills. The two most important people in their lives, both taken in the same way, the same place, and the same time. It connected them. Even if they didn’t realize it right away. This episode was nothing short of fantastic. I thank DC Universe for giving us a deep look into the real world of Hawk and Dove, and the real struggles that superheros (or anyone who has faced life’s hardships) have had to mentally battle within themselves.


I wanna know what you all thought about the episode! Sound off!

Great post @JohnKyle.
I never thought I’d see superheroes tackling serious drama in such an alternately, aching and numb way. There is something seemingly awkward about it at first because we’ve never seen the subject matter approached like this. It reminds me of the bleak emotional gravity of a film like 21grams – really amazing to see the writers exploring and pushing the boundaries of what superhero storytelling can be. It also references Fight Club, then homages the group therapy scenes from that film (without the cynical irony). Nobody could have expected these two characters to be the most compelling in the series before the show began to air.

Titans is making its characters relevant to a modern audience. The issue of sexually abused children shows that the likeliest perpetrator will be someone in a role of authority that should be protective. Usually it’s a family member or someone they know, not a Silence of the Lambs-style abduction. Of course, there are those who would like for the current battle over sexual abuse to go away, either because some feel the claims are exaggerated, are unable to empathize with pain they haven’t experienced, or because it is discomforting for those many that have enacted it. The story is kind of meta in that it reflects society’s trouble with sexual abuse, while giving the vicarious character and his audience members the chance to confront the abuser. Though, the issue of abuse involving a child in this case seems pretty clear-cut and undeniable. Anyone who would roll their eyes at Hank’s victimization stance should realize by episode’s end that he is no victim. Not anymore. Whatever the case, this is obviously not a show meant for a predator’s approval since they’re clearly not the target audience.

Two moments stood out to me. First was when Dawn says that its not fair she has nobody to blame. This highlights the fact that although Hank has legitimate beef with the coach, he and Dawn really just want to hurt people. This brings a truthfulness to the fore that makes the series unflinching, yet painful in what it dredges up in the viewer. I’m sure everyone can relate, but many times in my life I’ve wanted to inflict pain on others because of the pain I was in. This episode was about feelings of powerlessness and how it inspires violence – a universal theme, but one that is especially prevalent in our current society, on all sides. The refusal to turn away is what distinguishes this series.

Second is the moment where they stand before eachother unclothed. This scene is many things at once. It is incredibly dark in that they are about to have sex after ending a life. The symbolism is hair-raising. It’s a release after the build up of pain. It’s primal in that they’ve committed themselves to extinguishing the lives of those who they have judged to be in violation of humanity. Killing brings them closer to their base human nature in the process. It’s a signal that they are at peace with this decision. It implies that the un-confronted no longer stands between them, as before they were unable to physically connect and slept separately. Now, they stand revealed to eachother. They are bound in grief and join together as inhibitions die along with those they’ve lost. The scene is brutal considering the violence that proceeded it, yet tender in Hank and Dawn’s vulnerability.

Anyone who has been abused the way Hank was would probably have fantasized about killing their predator. The events hold a mirror up to the audience and follow through on the full implications of carrying out their most violent impulses. It’s a depiction of people who have committed to the emotional consequences of doing so, without regret. Without a doubt, the choice and the act would leave the individual with a fundamentally altered relationship to what their senses are responding to externally. Both Hank and Dawn are so raw in their expressions throughout the episode, like an exposed nerve. Minka Kelly is a force as Dawn. In contrast to Hank’s extroverted emotion, she is like a quiet, seething block of misery, in tuned to life’s wrenching incompleteness.

It was brave to convey the pain of emptiness so truthfully in a genre that is not known to pause for emotional realism in the face of death. Though one could say that superheroes are not socially realistic, this offers a layered deconstruction of why a person may turn to violence. There is a realization that for all the resistance to Zack Snyder’s approach to the DCEU, regardless of the flaws, he was trying to grapple with the material from a different angle, love it or hate it. There’s no reason the genre can’t explore human experience in a variety of ways. Experimentation is welcome. Critics can’t claim that the medium both is, or should only be, a passing diversion incapable of handling adult subject matter. It can be a doorway to both the uplifting and the unpleasant.


I was glued to the screen as I watched. Never before have I seen such serious content tackled by a “comics” show. It was quite moving. And as a middle school teacher and father, these issues grab at my heart and emotions so much. The acting was superb. I even thought the use of lighting did a great job of helping convey the context and enhance the emotion of the scenes.

I do hope they develop a Hawk & Dove series. There is a lot of depth and content to further flesh out. I would love to see how they decided to actually become Hawk & Dove and link up with Batman and Robin. I wonder if Dick knows the levels of emotion Hank & Dawn cope with.

There is and was A LOT to unpack in this episode. Looking forward to more.


I’m not gonna lie, I cried for Hank, for Donnie and for Dawn. To know what’s going to happen to yourself and do it anyways to spare your brother that horror? :sob: The trauma in their lives being seemingly never ending. Ugh the primal need of being intimate after violently ending a chapter in Hank’s life was beautiful and artistic. It was amazing! The need to still help people after being so broken is beautiful. To wake up and immediately need to help Rachel? Ughhhh I loved this, can we get a Hawk and Dove show???


Amazing episode. Hank’s ass was a huge plus!


Doves ass was awesome


Hank and Hawk
and Dawn and Donny and Dove

I feel like hawk and Dove bog down the story. We are left with only 2 episodes to resolve a ton of material. They so far have been completely unnecessary to the plot. They should have been killed to help motivate Dick to realize that he needs to become a leader. We still have at least 2 core Ttitans that we don’t know much about and Dick who still dosnt want to suit up. Robin to bring back. Donna Troy to get to know. A villain to introduce. Plus another season to set up that will be a lot in 2 episodes.

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They changed a few things from their real backgrounds, but kept enough to make it solid. Absolutely beautiful episode. Perfectly constructed & emotionally jarring. Minka Kelly was the best bonus ever in a riveting performance. Due to all the responses, they may make a spin-off. I know it’s early, but people connected with Hawk & Dove more than I think DC even expected. That’s how spinoffs evolve.