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Batman Breaks His One Rule In The Titans Season 3 Premiere

Spoilers ahead for "Titans," Season 3, Episode 1: "Barbara Gordon"

"Titans" leans into the darker side of the DC Universe, and the show has never shied away from exploring superheroes and vigilantes through a mature lens. These caped crusaders aren't afraid to dish out a bloody beating to any goon, supervillain, or corrupt cop who gets in their way. Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) infamously says "F**k Batman" in Season 1, which stirred up some backlash from fans when "Titans" first debuted. It's not as fun or light-hearted as "The Flash" or "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," that's for sure — but that's just how some fans like it.

The first three episodes of "Titans" Season 3 just dropped on HBO Max, and it picks up soon after the dramatic finale of Season 2. Dick Grayson finally realizes he can be a hopeful hero in his Nightwing persona, and leads Starfire (Anna Diop), Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), and Superboy (Joshua Orpin) in San Francisco. But there's one member of the team who isn't bunking up in Titans Tower with the rest of the heroes: Jason Todd (Curran Walters).

The second Robin is back in Gotham City with Batman (Iain Glen) and keeps watch over the city, but Jason's stubbornness gets the better of him when he's alerted to the Joker causing chaos in the streets, and the vigilante chases after the Clown Prince of Crime by himself. Bad move, Jason. Anyone familiar with the character's history can probably tell where this is going. After finding a dead police officer with a horrifying forced grin on his face, Jason is surprised by the Joker and the villain savagely beats him to death with a crowbar. After a period of repressed anger and bitterness, Bruce Wayne makes a terrible decision that will seemingly change the "Titans" version of the character forever.

Batman visits the Joker in Arkham Asylum

Bruce Wayne wakes up Dick Grayson towards the end of the "Titans" Season 3 premiere, saying he's killed the Joker using a crowbar, getting revenge for Jason's death. He explains that the Joker laughed as Bruce "caved in his skull," because the villain knows he's won their eternal war. The aging hero even quits his job as Gotham's Dark Knight because of his actions, telling Dick to "Be a better Batman." That's a lot to put on a person, Bruce — just go to therapy, please. When he first donned the cape and cowl, the hero vowed never to kill anyone in the name of justice. It's his famous 'one rule' that he never breaks. So it's interesting that "Titans" quickly throws that out of the window ahead of Red Hood's live-action debut.

For those not familiar with the comics, Jason Todd is eventually resurrected and comes back to Gotham City as a vengeful vigilante known as the Red Hood. He acts a lot like Batman, except he isn't afraid to murder criminals. Red Hood begins causing trouble for the Dark Knight, even forcing him to pick between shooting Jason or killing the Joker. In those original comics, Jason is bitter that Bruce didn't go seeking revenge for his sidekick's death. But that's clearly not going to be the case in "Titans" Season 3.

It's obvious in Bruce's absence that Jason's anger is probably going to shift towards Dick Grayson and the Titans. But the "Titans" writers are clearly pushing Red Hood's story in a different direction by having Batman kill the Joker. At least now they don't have to explain why we never see Joker or Batman in-costume in the series!