Titans season 3, episode 13 review: Purple Rain

Brenton Thwaites in Titans Season 3, Episode 13 - Courtesy of HBO Max
Brenton Thwaites in Titans Season 3, Episode 13 - Courtesy of HBO Max /

Titans season 3 concludes with a game-changing finale, but does it live up to expectations or defy them?

Titans season 3 has had quite the interesting run. Starting off on a high that previous seasons just hadn’t known, it set the stage for the show’s grandest season yet. Though it inevitably fell victim to some of the show’s familiar mistakes, it did enjoy a mostly successful run that placed the third season atop the list of Titans‘ outings so far.

Like its predecessors, the season’s shortcomings came in the latter half, with the cracks showing whenever Dick Grayson again acted like a bad leader, Jason made believable decisions but without the storytelling choices necessary to pull it off and the majority of the cast were underused.

All familiar problems that reared their heads in recent episodes, forcing us to ask if Titans could manage to pull it all together for a satisfying finale – a place where previous seasons fell apart.

With that, here’s what went down in the season finale, “Purple Rain”.

Titans season 3, episode 13 recap: Purple Rain and the Red Hood

The season finale wastes little time picking up where the previous episode left off, as Crane orchestrates the final chapter of his grand plan to destroy Gotham City with his fear toxin. Having figured it out, Dick and Jason continue their unholy alliance in the hopes of stopping him, but Dick can’t let the Titans know that he’s working with their former ally-turned-nemesis so he drops him off in the city and tells him to meet him back there later. Before he can reconvene with the team, however, he witnesses the first of Crane’s explosions, which kills everyone in the immediate area.

Meanwhile, Barbara Gordon is recued from an ambush by her GCPD colleague, Margarita Vee, who isn’t actually a GCPD officer but an ARGUS agent sent to Gotham to investigate the Lazarus Pit. And speaking of the Lazarus Pit, the Titans – who have all disappointingly reunited off-screen and are joined by Tim Drake – hatch a miracle plan to use Rachel, Starfire and Blackfire’s abilities to send the pit into the sky and form a rainstorm that would theoretically bring everyone back to life.

As that happens, Dick teams with Gar and Tim to infiltrate Wayne Manor, with Gar transforming into a bat to shut down the security system. Don’t worry about the corrupt GCPD officers working for Crane, though, because Jason shows up and takes them down, allowing a weakened Gar to finish out his plan. It’s a nice moment given how Gar still had faith that Jason could change.

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Brenton Thwaites, Curran Walters in Titans Season 3, Episode 13 – Courtesy of HBO Max /

Tim also gets his moment to shine as he provides Gar with the correct answer to the security question (“The One That Got Away” is Selina Kyle). And with that, the Titans infiltrate Wayne Manor to confront Crane – but not before Jason bows out, telling Dick that making sure Crane knew he helped the Titans take him down was enough for him, and presumably setting the stage for a lengthier redemption arc in either season 4 (or that rumored Red Hood spin-off).

Dick, Gar and Tim corner Crane in the Batcave after the Scarecrow’s plan fails (thanks to some hacking from Barbara and Vee) and it’s Tim who has the honors of knocking the villain out once and for all. Though it’s disappointing that there isn’t any kind of fight scene to bring it to a close, it’s an important character moment for Tim, so for that reason alone, it works.

Back in the city, Kory, Kom and Rachel successfully initiate the Lazarus rainstorm, reviving the deceased residents of Gotham and ending things on a well-earned happy moment. Taking things one step further, Dr. Artie Kind turns up with the good news that Blackfire’s ship can be repaired and it’s revealed that Superboy was the one who oversaw that process, making amends for his decision to destroy it in the previous episode.

It all sets the stage for an interesting fourth season as multiple Titans leave with question marks over their future, while Dick orders an RV to take the team on a 44-hour trip back to San Francisco – but not before he and Rachel pay a visit to Arkham Asylum to ensure that Crane will never harm anyone ever again.

The one major issue with Titans’ season 3 finale

It’s great that the finale went for more of an ensemble approach to highlight other heroes instead of just having Dick lead the charge again, but even seeing those heroes get their moment to shine felt half-hearted because we were robbed of some important character moments before that.

As the season had put such emotional weight into the return of Donna Troy, we should have seen her reunions with her fellow Titans. The moment with Rachel and Gar was nice, but in hindsight, it felt like it just used Rachel to tick the “reunions” box since their arcs were so closely tied together.

What about her reunion with her lifelong friend Dick? And let’s not forget that she had an incredible dynamic with Kory. Wouldn’t Starfire have been happy to see her crime-fighting bestie back from the dead?

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Brenton Thwaites, Jay Lycurgo in Titans Season 3, Episode 13 – Courtesy of HBO Max /

It isn’t just the reunions that fell flat, either. We have Tim’s introduction to the rest of the Titans, which happened off-screen – a disappointing result given how we knew he was going to become one. He should also have had some kind of acknowledgement from Dick given that the last time they saw each other, he vehemently denied the possibility of him being Nightwing. A brief “so now you know”/”nice job for figuring it out” would have been nice since he looked up to Robin.

Conner’s conflict with both Dick and Blackfire was also resolved too quickly. I get that it was trying to make it seem like Conner now understood that Dick did what he had to do because he found himself in a similar situation when he destroyed Blackfire’s ship, but that muted two major points of conflict in such a disappointing way.

First of all, Dick needs to learn that he can’t keep going off and doing his own thing without any kind of consequence (because there are always consequences) while the non-conflict between Conner and Blackfire just felt like another rushed creative decision because there was no time to fully explore that story.

“Purple Rain” ends Titans season 3 on a high note

So did “Purple Rain” serve as a good conclusion to Titans‘ third season? Mostly, the answer is “Yes”. Granted, there were issues and the loss of those important character moments undercut much of the episode’s emotional weight, but all in all, the finale worked as a season-ender.

First and foremost, we have to acknowledge the fact that it did course correct a season which had slowly begun to lose itself the longer it went on. That has been Titans‘ greatest issue and the finale usually doubles down on that, so the fact that it managed to turn things around here is really quite remarkable. As a result, what we get is easily Titans‘ most coherent and enjoyable season finale.

Titans season 3 started on a real high and even though it did struggle as it moved into its third and fourth quarters, it pulled things back for an enjoyable conclusion that sets up a really interesting season 4.

As someone who really enjoyed season 3 in spite of its issues, I’m really excited to see where the show goes in its fourth outing.

B. <em>Titans</em> season 3 ends on a high-note and provides a solid conclusion to its narrative, even if the emotional weight isn’t as heavy as it needs to be. Without question, <em>Titans</em>‘ best finale so far.. Titans. S3E13. Purple Rain

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All episodes of Titans season 3 are now available on HBO Max.

What did you think of Titans season 3? Was the finale worthwhile? Let us know in the comments below!