It’s hard to know where to start with episode 10. At the end of the day, the episode is as chaotic as Gotham after the water contamination from the end of episode 8. The show not only flubs the villain story but manages to implode the remaining slivers of an overarching, cohesive plot. In fact, the episode seems to decidedly prove that there is no genuine or comprehensible story. There’s certainly no storyline available with a meaningful, consistent, or valid goal or even journey throughout.
Even if Titans has some clue as to what that plot might be, the villains of the show absolutely do not. Apparently, dosing the entire city with the anti-fear (and now crazy zombie-esque?) drug was not really an end goal at all, but simply a throwaway to hype up Red Hood as Gotham’s true savior. All that to take down Nightwing and the other Titans. How this tracks with what the season has provided us thus far is mysterious, to say the least. After non-stop back-and-forth motivations and betrayals by Jason, he winds up at Crane’s side as if nothing ever happened. Crane is still just Crane, defined by mediocracy and unconvincing ever-moving plans and motivations to take over Gotham. At the very end of the episode, they make a toast to “bad seeds”, not knowing he was breaking the fourth wall in doing so.
The episode moves into emergency territory with much of Gotham affected by the drug, the city put in full lockdown and quarantine, and general crime is causing generic chaos throughout the city – it is reminiscent of the episode as a whole. However, the true sacrifices to this setup are unfortunately our Titans, whose grand plan first involved showing up in random spots in the city to fight drugged criminals rather unsuccessfully. With that failure in plain sight, they somehow concoct the brilliant plan to turn themselves in as a group “for show”, with the idea being that they would post bail and then disappear. As a quick aside, the notion that these people – accused and arrested for poisoning and attacking an entire whole city – would be granted bail is just absolutely ridiculous to the point it almost hurts.
Shocking, however, is that this plan did not work out. Not because they were not granted bail, but because some Gotham City police are in cahoots with Red Hood and the attack the Titans. Now they are simply in hiding—a large group of (depending on the day) highly superpowered individuals up against the occasional handgun did, in fact, run away from the situation. Again, how this squares with the first nine episodes that portrayed the group as a very confident, dedicated to Gotham unit is anyone’s guess. It’s probably safe to assume that separating the group in this sort of war zone atmosphere of Gotham would, in fact, give it more of a gritty war zone sensation. However, it’s not only completely arbitrary but flat-out disingenuous to any premise laid down thus far.
If the episode felt bold with its general Gotham story decisions, it undoubtedly felt more empowered to make some bold character-specific moves. It could be compared to the brief allusions to a chess match between the Titans and Red Hood early in the season, except the Titans – and Jason Todd honestly – are making completely random moves without any rhyme or reason. Hence, this episode.
We can start with Dick, who is given the most attention as always. While he just suffered some head trauma and is having occasional visions of the bat symbol, he otherwise comes across as mentally competent. While sane as he might be, his character is not consistent in the slightest. If he’s seeing bats, that would suggest he’s probably leaning into the “bad Batman” route some more, and one would expect that it would lead him to be more dark and batty, quite frankly. Here, though, he’s just lukewarm at best and making terrible, selfish decisions without the added necessary mental components to make it believable or understandable. The hardest pill to swallow is his line, “Gotham is on its own.” I mean, come on. Even in a “baddest Batman” situation, Gotham is very much attended to.
Other characters can be looked at more briefly because the absurdity speaks entirely for itself. Blackfire somehow sustained a deadly gunshot wound through her Tamaranian armor. Starfire attempts to heal (really?) her with her fire, but her sister merely absorbed it and takes it from her. Moving past how all of that is bad, we are yet again at a space where Starfire’s character and powers are just wrecked. Shockingly, the admittedly evil and traitorous Blackfire appears to be following her passion. It might be worth harping on how this storyline has a negative amount of reasons to take place within the Gotham story. It’s hard to even care at times when it’s treated like it’s some mild sisterly squabble among the “real stuff”.
Donna and Lydia’s interactions were so unnecessary. Of course, the show feels the need to tie Donna’s just-came-back-from-the-dead issue in a very shoddy knot. But Lydia sneaking around in a potato sack outfit acting a bit crazed, the two “fighting” for four seconds in mystical woods only for Donna to be told she is the greatest of everyone just didn’t need to happen. Her arc within episode 9 was plenty enough to redeem and re-hype her character, and this only brought it down.
To end on a high note, the random never-before-seen police station GCPD officers/workers that gave Commissioner Gordon the rundown on the situation and advised her what to do actually provided some solid acting. While the (what felt like) 23 seconds of that scene at the very beginning go the episode left more to be desired, it was solid.