After a long layoff due to COVID-19 and a switch to HBO Max, TITANS Season 3 has finally arrived and it comes out swinging like it always does.
When we last saw the Titans they were a team dealing with the aftermath of Deathstroke’s divide and conquer strategy that did enough damage to fracture the team. With Rachel (Teegan Croft) off to Themyscira to revive a sacrificial Donna (Conor Leslie), Hank (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn (Minka Kelly) off to Washington D.C., and Jason (Curran Walters) off to wherever the rest of the team stayed in San Francisco to defend the city and become a team.
Season 3 starts out with a bang as we see the Titans in action and we learn that Jason has returned to Gotham City and is back at Wayne Manor as Batman’s sidekick. It is here where a sequence of events unfolds that sets up adaptations of the famous Batman story arcs “A Death In the Family” and “Under The Red Hood”.
Anyone who knows those famous stories (which is probably everyone reading this review) already knows where this season is going. The first three episodes lean strongly on the source material focusing on the relationship between Batman and his Robins and Jason’s evolution into Red Hood. Yet, we are only teased to certain things going on with the rest of the Titans. Starfire (Anna Diop) is having some weird alien visions/flashbacks, Hawk and Dove are working through their relationship struggles, Gar (Ryan Potter) is beginning to develop his other beastly possibilities, and Conner (Joshua Oprin) is still adapting to being “alive”. It’s going to be interesting to see how they incorporate the rest of the characters into the main storyline while at the same time paying off their own individual ones.
Speaking of characters we are introduced to two new faces early on. The obvious one due to episode 1’s show title is Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch). This is a post-Batgirl and “The Killing Joke” Barbara who is now commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department like her late father used to be. She has been hardened by the events of her life and we find out very quickly has no love lost for Batman. The scenes with her and Dick (Brenton Thwaites) are some of the best of the entire series. The other newbie is Tim Drake (Jay Lycurgo). While he doesn’t get much screen time, the groundwork is laid for the development of the character we’ve gotten to know through the source material.
I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically mention the arrival of Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow to the cast played by the incredible Vincent Kartheiser (MAD MEN). He only appears in a few scenes but he eats up the screen every time you see him, and the twist they gave to the character works perfectly.
All in all the first three episodes are some of the best of the series. The writing is sharp, the fight choreography is crisp, and the acting is as good as it has ever been. They do a good job of setting up the season and what’s to come. However, I wish they would have focused a little more on all the Titans and not just the Robin/Nightwing/Batman storyline. We didn’t even see Rachel in any of the first three episodes and she has been the emotional center of the show since its inception.
But there is plenty of time for that, and I am ready for it.