Review: DC’s Titans Finally Explains How Jason Todd Became Red Hood

Season 3 of DC’s Titans started out with the brutal death of Jason Todd, and then quickly gave fans his resurrection as Gotham’s newest villain, Red Hood. But how he made that transition remained a mystery to viewers, until now. Episode 5 is completely dedicated to Jason’s transformation, and it was well worth the wait.

DC’s Titans Finally Explains How Jason Todd Became Red Hood

The episode picks up where episode four left off, and features a quick conversation between Red Hood and Scarecrow. This leads into a flashback to 3 months earlier. Jason is suffering from realistic nightmares that are so bad, Bruce has benched him as robin until he goes to see a psychiatrist. He hooks him up with his good friend, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, and tells him once she clears him, he can don the cape again.

Eve Harlow | Courtesy of Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max

Of course, Jason is not thrilled about this, but what choice does he have. He agrees and then heads into the city to meet with his friend Molly, who tells him about one of Joker’s men who are recruiting young homeless kids, specifically a Diego Martinez. Jason is not known for his cool-headedness, and he immediately confronts the man once they find him.

Unfortunately for Jason, he is still dealing with some serious PTSD from the occurrences of San Francisco and how the Titans treated him, and he is completely off his game. He is beaten up pretty badly, without even getting one punch in himself.

During his first session with Dr. Thompkins, he is the Jason fans all know – sarcastic and full of attitude. He knows that he has to be there, but that doesn’t mean he has to take it seriously. He notices a photo of Dr. Jonathan Crane, AKA Scarecrow, and asks Dr. Thompkins about him. She says that he was not the Scarecrow when she knew him, but he did always study fear. He even used his fear gas on her once, and she thanks Bruce for saving her because she doesn’t know where she would be if he didn’t. She describes it as a living Hell.


iain glen curran walters 1
(L-R) Ian Glen and Curran Walters | Courtesy of Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max

Back at Wayne Manor, Jason looks through Batman’s trophies, especially the Scarecrow-related ones. He finds a vial of the fear gas before Bruce sneaks up on him, and tells him how proud of him he is. He goes so far as to call him Son, which means a lot to Jason. Curran Walters’ face in that moment does such a great job of capturing his excitement that he was called son, but also that he is trying to hide it. This episode really is all about Jason, and Curran does a fantastic job carrying it on his shoulders.

After another session with Dr. Thompkins, she explains to Jason that she will tell Bruce whatever he wants her to, but that she thinks he doesn’t need Robin. She says he will be just fine without it, but Jason feels otherwise. He thinks he is nothing with Robin, saying Jason eats food out of dumpsters, Robin is a hero.

Bruce asks Jason to go for a drive with him, and takes him to where his parents were murdered. He explains that Gotham is evil, and tries to suck everything out of everyone. He doesn’t want to lose Jason the way he has others, and he says he has made a decision – Jason can no longer be Robin. Jason is furious, saying that Bruce just thinks he is not good enough, and that he is too messed up. He also assumes that Dr. Thompkins talked to him, even though she didn’t. This is the beginning of the end for Jason, as he storms off in to the Gotham night.

What happens next is something most fans probably assumed when Scarecrow was introduced – he goes to see him. Fans of the comic books will know that Dr. Jonathan Crane is a mastermind when it comes to chemicals, so seeing Jason inhale a chemical back in the first episode of DC’s Titans Season 3 was a good indication they were working together somehow.

Jason tells Scarerow that he is sick of feeling scared, and asks if the fear gas can be reverse-engineered. Scarecrow admits that in theory, it could be, and he would be happy to help him – in exchange for all the information about Batman that Jason knows, and a break out of Arkham.

Curran Walters | Courtesy of Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max

What fans get next is a really cool montage with some great music featuring Jason renting that warehouse and working on the reverse fear gas. He tries, and fails, several times, but is in such a low place that he doesn’t mind inhaling whatever chemical he comes up with to see if it helps. Once he gets the right combination, he goes back to Scarecrow, who tells him to test it out on the Joker.

We then get the beginning of the season again, and see Jason go to confront the Joker and be brutally murdered by him. This time, however, we also see what happened afterward. Jason’s body is brought to a small Lazarus pit and he is brought back to life. When he wakes, Scarecrow is there, and catches him up on everything that happened. He even mentions that Ra's al Ghul left something mystical behind even Bruce did not know about. This is obviously a nod to the fact that it is him who brings Jason back in the comic books. A great way to reward the fans, slip in another villain name, but stay true to this new version of the story.

There is another montage where fans get to see Jason train to become the Red Hood. He suits up with his guns, new outfit, and helmet, ready to take on Gotham and embrace being a villain. All he wants is revenge against those he feels wronged him – specifically Dick and Bruce, as well as all the Titians.

His first act as Red Hood is to track down the man who recruited Diego Martinez to the Joker’s goons. In a fight scene through strobe lights, he ends up shooting the man right in the face and killing him. Saying he will go tell all the Gotham crime gangs exactly who he is – Red Hood.

This is a great reveal for him, even though it is technically a second reveal since it is a flashback. This character is done extremely well, largely in part due to Curran’s performance. Episode 5 helps explain how someone like Jason could become the Red Hood, and it is done in an extremely believable way. You can’t help but feel bad for him because of everything he has been through, and kind of understand how he ended up here.

Now that fans have finally gotten what they have been waiting for, Jason’s transition from Robin to Red Hood, there is a lot to look forward to this season. Both Scarecrow and Red Hood are on the loose in Gotham, and they are ready to take it over.

Season 3, Episode 5


Titans Finally Explains How Jason Todd Became Red Hood


Tessa Smith owns and is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic and a huge geek. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics associations including the Critics Choice Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association. She grew up watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books -- and still loves all of those things. She proudly lets her geek flag fly and spreads the word that there is nothing wrong with being a geek.