Wednesday, March 2, 2022

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Ryan Must Decide to Use the Joker's Buzzer on Either Marquis or Alice in 'We Having Fun Yet?'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 3.13 "We Having Fun Yet?"

Batwoman must race against the clock as Marquis' nefarious plan balloons into something Gotham would never have suspected. Joining forces with Jada, the Bat Team must call on every skillset they possess to save the city. As more about Marquis' shocking, twisted past unravels, a final stand-off between brother and sister puts Ryan's life on the line. As Alice reaches her breaking point, Mary makes another appeal on behalf of her sister for the Joker's buzzer, but everyone wonders - is Alice beyond saving?

"We Having Fun Yet?" was written by Nancy Kiu & Caroline Dries and directed by Holly Dale

This entire season Ryan has been motivated by family. It was a journey she was forced onto. Alice revealed the truth about Ryan's mother being alive. Jada inserted herself into Ryan's life because she was determined to protect her family from any threats. However, this journey has revealed so much within Ryan. She found herself amongst a family beyond the Bat team. She came to rely on Luke, Mary and Sophie. She even built closer bonds with them. She always felt like she was fulfilling a role. She was stepping into a legacy that didn't have an immediate connection to her. She was never given the freedom to be Batwoman the way she wanted. Her attempts at doing something totally unique were always hindered by the sins of the past. This season has especially forced that conflict because of the second generation of villains. The sins of Batman's past came to haunt Batwoman's present. Gotham has never been allowed to be safe and prosperous because the villains continue to find a safe haven. It's a drastic reality. One that requires people to selflessly put the city before their own happiness. That's the choice Ryan and Jada must make to stop Marquis from enacting his grand plan. He is making things up as he goes. It still echoes to the past and the despair the Joker once wanted to inflict over the city. He continually finds inspiration from that crusade. He's armed with the weapons to make it a reality. Part of the tension comes from the tease of revealing Batwoman's identity. Protecting that secret can't be the sole reason to drive a story though. It no longer has agency. The storytelling needs to provide something more. That pivot does occur. It does so by making Marquis in service to an iconic villain instead of being his true self. All it takes is another tap from the Joker's buzzer to release this hold over him. Ryan and Jada need to believe that will fix everything. It's grueling to even get to that point. It features fights in a blimp, in the sky and on a rooftop. It even requires an assist from Alice. However, that action ultimately occurs. Ryan gets her brother back. That's an important declaration for her. She proudly embraces it. It's what propels her forward completely. This family is made whole. Sure, Jada may have had to reveal shocking secrets to the public in order to gain control of Wayne Enterprises. That was worth it because she has her family. They can hopefully look forward to a bright future together. That may be hoping for too much. This is still Gotham after all.

Alice comes to a powerful realization as well. She decides she doesn't need the buzzer in order to cure her mind of the trauma she has endured. She was desperate to retrieve the device. Ryan can't hand it over to her. The threat from Marquis is more prominent and important. However, she listens to Alice's argument. She does so always knowing Alice doesn't suffer from the same disease that has inflicted Marquis. The show wants to compare the two villains. It enjoys seeing the similarities. They are both siblings of women who put on the Bat suit. They feel overlooked and desperate to break out in their own epic displays over the city. Now, Alice wants to escape from her own mind. It's actually heartbreaking when Mary comes to visit and sees her sister harming herself. That may be nothing more than a ploy to manipulate Mary. Alice behaves differently with Ryan. She knows she has to say whatever it takes to keep Ryan listening. Actions speak louder than words. That's the benefit of her showing up to save Ryan and Marquis. That doesn't represent the return of Beth though. Instead, Alice leaves for her own journey of self-reflection. She no longer wants to be a villain. She isn't gifted with an instant cure. That fate doesn't belong to her. That doesn't mean she's beyond redemption. That story may occur. Mary wants to help her too. She wants to save her sister after she gave so much up to help her cope with what she did as Poison Mary. That too is a strong family bond that has developed. Family was important for all of these characters. So many have lost their parents. They found each other. Ryan found more. Mary found a connection with Alice she needs to foster. Luke gained a way to talk with his dad again. He has to sacrifice that connection to save Gotham. It's not the perfect solution. It still allows him to be a hero. It ensures the creation of new villains. Sophie directs the explosive blimp to the least populated corner of the city. Lives are still going to be changed because of that decision. That fallout is already apparent. Sophie made the call. She was in charge of making the choice. That will provide drama for her new relationship with Ryan. The team remains committed to the mission. They have emerged victorious from this struggle. They look to the future with purpose even while recognizing very little has changed for the city. They want to make a difference. It's simply been much harder than they could have anticipated. They aren't the first people to walk that path either. They are all Gotham has to defend it right now.