The penultimate episode of Titans Season 3, titled “Prodigal,” is here and with it comes one of the better-balanced episodes of the season. While this has been the most enjoyable and consistently good season of Titans, faults within the structure and particularly pacing of the show are still prevalent and needing some obvious fixes. The show still does not seem to know yet how to juggle so many characters and with that, some characters feel more like an afterthought. Some plotlines are distinctively more interesting than others, causing some of the episode to feel more like a drag, while other parts being really exciting. That being said, however, this episode finally gives all the main players within the season something to do, which is a welcome change of pace and a thing that if Titans get a season 4, they should strive to have more episodes of that season do. This show has interesting characters, and it is frustrating to have characters sidelined and even when they aren’t, not have the best material that could be given to them.
Going into the episode more closely, the episode opens with Gar and Rachel locating Dick’s corpse when all of a sudden bats start to swarm Dick’s body. When seeing the bats arrive Gar finally gets a welcome new animal transformation, that of a bat, and he decides to use his newfound bat transformation to help the bats carry Dick to the Lazarus pit discovered by Gar and Rachel in the previous episode.
The episode then turns over to Scarecrow and Red Hood, where after a brief conversation, they have a long building battle, that unfortunately ends a bit too short when Jason makes a quick escape. One thing that is particularly nice about the scene is that Scarecrow finally has one of his classic weapons on display, swinging around his signature sickle when attacking Jason.
Donna and Tim Drake attempt to get the Drake family out of Gotham, while also trying to get into contact with other hold out cells around Gotham. In one of the better moments of the episode, Tim and Donna fight about Tim wanting to become a superhero and what it means to be a superhero. Donna taking an approach that speaks to how dangerous it can be and even though she trained her whole life, she is still at risk when going into battle. She also mentions just how selfish he is being to not only his family, but to Hank who sacrificed himself in order to help Donna and Tim escape. Tim does come up with an effective rebuttal however, where he speaks about how it is his choice to make whether or not to be a superhero and put himself in danger. His dad is a former police officer and Tim’s family respected his father’s decision to leave every day and put his life on the line and that Tim should be awarded the same respect.
Donna and the Drake family are then stopped by a blockade and the last that is seen of them in the episode is with them taking down the crooked cops. It is obvious that the show is setting up for Tim Drake to be the next Robin, so that seems likely to be shown more definitively either with the season finale, or early on in the next season.
While Dick is being resurrected in the Lazarus pit, Dick is forced into a sort of in between world where he is confronted by an imaginary Scarecrow. Scarecrow makes Dick remember some of his more memorable moments in the show, from his parents dying, to his mind prison when he was controlled by Trigon, to dropping Jason off a building, to even when Donna died at the end of the last season. Dick is suddenly wearing Joker’s outfit, wielding the classic crowbar, and while it may have seen like a good idea on paper, it comes across more forced and unearned than anything. There have been hints of something like this coming all the way since the season 1 finale, but unfortunately, the show has done little to build up to a moment like this.
After Dick snaps out of it, he is then met, in a touching moment, by his father. It is nice to finally see his father in something other than the classic death scene. Dick also encounters a little girl with a red balloon who calls him “daddy.” Speculation on who this girl is, is probably best to save until after next episode, but the best guess at the moment seems to be Nightstar, who long story short, is Nightwing and Starfire’s child.
When Dick wakes up, he quickly leaves, but he does give Gar and Rachel the mission of hunting down the rest of the Titans and get the gang back together. Presumably, they will track down Donna and Tim, which it will be interesting to see how Rachel reacts to Donna being alive.
In a small portion throughout the episode, an update is finally given on what Barbara has been up to since she shot her fellow officer who was secretly working for Crane. It turns out that she is still in jail, with the very cop who she shot delivering and taking away her meals. It is revealed that Scarecrow has been tormenting Barbara, taunting her through a surveillance camera. In this scene, Scarecrow very much comes across as a Joker figure, which is, unfortunately, distracting more than anything. Barbara is then finally able to escape later on in the episode and arrives at a seemingly non-working Oracle.
The season-long side plot of Starfire and Blackfire continues when after stealing a car, Blackfire is found by Krypto who brings her to Superboy, who was poisoned by Dick after a questionable at best move. Superboy and Blackfire arrive to the place where she was being held earlier in the season and find that her spaceship is still there. After Starfire arrives and tells Blackfire of what she learned last episode, Blackfire decides that it is best to return to Tamaran and regretfully leave Superboy. Superboy then, acting under the guise of restoring the ship, causes the ship to blow up on purpose, assumedly mad at the fact that Blackfire chose to rule Tamaran, a place he can’t go to because of his heritage, over staying with Superboy.
It’s a nice touch to have Superboy exhibit Lex Luthor traits just as much as he exhibits Superman traits as he is a clone of both. This is something that very possibly feels like it’ll be unresolved this season, so it’ll be awesome to have the character walk the line between “good” and “evil” going into next season, if the show is renewed for season 4.
Dick finds Jason, who after a moment of being in shock at Dick being alive, decides to help him take Scarecrow down once and for all. They realize that Scarecrow must be looking for his weapons that Batman had taken and hidden away, only to discover that they are too late, and that Scarecrow already has them.
The episode ends with it being revealed that the weapon in question that Scarecrow managed to get his hands on, is his signature weapon, his fear toxin. Something to add is that with the addition of fear toxin, hopefully the show will give us at least one scene where Scarecrow dons his mask, as that has been sorely missed with his character this season. Even though the scarring of his face is a nice touch, it is another way that the show makes him too similar to Joker.
With next episode being the season finale, there should be answers and most likely have Scarecrow’s plan, at least for the most part, come to a close. It’ll be intriguing to see where next season goes and if the show will return to San Francisco, stay in Gotham, or take us to a completely new location altogether.
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Joel Tapia is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him on Twitter @tapioca621