14th Nov2019

‘Batwoman 1×06: I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

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There’s a new villain, the Executioner (Jim Pirri), in town and he not only has a giant ax and an executioner’s hood (and looks really cool!) but also has a flair for theatrics as he kills his victims by forms of capital punishment. His first victim is Stanton, an assistant district attorney in Gotham, as he creatively electrocutes him in a parking lot with the use of an electrical pole, chain link fence and water from a fire hydrant. At this point I do not know why anyone would be inclined to be a public servant in Gotham as they either end up dead or in jail due to corruption. Speaking of corruption, the Executioner is a former federal death row executioner from Blackgate Prison who learns the majority of criminals he executed were falsely convicted of crimes by a dirty judge, prosecutor and detective. The Executioner decides he will stand up for the wrongly convicted and take out the corrupt public officials by any means necessary. Hence the title for this episode.

Batwoman learns about the corruption from a video the Executioner releases, and she is intrigued by this cabal of corruption, but Fox has doubts. Fox has a personal stake in the now dead prosecutor as Stanton was the prosecutor that worked tirelessly to capture and prosecute the alleged murder of Fox’s father. Fox worries that if Stanton was dirty, his father’s killer will be released from prison and that opens up more questions about who actually killed the senior Fox. 

Batwoman eventually stops the Executioner, not before he kills another victim, as he is attempting to kill a corrupt judge (in his own courtroom). Here’s hoping the Executioner isn’t really dead and will be a villain in future episodes as the character’s moral compass makes for an interesting character compared to most villains.

Batwoman not only saves the judge, but her father too as he arrives at the scene and after some not so accurate science, she saves him from the toxic fumes the Executioner unleashed in the courtroom. It was a little forced to see Jacob confess to a vigilante (that he doesn’t know is Kate) about his feelings of guilt for not finding Beth after the accident, and blaming himself for Beth turning into Alice. It was contrived but the writers needed something to advance the strained relationship between Kate and Jacob.

All isn’t too happy on the home front with Alice and Mouse as their partnership has more issues than originally thought. Mouse feels Alice has grown soft due to Kate coming back into the picture and he feels Alice has lost her murderous side. Mouse and Alice continue to bicker at each other while holding a victim hostage and if Alice isn’t bloodthirsty enough, Mouse is as he shoots and kills the hostage, much to Alice’s protests. The episode ends with Alice revealing the master plan for them is to recruit Kate into their “family” and if that doesn’t work, they will kill her. It’s a plan that brings Mouse back into he arms of Alice and he realizes maybe the murderous Alice isn’t lost.

Alice continues to be a strong character and her attempts to make a new family for the one she lost years ago is another twist in her psyche. Mouse has potential to be a strong sidekick to Alice and with some more episodes, could be the Harley Quinn to Alice’s Joker.

Easter Egg:

  • Jack Napier is in this universe. While the local news is reporting on the death of the assistant district attorney, we are advised the attorney was famous for prosecuting Jack Napier, aka. the Joker! This isn’t just any old Joker; this is the Joker from the original 1989 Batman film! My 10-year-old self is jumping for joy on this piece of geekiness.
  • The Penguin was mayor. The series gave us two Easter Eggs this week as we learn Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin, was mayor of Gotham for a time and was famous for bringing back the “firing squad” as a form of capital punishment. These small Easter Eggs hidden each week are a great way to keep the devoted comic book fans entertained and adds to what a deep universe this series is set.

One Good Thing:

  • Kate and Fox’s relationship. I was critical of the Luke Fox character in the first episodes as he was whiney and failed at what he was supposed to be, comedic relief. After six episodes, Fox has become a pivotal character and confidant to Kate, as he is actually helpful with his designs her new toys, weapons, and armor. This week we learn a little more about Fox’s past, the murder of his father, and what led him to watching over the Wayne estate. Please writes, continue to give the supporting characters more backstories like this!

One Bad Thing:

  • Sophie. Sophie again suggests and volunteers for a job that involves Kate and/or Batwoman as she is on the case to uncover Batwoman’s secret identity, despite her secretly knowing it’s Kate. Okay Sophie, we get you aren’t over Kate, but the breakup was your fault and you have gotten married since then…it’s time to move on! I was hoping Sophie and Kate could have a friendship and not go into the convoluted television trope of ex-significant others that still love each other but can’t be together but the writers have decided to take the easy road on this one. Let’s be honest, since Sophie still loves Kate, there is no chance Sophie’s husband makes it out of this season alive, thus opening the door for Kate and Sophie to rekindle their love. It may be the chemistry between the characters, but I have no interest in that story.

This Episode’s Grade: B- (Good)

Batwoman went with the “villain of the week” route this week with the Executioner but at least this villain had a well-developed backstory to him. Yes, it was a warped moral compass but at least he wasn’t evil just to be evil. The rest of the episode was solid, as we learn more about Mouse and Alice’s complex relationship, Kate and her father begin the long road back to forgiveness, and the supporting cast is becoming more integral to the series. Overall, it was another solid and fun episode for a series that has been the most consistently good show on television.

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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