After the shocking events of the third episode, Titans returns this week to begin to pop the lid on what is truly going on with Jason Todd’s cold-blooded turn as Red Hood.
The following contains SPOILERS for DC’s Titans Season 3.
Reeling from the explosive death in the family, this week’s episode starts out by saying goodbye to another bird-related superhero. Dawn, reflecting on Hank’s intentions to hang up the cape, decides to join her family in Paris and leave the team, for now. It’s unclear if she’ll return, but it’s nice to see the show tighten up once again and focus on a leaner Titans team. Speaking of which, Superboy isn’t taking Hank’s death well, blaming himself for being too slow to create a device to save him. He even tells Gar that Superman could’ve done it, making it clear that almost every character here has daddy issues.
Meanwhile, Starfire continues to have weird visions and attacks Beast Boy once again, injuring him in the process. Already distraught by Hank’s death, Gar is less patient this time around and leaves Kory to herself. This leads to another conversation with the random therapist, a plot thread that continues to slam the brakes and threatens the show’s entire pacing. Shortly after, Kory returns to Gar, making it clear she has no control of what is happening and is as scared as he is. Gar then advises her to get into a sensory deprivation tank in order for her to concentrate on her visions more. In an episode titled “Blackfire”, it’s not hard to tell where things were headed at this point. But it’s disappointing to see Gar once again in service of others without his own narrative to follow.
In other news, Scarecrow gets attacked while walking to his Arkham Asylum cell, allowing the villain to get transferred to another facility. But Dick Grayson knows better and kidnaps Jonathan Crane himself before that happens, creating even more trust issues with Commissioner Barbara Gordon. Unlike previous seasons, Dick is finally ahead of the audience and of the antagonist. He decides to take Crane on a quick road trip to a discrete location, and his confident demeanor tells the audience he’s already cracked the case on Scarecrow’s involvement with Red Hood.
Back to Starfire, it appears after she settled into the tank, she became possessed once again and took a road trip, with Gar in the trunk of the car. She’s taken them to a random piece of land in the middle of nowhere, finding a hatch that takes them in an underground bunker. Apparently, the United States has been in the custody of Blackfire since her post-credit scene showed her arrival on earth. They have no plans for her, and understand she’ll be alive for centuries to come, but keep her encaged indefinitely due to her dangerous nature. The one scientist located at the facility seems to have lost his marbles, making the entire encounter pretty odd and cringe-worthy sometimes. Starfire confronts her sister, who has an incredibly dark past that seems so unforgivable it’s hard to believe Kory would want to break her out. Nonetheless, Damaris Lewis gets a chance to showcase her characterization in a meaningful way when the two sisters duke it out. Unfortunately, the actress struggles to pull a convincing performance across a pitch-perfect Anna Diop, making her foreseeable breakout less engaging amidst the overall narrative.
In a cabin in the woods, Dick directly confronts a tied-up Scarecrow about Red Hood. Not only does Crane admit to everything, but he revels in his grand scheme against the sons of Batman and gloats about becoming the mentor to Jason that Bruce never was. The audience then gets a peek into Dick’s childhood, revealing Bruce made him kill a wolf in the woods at a very young age. Scarecrow intends to plant a seed of self-doubt in him as he did with Jason, but Dick seems far more in control of the situation than he usually is. He’s trying to confront Jason sooner rather than later and is using Crane as the trap. Of course, things are only going to get more complicated and concrete answers on Jason’s resurrection remain secret, but Dick’s plan leads him directly into Red Hood’s sights once again.
After Starfire and Gar break Blackfire out of her prison, Nightwing gets another shot at Red Hood in the season’s most entertaining fight yet. Their confrontation is even more thematically resonating after Hank’s death, and despite Jason trying to guilt him, Dick won’t blame himself for the second Robin’s dark turn. When it seems Red Hood is no match for Nightwing, Jason suddenly gets the upper hand and puts a pistol to his head. Even when it seems Dick can overturn his odds, things complicate when Barbara orders a faulty sniper shot on Red Hood, hitting Dick instead.
After another confrontation between Red Hood and Nightwing, it becomes clearer that Jason isn’t exactly in control of the plans he’s initiated thus far. Scarecrow is the root problem here, even if he’s just exploiting Jason’s past trauma to his advantage. Meanwhile, Titans continues to struggle to give Starfire a worthwhile storyline that doesn’t slow down the series to halt. Lewis also doesn’t impress as Blackfire so far, however, it is indeed possible she fits into the role more given more screentime and character development. Until then, the fourth episode is a mixed bag of goods that walks the series back to some of its worst tendencies.
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