REVIEW: ‘Titans’ Finale – Purple Rain

After a difficult season, we’ve wound up at a strangely simple finale for Titans—after not being well set up whatsoever, Purple Rain seems to also want to push through it and get it over with. Only about two-thirds of the finale is devoted to the resolution of the overarching Gotham/Crane plot, so the often convoluted twelve episodes that built up to this moment feel even more insignificant. As a positive, though, the plot in this episode is pretty cohesive and understandable, which isn’t something we’ve been able to take for granted. Otherwise, the ideas and actions in this episode are just ridiculous. 

By the end of the finale, there are certainly a few loose strings, and a few random elements appeared, but there’s no strong momentum leading into Season 4. Honestly, that could mean there’s some chance of starting “fresh” and making something better, but that’s probably too hopeful. The show is an expert at forgetting its own past though as we’ve seen major characters completely drop off the radar without a mention. Probably worse is the fact that no matter what the characters experience, say, kill, decide, or have an epiphany about, it almost always is completely forgotten in either the same episode or the next. There are numerous examples of this in the finale too, and too many to actually mention. 

By the end of the previous episode, none of our characters are near each each other, thinking about the same thing, or pursuing the same goal. This is usually not a great place to start a finale, but it is no shock that this isn’t any barrier for Titans. All of our characters magically end up in the same place and on the same page almost immediately. From here on out, the plot feels pretty routine—here’s the problem, within 30 seconds we’ve figured out the solution, and let’s go get it done. It’s not exciting in terms of pacing or creative storytelling, but it’s easier to follow than a lot of Titans so that’s worth something. 

While the fundamentals of the story are simple, the actual “problems and solutions” really struggle. There are two tracks of the action: the group that goes straight for Crane in Wayne Manor, and the rest that do one of the most ridiculous things we’ve seen (but it definitely has competition)this season to save Gotham citizens . While the concepts for all of this are both laughable and too easy, they at least go by quickly without too many diversions.

The boy band—Dick, Jason, Gar, and Tim—think they are doing some dramatic stuff. At one point Dick says, “We’re going to beat Crane by doing what Batman never would.” While that sounds like it could be aggressive, violent, or even creative, it is none of those things. Apparently Batman would never break into Wayne Manor through a window, turn off an alarm, have someone else hack into the computer, and then punch the bad guy. There really isn’t any reason why this couldn’t have been done in some form at any other point in the season if it were that easy. They do use this time to shoehorn Tim into the mix, and he gets the dramatic last word in with Crane before being the one to punch him. He’s a Titan now.

Conner and the women (the people with powers) do the silliest stuff of the episode. After Crane kills hundreds of people, they figure out immediately that they can turn the Lazarus Pit into a storm that rains over Gotham and just casually revive everyone. Some nonsense combination of Rachel absorbing the pit’s nightmares, Blackfire shooting fire into water, and Starfire containing it in some sort of energy ball that she then throws into the sky is what does the trick. Luckily, there is also deadly lightning that Donna gets to lasso easily as a call back to her death by electrocution last season. How a season that started with Batman leaving Gotham managed gave us this ending is wild.

After all of that, the whole finale battle is over more quickly than Titans has ever finished anything. We get about sixteen extra minutes of post-win content featuring a lot of Jason and Bruce Wayne. Bruce’s dramatic and mopey absence honestly made me forget about his whole role in this. So the dramatic conversation between him and Jason comes across so forced and cringey—they just made Bruce’s character so terrible, and the only attempt to redeem him is have him apologize for being a bad Batdad. We supposedly get some Jason redemption and resolution in the finale, but like everything, it’s too easy. He’s mostly just forgiven for no reason, and no other satisfying or realistic interaction between him and the others happens. As noted above, there are no consequences for the twelve episodes of constant bad decisions we had to slog through. 

While we know that the Titans are returning to San Francisco, the show doesn’t leave any significant plot on the table. Honestly, that’s probably for the best. What we got in Season 3 has mostly been unfortunate. The episode did drop the fact that V is actually working for A.R.G.U.S.—which was an ex machina for computer hacking apparently—so the organization and characters associated with it are set up to show up again soon. Blackfire now has the ability to return to Tamaran using the ship Conner blew up because Conner perfectly remembers every detail of it. Just in case we forgot there are no consequences. 

Donna also seems to depart the team while Tim joins it—it is interesting to see how the show will go about Tim’s superhero identity considering he was absolutely not set up to become Robin by never meeting Bruce and leaving Gotham. Maybe the show is appropriately not going down that path after its aggressive Bruce-is-a-child-abuser vibe this season. But it hasn’t been all that self-aware before. 

The end of Titans Season 3 is absurd and ridiculously simple after this convoluted season. The best part of the finale is that all of this is over. The show left itself in a place no different than where we started honestly—while Jason was supposed to be a cornerstone of the story, he actually got about two episodes at most worth of development and his character barely changed if at all. The “Robin” theme wasn’t tapped into in a way that could have made it interesting. The Blackfire plot was horrible, the best characters were wasted if not damaged, and most actions that any character took made no sense and were hard to watch. At the end of the day, Titans hasn’t necessarily forced itself into a new plot, so maybe—just maybe—they can take advantage of a fresh start.

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