Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Titans season 3, episode 6, “Lady Vic.”
One moment in the Titans season 3 episode “Lady Vic” seems to copy a famous scene between Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) in The Dark Knight, while completely missing the point of the scene in Christopher Nolan’s film. The scene also revealed that Oracle is drastically different in the world of Titans, being some kind of computer program or artificial intelligence, rather than Barbara Gordon’s alias as a white-hat hacker.
The main story of Titans season 3 has seen a rising tension between Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) and Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch), who were revealed to have dated at one time before Gordon followed in her father’s footsteps to become the Police Commissioner of Gotham City and Dick Grayson became the vigilante Nightwing. Gordon reluctantly worked with Nightwing and the other Titans to deal with a new crime boss called the Red Hood, but removed her support of the team after Nightwing enacted his own plan to lure the Red Hood out of hiding by breaking the Scarecrow (Vincent Kartheiser) out of prison. With both supervillains on the loose in Titans season 3, episode 6, “Lady Vic,” Nightwing suggested using something called Oracle to track them down. Precisely what Oracle was went unexplained, beyond it having the ability to tap into Gotham City’s phone network and recognize individual voices and only Barbara Gordon having access to it. Whatever Oracle was, Barbara Gordon refused to revisit “that monster.“
This scene was reminiscent of one of the most famous scenes in The Dark Knight, where Batman asked Wayne Enterprises CEO Lucius Fox to help him track the Joker (Heath Ledger) by using a sonar-based computer system that could scan the whole of Gotham City’s phone network for the Joker’s voice and give them eyes over the entire city. Fox reluctantly agreed to assist Batman, after learning that he was the only person who could access the network, but he also said this should be taken as his resignation and that “as long as this machine is at Wayne Enterprises, I won’t be.” Batman agreed to those terms, saying he had already programmed the computer to self-destruct if Fox typed his name into it, which he did during the ending montage of The Dark Knight.
While this is hardly the first time a television show has drawn inspiration from a movie, the way in which Titans adapts this scene is haphazard and lacks the emotional nuance of The Dark Knight. The conflict between the values of freedom and security was a reoccurring theme in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies and the scene between Batman and Lucius Fox laid out all of the characters’ moral and philosophical reasons for creating such a network or opposing the very idea of its existence. By contrast, the scene in Titans completely ignores the reasons for not utilizing Oracle beyond Barbara Gordon not wanting to and doesn’t even bother to explain just what Oracle is.
This is not the first time that Titans season 3 has lifted a scene from The Dark Knight. A scene in which Nightwing interrogated a suspect in the Titans season 3 episode “Red Hood” clearly copied the interrogation of the Joker in The Dark Knight. The same episode also showed the CCPD being tricked into calling a phone number that activated a subdermal drug delivery system that had been implanted into a suspect, in what was a clear reference to the phone bomb that the Joker sewed into one of his minions in The Dark Knight.