Sunday, March 8, 2020

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Sophie Grows Excited About a Potential Partnership with Batwoman in 'Grinning From Ear to Ear'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 1.14 "Grinning From Ear to Ear"

Batwoman and Luke are on the trail of a villain targeting social media mavens. Sophie gets an unexpected visit from her mother. Mary offers her expertise to assist Kate. Jacob Kane is approached to make good on a favor. Alice focuses on her plans for retribution.

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.

"Grinning From Ear to Ear" was written by Denise Harkavy and directed by Michael Blundell

Sophie hasn't been the most dynamic or compelling character this season so far. She has largely been defined through her relationships with other people instead of having any personal agency herself. The series positioned her as the romantic interest for its lead character. It's a familiar position. One vital to these stories while still needing more nuance to make it feel like a passionate and important relationship. The kiss between Batwoman and Sophie in the previous episode was largely shocking instead of something that naturally occurred. It further highlights this problem with Sophie. In fact, she is coming to the realization that she projects herself onto others and the relationships she has with them instead of worrying about herself and her own desires. That can be a compelling story especially when factoring in the coming out aspects. That can be so relatable to many in the LGBTQ community. Sophie has been living her life based on what others expect of her. Coming out is her opportunity to actually live for herself. It just happens to be heartbreaking because the response she feared is exactly what she gets from her mother. But it's an important step to take in order to feel more fulfilled in this world. Even when Sophie was the temporary head of the Crows while Jacob was in prison, she was essentially following his lead. He is only now realizing that his leadership has created a toxic workplace of corruption that may have falsely imprisoned and targeted specific communities in Gotham. He believes he is still the right man to head up this investigation and potentially steer the organization back onto a better path. However, he also believes that Sophie has a strong moral code. He has always counted on that from her even when he doubted the decisions she made. And yet, his instincts should be questioned and challenged because this is still fundamentally the organization he built. He has to take responsibility for that and not be baffled when these accusations are revealed. He is asked to bend his morals. That forces this investigation into happening. He should feel the urgency to do so because it's what's right and not because he has someone loyally by his side who will do whatever he asks. Sophie is on her own personal journey at the moment. At first, it's enticing and thrilling for her to be teaming up with Batwoman both professionally and personally. She looks to her as a hero showing the right way to protect this city. Batwoman stands as this role model who can validate so many people who haven't been seen in this way before. Kate is excited about this potential relationship too. And yet, she is asked to worry about the future. In doing so, she believes she has to push people away in order to protect them. Now, that has been a familiar storytelling impulse across the Arrowverse shows. It's always better when the main heroes get to collaborate with a loyal team. Kate is as successful as she is as Batwoman because she has technical support from Luke. Without that, she would be lost and have no idea how to protect Gotham. Right now, Sophie needs to do what's right for herself by actually examining her life and coming to terms with who she is. That is difficult. It's an arduous journey but one of great importance. She has to do so out of her own willingness and not just because Batwoman pushes her away. But the narrative also has to slow down enough to allow these characters to have these moments of introspection. Mary knows Kate's secret and is trying her best not to pressure her into revealing it. But she also feels the need to be blunt with Kate about being the best sister she could possibly have if she opened herself up to that possibility. That is certainly more thrilling and exciting that anything that is currently going on with the latest criminal on the loose in Gotham. That villain mostly just serves as a way to keep Cartwright a player in this world right before Alice captures him. That confrontation certainly has importance because he's the man who tormented her for years and turned her into what she now is. She is emotionally stunted as the therapist points out. But that's a thrilling pursuit for the future while this episode teases that along as it focuses its priorities elsewhere.