written by Kate Danvers
This is another serious episode that I don’t feel like injecting too much levity into. I will, however, be offering Alice relationship advice.
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Picking up from last episode’s cliffhanger, Luke is rushed to the hospital by paramedics. Later, Tavaroff is questioned by Jacob and other Crows officials. Tavaroff claims Luke pulled a gun on him and he fired in self-defense. Jacob is skeptical since Luke worked for Kate and doesn’t seem like the type to own a gun, but Tavaroff sticks to his story. One of the other men commends Tavaroff for his “bravery” and Jacob says they’ll review the bodycam footage.
Fuck, this is going to be another “too real” episode, isn’t it?
The rest of the Bat-Team start mobilizing right away. They don’t know that a Crow was behind Luke’s shooting, only that he was shot trying to prevent a carjacking. Once Mary tells Ryan about the phone call with Luke, Ryan sets out to find Eli, thinking he may have been the gunman. Mary is going to do what she does best and find a way to save Luke’s life using the Desert Rose in the Batcave.
In Doctor Evelyn Rhyme’s office, Alice goes through the doctor’s patient files. She finds Jacob’s file, of course, but inside are newspaper clippings about Gabby’s death and Beth’s disappearance. On the front of the folder is a sticky note with “For R. Sionis” written on it. I paused to see other names and only caught a few crew member names. Alice finds something interesting – both Kate and Mary have files as well, both with the same sticky note.
Ocean comes back to dispose of the body and the evidence. Alice thinks that’s a good idea considering whose daughter Evelyn was. Ocean doesn’t get it until Alice points out that the head of Evelyn’s cane is a stylized question mark. Ocean continues to try to control Alice, saying Kate isn’t worth the trouble, but Alice wants answers, so she decides she’s on her own.
Batwoman finds Eli driving a stolen SUV. After stopping him with the Batmobile, she gets the real story out of him. He pinned the carjacking on Luke, Luke reached for his phone, the Crows fired, and Eli ran. He gives her the name he overheard: Tavaroff. Batwoman punches Eli out and leaves him for the GCPD.
As Luke is wheeled into the ER, we get a glimpse into his subconscious, where he sees himself in the office of Wayne Tower. There, he sees a vision of his father looking out the window. Before he can approach, a vision of Bruce Wayne stops him. Bruce lays it out for Luke: He’s been shot and now he has to choose between life and death.
Mary is working on extracting the Desert Rose while Batwoman tracks down Tavaroff. After Batwoman leaves, Alice walks into the office upstairs and starts making some noise. Mary goes upstairs with a taser, demanding that Alice GTFO because she really doesn’t have the time to deal with this tonight. She’s not even afraid; she’s annoyed. Alice asks her if she’s had any run-ins with Circe. When Mary presses for answers, Alice doesn’t tell her, but she does warn Mary to be careful because Black Mask has it in for the Kane family, including her. While Alice is leaving, Mary tells her she knows about Ocean and that even someone like Alice deserves love. It’s weird, awkward, out of place, and probably just there to remind us that all Alice needs for proper redemption is the love of a man or some shit.
Yeah, I’m over the Alice/Ocean story.
Batwoman gets the drop on Tavaroff in an alley outside of a bar. She tries to get him to confess, but he claims that Luke wasn’t innocent, citing his arrest hour earlier. That sounds too fucking familiar. One of his buddies speeds into the alley and runs into Batwoman. While she’s down, they flee the scene.
Alice goes back to see Ocean. Blah blah blah, they’re both still in love even though they’ve betrayed each other a dozen times over. True love is real, blah blah. Alice doesn’t just want him or just her sister back, she wants it all and says if he loves her, he’d want that for her too. He just kisses her in response, and this is my whole fucking issue with these two. They’re not in love, they’re in lust. Any time they have to deal with emotions that come from above the belt, they don’t fucking get along. And considering he’s wanting her to ignore any feelings that don’t include him, he needs to fuck right off. Dump his ass!
Mary attempts to get the Desert Rose to Luke, but two Crows posted outside the ICU refuse to let anyone in under Jacob’s orders. Someone has doctored the bodycam footage to make it look like Luke was pulling a gun on Tavaroff. The gun found at the scene is tied to a convenience store robbery, so if Luke pulls through, he’ll be charged with robbery and attempted assault.
Ryan calls Sophie for help with Tavaroff. She’s not sure how he doctored the video, but suspects one of his lackeys did it. Ryan needs the original footage, which gets deleted from the Crows server at 3:00 a.m. every night. Ryan starts yelling at Sophie for being part of a corrupt system. Sophie insists she’s not to blame for what happened to Luke, and that’s when Ryan breaks down and blames herself. She gave Luke a hard time for not acting when they were arrested last episode, so she thinks that’s why he tried to stop the carjacking. Sophie hugs her.
I love this scene, even if it did break me. It’s not Ryan’s fault. Sophie knows it, Luke knows it, and on some level, Ryan knows it too. But there’s nothing she can do to help her dying friend right now, so that helplessness manifests as self-blame.
In Luke’s subconscious, he works out what’s going on while talking to Bruce. Luke wants to talk to his dad, but if he joins Lucius at the window, even for a chat, he’ll die. That’s the choice he has to make. I know this isn’t actually Bruce and that he’s just part of Luke’s subconscious, but I want to believe this is a peek into what their friendship was like. Bruce almost comes across like an older brother in these scenes. He even calls Luke “buddy.” I hope we continue to see more of Warren Christie as Bruce either through flashbacks or a temporary return of the real Bruce.
Sophie tries to tell Jacob about Tavaroff. He initially gives her a hard time about her quitting without discussing it with him. She suggests the Crows have a history of doctoring evidence and points to a few examples. She tells him to look into it, and then plants a hacking device on a computer to kill the cameras on her way out. Back at the Batcave, she quarterbacks while Batwoman goes in to get the real bodycam footage.
At the hospital, Mary distracts the Crows while Wolf Spider breaks into Luke’s room and administers the Desert Rose. In Luke’s subconscious, he knows he’s starting to stabilize, so Bruce asks him if he’s staying or going, urging him to make the decision before his recovering body makes it for him.
Jacob calls Tavaroff into his office to question him about Luke’s shooting as well as the Snakebite massacre in the church. Tavaroff defends his use of lethal force as the way the Crows do things and I love what happens next. Jacob says that maybe that means they should think about whether the Crows should even exist. The line is enough, but Dougray Scott follows it up with some excellent facial acting that says “Oh shit, did I just say that? Is that what I need to do?” He asks for Tavaroff’s gun and badge. Tavaroff knocks Jacob unconscious, because that’s a viable off-ramp in this situation. The windows aren’t even tinted; how did no one see him knock the boss out?
Batwoman makes it to the server room with Sophie guiding her. She finds the files, but there are too many to figure out which is Luke’s. Sophie sees Jacob being dragged out of the building by Tavaroff and his cronies on the cameras and begs Batwoman to save Jacob. Batwoman reluctantly follows the murder of Crows.
Tavaroff found Jacob’s stash of Snakebite, so the crooked Crows take him to a conference room and start to stage a lethal overdose. Batwoman breaks in through the window and stops them, then shows amazing restraint in dealing with Tavaroff. I’m just saying, there’s an open window right there. Jacob wakes up in time to see Batwoman saving him and he actually thanks her. She blames him for the state of the Crows, and to his credit, Jacob actually looks remorseful. She tells him to burn it down.
The next day, Jacob holds a press conference where he exonerates Luke, announces that Tavaroff and his team are being held for attempted murder, and takes full responsibility for the state of the Crows. He’s also decided to disband the Crows, effective immediately.
ABOUT. FUCKING. TIME. Okay, do the GCPD next.
At the hospital, Ryan and Mary wait for Luke to wake up while they watch Jacob’s press conference. They tell Luke how much he means to them and how much they want him to wake up. In his subconscious, Bruce and Luke discuss the state of the world. Luke says no matter what good they put into it, things like this still happen. He doesn’t want to live in that world. He’s made his choice. He wants to be with his dad. But as he calls out to his dad, he wakes up in the hospital.
Elsewhere, Jacob packs up his office and receives a text from Mary telling him she’s proud of him. Sophie meets him downstairs, pleased with his decision. He tells her she was his best agent. In the parking garage, he finds Alice waiting in his car. Jacob gives kind of a resigned sigh as he sits down in the driver’s seat. Damn, Alice just doesn’t have the scare factor anymore. She tells him Kate is alive and asks for his help getting her back.
I’d like to update the meme now: “The Crows Sucked.” I’m actually surprised Jacob went that far. I could see him doing a full internal investigation, cleaning house, or even resigning. But disbanding the organization altogether? That’s impressive. Still difficult to feel proud of him considering he still has a lot of shit to make right, but this is a big first step.
The Alice and Ocean subplot ended in a weird way this episode. In the space of two episodes I’ve grown more tired of their romance plot than I was of Ray and Kendra’s from the first season of Legends of Tomorrow. Ending that subplot this episode by having Ocean answer the question “Are you going to keep selfishly trying to sabotage my efforts to restore my family or let me do something that might make me happy?” with a wordless makeout session does not resolve that plot. It would have made far more sense for Alice to go from saying she’s on her own directly to seeking out Jacob for help.
Ryan and Luke were the highlights of this episode. Good performances all around, but two scenes really broke my heart. Ryan blaming herself and breaking down in Sophie’s arms felt all too real. Javicia Leslie had a great, realistic “ugly cry” reaction to a helpless situation.
Luke choosing death is not something you see often in television. I really felt for him in that moment. The world is harsh, he’s tired of fighting a losing battle, and I get why he just wants to rest and see his dad again. And to make that difficult choice and then being brought back against your will has to mess a person up. We’re probably going to see the fallout from that next episode, but goddamn, he’s going to need his friends.
Next time: John Diggle comes to Gotham and we might see the birth of a new superhero.
Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on The CW. Kate Danvers would have pushed Tavaroff out the window before saying “As God as my witness, I thought Crows could fly.” For more outdated references, check her out on Twitter @WearyKatie.