Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 7 of Titans Season 3 on HBO Max, called "51%."
Titans amped up the action in "51%" by finally facing the team of heroes off against Scarecrow's army of goons as he tried to mass-produce enough of the drug to flood Gotham City. The good guys were successful, although Scarecrow did manage to escape with Jason Todd in tow, and it was all thanks to Dick and Barbara finally joining forces to track down the bad guys that it even happened. They had to use Oracle in the process, but Titans Oracle isn't the Oracle that many DC fans would think of when they hear that name... so far, anyway.
Any fans of DC Comics, animated series Young Justice, The WB's short-lived Birds of Prey, or even Arrow back in the day of Felicity recovering from an accident had every reason to expect that the first mention of "Oracle" in Titans referred to Barbara Gordon's superhero tech genius alter ego. Instead, Titans went in a wildly different direction, and "51%" seemingly closed the Oracle story almost as soon as it started. But that doesn't mean that Babs going full Oracle is impossible, and let's break down why.
How Titans Handled Oracle
"Oracle" was originally name-dropped in the previous episode in a way that indicated more of a computer system than an alter ego for Barbara, and "51%" confirmed that Titans was really going in an unconventional direction. When the Bat Computer wasn't able to locate the heat signature of Scarecrow's device, Dick decided only the Oracle computer would be able to dig a little deeper, since Bruce couldn't stop Scarecrow the last time without Oracle. Barbara dropped the exposition of why she wants Oracle to be out of the question:
Barbara had promised herself that she wouldn't use Oracle again, but held onto it just in case the day came when things would get so bad that they would run out of all other options. And that day came in "51%." Dick and Babs did manage to find Scarecrow with Oracle, which really seemed to be the Titans version of Iron Man's JARVIS, but Dick ended up walking into a trap thanks to Scarecrow managing to hack the system with the photo that Lady Vic snapped of Barbara. After Dick almost died and Barbara found out that Scarecrow was in Oracle, she destroyed the computer.
So, in the same episode that Oracle made its first appearance, Oracle was destroyed. Dick wasn't thrilled about it, but he also apparently doesn't have a way to build the computer again. If Titans just moves on, then it's safe to say that the HBO Max show more or less used the "Oracle" name for a technology that is more like DC Comics' Brother Eye, or OMAC, rather than introducing Barbara Gordon's post-Batgirl superhero persona. That could be a big "if," though!
Honestly, if not for how big of a character Oracle has been in DC Comics and even other adaptations over the years, that wouldn't be so bad, but I for one would be disappointed if Barbara never goes full Oracle on Titans. Fortunately, I don't think there's any need to despair about it just yet. First, though, let's take a look at Oracle's significance in DC and why Titans really shouldn't be finished with the story when it could become so much richer.
What Happened In The Comics
Barbara Gordon's origin as Oracle is a tale as old as time in DC Comics... or at least as old as when The Killing Joke was published in 1988 and featured The Joker shooting Babs and leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. That controversial graphic novel (which was later adapted into an equally controversial movie) was originally not intended to be canon to the larger DC universe, but it was ultimately brought into canon, and Barbara reentered the superhero fight in a new way: as computer expert, information broker, and even leader of her own team of superheroes with the Birds of Prey.
Barbara was a key member of the superhero community as Oracle, not only for her work with the Birds of Prey but also in frequent assists to other heroes, particularly in the Bat Family. And particularly Dick Grayson as Nightwing, for a memorable run starting in the late 1990s, before and after their relationship turned romantic. Oracle became a popular character, and one who demonstrated that heroics can come from sources that the bad guys would never anticipate, even in a universe packed with superpowers.
The evolution of Oracle also proved that Barbara's story was far from over just because The Killing Joke left her paralyzed from the waist down in a story that was far more about Batman, The Joker, and her father than it was actually about her. And even though Titans' Oracle couldn't be much more different as of the end of this episode, that could easily change, and the pieces may already be in place for Babs to take on a new secret identity.
Why Barbara Can Still Become Oracle In Titans
Barbara has gotten more comfortable with fighting for justice outside of the law ever since the Titans came to town and she warmed back up to Dick, and it's clear that there are some things that can't be accomplished in Gotham City even with her position of power as GCPD commissioner. Her reluctance to use the Oracle computer also indicates that she's not comfortable trusting artificial intelligence with too much power, despite the fact that Oracle was an incredibly useful (if dangerous) tool when not being commandeered by Scarecrow.
So it's not hard to imagine Barbara coming to the conclusion that Gotham City still needs a digital presence like what the Oracle computer could provide, but still not being entirely willing to trust in artificial intelligence again after Scarecrow was so easily able to spring a trap in "51%." And that could easily lead to Barbara becoming Oracle 2.0, to put a human behind the technology who just so happens to be similar to Oracle 1.0 from DC Comics. Plus, even if Titans isn't exactly known for the tightness of its writing, introducing and then destroying Oracle in the span of one hour seems like a big waste unless that story isn't actually finished yet.
Barbara destroyed Oracle, but she could rebuild the technology and become the new Oracle. I'm not sure whether or not Titans would have to feature Barbara leaving her job to go Oracle full-time or just moonlight in the role, though. It would also be a way for Titans to keep Savannah Welch on board as Barbara Gordon, assuming the action eventually leaves Gotham City. She could still recur or maybe even contribute as a series regular as the eye in the sky from afar. As a Babs fan, I would certainly take that over Titans leaving her behind completely if and when Dick and Co. move on! (Or a Bat spinoff. I'd take that too!)
That said, there are still a lot of other stories that need to be explored and wrapped before the end of Season 3. Rachel and Donna haven't even turned up yet in the third season, and Scarecrow is on the run with Jason. Gar just connected with Jason's friend Molly, so the Gotham story evidently isn't over yet, and it's hard to gauge where the show is going with Kory and her sister. Find out with new episodes of Titans releasing on Thursdays at 12:01 a.m. PT on HBO Max. For better or worse, Season 3 has passed the halfway mark of its 13-episode count, so be sure not to miss whatever happens next.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).