18th Oct2021

‘Batwoman 3×01: Mad as a Hatter’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

Batwoman’s season premiere is finally here and this season, Batwoman has a sidekick, Alice strikes a bargain for her freedom, and it looks like we are finally getting some of Batman’s rogues to appear!

What Happened This Week?

New Team in Town

After teasing it in last season’s finale, Luke, in the Batwing costume (name not official yet), is patrolling the city with Batwoman. Luke has an issue with Ryan calling him the “sidekick” but overall, the team seems to work well together. Since the last time we saw Luke, it looks like he has taken self-defense classes as he is able to hold his own against some of Gotham’s goons. He’s flipping everywhere and taking down criminals like he’s a seasoned vigilante!

Batwoman and Batwing’s, yes I’m calling him that till they give him a name, mission this week is to recover some of Batman’s villain’s weapons that are missing from the Batcave, as seen last season. Despite Batwing’s suit being a little glitchy and stalling out on him, the duo is able to take down several nameless thugs and retrieve a plant that once belonged to Poison Ivy.

At the Batcave, Ryan and Luke meet up with Mary, who is just back from visiting Alice at Arkham Asylum. Alice continues to play mind games with our heroes as she tells Mary their father is sending her postcards and wants Alice to get out of prison. Mary is frustrated as her stepfather has barely spoken or written to her since he went to prison, but he still finds time to contact Alice. I don’t care that Jacob asked Mary to visit Alice in order to keep her sane, at a certain point, cut your losses Mary!

Luckily for Mary, she has Ryan, Luke and Sophie as her new family, and they promise they will be there for Mary when she graduates as valedictorian from her college. Mary is not only nervous as she has to give a speech in front of the graduating class, but her stepfather and her mother will not be able to see her accomplish her goal of becoming a doctor. It’s a bittersweet scene as Mary has lost her biological family but has now been chosen by a non-related family that cares for her and each other deeply.

Speaking of Team Batwoman, the character with the least amount of storyline last season, Sophie, still has little to do this week. She looks into the mystery of Ryan’s birth mother (see below) but other than that, Sophie again is forgotten this week. Hopefully they allow Sophie to be included more this season and if the writers don’t, I’m not sure the point of the character being on the series.

The Return of Rogues

In Gotham, apparel from Batman’s old villains seem to sell well as a new buyer is interested in an old top hat that once belonged to the Mad Hatter. Once put on the owner’s head, the hat can control other people’s minds and do whatever the Mad Hatter wants them to do. Luke later reveals the original Mad Hatter was a neuroscientist who created the technology to cause people to do things against their will.

The new Mad Hatter puts this to the test by finding two friends in the sewers, it’s normal I guess in Gotham, and makes one friend kill the other friend by slicing his throat. The friend that just murdered his friend yells at the Mad Hatter, “Why did you make me do that?!” It’s a powerful scene that not only showcases the power of the hat but also the depravity of the new Mad Hatter.

The return of the Mad Hatter allows for the introduction of comic book favorite, Detective Renee Montoya of the Gotham Police. Montoya is a great character that will eventually add another strong female to Team Batwoman. Presently, Montoya is the detective assigned to investigate the Mad Hatter murder as she used to lead the Rogues’ Investigation team for the police and with Mad Hatter back on the scene, it’s only a matter of time for others to reappear.

Team Batwoman is watching the killing on social media as the Mad Hatter posted the gruesome video as a tribute to Alice. Seems our new Mad Hatter is a fanboy of Alice’s and will continue his reign of terror until Alice is freed from Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately for the Mad Hatter, Luke’s father, Lucius, found a way to disrupt the signals from the hat when Batman fought the original villain. Our team needs help though to figure out the Mad Hatter’s next move and to help with that, Ryan is off to visit Alice. Is there no one else that can help them?

Alice doesn’t reveal much to Ryan about the new Mad Hatter, but she does tease Ryan about her birth mother still being alive. Alice tells Ryan that her mother didn’t die during childbirth and Alice may know where she can be located. Ryan doesn’t have time for this side quest and Alice eventually helps Ryan and admits that the new Mad Hatter seems to be planning a tea party.

The tea party, surprise(!), is at Mary’s graduation so it seems Mary doesn’t have to worry about her speech as the Mad Hatter forces her to read a speech demanding Alice’s release. Sophie, Ryan and Luke realize that the Mad Hatter is behind this speech just before he reveals himself. He continues his insidious ways by wheeling the dean of the University onstage and forcing Mary to remove each of his organs, one by one until he dies.

Realizing Alice might be the only one that can stop the Mad Hatter, Batwoman breaks her out of Arkham Asylum and takes her to the graduation. Before she leaves, Batwoman realizes that Alice’s father has never written Alice in prison…she was hallucinating grocery store coupons as postcards from her father. After all the loss Alice has endured in the last two years, it’s completely understandable that she is slowly losing track of reality. Alice eventually agrees to help Team Batwoman in exchange for her freedom and Batwoman is desperate and agrees.

Back at the graduation ceremony, Mary tells Sophie that too much time has passed, and she has taken too many organs out of the dean of the university to save him. The only positive is that Batwing was able to use his father’s old technology to disrupt the Mad Hatter’s hat, allowing the crowd to free themselves from the Hatter’s mind control. This doesn’t last long though as he regains control and tells the audience to start strangling themselves, but luckily Alice is now here to stop the madness!

Alice plays mind games with the Mad Hatter and pretends to idolize him in order for him to stop the mind control over the audience. It works too as the Mad Hatter is smitten with Alice and frees everyone before going in to hug Alice. In typical Alice fashion, she then stabs him with a knife in the back. Oh Alice, never change.

The episode ends with Batwoman stopping Alice from escaping as Batwoman presents her with the truth that she never was going to let Alice run free in Gotham. Nice Batwoman…nice. After Alice is taken away, Mary is finally able to give her real graduation speech…to Luke, Ryan and Sophie and Mary is given a doctor’s coat as a gift.

Quick Notes:

  • Sophie does find out that Ryan’s birth mother is alive and to make a long story short, a crooked doctor paid Ryan’s mother $2 million dollars to walk away from the baby but she doesn’t know why. Sophie hands Ryan an envelope that contains her mother’s name, but Ryan gives it back as she is happy with the family she has made in Gotham.
  • Montoya meets Batwoman and asks her to team up with Alice in order to get back all of Batman’s villains’ toys/weapons before more new villains find them. Batwoman has no choice to agree to the new team-up as Montoya knows who Batwoman really is and will spill the secret if she doesn’t comply.

Quote of the Week:

Alice to the Mad Hatter: “Don’t ever meet your heroes.”

Episode Grade: B- (Good)

Batwoman’s season premiere did its job of establishing the new status quo with our heroes, introduced Renee Montoya, and set the stage for the return of Batman’s Rogue Gallery. It packed a lot of new information and storylines in 43 minutes, which caused to the episode to feel rushed, but it did a good job of giving hints about the upcoming season. It’s disappointing that the Mad Hatter won’t be a recuring character but the tease of more of Batman’s villains showing up has promise.

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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