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.