The CW's Batwoman goes dark and heavy as we deal with the fallout from last week's episode where Kate (Ruby Rose) accidentally killed Jonathan Cartwright, Alice's (Rachel Skarsten) kidnapper and torturer. We literally open on the two of them, along with Daddy Kane (Dougray Scott) burying Cartwright under an overpass in some forgotten corner of Gotham. But Alice still needs to find Mouse, and enlists Kate's help to find him. It all ends with a break-in to Arkham and heartbreak and betrayal, but that's what you signed up for with this show.
Alice and Kate are great to watch together. Not only is Skarsten very specifically tapped in to her character, but their chemistry is great. There's a bit with a switchblade that is particularly satisfying and has a great payoff near the finale that is just wonderful.
But, of course, the running theme is even if the sisters try to work together, it's often their father who tears them apart or interferes, which prevents them from recovering Mouse peacefully and he and Alice absconding from the city, ne'er to be seen again. Instead, he's locked in Arkham, and the two sisters have to work together to get him out.
The Arkham jailbreak is a lot of fun. It could've been more heist-y, but instead the Kane sisters basically just do a smash and grab, pummeling and knocking out numerous guards with non-lethal acumen
The real breakout of the episode, however, is the secondary storyline which once again pairs Mary (Nicole Kang) as and Luke (Camrus Johnson), who have now become this show's odd couple and I want to see them together every week.
This whole season we've been waiting for them to give Luke something to do and some depth. This episode we finally get both of that. He's obviously torn up by the news that the man he believes murdered his father at a convenience store robbery gone wrong is being set free. But it's great to see Mary there as a sort of His Girl Friday, but also as someone who has gone through real trauma recently and just wants to help. This is why Mary is my favorite: despite her shallow act, she is probably the most good-hearted and idealistic person in all of Gotham.
When Luke goes to confront the man he thinks killed his dad, there's some beautiful moments. He's off-balance, but also floored when he hears that his dad was bragging to everyone in the store about how his son was going to change the world. Unfortunately, before he can really get too much information out of him, he's shot dead by an assassin's bullet. Very obviously, there's more to this story. And I can't wait to hear more.
One tiny complaint is I wish the episode had taken just a tiny second for two black men to talk about the realities of how someone could be railroaded, especially by corrupt cops, and forced into a false confession and serving prison. The show treats it very matter-of-factly like this just happened because there's some grand conspiracy. Luke Fox is too smart for that, and I wish a show as socially conscious as Batwoman would've taken 30 seconds to talk about criminal justice reform.
Speaking of odd couples and the mystery of Lucius Fox's death, Sophie (Meagan Tandy) is working the case from the other side, off the books for her old boss Jacob. Not as vital is what she discovers, but more who she meets: Julia Pennyworth, who we last met much earlier in the season. Julia is great, and this seems to indicate she'll be back for several episodes, at least until they resolve the murder of her godfather, Lucius.
But this show is ultimately centered around the Kane family drama, and so in an unforseen twist, it's Kate who ends up betraying Alice, locking her in with Mouse in his cell in Arkham so she can be locked away there herself. Of course, she's going to vow revenge. The show's central conflict seemed to be running out of steam, but this just blew it up to new levels.
Batwoman is set to return next Sunday, March 29 with "A Narrow Escape," however, this week's episode aired without a preview for next week. Given production delays over coronavirus, might the CW delay airing episodes that are already completed to dole them out slowly over the coming months? We'll let you know if any announcements are made.