Sunday, January 24, 2021

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Alice Looks to Draw the Attention of Gotham and the Next, Ominous Villain in 'Prior Criminal History'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 2.02 "Prior Criminal History"

After her quick spin in the Batgear, Ryan Wilder is back to facing the daily challenges of life as herself. Meanwhile, Alice has a new, devious plan to get the attention of both Gotham and Safiyah. With Kate still missing and the city in an uprising, Luke and Mary are desperate to find a stand in. In a pinch, Ryan dons the suit again and comes face-to-face with Alice for the first time. Back at Crows Headquarters, Sophie and Commander Kane try to uncover who may have had a vendetta against Kate.

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.

"Prior Criminal History" was written by James Stoteraux & Chad Fiveash and directed by Carl Seaton

For the very first time, Commander Kane sees Batwoman in the field and views her as a symbol of hope. It comes entirely from the context that Kate has been the person inside the suit all this time. He went to war against his daughter. They were both fighting to make Gotham a safer place. And now, some enemy has eliminated her. Safiyah has taken credit for it privately to Alice. That sends Gotham's most sinister villain at the moment spiraling. However, Kate's disappearance is still shaking her allies to their cores. It's all fundamentally a question of how long each of them can hold onto the hope that she is still alive. They all learned their lessons from giving up on Beth. The Kane family shouldn't have called off their search for her. They wanted to believe that Alice could be redeemed as well. It was a complicated relationship. One that always seemed to backfire on the forces of good in this city. Ryan views it as the system of justice inherently being biased. Alice is given certain luxuries because she is white. Meanwhile, Ryan is brought in for questioning and is always treated as guilty no matter what. That is the stigma attached to her as a former felon. No one will listen to her explanation for why she didn't fight the conviction even though she was innocent. It was easier to take a plea deal and face whatever life had to offer her afterwards. And now, she can seemingly only find hope and purpose by wearing the Batsuit. Luke and Mary are the only people willing to take a chance on her. It's still very tenuous though. They see the necessity of having Batwoman in Gotham. The city would crumble without that heroic presence. She is a symbol of hope and courage. She inspires greatness from the average citizen. Batwoman saved countless lives. Her heroism has earned so many fans. They plead with her on the streets to return. She shouldn't disappear because of the hatred she has always faced from the Crows. Commander Kane sees the error of his ways only because of the personal connection he now realizes he had. That always clouds his judgment. He has made errors in handling Alice because she is his daughter as well. And now, he may have failed Kate too because he couldn't protect her from all the threats out there. She could more than handle herself. He simply made it harder on her. He has to deal with the guilt of that action. He is still more than willing to let out his anger on the symbol that captivates the city. He recognizes that Ryan isn't Kate in the Batsuit. He still views the vigilante's presence as inherently monstrous. However, the city is being attacked by bats carrying a lethal disease. It takes these insane heroics in order to save lives. Ryan has to think quickly in order to prevail against this threat. That means prioritizing the safety of the many against going after the woman who killed her adoptive mother. Being a hero is about more than one's own personal interests. It means making an impact that extends far beyond what one can imagine. It's hopefully all for the good. And yet, Ryan will once more face people who question her legitimacy as Batwoman and her ability to actually do good in this world. Sophie argues that Ryan can't change her behavior now. She perceives her as a criminal and that's all that she will amount to be. Her circumstances may differ from moment to moment. Her character hasn't though. That creates a complex discussion about race in this world. That wasn't particularly a subject in the first season. And yet, it means something to have a Black woman now protecting this city. Ryan hopes to succeed after Kate has disappeared. She still looks to the former hero for inspiration. It's time to tell Ryan's story. She is committed to the cause. She doesn't entirely trust her new partners though. Luke views this as a temporary arrangement. It's a way to keep the city safe until Kate returns. And yet, the villains are still hatching dangerous plans. The city needs protection. Alice makes big, bold moves just to catch Safiyah's attention. The heroes don't understand her motives just yet. But the threats remain daunting. Ryan may be up for the challenge. She still has more to learn. However, she is also the precise hero that people on the streets of Gotham need. She already has made a difference. That too should inspire her and ground her as the threats and personal drama grow more intense. Several people in this world are incapable of seeing how their actions are actually perceived by the world at large. Ryan doesn't suffer in that way. She recognizes her importance and the difference she makes. She argues that that quality will make her a great hero. But again, things will only grow more complicated as she has to face the moral code that drives the others in this world and how Batwoman is suppose to operate.