Sunday, May 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Alice Exerts Her New Power to Disrupt Kate's Latest Mission in 'If You Believe in Me, I'll Believe in You'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 1.18 "If You Believe in Me, I'll Believe in You"

Batwoman enlists Luke and Julia for an undercover mission to recover one of the most important items from her cousin's arsenal. While Alice continues developing her devious plans within Arkham's walls, she gets an unexpected visit from Jacob Kane, who needs her help. Mary tries to prove herself to Kate. As Sophie gets closer to a co-worker, Kate reunites with an old flame.

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.

"If You Believe in Me, I'll Believe in You" was written by James Stoteraux & Chad Fiveash and directed by James Bamford

Many conflicting interests are verging together in pursuit of one specific item: Lucius Fox's journal outlining the flaws of Batman's technology. It's something that has been out there since the night Lucius was killed. Only now does Kate and her team know that's why he was killed. As such, it's a priority for them to recover it to ensure that those secrets aren't used against the heroes trying to protect Gotham. Of course, Batman's secret identity is outed to several people over the course of this hour. Alice and Mary didn't operate with the knowledge that Bruce Wayne was Batman. And now, Tommy Elliot and Luke reveal that information. They do so almost by mistake. On one hand, it does come across as forging greater relationships with people they want to be in business with. On the other hand, it mostly feels awkward and forced. Luke tells Mary the importance of keeping Kate's secret. She can't tease anything about the Batcave despite how cool it looks. Meanwhile, he outs the secret of a hero who is no longer present to voice either appreciation or despair. With Tommy and Alice, it's the villains coming together and trading notes. Alice only wants this journal because it has suddenly become important to Kate. For her part, Alice is certainly doing a lot to make the best of an unfortunate situation. Everyone in Gotham essentially supports sending its criminals to Arkham Asylum. It's easy for the public to see these criminals as mentally deranged because of all the insane things they are willing to do to make their impact on this city. However, those prisoners are being tortured and experimented on. Alice talks about receiving electroshock therapy. It's absolutely brutal. Jacob doesn't have much of a reaction to it. He knows that he can't save Alice by breaking her free because that would put Kate and Mary's lives in jeopardy. He can't allow any more suffering to take place. Alice knew he would never do that anyway. It's just a way to illustrate her grand point. She talks about the abuse but she also recites the enlightenment that comes from it. She sees the benefits of this experimentation. She claims that she has complete clarity over the life she lived and how to best move forward. She operates with concise power now. She knows how to offer Tommy and Magpie their freedom. She can give them the ability to slip out of this prison and into new lives. Sure, that means those characters will now walk around with new faces. But it also showcases how Alice is controlling the criminal elements of the city even though she is locked up. She wields that power and feels protected. As such, she is very dangerous. She has the journal at the end of the hour. That only comes from Reagan being revealed as a con artist who got close to Kate in order to steal from her. That twist is a little jarring. It means that Alice had so many contingency plans to ensure that the journal got out of this club and into her hands. She succeeds in the end. That's mostly because Kate can't quite come to that victory yet. She has to be personally betrayed because everyone is essentially working some angle that plays to whatever selfish desires they are feeling. Julia can be trusted in the field. However, she has been lying about some aspects of her past. Mary proves that she can handle her own once more. She wins Kate's support as a member of the team now. But it's also scattered energy that ensures everything is complex during this heist. Kate thought she planned for everything and could get the girl in the end too. Nothing is that easy for her. That lesson becomes glaringly obvious. People are associated with Alice now as revealed through big shocking moments. And yet, the narrative also wants the looseness of saying that those dynamics are fragile and not that important beyond this specific moment. It's a little odd and makes this episode feel too overly plotted. That makes it hard on Kate because it basically means she can only trust Luke and Mary at this point. She opened herself to the possibility of Reagan once more after learning that Sophie came out to her mother from Julia. She deflects and hopes for the best. It feels great in the moment. In the grand scheme of things though, the narrative cohesion is shaky and means the character's motivations change from scene to scene.