We’ll See You at the Finish Line
I strongly suspect the writers of the latest episode of Batwoman are fans of street racing. Or at least street racing movies. It begins with 3 souped-up cars racing to deliver chemicals to False Face goons. See, Black Mask needs more chemicals for making more Snakebite, now that he has another cook. The kidnapped Angelique may not want to make dangerous drugs, but the alternative is worse. Black Mask spends a lot of time threatening to melt her if she fails him, and just proves what an unstable rage monster he can be. Unfortunately for his hostage, he’s a devious and dangerously strategic villain as well. But before Angelique can do the cook, more Fear Toxin needs to be procured. Sadly the episode doesn’t explain where that’s stored. As a fan of the comics, I kind of doubt Scarecrow just has it laying around for anybody to find. But regardless, this sets up the stakes of the episode pretty well.
Ryan starts out frantically calling Sophie (now with the nickname Crowphie) about her ex, but Sophie pushes her away. She wants Ryan to let the Crows to do their job, but doesn’t provide any more specifics, other than the fact she believes Angelique is still alive. Obviously we all know she’s alive, but since last Ryan heard from Angelique was when she was kidnapped, I can understand the concern. Long story short, Ryan’s not content to sit around, and decides to look for her ex as Batwoman. She manages to stop one of the street racers and pulls them over, only to find it’s Sophie undercover, complete with really gnarly dreads. The Crow is furious, since her cover is blown now. Black Mask cuts out any driver that doesn’t show up on time, assuming they’re either dead, captured or a cop.
You’re A Monster, Alice; But You’re Rational
This episode also spent a lot of time with crazy pants, AKA Alice. She’s still sitting in Engima’s office when a client comes in and mistakes her for the good doctor. She pretends to be a therapist for a moment, though it’s not her best impression. Luckily the client is too startled and confused by her manner to grow wise, at least until the real Enigma walks in. Alice promptly executes the poor sap, and then tells Engima she wants her to do a job for her. The hypnotist assumes Alice wants to recover her removed memories of Ocean, but Alice isn’t feeling sentimental. No, she wants every vestige of her sister Kate gone. Unfortunately, Enigma tells her doing so would shatter her personality, and likely allow her worst impulses to fully motivate her, with no moral compass whatsoever. Instead, she volunteers to plumb Alice’s mind to help her make the visions go away. Only by doing that first might they be able to erase Kate without totally fracturing Alice’s psyche.
Meanwhile, Jacob is upset with Sophie’s failed undercover op, so he appoints someone new to take her place named Tavaroff. Poor Jacob is obviously still being impacted by his new Snakebite addiction, and is angry and more irrational than ever. Sophie asks what’s happening with him as she protests this course of action, but he angrily blows her off. Sophie’s also concerned about Tavaroff, since he’s apparently a scorched earth operator. So there’s a real chance that if he finds the missing Angelique, she’ll end up as collateral damage. She winds up at the Hold Up nursing her disappointment, and tells Ryan about how Black Mask needs a new driver. Naturally Ryan volunteers, despite the Crow’s misgivings. They’re planning on using Mary’s borrowed car, though Mary is sadly nowhere to be seen in this episode. There’s even some funny scenes where Ryan is pretending to know nothing about driving, mostly to irritate the Crow.
Fast and Furious: Gotham Drift
Then Sophie “introduces” Ryan to Luke, so that he can make her a false identity. I really loved the banter between the two, especially since they’re pretending not to know each other. Which makes sense, since Sophie has no idea that Luke and Ryan work together as part of the Bat team. When Ryan and Luke get a moment, he passes her some tech to help with the op, including an earpiece, tracker and AI to help pilot the car. Apparently it’s a mini version of something he installed in the Batmobile, and it helps with remote driving options, amongst other things. This is to make sure Ryan get vetted as a street racer to help find Angelique. Luke also warns Ryan that working with Sophie is dangerous, and might lead to her finding out Batwoman’s real identity. Ryan brushes him off, and manages to pass the False Face driving test with flying colors.
You’re a Crappy Assassin
Back to Alice falling down the Rabbit Hole, there’s a lot of sessions with her and Enigma. First she sees young Kate, and tells her that she’s a master manipulator, born with a bad brain. Kate counters saying she’s remembering wrong, and that she’s capable of great love. Alice disagrees, and makes the hallucination disappear. Or so she thinks, but then Ocean appears in the vision. Alice is furious, thinking that Enigma is playing games with her. Later she has another deep dive that turns into a romantic hallucination involving Ocean. Suddenly the real Ocean bursts through the door, and holds a gun to Alice’s head. Apparently he’s working with Safiyah again, and came to Gotham on other business. But he couldn’t resist tracking Alice down and asking why she tried to kill him. It’s all very emotionally charged, but Enigma ends the whole incident with a couple whispered words. Suddenly Alice and Ocean are paralyzed on the floor. The bad doctor returned their memories, and suddenly they remember the full extent of their love for each other.
Ryan has a great street racing sequence. Black Mask has a drone flying overhead, so she can’t pull the car over to plant the tracker on the Fear Toxin cannister. Instead, the AI Luke passed her is activated, and Luke takes over to drive remotely. Of course everything goes to hell, and the Crows start shooting at the car while Ryan is planting the tracker. Luke manages to save the day, but not before Mary’s car gets hit by a couple bullets. When Ryan returns to meet with Sophie and Luke later, triumphant, they realize something’s wrong. Sophie isn’t there. She feels responsible about what happened to Angelique, so she goes rogue to find her.
Sophie bursts into a facility run by Black Mask, only for the criminal to get the drop on her. She wakes up shackled and has to listen to his delightfully villainous banter. He mocks her for not coordinating better with Batwoman, saying he thought the Crows would take him seriously after hearing how personal his quest was. He realizes Sophie is totally in the dark, and laughs at her confusion as he draws down on her. Luckily Batwoman bursts in, and there’s a great fight sequence. To my surprise, Black Mask is pretty nimble and capable fighter. He’s on the verge of winning when Sophie gets loose and hits him in the back with a stray Batarang. But instead of victory, the two heroines get outplayed. Black Mask calls up a live feed of Angelique held at gunpoint, telling his goons to kill her if he’s not let loose. Obviously he escapes. My only complaint is that Batwoman and Sophie both passed up a chance to rip his mask off, which might have been helpful.
Black Mask returns to his lair, and asks about the first new batch of Snakebite. He’s moments away from making Angelique the first test subject, but she tells him there’s a chance it’s not stable. That motivates him to anger, and she only stays his hand by saying she can help him find Ocean. Speaking of the bald lover boy, he tells Alice he came to Gotham for one reason – to find Desert Rose. Safiyah suspects that’s how Batwoman is still alive, so he’s looking for the lone plant in Batwoman’s possession. And the new Crow, Tavaroff, is up to no good. He collects a blood sample at the facility where Batwoman fought Black Mask. I suspect it’s gonna show him who Batwoman is, but Sophie beats him to the punch. She looks at the damage to Mary’s car, finding the AI module. Then she plugs it into a laptop and gets irrefutable proof Ryan is Batwoman.
Overall a good episode, and not too many logical problems. My only complaint is that when Batwoman returns in two weeks, it’s at a new time. So even though I’m gonna continue covering this season, my coverage might move to later in the week. Or at least later in the day. Either way, tune into HPP in two weeks for the next Batwoman!
Final Verdict: 4/5