What is family? “Lazarus” (Dir. Boris Majsovski- 1st Time directing) and written by Bryan Hill (Ash vs Evil Dead) attempts to answer this and it’s more fluid than we might be comfortable with. We all have our “Significant Others”: those whom we count on for identity and love. We lose them, we have nothing. “Lazarus” forces us to look at this truth as a shifting entity driven by pride, ambition, and revenge.
Jason Todd (Curran Walters) is the best anti-hero television has seen in a decade. This episode is the full origin story of a rebirth of Jason to Red Hood and the shift of family from Jason Todd as the adoptive son of Bruce Wayne to Red Hood whose father is Jonathan Crane.
We begin at the last episode, seeing that Jonathan Crane is manipulating Jason/Red Hood as part of his plan of revenge against Batman and Gotham herself. What brought Jason to be Red Hood and abandon all the family that he ever knew and valued? Jason lost the faith of the one man whom he needed: Bruce Wayne. As we found out later, Bruce was already in the process of replacing Jason because Jason had succumbed to fear. After Deathstroke defenestrated him, Jason was hesitant and afraid. This was most evident when Jason tried to intimidate one of Joker’s henchmen who’d been recruiting kids for his Joker gang and Jason got a thorough beat down.
Jason knew that Bruce had lost faith in him as Robin. Bruce benched Jason unless he could go to a therapist to help him deal with his fear. Well, it didn’t work the way Jason wanted it. Bruce declared to Jason that he thought of him as a son, but fired him from being Robin. In that instant, Jason gained family, but Robin lost it. For these heroes, their truest selves are when they wear the cape, losing Robin was Jason’s Total Loss.
Bruce’s firing, sends Jason to Dr Jonathan Crane AKA Scarecrow because he wanted a chemical cure for his fear. Jason trades all knowledge of Batman and the promise of freeing Crane from Arkham in exchange for a formula that would free him of all fear. Jason rents out a lab and Breaks Bad! The formula works….too well. It caused him to face the Joker alone and get killed.
Apparently, death can take holiday because Crane knows a mini-Lazarus pit and tosses Dead Jason into it, bringing him back to life fully the son of Jonathan Crane. Jonathan, unlike Bruce and Dick, who failed him spectacularly – delivers. He gives him the anti-fear super juice and sends him out to run amuck in Gotham. Like the photo below, Jason has a new father at his back. Some critics have assailed Lazarus as humanizing Jason; No, the fact that we can empathize with Jason’s grudge and his subsequent choices is OUR Rorschach test and reflects our own humanity and self-image.
This is what makes the show so great. It’s not just action or source material. They bring you into the dark world where heroes exist and like Watchmen, it’s not such a great place. The heroes are flawed and, in reality, the most honest cape was Red Hood; well, until he killed Hank. I still miss him and I think I know why. He’s the most like myself. Oh well, maybe I’m like Jason Todd and could use some couch time for 150/hour with a 15 buck co-pay?