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HBO Max’s Titans Season 4 Episode 1 Review

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HBO Max’s popular DC Comics series Titans is officially back for its fourth season, bringing together the young superheroes as they face an insidious new threat together. Sticking largely to Gotham City in the previous season, Titans Season 4 features a broader scope while incorporating more recognizable elements from the wider DC Universe. With the team back together after being separated into smaller groups in Season 3, the latest season offers a relatively lighter narrative tone without compromising the bloody action the HBO Max original series is known for.

Regrouping after their harrowing showdown with Scarecrow in Season 3, the Titans travel to Metropolis to gauge and hone their powers and abilities at an advanced laboratory in the city. Superboy and the Titans quickly find themselves on Lex Luthor’s radar, while Tim Drake continues to acclimate to his new role among the heroes he has long admired. As the Titans contend with the greatest criminal mind of their time, a supernatural threat rises in Brother Blood and Mother Mayhem that could completely upend the world as they know it.

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For a show that began with so much edgy doom and gloom, it’s immediately noticeable how much Titans has lightened up tonally — and all for the better. Four seasons in and the characters’ friendships are forged, with the heroes remembering to enjoy themselves as they leap into action and save the day. Early seasons of Titans saw its heroism focused more on the accompanying emotional and psychological price. This season maintains those stakes, but these are characters who carry a self-awareness of the wild world they’re defending and who visibly have grown to like being in each other’s company.

The most prominent addition to Titans in the Season 4 premiere is Titus Welliver’s Lex Luthor, delivering an understated performance that chews the scenery at times but in a much more subdued capacity than past portrayals of the supervillain. Welliver’s easygoing swagger is countered by Joseph Morgan’s introduction as Sebastian Blood, an unassuming young man who teeters on the brink as he descends into madness and villainy. It’s a tale of two villains in the season premiere, and though Luthor takes center stage due to his interest in Superboy, a more sinister game is being set up in Morgan’s sympathetic performance.

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The Titans Season 4 premiere goes a bit lighter on the action, with only one major fight sequence, as the episode focuses more on introducing the new key players and setting the stage for the season’s overarching conflict. However, this one fight scene is one of the better set pieces of the series, well-lit and choreographed as Nightwing and Tim Drake take on a group of ninjas while investigating what Luthor is up to. If the fights continue at this caliber moving forward, Titans Season 4 is set to showcase just how far the series has come in delivering its superhero action.

Accessible without compromising the bloody stakes that Titans has fostered since the beginning, the Season 4 premiere feels less grim than preceding seasons. The ensemble cast has really gelled together, remembering to enjoy themselves in the episode’s quieter moments before approaching this new conflict with steely resolve. After spending the majority of Season 3 in Gotham, the change this season to Metropolis signals the broader tonal shift while returning the HBO Max series to its more paranormal roots in its choice of villains as Titans comes out the gate for Season 4 swinging.

Developed for television by Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, and Greg Berlanti, Titans Season 4 releases new episodes Thursdays on HBO Max.

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