Thursday, September 9, 2021

REVIEW: 'Titans' - Kory and Blackfire Figure Out How to Trust Each Other While Working to Stop Crane's Master Plan in '51%'

HBO Max's Titans - Episode 3.07 "51%"

Gotham's crime families meet to discuss the fear toxin's hold on the city - only to be confronted by the mastermind himself. As Dick and Barbara consult the Oracle to preempt Crane's next move, Starfire and Blackfire reach an understanding.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO Max's Titans.

"51%" was written by Kate McCarthy and directed by Nick Gomez

Fear and chaos will consume Gotham City in a matter of hours. Crane's master plan will come to fruition in under a day. He makes that bold declaration. He believes he has outsmarted the Titans and the Gotham police. He has even undermined the one piece of technology used to capture him in the first place. Time is running out to save this city. And yet, the Titans prevail. They track this villain's path back to his secret lair and stop him from flooding the streets with this brutal drug. They don't have to rely on the most invasive technology either. Barbara swore that she would never use Oracle during her time as police commissioner. Its abilities are so vast and destructive to the privacy rights of everyone in the city. In just a few seconds, it becomes aware of every detail in Dick's life since it was last online. It can pinpoint a conversation Crane has in a private space thought to be completely untraceable. All of this highlights the growing dependence on technology in order to do the job. Dick believes they have no other options. This is the only way to catch Crane. It's what Batman used to get the job done. But that's also repeating the past. It's not Dick living up to the promise of being a better hero for this city. He always desperately wants to break free of the patterns that have brought him nothing but personal destruction. And yet, they provide him with comfort as well. He knows how to walk this path a certain way. Changing that now is incredibly difficult for him. Mistakes are made. Systems are compromised. Lives are lost. That's acutely felt. Crane believes he has wisely spent his time picking apart every tool that the heroes can use against him. He has calculated every probability. He has the willingness to wait. He is patient when it comes to enacting this grand scheme. Jason doesn't have that patience. It's also no longer necessary to implement Red Hood's volatile nature. As such, Jason is tortured and discarded like he has been so many times in the past. Gar seems to be the only person willing to believe he still has some humanity left. He believes that on pure faith alone. He refuses to give up on his friend despite the tragic actions he has taken this season. That means he's not quite in the mood to celebrate once the Titans succeed in disrupting Crane's plans. It certainly is an odd moment. Crane and Jason aren't in custody yet. They are on the run. That's enough of a victory for Dick and Barbara though. They see it as destroying all that they had planned. Now, the villains will have to improvise which will open them up to mistakes. That's easier to handle. Lives are still in danger though. Crane simply doesn't have the technology to amplify that pain on a grand scale throughout the city. That means he relies too much on technology for all of this to succeed as well. His downfall is just as apparent. It's clear and concise. Meanwhile, the show provides more human interactions to complicate what this mission means for everyone involved. Dick and Barbara have butted heads constantly. And yet, they are still drawn back to each other. Them ending up in bed together was the inevitable conclusion. It happening now suggests more to come in that particular pairing. That's either encouraging or concerning based on the threats that are still out there. Meanwhile, Kory and Blackfire come to an understanding about the pressures they faced on their home world and the freedom they can embrace on Earth. Blackfire shares the details of why she killed their parents. She was constantly blamed for everything that went wrong amongst the royal family. Their planet may be in despair now without its ruling party. But now, the sisters get to fight alongside one another with no preconceived notions about how they are suppose to act. They can truly be what they've always needed with no limitations. That trust was slow to build. It's made even more complicated by the people they are willing to make deals with in pursuit of the truth. It's costly. It's deadly too. It compromises the morality within them. But they still have that support. That's apparent and allows this epic hero moment to swell into fist-pumping action as the Titans prevail in attacking Crane's lair. That's nice resolution even though it's far too early for the audience to fall into the trap of believing that's all that this will amount to in the grand scheme of things. The overall story will inevitably have to pivot back to uncertainty and despair before the season reaches its actual ending. That's expected while never taking away from the victory on display here. That's earned despite some bumps getting to this point.