Monday, February 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Alice Fights to Prove Her Worth to Kate While Mary Makes a Big Realization in 'Drink Me'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 1.13 "Drink Me"

A new villain sinks her teeth into Gotham and The Hold Up opens in grand fashion. Sophie reluctantly requests that Batwoman keep her distance knowing their interactions could compromise her career.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Batwoman.

"Drink Me" was written by Jerry Shandy and directed by Dermott Downs

Kate choosing to save Beth and let Alice die was the emotional climax of the season so far. It was this monumental decision that had so much weight and drama to it. Kate made her choice but the universe conspired against her so that she couldn't enjoy the life she wanted with the sister she deserved. Alice remains a threat in Gotham even though the city now believes her to be dead. In fact, that declaration basically reframes the narrative entirely. That means a lot of uncertainty and tension gets sucked out of the overall story instantly. It appears as if Alice's continued presence was the only thing actually keeping Jacob Kane in prison. With her gone, he is free once more and returns as head of the Crows. No one questions that. He was wrongfully convicted. The episodes since that action though have highlighted the unchecked power that this armed security force has in the city. They may fundamentally operate above the law. Batwoman functions in a similar way. However, she may be a symbol of hope that people can uplift whenever they need it. The Crows may be nothing more than an oppression designed to give people a false sense of security. Those are fascinating subjects to delve into. The show has adequately explored them in the past. In this episode though, it mostly feels like the narrative is throwing a bunch of shocking twists into the story just because it has to keep the momentum going. Beth's death has the potential to change everything. It does. But that also means that the buildup of the season has to start over anew. That means a lot of random things happen here that feel a little strange and forced. They may not inherently be bad. Mary should absolutely be aware that Kate is Batwoman. She was openly allowed to know how Beth came to exist and why her survival had to be weighed against Alice's. She voiced her opinion loudly. And now, she has to crack the case of her half-sister's antics as of late because Kate asks for her help without truly letting her in. That can be the latest example of how the sisterly bond isn't as close as Mary has long wanted it to be. Kate continually tells Alice that she is done trying to be a family once more. She no longer wants to feel guilty about her past actions. She doesn't want to regret not being able to save her. She just has to accept that Alice is a villain terrorizing the city who must be stopped now. And yes, it is clear that Alice is losing her mind now much more so than usual. She is talking to a mannequin as if it is Mouse. She needs that back-and-forth in order to feel in control of what she is doing. She still aspires to be a crafty manipulator of the world around her. She survives the latest villain-of-the-week because she introduces Mary as a more delicious alternative. Of course, that episodic plot is rather lackluster. It has an intriguing idea by introducing the concept of an apparent vampire. But it ultimately revolves around the understanding it is just some rare medical condition that has forced a person into justifying her heinous behavior. There isn't a whole lot of nuance to it. It just presents Kate and Alice with more evidence for why they should hold firm to their stances. The rest of the episode is just about these big, dramatic moments that are designed to surprise and excite the audience. Mary makes that connection about Batwoman's identity. Jacob suspends Sophie from the Crows because of her apparent partnership with Batwoman. Sophie then kisses Batwoman because she is apparently conflating all of the conflicting internal struggles she has at the core of her identity. Sophie remains a pent-up character who is hard to get a solid or consistent read on. That makes it difficult to invest in any potential relationship between Kate and Sophie even though that final moment is very unexpected. That doesn't inherently make it good though. The drama ultimately has to be satisfying. The audience has to feel rewarded by the journey. That was apparent in spades when it came to Beth's shocking death propelling Alice further into an unhinged life. That was devastating for Kate and the audience felt that way too. And now, big plot movements are happening that may better the overall storytelling but are incredibly forced at the moment.