Titans Season 3 | Official Trailer | HBO Max

But something changed for Titans season three. The third outing premiered as an HBO Max original after DC Universe shut down, and it seemed like the creative team had finally learned from their past mistakes. Season three unfolds slowly; it starts with Jason’s death at the hands of the Joker, and the first episode focuses mostly on Dick and Bruce and the hole Jason left in their lives. By separating the team—Dick goes to Gotham while Kory, Conner, and Gar stay behind at Titans headquarters in San Francisco, Hank and Dawn go back to Washington, D.C., and Rachel takes Donna’s body to Themyscira—they give everyone a little more room to breathe.


In the aftermath of Hank’s death, Conner blames himself. If only he’d worked faster, gotten to Hank’s side quicker, he could’ve saved him. But Dawn, rightly, points out that it wasn’t a matter of time. The reason why Hank died with five beats left on the timer is that Dawn jumped the gun. After Dick realizes in episode two that Jason has somehow come back to life and is terrorizing Gotham as a villain called the Red Hood, the team has to reckon with what they owe Jason, and just how responsible they are for what happened to him. That’s why Hank falls for it when Jason reaches out to him, begging for help, only to put a bomb in his chest.

Dawn, in her grief, falls for Jason’s games again while trying to save Hank, even though Dick warns her not to engage with him. When Dawn tracks Jason down, he offers her a gun and tells her that if she kills him, Hank will live. But when Dawn pulls the trigger on Jason, the gun doesn’t shoot. Instead, it triggers the explosive in Hank’s chest.


This first arc of the season works because it gives each of the team members something to do while working on a common problem. And the rest of the season probably would have worked, too, if the show kept that tight focus. Now that Hank’s dead, how do the Titans, as a team, decide what to do about Jason? And how do they figure out who’s really at fault for everything that’s happened so far?

Instead, the show moves past Hank’s death pretty quickly; at the beginning of episode four, Dawn leaves for Paris, and that basically puts an end to any collective grieving process. Dick takes off on his own to interrogate Scarecrow about manipulating Jason, and Kory and Gar have to deal with the appearance of Kory’s sister. Throughout the rest of season three, the team is spread thin. They’re focusing on different problems while inhabiting the same space, leaving the characters orbiting each other without ever interacting in any meaningful way. And the plot, once again, suffers because there’s not enough time to dive deep into any of the characters’ motivations.


As Titans heads into its final batch of episodes, it’s still got a massive amount of story threads to wrap up, and the conclusion is almost certainly going to feel rushed. That’s how it’s been with every other season finale; it’ll probably hold true for the series finale, too. But for three beautiful episodes at the start of season three, we actually got to know these characters more deeply and see them work as a team. But, as Dawn learned when she pulled that trigger, when one of them goes off on their own, everything goes to hell.