Titans’ Batman Is Awesome (Thanks To Iain Glen’s GHOST Bruce Wayne)

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Titans, season 2, episode 7, "Bruce Wayne."

"Bruce Wayne," the latest episode of Titans season 2, has taken the beloved billionaire's character in a wacky direction that seems more appropriate to DC Universe's Doom Patrol - and it's brilliant. Far from the dour Dark Knight fans are used to seeing in most live-action adaptations, this Bruce Wayne alternated between snarky and silly, voicing complaints about Dick Grayson's actions and attitude that seemed incredibly inappropriate coming from Batman.

When it was first announced that Scottish actor Iain Glen (best known for playing Ser Jorah Mormont on Game of Thrones) had been cast in the role of Bruce Wayne for Titans season 2, fans were skeptical. While non-American actors (such as Englishman Christian Bale) have played the role before, many felt that Glen was too old for the part and lacked the gravitas necessary to play Dick Grayson's mentor. When Glen first appeared in Titans second season premiere, his performance was disappointingly unlike any version of Bruce Wayne we've seen before in comics, animation, or movies. This led some to (humorously) speculate that Glen's Bruce Wayne wasn't really Bruce Wayne.

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Despite its title, the chief focus of Titans, season 2, episode 7, "Bruce Wayne" is Dick Grayson and his crisis of faith in the face of Jason Todd's near-death experience at the hands of Deathstroke and the rest of the Titans openly doubting his decision-making abilities. Bruce Wayne seemingly comes into play in the opening scene, as Dick is moping in the Titans' locker room. At first, it seems that Bruce Wayne has flown across the country to give his first Robin a dressing-down in-person. However, it quickly becomes apparent that this Bruce Wayne only exists in Dick Grayson's head and is a manifestation of his own insecurities, taking the form of the foster father who Dick felt he never managed to impress. And that allows for some incredibly unexpected moments.

As the episode unwinds, Bruce Wayne lurks in the background of every scene, mocking Dick's decisions and offering a sarcastic commentary on the discussions around him. The snarky tone is a departure for the show, especially from what people would expect from Bruce Wayne. Such a startling subversion feels far more like something fans would expect from the fourth-wall-breaking Doom Patrol than Titans, and it proves to be exactly what season 2 needed.

Bruce's nagging culminates with the exasperated Dick starting to argue with the unseen Batman in a few scenes, much to the confusion and terror of the other people in the room. Perhaps the strangest instance of this occurs when Dick is questioning the manager of a burlesque show regarding two of her performers, whom are reportedly frequent companions of Deathstroke's associate Wintergreen. As the show continues behind Dick, the spectral Bruce Wayne appears on stage and begins to dance the Batusi (the go-go style dance popularized by Adam West in the 1966 Batman series) with the performers. It's sure to be divisive, but provides a fun twist on the unconventional Batman that was needed to offset the darkness elsewhere in the episode.

While this suggests some disturbing things about how Dick Grayson may view his mentor and some of Bruce's criticisms sound like fan complaints from Facebook forums regarding Titans, this is not the most meta moment of "Bruce Wayne." That comes when Rose Wilson, who is hanging out with Jason Todd in his room, tells him that, in regards to the rest of the team criticizing his going after Deathstroke, that "you're the only one actually doing anything. The rest of them just argue with each other." Mr. Nobody from Doom Patrol would be proud.

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