After Jason’s joyride with the anti-fear gas, Gotham City is one again in about the same amount of peril it always is, and the chemical caused regular people to turn violent and murder people. Yet, after the dramatic previous exchange between Jason and Crane, Jason simply teams back up with him and promptly gets poisoned and essentially kidnapped. We learn that Crane/Scarecrow’s plan, as described to the 5 Families, is to dose the entire city to both set everyone “free” and put everyone under his and the mob’s control. Let’s be clear, though, that makes absolutely no sense.
The show is still fumbling with the Scarecrow/Red Hood villain situation so much that not even a single move by Jason last episode stuck. Presumably, Crane is now supposed to be the Big Bad, which is a general letdown considering Scarecrow is a somewhat tired character and exists within constant references to Batman. Plus, he’s just not menacing or threatening enough to be overly interesting. Red Hood seems to be effectively sidelined for now—knowing the show, he might likely get a redemption arc he doesn’t earn, but either way at this point it seems like a general waste of Red Hood as a villain.
Dick and Barbara have even more time this episode to dramatically discuss the ethics of vigilante justice and heroism. This time, we get a very brief introduction and use of Oracle the supercomputer, stored in Gotham PD, that essentially can track anything and anyone using illegal methods. How characters in a show heavily centered around not-particularly-legal methods of fighting wrongdoing can all of a sudden face a moral dilemma by using a computer that can listen to private conversations is beyond me. And yet, the whole situation is nuked almost immediately because Crane casually hacked in to the system. But Dick and Barb also have a strange moment where they seem to blame themselves as a duo for Crane’s escape (when it was 100% Dick’s doing) and decide, “We’ll put him back in…together.” Yikes. They both give themselves way too much credit for what is going on around them and at times completely unaffected by it either, other than several forced lines to the the contrary. There are more express references to Dick being like Batman and aiming to “be a better Batman” this time around. I’m patiently awaiting any kind of payoff there.
Somewhere along the way, in what could have been the most effective action taken by anyone this entire season, Kory and Komand’r go to a mob boss to get information on where Crane is and ultimately just kill two people for nothing. First of all, Blackfire still has absolutely no business being around at all. We get very forced lines on the whole Komand’r killed their parents thing, which is presumably meant to redeem her now. It’s very frustrating how unnecessary and shallow it all is. Neither seems concerned or upset at all that their parents were violently killed, but yet that is supposed to drive their relationship at this point. Blackfire’s emphatic “excuse” just diminishes her capacity to be a more bad ass threat at any point which is a bummer. To this day, I cannot pin down Kory’s character or personality. It’s fair to say that Blackfire has, you know, none. But Starfire is some sort of mixture of stern and serious but charming and better-than-thou, and almost motherly and nurturing. It’s very confusingly portrayed and doesn’t match with her backstory or even appropriately place her in the general context of the Titans.
One quick obligatory mention that Gar, with little to no screen time, is still the best character. He has a genuine emotional core that none of the other characters can claim. He also is arguably the best martial artist of the group for some wildly unknown reason other than the lack of willingness to devote more visual effects to him. While everyone is celebrating later, Gar is out there still trying to help Jason.
Finally, Titans presents to you: The Battle of Gotham. Clearly it’s all for show considering this is Episode 7 of 13. The ultimate war/battle was announced for that very night at the beginning of the episode. That’s a bit suspect. But maybe the plot will move on quicker? (It won’t). What we do get is a suited-up Titans team ready to take on some bad guys in an ice cream factory. Unfortunately, Blackfire is now just a full-on member? That’s difficult to deal with. But, they do some fighting. They are extremely non-dynamic and the action generally consists of one character doing something pretty slowly while the others stand around. If you need an example, watch…all of it. Still, Gar really stepped up without, for the most part, powers of any kind. Give this kid some limelight.
So, after doing very little, Crane ran away and the Titans literally celebrated their total victory over the situation. It’s a struggle to see that as some sort of reward for the first seven episodes of unclear plot and villains and, sometimes, point. But no worries, Dick and Barbara share a romantic moment, confirming that they will fully cycle through the history that keeps bringing them all down. Next time, let’s enjoy some Snowy Cones Ice Cream while we (probably) keep watching them make bad decisions.