20th May2020

‘Batwoman 1×20: O, Mouse!’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

Recap: Before we get into the season finale, let’s recap what happened last week:

  • Kate and Luke had a fight over trusting Julia Pennyworth when Luke found out that Julia was let go from her job as a spy for a British government agency for going AWOL. Kate still wants to trust her, but Luke feels Julia has ulterior motives. They all eventually make up at the end of the episode but trust in Julia is waning, especially when she tells Kate that a new mysterious villain is looking to kill not only Batwoman but also Julia.
  • Alice, Mouse, and Hush (in full comic-book costume!) have formed a tentative but hostile alliance, which is kidnapping linguists to decipher the code in Lucius Fox’s journal. No one can crack the code and this evil triumvirate resorts to killing them, which results in them eventually kidnapping Luke and Julia. The pair refuse to help our villains and Batwoman swings in and saves the day by trading Lucius Fox’s special decipher-glasses to Alice for her friends’ freedom.
  • While Batwoman is saving her friends, a riot breaks out at Arkham Asylum, freeing half the prisoners to run rampant through Gotham. The Crows, well Jacob mainly, blames this on Batwoman and declares war on her. Now you are all caught up and ready for the season finale!

What Happened This Week?

Batwoman has done a wonderful job of taking storylines from the Batman comics, changing a few aspects, and making them fit perfectly in Batwoman’s world. The season finale does it again with the villains from Arkham Asylum escaping and causing havoc throughout Gotham, pushing Batwoman to the brink in order to save her city. The storyline is similar to Batman’s Knightfall story in which Bane (in this case, Alice) releases all the prisoners from Arkham in order to weaken and tire out Batman, resulting in Bane paralyzing Batman. Except in this case, Alice doesn’t want to paralyze Batwoman, she wants to kill her.

The Crows are running around Gotham, responding to any and all acts of violence the Arkham prisoners are causing to the good citizens. Aboard the subway, convicted murderer Tim “The Titan” Teslow (Terrence Terrell), a former professional football player, murders an unsuspecting citizen, but there is something different about this villain. Jacob, even with Kate’s assistance, cannot stop him and Titan easily overpowers them and escapes.

Mary supplies Kate with information regarding Titan’s background, resulting in Batwoman paying a visit to his brother, Apollo Teslow (Austin Anozie) at the local stadium. It seems Apollo, who is also a professional football player, testified against his brother which resulted in Titan being sent away to Arkham. To be honest, I don’t think the verdict hinged on Apollo’s testimony when his brother literally ripped a referee’s spine from his body during a football game. I think the video of the incident would be enough for a conviction, but I’m not a lawyer.

Apollo tells Batwoman that the game changed his brother from a fun-loving man that would protect the neighborhood kids by walking them to the bus stop to an angry man that cared for nothing else but winning…well, that and murder. Right on cue, Titan arrives and after taking down Batwoman, he shoves a machete into Apollo’s back, paralyzing him and ending his professional career.

Batwoman, after using Mary as a middleman, requests a one-on-one meeting with Jacob Kane. Mary confesses to her father that the meet-up was her idea as Mary is the only one that can talk sense into her father. Batwoman arrives and offers a truce in order to save the city and to stop Titan from killing anyone else. Jacob agrees to the truce and their plan involves Titan’s former coach requesting, through the local news, a meeting at the 50-yard-line at the stadium.

Titan, like in any superhero cliché, shows up and after a brief struggle, Batwoman is finally able to break through to Tim and convince him that she knows something happened to him to turn him into a murderer. If this follows the comic books, it’s a drug that gives people superhuman strength but also causes them to go insane.

Before Batwoman is able to get any more information, the Crows shoot and kill Titan, and then surround Batwoman. Shocker, Jacob set Batwoman up. The Crows open fire on Batwoman and she miraculously escapes by using her grappling gun to fly her way to safety, just as Sophie and Julia arrive at the scene and give some disapproving looks to Jacob.

Alice and Mouse are hiding out in the sewers ever since their Arkham hideout burned down in the last episode. Friction is growing between these two as Alice is more interested in deciphering Fox’s journal, while Mouse just wants to leave town and start a new life. Hush threatens Alice (again!) as he held up his end of the deal, but she has not made good on Hush’s new face and Alice agrees to fulfil her end of the deal.

Alice pays a visit to the Gotham Geological Department to get her hands on a rock that can help her kill Batwoman, a little known meteorite known as Kryptonite. Yep, the same rock that can kill Superman and Supergirl…and just like that we have the crossover event between the Supergirl series and Batwoman that has been promoted to occur in January 2021. The geologist, before he is murdered by Alice, advises her that the only piece of Kryptonite in Gotham was taken years ago by Lucius Fox and is in Wayne Tower.

With Kryptonite safely stored away, Mouse begs Alice to leave Gotham with him and leave all her family drama behind. Alice lets Mouse know that she still plans on making a new face for Hush and must see through her plan on destroying her family. Alice’s obsession finally convinces Mouse she’ll never change, and he advises her that he is leaving Gotham to start a new life. Alice is disappointed, but promises to throw Mouse a final goodbye party. Sorry Mouse, your time is short.

Alice and Mouse have a heartwarming two-person party over a bonfire in which they burn the Alice in Wonderland book in order to officially “move on”. In typical Alice fashion, Mouse is poisoned because she couldn’t stand the thought of Mouse leaving her, like everyone else in her life. It’s a tremendous scene capitalized by the fact that Alice now is truly alone and has nothing left to lose. Mouse and Alice have grown so attached to each other that even though I knew it was coming, it’s still a shocker that Alice murdered him. Alice crying over Mouse and saying “Goodbye brother” is even more heart wrenching and adds more depth to an amazing character.

In the biggest twist of the season, Alice fulfils her promise of making Hush a mask, but it’s not an unknown person. Hush now has a face that resembles his arch nemesis, Bruce Wayne! Looks like “Bruce” is returning to Gotham next season.

Easter Eggs:

  • Besides the ode to Knightfall storyline, the local news reporter advises this isn’t the first time a vigilante was the most wanted in Gotham. Back when Batman was protecting Gotham, Commissioner Loeb declared him public enemy number one and put a warrant out for his arrest. This is an homage to the comic books and Batman’s first year as a crime fighter when the corrupt Commissioner Loeb, before Gordon was in change, didn’t want the new vigilante to take down any of Loeb’s shady and criminal businesses.

Where We Are At The End of Season One:

  • While Kate and Mary are closer than ever, Batwoman’s betrayal by her father (even though he doesn’t know that it’s Kate), makes Kate heartbroken and will change her relationship with her father forever.
  • Luke is able to destroy the Kryptonite that was stored at Wayne Tower, but Kate reveals Supergirl gave her a Kryptonite bullet in case Supergirl ever goes rogue. Kate refuses to destroy the bullet so it seems there still is some Kryptonite left on Earth.
  • Jacob and the Crows vow to find a weapon strong enough to pierce Batwoman’s armor and kill her. An evil Jacob is an interesting Jacob.
  • Hush can now act like a returning Bruce Wayne and no one will doubt him. If Alice wasn’t powerful before, she is now with a fake Bruce Wayne walking the streets of Gotham.

This Episode’s Grade: B+ (Very Good)

Batwoman ends its inaugural season on high note and while not every loose end was wrapped up, it does provide a lot of potential for the next season. Hopefully, Jacob fully embraces his obsession with taking down Batwoman as this is how Batman’s initial relationship was with the Gotham police. Since Mouse is dead, Alice is now free from any constraints and her teaming with the psychotic Hush could bring some Joker-esque fun to the series. In addition to all this, Kate finally has a strong team to help her fulfil her destiny of taking up the mantle of the Bat and protecting Gotham.

Batwoman, as a series, became a much stronger show once the writers leaned into Batman’s comic book roots, while still having a realistic but fun approach. Batwoman’s first season provided an vast amount of enjoyment and I’m looking forward to its return in January 2021.

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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