We’re well and deep into Batwoman season 2, featuring Ryan Wilder as Batwoman. After a long journey, she’s finally starting to look like her own character, not a subset of a previous one. Meanwhile, the Crows parking garage is the least secure place in Gotham. Spoilers follow for Batwoman Season 2, Episode 10, “Time Off for Good Behavior.”
“Time Off for Good Behavior”
The worldview of the new Batwoman is starting to take shape. No longer content to simply react to Gotham’s criminal element, Ryan Wilder and her tiny team are now working to stop crime before it starts, and the community center they talked about before is now a thing. Which happened really fast.
Even as the community center is having its inaugural gala, though, someone shows up and wrecks it with a gun that fires electricity, calling themselves Killavolt. Don’t tell Cisco.
Meanwhile, Julia Pennyworth is trying to figure out why she’s made calls she doesn’t remember making from places she doesn’t remember being, which brings her together with Alice. Both of them are seeking out Enigma, the hypnotist who previously brainwashed Alice, hiding her memories of Coryana.
Finally, Jacob finds himself with a brand new addiction, leaving us with questions about Crows security.
Attacking all angles
This is one of the more straightforward plots in a CW show in a while. In short, the heroes discover that every time a community center opens in Gotham–a place dearly in need of community centers–it’s attacked almost immediately, sending people fleeing. Investigation and a couple close calls reveal that the CEO in charge of the for-profit prison is bankrolling certain inmates to execute these attacks in secret before paroling them early.
While many superhero plots are necessarily not very realistic, one of the advantages of a Bat-family story is that they can be super grounded. That’s why we’re looking forward to the Long Halloween animated movie, right? It has just about every Batman rogue, but it’s primarily about mobsters and investigation.
What I like about this plotline is that it takes a real-world situation, augments it, and then aims Batwoman at it. For-profit prisons are a real thing, and have a very real moral quandry with them. If this place’s profits are based on keeping cells full, there’s going to be an incentive to put people in those cells for trumped-up reasons. In the real world, that manifests as things like racial profiling and mandatory-minimum sentences.
In Batwoman, things are necessarily simplified, turning it into a conspiracy plotted out by one very jailable person. Even so, I like that Batwoman is addressing the idea that there’s more to crimefighting than jumpkicking guys in weird hats. I enjoy said jumpkicking and have probably since I was eight-years-old, but the additional complexity is fun.
Despite the “A” story being a villain of the week episode, the rest of the story tries to inch forward the season’s overarching plot, as both stories put their characters in the crosshairs of the False Face Society.
For Jacob, that means being attacked in his car and waking up with a Snakebite injector in his arm. The one dose gets him addicted. But this is the second week in a row that a Crows employee has been attacked in their car, in the Crows parking garage. Is there a Bad Guys Only entrance? Are the writers trying to make a statement about police here that I’m not seeing or is it–more likely–lazy writing?
It’s silly, but it also puts Jacob in a tough situation that could be interesting for the character. On the one hand, he’s addicted to a drug that he can only get from the False Face Society. On the other, he’s going to have to eventually deal with the grief he’s experiencing over the fact that only one of his two daughters is left alive, and their relationship is… troubled.
This story also reveals that Jacob knows Roman Sionis personally, as Sionis delivers a dose of Snakebite to him personally, complicating the storyline that’s to come in a potentially interesting way.
That seems healthy
While Jacob is hiding from his pain, Alice seeks to obliterate hers. She’s trying to forget her pain entirely, and runs into Julia Pennyworth who is in the process of trying to figure out why she’s forgetting things. Both are in search of Enigma. I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed the scenes featuring these two characters. Alice and Julia have their own agendas and they aren’t out for the greater good or whatever. The dynamic between them is totally different from just about any other pairing on the show.
Which is why I’m a little worried about what the show does with Julia here. She figures out pretty quickly who Enigma is and confronts her. Julia is, like everyone else in the Crows, a big dumb idiot who confronts a villain known for brainwashing alone in a soundproof room with no backup. Soon, she’s happily transferring to Germany. Is the show dumping Julia? She admittedly doesn’t have that much to do right now, and her primary connection is to Kate, but… Kate is out there, alive, and coming back sometime soon seeing as she’s been cast and all that.
Despite some concerns about the CW-mandated plot holes in the episode, I enjoyed this week’s entry. It fleshes out Batwoman’s philosophy, shows her as an effective crime fighter, and then takes time to develop some of the side characters. That’s a pretty solid pull for the week.