Since the Titans moved to Gotham, very little has gone well. Jason Todd was killed by the Joker, and came back from the dead thanks to an intervention from Jonathan Crane, AKA the Scarecrow. The team lost Hawk when Jason pulled a very supervillain trick, and Dove left in grief right after. Now the heroes are dealing with Hawk’s loss, Crane’s plan, and the general ugliness of Gotham, not to mention Kory taking in her evil sister, Blackfire/Kormand’r, as well as Dick’s complicated relationship with Barbara Gordon, now Police Commissioner of the GCPD. Things are very emotionally tangled in this episode, leaving a lot of people thinking about “Home.”
The episode starts off with Gar’s visit to Jason’s friend Molly. She’s dubious about why he’s there, how he knows Jason, and why he’s looking for him. She has some justified concerns, and Gar tries to explain as best he can while keeping everyone’s secrets. Gar is the nicest and most human of the Titans, especially given the weird way Dick is written on this series. Their conversation ends when Gar’s attention is pulled outside the window, and we see that the famed Bat-symbol has been replaced by a giant “T” in the sky. I’m not sure why this is happening, as Barbara knows who Dick is and easier ways to contact him. Speaking of, the two banter over the phone about the signal and their date for a gala that night. After Dick hangs up and is very uncharacteristically clumsy in the kitchen, Kory comes in and they joke about gala food and the new Titans signal.
In another development they’ve been hinting at, Blackfire and Conner/Superboy have been sleeping together, and she shows him a star map covering both Krypton’s former location and Tamaran. They have some amusing pillow talk while Gar is down in the Cave. Dick’s plans to go out are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Tim Drake, who says he knows who both Nightwing and Batman are. This plot is a loose interpretation of the classic “A Lonely Place of Dying,” a story that crossed over the Batman title with New Titans, giving us the origin of the boy who eventually became the third Robin. This scene, with Tim laying out his impressive reasoning and how he figured things out, is almost straight out of those comics.
Elsewhere, Jason confronts Crane about needing more of the drug he’s been using. Crane babbles a bit about his new plan, and overplays his hand with Jason. Never the most level-headed of people, Jason beats Crane unconscious before leaving. Dick drops Tim off on his way to meet Barbara. Tim, while knowing things he shouldn’t and having a dream Dick wants no part of, is very nice about everything. He lays out what he knows and what he wants, but there’s no hint of blackmail or a threat. He promises to keep the secret even as Dick shuts him down. Tim mentions in passing something that captures Dick’s attention, and Grayson races off to track down a lead with Barbara’s help, even if she knows he’s not going to make their date. One bit of bad writing here: Dick is on his way to pick up Barbara, and is on his motorcycle. This Barbara is not going to be able to ride one, and even if she was, how would her chair get where they are going? Dick follows up on this lead, sees something surprising, and makes a really stupid mistake that almost kills him. Jason takes some enigmatic action that’s open to interpretation.
Conner and Blackfire’s fun night in bed gets interrupted after their superhuman sex breaks one of the legs of the bed. That just leaves them laughing; it’s Kory coming in, hand raised, about to fire on her sister that puts a damper on things. Blackfire does something odd I didn’t quite follow and snaps a very confused Kory out of it. Dick wakes up in the hospital, Barbara at his side. Her attempt at nonchalance gets blown by a talkative nurse, which is fun to see. After the nurse leaves, Dick and Barbara debate what Jason is actually up to and how Dick should handle it. Barbara makes him do a few tests that seem weird given the circumstances, and Dick has some kind of vision or hallucination. Maybe he caught it from Kory. While Barbara rushes off for a meeting with the mayor, Kory tries something she did before to see if she gets a clue about her visions. She has a very strange one and snaps out of it in a parking lot. At least Conner and Blackfire managed to follow her here, although no one has a clue what’s going on.
Crane wakes up, roused in part by a friendly building inspector. He seems like a nice guy, and makes a passing comment that tells Crane just how wrong he was about something. Crane repays the man’s kindness in an ugly, typically Gotham manner. Jason, wandering lost and alone, goes to the strangest sort of therapy session I’ve ever seen. He gets a little bit of what he needed from it, but it leads him to a place he can’t go. Dick talks with Barbara over the phone about getting released from the hospital. Just as the taxi is getting to Wayne Manor, Dick has another weird hallucination. I’m beginning to think all the Titans need therapy. The surly cabbie heads off and Dick wanders inside, not finding anyone. Gar is, once again, in the Cave, with machines running to trace Jason. Instead, he gets a phone call from someone, and relays a message to Dick. Whatever else is wrong with him, Jason is using some good tactics here.
Having left Kory alone, because that’s a great idea for a superhuman with deadly powers who is hallucinating and has recently attacked her team and her sister, Blackfire and Conner talk on the way back to the manor. Conner makes an admission that surprises Blackfire, and they find they agree on a few things. Dick tries to go to a meeting, but gets surprised when Tim shows up again. Tim tries to impress Dick again, and I think he ends up annoying him. Dick’s cover story is terrible, and someone with his mind and charm should have been able to come up with something better before shooing Tim away again. While Dick heads for his rendezvous, Crane goes to see someone. It’s a weird little session that ends in a death and an escape. While Crane talks mostly to himself, Jason has a meeting and lays out what he wants. Dick has some demands as well, and they strike a kind of deal.
Dick brings word of this prospective arrangement to the team, and no one is happy about it. Most of them are against it, while Gar’s defense of Jason starts to make more sense. The team disperses to talk about this strange deal, but Kory hangs back to give Dick a piece of her mind. Jason scurries off for another meeting, and Tim manages to follow him. So Tim Drake, a kid who has no costume experience or elite training, has managed to shadow both Dick and Jason this episode. Tim’s path takes him someplace he really shouldn’t be, and things take an ugly turn. Tim shares his dream with someone else who is shocked to hear it.
Finally arriving, the Titans find Tim and do their best to take care of him. Some of them split up to go inside after Dick has another hallucination, and we see that Crane has manipulated things and tricks one of the team into helping him. Barbara hears what’s going on and sends SWAT in, puzzling her assistant Vee. A weird ongoing problem with Barbara’s office suddenly gets much worse, but it doesn’t really seem to tie into anything that’s going on. The Titans realize they’ve been played as Barbara deals with her own infrastructure issues to end the episode.
What I liked: The “A Lonely Place of Dying” story was a classic and the scene with Dick and Tim was almost directly lifted from it. Gar’s sticking by Jason makes a lot more sense given what Gar says in this episode. The Dick and Barbara banter was good. Blackfire and Conner make an interesting couple.
What I didn’t: They end up departing from the original story in a big way and I didn’t care for the twist. Crane seems to be way too far ahead of everyone. He’s never been the top tier planner that, so far, is running rings around Jason Todd, the GCPD, and the Titans. Dick going to pick up Barbara on a bike made no sense at all.
I’m not sure where all this is going, but I’ll at least stick around for the end of the season. Then I’m going to have a decision to make about how I spend some of my free time. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5.