So, this season hit the ground running as we begin this episode with Jason Todd back in Gotham. Not just back in Gotham but back in the Batcave. I was wondering where Jason was heading off to at the end of last season but I’m guessing he just went home to Bruce.

Jason, while in the Batcave tracks the Joker to an abandoned amusement park and calls Bruce to let him know. Bruce tells Jason to wait until he gets back but of course, Jason doesn’t listen. I want to be clear before I proceed, I have not been a big fan of the way that this version of Jason has been depicted. Jason, who is still reeling from his dealings with Deathstroke last season, decides to inhale a weird toxin and head to confront the Joker. Jason has not learnt his lesson from last time about going in without backup and even above that, didn’t even try to be stealthy while navigating through the amusement park. I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised with what happens next: the Joker beats Jason to death with a crowbar. It was pretty gruesome but I have to give it to the writers for not wasting any time with the Jason storyline.

Dick goes back to Gotham to help Bruce deal with Jason’s death only to find Bruce NOT dealing with Jason’s death. Not a big surprise there. Bruce is so busy cleaning the blood off of Robin’s mask he doesn’t even notice Dick enter the house. All I know is that having Dick walk through Wayne Manor as he searched for Bruce was a good idea because it showed us just how neglected this place is. It seems so empty and sad. It is a relic of Bruce’s life. At first, I was wondering where Alfred was but as we eventually found out, Alfred is dead and Bruce buried Jason near him. That makes Bruce’s nonchalance over the death of Jason even more depressing because there is no way he can be fine after all of this and Dick tries to get him to admit that. Bruce is not interested in talking about his feelings, no surprise there, so Dick tries to get help from Barbara Gordon.

Commissioner Gordon is not all that excited to see Dick back in Gotham. When Dick tries to get her to help him get Bruce to open up about Jason, Barbara reminds Dick that Bruce does not deal with this grief. She tells him that Bruce replaced Dick as Robin, swiftly after he left Gotham and is looking to do the same with Jason. Eventually, Dick can convince Barbara to talk to Bruce only it does not go according to plan. While they reminisce about Jason, Barbara becomes angry that Bruce refuses to acknowledge the failings of his parentage both towards Dick and Jason. Dick tries to argue that he and Bruce are fine now but Barbara scolds Bruce for weaponising Dick’s grief and traumatising him. Barbara blames Bruce for Jason’s demise and the longer she spoke the more I think she thinks Bruce is also to blame for her father’s death. Of course, indirectly, but she tells him that Bruce would never kill the Joker because the Joker gives him meaning and Bruce is nothing if he cannot put on the mask. This is something that is a common theme for Bruce and it’s not surprising to have people call him out for it. Bruce still thinks that he can work through his trauma by putting on the mask, he still thinks that the work is worth it but I think he is merely postponing the day he is no longer able to wear the mask and has to deal with all of his demons.

Dick starts looking into the stuff Jason was doing before he was murdered and finds that Jason was formulating a special toxin. Dick is unable to find out what the toxin is or what it was meant to do but as he does that he stumbles across a folder of kids that could only serve as potential replacements for Jason as Robin. The blood is barely dry on Jason’s suit Bruce, that’s just cold. Dick confronts Bruce, who claims the only reason he is doing this is that he can’t do the vigilante thing alone. Dick tells him the obvious thing: Then stop doing it. But Bruce instead tries to get Dick to come back as Robin. It was upsetting to watch this. We usually see a put-together Batman, a Batman that’s still angry and young but this is the first time we are witnessing a live-action Batman who is not beaten down physically but emotionally. We have always known Bruce has used Batman as a crutch but this is the first time we have seen him use the Robins as one too. It’s sad really.

After a long back and forth with Bruce, Dick is woken up by a bloodied Bruce. Bruce seems to imply he beat the Joker to death. Bruce admits that this might have been exactly what the Joker might have wanted and that he has finally won. Honestly, the part was scary, but I have to give it to Brenton Thwaites and Iain Glen were fantastic throughout this episode and that final scene between them was amazing.

Other things that happened this episode: The Titans fighting crime in San Francisco has gained them a certain level of popularity. Gar is dealing with still only being able to turn into a Tiger. Kory is having weird flashes that caused her to sleepwalk or transport herself to the middle of the street in the middle of the night. We also got to see a bit of Tim Drake who seems like your regular Batman fan trying to navigate Gotham at night.

All in all, a good episode. Very heavy emotionally but I love the way the actors each handled it. I was very surprised at how much I could feel the tension leaking out of each of the characters when they had to deal with each other. Solid season opener.

Rating: 7.2/10