NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Batwoman” are present in this review
Batwoman has really been excelling over the past couple of weeks, finally appearing to be finding its footing as an exciting new DC television series for the Arrowverse. That is, until this week. “If You Believe in Me, I’ll Believe in You” at least continues to keep Batwoman moving towards an exciting climax for its debut season, which now appears to be set for a couple of weeks from now, after the season cut two episodes from its back nine order, due to production complications from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That gives the show two less episodes to wrap up its first season’s storyline on a truly satisfying note, and unfortunately, Batwoman hit another speed bump in this week’s latest offering, albeit not to the point where it went back to the low point of its earliest episodes.
The good news however is that Batwoman is continuing to better utilize at least one of its recurring villains this week, namely Tommy Elliot. Tommy continues to be on the upswing, after his awful first appearance in the Arrowverse around the start of this season, and that’s great to see, since he’s easily the most appealing Batman Family villain that Batwoman has featured so far. Tommy becomes very important this week, in fact, after it turns out that he’s been keeping Lucius Fox’s journal safe within a nightclub he owns, albeit one that’s managed by low-end Gotham gangster, Johnny Sabatino. After both Kate and Alice come by this knowledge, the race is on to discover the journal and its secrets, which Tommy claims will allow someone to penetrate the Bat Suit, and kill Batwoman!
Kate’s latest mission also happens to come hot off the heels of Mary wanting to join Team Batwoman (I guess it is basically a team now), only to be routinely refused by Kate. I suppose another bright side to this episode, on this note, is that Mary’s character continues to be surprisingly decent and useful here, if still a little excessively whiny and airheaded at times. This episode was actually a little inconsistent on Mary’s writing here and there, admittedly, because she seemed to switch between being an intelligent social resource and an awkward ditz at pure random. Regardless, Mary did end up proving her worth to Batwoman in the end, after Kate’s and Julia’s initial attempt to break into Johnny Sabatino’s club, The Lookout, inevitably goes badly.
The actual mission at The Lookout is where we get to the biggest problems with this week’s episode, unfortunately. For whatever reason, the writing and dialogue on Batwoman have regressed once again, and this means forcing more contrived scenarios through which Kate and her friends run into trouble when they really shouldn’t. This begins to happen when Kate re-encounters Reagan, in the mother of all coincidences (in the show’s defense, there is somewhat of an explanation later), and would rather flirt with Reagan than stay on mission. First, not only does this make Kate look like an irresponsible dope and an incompetent superhero, again, but it also leads into Julia and Kate both being captured, necessitating Mary’s intervention. Even if Mary manages to cleverly talk her way into a Batwoman death auction by Sabatino, and save Kate from certain doom, with some help from Luke and a remote explosive, the fact remains that Kate having to be bailed out by Mary is pretty damn embarrassing.
As for the explanation of why Reagan’s back? Well, it ends up relating to another returning Batwoman villain, Magpie, who is set free from Arkham by Alice and the disguised Mouse. Magpie is hired to snatch the journal for Alice while Kate and Julia are indisposed, which is kind of a neat idea, but Magpie’s presence doesn’t ultimately feel necessary here. The only reason that Magpie shows up in this episode, very briefly, I might add, is to establish a supposedly shocking connection that, honestly, I at least already deduced; Reagan is Magpie’s accomplice. In fact, Reagan is Magpie’s sister! While this is kind of interesting, it’s not an earth-shattering revelation by any means. Not only that, but Kate losing the journal to Reagan, and then Magpie, and then Alice, simply because of her libido, once again makes Gotham’s new vigilante protector look like an incompetent nincompoop. Luke is absolutely right to tear Kate a new asshole after this happens, because it was indeed immensely, inconceivably irresponsible for Kate to leave such a crucially important object in the open, just so she could go have sex! Seriously, why does Kate act like she doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together sometimes?!
Tommy, fortunately, fares a lot better here, like I said, and helps to salvage the villain arc of this episode nicely, especially when Johnny Sabatino and his goons ultimately end up being little more than fisticuffs fodder for Kate and Julia. Tommy even undergoes a crucial transformation in this episode that, honestly, makes a lot of sense, and rings true of his inspiration from DC Comics lore! It turns out that Mouse’s talent for replacing faces was indeed leading into Tommy’s big transformation into Hush, his familiar villain identity from most other Batman/DC media. After removing Tommy’s face and using it to fake Tommy’s death via another Arkham inmate being hanged in his cell, with Jacob and Sophie also turned into inadvertent witnesses to the ‘suicide’, Alice promises Tommy the face of whomever he wants. It seems inevitable at this point that Hush will thus make himself resemble Bruce Wayne, the object of his obsession, which could be another interesting way to bring Bruce into Batwoman, without actually bringing him into Batwoman. I imagine for the rest of this season however that Tommy’s visage will remain in bandages, even if Alice and Mouse unleashing him upon the streets of Gotham should nonetheless create a dangerous new obstacle for Kate and her allies next week!
This week’s Batwoman episode does find a mostly fitting way to bring Mary fully into Kate’s superhero operation, though it would have been nice if it didn’t need to once again force Kate to inexplicably act like a negligent moron, just so the show’s plot can move forward. Fortunately, Alice and Mouse getting Lucius Fox’s journal in the end, predictably utilizing the now-freed Magpie to fetch it, ends up being moot for now, in a more believable fashion, since Lucius naturally wrote the entire journal in code. Batwoman is still thankfully keeping its eye on the ball when it comes to furthering the all-important Lucius Fox murder conspiracy, and the way that this has now led to the creation of Hush for the Arrowverse has indeed brought a lot of formerly unrelated plot threads together in an intriguing way. It’s just too bad that Kate herself has started to backslide as a character, right when she’s welcoming her sister-in-law into her Batwoman operation. Hopefully a few rounds with Hush can remedy that next week, finally giving Batwoman a truly Batman-worthy threat to prove her worth against.
Batwoman hits an annoying speed bump this week, though still manages to do right by the Lucius Fox conspiracy, as Alice and Mouse race Kate and her team to Lucius' journal.
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THE GOOD STUFF
Mary finding her place on Team Batwoman
Tommy being transformed into Hush in a smart way
Alice and Mouse getting Lucius' journal, but being unable to read it
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
Kate regressing into sheer, selfish incompetence
Magpie still isn't being used to her full potential