[Review] Batwoman Episode 2×04: “Fair Skin, Blue Eyes”

written by Kate Danvers

I’d make a joke about how I hope this doesn’t lead to a habit of poor communication between the heroes, but I remembered that’s the Arrowverse’s modus operandi.


Ryan is trying to track down the distributors of Snakebite, the new drug that uses fear toxin to give users a blend of euphoria and terror. Sounds awful, but then so do the effects of most drugs. After chasing down a dealer in the Batmobile (with a new red-and-black paint job), she’s drawn away by an alarm at a jewelry store. The alarm was set off by a kid who’s looking for his brother Kevin. He asks Batwoman for help.

I’m going to be really critical here for a second – some of the dialogue in this episode, especially that opening scene, is really clunky. I don’t know if it’s a writing thing or a directing thing or what, but the episode is really inconsistent.

Then again, no one in the episode says “We live in a society,” so it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen this week.

Having learned that a powerful warlord is keeping his daughter hostage on an island, Jacob takes the tactful approach of holding a press conference to say Kate is still alive and has been kidnapped, and he’s offering a million-dollar reward for information leading to her rescue. Luke sees this as a good thing – more attention and a reward means they have a better chance at finding Kate. Mary thinks Alice might be lying about Kate and doesn’t want to get her hopes up.

Ryan recruits Mary to help her find Kevin. They start by taking Ryan’s van to the neighborhood he’s from. On the way, Ryan tells Mary that she lives in the van. Ryan also used to live in this neighborhood when she was in a foster home at age twelve. Flashbacks show that’s where she met Angelique, her ex-girlfriend. One day, Ryan was lured into the van full of candy and comic books from every after-school PSA ever, and she was kidnapped by the “Candy Lady.” Ryan believes the Candy Lady might still be operating and that she’s behind Kevin’s disappearance.

This lady doesn’t really scream “child trafficker” to me. Still, I’d be afraid if I got in the van. You get in for the comics and the next thing you know, you’re making pies for a bake sale, on the board of a homeowners’ association, and registered to vote Republican.

Sophie finds a visitor in her apartment – it’s Alice! Alice wants Sophie’s help to get Kate back. She talks her way through Sophie’s mistrust by pointing out how by-the-book and risk-averse Sophie is when risks are just what they need to find Kate. Alice also mocks the million-dollar reward for information on the lady who owns a fucking island. Which, uh…yeah. Sophie agrees to help Alice with her mission for Safiyah, and it begins by locating a guy named Ocean.

Ugh, that’s how it starts. Soon she’ll need to find eleven more people. Then twelve. Then thirteen. And then they’ll learn that all they really needed was eight.

At the Batcave, Ryan tells Mary about the Candy Lady. She abducts kids who go unnoticed – foster kids, minorities, etc. – and breaks them by convincing them that no one else wants them, then sells them to gangs. In a flashback, the Candy Lady locks young Ryan in a room and says for every day she’s there, she’ll remove one jellybean from a jar of sixty. If someone comes looking for her, the Candy Lady will let her go. She hopes that at the end of the sixty days, Ryan will think the Candy Lady is the only person who cares about her.

For days, Ryan was held captive, until one day the Candy Lady tied her up and gagged her because a search party came looking for a girl. Ryan thinks they mean her, but they describe the girl as having fair skin, blue eyes, and wearing a red stone: Beth Kane. Because when white kids go missing, people canvass neighborhoods, offer rewards, and put their pictures on the news. When Black kids go missing, they’re just assumed to have run away. The social commentary is a little heavy-handed, but that shit actually happens and goddamnit, this stuff needs to be heavy-handed to get through to some people.

Sophie isn’t having any luck finding Ocean with her Crows credentials. Lucky for her, Luke has come to visit! Unluckily for Luke, Alice has stolen Sophie’s gun!

You know how it is, Luke – the Crows suck.

Mary has the idea to use Kate’s extensive research into Beth’s disappearance (including homes canvassed by search parties) to find the Candy Lady’s house. They search through Kate’s stuff at her apartment above the Hold Up, where Mary has been living since taking over as owner of the bar. Mary suggests that Ryan move in with her, and Ryan accepts. Ryan reveals that Angelique actually got herself captured by the Candy Lady years ago to help Ryan escape. Mary suggests contacting Angelique for help, but all Ryan gets is a “new phone, who dis?” Mary finds a list of houses that were canvassed in the Candy Lady’s neighborhood, and Ryan goes off (as herself, not as Batwoman) to find Kevin.

Alice hasn’t shot Luke yet, so Sophie suggests having him help. Alice doesn’t want his help finding the guy she has to kill – oops, she let that “killing” part slip. Sophie gets her gun back by throwing her phone at Alice, then asks Luke to stay and help. He finds Ocean, but pretends he hasn’t, so he and Sophie leave to “follow leads” while Alice stays behind to not be arrested.

Ryan confronts the Candy Lady, but she’s ambushed and knocked unconscious. While she’s out, she has a flashback to Angelique rescuing her when she was trapped in the Candy Lady’s house the first time. In the present, she breaks the candy jar and uses a shard of glass to cut herself free. She gets some cathartic punching in on Candy Lady, then demands to know where Kevin is. He’s already been sent off to the False Face Society.

Jacob follows up on information about Kate’s disappearance and meets with a man named Rudy, who claims to have seen an SUV pull up to Kate’s plane on the tarmac before it took off. Jacob is then taken out by the missing boy, Kevin, using a shock baton. This is all part of Kevin’s initiation to earn his mask.

Sophie goes to a location that Luke got from Julia. Ocean isn’t there, but a drug lab to make Snakebite is, and so is a woman who attacks Sophie. She’s saved by Alice, who followed her. Obviously, Sophie was keeping Alice out of the loop because she doesn’t know what Alice will do when they find Kate. Alice is clear on that: She’s going to kill her. She knocks Sophie out.

Jacob wakes up tied to a chair. Rudy hands Kevin a gun and tells him to kill Jacob. Ryan as Batwoman shows up to save him, and once the False Face gang members are taken care of, Kevin aims the gun at Jacob, thinking the False Face Society is his only chance at a family. Ryan talks Kevin down and asks Jacob to protect him until help arrives.

“Sorry Commander, no room in the Batmobile. Guess you’ll have to take A CAB.”

The Candy Lady – a.k.a. Candice Long – is arrested for child trafficking and both Batwoman and Jacob get credit. Jacob actually seems grateful that Batwoman showed up when she did, which I guess explains why he didn’t question her or try to arrest her. Or maybe finding out his daughter was the previous Batwoman has softened him a bit on vigilantes. I guess shooting your own daughter with a Desert Eagle can help even the most hardened private military commander that Batwomen are people too… Sorry; tangent.

Ryan checks her Kryptonite bullet wound and it looks even worse, but she continues to hide it from Mary. Why not tell her?! Seriously! Freaky glowing green veiny bullet wounds are probably the kind of situation where you ask for help. Ryan already nearly blacked out while driving at the beginning of the episode. Look, I get it, not having insurance sucks, but you’ve got rich friends now – one of whom basically owns an R&D company. Get that checked out!

Oh, and Mary decides she wants to keep searching for Kate rather than just giving up, so that’s good.

Alice sees a picture of Ocean in his apartment and has a flashback to her time on the island when she first met him – something she doesn’t remember. Okay, give me a minute, we’re going to talk about that.

Angelique finally messages Ryan back and the two meet at the Hold Up. Ryan tells Angelique that the Candy Lady has been caught, and the reason she didn’t just text that to Angelique is because she misses her. Oh honey, no. Angelique hired Zsasz to either kill you or rough you up, remember? Also, she was the one who attacked Sophie at Ocean’s apartment earlier. The episode ends on the two doing their childhood “pinky swear” thing.

It’s implied she’s the reason Ryan went to prison, she may have hired Zsasz to kill her, and she’s at least in enough trouble that she was raiding a drug lab. This is why you don’t reconnect with That One Ex.

As I already said, the writing is kind of all over the place on this one. Some of the dialogue feels like it’s out of old comic books and the plot is a little heavy-handed in places, but I think overall this is an important story. Maybe the script needed a second or third pass.

More of Ryan’s story got filled in, which is good. But if Angelique is going to be her love interest this season…oof. I might be judging too early. She may have been there as a vigilante to bring Ocean to justice, but I doubt it.

The more they delve into Alice’s past with Safiyah and Coryana, the more I think that was a hasty rewrite of their original Season Two plans. Maybe this is the direction they would have gone if Ruby Rose had stuck around and they still had Kate to work with, but I keep going back to that Season One moment where Julia warned Kate about Safiyah. Kate didn’t know who Safiyah was, but Julia thought there had to be some reason Safiyah was interested in Kate.

Now, that could have tied into this story with Kate just being Alice’s sister, and Alice was the one with the past with Safiyah. Or it could have been that Kate ended up on Coryana during her years of training in the new Earth-Prime timeline. Or that Kate went there and just doesn’t remember for the same reasons Alice doesn’t remember Ocean. Or they could have gone for something really twisted and Kate and Alice were both on Coryana at the same time but had their memories of that reunion stripped away somehow.

Whatever the case, I would love to read the original plan for Season Two.

Next time: Alice explores lost memories. And the Crows asking Batwoman for help? It’s more likely than you think.


Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Kate believes any bad pun worth telling is worth telling repeatedly. Find out the difference between a raven and a crow on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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