Batwoman Episode 6 Review: I'll Be Judge, I'll Be Jury

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Batwoman brought us Sophie’s long-awaited revelation, much-needed backstory on Lucius and Luke Fox, and a perfect villain of the week.

This Batwoman review contains spoilers. 

Batwoman Episode 6

This week’s Batwoman brought us Sophie’s long-awaited revelation, much-needed backstory on Lucius and Luke Fox, and a perfect villain of the week. The Executioner had just the right number of twists and turns to keep things interesting, forced a few of our main characters to move forward in their journey, and contributed to the show’s overall themes of crime, corruption, injustice, and systemic marginalization.

SOPHIE KNOWS! Hallelujah. I know it’s only been six episodes, but this revelation somehow still feels overdue. Can we bring Mary in on this secret next? I have a particularly low tolerance for the half-baked excuses for superhero secret identities, but if we’ve learned anything from Supergirl, it should be that it frustrates the audience and morally bankrupts the hero the longer they make flimsy excuses for lying. It makes a certain amount of sense to lie to Reagan, but Sophie and Mary are too smart, too valuable, and too close to Kate to justify whatever narrative dividends the writers think they derive from the dramatic irony of making Kate seem like a worse friend/ex/sister than she actually is.

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For now, I choose to be relieved that Sophie is finally in on it and hope that Mary will be as well by the end of the first season. Kang is so good she actually sells it when Mary says that knowing Batwoman’s identity would be too much responsibility, but please don’t make us wait too much longer. Frankly, Sophie knowing does far more for their relationship. She now has a secret with Kate that makes her seem or even feel more like she’s cheating or having an emotional affair, which will certainly cause issues with her forgettable husband. Her loyalty to Kate is now in direct conflict with her loyalty to Jake.

Speaking of Jake, Kate and her father were due for the emotional turmoil that this episode brought them, both at the top of the episode as themselves and later on when she was in the cowl, between the head of the Crows and the Batwoman. The look on his face when the batarang with the usb came in suggested that we’re heading toward a Quentin Lance-like turn toward tentative partnership. Saving his life should certainly help. If we’re weighing secret identities, this is the one that has a real payoff for me right now. Jake and Kate’s relationship is so fractured right now that it’s possible Jake Kane and Batwoman will sort their issue out before father and daughter.

This episode finally offered us a deeper look at Luke Fox and it’s most welcome. Camrus Johnson – who, along with Alice Kang playing Mary is one of my favorites of the show – is clearly up to the task of heavier lifting, both emotionally and from a screen time perspective. We’ve known since the pilot that Lucius Fox was out of the picture, but this episode confirmed it: he’s dead, killed while running an errand on his son’s graduation day.

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That relationship is clearly fraught, and Lucius’s death obviously stopped Luke’s life in his tracks, as he never actually ended up going to MIT. I hope this is just the first of many Luke-centric episodes, and that we’ll get to learn what he did instead of MIT and more about Luke and Lucius’s relationship. Of course, it’s also about time that we see what Luke’s life looks like in the present when he isn’t helping Kate in Wayne Tower.

John Diggle has occasionally made some brilliant, white-hot scathing remarks but even when Arrow did a season-long arc on prison reform, they pretended like it’s a racially blind issue. It matters to have mainstream shows take on these issues and not bungle them. It’s a delicate thing to raise issues like racial profiling in our carceral system and what it means to potentially vacate justice in one case in order to protect it in another. This episode allowed Johnson to take the lead with an emotionally resonant, character-driven performance that wades into deep, meaningful water. That’s no small feat.

It’s fascinating how few of Gotham’s law-abiding citizens are interested in digging into the bizarre nature of a paramilitary organization (the Crows) operating with near-impunity. So far, it’s only been folks on the wrong side of the law questioning the Crows – and Jake Kane, specifically – for their role in Gotham. Reagan expanded that a bit, although she was speaking about housing and gentrification which is a related but not identical issue to policing.

In a way, the GCPD’s eagerness to drop the Crows and bring back the bat signal might be telegraphing a silent majority that has more concerns about the way the Crows conducts business than they’re willing to say publicly. When a corporation is in charge of public safety it can be even harder to hold them accountable, especially in a city as volatile as Gotham where there’s always an easy bogeyman to hold up to scare people into submission.

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So far, Batwoman’s willingness to dive into these issues is what separates it most from the rest of the Arrowverse. The show isn’t just interested in social justice as it pertains to the identity of its title character, though it clearly doesn’t shy away from that. Gentrification, public safety vs the rights of citizens, and now corruption of the legal system and racial profiling are all major issues that the show is handling with more aplomb than the cringeworthy gun violence episode of Arrow that wound up never taking any kind of real stance on the issue and more narrative subtlety and depth than Supergirl’s devotion to #resistance, on the other end of the social justice on the CW spectrum.

Other notes:

I lOVE Kate with the red hoodie/black leather jacket combo and floofy hair, reminiscent of her costume.

This episode included a namedrop of Jack Napier AKA the Joker as one of many criminals that Stanton brought to justice, which sets my 80s heart aflutter. Check out the rest of the easter eggs from this and the other episodes here.

Alice took a bit of a backseat this week, but make no mistake: she and Mouse are up to some creepy Face/Off stuff, and it seems like of the two, he might be more emotionally stunted, more violent, and the bigger bad.

When Sophie asked Mary if she worked at the clinic, I so loved her response: “it’s mine.” Own your hard work and off-the-books success! Far too many communities lack safety net hospitals and people like Mary.

Is it just me, or was Batwoman’s “rescue” of Chris the Fist pretty harsh? I hope the guy didn’t get hurt.

Keep up with all our Batwoman TV news and reviews here.

Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2019 Special Edition Magazine right here!


Review

Delia Harrington

Nov 10, 2019



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