Sunday, February 14, 2021

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Ryan Fights on Behalf of Those Who Always Feel Invisible in Gotham in 'Fair Skin, Blue Eyes'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 2.04 "Fair Skin, Blue Eyes"

As Batwoman attempts to fight the proliferation of Snake Bite through Gotham, a random encounter forces her to revisit her painful past. Empowered by her new role, Ryan is determined to ensure others like her don't go unnoticed. Meanwhile, those closest to Kate are given a good reason to believe she is still alive, forcing unexpected alliances and betrayals.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"Fair Skin, Blue Eyes" was written by Ebony Gilbert and directed by Menhaj Huda

It's fascinating to see this season with a new lead subverting the overall narrative that defined so much with so much importance in the first season. The search for Beth after she went missing gripped the entire city of Gotham. The Kane family had the resources to launch this massive manhunt. The socialites of the world cared about how the reaction to the tragedy would form Jacob in the aftermath. Meanwhile, Ryan was taken off the street and no one noticed that she was gone or cared about looking for her. It highlights the privilege that a lot of the story operated from in the first season. It also details the racial components that are now crucial to the story. Ryan has a very different experience than Kate. They certainly share similarities. They have both worn the Batsuit. They have the training to save others when they are in danger. They have complicated romantic lives. These journeys have become intertwined. It's forcing Ryan to confront the various aspects of her past in order to emerge as the hero offering hope and salvation to those who are still being abused by the systemic injustice that plagues the city. She had forgotten about this traumatic experience that nearly changed her entire world as a child. It's only in returning to the neighborhood and confronting the visual representation of the trauma that she is determined to make a difference now. The Candy Lady isn't even positioned as this criminal mastermind. She doesn't exist on the same level of the heightened villains that have plagued Gotham for decades. Her monstrosity is still just as all-consuming and heinous though. She delights in inflicting that misery onto others as well. She has done so without anyone targeting her as because she operates from a place of privilege. No one is conditioned to look at her with sinister intentions. She is simply a sweet white lady in the suburbs. She is preying on children of color who go unnoticed in society. That's what is truly sick and depraved about criminal trafficking. They use the cruel dismissal of people in the world to their advantage. It provides them with more power. The gangs continue to find new recruits. They find people to join their collective family. Ryan has to intervene before that fatal choice is made. She saves Commander Kane's life in the process as well. The story isn't about him and his pain though. Sure, he is suffering at the moment now too. His daughter was believed to be dead. Now, he is once again launching a massive manhunt in the hopes someone has information that can lead him to Safiyah. That makes it easy to prey on him once more. These people can't give up on hope. They need to believe something more can be done to find Kate. They don't feel the pressure to accept her loss quite yet. She isn't the only person in the world being abused and taken in this way though. It's important and necessary to be aware of that. Batwoman can attack the new drug trade in Gotham by going after the dealers and trying to find their boss. It's also just as pivotal to attack the way in which more people are being forced into this life. Kevin has someone who cares about him. His younger brother simply doesn't have the resources to make a difference. Instead, he relies on Batwoman seeing him with compassion and fighting on behalf of his brother. Ryan recognizes the power that comes from herself serving as this vigilante in Gotham. Others are willing to compromise their morals and values in pursuit of answers about Kate. They are forced into those difficult positions because of how cruel and abusive this world can be. Ryan has lived through so much. She argues her perspective is necessary to truly offer reform to the crumbling areas of Gotham. She offers hope because she is a Black woman fighting for those who often feel invisible. She sees them. She will look. All of this may also allow Commander Kane to see Batwoman in a new light. He has been shaken by the revelation about Kate. Moreover, Ryan now saves his life because she fought for the humanity of those forced into this life. She makes that connection. She fights for the best outcome possible. She receives that. That may offer more introspection on Kane's part. That's just a potential bonus. The true work comes from saving Kevin and taking down the Candy Lady. That's the significant work to provide people of this city with opportunities that were once being taken away by those who manipulated the biases of the system to their benefit. That will no longer stand now that Ryan has become Batwoman.