'Titans' season 2 needs to allow Dawn Granger to be her own woman outside of her relationships with Hank Hall and Dick Grayson
The first season of ‘Titans’ was an extremely well-written narrative that introduced a lot of great, complex characters. Be it Brenton Thwaites’s Dick Grayson aka Robin, Koriand’r (Anna Diop), or Rachel Roth aka Raven (Teagan Croft), each of the show’s characters got a lot of development and backstory in the very first season.
This is why it’s so surprising Minka Kelly’s Dawn Granger aka Dove didn’t really get a chance to come into her own. While the first season did explore her backstory, it was mostly in the context of how she came into the life of Alan Ritchson’s Hank Hall aka Hawk.
This is a problem we find throughout the season. Dawn is constantly defined by her relationship with Hank and her history with Dick, not by her own desires or motivations. And it’s not like either of those relationships are particularly great.
Hank and Dawn’s relationship is extremely toxic. They are brought together by tragedy and stay together because of their mutual desire to bring wrongdoers to justice. However, there’s a lot of conflict in the relationship, mostly caused by Hank’s unstable mental state and serious anger issues.
Sure, Hank clearly does love Dawn. We see him deeply affected when she is placed in a coma after fighting the Nuclear Family and he shares her desire to get out of the hero business. Despite all the posturing and hyper-masculinity he displays around Dick, ultimately, Hank is a very vulnerable soul who is terrified of losing the love of his life.
Meanwhile, Dick sees Dawn as an escape, an opportunity at a normal life. In the Season 1 finale, we see Dick’s idea of a perfect world is one where he is married to Dawn and happily retired from the hero life. Much like Hank, Dick too clearly loves Dawn and wants to keep her safe but he is more in love with the idea of what his life could be with her than with Dawn as a person.
The worst part is that we never really get to see Dawn’s perspective of things in any of these relationships. She refuses to be with Dick despite clearly being attracted to him and she sticks around with Hank despite the toxicity but we don’t really see her reasons for doing either of those things.
In the first season, we saw a bit of Dawn’s past as a ballerina and her complicated relationship with her parents. We know she had an abusive father whom she and her sister Holly rebelled against and that her mother’s death in a freak accident is at least partly why she became a hero.
However, her past is left completely untouched from the moment her mother dies and she meets Hank. It’s almost as if her entire life was just leading up to the moment she would meet him and fall in love, which might sound romantic but in all honesty, it's just poor writing.
All the Titans have demons in their pasts and some (like Raven) have literal demons in their present but Dawn’s demons are never properly explored. She is constantly a partner, a girlfriend, or a crush but she never really gets to be her own woman.
The second season could change this. The upcoming season is bringing in a lot of new characters and from the trailer, we know Hawk and Dove are going to be part of the Titans when they return. Being around new teammates could help bring out aspects of her personality we haven’t seen before, which would be a welcome development.
Hopefully, we will get to see more of Dawn’s past and motivations in the coming season. It would be a terrible injustice if a character with so much untapped potential continues to serve as nothing more than a prize for Hawk and Robin to fight over.
‘Titans’ Season 2 will arrive on DC Universe September 6.