GateCrashers Bree and Dan are bringing you our review of the Titans Season 3 Premiere. We discuss our thoughts on the series going in, our feelings on the plot, characters, and if we think its time to give Titans another chance or to get on board for the first time!
Brief summary of where Season 2 left off (major spoilers here);
The Titans are divided. Dick is MIA, Rose has confessed to being part of Deathstroke’s plot all along, Cadmus has brainwashed Conner and left Gar as bait. In the finale, Rachel, Kory and Donna intervene to save Gar and free Conner from his brainwashing. The rest of the team is busy with Deathstroke, whom is ultimately defeated by Rose and Dick – as Nightwing, for the 1st time. Donna meets a tragic end as she sacrifices herself to save civilians caught in the crossfire. At her funeral, Jason and Rose go their separate ways, Rachel goes to Themyscira with Donna’s body, and the remaining characters (Dick, Kory, Gar, Conner, Hank and Dove) form a new Titans team.
End of spoilers.
Our Views on the Series going into Season 3
Bree: I found myself disagreeing with most of the criticisms of Season 1 & 2, or at least, finding the proportion of criticisms to be overblown. Many of the jabs directed at the writing and tone felt more so a reflection of what people wanted the show to be, rather than a rounded analysis of what the show was. Titans shines as a character drama more than an earth-shattering, high stakes super-powered action serial. The combat is well directed and the villains are serious baddies, but they often feel secondary compared to the drama within the team and their own personal journeys.
However, I will concede that season 1 and 2 had issues with pacing and consistency. S1 & 2 had a lot of high points – my favorites being; all of Starfire’s core episodes, as well as Superboy’s, and the Wilson family. They also had a lot of lows – the character motivation for Dick wasn’t as fleshed out as it could be, and the script didn’t allow for very much of his trademark snarkiness. The dynamic and charismatic cast were able to smooth over a lot of the writing blunders to get me through the weaker episodes. However, I was left with the nagging feeling that the cast could be knocking it out of the park every episode, given the right material.
I’m going into Season 3 hoping for more consistent pacing, a more refined scope of conflict, and more development for Kory and Gar.
Dan: One thing I hate doing is eating my words but I am here to do that. I was a pretty loud detractor against Titans for season 1 and 2. Season 1 was very much a mess for me, but season 2 started to find its footing, albeit with too many story lines at once. But now, I will tell you with my full chest that I am a Titans stan. The 3-part season 3 premiere took me like Bane did to Batman and shattered the spine that was my Titans opinion. At first I was not going to be in this review but after watching 4 hours straight and ignoring all my worldly duties, I had to join Bree. Going from someone who could barely make it through an episode without rolling my eyes, I think season 3 made me see the error of my ways. Titans is outrageous, fun, and actually packs a lot of heart into a very different interpretation of characters so many people know and love.
Dan: The end of Season 2 was essentially everyone fully coming to terms with the fact that they’re all pretty messed up. That each of them brings very real and deep traumas to the table but through each other, they find a feeling of family. I think they were lacking that acknowledgment or presence of the found family theme until the finale dinner scene. Season 3 doesn’t lose that at all. Rather, it leans into it hard. The season opens with a fantastic superhero fight with people who don’t just feel like costumed heroes in the same room as one another but more so as one family of kick-ass heroes laying the smackdown on a villain! More importantly, everyone is suited up. But I am saving all the Starfire talk for Bree.
Bree: To quote Jason Todd; “TITANS ARE BACK, BITCHES!”. Season 3 opens with nothing held back, the team is together and they’re kicking serious ass. The fight sequences continue to take into account how each characters’ abilities can play off of each other; much like Kory and Raven combining powers to heal Conner, the team is now utilizing their combined strengths to command the battlefield. Kory is the star of the show in the costume and effects department though, I must say. With the addition of Conner and the absence of Rachel, Jason and Donna, the group dynamics are shifting slightly and I am very interested in seeing where the new pair ups go. The only criticism I have thus far is that one particular moment that had been built up in promotions ultimately fizzled on the impact. The course was quickly corrected and my enthusiasm returned. I won’t spoil, but you’ll be glad all 3 episodes are dropping at once- they act as a very cohesive introduction to Gotham and the new players on the board.
Dan: There’s a few very similar elements to some very big storylines this season has ripped straight from some of the most iconic comic stories of all time but they don’t feel adapted in a way that’s ever boring. It all feels entirely fresh and fits the world spectacularly. There is going to be some things in episode 1 alone that make people’s heads spin, but I have to say I was chomping at the bit when one episode ended to start the next. As someone who loves the Titans version of Jason Todd, I am very excited to see what comes next.
Bree: Barbara Gordon as Commissioner of the Gotham Police was the stand-out of the new characters for me, personally. She has an amazing ability to flip characters that are typically on the offensive to defensive, a refreshing new voice to criticize the ones that thought they had everything figured out. Although Tim Drake’s introduction was fairly brief, he offered an interesting “from the ground” view of the city. Crane and Red Hood are gearing up to be fascinating antagonists, both of which are blended with just the right comic elements to fit within the universe but keep the viewer guessing.
Dan: There is a scene shared with the Bat Family that felt like I was reading an extremely well written comic. Bringing in Babs scared me because of the size of the cast but actress Savannah Welch’s performance is fantastic. Her chemistry with Brenton Thwaites who plays Nightwing is electric of people who were once lovers and now have some demons in their closets.
As a big fan of Mad Men, I was so excited to hear that Vincent Kartheiser was cast as Dr. Crane, Scarecrow. He serves as more of a Hannibal Lecter-type role but he sells it very well. He is also pretty humorous which is nice with a very heavy show.
As always Alan Ritchinson and Minka Kelly, Hawk and Dove, are my favorites. While previous seasons were very heavy on their trauma, we get to see them at their best. And Alan serves as a great older brother figure to Conner and Garth.
Moments where you felt “Oh this is the best possible show”
Dan: We are avoiding all major spoilers but you’ll be damned if I do not talk about Dr. Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow being a stoner. In any other media, I don’t think it would work truthfully but when it comes up in Titans, I think I started clapping. It’s such a minor weird thing, but for me, it was a moment where I thought about how weird this show is. Those weird elements make these characters ones I am so fully invested in. Their performances are all actually magical and beautifully driven home with skill by the actors.
Bree: Superboy/Conner continues to be incredibly endearing, he had most of my favourite one liners of episode 1-3. I will wholeheartedly agree with Dan, the moments in which the show doesn’t take itself too seriously are perhaps its best. There’s also a particular puzzle the team must solve in the 3rd episode that still has my jaw on the floor – but I will let everyone discover that for themselves!
Is it time for the naysayers to give Titans another try?
Bree: I think so! It’s a blast if you understand what you’re signing up for. Even then, I would argue that Season 3 seems to be working more or less independently from the previous seasons. If you couldn’t dig the 1st 2, but have a base knowledge of the characters from other media, season 3 should be a perfectly fine reentry point. As my closing remark, I will praise the teams’ dedication to evening the scales of male nudity on TV. Good on you guys!
Dan: As someone who was very against Titans and now has been converted to a full blow stan, I highly suggest jumping back in when season 3 premieres. It’s an absolute blast with lots of heart and fantastic action. It’s absolutely the best time to get back into Titans or start fresh.
Here is a meme for finishing our review!