Breaking News… and Breaking Bones
While I enjoyed the latest Batwoman, Time Off for Good Behavior, a quick warning. I’m gonna be wearing my comic book fan hat a bit more than usual this week. Though I’m a huge fan of the superhero genre, I also have a limited tolerance for inconsistent or sloppy storytelling. That’s a big reason I have a hard time getting into anime, for example. In any case, while there’s a lot of good in the most recent episode, it’s held back from a higher score by several stupid choices.
The episode starts with a reporter on the scene of the latest takedown by Batwoman of a distribution center for Snakebite. After tussling with some masked thugs, Batwoman grabs the mic and calls out Black Mask. Though it’s not a choice the original Batwoman would have made, I like how Ryan is settling into her new heroic persona. Unfortunately, this was immediately followed up by a horrible incident involving Jacob Kane. Just as he gets into his car, he gets blindsided yet again by goons, drugged and knocked out. At this point I’m not sure how the Crows are still serving as any sort of security firm if they can’t even protect their own parking garage. It’s beyond ridiculous at this point. Regardless, we then see a happy reimagining of years ago when Jacob searched for his missing daughter, Beth. I initially though this was Alice making good on her promise to use her imagination to change her reality, but turns out it’s something worse. Jacob wakes up to find a Snakebite dose injected into his arm, which means the happy dream was a result of the powerful drug.
Honestly it’s a really dark episode for Jacob, now a new addict of the street drug. He tries to fight against it, and consults with a Dr. Ryan about how the drug is so effective. She explains it basically lets the mind relive and change past trauma, hence people wanting to keep injecting themselves. The doctor quickly ascertains Jacob is suffering from symptoms himself. She agrees to work with him to try and get past this problem, and first helps with some therapy. Dr. Ryan counsels him to make peace with Mary to get past the loss of both Kate and Beth.
Back in Bat world, the Sheldon Park community center mentioned last time is having an open house. I suppose this means at least a week or two has passed since the previous episode. Ryan and Mary are enjoying the happy moment, and Jordan even introduces Ryan to Amani, who I sense is another potential love interest. It’s all going swimmingly until a reporter from the Gotham Gazette, Horton Spence, asks about security. He’s quickly shouted down, but turns out he was onto something, as the center is suddenly ravaged by a man wielding a laser gun. Before Ryan can go after him, he escapes, leaving tragedy in his wake.
According to Vesper Fairchild, the masked assailant goes by the name Killavolt. After Luke nerds out about the inaccuracy of his name, him and the team do some research. It’s suspicious the attack happened soon after Spence asked about security. They discover that Spence was fired from the Gazette months ago, so Ryan decides to interrogate him. When asked, he reveals he was fired when he had started asking about similar community center attacks. Though seemingly unrelated, he believes otherwise. Right as he shares this, Killavolt attacks again, splitting the beam of his gun to hit both Horton and Batwoman. Though she’s unharmed, Horton, and his laptop full of proof, get badly burned. Ryan manages to slash the assailant, but he gets away again and she’s forced to tend to the wounded reporter. Luckily, Mary’s clinic is still around, so Ryan and her tend to the wounded reporter. Then Luke appraises the super weapon, and gets a solid fingerprint. Oddly, it belongs to a prisoner who is still locked up. More confusing, there’s footage showing him calmly sitting in his cell during both attacks.
Agent Penny Dreadful
Julia gets an odd note that draws her to the Cartwright residence to meet Alice. The crazed criminal proposes a team up to find the hypnotist, Enigma. Alice wants her memories of Kate gone, and figures why not go with a proven quantity? After all, Enigma successfully erased her connection to Ocean. Julia asks why she would help, and Alice says she’ll agree to leave Gotham forever if she does. Later Alice finds a clue for Julia to check, which leads her to none other than Doctor Ryan. When the young Pennyworth confronts her, the doctor, AKA Enigma, surprises her with a hidden cane weapon. She injects it into Julia, knocking her out and proceeding to erase the incident from her memory. When Julia awakes later in the episode, she thinks it’s time to move to Berlin, happily unaware of the whole thing.
The episode also has Ryan talk with Angelique a couple times. She is trying hard to convince her ex to come clean and point the finger at the real people behind the Commissioner’s death. She’s initially unwilling, and even gets seemingly jealous of Ryan’s relationship to Batwoman. The best line is when she asks if Ryan and the Bat have a friends with benefits deal. Which would be really impressive, all things considered. Later on, Ryan finally convinces Angelique to name names. Unfortunately, both the killers are found dead at their own gun range. Turns out, Roman Sionis is cleaning up loose ends. Thankfully, her help leads to her getting an early release.
You’ve Been Holdin’ Out On Me, Fox?
Luke figures out the footage from the jail has been looped and time stamped to make it look genuine. But someone at the Edgewater Correctional is letting out prisoners to demolish community centers. That person is none other than the CEO of both Edgewater and the Gotham Gazette. Ryan as Batwoman goes after him, and gets ambushed by three thugs armed with the Killavolt gun. Though this led to an epic fight scene, it also irritated me. After all of last season was spent finding one weapon capable of killing Batwoman, some random corrupt CEO managed to mass produce a weapon capable of the same thing by accident? It just felt sloppy. They don’t even say how the gun was designed or who built it, which seems kind of important. Regardless, Luke saves the day by using the confiscated gun to take out the three men about to kill Ryan.
Jacob’s story takes a darker turn when Roman Sionis conveniently plops some Snakebite into his lap. He has a flimsy excuse, but his goal is evident. The criminal is trying, and succeeding, at removing the leader of the Crows as a problem. The Commander is tempted, but manages to hold on for a moment. Then he decides to reconnect with Mary, and only succeeds in enraging her. When she pushes him away, Jacob gives in and takes a second does of Snakebite willingly.
Has Batwoman Found Her Lois Lane?
Oh and lest you think Black Mask wasn’t in the episode enough, fret not. He spends some time fuming about how he kept the Snakebite formula a secret and now lost the two people capable of making more, Ocean and Angelique. While I don’t understand why he would keep the formula secret from himself, nor how he manages to procure a steady supply of fear toxin, it leads to an interesting development. After Angelique is released, False Face goons intercept her convoy and kidnap her. Turns out she may be the Walter White of Gotham yet. Overall not a bad episode of Batwoman. I just hope the writers can tighten things up. While the character developments are satisfying, the plotting is very inconsistent. Either way, tune into HPP next time for more Batwoman coverage!
Final Verdict: 3.5/5