Titans has taken great strides of improvement in season 2, but one element continues to drag the show into the past, literally and figuratively - the flashbacks. As the inaugural fresh offering on DC Universe, Titans debuted in 2018. Billed as a grittier and more violent take on DC characters than seen elsewhere on television, the show succeeded in finding a following on both the DC streaming service and Netflix. Unfortunately, that popularity wasn't always earned by the writing and plotting in season 1. With a glacially-paced central mystery and far too many aimless detours, Titans only showed signs of what it truly could be - as a show and as a titular team of heroes - on a handful of occasions.
Things appeared to turn a corner in the show's sophomore outing. A team had been firmly established in the official Titans' Tower, including some compelling new recruits. Meanwhile, a thrilling new nemesis had also been introduced, seemingly promising a popular story straight out of the comics. Most importantly, the majority of Titans characters were much improved upon from their first-season counterparts. Unfortunately, with each season 2 episode, Titans has increasingly retconned its own established continuity. That fact only grew worse with the introduction of full flashback episodes. While such techniques can be useful in filling in blanks and fleshing out backstory, Titans efforts have largely served to contradict its main, present-day narrative.
The bulk of those contradictions revolve around Deathstroke's vendetta and the backstory regarding Slade Wilson's son, Jericho. The most recent example saw Dick Grayson rush to the roof of Titans Tower in order to prevent Jason Todd from taking his own life. Speaking with Jason regarding their pasts and how they can infect the present, Dick confessed in seemingly no uncertain terms that he had killed Jericho. Unfortunately, the flashbacks revealed that anything but had transpired. Though the team had used questionable methods to get intel, they took steps to keep the younger Wilson out of harm's way. Ultimately, it was Deathstroke himself that struck the deadly blow and Jericho's own choice to sacrifice himself for Dick. As much as taking on the burden of such fatal failures is part and parcel of being a comic book hero, the visible flashbacks served only to turn Dick's confession into hyperbole.
Of course, it doesn't help that delving deeply into said flashbacks robs cliffhangers of their power and the show of its momentum. In terms of the other characters, the flashbacks have done them little favors. After no mention of Garth (aka Aqualad) until season 2, another flashback episode had to shoehorn in an entire doomed romance plot into one episode. As a result, Donna's personality has drifted wildly between coldly vengeful and hypocritically judgmental. After all, since Garth died protecting her and her Amazonian contact, does that make her as much to blame for his death as Dick Grayson is for Jericho's? That level of hypocrisy also extends to Hank and Dawn, whose equally fervent judgments in the present (mistimed karaoke sessions included) don't correlate with their own actions and trail of innocent victims in the past. And then there is the issue of Rose being nowhere to be seen in the flashbacks.
Ironically, the flashbacks created more story gaps than it filled. Without the jaunts into the past, the aforementioned issues and many more besides wouldn't actually exist. The term exposition is thrown around and equally derided a lot. But, having merely heard that Dick harbored guilt for Jericho would have been enough. Having merely heard that Deathstroke killed an original Titan would have been sufficient. The list of such examples could go on and on. Granted, fans would have missed out on a great turn by Chella Man as Jericho. However, had the show utilized that method of information dissemination instead of hour-long detours, it would have made for a smoother viewing experience. And Titans could be avoiding a lot of its warranted criticisms right now.