03rd Nov2021

‘Batwoman 3×03: Freeze’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

This week, Batwoman and Batwing continue their attempts to clean up Gotham and recover all the deadly toys taken from the Batcave before we have more copycat villains rise up. Also, Ryan gets to know her brother, Mary is in a moral quandary, and our heroes are looking for Mr. Freeze’s cannister of liquid nitrogen before it gets into the hands of a new villain.

What Happened This Week?

Never Enough Time

The episode starts with Mr. Freeze’s cannister of liquid nitrogen being found on the streets of Gotham. This time, it’s found by a pre-teen student as he is riding the bus to school. After trying to show off the canister to a potential girlfriend, the unstable cannister releases the nitrogen, freezing half the bus.

In the Batcave, Team Batwoman is working on a plan to retrieve Mr. Freeze’s cannister from the Gotham City Police Department’s evidence room, which begs the question: Why does Batwoman need to secure the cannister for Detective Montoya if it’s already at the police precinct? Batwoman breaks into the evidence room, but another person beat her to the punch, that spry 70-year old, Dee Smithy! She is the sister and roommate of Nora Fries, wife of the now deceased villain Mr. Freeze, who just happens to work for the Gotham Police Department at the evidence desk.

A little background on Mr. Freeze for those that may not be familiar with Batman’s nemesis. Mr. Freeze was a scientist married to Nora but when Nora was diagnosed with MacGregor’s Syndrome, he put her in a specially designed cryogenic chamber to “freeze her” until a cure could be found for the disease. Unfortunately, Mr. Freeze began to become unstable, turned to being a villain to fund his research, and was put in Arkham Asylum, eventually dying before finding a cure. Fast forward 30 years later and a cure was found for MacGregor’s Syndrome, Nora is freed from the chamber and is given the medicine but there is one side effect to being frozen that long with Mr. Freeze’s nitrogen formula…she begins to age rapidly in the three years she was freed.

With Nora’s rapid-aging, she only has weeks to live and thus the reason for Dee to steal the cannister and put Nora back in the chamber until Dee can find a solution to stop the aging process. By the time Batwoman’s team figures this out and Batwoman arrives at Dee’s house, our aging sisters were already kidnapped by unknown mercenaries working for a mysterious benefactor.

Batwoman is able to track the sisters and the mercenaries to Ace Chemicals, the only factory that still has cryogenic chambers, and is able to take down the villains. During the fight, Dee and Nora are separated and Batwoman assures Nora that she will not leave Dee behind, but Nora needs to leave now. Upon turning around from Nora, the mercenaries regroup and eventually are able to trap Batwoman in the chamber but without adding Mr. Freeze’s nitrogen formula, Batwoman will die of hypothermia if she doesn’t escape.

Back in the Batcave, Luke and Sophie notice Batwoman’s body temperature is dropping and is in trouble. While Luke suits up as Batwing to go save her, Sophie keeps Batwoman talking in order to prevent her from going to sleep in the chamber and lowering her body temperature more. Batwing arrives at Ace Chemicals, birthplace of the Joker persona, smashes the chamber and pulling Batwoman out just in time to save her from near death.

Batwing and Batwoman jump into the Batmobile and purse the mercenaries in a car chase through Gotham. Batwoman always does a good job with the car chases and this week is no exception. The mercenaries blow up a section of the bridge, causing Batwing to use the majority of Mr. Freeze’s nitrogen formula to freeze over the gap in the bridge, allowing the Batmobile to cross the bridge and continue the chase. Batwoman eventually stops the villains’ van and during a gunfight, Batwoman saves Dee, but the head mercenary is able to escape.

Doctor with Moral Dilema

Mary is given the spotlight this week as her and Alice attempt to build on their complicated, sisterly relationship as Alice needs to see a doctor after becoming ill. After running a gamut of tests, Mary concludes Alice is faking her illness just so she didn’t have to help Team Batwoman search for Mr. Freeze’s cannister. Upon further questioning, Mary offers Alice the chance to open up and admit she is having delusions, more than usual, as Alice thinks the tracking nanobots Luke put inside her are actually moving under her skin. The moment of sincerity is short-lived as Alice thinks better of it and refuses to discuss her issues.

After being rescued at Ace Chemicals, Nora goes to see Mary to be checked out and Alice does what Alice does…threatens to kill Nora if Mary doesn’t remove the nanobots. In a twist, Nora wants Alice to kill her as she is tired of living, especially as the aging has excelled and she only has weeks left to live. A frustrated Alice eventually starts to play mind games with Mary, telling her that Team Batwoman only needs her when someone is hurt on the team. While Mary may not fully believe her logic, it makes her ponder her place on the team and how she isn’t always honest with Ryan and Luke in fear of being pushed further away.

Alice’s games work as Mary confronts Ryan and Luke and tells Ryan that Luke should not be in the field fighting villains due to his PTSD from his prior gunshot. Ryan begins to question Mary’s diagnosis and once Luke assures Ryan that he is fine, and she needs him in the field, Ryan and Luke dismiss Mary’s opinion. Luke leaves the Batcave, telling Mary that she had no right to say the things she did.

A Family Affair

Picking up from last week, Ryan meets with her birth mother, Jada, and tells her that she does not blame her mother for putting her up for adoption. She understands Jada was young and did what she thought was the best option at the time (paying $2 million to a doctor to disavow a child being born is the best option?) and just wants to get to know her mother now. Jada puts it bluntly…not interested. Wow.

Jada tells Ryan that she should stop asking questions surrounding the birth and to leave the past in the past. If Ryan ignores her warning or even attempts to talk to Jada’s family, Jada and her company will destroy Wayne Industries and Ryan herself. And just like that , Jada’s son Marquis comes walking into the room and introduces himself to Ryan. Awkward.

Ryan eventually confides to Sophie that she is having trouble adjusting to the reality that Jada kept Marcus and not her. Later, Marquis unexpectedly stops by Wayne Industries and reveals he knows Ryan is his sister. It appears Marquis’ nanny growing up let it be known to him that his mother had an affair and his father sent her away to give birth. This is the reason Jada paid the doctor to remove any evidence that she had a baby and didn’t want to be found.

Marquis also visited his sister to make a business proposition for Ryan: Join forces in business to take down their own mother. Marquis understands his mother and the corporate world will not take him seriously until he steps out of her shadow and makes a statement and with Ryan as his partner, they can both shock the world. Ryan is intrigued by this offer but as Luke tells her later, Jada swore to destroy Wayne Industries, and this could just be a ploy by Jada to let Ryan’s guard down and allow Marquis to have the keys to the competition.

Quick Notes:

  • The budding relationship between Ryan and Sophie continues to grow and this week they were full-blown flirting with each other. It was so obvious that even Luke called them out on it. Next week, we see a tease that Sophie and Ryan are moving towards the girlfriend category and after the forced relationship between Kate and Sophie, I’m in support of Sophie moving onto Ryan. The actresses have a natural chemistry with each other, and the writers are taking it slow enough to build the relationship.
  • At the end of the episode, Mary is in a park watching the reunited sisters Nora and Dee talk about life and how Nora just wants to live the next few weeks to the fullest, when a vine reaches out from the bushes and pulls Mary away. Poison Ivy has arrived!

Episode Grade: B (Good)

Batwoman continues to improve and after only a few episodes into season three, the series has never been better. That’s not to say there aren’t issues, including lack of storylines for Sophie, lack of a new villain that will last more than one week, and the annoyance of introducing a new character and then not seeing them for a few more episodes (Detective Montoya), but overall, the series is hitting its stride after having a few rough spots the first two years. The writers are finding their footing after scrambling with a new lead actress after Ruby Rose left the show unexpectedly and the cast continues to get stronger with new additions this season.

This week’s episode packed in numerous Easter Eggs from Batman’s comic books and animated series as well as teasing a new love interest for Ryan to even creating tension with Team Batwoman and Mary. Overall, a very strong episode that builds anticipation for the rest of the season.

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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