When shows rip stories from the headlines, it’s usually an easy recipe for an eyeroller of an episode. Sometimes, though, the story is so elemental and emotional that you can’t help but get wrapped up in it. Spoilers follow for Batwoman Season 2, Episode 15, “Armed and Dangerous.”
“Armed and Dangerous”
Last week presented us with a heartbreakingly realistic situation, with all the worst-case scenario boxes ticked. Russel Tavaroff, a member of the Crows, shot an innocent Black man who was trying to stop a crime and then let the actual criminal get away.
This week picks things right up from there and makes for one of the season’s better episodes. It’s frantic and emotional as we see into Luke’s dying mind and watch Team Bat race to save their friend.
A race against time
There’s little mystery here; the characters know their roles and have most of the pieces of the puzzle in place every early on. Instead, it’s a race against time. While Luke is comatose, Jacob launches an internal investigation that quickly goes sour as it becomes clear that the other members of the Crows aren’t interested in seeing Tavaroff investigated. Shortly after, a doctored video is released that depicts Luke holding and dropping a gun. It seems like the cast just filmed two takes for this, but I’d love to find out that they actually went and messed with the actual footage of him holding his phone.
It’s not hard to empathize with this–the idea of being not only shot for trying to help, but to then be framed for entirely separate crimes, ruining your life, to protect corrupt cops. This was the first of many events that had me seething throughout the episode. As frustrated as I’ve been with this show throughout its run, these are characters I’ve come to care about, put in a situation that’s way too easy to imagine.
The other members of the good guys don’t have much more luck to start. Mary tries to deliver a dose of the Desert Rose cure to Luke, but Crows standing guard outside his room are smugly sending away anyone who approaches to visit. Ryan suits up and tracks down Tavaroff. While they’re well-matched in combat, the rotten cop had one of his cronies nearby show up to send her flying with their front bumper.
While that’s all happening, Luke is lost in a fever dream. He’s in the Wayne office, and he sees his father, shrouded in light bloom, standing at the window. Much closer is Bruce Wayne, once again played by Warren Christie, with Wayne acting as Luke’s consciousness, helping him think through where he is and why he’s there.
Batwoman tries to retrieve the undoctored footage of Luke’s shooting, and Sophie approaches Jacob about taking meaningful measures. Jacob decides to suspend Tavaroff–who responds by clocking him and working with other corrupt cops to construct an overdose story for him. Batwoman gives up her hope of finding the footage to save Jacob, which makes for a deeply satisfying fight scene in which Batwoman takes her share of hits but takes down a whole room of Crows, even managing to put a knife through one’s hand.
Mary calls in the acrobatic art thief Wolf Spider, who Batwoman encountered earlier this year when tracking down the Jack Napier painting. Wolf Spider gives Luke the Desert Rose dose. This scene is shot well, giving Wolf Spider ample chance to show off his skills, calling to mind characters like Catwoman and Spider-Man for very favorable comparisons.
Finally, having seen the true colors of his team, Jacob disbands the Crows. Luke begins to wake up despite trying to choose to see his father again.
Throughout this, Tavaroff seems almost invincible not because of a power but because of the system of corrupt and thoughtless people surrounding him. He’s definitely not gone, either–he’s just unemployed and has a vendetta, which will allow him to take on his comic-book persona of Menace, more than likely, just as him shooting Luke allowed him to step down the road to becoming Batwing.
Two in a row
There are lots of decisions in here I enjoyed. The Wolf Spider scenes, with Mary distracting the guards, were deeply enjoyable, as was the fight with the Crows. It was also great to see Batwoman bring back Warren Christie as Bruce Wayne, since Ruby Rose’s departure seems to have cut the Thomas Elliot/Bruce Wayne storyline short. And finally, it was great to see Jacob finally move toward doing some real good. In the comics, he’s supportive of Batwoman’s actions and helps her get equipped to fight crime in the first place. This week is the first time he truly acknowledges that Batwoman can do good, and it feels like a huge character moment for him.
The show ends with Alice recruiting Jacob to help her get Kate back, giving both characters a quest moving forward.
A lot of this is genuinely excited. Batwoman has to prove itself moving forward, but we’re on a run of a couple satisfying episodes, and that seems like a good sign.