When looking at Titans Season 3 it is certainly a major improvement for the show, especially when looking at last season, yet it still has major problems with its uneven nature, most notably when it comes to its pacing and its overall writing. Even if it is a better season, there are episodes that absolutely stand out much more than the others as being greater. It is this inconsistency that plagues the show from becoming the truly special show that it seems like it can become. Before getting into the rest of the review, let me start by saying that it is extremely positive that this is the first season of the show that has aired outside of DC Universe, making the show much more accessible, and with the season being recently over, now is a great time to binge and catch up on the show before season 4 comes to our screens on HBO Max in the future.
Getting back into the review, something that the show desperately needs to improve upon is the flow of the show which is totally broken when these “detour” episodes happen. Even if they may be important to the overall narrative of the show, they cause the pacing of the show to come to a halt. When thinking about this problem, episode 5, “Lazarus,” certainly comes to mind. While the events of this episode were imperative to see, it still felt like it broke the flow of the season, especially because of the big cliffhanger at the end of episode 4. Another major “detour” episode of the season that broke the pacing was episode 9, “Souls.” While it was fantastic to see Rachel and Donna again in lead roles, it was such a detour that it practically makes the audience forget about the main plot. Then when the main plot comes back in the next episode, a large part of the episode has the audience trying to remember what had occurred previously so they can catch themselves back up to where the plot was. This was very distracting with these two episodes in particular and while the stories that were given from both episodes were important, you can’t help but wish that they were instead intermixed with the other episodes as opposed to being their own complete episodes that took the audience away from the main plot.
However, as I said, this season is an improvement especially over the previous season, and there are some truly great characters and one episode in particular that I wish to highlight. For starters, I absolutely adore episode 3, “Hank & Dove.” Minka Kelly and Alan Ritchson really shine in this episode and the absolute intensity of what was going to happen, right until the end was something I don’t see myself forgetting anytime soon. The whole episode you find yourself rooting against something that is ultimately fated to happen, but still, you couldn’t help but be surprised when the inevitable ending occurred.
Taking a look at the cast in general, it was great to see that these actors are getting more comfortable in their roles, and it was also great to see the show seemingly respond to criticism over the past two seasons, by making the characters seem closer to their comic book counterparts more in this season as opposed to the previous two. However, the questionable writing decisions that plague this show make these developments not shine like they would and should be.
One of the best discoveries about this season is making us aware of both Savannah Welch as well as Jay Lycurgo. Both were fantastic additions to the Titans cast, and I am eagerly awaiting Lycurgo continuing his journey as the next Robin in Season 4. Lycurgo embodies what I think about when I think about Tim Drake and even though it shouldn’t make a big difference, I believe that making Tim Drake a mixed person of color is a most welcome choice. Then when it comes to Savannah Welch, I am so happy to see the diversity continuing in the upwards trajectory with this show by bringing in an actual amputee into the show, but it doesn’t feel like tokenism because Welch provides a great performance as Barbara. It is because of these great performances that even though the show is continuing to bring in diversity, it doesn’t feel performative as both Welch and Lycurgo are truly incredible and deliver great chemistry with the cast, Tim and Donna and Barb and Dick are relationships in particular that were really great to see. I would also love to see the show bring the recent LGBTQ+ developments with Drake’s character into the mix, as the lack of LGBTQ+ leads is one of the more disappointing things about the show and an area that would be great to see come in and I believe that Tim Drake is a perfect candidate given the precedent that the comics have set.
While the focus being on Gotham City this season was exciting for me, as I am a huge Batman fan, it certainly made the Titans themselves feel like background characters to their own show. Main characters since the beginning, Gar and Rachel took major backseats this season, while to be fair Starfire did get a rather large side plot. Unfortunately, that’s all Starfire’s plot felt like, is a side plot. Because the show was centered in Gotham City and the Bat-Family, instead of on the titular Titans, Starfire and her sister Blackfire’s storyline felt unimportant to everything else going on. Also, there was Conner who even though he’s a main Titans member, his only storyline this season really was as Blackfire’s boyfriend. It’s unfortunate because these actors are really amazing when the writing gives them fantastic things to do, as showcased in seasons 1 and 2, so here’s hoping that they get more of these fantastic things to do in season 4.
Titans is certainly not by any means a perfect show, especially when it comes to the writing, however, it certainly seems to be slowly coming into its own, though this is an unfortunate thing to still be saying three seasons in. Though with the move back to San Francisco, away from Gotham City, it looks like the show might be finally on its way to becoming the dark and gritty, yet amazing Teen Titans show that this show has been trying to become since season 1. So even if I may have my issues with the season as a whole, it is still exciting to know that there will be a season 4 and to think about what possible characters may come along next season.
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Joel Tapia is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him on Twitter @tapioca621