Batwoman Season 3 is covering a lot of ground already, but doing so at a breakneck pace that threatens to do a disservice to some of Batman’s many villains. Spoilers follow for Batwoman Season 3, Episode 2, “Loose Tooth.”
A BITING CHANCE — When a new incarnation of Gotham’s swamp slumming Killer Croc surfaces and starts racking up a body count, the inaugural team-up of Batwoman (Javicia Leslie) and Alice (Rachel Skarsten) is put to the test. But Alice isn’t the only unwanted intrusion into Ryan’s life when Jada Jet (Robin Givens) shows up at Wayne Enterprises, insisting on meeting the company’s new CEO. Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Mary’s (Nicole Kang) relationship is strained under the weight of a secret Luke is keeping, while Sophie (Meagan Tandy) finds herself becoming part of Ryan’s inner circle.
Everything old is new again in Gotham City, and Batwoman is revisiting some of Batman’s B-tier villains following the loss of a cabinet full of Batman’s old trophies. The Season 3 premiere brought us the new Mad Hatter, a frustrated but unbalanced man who bought the hat in an online auction after someone sold it. The new Hatter didn’t last very long, but made a grand, grisly entrance when he attempted to make Mary Hamilton kill her mentor on stage while her fellow students strangled themselves with their stethoscopes.
It’s like Jaws
This week, it’s all about Killer Croc.
Let me start off with the good stuff. Killer Croc actually looks like Killer Croc.
Killer Croc looks great, genuinely. This is some of the best prosthetic work any CW show has done by a wide margin, and it was a thrill to see. But aside from that, the way this episode handles Croc is rife with issues.
In the CWverse, apparently, Killer Croc’s condition is an infection rather than a genetic condition. The original Croc, Waylon Jones, is long since dead, but Batman salvaged one of Croc’s teeth in the aftermath. A young man finds it, cuts himself on it, gets infected, and slowly turns into this instinct-driven predator.
And all of that just sucks.
Zero character development
None of this happens on-screen. When we meet Croc, he’s fully formed, and we see pieces of his transformation in photos when Batwoman comes across his father. Croc doesn’t speak, and we never meet the young man. He might as well be Jason Voorhees but with even less character development, or a purely instinctual creature like the Xenomorph from Alien. The show gives us absolutely nothing to work with regarding Croc.
The show even treats him like that Xenomorph, or maybe even Jaws. He’s barely on-screen, and most of his attacks are him snatching someone from off-camera. That works fine, but you have to give the payoff of some good screentime after that, and the episode doesn’t give that payoff before handily cleaning things up.
Even in the context of the story, this character feels weird. I’m not one to sit and look for plot holes, but this one really stuck out. They establish, once again, that the new Croc got his infection by cutting himself on the Croc tooth. Then they establish that Croc’s saliva has a paralytic agent that he uses to subdue his prey for later. This is entirely so that they can rescue the little girl he captures, but it would then suggest that anyone who exchanges fluids with Croc, whether by fighting or biting, will get infected and turn into that thing as well, assuming they survive.
A pale imitation
So the character gets no actual development before Batwoman has him trapped against a wall with her bat-net, and it makes the whole thing feel half-hearted. These “new” villains are pale imitations of their influences and are being treated as such–by the writers and showrunners, though. Those are the last people who should be doing that.
So while the character makeup is genuinely killer (pun definitely intended) and the movie monster-style reveal feels right for the look, this ended up being a disappointing way to bring this character into the CWverse.