Batwoman 1×18 Review – Face/Off 2

Batwoman 1x18 - Batwoman and Mary Hamilton
Batwoman -- "If You Believe In Me, I'll Believe In You" -- Image Number: BWN118B_0632b -- Pictured (L - R): Ruby Rose as Batwoman and Nicole Kang as Mary Hamilton -- Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Early into Batwoman‘s run, we met a wealthy megalomaniac named Tommy Elliot. Elliot, obsessed with the missing (presumed dead until they want to make a show) Bruce Wayne, was clearly off the deep end from the moment we met him. After a plot to kill Batwoman failed, Elliot tried to kill an elevator full of people and instead earned himself a place in Arkham Asylum. We haven’t heard from him–until now. Spoilers follow for Batwoman Season 1, Episode 18, “If You Believe In Me, I’ll Believe In You.”

“If You Believe In Me, I’ll Believe In You”

Things kick off with something this season has been sorely lacking: killer Bat fights. Batwoman is supposed to be a newbie, but she’s also supposed to be one with lots and lots of training. Mostly, we see her getting her ass kicked because the plot demands that she have to struggle for her victories to matter. And I get that. But there’s a point at which you have to just show her succeeding. Here, Batwoman takes on human traffickers and hands them their asses readily, starting with a classic “grappling hook from behind into fog” move.

One great moment here has one of the goons grabbing Batwoman’s wig. It turns into a discussion point; it’s iconic and helps distract from her face–if only she hadn’t let a clear photo of herself end up on a magazine cover. But it’s also an obvious grapple point for any smart fighter.

Mary–who revealed last week that she knows Kate is Batwoman–wants to celebrate with her friends and join the Batsquad, and suggests that Kate electrify the wig, turning a liability into an asset. Both Luke and Kate are against both ideas, wanting to protect the sweet innocent sister who also happens to run a back-alley clinic.

But Kate and Luke shift their focus quickly to something more urgent: Lucius Fox’s missing journal. They learned last week that Tommy Elliot paid to have it stolen, giving them a lead to follow. Kate goes to see Tommy in Arkham, setting off a whole bunch of dominoes.

A Kingdom inside Arkham

Inside Arkham, Alice brings Tommy into her circle in hopes of getting Fox’s journal for herself simply because she knows Kate wants it. Alice offers Tommy something in exchange for the journal, though. A new face and his freedom. If you know Batman very well at all, you know what a guy named Tommy Elliot getting a new face means. Hush, though, we’ll talk about it a bit later. Oh, and Tommy tells Alice about his beloved Brucey’s night-time gig, too.

It’s easy to lose track of who is planning what here, but Team Bat gets a lead on the location of the journal thanks to Tommy, and it ends up with Kate and Julia Pennyworth going clubbing. There’s an awkward scene of Kate dropping a beat that could’ve been funnier with better timing, but instead left me feeling a bit flat. Kate pushes back against the idea of Mary taking part in the mission.

Old Flames

In the club, Kate runs into the blonde woman she happened to meet last time she ran into Tommy: Reagan. Kate flirts with her but manages to stay on task and is soon suited up while Julia cuts the lights at the club.

Back at Arkham, Alice has stripped off Tommy’s face which, again, I don’t think that’s how face transplants work outside of John Woo movies, but okay. She starts wrapping his face in white bandages, while a trenchcoat with a thick fuzzy collar hangs on a rack in the foreground.

Kate ends up caught in a trap, though, because everyone and their mother knew Batwoman was going to show up. Julia gets into trouble, too. Mary leans on Luke to let her help. She’s a well-connected socialite with the kind of blackmail material only a back-alley doctor would have. Luke relents, and Mary shows up at the club while “Dance Monkey,” the song no one can truly escape, blares.

Batdamsel in Distress

Mary talks her way into the mobster’s inner sanctum, where he’s planning to auction off all of Batwoman’s gear… and Batwoman herself, whom he wheels out in chains. Props to the mobster–Batwoman is well contained.

Meanwhile, one of the mobster’s goons interrogates Julia and we find out that she hasn’t been with the British secret service organization she keeps mentioning because she burned her bridges with them six months ago. Got you, Julia. I knew you were playing poor Kate and Sophie!

While all this is going on, Jacob visits Alice in Arkham, where she vows in no uncertain terms that she’ll see him subjected to the same betrayal and torture that he forced her into. Because killing his wife wasn’t enough misery? Jacob says he has to protect “the daughters I have left.” Oof, that cuts deep, Jake.

Okay, who doesn’t know? That’s the shorter list.

Alice seems to be gaining more and more power within Arkham, though, and she’s able to arrange Magpie’s release, sending the master catburglar after the journal. At the same time, Mary gets made by the mobsters and has Luke set off the trapped briefcase she’d brought with by shouting “Luke, Now!” into her earpiece. So now, a room full of mobsters technically know that this very famous woman–who announces in no uncertain terms that she’s the daughter of the late Catherine Hamilton–is a friend of Batwoman and knows someone named Luke, who also knows Batwoman. He really needs a codename, y’all, because there’s enough dots for a toddler to connect them in just this room.

We get a second Bat fight in one episode as Mary frees her step-sister and lets her get to kicking ass. Like the first, it’s a solid, satisfying fight scene. Batwoman manages to stop Magpie and grab the book in a slick scene that has her diving off a rooftop and grappling back up. Afterward Kate apologizes to Mary for underestimating her and welcomes her into the Bat-Family.

Don’t you have, like, a hotel safe or something?

Then, Kate meets up and goes home with Reagan. Kate and Reagan get so hot and heavy that her backpack, with Lucius journal, falls on the floor, foreshadowing that Reagan’s about to steal the book.

Indeed, Kate wakes up to a distinct lack of Reagan and of the secret journal. Reagan, it turns out, was working for Magpie against her will, redeeming herself for us viewers by saying she gave up a good potential girlfriend to steal the journal.

Luke takes Mary to the Batcave for the first time. Remember how Oliver thought he was the very first super-vigilante? Well, it seems Batman one-upped him again. Not only was he the first vigilante, he was the first to build an underground bunker with bright lights that light up in sequence after you flip an oversized electric switch. Got you, Oliver.

Mary immediately tries to take a selfie in the Batcave, only for Luke to tell her how important the secret is, like that time that Bruce–oh, he spills that one, too. Holy crap. These people are terrible at keeping secrets. Like, really, really bad.

You know who wasn’t bad at keeping secrets, though? Lucius Fox. I’d been wondering why Lucius would carry a journal full of WayneTech secrets on him, and we find out as Mouse tries to read it that it’s heavily encoded in a symbolic language. It also doesn’t feature any diagrams, so I’m wondering how many technological secrets it can really contain.

Don’t say a word

Next week promises to unleash Hush on the world of Gotham, and so far it seems like a pretty good rendition of the comic-book costume. The character is sure to vary from his comic-book counterpart in some pretty significant ways, but his obsession with Bruce runs deep. While it’s possible we could see him take on other faces, I imagine he’ll probably stick to the bandage mask. The one face he can’t take on is that of Bruce Wayne. The second we see Bruce, that means Batman has been cast in the Arrowverse. I feel safe saying that’ll never happen. With that said, I really enjoyed Gabriel Mann as Tommy this week, and I have a feeling his voice is going to be perfect for Hush.

I enjoyed this episode. It moved a lot of pieces around, but made good on a lot of promises. Mary is on Team Bat. Julia is finally revealed (at least to us, the audience). Tommy is becoming Hush. Alice is proving dangerous even behind bars. We got multiple good fight scenes.

Batwoman has struggled at times this season, but I’m calling this week a win.