12th Jul2021

‘Batwoman 2×18: Power’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

Batwoman’s season finale is finally here (much apology as I was on vacation last week) and months of storylines will finally be wrapped up…hopefully. The season has been tumultuous with the lead actress leaving and the writers tasked with creating a new character taking over the mantle, but the series took the challenges and will be better for it in the long run. Let’s see if they can stick the landing this season.

What Happened This Week?

Judgement Night

Black Mask has taken over all the television channels and has called on the citizens of Gotham to rise up and instead of just defunding the police, they should attack the banks, the police, and the institutions that keep the average citizens down. Much like V for Vendetta, Black Mask also placed masks throughout the city in order for the mob to be truly anonymous and thus, no repercussions for their actions. To add another kink into what will become a deadly night, he cut the power to most of Gotham, shutting down basic services in the process.

Black Mask, in order to help him achieve his goal, is using the Venom formula to turn his followers in a version of the Batman villain Bane, and he starts with Tavaroff. Subjects of the original Venom formula had a side effect of anger issues (go figure) and being unable to be controlled. Black Mask advises Circe that the new formula, which is mixed with a new Snakebite drug, will control their anger, within reason, because who doesn’t want a super-powered villain with at least some anger issues?

Team Batwoman meets by candlelight to go over their options to stop Black Mask and the rising mob, but Mary states she has to go to her clinic to prepare for what will probably be a very busy night. Meanwhile, Ryan, minus her suit, and Sophie take to the streets to stop the rising mob in the city and in the process, save the mayor. In order to stop the mob, Ryan realizes she needs Circe/Kate’s help and for that to happen, she needs to infiltrate Black Mask’s organization, but she can’t do it alone…she needs Alice’s help.

After Ryan refuses to forgive Alice, she gets a dose of reality from her stating Ryan knows she isn’t the hero and that is the reason Ryan is so intent on finding Kate. Alice’s diagnosis of Ryan is broken up as they arrive at the television studio Black Mask is broadcasting from and engage in a fight with not only Circe but also Black Mask.

While the fight is occurring, Ryan gets a message from Mary that she has the cure for Kate’s lost memories (see below) and upon Alice’s request, takes off in the Batmobile to pick up the new version of Snakebite, aka Venom. Black Mask, not wanting Circe to be cured of her memories, tells her to leave and he will handle Alice alone. During the fight, Alice reaches into the villains’ archives of tricks and uses Joker’s acid flower to spray Black Mask in the face, causing the mask to permanently stick to him. Well played Alice.

After picking up the Venom from Mary, Ryan takes off after Circe and a high-speed pursuit ends on top of the same bridge that Kate’s mother wrecked at many years ago. The story comes full circle when Alice shows up and is able to spray the new Snakebite/Venom in Circe’s face and then tackles her, resulting in both Circe and Alice to fall into the river below. The callback to the original accident that started Beth’s and Kate’s journeys down very different paths in life was tremendous and is fitting after all they have gone through the last two seasons.

As Alice and Circe are knocked unconscious under the water, Alice has a vision about her one true love, Ocean. The vision results in Ocean giving his blessing to Alice that it’s okay that she chose her sister over him and it’s time to let go. With one final kiss, Alice is finally able to let go of her past and all the anger that has saddled her for half of her life.

Circe/Kate has a vision as well, this one of her as a teenager being transported back to Alice’s kidnapper’s house and instead of walking away from the secret door holding her sister, Kate opens it and is reunited with Beth. These two visions were beautifully shot and written and allows the sisters to finally let go of their terrible past that has haunted them for years. The symbolism of Alice letting go of Ocean and Kate making a different choice and saving her sister opens the door for the two sisters to finally forgive not only each other but themselves. Well done Batwoman.

Alice wakes up from her vision and pulls Circe to the shoreline as Ryan is there waiting to help. They both start CPR to save Circe and after a few moments and many tears from Alice, Circe awakes and is alive. But she is no longer Circe as the formula works and Kate’s memories are back, and Kate has returned. The reunion is short-lived though as the police arrive, stopping traffic on a bridge to have a superhero fight does that, and arrest Alice.

Luke’s Rise

While Luke is the brains of the Team Batwoman, his lack of physical prowess has made him feel helpless. That is until he finds sketches of a Batman costume he made as a youth and realizes his father actually designed it! The suit is impressive looking and is a sleeker, thinner design than Batman’s typical suit. It even has a massive bat symbol in the middle of the suit that lights up, blinding the villains in the vicinity. Overall, the series did a fantastic job on designing the Batsuit.

Across town, Mary is at the clinic when a victim is brought in but it’s none other than Tavaroff, complete with tubes attached to him, pumping him with Venom. Mary recognizes the disgraced Crow and realizes the Venom pumping through Tavaroff is a new version of Snakebite that not only increases a person’s strength, but it also allows them to remember all their memories. Mary takes a vile of the Venom and goes off to find Luke as the Venom may be the key to having Kate remember who she is.

Unfortunately, Tavaroff awakes in the clinic and goes on a tirade (so much for less anger issues) while chasing Mary down for his Venom. Tavaroff finally catches up to Mary on the rooftop of a building and pushes her off to the street below. Just before Mary hits the pavement, Batwing, aka Luke Fox, flies in with his new costume, saving Mary and announcing there is a new hero in Gotham! The surprised look on Mary’s face when she realizes that Luke is behind the mask is priceless and after Luke has struggled the last few episodes, this is a nice “win” for him.

Luke’s transformation into a hero isn’t complete until he beats one of Gotham’s villains and in this case, it’s the newest villain, Tavaroff. The two fight in the alley outside Mary’s clinic but in the one negative of the season finale, we never see Batwing truly defeat Tavaroff. Heck, we don’t even see how the mob/riot is stopped, just Vesper on the radio stating the Wonderland and the False Face gangs were arrested and on the way to Arkham. For as much as the season finale did right this week, this part was a huge disappointment. Give Luke his moment!

Next Season

A few tidbits from this episode, setting up next season:

  • Thanks to the probation officer she saved last week, Ryan is released from probation early and is now a free woman.
  • Kate is reunites with Team Batwoman and over a few beers, discusses their future including Ryan being given Kate’s blessing to continue as Batwoman and Luke continuing as Batwing.
  • Kate is no longer wearing the mantle and her future is now in question as she is leaving Gotham in hopes of finding Bruce Wayne.
  • Alice is locked up in Arkham Asylum, next to Black Mask, and despite Ryan never wanting to see her again, she may not have a choice as Alice lets Ryan know that her biological mother is still alive.

Quote of the Week:

  • Tavaroff: “Who are you?”
    Batwing: “Justice.”

Episode Grade: B+ (Very Good)

Batwoman’s season finale is the best episode of the season and not only delivers action but ties up several storylines that arose this season. From the Beth/Kate moments to Luke suiting up as Batwing to Ryan finally accepting herself as a hero, this week’s episode was an emotional rollercoaster. Batwoman has been very “up and down” this season but when the writers focus on the three main stars, they rarely disappoint. Kate leaving Gotham is probably for the best as it allows the series to continue to focus on Ryan, a much more interesting character, and allows her story to evolve without the issues of the Kanes’ saga to hold her down. Overall, an above-average season was made better as a result of a great season finale, which allows Season 3 to start fresh.

I’ll be back next season for Batwoman but in the meantime, please join me for my reviews of Stargirl, Season 2 when it premieres on August 10th!

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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