Monday, May 17, 2021

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - White Supremacy Serves as the Most Lethal Threat to Gotham's Citizens in 'And Justice for All'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 2.14 "And Justice for All"

Batwoman is faced with a new challenge when Gotham's Snakebite addicts become ravenous for more than the next fix.

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.

"And Justice for All" was written by Ebony Gilbert & Maya Houston and directed by Rob Duncan

Gotham celebrates Batwoman. Law enforcement certainly has a more complicated relationship with her. When faced with a situation they can't handle though, they are quick to turn on the signal for the hero. They need her help. They need her to come in and save the day. And again, she is celebrated for doing so. Everyone champions her heroism in the moment because it's all perceived as being life-or-death. Outside of that role, Ryan is seen as an annoying and angry Black woman trying to disrupt the power structures of the world. Her skin tone is seen as a threat. She and her friends have to be abused in order to keep them in their place. They are threatening to break out and expand their opportunities for the betterment of their entire community. People in charge refuse to let that happen because they feel entitled to flex their unbridled authority. The illusion of a noise complaint is all the justification necessary for officers to arrest Ryan, Luke and Sophie. They are all contributing members of society. They inspire so many throughout Gotham. Some of them receive recognition as such. Sophie serves as a face for the Crows. She explains how she is a Black woman no matter what role she serves in. She doesn't get to transcend race in the same way that Ryan does as Batwoman. It's still a complicated journey of identity though. Ryan has always been certain that the Crows are a white supremacist organization. Sophie has long known that too. She has always believed that she could reform the organization from the inside. She needed to serve in this role in order to inspire the next generation. She needed her community to know that it was being policed by someone who looked like them. She is engaged in the community. She cares about the well-being of others. So many in law enforcement simply use this authority to do whatever they want. They crave power and enforce it on those all too often already dismissed by society. The city has been struck by Snakebite. It's an addictive drug. Even the leader of the Crows has fallen prey to it. Jacob is essentially powerless. Sure, he still helps Mary in the clinic. He is never compromised in that regard. But he's not able to serve in the role that has control over the city. Instead, he is coping with his own personal demons. Meanwhile, Sophie is having her authority questioned every step of the way. Out of her uniform, an officer refuses to believe she works for the Crows. He believes she is yet another person trying to create drama by calling out his misconduct on the job. Even when she is acting director, Agent Tavaroff does whatever he wants in the field. He shoots to kill. In his mind, that's the only way to deal with zombies. Yes, that's the plague that has fallen over Gotham. The latest batch of Snakebite makes people crave human flesh. At times, it seems like the city is being overrun. The people need Batwoman to save the day. She does that as well. All it takes is a simple drug that Mary has readily available. This treatment needs to be administered. It puts Ryan's life in danger. It's the honorable thing to do. It's operating with compassion. She is willing to sacrifice her life to save others. Meanwhile, Tavaroff's team just shoots at will. They kill because they don't regard the human lives being cut down in this action. It's absolutely despicable and infuriating. It's so blatantly heinous that it finally gets Sophie to quit. This organization is beyond reform. It has to be destroyed. That can't come soon enough either. The hour ends with Luke also being shot. The same agent is at the center of that drama. Luke, similarly, reached out hoping to help someone going down a bad path. He was annoyed by Eli when he was placed in the jail cell with everyone. He was coopting their injustice to avoid any true accountability. He is a criminal stealing cars. He's not beyond redemption. Luke sees that. Tavaroff sees a situation that requires deadly force. It's a dramatic and quick escalation. Luke photographed the situation to provide evidence of his story. He is thinking about that. He's also not cowering to anyone and trying to appease those who frequently hold power in these dynamics. He is punished regardless. It's devastating. It further reveals the stain of white supremacy in this world. That can't be ignored or explained away. The show gains power through having an honest discussion about this. Sure, it's all wrapped up in a narrative featuring zombies and mind control. Minds are being warped and distorted. Batwoman hopes to make a difference. And yet, even this hero's actions can be perceived as a betrayal. Ocean makes that point to Alice when she desperately tries to get Enigma to reverse the work done on Kate's mind. He takes all control out of the situation. He makes the decision on her behalf. The agency of so many is being stripped away. Some can be gaslit into believing the altruistic motives or the sacrifices that naturally come from the job. The abuse is still real and apparent.