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TITANS: SEASON 3 [Review]

Warning: SPOILERS Ahead!

The only reason I watched Titans season 2 was out of obligation. After vividly documenting the flaws of the first season for Kabooooom, I had no desire to continue with a show whose view of the DC Universe was so antithetical to my own. I watch superhero shows to be inspired and have my hopes renewed; not to be hit over the head with darkness and angst. Still, I kept up with Titans because I had gotten screeners and thus was obligated to keep writing about Titans for the sake of a paycheck. The fact that I also got screeners for Doom Patrol and Stargirl made it worth it in the end.

I have no excuse for watching Titans season 3 apart from the schadenfreude of watching the show’s fanbase realize what I had said two years earlier was true. Namely, that the writers wanted to be writing a Batman series instead of Titans and did everything possible to avoid having to utilize Titans‘ characters in ways that made sense. Because the story of Titans season 3 could have been resolved in about five minutes had any of these characters resembled the characters from the comics on which they were based.

Titans Season 3 Team

I must admit to having hope during the first episode of Titans season 3, which showed the team confronting the supervillain Gizmo and stopping a robbery. Yes, I was curious why Ravager and Jericho disappeared without explanation between seasons. Yes, I thought it was strange that Hawk and Dove left the team (again) with an explanation. But the show was showing the Titans, facing a supervillain, talking to the press and generally acting like the publicly known superhero team they were in the comics. This did not last long.

The actual plot of Titans season 3 finds the team relocating to Gotham City after Jason Todd (last seen heading to parts unknown after getting sick of Batman and the Titans) was murdered by the Joker and the Joker was murdered by Batman. With all the organized criminals in Gotham now emboldened, the Titans were asked to help restore order, only to run up against a new vigilante, the Red Hood, whose identity will not be a surprise to anyone who follows the comics. From there, the season transitioned into a loose adaptation of Batman: No Man’s Land, with the city being sealed off from the outside world, the Titans framed for poisoning Gotham’s water supply and the resurrected Jason Todd being revealed to be in the thrall of the Scarecrow.

Before I go into detail as to why Titans season 3 was a failure of common sense on every level, I would like to single out the one aspect of the new season I did like; actress Savannah Welch as Barbara Gordon. While the show made some radical changes from Barbara’s background in the comics (the chief ones being Oracle is now an artificial intelligence in the basement of GCPD headquarters and Barbara’s past as a cat burglar rebelling against her cop father) Welch does perfectly capture the spirit of Babs in the comics, particularly in how she spends most of her conversations with Nightwing looking like the only thing stopping her from slapping him stupid is the fear it would somehow make him worse.

On that note, I should say I do feel sorry for Brenton Thwaites. He seems to be trying his best as Nightwing and he does look the part in his costume. (Generally, Titans’ costumes are great, on the rare occasions the characters are allowed to dress like superheroes.) Unfortunately, the writing requires him to deliver some painfully awkward dialogue as this version of Nightwing is not the loving big brother who sees his teammates as family from the comics. Indeed, this Nightwing could give Batman lessons on brooding and alienating your allies. While Titans season 3 has many problems, most of them stem from this point.

Nightwing Season 3 Brenton Thwaites as Nightwing

Perhaps the most dramatic example of this comes after the Titans are framed for poisoning Gotham’s water supply and Nightwing suggests they can defuse the tension of the city by turning themselves in, paying bail and then going into hiding to fight Scarecrow and Red Hood from the shadows. Granting that Gotham City is notorious for having a broken justice system and a revolving door at Arkham Asylum, it seems ludicrous to believe they would be allowed to post bail on charges of poisoning millions of people and that their secret identities wouldn’t be exposed in the process.

This leads to another odd moment where, now on the run and with no Titans under his command but Superboy and Krypto, Nightwing decides to incapacitate his only allies (with some conveniently acquired Kryptonte dust) so that he can go into a one-on-one confrontation with the Red Hood. Said confrontation ends with Nightwing kicking Red Hood’s keister only to be shot in the back by some random kid with a gun. Yet the crowds still wind up cheering Red Hood instead of the random kid.

Titans Season 3 Raven Teagan Croft

I could go on about how Raven and Donna Troy don’t show up until the season is more than half over.

I could complain about how the show changed Blackfire’s motivations between seasons and how she abandoned her plans to kill her sister to stay on Earth, join the Titans and suck face with Superboy.

I could detail how the show establishes how Gotham becomes even worse with no fresh water, no deliveries into the city and what few business are open gouging the populace… yet Scarecrow is somehow able to get pizza delivered to Wayne Manor for only $25 including the delivery fee.

I could say a fair bit about how Scarecrow takes over the Titans base of operations while continuing to threaten the city and sends the team on a wild goose chase for several episodes despite the Titans knowing where he is hiding and there being nothing to stop them from sending Superboy after him but the need to fill 13 episodes.

I could talk about all that and more, but it wouldn’t be worth it. Just like how it really wasn’t worth my time to watch any of Titans season 3. I urge you all not to make the mistake that I did and please, please, please tune out when Titans season 4 comes to plague us.

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