In the penultimate episode of Titans season two, ‘Faux-Hawk’, Hank Hall is on a downward spiral. Can Hawk come back from this?
Hank Hall, aka Hawk (Alan Ritchson), hasn’t had the easiest time being one of the Titans. But despite battling childhood abuse, the loss of his younger brother, serious injuries, and addiction, Hank has always powered through to become a better version of himself.
But in Titans: Faux-Hawk, it seems that Hank’s efforts are coming to nought. With the Titans having disbanded—an initiative that Hank championed—it seems that Hank is worse off than everybody else.
We look at what went down in Titans: Faux-Hawk; why we think Hank’s downward spiral could be the death of him; and what the episode’s events mean for the superhero. Spoilers ahead.
Content Warning: Discussion of substance abuse.
Hawk by Name, Not Deeds
Ever since breaking up with Dawn Granger/ Dove (Minka Kelly), Hank Hall has been worse off than ever before.
While the other Titans are trying to get their life back together and help people even while out of their suits, Hank decided to go on a bender and once again abuse substances, a habit he had since long quit.
In Titans: Faux-Hawk, we see Hank don his Hawk suit once again, but not to save people. Hawk is now a cage-fighter—a good one, at that—who gives as good as he gets.
We’ve seen the hero-as-a-cage-fighter trope many times before—Peter Parker in Spider-Man, and Wolverine in X-Men are the most memorable of those instances—so, it isn’t surprising to see Hawk in the fighting arena.
However, the reasoning for Hawk’s new career choice is disconcerting. While Parker and Wolverine were making a living with their special set of skills, Hank is cage-fighting to finance his addiction.
This isn’t a good look for a hero—especially one who is well-known in the world of Titans for his crime-fighting.
What’s worse is that Hank is so deeply addicted that he doesn’t realise when he’s hurt or what his body needs.
Following a fight that leaves him badly bruised and battered, Hank decides to take a lady up on her offer of spending a night together.
Not only are his injuries severe enough for him to not be able to function properly, but the strenuous fighting and addiction leave him exhausted. Though Hank gets some much-needed rest, his erstwhile partner is left feeling disgruntled.
These antics of Hank’s aren’t harmful beyond the personal arena, but that changes near the end of Titans: Faux-Hawk.
What Faux-Hawk Means for Hank
After yet another bender, Hank wakes up to news of a man in a red bird costume—aka, the Hawk suit—robbing a laundry.
How could someone be impersonating Hawk? Well, it turns out that Hank’s suit is no longer in his closet—had he passed out from his bender enough for someone to steal his suit from his room?
If that isn’t worrying enough, Faux-Hawk takes liberties with Hank’s suit—he posts videos of himself in the suit, spouting nonsense about being a defender for the Titans, all while robbing laundries, of all places.
Fortunately for Hank, he still has enough of his wits about him to track down the thief and get his suit back.
The only problem: Faux-Hawk never stole the suit. Hank gave it to him for $200, because he needed money for drugs.
Hank has no memory of this exchange, and he certainly doesn’t have the money anymore. Was he so addled that he sold his Hawk suit for drugs? And then forgot about it?
The last we see of Hank in Titans: Faux-Hawk, he is lying in bed, an array of substances in front of him, contemplating how things have gotten so bad.
Hank’s arc in Titans has been very grounded and realistic, and this episode is no different. From all the characters, Hank is the one who is most relatable.
He is a man so consumed by his traumas that he will do anything to forget, if it means being a superhero, taking on more pain than he can handle, or becoming addicted to substances.
But the events of Titans: Faux-Hawk show viewers that a lifetime of untreated trauma-related stress tends to have bad consequences.
There is nobody to look out for Hank and if what we have seen in this episode is anything to go by, there may be no more Hawk very soon.
What Next for Hank?
Hank’s downward spiral seems to have no end, but we do know that Dawn and Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) are looking for him so they can bring the Titans back together.
The question is: will they find him in time? Because Hank isn’t just losing his memories from substance abuse—the fear of being so out of control may push him even further over the edge.
Of course, we also need to wonder whether Titans would kill off a character like Hawk. Hawk and Dove have been on the periphery of the Titans since their introduction, but in season two, their roles have been much larger and more important.
Hawk and Dove have also always been a duo on their own. Before Dawn became Dove, Hawk’s brother was Dove, but he was killed in a tragic accident. Hawk couldn’t function until another Dove came along.
Having said that, Dawn has been more than capable of being a superhero on her own. Even when Hank hung up his feathers, Dawn was sneaking out at night, fighting the bad guys as Dove. She could go on without Hawk, though it would take an emotional toll on her.
Despite what we’ve seen in Titans: Faux-Hawk, I sincerely hope that Hank won’t be killed off in the season finale. It would be good to see a character go through the hell he has and still come out at the other end. Superhero stories are aspirational, after all.
From set photos that were leaked, we know that Hawk will be fighting alongside Nightwing, but does that mean he will go down in a blaze of glory?
The Titans cast has felt overstuffed this season, and even though it has been fun to get to know characters like Aqualad and Superboy, most of the other cast members have suffered.
We already know that Aqualad isn’t coming back; could Hawk be joining his ranks? We will have to wait with bated breath for the season finale next week.