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The Ending Of Titans Season 3 Explained

After getting its start on the little used and now defunct DC Universe, "Titans" came to HBO Max for its third season this year. It's a storyline from the comics — the death of Robin — but with a "Titans" original way of telling it.

This season takes the Titans from their home base in San Francisco back to Gotham, the hometown of their leader Dick Grayson, AKA Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites). It opens with a bang: The Joker kills Jason Todd, AKA Robin (Curran Walters), Batman (Iain Glen) kills the Joker and leaves Gotham, and the new threat, Red Hood, comes in to cause chaos. However, Red Hood is actually Jason, brought back to life by his partner in crime, Jonathan Crane, AKA Scarecrow (Vincent Kartheiser).

The finale begins with Gotham in a dark place, ravaged by people hopped up on the anti-fear drug and under a corrupt rule by the GCPD and Scarecrow. Luckily for the city's citizens, the Titans do the superhero thing and save the day. Here's how it all went down.

The Titans defeat and curse Scarecrow

Scarecrow is so obsessed with Batman and their history that he is swiftly defeated once Nightwing, Barbara (Savannah Welch), and the other Titans decide to not do things the Batman way.

Jonathan Crane begins the season going in a different direction from his typical Scarecrow plots by producing an anti-fear drug and peddling with the city's mob bosses, but he reverts back to old habits after hearing a recording of Batman's pity for him. Desperate to prove a point, Crane attempts to enact the same scheme Dick and Batman once foiled: releasing an apparently deadly toxin via a series of bombs throughout the city.

He tries to taunt the Titans with a classic scenario to solve the problem in time to save everyone, using clues hidden in the W. H. Auden poem, "September 1, 1939" — it's about the beginning of World War II and has a thread of fear throughout it — but Dick decides to not play by Crane's murderous whimsy. Instead of trying to defuse each bomb, or clear their immediate area of potential victims like Batman would have done, the Titans go right for Crane's control center to disable his means of detonation.

Gar (Ryan Potter) puts his new shapeshifting ability — ironically, a bat form — to use in infiltrating Wayne Manor. The Titans then wrest control of the computer from Crane and stop his plot, putting him back in Arkham. In the final scene, he teases Dick by saying he'll get back out, but Rachel (Teagan Croft) puts all of Dick and Jason's fears into Crane. It's no secret these comic book Gotham villains are constantly in and out of the asylum, but "Titans" wants to shut that down. Scarecrow won't be back on the streets because now he's plagued with his own (permanent?) cocktail of fears.

Jason finds resolution with Bruce

While Scarecrow is Season 3's overarching villain, this season is all about Jason: It begins with his reckless mission to get the Joker, which results in his death at the clown's hands. Before that, Jason had been struggling to recover from his nearly fatal kidnapping in Season 2, so Bruce told him he can never be Robin again. Jason didn't take it well and turned to Crane for a drug that would rid him of fear. When Crane brought him back to life, he manipulated Jason into becoming the vengeful Red Hood.

From there, Jason goes back and forth between wanting to remake Gotham with Crane or returning to the Titans, but he's afraid that he won't be accepted by Dick because of the crimes he committed. However, when Nightwing is killed he finally sides with the Titans. While Jason accepts that he can never be a Titan again, he acknowledges that he can still do good.

Crucially, when Bruce returns and asks for forgiveness, Jason asks, "When you killed the Joker, did you do that for me?" Bruce admits he did and Jason thanks him for it. This is a huge moment for them, because in other tellings of the Red Hood story, Batman refuses to kill the Joker when Jason asks him. In the animated movie "Under the Red Hood," Batman says that if he allows himself to go into the dark place of killing the Joker, he'll never come back, which only serves to deepen the rift between Jason and Bruce. However, "Titans" takes him to that dark place, and Bruce says he can come back out, which heals some of the pain between the two.

It's unclear where Jason as the Red Hood will go from here, though it seems he's leaving Gotham. Hopefully, he'll go back to therapy.

Everyone goes their separate ways

While half the team goes to stop Crane, the other half works to bring everyone Crane's first bomb killed back to life. Rachel separates the nightmare juice from the Lazarus Pit's restorative water, so that the poor souls don't have to fight through a fear dream. Blackfire (Damaris Lewis), Starfire (Anna Diop), and Superboy (Joshua Orpin) use their respective powers to turn that water into a purple rain storm, with Wonder Girl (Conor Leslie) keeping everyone safe.

They save the day, but then it's time for everyone to go their separate ways. Conner helps recreate Blackfire's spaceship, so she can return to Tamaran and claim her throne. Blackfire ends on good terms with Conner and Starfire, hoping they'll be able to meet again on Tamaran. Dick, Kory, Gar, Rachel, Conner, and new member Tim Drake (Jay Lycurgo) all pile into an RV to road trip back to Titans Tower in San Francisco. Donna decides to go see Dawn in Paris.

Meanwhile, Barbara is bringing Oracle back online, which suggests her time in "Titans" isn't over. In the comics, "Oracle" is Barbara's superhero persona after she stops being Batgirl; she becomes a master hacker, who taps into computer networks, deals in the power of information, and coordinates with other superheroes, including the Bat Family and the Birds of Prey.

Plus, we learn that Vee (Karen Robinson), Barbara's assistant, has actually been working for ARGUS, AKA Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-Humans, this whole time. ARGUS is like Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D., a special support system for the country's superheroes, giving them resources like the satellite the Titans use to hack into Crane's system. Vee wants to work with Donna, so it's possible Wonder Girl will hook up with ARGUS after she visits Dawn.

We'll see more of everyone in the confirmed Season 4.

Titans Season 3 is all about second chances

At the heart of it, "Titans" Season 3 is all about second chances. Several characters get a very literal one, as they're brought back from the dead. There's Donna, who dies abruptly at the end of Season 2, but finds Tim and Hank in the afterlife and makes her way back to the living to be the leader she was meant to be. Plus, Blackfire starts as an enemy to her sister, but is given a second chance via joining the Titans, which heals their relationship and sets her on a better path.

Dick fails several times over the season, from his tendency to take things on his own, but then he dies and comes back to life. He gathers the Titans, and with them all working together, they finally get a win. Bruce, meanwhile, didn't think he could come back from killing the Joker, so he tried to take his own life, but was saved by Wonder Girl. Jason, after hurting people as Red Hood, is afraid neither Dick nor Bruce will give him a second chance. However, because they have both gone through their own darkness and come back from it, they give him another chance to prove himself.

While fear is an obstacle for them all, that second chance to overcome it is crucial. "Titans" says people deserve to be able to fail and try again, but fail to make good use of round two and you'll end up being force fed other peoples' nightmares. That's Gotham for you.