Titans: Purple Rain

This grouping never happens this season.

The third season of Titans has reached its end. They have already announced a fourth, and a few casting announcements for it (Brother Blood, Jinx, maybe Lex Luthor). But before we get there, the team needs to come back together, find a way to beat Jonathan Crane, and save the city from more mayhem. The Titans have a lot to wrap up in “Purple Rain.” While there are a few songs in the episode, despite the title, there aren’t any by Prince. As this is a season finale, there will be spoilers below.

The episode is good, but there are a few plot holes, and one of those is in the very first scene. Crane is down in the cave beneath Wayne Manor, while a lot of heavily armed Gotham Police roam the grounds and the cave. A lot of people learned Bruce’s secret this season, and I’m wondering how that’s going effect things in the future, or if they’re just going to sort of gloss over it. Crane gets a few updates from a particularly crooked cop (in Gotham, that’s saying something) called Fletcher, and then gives out some orders. I’m still not entirely clear on how Crane gained so much leverage over the police, but that’s an issue for another time. At GCPD, Barbara’s assistant Vee is being escorted down a hallway by three heavily armed cops. Vee tries to explain to them they are making a mistake by going after Barbara Gordon, and they refuse to listen. Vee sighs as they get on the elevator, and apparently we miss a scene reminiscent of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as by the time the elevator arrives and the doors open, all three cops are out cold.

Barbara was expecting trouble, and greets the elevator with drawn weapon, which Vee tells her needs to get pointed somewhere else or they’re going to have a problem. Bemused, Barbara lowers her weapon and we find out that Vee does not actually work for the GCPD, but at least she’s bringing some special resources, and a greeting from a Titan we’ve heard mentioned before but still not seen yet. Vee reveals both her real employer and mission, which also ties in to some things we’ve seen before. She also gives Barbara a few startling updates and then tells her it’s time to get to work and save Gotham. While Barbara catches up with a few things, Donna and Tim face down some trigger-happy GCPD officers, and Tim shows some great moves he says he learned from an unexpected source. There might be too many cops even for Donna, but backup arrives in the form of Rachel, displaying some new powers, and Gar, back in tiger mode. The Titans link up, enjoy a happy reunion, and then the Drake family makes a surprising decision and Tim joins his heroes.

Down in the weird science bunker we’ve seen a few times, Superboy, Starfire, and Blackfire stand amid the wreckage of Blackfire’s ride home. There’s a lot of tension, since the destruction doesn’t seem to have been accidental. Weirdly, one sister is very understanding and one is hot tempered, and the expected roles are reversed. On the streets, Dick drives around with Jason, discussing plans and how to stop Crane. Dick is at least realistic enough to know he can’t bring Jason to meet with the Titans after the death of Hawk, so he drops him off and says they’ll meet up later. As he drives off, Dick gets a call from Barbara, who fills him in on Vee and a few other developments. They are just discussing Crane’s plan and the bombs when one goes off and demonstrates Crane’s utter indifference to the people of Gotham. Preliminary reports on what happened aren’t good, and Dick tries to lead his team through figuring out what Crane is up to.

Dick has an epiphany and radically alters the plan, such as it is. After he shares his reasoning, Barbara agrees. Importantly, and showing he’s not becoming Batman, Dick takes a moment to apologize to Superboy for what happened last time, and Superboy accepts it and understands, given some of his own recent actions. As the team begins hatching a new, two-part plan, Crane camps out in the cave and ends up singing, the tune appropriate on several levels. Dick shares parts of his plan with Gar and Tim, while we see what Dick’s big distraction at the manor is: Red Hood. Rachel, Starfire, and Blackfire go do their part of the plan, which draws on weird new powers for two of them, and a few other things I’m not sure would have worked, at least in the comic book version of things.

Crane gives Fletcher an order the crooked cop really wanted to hear, and Gar manages something very difficult for him to get inside the Manor. Rachel, Starfire, and Blackfire continue their efforts to carry out their end of the plan, while Dick talks Gar through a few important things. When he hears things going badly, Dick rushes off to help, leaving Tim backing up Gar on the radio. Tim’s fanboy obsession with Batman comes in useful as he helps get a security question in the computer system, Tim has learned some things he really shouldn’t know, and I’m curious how he came by this particular piece of information. Crane sends more troops into battle (seriously, how many corrupt cops does he have, and how?), and Vee and Barbara get an amusing comic relief moment showcasing some of Barbara’s less physical skills.

As the police swarm after Red Hood, the former Titan gets some backup as Nightwing charges into the fight, using some of his weapons in a new way. Nightwing is a favorite character of mine, and I think he’s incredibly talented, but at least one thing he pulls off shouldn’t have happened. As Crane gets desperate, Gar races to the cave and Nighwing and Red Hood have a quick talk that leads to Jason making a decision that’s probably for the best at this point. As one of Tim’s dreams comes true, Rachel and company enact their part of the plan and Donna joins them, using another new power we’ve never seen and having apparently gained some kind of new ability related to her death last season.

Crane decides to push up his plan and forgo some of the usual villain cliches, but he’s been outmaneuvered. Down in the cave, Nightwing lets Tim have a crack as his first supervillain, and the young man does a good job. As the other team’s plan works, the weird scientist we keep seeing shows up, fanboys about who he’s seeing, and we get the first onscreen use of someone’s codename. Improbably, all seems to be as well as it’s going to get, and the heroes have done more than their share to save the day.

Later, Bruce returns to Gotham, taking in both the damage done and seeing people working together to fix it. He ends up back at the manor, where there is more damage to be repaired. There’s a reunion scene between Bruce and Dick, and then Bruce and Jason. Jason announces what there is of his new plans and leaves, just missing hearing something that would have probably meant the world to him. Superboy brings Blackfire someplace she doesn’t want to be, and Artie the weird scientist is actually useful and has some good news for a change.

As things continue to wrap up, Donna goes to the GCPD and gets an interesting offer. Dick and Barbara say their goodbyes, which I hate to see, but at least they part on good terms. Then, as they walk out, Dick and Donna get some amusing friendship banter, Donna tells Dick what she’s going to do next, and they share their recent and very odd mutual experience. Out at the airport, the team meets up, a few goodbyes are said, and Dick changes their transportation plans. Starfire isn’t thrilled about the new idea, but everyone else seems to roll with it. Tim gets another unexpected surprise that has him damn near glowing. The last thing we see is Dick and Rachel visiting Crane and doing something odd that may take care of the problem of Crane knowing so much about the heroes, or might just be punishment. We have a lot of unanswered questions for season four.

What I liked: Nightwing got a great fight scene. Tim showed a lot of promise. Gar is getting better at his powers, and we finally heard a codename used for one of them. While I don’t like where everyone ended up per se, I’m glad no one parted on bad terms at least. Vee ended up really intriguing me, and I hope we see more about her and the Titan she mentioned. I also hope Barbara at least shows up next season.

What I didn’t: The plan to save the citizens of Gotham was really weird, even by comic book standards. I get that Tim is a fanboy, but I don’t think he should know everything he did. Way too many people know some big secrets who shouldn’t. Several people gained new and undefined abilities that I hope get some kind of rationale in the future.

I’ll give the finale a 3.5 out of 5, and the season a 3. They crammed in a lot of storylines and I think some of them needed more time and space. I’m wondering what they are going to do with season four, especially given some of the casting that’s been announced.

The Titans will return.

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