Wednesday, February 23, 2022

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Alice Reckons With What She Deserves After a Life Terrorizing Gotham in 'We're All Mad Here'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 3.12 "We're All Mad Here"

Ryan, Sophie and Jada come together to formulate a plan to stop Marquis. Mary seeks to make amends for the harm she did as Poison Ivy. Alice continues to spiral out of control and contend with her mental demons.

"We're All Mad Here" was written by Maya Houston & Daphne Miles and directed by Eric Dean Stanton

What fate does Alice deserve? A ton of horrible things were done to her. She was victimized by numerous people. And yet, she has also inflicted a lot of pain on others. She has terrorized Gotham. She became the face of a new wave of criminals. She would love to dream of an easy solution. One jolt from the Joker's buzzer is all it takes to make her Beth again. That's what she wants. She wants to connect with empathy. She wants to function like a normal human being. Those same impulses are motivating Jada and Ryan as they hope to save Marquis. They want the exact same thing. They hope to use the same tool to make it a reality. Alice serves as a disruption. Her motives have shifted. She kills in order to obtain this salvation for herself. But again, it's all done with the intent of that being able to fix everything. It's not that simple. That's what is going on in her delusional mind. When people can hear her story laid out clearly and know that her mind has been rewired, no one will hold her accountable for her crimes. She will be free. Only a select few will alienate her and believe she never truly changed. That's the fate of those who have given up on her. She has hope. She has a sister by her side now. She cares about Mary as more than the doctor who can ease her pain from time to time. However, the hallucinations only grow more vivid and destruction. Alice is haunted by Mouse and Ocean. They serve as the figures of her past who refuse to let her move on so easily. She is responsible for their deaths. They had to die in order for her to survive and thrive. Those are the choices she made. She inspired them to stand loyally by her. And then, they died because of that close connection. That's not the same fate that befalls Mary. She was healed of her villainous ways. That was a blessing. She still committed heinous acts. She wants to atone for them now. It's not too late for her to find redemption. Alice wants that too. She knows what will make a difference for Mary. It's simply condemning herself to being responsible for one more murder. The buzzer is out of her reach. Ryan and the team deny her the ability to heal herself. She returns to Arkham. Mary remains a comfort. Alice still offers betrayal and destruction. That remains a constant even though she desperately wants more from her life. She simply can't move on from the past. Nor should she given all that has happened over the course of three seasons.

Elsewhere, Jada is once again not willing to share all of her secrets with Ryan. That has been a consistent dynamic between them. It hasn't exactly changed now that Jada knows Ryan is Batwoman and Ryan knows the extent of why Jada gave her away. That was presented as a fresh start for them. They survived a brush with death together. And now, they have emerged stronger. It still ends in a place where they have to work together in order to stop Marquis. However, the setup for the plot is very much the same as what has always happened this season. Jada is more concerned with warning the fellow members of the Black Glove Society. She wants to protect Ryan while shielding her from some more ugliness that has been in her life. It doesn't work. Sophie can see through it right away. It's actually easy for Marquis to manipulate the situation. Ryan doesn't get much of an advantage after learning Marquis' schedule for the day. It simply creates an instance where Ryan has to save Jada. She tells her mother to run. Instead, Jada returns to save her daughter as well. It's very much a dynamic that gives and takes in a genuine and loving way now. However, it lacks the power of some other dynamics because it can feel repetitive. They still defeat Marquis. He no longer has the buzzer. He is on the run in Gotham. Ryan asks for a day to stop him. That's the mechanics of the plot heading into the season finale. Meanwhile, it's just easier to feel excited by Ryan and Sophie communicating as a couple. Mary's reaction to that news is a phenomenal moment. It breaks up the monotony of the episode even as it's positioned amongst a bunch of perilous scenes at the end of the episode. It's just a joyous celebration of love. She didn't think it could happen. And now, Ryan and Sophie are a couple. They can share the news with their friends. They may both have shortcomings in relationships. They can talk about those issues and address them together. They shouldn't agonize all the time over how the other is feeling. All of that happening here sets them up for success. It leaves the audience hopeful for their future. That's incredibly rewarding and much more powerful than the high-stakes action that dominates most of the episode.