“51%” sees the Titans take the fight to Scarecrow and Red Hood as Jason’s rash decision-making lands him — and all of Gotham — in trouble.
This recap of Titans season 3, episode 7, “51%”, contains spoilers.
As predicted, Gotham City is descending into chaos thanks to Jason distributing Scarecrow’s anti-fear toxin among the populace. Barbara and Dick are concerned about it. Scarecrow, though, is surprisingly okay with Jason’s betrayal, though admittedly he smokes a lot of weed. He also has a plan — one that causes Jason to collapse when he huffs the latest batch of the serum before a meeting with the leaders of Gotham’s underworld. As he says, he isn’t Batman. Gotham’s villains aren’t to be trifled with.
Titans season 3, episode 7 recap
It’s Scarecrow who attends that meeting in Jason’s place. This, to me at least, feels like Titans deliberately calling back to the similar scene in The Dark Knight, which is rarely a good idea. But it’s a decent effort. Scarecrow makes a compelling pitch for a refined strain of the toxin that’ll allow distribution of the product at a premium price while Gotham’s newly uninhibited citizens will make everyone a fortune. Red Hood will provide security. It’s a cozy arrangement.
It’s also a big enough problem to justify the use of Oracle, which Barbara is still reluctant to do, partly logistically, and partly because she has always worried about the moment when it’d need to be used again. This, by the way, is a new version of Oracle to me. I’m familiar with Oracle being Barbara’s post-Killing Joke alter-ego, but not a talking Cerebro-style mega-computer. When Dick points out that Barbara never “got rid of it”, one has to wonder how she’d have done that even if she wanted to.
The title of this episode, “51%”, is something that Blackfire’s father used as a decision-making principle — if you’re leaning towards even a slight majority, that’s the move you make. And it’s obviously a principle she inherited, though it’s complicated by the fact that, as Starfire points out, Blackfire killed her father. Was that decision fifty-one percent the right one? Anyway, the sisters can get a lead on Red Hood and Crane through one of their associates, but only if they recover the woman, a mobster named Knox, something “personal” to her. It turns out to be her son, Michael, whom Starfire is able to persuade to return to his mother… only for her to shoot him in the head. He was, apparently, working for the FBI and had become a liability, which isn’t exactly good enough reasoning for Starfire, who cooks Knox from the inside out. Blackfire approves, which prompts some justification for why she killed their parents. Turns out that the people of Tamaran, their home planet, didn’t take too kindly to Starfire not returning to rule, and blamed Blackfire for it; their parents were willing to sacrifice her to appease the mob and retain power — that 51% decision-making in action — and so Blackfire had no choice but to kill them. She wants Starfire to rule by her side because the people of Tamaran still hate her.
Meanwhile, Dick and Conner follow Oracle’s lead — Barbara remains in the machine to supervise — and walk right into a trap. Luckily Conner takes a bomb blast right on the chin, but it reveals a bigger problem — Crane has access to Oracle and used it to try and kill them. Dick thinks this can be turned to their advantage, but easier said than done. Barbara, worrying, shuts the whole thing down, which turns out to be exactly what Crane was going for. Dick isn’t happy, but Babs is able to make him look pretty stupid for being emotional when, if they put their heads together, they can outsmart Crane using logic.
It’s a matter of power. Scarecrow needs an awful lot of it to fuel his distribution network. He’s siphoning off unnoticeable amounts of energy from multiple substations and directing them to a single location, and Knox has been supplying him with freon, which is the last clue Dick needs to figure out where he is. It’s time for the Titans to suit up — and Blackfire is coming along. (Her donning her business suit is quite a moment, made better by Conner’s teenage boy-like “You look good.”)
The Titans descend on Scarecrow’s hideout for the obligatory big action sequence of “51%”, and it’s a good, overdue opportunity for the whole team to shine (bonus points for the flirty banter between Conner and Blackfire). Scarecrow and Red Hood — the latter is now a captive of the former, by the way — manage to escape, though. But with Scarecrow’s plans, machinery, and underground deals all scuppered, the Titans allow themselves a beer. Dick and Barbara even allow themselves a smooch. Gar, though, ditches the revelry to go and see Jason’s friend Molly. She wanted to help Jason, after all, and so does he.
You can stream Titans Season 3 exclusively on HBO Max.