Wednesday, October 13, 2021

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Ryan and the Team Still Reluctantly Need Alice's Help Dealing With the Bat Trophies in 'Mad as a Hatter'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 3.01 "Mad as a Hatter"

As Batwoman continues to keep the streets of Gotham safe, Luke realizes he hasn't quite mastered his suit. When Ryan pays Alice a visit to ask about the bombshell she dropped, Ryan must decide if she should go down the rabbit hole of her past. As Mary prepares to graduate from medical school, she feels the absence of her family more than ever. When an Alice admirer stumbles upon one of the missing Bat Trophies, Gotham and the Bat Team get mixed up in the madness, culminating in a shockingly gruesome graduation.

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 season premiere of The CW's Batwoman.

"Mad as a Hatter" was written by Caroline Dries and directed by Holly Dale

Batman collected the various trophies and weapons from the villains he faced over the years. Those were accidentally released into the world at the conclusion of the previous season. It wasn't the culmination of Ryan's work to protect the city from the threat it faced. However, it was the responsibility she had to accept because of the mask she chooses to wear. She carries forward a legacy. When the signal lights up in the sky, she is the hero who comes. She is confident in that role now. Luke is the one fumbling around with his new suit. He doesn't even know what moniker to adopt as this new hero working alongside Batwoman. It's only at the end of this premiere that Batwing is suggested for him. His suit allows him to do some incredible things now. He hasn't mastered it yet. It still holds many mysteries that need to be unlocked - including somehow serving as a connection to his late father. Ryan's turmoil exists within herself and not as a hero. Alice dropped the bombshell that Ryan's biological mother was still alive. A story was concocted in order to deal with Ryan. That has brought her peace and clarity over the years. She still always felt abandoned and like she didn't belong anywhere. And yet, she found a home and family with the Bat team. They are important to her. She is supportive of them in everything that they do. That includes Luke's work as Batwing and Mary graduating from medical school. Both are huge achievements. Sophie doesn't have some kind of similar achievement worthy of recognizing her. She is simply the one out there getting some sexual satisfaction. That too is commented on by Ryan. This family is very insular. They care about each other. But these bonds were also forged by the secrets they keep as a team. They face the most daunting threats in the city. They have done a lot of transformative work. And yet, villains are still constantly emerging. Alice is locked up in Arkham once more. She never stays there for too long though. This isn't even the first time Batwoman has broken her out. That can feel awfully repetitive. It feels as if the show is only interested in Alice when she is a free woman. Her true identity has been revealed to the public. Jacob has had to pay for the complicity of his actions as leader of the Crows. But he is now off in prison elsewhere. Alice is still here. People still view her as a valuable tool. The Bat team needs her help in order to deal with the new villain who has gained power thanks to one of the Bat Trophies. With the Mad Hatter's signature hat, he can actually order people to do exactly what he says. He is capable of mind control. He forces people to kill against their will. They can only break away once they've completed the action. That's absolutely terrifying. He also happens to be a fan of Alice's. He connects with her story. He too has felt crazy and dismissed by the world. Mary can even see the point of his argument. He still inflicts a lot of harm on the people of this city. He is stopped before anyone dies. It was still too close for some people. That incentivizes one officer to convince the Mayor into forming a task force to track down these dangerous trophies. Alice and Ryan are both recruited for the cause. It's a plot no one particularly likes. But it's unbridled storytelling as Renee Montaya already knows Batwoman's identity. That information was a tool Alice could wield against Ryan. She still has that power over her. It does damage too. It forces Ryan to go along with this partnership. She isn't given the option to decide for herself. Similarly, she has found peace with the love and acceptance she has found with her chosen family. She doesn't need to seek out her biological mother and why she left her. The narrative has already introduced the character though. So, it's all coming for Ryan whether she likes it or not. She can be incredibly certain and assertive in many ways. She is still a vulnerable person whom many people are hoping to exploit without considering the choices she's made throughout this journey. That dichotomy should be fascinating to watch. It could become a salient plot point this season. Or it could just be a construct in order to set into motion the events that come after this premiere. Enough wildcards are introduced to create chaos after all. That should honestly be expected at this point for any show set in Gotham.