Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the mind-boggling finale for DC Universe's Titans, so be sure to catch up before reading on.
In closing out its bonkers first season, the superheroic Titans went off the deep end by having Batman kill off The Joker, The Riddler, and tons of other iconic Gotham City villains. That was all just Dick's mental manifestations, though, as influenced by the demonic Trigon, and the episode ended with the former Robin embracing his dark side. Showrunner Greg Walker revealed Titans' original finale was partially worked to become the Season 2 premiere. According to Walker:
We're cannibalizing some of the stuff from Episode 12 [for the premiere]. We thought it was such a good cliffhanger at the end of 11, and we wanted to go for an even bigger, better Season 2 opener. We had a big idea, and our friends at DC bought it.
That explanation certainly makes a lot of sense when viewing the Season 1 finale through the lens of all eleven episodes. For one, it seemed a bit insensitive to center the capper entirely on the titular "Dick Grayson," considering this is a team-based drama. As well, 97% of the episode took place inside a dream, which is generally an awful way for TV series to close a narrative out.
Of course, no other show on TV -- not even Gotham -- is going to feature a finale where Batman stabs The Joker to death inside a hospital room, only to later die himself. So in that sense, it would have been crazy to end Titans on an episode that didn't feature those one-of-a-kind moments.
Titans originally got a twelve-episode series order from DC Universe, but it appears that initial goal shifted once the season really started coming together. Not to mention when the streaming service confirmed that Season 2 was on the way. Once the finale's scope became solidified, it sounds like the creative team decided there just wasn't enough time to introduce Trigon and do the villain justice using only the tail end of Season 1.
Greg Walker shared with TVLine that Trigon will indeed be front and center for the Season 2 premiere, saying:
Yeah. It's really fun to be able to know where we're going to go with it. We're going to also use [the Season 2 premiere] to launch a new villain, and because Trigon's role in canon is so huge, we felt like we really needed to give him a really big episode, the kind you can launch a season with.
He's not lying there. Even if Trigon was only a one-off character in some obscure DC Comics title that only 17 people read, the villain would still be one of the most powerful entities in the medium, and it would still require quite a bit of effort to spin a live-action story out of him.
With undying evil fueling his immortal existence, Trigon is a soul-draining destroyer of worlds, and it's not at all clear how in the hell (or out of the hell) the Titans will be able to defeat him, especially if Dick has gone antagonistically rogue.
Trigon's official introduction should be a fantastic way to kick off Season 2, and it's pretty awesome that fans already have this information to go on during the long wait for new episodes. I doubt anyone expects for Dick to remain one of Trigon's black-eyed minions, especially with Raven there, but it will take some mountainous efforts in order to extract him from the demon's mind control. (I can't wait to see how this ties into Dick's evolution as Nightwing.)
Greg Walker's explanation also seemingly resolves a major curiosity I'd had after watching the finale. Ahead of the powerful penultimate episode "Hawk and Dove," Hawk and Hank portrayer Alan Ritchson spoke with CinemaBlend and seeming implied that his and Minka Kelly's vigilante duo would be more fully present in the Season 1 ender. In his words:
Yeah, they're there, and it's really the way you sort of see this wall of Titans, and everybody coming together for a common cause. I think it just leaves you with a ton of eager anticipation for Season 2 and the possibilities of all these people continuing to orbit each other's worlds. So yeah, they're there, and I think it's very cool how everything unfolds. It definitely left me hungry for Season 2, and I"m looking forward to all the possibilities. I don't know where they're gonna go from there, but I'm as excited as anybody, I think.
Again, it would have been hard for Titans to top "the murders of everyone inside Arkham Asylum" with anything else, even a giant Titans team-up brawl against a psychic demon. But it sounds like Alan Ritchson was amped up to see the original finale idea come to fruition, and probably would have wanted Hank to show up in the last episode a tad more than he did.
The Hawk and Dove element is arguably where Titans missed the mark with "Dick Grayson." After explaining duo's tragic origins, the previous installment ended on Dawn waking up from her coma and declaring she and Hank needed to find Jason Todd. As such, it's still unclear exactly when Raven worked her way into Hank and Dawn's dream-states -- had Dick already fallen under Trigon's control when Raven sent her distress signals?
On that note, it's entirely possible that Dawn will be the key factor in bringing Dick back around to the good guys, as it were. Of all the overtly fictional elements that played out in the episode, perhaps the most surprising was how strongly Dick still feels about Dawn in a romantic sense, going so far as envisioning them having a baby together. I also loved that Dick fantasized about Hank helping out with non-Robin chores like painting.
What will happen to Dick, Trigon and the rest when Titans returns to DC Universe for Season 2? We'll just have to wait and find out, although I wouldn't object if Raven wanted to hop into my dreams to drop a few spoiler-filled clues. To see what new and returning shows are on the way in the meantime, head to our midseason TV premiere schedule.