18th Mar2021

‘Batwoman 2×07: It’s Best You Stop Digging’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Javicia Leslie, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott | Created by Caroline Dries

Batwoman has been on a roll lately with several strong episodes in a row but this week’s episode hit a major bump in the road. The episode felt like a “holding pattern” for bigger things in future episodes and by the preview for next week, all things will come to a head on the island of Coriana.

What Happened This Week?

Ryan Needs Medical Help

The infection from the Kryptonite bullet is still doing damage to Ryan and it’s only getting worse this week, even with the help of Mary. Not only is the infection from the bullet causing Ryan pain and weakness, but it’s causing Ryan to hallucinate that her mother is talking to her. Full disclosure here…I do not like when a television series (or a movie for that matter) relies on hallucinations/dreams to advance the storyline. It’s a pet peeve of mine and, in my opinion, comes across as lazy writing.

Back to the episode…Ryan hallucinates throughout the episode as her visions fluctuates from her dead mother giving her advice to Ryan stabbing and killing Alice. The infection is obviously messing with Ryan not only physically but mentally and feels the only way to get justice for her mother is to stop Alice…by killing her. It’s not very hero-like but in the grand scheme, it probably would be the best for Gotham. Mary and Luke worry about Ryan’s condition, and her mental state, and discover the only way to save Ryan from the infection is to travel to Coriana and bring back the Desert Rose. While Mary and Luke discuss a plan to retrieve the Desert Rose, Ryan, dressed as Batwoman, jumps in the Batmobile and takes off to get information from her ex-girlfriend.
Batwoman continues to hallucinate while driving, which cannot be safe, and eventually finds herself at her Angelique’s apartment. It seems her ex-girlfriend isn’t in the talking mood until Batwoman threatens to take Angelique to the police, which causes her to reveal where Ocean is located. Batwoman is suffering from the infection and her lapse in strength allows Angelique to push her over the rooftop, crashing onto the car below. At this point, how does Angelique not know Ryan is Batwoman?

Mary and Luke show up to save Batwoman and take her back to the Batcave. While safe at home, Mary makes a temporary serum to stop Ryan’s hallucinations and hopefully get the hero back on the right track. Sophie texts Mary with a tip that Safiyah has the map, resulting in Ryan jumping in the Batmobile in search of Alice and Ocean. Using some heat sensors and electrical gadget, don’t ask, Batwoman finds Alice (after leaving Tatiana’s story time) and crashes her hideout. Batwoman removes her mask (stop doing that!) and reveals who she is to Alice. Unfortunately, Alice has killed a lot of people and has no recollection of Ryan’s mother, which only infuriates Ryan more. The two battle and due Batwoman’s weakened state due to the effects of the infection, Alice controls most of the fight until Batwoman puts a chokehold on her. Batwoman is about to strangle Alice to death when one more hallucination of Ryan’s mother appears, telling her that she didn’t raise her daughter to kill. Batwoman releases the hold and lets Alice leave.

The episode ends with Tatiana picking up Alice on the street and heading to the airport to confront Safiyah on Coriana. Back in the Batcave, Luke is furious at Ryan, but he changes his mood when she tells them she placed a tracker on Alice and they now know where Coriana is…road trip!

Why are Jacob and Sophie here?

I like the character of Jacob and his pain of not only losing his wife and Kate but also his failure to protect/save Alice is important to the series, but at this point, I’m not sure if this character makes the series stronger. I’m not even sure where Sophie fits in anymore and don’t even get me started on where Pennyworth is! Jacob and Sophie spend the majority of the episode chasing down leads (again!) on Kate but now they are beginning to understand that Hamilton Dynamics is an evil organization that is doing everything in its power to retrieve the Desert Rose in order to profit from the miracle serum. After learning that Aaron Hellzinger, the villain from last episode, only wanted the Desert Rose to cure his illness, Jacob and Sophie discover Dr. Roberts has been running off-the-books and unethical tests on people in hopes of discovering the Desert Rose formula.

This leads to Jacob and Sophie issuing a warrant for Hamilton Dynamics and upon entering a conference room, they find all the executives and scientists hooked up to bags of blood and dead with blood pooling around them. A video is playing in the background on the television showing the failed test subjects. Adding a corporate villain to Gotham is not a bad idea but at the same time, I have no idea where this will lead.

The Birth of Alice

In Gotham, Alice is on a spiritual journey, as much as a psychotic killer can be, to discover her past with Ocean and her history with Safiyah. She drops off the deceased body of Ocean to Tatiana, but we all know it’s not the real Ocean as she murdered some innocent victim last episode and replaced his face with one that looks like Ocean…thanks Mouse! The trick works as Tatiana is surprised Alice would actually stoop to the level of killing her soulmate just to get a chance to confront Safiyah.

Tatiana is so impressed that she answers the majority of Alice’s questions about her past and how Safiyah shaped her. Years ago, Beth (before she is known as Alice) is taken prisoner by Safiyah and instead of killing her, Safiyah begins to mold Beth into one of her soldiers, much to the chagrin of Tatiana. Through the years, Safiyah teaches Beth the secrets of the island, including Safiyah’s belief that it’s her birthright to protect the Desert Rose, hence the army she built. The secret is that the Desert Rose was made from a woman’s life force, as evident by Safiyah cutting her finger and dripping blood on the Rose, causing it to bloom. Okay, that’s odd.

Ocean becomes Beth’s teacher in all ways of killing someone and like any romantic/murderous story, they fall in love. Beth and Ocean’s love causes them to wish of a happier place and they plan on running away together with the coveted Desert Rose. Ocean’s grand plan was to take the flower and sell it to the world, in order for him to travel and see everything he has missed out on since being stuck on Coriana. That’s a big no-no from Safiyah.

Safiyah learns of this betrayal and instead of murdering the two lovebirds, she enlists a hypnotist named Enigma to erase their memories. With a portion of their memories gone, Safiyah plays on Beth’s insecurities and anger towards her family giving up on finding her (it’s been 11 years!) and molds her into the Alice we know today. Safiyah tells Alice, through Enigma’s hypnosis: “You are going to go home, Alice. You are going to embrace this fairy-tale persona of yours, and you are going to imbue it with fury! You will build your own army. You will become your own queen. And you will carry out the vengeance on your family that you so desperately crave!”

Yes, Alice isn’t really evil, she is just made that way. Yikes…that is not the direction I would have gone because now, instead of having Alice redeem herself after realizing the error of her ways, she is now a victim and not responsible for her years of torment on Gotham and her family. It’s a “get out of jail free” card and while it will be nice redemption story for Alice, it loses some of the appeal knowing she never had control of her own criminal tendencies.

Easter Eggs:

  • Enigma. As punishment for Ocean and Alice’s attempt to run off with the Desert Rose, Safiyah hires the hypnotist named Enigma to erase their memories. Who is Enigma? My hope is that it’s some form of the Riddler as the name Enigma is often played around with in the comic books when addressing the Riddler and his name. Batwoman always temps the audience with possible future villains, i.e., Jack Napier, Scarecrow, Riddler, etc., but they have yet to pay off with revealing any of these villains. Here’s hoping Enigma/the Riddler changes that history.

Episode Grade: C- (Below Average)

This week’s episode of Batwoman was very inconsistent as the highlights were learning about Alice’s past and setting up the big episode next week but the lowlights of Jacob and Sophie not having any direction to their story and Alice only being a creation of Safiyah far outweighed the good. I’m interested in Alice’s redemption story but not as much as before since it’s revealed she is only a pawn of Safiyah and not due to her own choices and anger issues. Overall, the episode did it’s purpose of setting up all of our characters to arrive at Coriana next week but the journey to get there this week was filled with major potholes.

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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