Titans season 3, episode 11 review: The Call is Coming from Inside the House

Titans - Courtesy of HBO Max
Titans - Courtesy of HBO Max /

As the Titans are separated throughout Gotham, some make crucial discoveries, while others – mainly Dick Grayson – make some really dumb decisions.

With Gotham turned against them thanks to Crane’s (Vincent Kartheiser) smear campaign, the Titans tried turning themselves in to the authorities last episode. Too bad some corrupt cops working for Red Hood fouled that up. Now the Titans are scattered and fugitives; the National Guard has shut down all access to Gotham; Blackfire (Damaris Lewis) has absorbed all of Kory’s (Anna Diop) powers and has split the scene; Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch) is under arrest; riots, looting, and anarchy are breaking out all over Gotham; and Crane and Jason (Curran Walters) have taken over Wayne Manor.

But not to worry, because at least Rachel (Teagan Croft)  and a back-from-the-dead Donna (Conor Leslie) have finally showed up to maybe turn the tide. Maybe their arrival can also turn the course of this season, which, after doing relatively well early on, went way off the rails after Crane ridiculously framed the Titans for poisoning Gotham’s water supply with nothing but a badly-edited YouTube video. Whether this season’s eleventh episode, “The Call is Coming from Inside the House” will turn things around for Titans season 3 depends on how much more you’re willing to suspend your disbelief.

Maybe Batman was right after all?

No, [Dick Grayson doesn’t] face Jason as Batman–which is what Dick should be doing (and would be awesome besides)…Instead, he uses Kryptonite dust that Bruce kept in a safe to knock-out Connor and Krypto…Because if this episode has any theme at all, it’s that Nightwing must be dumb and reckless.

Speaking of Crane, he’s celebrating his taking over Wayne Manor by trying on Bruce’s (Iain Glen) clothes, giving himself a much needed shave, and grooving to TLC’s “Waterfalls”. But then Crane decides to ask the Bat Computer to play Batman’s psychological profile on him (You’d think the Bat Computer would be programmed with voice recognition software to prevent this, but the plot must move along). That’s when Crane’s day is ruined. According to Batman, Crane is incapable of acting on his own initiative unless he manipulates others into doing things for him, making him “the most pitiable of all of Gotham’s violent criminals.” Naturally, this makes Crane lose his cool, and he forces Jason’s lazy butt out of bed. Because now, he wants Jason to do the next part of his grand plan: Kill Nightwing.

So despite Gotham having no cellular service or internet access, Jason, as the Red Hood, hits the airwaves to challenge Nightwing to a one-on-one fight at midnight. Dick (Brenton Thwaites), Connor (Joshua Orpin), and Krypto, who are hiding out at an abandoned radio tower, hear Jason’s broadcast, and Dick decides to sneak into the Wayne Enterprises building to hack into the Bat Computer from Bruce’s office. Naturally, Jason anticipated this and denies Dick access. However, Dick has himself a secret back-up plan, so what could possibly go wrong?

As for Crane, he decides to prove Batman’s psychoanalysis wrong by kidnapping a pizza delivery man and threatening him with torture with a straight edge razor. However, Crane can’t bring himself to even cut the guy. That’s when Crane hears the voice of the “Scarecrow” in his head, calling him a coward, saying that Batman and Crane’s mother were right about him all along. Having undergone a complete mental breakdown, Crane then says to himself “time for the masks to come off,” and then starts doing something to himself with the razor.

The Titans on their own

Meanwhile, we catch up on the rest of the Titans currently scattered all over Gotham. Tim Drake (Jay Lycurgo), having escaped the hospital off-screen, meets up with the newly-arrived Donna Troy, who’s changed her outfit and hairstyle again. They make their way to the Drake’s family restaurant in Chinatown, where they find the place boarded up and his folks holding down the fort. They explain to Donna and Tim just how bad things have become in Gotham and, once again, we hear how there’s no internet or cellphone service.

That’s when Tim reveals the results of his dumpster diving, and we learn the true depths of his Batman fanboyism. Apparently, without his parents’ knowledge, Tim has created his own “Batcave” the storage room of the restaurant, complete with an off-the-grid computer network and shortwave radio. Cue the family drama as his folks freak out over their son playing wannabe superhero in his spare time. And they freak out even more when they realize Donna is associated with those “awful” Titans. Donna, being the only rational adult in the room, calms them down, pointing out they can use Tim’s gear to contact the other Titans for help. Either way, Mr. Drake gives his son the old, “Don’t think we’re done talking” routine.

While that’s going on, Gar (Ryan Potter) catches Rachel up to speed, and that he has a plan. He says that everyone has been so focused on stopping Jason that no one has asked how Crane brought him back from the dead in the first place (fair point, actually). Thus, he explains about the Larazus Pit mentioned in Bruce’s journal and, using Cheese Wiz, draws the symbol associated with it. Using her powers on the symbol, Rachel finds the location of the Lazarus Pit Crane used on Jason.

As for Kory, she encounters the woman from her vision after the latter is refused medicine for her baby. Like any sane person, Kory approaches the woman, and tells her all about her dreams and sleepwalking, thinking there’s some kind of connection between her and this random stranger. The woman, of course, thinks Kory is a little crazy. And she’s quite familiar with crazy, as a guy whom she owes money to suddenly shows up. Seems he ignored the warning about drinking the poisoned water, and pulls out a gun to shoot the woman. Kory tries to talk him down, but he shoots her square in the chest.

That’s when we get a flashback to the real origin of Starfire. Turns out Kory wasn’t born with “the gift of fire,” but that Blackfire was. Her father, the king, lied to the people of Tamaran in order to ensure Kory inherited the throne, both to quell a potential civil war, and because Kory was the eldest child. Furthermore, he forced Tamaran’s high priestess to transfer Blackfire’s powers into Kory. In other words, Blackfire was right all along.

Back in the real world, Kory begins glowing blue and floats up the in air. Panicked, the gunman flees only to be blasted by energy shooting out of Kory’s bullet wound. Then Kory collapses to the ground, and she wakes up in the woman’s apartment. The woman tells her story about immigrating from her war-torn country while pregnant, which is meant as a metaphor for Kory being awakened to her “real” powers… somehow. Honestly, there’s still no rationale for what this entire subplot involving Kory had to do with anything happening in this season -much less why the series decided on giving her new powers all of the sudden – but I digress.

Nightwing vs. Jason, round 2

“The Call is Coming From Inside the House” does a relatively decent job in wrangling all of the characters’ subplots. Granted, most of those subplots are outright ridiculous, but with the exception of Kory’s, they’re all interconnected and focused. Now all Titans needs to do is get back to making somewhat believable characters again…

In the last act of the episode, we see Dick implement his back-up plan. No, it’s not going to face Jason as Batman – which is what Dick should be doing (and would be awesome besides), but that’s for the season finale hopefully… please? Instead, he uses Kryptonite dust that Bruce kept in a safe to knock-out Connor and Krypto. Dick knows he’s walking into a trap, after all, so he can’t let two of his most powerful teammates try and prevent him from going, or giving him some much needed back-up, either. Because if this episode has any theme at all, it’s that Nightwing must be dumb and reckless.

Even so, we do get a pretty decent fight scene between the former Robins, wherein Dick, as Nightwing, uses some strategic distractions – and a car bomb – to throw Jason off his game, before giving the little snot-nosed punk a much needed beat-down. The fight also attracts a crowd of Red Hood supporters, who don’t take kindly to Nightwing pummeling their beloved hero.

Finally, Dick has Jason on the ground, and points Jason’s own gun at him. Jason brags about how he’s forced Dick to resort to this, but Dick, noble guy that he is, throws the gun away. Too bad he didn’t focus on the crowd, as one of them takes out a gun of his own, and shoots at him. To Jason’s horror, one of the bullets ends up clipping Dick in the neck. The gunman then tells a shocked Jason, “I did it for you!” and the crowd chants “Red Hood” as they start kicking a barely conscious Nightwing on the ground. This is also felt by Rachel, as her powers flair up, and she tells Gar that Dick is in trouble. Gee, I wonder if they’re going to use the Lazarus Pit they’ve so conveniently found to save him?

Back at the Drakes’ restaurant, Tim’s cousin, Stephen shows up and explains how he’s learned that the corrupt cops on Crane’s payroll are planning to storm local neighborhoods and wipe out all the residents. Donna, who initially wanted to find her teammates, now decides she will stay and fight alongside the citizens of Gotham, thus fulfilling her potential as a leader like Lydia wanted. Perhaps it’s also setting Donna up as the Titans’ new leader for next season, because certainly Dick has done a real bang-up job so far.

Jason, having fled the scene of his fight with Dick, and thinking “what have I done?”, returns to Batcave to find the pizza delivery man gutted. That’s when Crane steps out of the shadows to reveal he’s cut up his own face to match the stiches on his Scarecrow mask. “The time for masks is over,” he says. Maybe this time, Jason will finally figure out that his surrogate father figure is way worse – and much crazier – than his previous one?

With just two episodes left to go this season, “The Call is Coming From Inside the House” does a relatively decent job in wrangling all of the characters’ subplots. Granted, most of those subplots are outright ridiculous, but with the exception of Kory’s, they’re all interconnected and focused. Now all Titans needs to do is get back to making somewhat believable characters again like they did with “Lazarus” and “Souls.” That and, hopefully, put Dick Grayson in the Batsuit like the show’s been hinting towards all along.

Next. Titans season 3: Is Brenton Thwaites leaving the show?. dark

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