[Review] Batwoman Episode 1×06: “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury”

written by Kate Danvers

This week, the show lightly touches on issues of police corruption, racial profiling, false convictions, and a failing justice system. However, I will endeavor to keep social commentary out of my recap.

Which is why it’s going in my intro.

Fuck the Chinese government, Trump should be in jail, corporations are not people, trans rights are human rights, black lives matter, law enforcement needs more accountability, religious doctrine has no place in our government or justice system, and the Bengals deserve to go 0-16 this year.


At Crows headquarters, Jacob is going over what they’ve learned about August Cartwright, the man who kidnapped Beth. Kate is full of “I told you so”s over Alice/Beth’s identity. They see a news report about the death of Angus Stanton, a district attorney who prosecuted Jack Napier (a.k.a. the Joker). A man in an executioner’s hood cut down an electrical pole, then flooded a parking lot with a fire hydrant. More like Electrocutioner, am I right?

Oh, no, this is the Executioner. Never mind. Anywho, Jacob is miffed that the Crows weren’t called in on this one, as the GCPD instead turned on a new Bat-Signal. As Kate runs off, Sophie requests a special assignment: investigating Batwoman.

Things are shaky between Alice and Mouse. Mouse had been given the likeness of a man named Dean Deveraux (whom they have kidnapped), but wonders why they don’t just kill the real Dean. Alice says her sister is watching her too closely. Mouse says she’s changed, but Alice just taunts him, then demands he get Catherine’s new weapon.

Luke takes the Bat-Signal as a sign that the GCPD has accepted Batwoman and encourages Kate to catch the Executioner. He’s got a personal stake in this because Stanton was the prosecutor who put away the guy who murdered Luke’s dad. Just casually dropping that Lucius Fox is dead in this universe. They start searching for recent releases who might have a grudge against Stanton and find one, but just then they intercept a GCPD dispatch about a hostage situation involving the Executioner.

At the scene, the Executioner calls for a Detective Donnelly to negotiate as Batwoman sneaks in the back, followed by Sophie. It’s a trap – there are no hostages, just pre-recorded screams and a trip sensor on the door that fires a row of guns, killing Donnelly and wounding Sophie…who then calls Batwoman “Kate.”

Rather than having the police, Crows, and presumably the EMTs outside help Sophie, Kate takes her to Mary. Uh…why? Mary’s clinic was closer, and Kate needs to protect her identity, I guess.

Mouse infiltrates Catherine’s company as Dean and gets a look at the weapon she’s developing. It’s another portable railgun designed to penetrate the Batsuit. Really? I was expecting something bigger and flashier.

Luke and Kate figure out that the Executioner is killing his targets using methods similar to capital punishment – electrocution, firing squad. Apparently death by firing squad made a brief comeback in Gotham under Mayor Cobblepot. They’re just name-dropping all the Batman villains now. I love it. The only other method used in Gotham’s recent history is the gas chamber. Kate goes to a warehouse that has cyanide just as the Crows catch their prime suspect. But the Executioner drives into the warehouse, slams into Kate with his van, and steals the cyanide.

Luke gets a partial license plate number from the imprint it left on Kate’s torso…all right, it’s actually the impact data from the Batsuit, but my version is only slightly more ridiculous. And I thought Cisco put too many features in Barry’s suits. The van belongs to Bertrand Eldon, a former executioner at Blackgate Penitentiary. By the way, in the comics the Executioner’s real name was Willy Hooker but the writers of this show must have known that I’m twelve.

Hee hee, “Willy Hooker.”

Sophie wakes up handcuffed to the bed – I’M SORRY, I’M JUST DESCRIBING THE SCENE. She’s all stitched up, but Mary doesn’t want her going anywhere for a couple of reasons: She’s still recovering and Batwoman told her to keep Sophie there and “Frankly, she’s scarier than you.” Sophie asks Mary if she knows who Batwoman is. Mary says no and she doesn’t want to know. Sophie tells her that she knows, and that’s why she’s not allowed to leave.

Kate breaks into Eldon’s house where she finds the container for the cyanide, but the only thing inside is a flash drive. Back at the Batcave, Luke and Kate watch a video on the drive. It’s Eldon’s confession – he believes Stanton and Donnelly were crooked, framing innocent people arrested because of racial profiling. Eldon unknowingly executed innocent people. Luke doesn’t believe Stanton would do something like that and worries that his dad’s killer would get a new trial. Kate delivers the thumb drive to the Crows via Batarang and frees Chris “The Fist” Medlock, the suspect they arrested.

I think she’s still pissed at Jacob.

Alice gets a call from Kate saying she has Mouse and wants to know why Alice sent him to steal a gun that can kill Batwoman. Alice says if she wanted to kill Kate, she wouldn’t wait until she was wearing the suit. Just then, Mouse walks in. It was actually him on the phone and he’s upset that Alice’s sister is Batwoman and that Alice has no intention of killing her. He kills Dean with the railgun and Alice looks shaken.

Oof. It’s really looking like Mouse is more responsible for Beth becoming Alice than August was. Sure, August is 100% to blame for the situation and for Mouse becoming the monster he is, but this scene paints the relationship between Mouse and Alice as an abusive one. He’s the one reinforcing the idea that the Kanes abandoned Beth.

Jacob watches the video just as Kate enters his office. He rants that Eldon think he knows better than the cops and lawyers who protect this city, and actually uses the term “Social Justice Warrior” to describe the Executioner. Ugh. They fight about Batman or some shit; I don’t care. That line soured me on this scene. Don’t borrow the YouTube outrage cottage industry’s pejoratives without commentary. Supergirl fucked that up enough last season.

Sophie tries to leave the clinic, but Mary catches her and calls her out for trying to expose Batwoman, as well as betraying Kate years ago. She also asks Sophie not to tell Jacob about the clinic.

Kate pays a visit to a judge, the last member of the cabal of corruption, who’s burning evidence in his office. He offers to pay her to protect him. She’s wearing a multi-million dollar suit and probably climbed up to your window with a gadget worth more than your car, dude. When she says he’s going to prison, he bolts and the two are attacked by the Executioner. Jacob arrives with the Crows and shoots the Executioner. They have a standoff where he says she’s no better than the Executioner.

JACOB: “I saved your life! Are you telling me I got it wrong?”
BATWOMAN: “Ask the Fist.”
JACOB: “I admit, I got it wrong. But you know the difference between me and you?”

She’s not wearing hockey pads? No, he’s accountable to the people of Gotham because he has to show his face. They’re interrupted by a deadman’s switch on the Executioner’s body releasing gas into the room. Kate keeps Jacob talking long enough for the gas to reach a saturation point where she can ignite it, burning it away.

The judge is arrested, the Fist goes free, and the cases the cabal were involved in are all reopened. Mary warns Batwoman that Sophie knows who she is and is probably going to tell Jacob. Kate decides to stop blaming Jacob for giving up looking for Beth.

Alice, meanwhile, placates Mouse by telling him her plan to bring Kate over to the Dark Side or whatever, and accepts the railgun as the fallback plan.

I liked this episode. It’s a bit of a weird one because the villain is clearly a murderer who should go to jail…but he also kind of had a point? The corruption was there and may still be there. He brought it to light in the worst way possible, but that just made him no better than the cabal. In the end, he was shot in the back by the commander of an overreaching private military organization. But hey, we got our social commentary that one time Kate and Luke talked about the Executioner’s motive.

The trailer for this episode made it seem like they were going to deal with Sophie knowing Kate’s secret, but the two of them don’t actually talk about it at all. We’re still in the show’s early days, but it’s building up a list of things that need to be addressed later.

I’d also like them to revisit Lucius Fox’s murder. Luke is holding his case file at the end of the episode, so maybe we’ll see him investigate the case himself – either to prove that the man behind bars really killed his dad or to find the real killer.

Next time: All right, for real this time, Kate and Sophie are going to talk.


Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Kate can be found on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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