[Review] Batwoman Episode 2×10: “Time Off For Good Behavior”

written by Kate Danvers

Remember in Season One, back before the writers remembered that ACAB, when they tried to portray the Crows as having at least a shred of competence and credibility? Back when “The Crows suck” was just my meme and not the show’s main theme?

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

A Gotham News crew catches Batwoman shutting down one of the Snakebite distribution centers. After beating up some goons and taking one down with a cool bola throw, she grabs the mic from the reporter and cuts a wrestling promo. Watch out, Black Mask, because Batwoman is coming for you at Wrestlemania! OOOH YEAH!

Jacob gets chloroformed by a False Face Society goon because no one ever fucking checks their back seat in the Crows’ parking garage. Seriously, Julia, Jacob, and Sophie have all been caught by surprise this way. I think it’s happened more than once to Jacob. Anyway, he dreams about the day he and Kate went to the Cartwright house to search for Beth, only this time he saves her. He then wakes up with a Snakebite injector in his arm. Uh oh.

Luke is happy about Ryan’s news appearance? He’s softened up a bit on Batwoman making media appearances, I guess. I’m sure Bruce would still hate that, but I don’t think he should get a say anymore. Luke has found no leads on Black Mask, even with the Batwoman killed his daughter thing because, and I’m quoting Luke here, “Kate never killed anyone’s daughter.” Careful wording there.

*cough*August deserved it*cough*

Ryan visits Angelique in prison. She tries to talk her into telling the truth, saying Angelique doesn’t have to protect her; she can protect herself. Angelique takes that to mean Batwoman will protect Ryan, and asks if the two are an item. Ryan assures her it’s not like that.

The only woman she’s been dating for months is currently in prison so…I mean, it’s probably kind of like that.

I always wonder how many visiting rooms in prisons actually have the glass partition and phones. Obviously every single one in fiction but–wait, is this the same one from The Flash Season One?

At the community center opening, Jordan gives a speech and thanks Mary and Ryan for their contributions toward getting the place running. Horten Spence, a journalist for the Gotham Gazette, interrupts the speech to ask about the community center’s security in such a dangerous neighborhood. He’s shut down by Imani, the director of the center’s tutoring program. Later, a masked man enters carrying a lightning gun and does a lot of damage to the center.

The media dub the attacker “Kilovolt,” which Luke takes issue with because the lightning gun would have way more output than that. Personally, I would have gone with “Jigawatt,” but that’s just me. The Bat-Team tries to figure out why someone with that kind of firepower would attack a community center. Ryan suggests Spence did it because he was after a story. Luke does a Google and learns that Horton Spence was fired from the Gotham Gazette months ago.

Julia is retracing her steps to find the gaps in her memory. Expense reports show an extensive travel record that she doesn’t remember. Sophie asks if she was drinking at the time and Julia confirms that she was…somehow…even though she doesn’t remember traveling at all. Oh well! Alcohol-induced memory loss. Case closed. Well, no, luckily Alice calls in a tip to the Crows about a break-in at the Cartwright residence to rescue Julia from her Crows-influenced “investigation skills.” Also the tip requested “Agent Penny Dreadful,” which is kind of cute.

Ah yes, my favorite subgenre of fiction: Enemies to Mild Inconveniences.

Julia mocks Alice for making prank calls. Alice threatens Julia with murder. Julia scoffs, saying Alice won’t kill her because she’s lonely what with Kate gone and the new Batwoman not really giving a damn about her. YEAH, FUNNY HOW THAT WORKS. Also, Julia, you walked in there alone with no backup when you knew it was Gotham’s most wanted calling you there and you lowered your gun when you saw her. You don’t get to mock anyone.

Alice wants help finding Enigma, and her bargaining chip is leaving Gotham forever. Or, you know…YOU COULD ARREST HER, JULIA. Beebo Christ, I know they’re struggling to find things for Alice to do now that she’s no longer related to the eponymous character, but every scene she’s in necessitates everyone else in the room forgetting who she is for the episode. Julia becomes interested when Alice says Enigma specializes in erasing memories.

Speaking of Enigma, she’s been a consultant for the Crows under her real name – Evelyn Rhyme – because the Crows don’t do basic fucking background checks. They probably have Harleen Quinzel in their Human Resources department, Edward Nygma as a data analyst, and Joe Kerr as their GCPD liaison. Jacob asks Evelyn how Snakebite affects the brain. She explains that it targets the part of the brain that deals with regret and remorse and induces a hallucination that alters those memories. Seeing his reaction, she asks how long he’s been using Snakebite. He asks how she knew. I don’t know, Jake, maybe it’s because you’re laughing and smiling for the first time ever? She offers her help as a therapist.

Not even Joker toxin could turn that resting scowl upside down. Snakebite is serious business.

Ryan confronts Spence in an alley. He isn’t behind the attack on the community center, but he knew it would be hit because places like it have been attacked before. His investigation got him fired from the Gazette, but after the last attack, his editor wanted a second look at his research. They’re attacked by Kilovolt, who shoots both of them with the lightning gun. Ryan gets the gun away from Kilovolt, but he escapes when she checks on Spence.

Mary and Ryan take Spence to Mary’s clinic, which wasn’t raided and emptied out – the Crows just put chains on the medical supply cabinets because the Crows suck. But hey, that worked out this time. Spence has bad electrical burns, but he’ll make it. His laptop is fried, though, so Ryan takes the lightning gun to Luke to have it analyzed. Luke finds a print belonging to Michael Kastrinos, a.k.a. “Mickey K”…but he’s been in Edgewater Prison for two years.

Alice and Julia look over Julia’s travel documents and find the name “Evelyn Rhyme” on the back of one of them. Yep, Julia definitely needed Alice to help her look at the back of a piece of paper. Alice admits she’s looking for Enigma so she can erase Alice’s memory of Kate altogether.

Jacob is in an appointment with Evelyn. He tells her about his regrets surrounding Beth’s abduction and how often he thinks about it. He’s tempted to take another hit of Snakebite just to experience that hallucination where he rescued Beth. Evelyn can’t do anything about the withdrawal, but there’s something Jacob can do about his regret: repair his relationship with the daughter he has left. Mary Hamilton, forever the runner-up. She deserves a better family, to be honest.

I’m willing to bet that someone wanted that cane to have a question mark head but someone rightly told them that would be silly and way too obvious.

Ryan tries to visit Mickey K at the prison’s visitor center, but he won’t talk. She does notice his arm injury, which is identical to the one she gave Kilovolt in the alley, so she’s sure it’s him. She visits Angelique while she’s there and asks her if she’s heard any rumors about a way out of the prison. That leads to them talking about Angelique’s false imprisonment again, and Ryan finally convinces Angelique to give up the shooters, promising that Black Mask won’t hurt her.

Across town, Black Mask executes another of his gang members for his failure to produce more Snakebite. Another goon blames it all on the fact that only Ocean and Angelique knew the recipe. Black Mask growls in a way that says “You have an excellent point, so I’m not going to kill you for the backtalk. Instead we shall kidnap Angelique.”

…It’s a very meaningful growl.

Luke checks the tapes at the prison and finds that the footage of Mickey K in his cell the night of the community center attack has been doctored. Also Mickey K is suddenly up for a parole hearing. And a lot of criminals were suddenly up for parole the days after attacks on community centers, tutoring centers, etc. Someone in the prison system is cutting deals with convicts so they’ll trash places that help lower crime rates. For-profit prisons! The person signing off on the releases is Ellis O’Brien, CEO of Edgewater Prison.

Roman Sionis drops by Jacob’s office to be extra helpful. One of his employees was caught with a bag full of Snakebite, so he’s delivered it to Jacob personally to dispose of it. How thoughtful! Is the average viewer who doesn’t know Sionis and Black Mask are the same person supposed to read this as legit? Also I’m really distracted because for the first time I noticed that the Crows emblem behind Jacob actually has a little beak.

Caw caw, motherfuckers!

Julia continues her string of bad detective work by confronting Evelyn on her own and calling her “Enigma” while they’re in an interrogation room together. Evelyn tries to leave, Julia tries to stop her, and Evelyn stabs her with a syringe hidden in her cane before telling her she’s going to make her forget again. And of course that interrogation room won’t have security cameras, or the footage will be easily tampered with, or no one will ever think to investigate.

Speaking of how much the Crows suck, after being convinced by Ryan to follow up on the names Angelique gave her, Sophie and a team of Crows raid a Gotham gun club to arrest the men who killed Commissioner Forbes. Unfortunately, by the time they get there, the two gunmen are already dead and strung up on the little things that you put targets on in the shooting range. Didn’t know those were strong enough to hold a body.

The Bat-Team tracks Ellis O’Brien to the construction site of a new prison. Batwoman shows up to arrest O’Brien, but he’s got three goons with lightning guns watching his back. Batwoman knocks one out, but O’Brien and the other three get ready to shoot her. Luke arrives just in time with the lightning gun Batwoman took from Kilovolt and saves the day. Amazingly, he went from talking to her from the Bat-cave to wearing a coat, wielding a lightning gun, and standing on a bulldozer during that short fight. I don’t know how, but it’s cool seeing Luke in action.

Someone had a lot of fun flashing through every aerial shot of Chicago that they had while Vesper Fairchild says that O’Brien is going to prison. She also asks if Batwoman has found her Lois Lane in Horton Spence. I can’t tell if she means that in the “reporter friend” sense or the “they’re totally hooking up” sense.

Alice breaks into Evelyn’s office to lick Evelyn’s spoons, sneeze in her tissues and put them back in the box, and snoop around. She sees Jacob’s name in the appointment book and listens to the relevant part of the session where she’s mentioned. She doesn’t want to forgive her father; she wants to forget. She deletes the recording.

Jacob finds Mary just as she’s sending Spence home with a clean bill of health. He offers to help her make the clinic legitimate by hiring real doctors. She refuses because that prevents her from helping the people she started the clinic for. She doesn’t take ID, doesn’t require insurance, and doesn’t report overdoses or non-violent criminals. She’s found a purpose and she feels like she’s actually helping the city, but he tried to take that away from her and she won’t forgive him.

Mary Hamilton, big goddamn hero.

Kinda hard to feel sorry for Jacob here. Mary doesn’t know what he’s going through and she doesn’t know what consequences this conversation will have, but she’s also right. Legitimizing the clinic would shift its focus away from the people who need it. Jacob comes from a world where he’s able to get help from a renowned therapist within twelve hours of developing a drug addiction.

Julia has put in a transfer to Berlin, which Sophie finds very odd. Does this mean Julia is just going to disappear for several episodes again? In his office, Jacob injects himself with the Snakebite Roman Sionis dropped off.

Imani stops by the Hold Up to tell Ryan the good news: the community center is being fixed. She’s already signed up for the martial arts class that Jordan voluntold Ryan to teach. There might be some chemistry between these two? I never know. Anyway, Sophie also comes in to tell Ryan that Angelique is being moved into Witness Protection. Well, that’s a done deal then, right? Right? RIGHT??

Nah, she’s kidnapped by the False Face Society.

I like to put an image at the end of the recap before my final thoughts and I really liked this shot, but then I went to name it and called it “LastCall.” GET IT? Because she’s talking to her girlfriend for the last time before she goes into Witness Protection/is kidnapped? AND SHE’S A BARTENDER? Professional writer, right here.

I didn’t see the Jacob arc coming. I’m glad they’re doing something with him this season. I don’t know if this was the best way to do it while tying Enigma into everything, though. Showrunner Carolyn Dries did an interview with Entertainment Weekly where she says that Evelyn is actually just being a therapist in the moment when she tells Jacob to repair his relationship with Mary. Fine, a villain with a legitimate profession can still do things in that profession without there being some kind of criminal connection. I’m sure Roman Sionis sells some very good makeup. But when we’ve already seen the connection between Evelyn Rhyme and Black Mask, know she’s brainwashing Jacob’s daughter to be someone else, and drugging Julia all in the same episode, it really looks like the therapy session was some 4-D chess move to keep Jacob addicted by having him try and fail to fix things with Mary.

Also, hey, Bat-franchise writers, I’ve got a challenge for you: Write one mental health professional who isn’t secretly a villain and/or a sociopath who just feeds into the stigma of mental illness and its treatment. I got a fun-size Snickers for the first one to do it.

The episode had a good message about for-profit prison systems and how community outreach can do more to prevent crime than policing, but I worry the actual message gets lost when you make it a supervillain plot. Granted, it’s not as bad as that one season of Supergirl where the baddies were alt-right neo-Nazis who were only upset about extraterrestrial immigration, but real-world prisons don’t need dudes with lightning guns to be shitholes of capitalist greed.

Finally, I would like it very much if Julia and Sophie could be involved in some plots that don’t make them look incompetent. I know we’re doing a deconstruction of the Crows this season. I know. But how many times do we need to put them in scenes that only work if they’re ignoring the obvious?

I swear, I liked this episode and I love this show. It’s just a little frustrating to see the same problems over and over again.

Next time: Luke warns Ryan that if she keeps hanging around with Sophie, she’s going to figure out that Ryan is Batwoman. Yeah, sorry Luke, but history shows she’s really not going to figure it out.

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Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Do visiting rooms really look like that IRL? Like, comment, and subscribe if you’ve ever been in one of those visiting rooms or follow Kate on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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