30th Oct2019

‘Batwoman 1×04: Who Are You?’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Elizabeth Anweis, Dougray Scott | Created by Caroline Dries

Batwoman is wasting no time introducing new villains and characters to the series and as a result, the city of Gotham is more alive than most background cities in shows. This week, we have a cat burglar, Magpie (Rachel Matthews), stealing famous jewels throughout the city. I’m disappointed it’s not Catwoman but I’m also glad they aren’t rushing things either. Kate still has Alice’s boyfriend (and fellow criminal) hanging in the Batcave and Kate’s interrogation tactics are obviously not working as she hasn’t been able to gain any secrets from him. To make things worse, his wounds have become infected while in the care of Batwoman and if she doesn’t take him to a doctor, he’s going to die. Who could help take care of him that is off the grid? Hmm…. oh look, Kate’s step-sister Catherine runs an underground clinic and is now the newest member of Team Batwoman! I think everyone predicted this about three weeks ago.

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Alice makes her first appearance (in the series at least) to Catherine at the gravesite of Kate’s and Beth’s mother, but it’s not a social call. Alice threatens to expose secrets of the car accident and faking Beth/Alice’s death to Catherine’s husband Jacob if Catherine doesn’t supply weapons from the Crows to Alice’s gang. Alice gives Catherine 24 hours to decide. Catherine, instead of giving Alice a decision, sends her own gang after Alice. Alice’s gang is a little tougher though and ends up capturing the thugs sent after her and eventually torturing them for information on Catherine. One thug is released and sends a warning back to Catherine, which should amplify the gang war that is coming to Gotham.
Catherine eventually comes clean and tells her husband that after the accident, she planted the bones of Beth at the scene in order to give closure to Jacob and Kate. Catherine states she feels bad but did it out of love for Jacob and Kate, but Jacob isn’t buying it and leaves her.

Kate, in order to pull Magpie out of hiding, donates a prized piece of the Wayne family’s jewelry, the pearl necklace Bruce’s mother, Martha, was wearing the night she was murdered, to the local museum. While the ploy works, Kate is busy with her new girlfriend Reagan ((Brianne Howey), which allows Magpie to easily beat up Fox and steals the necklace. Later in the episode Batwoman is able to track down Magpie’s headquarters and retrieves the jewelry much easier than I expected. Magpie is not just a regular burglar; she is also a bomb maker causing chaos throughout the city. While it’s hinted that Magpie works for Alice, it really isn’t confirmed in this episode and the character of Magpie is left more mysterious than the previous villains in the earlier episodes.

Kate brings Reagan to the party being hosted by the museum, but Kate is only attending in order to stop Magpie from her latest theft. To the shock of no television audience, Sophie, Kate’s ex-girlfriend, is doing security for the event and makes for an awkward moment when she gets introduced to Kate’s new girlfriend. Luckily it isn’t a long scene and the usual drama on television shows doesn’t occur between the ex-girlfriends. Magpie sends a replica version of Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace to the museum for the party and only Kate and Fox are smart enough to realize the jewelry is really a bomb. The lights go out at the party and Magpie detonates the bomb, causing the crowd to flee for the doors. Batwoman eventually leaves her fight with Magpie to rescue some of the guests and allowing Magpie to escape with some jewels. Batwoman is able to track down Magpie and literally trips up the burglar as she is swinging from building to building, causing her to land in a rooftop swimming pool. Yes, you read that right. The whole episode is building to a confrontation between Magpie and Batwoman and it ends with the villain being tripped and arrested in a swimming pool.

The character of Fox, Kate’s “Alfred”, is becoming a very fun component to the series. As stated last week, the actor Camrus Johnson is becoming more comfortable with Fox and his small ticks and mannerisms that not only provide comedic relief to the show but give him some depth. Fox isn’t just the comedic role of the series; he is also intelligent and each week it’s interesting to see what tools he makes for Batwoman’s war.

Side note, my biggest pet peeve in films and television series is when characters receive text messages on their phones, but they don’t zoom in close enough for the audience to see what the messages say. Thankfully Batwoman has “pop out” messages every time a character receives a text message, so it’s clearer for the audience to read. Yes, it’s a small thing but I appreciate it.

Easter Egg of the Week:

  • While Kate is snuggling in bed with Reagan, Kate mentions Killer Croc and we are again teased with another famous villain from Batman’s past. If the Flash can have Killer Shark, Batwoman can make Killer Croc happen!

One Good Thing:

  • Kate and Reagan’s relationship. The relationship, while short, felt very organic and the actresses have great chemistry together. Reagan is skeptical of Kate’s horrible excuses to leave at the most inopportune times (thanks to Fox’s requests for help) but eventually Reagan runs out of patience, breaking up with Kate at the end of the episode. Since the series cast a known actress, Brianne Howey, as Kate’s new love interest, I’m hoping we will see more of Reagan.

One Bad Thing:

  • Vesper Fairchild. Real-life news pundit, Rachel Maddow, is the voice of the unseen character of Vesper Fairchild, the local political radio host for Gotham. While we never see her character, we do hear her voice throughout the episodes and while it started fine at first, the character has become more annoying in each episode. The character is supposed to give insight to the audience into the minds of the citizens of Gotham but if that’s true, it just paints the citizens as whiners as they complain EVERY TIME Batwoman doesn’t show up to stop a criminal act. News flash Gotham…your town is a cesspool of crime and one vigilante can’t stop it, no matter how good that vigilante is. Start taking some responsibility citizens!

This Episode’s Grade: B+ (Very Good)

Batwoman continues to pick up steam and each episode is “easy” to watch as the hour-long episodes fly by (take the hint Black Lightning!) when viewing. The actors and actresses are finding their footing with their respective characters but still have room to grow. The series doesn’t shy away from its comic book roots and teases bigger villains/characters/storylines for future episodes, which allows the audience to get excited for the future of the series. After four episodes, Batwoman is off to a strong start.
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You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.
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