17th Feb2021

‘Batwoman 2×04: Fair Skin, Blue Eyes’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

After a hiatus last week due to the Super Bowl here in the States, Batwoman returns with a change of pace as Batwoman is taking on a missing child case. This week’s episode also brings together unlikely people working together for a greater good, including Ryan and Mary on the missing child case while Sophie reluctantly teams with Alice to find Kate!

What Happened This Week?

The Missing Persons Case

Snakebite, the drug we were introduced to on the last episode, is making its way throughout Gotham and is becoming more and more addictive to the users. The drug is part fantasy/party drug and part fear toxin (thanks Scarecrow!) and while it gives its users an extraordinary high, it also is quite deadly. Batwoman is on the case of trying to solve who is the head of the False Face gang, the main dealer of Snakebite, and that requires her to put the fear of God into your average Snakebite dealer. While chasing down one dealer, Batwoman is interrupted by a little kid putting a “Missing” poster sign on a jewelry store. The poster is for his 15-year-old brother, Kevin, Johnson, who has been missing for two months but no one in Gotham seems to care as they are in the foster care system and do not have parents concerned for them. Batwoman decides to help as Kevin and his brother are in the same foster care system that Ryan grew up in, which opens the door for multiple flashbacks to Ryan’s childhood. Ryan enlists Mary to help her search for Kevin, which results in a detective team that I never knew I needed until this episode. Ryan lets Mary into her childhood by explaining to her that the same person that abducted her as a child is most likely still preying on foster children ten years later.

The flashbacks details Ryan’s tumultuous past, including a meeting between a 13-year-old Ryan and an average, middle-aged woman known as the Candy Lady, at the local comic bookstore. The woman offers Ryan an opportunity to pick out a few of her college-bound son’s comic books, which is not at all creepily just sitting in her van, but Ryan is too street smart for this woman. That is until the young Ryan eventually decides the appeal of comic books is too much (I’m with you Ryan) and jumps into the woman’s van, resulting in the woman locking Ryan inside and abducting her.

The Candy Lady takes Ryan back to her house and places Ryan in the attic with a bed and a jar full of jellybeans. Despite Ryan’s pleading, the kidnapper will only let her go if someone comes to “claim” Ryan. The kidnapper states that when no one comes searching for Ryan in sixty days, Ryan will realize the kidnapper is the only one that cares for her. The kidnapper reinforces this twisted sense of love by taking one jellybean a day from the jar and once the jar is emptied after 60 days, Ryan will realize no one is searching for her and in theory, is broken.

Ryan’s hopes continue to diminish each day as less and less jellybeans are in the jar. She fully realizes her hope is gone when a local volunteer search party comes knocking at the Candy Lady’s door, in search of a 13-year-old girl. Ryan, looking on from the attic window, thinks her savior is here, but unfortunately the search party is looking for a 13-year-old white girl with a red necklace. Ryan realized at that point, no one even knew she was missing, except for her only friend, Angelique. Angelique, another foster child, purposely gets herself kidnapped by the Candy Lady in order to save Ryan. While at the Candy Lady’s house, Angelique and Ryan develop a plan to escape, involving knocking their kidnapper out with the jellybean jar and running from the house. It may not be the most tactful, but it does the job.

Back in the present, Mary realizes the missing 13-year-old white girl the volunteer search party was searching for many years ago was Beth Kane, aka Alice. Well, that is convenient. Using the old search logs that her father kept, Mary is able to narrow down which volunteer search group it was and the location of the Candy Lady. Ryan takes off to stop the Candy Lady, but refuses to suit up as Batwoman as she wants her kidnapper to see Ryan survived the ordeal and the Candy Lady didn’t break her. Ryan arrives at the Candy Lady’s house and confronts her, stating she knows the Candy Lady has abducted Kevin. Before Ryan can take her in, the Candy Lady’s henchmen sneak up on Ryan and taser her, knocking out our hero. Ryan wakes up in the same attic she was held in ten years ago, but this time, Ryan is more prepared and is able to free herself. The Candy Lady goes to check on her newest victim, but Ryan is ready and easily defeats her. Ryan learns that Kevin is no longer being held by the Candy Lady and is now a member of the False Face gang. See below for the conclusion of this storyline!

The Hunt for Kate

Jacob decides to go on the offensive (finally!) by holding a press conference and revealing that his daughter, Kate, is alive and being held captive. Jacob asks for help, in the form of a $1 million reward, bringing widespread press and attention to his daughter’s case. The press conference does bring Alice out of hiding and into Sophie’s life, literally, as she is waiting for Sophie at her apartment. Alice offers to help Sophie find Kate as Jacob’s reward of a million dollars will not be enough to have Safiyah’s own people turn on her. Alice has a point; Safiyah has her own island and unlimited power…no lowly henchman is going to take a chance on getting on Safiyah’s bad side for a cool million.

Sophie refuses to work with Alice, so Alice offers a clue as an olive branch…find a man named Ocean who is connected to the drug Snakebite, and that will help them lead to Kate. Alice continues to play mind games with Sophie and insists on working with Sophie to find Kate. This uncomfortable meeting is interrupted by Luke Fox showing up at Sophie’s apartment and having a gun pointed at him by Alice. Eventually, Sophie is able to get the gun back from Alice while also learning that Safiyah has tasked Alice with not only finding Ocean but also killing him. Eventually this team-up is short lived as Alice learns Sophie is searching for Ocean on her own and they each will do their own investigation. While that was anti-climactic.

Jacob’s reward brings a tip from a local criminal, but Jacob is desperate for answers and decides to meet with this informant at a local warehouse. You are smarter than this Jacob! To the surprise of no one, Jacob is knocked out in a sneak attack by none other than the formerly kidnapped Kevin. Well, that is one way to tie the storylines together. Kevin’s initiation into the gang isn’t completed until he kills someone, in this case Jacob. Kevin’s hesitation to murder someone is all that is needed for Batwoman to swoop in and save the day. Batwoman takes out the gang except for their newest recruit, Kevin, who is so desperate for a family that he is willing to kill for the False Face gang. Batwoman is able to talk Kevin into putting the gun down and explaining to him that he does matter, something she wishes someone told her years ago. Jacob promises to look after Kevin by placing him and his brother in protective custody.

Easter Eggs:

  • Ma Gunn. The Candy Lady’s response for taking Ryan as a child and later Kevin is very reminiscent of Ma Gunn from the Batman comic books. In the books, Ma Gunn was a tough older woman that ran a boarding school that appeared to be on the “up and up” and even Batman thought it was a good place. Batman caught a street thug named Jason Todd attempting to steal the Batmobile’s tires and put him in care of Ma Gunn and her boarding school. Eventually Batman learns Ma Gunn was using the boarding school as front to recruit kids from the street to run her illegal activities, resulting in Batman shutting it down and saving Jason Todd, who would eventually go on to become the second Robin. The Candy Lady is very similar to Ma Gunn as she not only preys on the foster children of Gotham and the homeless, but she also trains and supplies them as new gang members to the False Face gang. Not only that, the Candy Lady, inadvertently, gives Ryan the motivation years later to help the less fortunate and gives her the motivation to become a vigilante, similar to Jason Todd in the comic books.

Episode Grade: B (Good)

After a fantastic episode last week, Batwoman continues the streak this week with another strong and fun episode. The casting of Javicia Leslie has provided levity to the series while also adding a sense of purpose to the character of Batwoman. Each week I continue to enjoy Leslie’s performance and in a few short weeks, the writers seem to have realized who the character or Ryan really is, something I never felt they were able to do with Kate last season.

This episode also adds a few new characters, something the series has been needing since the start of the new season, by adding Ocean, a former lover of Alice’s, and by bringing in Ryan’s childhood friend, Angelique, a former burglar who may be set up to serve as Batwoman’s sidekick. We are only introduced to these character in the last few minutes of the episode, but adding a few new characters is just what the series needs.
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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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