As Batwoman/Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) focuses on a series of crimes being committed by people with a strong alibi of being in prison, she's distracted by trying to get her ex, Angelique, (Bevin Bru) out of jail. Meanwhile, the False Face Society continues ramping up its criminality in Gotham. In its biggest plays this week, they take a shot to sideline Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) by exposing him to Snakebite, attempting to addict him in the process.
The main storyline is engaging and treads through territory that Batwoman is comfortable with, specifically around the prison-industrial complex. Minor spoilers (implied by the episode title): crimes keep being committed around Gotham, but the alibis for the suspects are airtight. They are locked up tight in prison, and then magically are granted time off for good behavior after their crimes benefit the CEO of the private prison.
Specifically? They're blowing up social services which benefit the poor of Gotham. Well, who would want to do that? The CEO of a private prison, of course! Knowing that social services help poor people and prevent them from turning to crime would bad for his bottom line, see? While taking a social ill (private prisons) to comic book villainy levels, the critique hits pretty well and generally helps explain why Gotham is such a mess. There is not another show willing to take on these issues and it's nice to see them explored.
But the real meat of this episode is in exploring its characters. When the False Face Society injects Jacob Kane with Snakebite, it's instructive to see what he hallucinates: being the heroic father that saved his daughter Beth. And so when Black Mask's billionaire alter ego Roman Sionis (Peter Outerbridge) shows up at Crows HQ with another shot, almost twirling his mustache, it's a really fun play at this villain.
We also get some exploration of Jacob's relationship with Mary, who continues to be the show's moral compass. Playing to the themes of the episode of actually providing direct services to Gotham's marginalized, Mary confronts her dad that her clinic, while underground and technically illegal, does a lot more good than a legitimate clinic that requires insurance and documents ever could. Again, the show wears its social conscience on its sleeve and I'm here for it.
We also get a fun matchup as Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and Julia (Christina Wolfe) both find themselves investigating the same person, and some all-too-convenient memory loss. It's a mini oil-and-water 48 Hours team-up type vibe that unfortunately lasts all too briefly. But this seems to be the new mode for Alice and teaming her up with her more law-abiding cohorts while their interests momentarily align. Mostly it's just fun to watch Skarsten and the other actors play off each other. This episode is no exception.
Batwoman returns April 18, with "Arrive Alive," an episode focused around street racing, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel: Sundays at 8/7 on the CW.
Batwoman Season 2, Episode 11 "Arrive Alive": FAST AND FURIOUS – With Batwoman (Javicia Leslie) and The Crows each hot on the trail of the False Face Society, their efforts collide, and tension escalates. Alice (Rachel Skarsten) seeks out Enigma (guest star Laura Mennell), and Sophie (Meagan Tandy) and Ryan find some common ground. Also starring Dougray Scott, Nicole Kang and Camrus Johnson. Mairzee Almas directed the episode written by Daniel Thomsen and Daphne Miles.