Sunday, April 18, 2021

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Sophie Must Rely on Ryan to Further Infiltrate the False Face Society in 'Arrive Alive'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 2.11 "Arrive Alive"

With Batwoman and the Crows each hot on the trail of the False Face Society, their efforts collide, and tension escalates. Alice seeks out Enigma. Sophie and Ryan find some common ground.

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.

"Arrive Alive" was written by Daniel Thomsen & Daphne Miles and directed by Mairzee Almas

What does it mean for Sophie to know who Batwoman is? Secret identities serve their purpose. However, projects in the superhero genre are often more interesting when the key characters are in on the secret. If a show keeps a character out of the loop for too long, they lack a dimension that is present elsewhere in the story. When they know the truth, more opportunities are suddenly present for them. This season, Sophie has had a relationship with Ryan and Batwoman separately. She also learned that Kate was Batwoman. That informed part of her dynamic in searching for the truth. She needed to understand that part of her life. She also sees everything differently. The Crows targeted Batwoman. They are still doing so. Sophie still believes that Batwoman disrupts her missions more often than she actually helps them. That is on firm display here when Sophie is undercover drag racing to collect the various supplies Black Mask needs in order for Angelique to create more Snakebite. It's all absurd and complicated. It's mostly just an episodic flourish to add an amusing detail to the same type of story. It's a new way to depict the protagonists trying to figure out how to track down something significant by infiltrating the nefarious organization that now operates in the city. Sophie and Ryan decide to work together. It's seen as the only viable solution for keeping Angelique safe from the new Crows agent tapped to lead the charge against Black Mask. Sophie recognizes that something is off about Commander Kane. However, she doesn't quite know what it is or question it further. And yet, this is also the episode where she learns Ryan is the new Batwoman. It's an event that occurs mostly because Ryan forgets to remove the piece of technology that allows Luke to remotely drive the vehicle while she places the tracking device on the fear toxin canister. It's a little odd and too convenient. It's mostly the narrative revealing the truth to Sophie at this moment in time. It's necessary for whatever comes next in the overall story. It's important for her to know now. She has a complicated relationship with Batwoman. She has been stunned both times about her identity. But now, she knows the truth while Batwoman is still serving as a vigilante. With Kate, she never got that opportunity. With Ryan, she may do things differently. She may not. The future is still uncertain in that regard. Sophie is capable of making some reckless choices as well. She has been a bit more disillusioned about the Crows this season. That seems to be building to some significant climax. She could potentially leave that organization and join the Bat team. That may be the most obvious development. But again, it's a choice that should be framed around the dynamic between Sophie and Ryan. At the moment, they reluctantly work together because they both feel obligated to save Angelique after failing to keep her safe. They made promises to protect her if she told the truth about Black Mask and the people who work for him. Sophie and Batwoman even have the opportunity to battle the new villain. They prevail until he reveals that he has been threatening Angelique's life the whole time. He still needs her. She is the only person who can create his drug to manipulate the minds of Gotham. Of course, Ocean is also back in town. He has come to retrieve the Desert Rose from Batwoman. He must protect his family's legacy after Alice burned down the fields that have prospered for generations. So, these conflicts are coming closer together. However, Alice doesn't make any significant progress in trying to forget Kate. Instead, she learns of her great love with Ocean and decides to act on that once more. A lot of that bond has been told to the audience instead of experienced. So, it wouldn't be surprising if a betrayal occurs at some point. But again, it all has to be informed by meaningful character developments and choices. At the moment, it seems like the narrative is working towards a goal. That is dictating the actions instead of creating moments where the characters have a sense of agency that is meaningful and significant. That's noticeable and risks taking the audience out of the action if it continues. It's fortunate that Sophie is now in the loop about Batwoman's identity. Hopefully, that makes her a more interesting and consistent character who realizes there is more than one way to serve Gotham. The city needs as much protection and salvation as possible because of the many villainous threats that are reigning down on it. It almost verges on too much as well. The ambitions are high. The execution has to match that. Right now, it seems too tentative to achieve that completely.