Batgirl’s origin being changed in Titans season 3 is a good move for the series. The HBO Max show has already altered Batman’s story, and the new direction for Batgirl will work well for the overall series. After all, Titans season 3 is nearly half over and the series has still not delivered on any team-focused episodes. Once again, the young Titans are fractured, essentially fighting individual battles. This alone is an unfortunate change from the direction the series seemed to be headed when audiences first caught back up with the Titans in episode 1.
To date, Titans has wasted Under the Red Hood and their Death in the Family adaptations as a result of significant changes to the original source material. These stories were stripped for parts in order to set up Red Hood and Scarecrow as this season’s villains. Fortunately, there is a silver lining: Barbara Gordon. Commissioner Barbara Gordon, played by Savannah Welch, has continued to remain a key player in season 3 — one could even argue her role this season has been larger than those of Gar and Superboy.
All this time spent exploring Barbara’s history has also revealed how drastically different Batgirl’s backstory is for Titans’ version of the character. However, there are still elements of Batgirl’s story that have remained true to the comics. Barbara is still the daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon, and she was paralyzed at the hands of the Joker. There was even a reference to an Oracle software noted to be a “monster” only Barbara is able to access (a nod to her role as Oracle in the comics). Nonetheless, Titans episode 6 revealed big changes to Batigirl’s actual origin and surprisingly, they benefit the series.
Historically, in the comic, Barbara Gordon is a Batman fangirl who decides to put her talents to good use and assume the mantle of Batgirl. She does so out of a need to serve the city and represent an asset to the dynamic duo. Titans, on the other hand, provides a dramatically different origin: episode 6 revealed through flashbacks, an independent Barbara Gordon with no love for the dark knight. Instead, she only has a desire to keep her father on his toes by revealing the city’s weak points. Essentially, she steals millions in jewels and artifacts in Catwoman-like burglaries.
When Dick does offer her a role in the Bat-Family, her initial reaction is a resounding no. In fact, she scoffs at the way Batman and the Boy Wonder play by her father’s rules and explains that sometimes rules must be broken. This self-sufficient and fierce interpretation of Barbara Gordon is exactly the type of change that redeems Titans. Not only do these changes to Batgirl’s origin make her a more compelling character, but it also empowers her. This independence from the Bat-Family also helps explain her resistance to support Dick, now.
It’s this complicated history that makes her character a highlight of the season. Ultimately, Titans is at its best when its comic book changes generate additional conflict between characters and provide insight into a character’s personal journey. In Barbara’s case, these changes further explained her rocky relationship with Batman and introduced additional conflict between her and Dick, especially given her role as Commissioner. This conflict will most likely continue through the season as Dick attempts to access the Oracle system. Without these good changes to Batgirl’s origin Titans season 3 would likely not be as strong as it is.