The Call is Coming From Inside the House

Shouldn’t we have a few more people and a dog if we’re going to poke around old buildings?
Can’t you become a dog?

The third season of Titans has been ambitious, to say the very least. They’ve crammed in several major stories from various Batman comics and added some other simmering plots as well. The team has lost members, gotten a few back, and is handily losing the war for the hearts and minds of Gotham to Jonathan Crane and his hypnotized and drugged lackey, Jason Todd. They’ve lost their headquarters in this city, are scattered all over, and their best ally has been locked up. All in all, things aren’t gong at all well, and they continue to get worse in “The Call Is Coming from Inside the House.”

Crane has taken possession of Wayne Manor and is enjoying every moment of it. His possession of the place can’t be legal (as far as we and everyone else knows, Bruce is still alive, despite his best efforts), and I’m not sure how he’s bypassing the security on everything in the house and the cave, but the man is reveling in his victory. After he rummages around in the cave and reclaims something of his, he pushes things too far and finds out Batman’s honest assessment of him. Ever heard that saying about how eavesdroppers rarely hear something pleasant? Well, that’s the case here. Never one to realize he might be in the wrong, Crane takes out his resulting bad mood on Jason, rousing him from bed with a literal rude awakening. Crane manically announces their next target, walking off and leaving a displeased teen former hero in his wake.

Dick and Connor have ended up together, hiding out from the mob, crooked cops, and whatever other minions Crane has turned against them. They talk about what to do next, and have no luck finding their friends and teammates. Thanks to the No Man’s Land adaptation they’re doing, there’s no cell service or net access, which is hampering them, although you’d think a man trained by the world’s greatest detective would be more resourceful. Apparently not having any issues at all with the chaos they’ve caused, Red Hood takes to the airwaves, does some more anti-superhero propaganda, and challenges Nightwing to meet him for a showdown. Why both Todd and Crane are being so careful to protect everyone’s secret identities, I have no idea. In the aftermath of the broadcast, Dick and Connor have a disagreement about how to proceed, and tensions are running high between this version of the World’s Finest.

Tim Drake, back among the living and out in the streets, at least knows enough to know he’s being followed. Fortunately, it’s a friend, and he happily reunites with Donna Troy. They discuss proper titles and mysterious healing before moving on to Tim’s family’s restaurant. As they go on their way, Gar catches Rachel up on what’s been happening and the dire situation in Gotham and for the Titans. Gar talks about his theory behind Jason’s return, and he and Rachel start working on how to try and find out more about what happened. Kory, off on her own, sees what some of the citizens are going through with the city shut down and finds someone she has questions about.

Off on his own, Dick goes to the apparently abandoned Wayne Enterprises offices. He is trying to fight smart and not do the foolish thing, but Jason is a step ahead. In the comics, at least, the best hackers in the Bat-family have been Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon, but Dick and Jason seem to be roughly equally matched here. Dick takes a moment on the way out to retrieve an item he’s going to do something foolish with later. Tim and Donna find the family restaurant all boarded up and, when Tim leads them around back, there’s a family reunion that doesn’t go as smoothly as Tim might have hoped. His parents aren’t happy about Donna being there, and fill the two of them in about what’s been happening in the neighborhood, which isn’t good. Donna is doing her best to keep the peace with the elder Drakes, but her case isn’t helped when Tim reveals the extent of his interest, if not obsession, with Batman, Robin, and the Titans. Donna makes a good suggestion and she and Tim get to work trying to find Nightwing. Kory tries to explain some of what’s going on to the woman she found, they have a run-in with one of the Gothamites who has drunk the water, and things get very strange for Kory. Rachel and Gar continue their quest, banter about their surroundings, and Gar’s heightened senses start working against him. They find a new lead and go a bit further down the rabbit hole.

Out at the Manor, Crane is getting further and further from his master plan and a poor pizza delivery guy pays the price. While that might seem like a good victim no one would miss, you’d think his boss at least would start wondering what happened to him eventually. Dick meets up with Connor, they argue about what to do next, and Dick starts acting like the worse versions of his mentor rather than himself. Down in the cave, Crane shows he has a lot more problems than we’ve seen so far.

Tim and Donna try and finalize their strategy when the restaurant gets some unexpected visitors. Between the people that come calling and some intel from another visitor, Donna starts working out what’s going on. Tim’s parents still aren’t happy with her being there, but start to see she could be a valuable ally if nothing else. While Donna makes her plans, Gar and Rachel find something important. I’m not sure how it’s going to help them, but it at least shows Gar has been right so far. Recovering from her earlier series of visions, Kory makes a new friend and tries to process what she’s found out about her own past. What this has to do with anything, I have no idea, and it’s certainly nothing to do with any of her comic book history. While Crane goes further down the road he’s on, which isn’t a good one for him or his unwilling passenger, Nightwing and Red Hood have their showdown. Nightwing uses a lot of Batman’s tricks as they clash, and Red Hood does better than I’d have thought. But, continuing to veer through personality shifts, Nightwing does something ridiculously naïve for an experienced hero, a man trained by Batman, or even someone who has lived in Gotham, and things look really bad for him at the end of the conflict. As Red Hood flees, Rachel senses a disturbance in the Force, or something, and at the end of the episode, Todd makes it back to the cave and sees just how much of a mistake he’s made.

What I liked: While the team isn’t back together, I’m glad Rachel and Donna are at least back in the series. They are doing a lot of the parts of Tim’s origin right, which is nice to see. I’m not sure where Gar’s theory is going, but I’m glad he’s getting at least some credit for the time and effort he’s been putting in. On an going basis, he’s growing the most of all the characters.

What I didn’t: I’m not sure this weird story with Kory adds anything to the overall plot, and it’s taking screen time away from everyone else. Red Hood should be a good fighter, sure, I get that, but he shouldn’t be on Nightwing’s level at this point. Dick was, well, a dick to Connor and then really stupid in his big fight. Crane’s characterization seems to be all over the road now.

This was an uneven episode, and I’m not sure where some of this is going, or even why it’s here. I’ll give this a low 3 out of 5 and hope they manage to wrap things up decently in these last two episodes.