18th Jun2021

‘Batwoman 2×16: Rebirth’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

After a few less-than-stellar episodes, Batwoman aired one of their best episodes of the season this week. All the issues surrounding Luke Fox came to a head, Ryan gets a little more closure and we may have seen the last of Jacob! Let’s take a look.

What Happened This Week?

Luke’s Journey

While Luke is recovered physically from being shot by Agent Tavaroff of the Crows, he has a long way to go mentally. It also doesn’t help that the recently arrested Tavaroff is now free on bond and surrounds himself with his fellow corrupt Crows, bragging about their accomplishments all around Gotham. After Luke admits to Ryan that he never wanted their help and wished he would have died, in order to stay with his father in the afterlife, he takes a leave of absence from Team Batwoman to find what his life means anymore.

Luke’s journey takes him to an exclusive bar that only allows law enforcement and government personal. Luke is able to find Tavaroff at the bar and after a tense exchange of words and threats, the two decide to settle it over a game of poker in the back room of the bar. Not my first thought on how this would go, but it’s better than someone getting killed. To add some intrigue to the game, Arrow’s own Diggle shows up (he’s in town for work) and buys himself into the card game! Seeing Diggle in another Arrowverse series is always a treat and is a welcomed surprise.

Tavaroff, with the support of his Crow cronies, is in control of the poker game until Luke goes “all in”, a challenge Tavaroff cannot walk away from. Luke pulls out the surprise win and not only takes Tavaroff’s money but also Tavaroff’s friends’ money as they ponied up the extra amount to challenge Luke.

Losing a poker game to someone he thinks is “inferior” to him does not sit well for Tavaroff and he finds Luke outside the bar, walking down a deserted alley. Come on Luke, you know better than that. After getting a few punches in, Tavaroff is in full control of the fight, and probably would have killed him if not for Diggle showing up and chasing Tavaroff away.

After physically saving him, Diggle takes Luke aside and saves him mentally as well as he tells Luke he can related to what he is thinking lately as Diggle’s own father died at a young age. Diggle tells Luke that it’s important for him to do something with his life that will matter and he cannot give up yet. Diggle inspires Luke to “live another day” and in doing so, I see a future where Luke is Gotham’s newest vigilante. Before leaving, Diggle admits the real reason he is in Gotham is to see a neurologist as he has issues with remembering things after years of working side-by-side with Green Arrow. Don’t you dare kill off Diggle!

Kate’s Return

Alice and Jacob, after kidnapping Circe, use a DNA test and fingerprints to confirm what we all knew…Circe is actually Kate Kane. In a funny moment, Alice introduces Ocean to her father as her “boy toy” and this becomes the oddest first-time meeting between a father and his criminal daughter’s boyfriend ever. Using personal items from Kate’s past, Alice and Jacob are able to jog Kate’s memory and start to reverse Enigma’s brainwashing. Unfortunately, the brainwashing was so deep by Enigma that it will take awhile before Kate can fully accept and remember her past and she needs Alice to accomplish this goal.

Safiyah returns this week and with the help of Black Mask’s False Face gang, Jacob and Alice are kidnapped in order to prevent Kate from remembering more of her former life. By coincidence, Batwoman is in the area and is able to help Kate escape to Wayne Tower where her loving sister Mary is waiting for her. Kate doesn’t remember Mary but somehow remembers Sophie, which breaks Mary’s heart.

Jacob is being held captive by Black Mask but the facade is up as Black Mask realizes Jacob knows who he really is behind the mask. As a result, Roman/Black Mask goes into super-villain monologue mode and reveals his gang is actually Gotham police officers. At this point, I’m all in favor of defunding this police department as well as the rest of Gotham government because this city is ripe with corruption in all areas. The corrupt police officers arrest Jacob for abetting/assisting Alice in her crimes and he is hauled off to jail in front of the media.

With the camera lights on him, Jacob admits Alice is really his daughter but calls her by her real name, Beth. He defends his daughter as he states she is as much as a victim as the people terrorized by the villains of Gotham. Alice, watching this on television, is moved to tears and finally is able to accept her father really did the best job possible and never gave up hope on her.

Meanwhile, Alice is being held captive by Safiyah as she still holds a grudge against Alice for burning her Desert Rose garden to the ground. Batwoman swoops in before Safiyah can take out her anger on Alice and offers to exchange the last known Desert Rose, that Ryan’s mother gave to her, in exchange for Alice’s freedom. Safiyah’s need for the Desert Rose overwhelms her rage against Alice and agrees to the deal with Batwoman.

All is not well though as Safiyah’s rage did cause her to hire Tatiana to assassinate Ocean in order to get some retribution against Alice. Alice confronts Tatiana and stabs her but as in all DC shows, the chance of Tatiana staying dead is slim. Speaking of death, Alice runs to her subway car hideout and finds her boy toy Ocean with a slit throat, courtesy of Tatiana. Now this death might actually stick.

Quick Thoughts – A few other quick storylines from this week:

  • Roman Sionis/Black Mask’s cosmetic company, Janus Cosmetics, is releasing a new cream, Rebirth, that can heal facial damage in victims by using the same cream Alice uses to make her masks. How this relates to the overall storyline, we have to wait and see, but my guess is that a lot of customers are going to have an adverse reaction to this cosmetic line.
  • Jacob, before being transferred to Metropolis (!) prison, makes a phone call to Mary and tells her that she is the one now in control of saving both her sisters. It’s a heavy burden Jacob puts on Mary but one she is up to the challenge.
  • Safiyah doesn’t seem as upset as Roman about Circe/Kate finding out about her past. Instead, Safiyah will reveal everything to Kate and let her decide her future.

Quote of the Week

  • Luke Fox (to Tavaroff): “I’ve run from this fight my whole life and it has gotten me nowhere.”

Episode Grade: B (Good)

Batwoman’s run of average episodes finally ends as this was a “return to form” and similar to the stronger episodes at the beginning of the season. While Ryan’s journey was originally the heart of the season, it has now taken a back seat in the last few episodes to Luke’s emotional and more powerful journey. There are only two episodes left in the season and outside of Luke taking the mantle of another Bat-vigilante, the rest of the season is still a mystery on how it concludes. Overall, this week’s episode was light on the action but more than made up for it with the emotional gut-punches.

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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