Titans, S3 – Ep1-3, Deeper Analysis, By Case Wright (EXTRA SPOILERS)

Why am I writing a deeper analysis of Titans S3 Ep1-3? This season is so deliberately crafted and true to the source material that it deserves it. Also, it’s important to recognize Alan Ritchson’s brilliant performance in the series and how it came to a close.

This season is all in Gotham. It keeps the story fresh with a new home base and it allows for new characters to enter the mythology: The Joker, Scarecrow, and Babs. What is more emblematic of Gotham than Batman? Batman is a double-edged sword because, while he adds a lot to any story, he’s so iconic and imbued into our culture that he can eclipse the Titans and the primary protagonists.

How do you eliminate Batman and keep Gotham for the Titans? You have Bruce do the most anti-canon but logical thing: Bruce Kills the Damn Joker and retires! Titans is more akin to Watchmen than Arrow. What is the World like with Superheroes and Supervillians? In real life, cops or a person with any superpowers would’ve killed the Joker right off because of course they would. The Joker is a terrorist and even by the Geneva convention, terrorists can be shot and killed on sight. Really. I know this. Really.

So Batman kills the Joker and gives Gotham to Dick and says, “Be a better Batman”. This brings realism to the show and keeps Batman in the outer background away from the action perhaps permanently, allowing the story to remain a Titans’ story.

This show is so accurate in terms of how Soldiers (which is basically what they are) really act. When the jobs over, they play video games, joke around, bust each others balls, drink too much, and are always trying to get laid. The most accurate representation of this persona was done by Alan Ritchson, especially when talking with Dick.

Alan plays the Soldier in and out of recovery from alcoholism and drugs is 100% accurate. It makes it so much harder to say good bye to his character because he’s one of a handful of superior actors who can be so multi-dimensional, believable, and deliver in every performance. I’m not going to write who I’d rather have seen written off, but he would’ve been my LAST choice. The writers just went full-on Game of Thrones, killing off an A-1 talent. I hope that he’s cast immediately a variety of roles.

I want to be clear that performances of all the actors in show is the best I’ve seen in 20-years. They all deserve Emmy and Genies. However, there are standouts among the standouts. Brenton Thwaites and Curran Walters bring a dynamism to their roles that you just don’t see on television, every performance is a For Your Consideration. Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites) evolving into the Batman-like character with the antagonist Joker-like figure Red Hood (Curran Walters) and the history repeating itself in Gotham. Much like the opening song they used, Meet me in the Woods by Lord Huron- everything is darker and different and it foreshadowed the evolution of light versus darkness: Dick v Red Hood. I write Red Hood because Jason died and Red Hood is all that remains.

I knew that the opening scene would be Jason Todd getting murdered by the Joker, BUT I did not expect to see Batman murder the Joker. What I did expect and what got delivered was Brenton Thwaites and Curran Walters embody this epic battle so completely that it pulled me completely in. The writers use the source material cleverly and the dialogue is fantastic, but these Men breathe life into these characters. I was convinced this is what Gotham would be like with these Superheroes. It must be a lot of fun for Curran to get to play such a clever villain.

Sidenote: I do miss Esai Morales playing Deathstroke that was a masterclass in acting, but I guess that his story had to end. The writers are not afraid of killing off your favorites. I wish they would be more afraid of it.

Whether you are late to the party and have yet to see this show and you got spoiled today, missing this show is like never seeing Apocalypse Now or The Godfather. You will not see this level of storytelling again for twenty-years, if ever.

Happy Friday the 13th From The Shattered Lens

Originally, Jeff and I were planning on going up to the lake this weekend.

It’s something that we’ve been wanting to do for a while, just to get away from everything for a day or two. It’s summer in Texas, which means that it’s incredibly hot right now. The lake is awfully inviting in the summer. Originally, we thought we might go last week but I ended up getting sick and spending almost the entire week in bed. So, it made sense to just go this week, right?

Except …. well, did you happen to notice what day it is today?

Listen, at heart, I’m a skeptical person. One reason why horror films don’t bother me is because I don’t believe in ghosts or witches or magic or zombies or death curses or any of that other stuff. I don’t even believe in aliens. I’m not a superstitious person and I have to admit that I always find myself a bit confused whenever I talk to anyone who is. And yet, even I know better than to tempt fate by going up to the lake on the weekend of Friday the 13th. That’s the power of the tale of Jason Voorhees, his mother, and a New Jersey camp called Crystal Lake. Even the most skeptical among us know better than to mess around with Jason. There’s a 99.9% chance that Jason doesn’t exist and, even if he did, he would be way up in New Jersey but still, just the fact that there’s a .1% chance that he might be out there somewhere …. that’s enough to keep me home for the weekend!

With that in mind, Happy Friday the 13th! I’m celebrating by watching the original films, the one that were produced by Paramount Pictures in the 80s. By that, I mean the films that came out before Jason Goes To Hell turned everyone’s favorite hockey masked serial killer into a space slug. Say what you will about these films, they are an undeniable part of our culture and they’re amongst the most influential movies ever made. Personally, I prefer the first film, the 2nd film, and the 4th film. I’ll also defend Friday The 13th: A New Beginning because I enjoy being a contrarian. At its best, the franchise was an American tribute to giallo. At its worst …. well, we’ve all seen Part 3, right?

However you celebrate, stay safe! And maybe we’ll see you up at the lake next week!

(And if you need something to do, be sure to check out this article, full of Friday the 13th trivia, that I wrote a few Friday the 13ths ago!)

Music Video of the Day: Hold On Loosely by .38 Special (1981, directed by ????)

“That was a major moment for me. It was my first foray into co-writing. Kalodner said, ‘You did great with ‘Rockin’ into the Night,’ I want to put you together with Don Barnes and Jeff Carlisi of .38 to see what you can do.’ That first night, Jeff and Don are at my house in La Grange, Illinois and we’re sitting around the kitchen table. Writing sessions are always like blind dates: It’s like making love without the foreplay. Suddenly you’re sitting there face to face, and you’re thinking, ‘OK, what do we do now? Am I going to embarrass myself? What if my ideas suck?’ So we’re sitting there nervously, just making small talk, and all of the sudden Jeff says, ‘I’ve got this lick,’ and he starts with the opening lick of what became ‘Hold on Loosely.’ I go, ‘That’s really neat,’ and Don says, ‘I’ve got this title – ‘Hold On Loosely,” and I go, ‘Yeah, but don’t let go.’

My wife of 32 years now, this is what broke us apart when we were teenagers – I was getting too close. I was getting too serious for her. She didn’t say, ‘Hold on Loosely,’ but that’s what was in her heart. So when Don said ‘Hold on Loosely,’ I immediately knew what he was talking about. He wasn’t even talking about that exactly, he told me later, he just thought it was a cool title.

I immediately saw a story, and it was really my own story. I said, ‘Jeff, play that riff.’ He plays the riff, and I start singing: ‘You see it all around you, good loving gone bad.’ It just started coming. I turned on the tape recorder and said, ‘Guys, I think we have something here.’ We got the stalk of the song in the next two days, then I fine-tuned it in the next two or three weeks. I flew down to Jacksonville where the band was rehearsing and basically worked out the song with them down there.”

— Jim Peterik, on co-writing Hang On Loosely

Jim Peterik was also the keyboardist for Survivor and that band, which was still looking for its first hit, were initially not happy that their keyboardist had written a hit song for another band.

Hang On Loosely was such a hit that the video for it, a simple performance clip, was the 13th video aired on MTV on August 1st, 1980, their first day of broadcast.  Fortunately, a performance clip was all the song needed because the .38 Special could really play!


The First Videos Shown on MTV:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles
  2. You Better Run by Pat Benatar
  3. She Won’t Dance With Me by Rod Stewart
  4. You Better You Bet By The Who
  5. Little Suzi’s On The Up by PH.D
  6. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard
  7. Brass in Pocket by Pretenders
  8. Time Heals by Todd Rundgren
  9. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
  10. Rockin’ in Paradise by Styx
  11. When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters
  12. History Never Repeats by Split Enz