Thursday, October 7, 2021

REVIEW: 'Titans' - Dick Once More Decides to Face the Season's Villains By Himself in 'The Call Is Coming From Inside the House'

HBO Max's Titans - Episode 3.11 "The Call Is Coming From Inside the House"

While Crane sets his ultimate sights on Nightwing, Gar and Rachel investigate Red Hood's place of rebirth, Donna and Tim reconnect in the real world, and Kory learns the truth about her past.

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.

"The Call Is Coming From Inside the House" was written by Stephanie Coggins and directed by Carol Banker

When the threat from a villain intensifies, Dick always decides it's best to go at it alone. Now, he isn't the reason why the Titans are separated with no way of contacting each other. Crane created that reality. But it still revolves around Dick falling back on the same pattern that has defined each previous season. It's really exhausting and annoying at this point. Even Jason knows how Dick is going to behalf in this situation. This season may have once tried to paint Jason as a newfound criminal mastermind. That's a designation he didn't quite deserve. His character arc still has interest within it. It's an ongoing question whether or not he still feels things for the Titans. But this episode portrays him as the villain who has taken over the city. Gotham believes he is the hero. He has come to save them from the tyrannical rule of the Titans. That starts with Nightwing. And so, they have a public confrontation. Of course, Jason isn't the one to deliver the near-fatal blow. Instead, that's the concerned citizens who have also been manipulated every step of the way. It's surprising just how successful Crane's plan has become when he is a ball of insecurities on the floor of Wayne Manor. Again, nothing pertaining to his psyche is as interesting as the show would like it to be. This episode makes another attempt at trying to explain how he operates. It's mostly just stating the same information over and over again. He doesn't have the strength to act himself. As such, he coerces others into action. He wears a mask in order to break his mind and convince himself that some other identity is responsible for the despair. It's a lot without much substance to it. It should be a breakthrough declaration when he and Jason decide to rip their masks off. It's them stepping into the light as their true selves to the entire city. It's mostly just meant to evoke horror. It unnerves the audience. That's the simple ambition though. It's not much more than that. And yet, Dick may be dead. The shot to his neck could certainly be perceived as fatal. However, he was still trying to fight back once the crowd started beating him. All of this may be his own tragic downfall. He may die because he wanted to handle this crisis the same as he always has. That used to torture him as Robin. He believed he turned over a new leaf and found a new way to operate as Nightwing. But now, it's abundantly clear this is just who he is as a leader. He may be uncertain of himself from time to time. His actions spell out his peril much more effectively than any hallucinations meant to explain his internal turmoil. Even if he dies, Gar and Rachel have discovered the Lazarus Pit. It won't be pure agony in trying to bring him back like it was with Donna. Of course, it's weird that the show is purposefully delaying any meaningful reunions for Donna and Rachel. They are both in Gotham now. Donna was dead. Her piece of the narrative comes from continuing to interact with Tim. He too has magically been healed of his wounds. That provides him with agency once more. This is all still dangerous for him. The situation hasn't changed that drastically. It's just enough to keep everyone busy until the grand reunion can come in the heat of battle. That feels like the exchange that is coming. It's inevitable. That too doesn't inspire much hope when it comes to Kory realizing that she has new powers. She was actually born with this new set instead of what she has wielded for her entire life. Her true identity has been suppressed in service of a mission that was deemed necessary on Tamaran. Blackfire's destiny was taken from her because the first born was seen as more suitable for the job. The parents were projecting their expectations onto their young children. Kory sees that clearly now. She knows that Blackfire was taking back what was rightfully hers. She can't be judged for that. It's now up to Kory to undergo her own exploration of who she is. That should be exciting. And yet, it's difficult to feel like that given how little behavior has changed for the characters despite all that they have faced across three seasons. Those patterns are seemingly set in stone at this point. The audience is either onboard or not. That's disappointing and takes the power out of each surprising turn of events.