Titans season 3, episode 2 recap – “Red Hood”

August 12, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
HBO Max, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Red Hood” treads old ground with some new wrinkles as it takes on a classic Batman story arc.

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3.5

Summary

“Red Hood” treads old ground with some new wrinkles as it takes on a classic Batman story arc.

This recap of Titans season 3, episode 2, “Red Hood”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.


From its title to its opening scene, “Red Hood” proves itself familiar for any fans of certain iconic Batman story arcs. Beginning with a little get-together among Gotham’s crime families, the titular vigilante is introduced in full costume, carrying a holdall full of severed heads, and using bullets to make his point pretty clear. With Batman gone, Gotham’s criminal underworld is going to need protection from itself, and Red Hood is uniquely positioned to provide it — for a hefty 40% cut of their earnings, of course.

Cutting from there to Washington, DC, where Hank, complete with a p**n stache, is working as a cop, feels like weird juxtaposition. Hank is hilarious, but he doesn’t have much to laugh about. He and Dove are no longer together, even though both are in Washington — continuing their arc from the second season, she wasn’t ready to put away her Dove alter-ego, while Hank was always worried about becoming Hawk. They’ll have to work out their differences, though, since Dick summons all of the Titans to Gotham to help keep the city under control in Batman’s absence, and while Hank isn’t initially on the Christmas card list, he soon turns up regardless.

Dick has scarcely been in town two minutes when an unlikely bomber — a mother named Ann — leaves him a couple of messages; donning a red hood before carrying out her attack, and leaving a personalized note asking to speak to Nightwing, written on the back of what later turns out to be a chess textbook. Dick meets with her at Barbara’s urging but doesn’t seem to get anywhere. The woman has a number carved into her arm, but when Barbara calls and attempts to trace it, it activates a subdermal drug delivery system that makes her veins glow blue and her mouth foam. In an attempt to stop what is obviously agonizing pain, she snaps her own neck.

Barbara later tells Dick that the drug was something highly advanced — the term “nuclear bath salts” is thrown around with an entirely straight face — and the delivery mechanism, not to mention the bomb, suggests some facility for chemicals and explosives, perhaps of the kind that might be possessed by someone with military training and mental health issues. But Dick’s amateur profiling won’t cut it, so Barbara suggests he goes to visit the expert profiler they’ve been using from Arkham — Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow. Bruce’s idea, apparently.

In the meantime, Starfire is having weird visions and blackouts. She had one in the premiere, but the one she experiences in “Red Hood” is longer and more intense and has her roaming the halls of Wayne Manor speaking in tongues and trying to cook Gar alive. She calls Justin for a professional diagnosis — “We’ve had a death in the family,” she tells him, for the benefit of comic book fans — and his standard diagnosis is so obviously not the root cause it’s a wonder why they even bothered including this scene. Probably to keep Justin shackled to the plot, in all honesty, but there are more immediate concerns.

Namely: Red Hood. When Dick meets with Scarecrow, we learn that he’s now a discerning stoner who is rewarded for his profiling efforts with care packages of coveted weed strains, which is hilarious and guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers among purists. Either way, he isn’t much help, at least not until he describes a famous chess move known as Bird’s opening. It’s him who figures out Ann’s note was written on the back of a chess manual, and thus it’s him who intimates that this is simply Red Hood’s opening move. This is enough information for Dick to run a chess simulation and use it to turn up both the word Robin and several bird-themed street addresses in Gotham. This is a hilariously convoluted string of clues, by the way, and Red Hood was relying on an absurdly specific sequence of events in order for them to be deciphered, but nevertheless, here we are. Stranger things have happened.

Titans season 3, episode 2 ending explained

Initially, the Titans all split up to investigate the different addresses, but they’re called to a robbery in progress by a bunch of assailants all wearing red hoods. Dick understandably assumes it’s a setup and that these are all parents, like Ann, who’re being manipulated by threats against their children (and possibly drugs). While Gar and Conner try and track down the kids, the rest of the Titans try to talk the robbers down, but it’s all part of Red Hood’s plan — the robbers are able to make off with the loot, and Barbara is left fuming at the Titans and her moment of weakness in allowing Dick to talk her into standing down.

Without any favors from the GCPD left, the Titans conduct their own investigation. Gar, of all people, figures out that they need to be countering Bird’s opening, which leads Dick to the Hobbs Building, an operation he and Batman shut down back in the day for making explosives. The gang set out, without informing Barbara, and before long Dick is face to face with Red Hood. They fight, and when the mask breaks it’s revealed that this new vigilante is none other than Jason Todd. That was fast!

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