Batwoman 2×11 Review – The Bats and the Furious

Batwoman -- “Arrive Alive” -- Image Number: BWN211fg_0047r -- Pictured (L-R): Javicia Leslie as Batwoman -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It’s important to remember while watching CW superhero shows that technology is magic. It doesn’t obey any reasonable standards of functionality, and it always happens on a tablet that the person can type on with one hand. Even so, it’s hard not to get frustrated sometimes at how these shows will use technobabble to deliver drama. Spoilers follow for Batwoman Season 2, Episode 11, “Arrive Alive.”

“Arrive Alive”

This week’s episode is sort of a Fast & Furious homage filtered through the lens of a CW superhero show. I try really hard not to get caught up in plot holes, but sometimes it’s hard not to.

Batwoman is tracking the False Face Society after they kidnapped her ex-girlfriend Angelique when she was going into Witness Protection. The kidnappers stopped the car with neon-colored sports cars and snatched Angelique. So now Batwoman is on the lookout for street racers. The first one she stops turns out to be Crows officer Sophie Moore who was undercover, blowing her cover in the process.

That’s not how any of this works

Instead, Ryan, as herself, volunteers to do the driving. The other characters make it clear that Ryan isn’t a great driver, and it’s here where the stupid stuff starts. Luke gives Ryan a device to plug into the OBD-II port of her car that apparently contains an AI that he wrote to help Ryan drive the Batmobile better.

This is all so that they can do a scene where she’s climbing into the back of the car to plant a tracker on something. And then, once the driving sequence is done, Ryan leaves the AI device in the car. Sophie finds it, plugs it into her computer, and there’s an MP3 recording of Luke and Ryan talking about Ryan’s batsuit from earlier in the episode.

This whole sequence really just serves to make everyone look dumb. Ryan can’t drive and can’t remember to take out a single piece of tech when she leaves. Luke insults her and doesn’t remember to check on his portable driving AI, which is a technological miracle, but also which a Crow can “hack” by plugging in. Luke warns Ryan that Sophie is smart and will figure out who she is, but then instead, she stumbles through dumb luck across this device which, again, for some reason, has audio logs of the two people talking. Why are there audio logs of the people talking?

Just tell everyone

This whole storyline is there to, first, have Sophie stumble across Batwoman’s identity and then second, to have new character Agent Tavaroff immediately discover Batwoman’s identity by taking a sample of a puddle of blood she spit up fighting Black Mask. Again, this character’s secret identity is Her Whole Thing, and she’s just leaving a puddle of blood at a place she knows Crows are going to show up to. And the Batsuit belt doesn’t have something to destroy DNA?

While all this idiocy is happening, Alice has cornered Enigma and has Enigma helping her erase memories of Kate. Enigma rightfully notes that you can’t just erase a person who played a significant role in your life from your memories without causing major problems. Also, who walks into the office of a known hypnotist and trusts them to hypnotize them the way they want? Alice is too smart for this. At least this plotline resonates a little; Alice’s hurt runs right to the bone, and it’s believable that she’s at the point where she’ll do anything to stop hurting, but again, she’s supposed to be smart.

And then Ocean shows up, because why not, to explain away a bunch more plot holes. Literally, that’s why he shows up. Alice burned all the desert roses on Coryana, because Safiyah for some reason had them all in one field (the show literally showed that she did not), and didn’t keep backup seeds because she never thought it would be necessary (this is supposed to be a fiercely intelligent, formidable foe), and that they think Batwoman has the last one. None of this feels planned. It feels off the cuff, like the writers are just writing it as they go and not plotting it out.

I’m not a professional TV writer, so I don’t know what kind of stress they’re under. It’s probably not enviable. But it doesn’t change how frustrating all of this.

After School Special

It doesn’t even bring up the “acting” Dougray Scott is doing as Snakebite-addicted Jacob Kane. He’s just playing the character like a slightly cocky, mean drunk. If he had a drinking problem, that would be one thing, but this is a drug that makes you feel better by fixing bad memories. He’s not sipping at a flask while people aren’t looking or just blazing up with a fat bowl in his office. He should be showing frustration with the real world, acting like things don’t have to be the way they are. Snakebite isn’t an “acting drug” so much as it is a “story drug.” Jacob has to change say and do things that represent the way the drug is making him feel.

I don’t want to get wrapped up in plotholes and details like that, but that means that the show has to give me interesting characters doing interesting things. Instead, it’s a bunch of dummies making dumb mistakes, so those gaps stick out, and it’s incredibly frustrating.