10th Nov2021

‘Batwoman 3×04: Anti-Freeze’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

Last week’s episode was named Freeze so it’s only fitting that this week’s episode of Batwoman is named Anti-Freeze as this episode breaks the formula for the season and doesn’t deliver a villain-of-the-week. Instead, we are introduced to a new, in-the-shadows villain organization that controls everything in Gotham, Mr. Freeze’s formula is still causing issues, and we learn how ruthless Jada can be to her enemies.

What Happened This Week?

Rift in Team Batwoman

After being whisked away by one of Poison Ivy’s vines, Mary wakes up on a park bench, not knowing what happened to her. When she goes to tell Ryan and Luke about her mysterious night, Luke, still holding a grudge, ignores her and leaves. This sparks a disagreement between Ryan and Mary as Mary is convinced Luke shouldn’t be in the field due to PTSD, but Ryan needs all the help can get and still takes Luke’s side. I like how Mary is not backing down from her assessment of Luke, not only because she is a doctor but also because of how much she cares for him.

Luke spends the majority of the episode trying to fix the Batwing suit, including overriding the failsafe stopping Luke from using the suit. He eventually activates the failsafe and talks to an AI version of his father and while his “father” cannot give Luke all the answers to his questions, Luke realizes that he is not ready to be Batwing. While I appreciate the writers taking Luke’s PTSD seriously enough to temporarily ground him as a superhero, I enjoyed the Batwing alter-ego and will miss it.

A New, Shadowy Organization

While at a 30 Under 30 press junket honoring Gotham’s upcoming influential people, Ryan, Sophie, and Marquis meet up with Sophie’s sister, Jordan (welcome back!), who has reasons to attend the event other than publicity. Jordan, unbeknownst to Sophie, is investigating a shadowy organization called the Black Glove Society that is made up of Gotham’s rich and elite that has a hand (get it?) in everything that happens in Gotham. Jordan’s investigation at the event doesn’t get too far though as she is pulled into a room and frozen by one of Black Glove’s members.

The writers finally realize Sophie is still on the series and gives her a real mission this week! Her and Ryan find Jordan frozen and somehow sneak her out of the event and take her back to Mary, who is busy babysitting Alice. Mary does a quick diagnosis and tells Team Batwoman that she needs a serum to unfreeze Jordan and stop any aging issues when she is defrosted. Sophie jumps at the chance to help her sister and takes Alice with her to investigate Jordan’s apartment for any clues on who froze Jordan and why.

At Jordan’s apartment, Alice reveals what the Black Glove Society is and how they have been pulling the strings in Gotham for decades, possibly centuries and it appears Jordan, along with a few others (who are now deceased), was planning on exposing the Society. While Sophie is looking for clues in another room, Alice finds Jordan’s file on the Black Glove Society but must turn it over when the Society arrive at the apartment and surround Alice. Sophie attempts to even the odds, but our heroes are outnumbered and knocked out.

Sophie and Alice wake up and are tied to chairs in Jordan’s apartment and while the Society has already left, they do start a fire in order to remove any loose ends. Facing death, Alice confides to Sophie that she is seeing visions of people not there and it’s affecting her daily activities. Sophie is glad she admits it but unless Alice talks to someone, it won’t change. This impromptu talk is interrupted as the flames creep closer to the pair but thankfully, Batwoman is in the area and freezes the fire, thanks to Mr. Freeze’s old freeze gun. Again, Batwoman exchanges loving glances at Sophie and now it’s not “if” but “when” these two start dating.

Back at the lab, Mary is able to use plants (don’t ask) and some type of concoction to reverse the freezing on Jordan and stop any rapid aging. To be honest, it’s kind of brushed over on how Mary figured it out so the less said, the better. On a side note, with Jordan going after the Black Glove Society, it looks like Team Batwoman may have a new member soon.

Corporate Takeover

While Ryan being chosen as CEO of Wayne Enterprises is completely unrealistic (no college degree, no experience, etc.), she is still CEO and thanks to her brother, Marquis, she is invited to the 30 Under 30 event. Despite her best attempts to avoid her brother, the two are photographed together, which makes me wonder, what did you think was going to happen at a publicity event? Jada sees the photograph and it’s the final straw for her and she calls local radio host, Vesper Fairchild, to give her the scoop that Ryan is funneling money from Wayne Enterprises for her own personal use.

While the rumor Jada feeds Vesper is low-class, it’s not entirely false as Bruce Wayne actually set up the withdraws to fund Batman and later Ryan continued it to fund Batwoman and all of her toys. Jada doesn’t know the money is for that, but it still doesn’t look good for the CEO to funnel funds. Eventually Luke saves the day as his friend at A.R.G.U.S. (John Diggle!) agrees to a cover story that the funds are for a defense contract. Charlie, Wayne Enterprise’s and thus Ryan’s publicist, agrees on using the cover story but also agrees with the board that Ryan should stop down as CEO, or the company could be lost.

Ryan, never one to back down, meets with Marquis and asks him to join her in running Wayne Enterprises and take down Jada. Marquis doesn’t give her an answer but as he suggested in the prior episodes, this is what he always wanted…to be out of his mom’s shadow. Ryan, there is no way you can trust this guy; you should know better.

Speaking of Jada, the episode ends with Jada being revealed as the benefactor for the Black Glove Society’s assignment to locate Mr. Freeze’s serum. While Jada isn’t the head of the Society, it’s hinted the Society is able to be hired by any of Gotham’s elite and it looks like we know have our villain of the season revealed. Jada tells the Society she has one more mission for them…freeze her son Marquis!

Quick Notes:

  • Sophie confides in Jordan about her dream where Ryan was serving her soup (mmm, okay) and Jordan tries to motivate her to make a move on Ryan. Jordan’s sisterly motivation doesn’t push Sophie to actually ask Ryan out on a date but at least they both give each other a long, loving stare. Baby steps I guess.
  • Alice’s hallucinations are getting worse as now she is seeing these visions more and more and not just at Arkham. She has a conversation with an orderly when he visits her in her cell at Arkham and she even snaps his neck, killing him but it’s not real. It’s just another vision. Unfortunately for Alice, it’s happening much too often as the orderly “appears” again at Jordan’s apartment and the vision distracts Alice enough for the Black Glove Society to sneak up on her. She knows Mary is the only one that can help her, but will she let her?

Episode Grade: C (Average)

Batwoman slowed down the tempo this week and while the change from a villain-of-the-week is nice, overall, this episode seemed to be slow and a step down from the first three episodes. Batwoman did reveal Jada as the new main villain this season and while it was predictable, the journey to get there was fine. Aligning herself with the Black Glove Society was a nice surprise and will give Batwoman lots of nameless henchmen to take down until she comes face to face with Jada. While this episode was the weakest of the season, it did progress storylines and gave us hints of where the season is headed so overall it accomplished it’s goal but still not a “must-see” episode.

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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