04th May2020

‘Batwoman 1×17: A Narrow Escape’ 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 back with its first new episode in almost a month!

Alice and Kate are doing some sisterly bonding over a video game and are a little too friendly with each other until we learn it’s not real and is actually Alice’s fantasy in her mind. The origin of this fantasy is a result of a few sadistic doctors doing tests on patients in the basement of Arkham Asylum. This will not end well for the doctors.

After the torture session, Mouse and Alice are together in group therapy but so is a returning Thomas Elliot, aka Hush! Elliot is still obsessed with Bruce Wayne as he shouts out fun facts about Wayne (he can speak 40 languages!), but once Alice mocks him, Elliot returns to his villainous roots and stabs Alice with a shiv. It was all a plan by Alice to get Elliot’s shiv and upon Mouse’s next torture session in the basement, he stabs and murders the doctors. I told you this won’t end well for them. Alice’s plan has a twist though; she doesn’t want to escape, she wants to rule Arkham and with Mouse, now taking the physical features of one of the deceased doctors, she’s on her way.

Batwoman is back to her old ways chasing down a criminal but upon pushing him down a stairwell (he’s not dead at least), she begins to have flashbacks to murdering Dr. Cartwright. Between her military background, Alice playing head games with her, and murdering Cartwright, it was only a matter of time for Kate’s psyche to begin to crack. Due to this, Kate decides Batwoman needs to take a hiatus from her vigilante ways.

Kate decision to pause being Batwoman results in a few do-gooder but underqualified citizens begin dressing up as versions of Batwoman to fill the void. Unfortunately, they begin to find themselves in the care Mary’s underground clinic as they don’t know how to defend themselves against Gotham’s criminals.

The villain-of the week, the Detonator (oh goodness), is very similar to the villain in the Saw movies, as he targets “good guys” and makes them either save themselves by killing others or sacrifice themselves to save innocent lives.

The first victim this week is Gotham police officer Wilcox, as he wakes up to find a bomb strapped to his chest and a recorded message from the Detonator giving Wilcox a choice: disarm/save yourself but the people in the nearby bank will blow up or he can accept his fate and save countless of innocent lives. Officer Wilcox is obviously not an honorable man as he saves himself, thus killing several dozens of innocent lives. I like the twist that not everyone will sacrifice for the greater good. The Detonator’s motive is: It’s easy to be a good guy but are you really a good person when you have to make the hard choices.

Later in the episode, Sophie and her new sidekick, Julia, discover the Detonator is not the original Detonator. No, he is a copycat as the original died seven years ago and his mantle is picked up by Officer Robles. Who is Officer Robles? He was the first officer on the scene of Lucius Fox’s murder and was suspected of being bought off to frame Reggie Harris.

The Detonator’s next victim is a district attorney but unlike Officer Wilcox’s quick decision to save only himself, the district attorney calls Jacob and the Crows to save the day. With the assistance of the police, the Crows evacuate the area of any innocent citizens and give the district attorney permission to save himself, which he does. The only issue? There was a bomb in a skyscraper down the block from the district attorney, resulting in the building to explode and collapse. All that work and still citizens are killed by the Detonator.

The explosion causes collateral damage as the novice vigilante that Mary was helping earlier in the episode is injured. Kate arrives to Mary’s clinic just in time to see this, which leads to Mary giving a “take no prisoners” talk to Kate and revealing she knows Kate is Batwoman. With that, the true Batwoman is back.

After a lackluster motorcycle chase, Batwoman eventually captures the Detonator, but Luke arrives and pulls a gun on him. In order to save his own life, Robles admits to killing Lucius Fox by accident. The real mastermind behind everything? Thomas Elliot (cue dramatic music). Robles only meant to rough up Lucius and steal a journal of Wayne Tech secrets, but Robles accidently killed him. That seems a little suspect. I mean, Robles has been murdering people for years, but he only meant to beat up Lucius?

Luke wants to kill Robles for murdering his father, but Kate reveals she murdered Cartwright. Kate revealing what she did and how it’s tortured her ever since convinces Luke to let Robles face justice and not vigilantism. With Robles admitting to framing Harris, the Crows start to re-investigate Fox’s murder and who is put in charge? Sophie, who just completed her suspension.

Easter Eggs:

  • The group therapy session gives a plethora of fun Easter eggs. We have a person that thinks she is a cat (Catwoman), a person that thinks she is a magpie (um, Magpie), and even a rotund fellow that looks similar the Penguin. Here’s hoping Alice stays in prison longer just so we can see more of Batman’s Rogue Gallery.
  • The major Easter egg this week is Luke reveals that all heroes slip…even Batman. The reason Joker hasn’t been around in 5 years? Batman killed him. Wait…WHAT??

One Good Thing:

  • Thomas Elliot. The character of Thomas Elliot is fantastic in the comic books and hopefully his story transfers over to television. The series needed a new “major” villain as Alice’s story has seemed to play out for the season and Elliot is a perfect choice to fill the void.

This Episode’s Grade: B- (Good)

Batwoman returns with a solid but unspectacular episode. Kate’s decisions seem to be affecting her more than she thought they would when she took up the mantle and is rarely seen in superhero shows. Alice has a new game plan and much rather be a big fish in a small pond (Arkham) than a small fish in a big pond (Gotham) and now she doesn’t have to worry about Batwoman, the police or the Crows stopping her. Finally, the expansion of Team Batwoman continues as Mary is the medic on the team, Luke is the tech, and Julia is investigations. Once Sophie is eventually brought in, the team will be fully complete. While the episode was not anything special, it’s just nice to have new episodes!

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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