This Week in DCTV – 5/2/21

Batwoman continues….

Jim – This week Batwoman definitely picks up, the introduction of Victor Zsasz is great, feels like Ryan is getting her own villains which is awesome and her settling into the role really well. I’ll be honest I’d rather they continue this way and maybe lessen Alice some, she’s a great character but her story is very connected to Kate which is cool right now but I would like them to move away at some point. From what we learn in this episode it doesn’t look like they’re doing that any time soon!

We also got some hints at maybe a future villain with the mention of a man in a Black Mask, that’s very exciting!! And a mention of Jack Napier, they’re busting all the villains out this week and we finally got to meet the infamous Safiyah, it will interesting to see well this story goes.

Rob – “Have you seen the damn wig!!!!!”

New look, new Batwoman and this episode was more like it. It gave me what I wanted and we saw Ryan have a little more fun with her new role which brought a much more lighthearted tone. This also meant Mary was the Mary that I love watching too. The fun was brilliantly mixed in with a great villain. Alex Morf was pure joy as Victor Zsasz. Victor maybe wasn’t as threatening as other versions we’ve seen but he was great to watch in this episode.

Alan – Week 3, and we have the usual fixtures in place, Luke is still kidding himself that Kate is coming back and Ryan is just a stand in, and Alice up to all kinds mischief in the background. We also find Ryan trying to make the Batwoman her own and disposed of the red wig. I find this is a shame, I like the red wig and feel it is iconic of the character, but I understand the need and desire to differentiate Ryan from Kate.

Alice is still great, and probably the best character, although I really enjoyed the portrayal of Victor Zsasz. I always enjoy  Zsasz as a character , and often wish he was used (in any media) as one of the “bigger villains”. We find him captured by Batwoman by the end of the episode, I hope we get to see more of him at some point.

Referring to the bigger villains, this now brings me to the main issue I have with this episode. The reference to Jack Napier. Anyone who has seen Batman ’89 knows that Jack Napier is an alias of Joker, and with so many great villains in the DC Universe, do we really need another Joker portrayal? I love the Joker when he’s done well, but I hope they don’t go in that direction.

Kendra – In Season 2 Episode 3 of Batwoman, a contract killer runs amuck in Gotham and Ryan has to stop them.Victor Zsasz, the hitperson, is a wonderful dip into the villain lineup. While it seem Victor kills indiscriminately…there is a definite method to the madness. I love the balance that this episode provides both giving a short story and playing the long game. It isn’t easy to do and when it happens it is so enjoyable.

Also Kate is brought up again as evidence comes to light that she may yet live, and this raises questions on just what they are planning to do with Kate Kane when the airplane crash would have sufficed to close that story. Guess we will see how this one unfolds as the season comes out.

Justin – This was yet another great episode of Batwoman! Javicia Leslie is truly coming into her own as the lead of this series. Ryan Wilder is officially Batwoman as of this episode and it was great to watch. The new suit is fantastic! Alex Morf was simply brilliant as Victor Zsasz. Charming and terrifying, he was the perfect villain for Ryan’s first true outing as her own Batwoman. I found it fascinating that he also inspires Ryan to make Batwoman her own.

I also love the budding friendship between Mary and Ryan. Nicole Kang continues to be a fantastic part of this cast that always brings heart and humor to each episode. Camrus Johnson’s Luke Fox is finally warming up to Ryan which is a joy to watch. Johnson is truly a phenomenal talent. Shivani Ghai’s debut as Safiyah was fantastic as well. Her regal and powerful portrayal of the Queen of Coryana was definitely reminiscent of Matt Nable’s Ra’s Al-Ghul from Arrow. I can’t wait to see if she is telling the truth concerning Kate or if she is simply manipulating Alice.

I am looking forward to what’s next!

This Week in DCTV – 29/1/21

We’re back with just Batwoman again, lets see what the guys thought!!

Jim – Ok so after last weeks triumphant return of Batwoman I was quite excited for this episode…..unfortunately episode 2 didn’t quite live up to the level of the premiere, it was still a good episode, Ryan’s character development continues well and I do really like her but the rest of the ep felt like a little bit like filler, there are a lot of side stories going on so i just feel like they need to tighten it up going forward, but I’m looking forward to where it goes!

Rob – I still love everything about Ryan and it’s fun watching her find her footing as the new Batwoman. Although I enjoyed the interactions between Ryan and Alice very much and the poison bats were fun, this kind of felt like a filler episode to me and for episode two that’s not the best. Ryan discovering Kate’s diary and beginning to write to Kate as she did to Bruce, was a nice touch.

It might be a little crazy because of the general tone of the show but I want to see something a bit more lighthearted from it, more so to have other layers to Ryan so she doesn’t just become the typical, brooding vigilante stereotype.

Alan – Week two, and I came to Batwoman for episode 2, and so far so good. Again I enjoyed this. I though Javicia Leslie was good again as Ryan, but I think Alice steals the show (I thought she did in what I saw of season 1 too). OI thought episode felt very much something that fits well in the “Batman Universe”.

There were a few things that I particularly enjoyed, I chuckled at the cop trying to shoot bats with a shotgun, and I enjoyed the view through the cowl when Ryan was looking for the device bringing in the bats. It felt very much like detective vision from the Arkham game series. I did feel like the bats were gotten rid of a little too easily. I’m not sure that an explosive device that small thrown on the road under a bus would make it explode the way it did and kill all those bats. Then I thought, hey, it’s TV show based on a comic book so we don’t need (and probably don’t want) that to be super realistic.

Overall, once again, I enjoyed this, and look forward to seeing where it goes now that Ryan has now been accepted to become Batwoman officially to give Gotham the hope it needs (until Kate returns)

Batwoman – S1 Ep16 – Through The Looking Glass Review

Writer: Nancy Kiu

Director: Sudz Sutherland

Starring: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Christina Wolfe, Seth Whittaker and Sam Littlefield

After the deeply harrowing “Off With Her Head“, Batwoman episode 16, “Through The Looking Glass”, provides a welcome, and action packed, change of pace.

Suffering from PTSD after the death of Augustus Cartwright, Kate Kane is forced to work with Alice to try and rescue Mouse. What follows is thrill packed break into Arkham Asylum, full of martial arts mayhem and comic-book action.

We’re All Mad Here

I like the fact that the huge events of last week’s episode haven’t just been brushed under the carpet. Batwoman has taken a life, crossing a line she swore she never would. The fact the Cartwright probably deserved his fate, after his abduction of Alice and the mutilation of Gabrielle Kane, is up for debate. Alice revels in the fact that she now sees Kate as her equal, but Kate is more disturbed at her own lack of remorse.

This is great. I have no idea what it feels like to take a life, but the depiction of Kate’s mental turmoil is cleverly and brilliantly handled. Jacob Kane’s presence and support for his daughter, along with the reappearance of Christina Wolfe’s awesome Julia Pennyworth, are probably the only things stopping our hero from going over the edge.

Conspiracies And Cover Ups

Another welcome plot thread this week features the resurgence of Reggie Harris, as played by Seth Whittaker. Reggie saved Colonel Kane’s life in prison, where Harris had been locked up for the murder of Luke Fox’s father, Lucius. Over recent weeks it’s been looking more and more like Harris was framed, and events in this week’s episode shed a whole new light on the case.

Once again I have to commend series regulars Camrus Johnson and Nicole Kang. Mary Hamilton-Kane is one of the truest, noblest characters in this, or any other CW show. The way she supports her sister, and Lucas, is nothing short of inspirational. Camrus Johnson plays the rage at seeing his father’s “killer” again. along with all the conflicting emotions he feels at discovering that Harris may actually be innocent, brilliantly.

Dark Reflections

The constant flux of emotions between Alice, Jacob and Kate has always been a source of great entertainment. These three characters should be as close as family could be, but Alice’s insanity and her inability to commit to being either an enemy or an ally, keeps throwing spanners in the works. One week we want to trust and forgive her, and the next she throws it all away. In “Through The Looking Glass” the results of the Arkham break-in may finally draw a line under the whole Kane family relationship.

Alice and Kate are twins, they are family, but while Kate struggles to put darkness behind her, Alice seems to want to embrace it. Events at her criminal lair, tied to a note from Coryana, are incredibly intriguing. Does this mean that Safiyah Sohail, Pirate Queen, is set to make an appearance on the show? If that’s the case I am beyond excited.

Conclusion

I’ve always liked this show, but the recent run of epsiodes have made me love it. The story beats are strong, the plot is progressing and there’s real character development every single week. In my humble opinion Batwoman has taken over from Arrow as the crown jewel of the CW’s DC Comics related TV line-up.

Batwoman – S1 Ep15 – Off With Her Head Review

Writer: Natalie Abrams

Director: Holly Dale

Starring: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, John Emmet Tracy, Debra Mooney, Sam Littlefield, Nicholas Holmes and Michelle Morgan

“Off With Her Head” is the darkest, most horrifying and disturbing episode so far; not just when it comes to Batwoman, but possibly out of any of the DC Comics related CW shows. I don’t know whether the Bat-Pantheon of characters just lend themselves to these kinds of stories, but this series stands apart from every other show in the Arrowverse, in tone, content, violence and horror.

This show feels much more like a companion piece to Gotham, or even the deliciously dark Pennyworth. This, to my mind, is a very good thing indeed.

This week we learn more secrets about Alice/Beth’s past, and meet a character that embodies one of the most vile evils on this Earth: an abusive parent. Mabel Cartwright, Augustus’ mother and Mouse’s grandmother is one of the most detestable creatures I’ve ever seen on TV, even her son is almost meek in comparison.

Pure Evil

This show is making me feel things that I’m not sure I want to when watching “entertainment.” Much like I did after seeing Todd Phillips’ Joker, I find myself disturbed at the notion of sympathising with people like Arthur Fleck or Alice. These people are sick, yes, but they are also killers and so far removed from the morality and sense of justice I believe in, that I should find everything they do or stand for to be reprehensible. Instead, thanks to the circumstances they’ve endured and the evil and abuse they have been physically and emotionally scarred by, I cannot help but empathise with them… and that makes me very uncomfortable indeed.

Characters like Mabel and Augustus Cartwright are pure evil, but seeing the way they treated Beth/Alice has now led me to question whether they also experienced similar traumas. That’s one rabbit hole I really don’t want to go down, because I feel dirty enough about feeling pity and empathy for Alice.

Does that make me a bad person?

Not Just Another Comic-Book Show

Any kind of TV that makes me think, and question my own beliefs and emotions is a successful piece of TV. This isn’t just throw-away fodder, this is the kind of show that stands up with true crime dramas, or documentaries looking at the psychology of serial killers. It just happens to be a Superhero show based on characters I adore.

Every cast member shines this week and Ruby Rose is truly beginning to bloom. Nicole Kang and Camrus Johnson provide a few lighter moments, but there isn’t really anything in “Off With Her Head” that would count as funny, or humorous. John Emmett Tracy is disgusting as Cartwright, but Debra Mooney who plays his mother Mabel, is the worst kind of  monster imaginable. She and Rachel Skarsten, who has managed to surprise me yet again with her range and her talent, deliver the best performances of the episode.

We get an adorable guest appearance by Michelle Morgan at the beginning of the show, playing Kate and Alice’s mother, Gabi. Seeing a real good, kind, loving mother, and then witnessing everything that follows, is a stroke of writing and directorial brilliance.

Conclusion

Batwoman is rapidly becoming the deep and dark show of the Arrowverse, more so that the late, lamented Arrow ever was. “Off With Her Head” was a horror movie in places, and depicted violence and imagery that I’m incredibly surprised was allowed to air on prime time TV.

Sometimes shows and movies interject laughs and jokes to lighten the mood, frequently this falls flat and just destroys the atmosphere. This episode doesn’t do that. It’s claustrophobic, dark and one of the most disturbing pieces of TV the CW has ever broadcast.

I loved it.

What does that say about me?

Batwoman – S1 Ep14 – Grinning From Ear to Ear Review

Writer: Denise Harkavy

Director: Michael Blundell

Starring: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Alessandra Torresani, Jeryl Prescott, Sam Littlefield, Sebastian Roché, John Emmet Tracyand Rachel Maddow

“Grinning From Ear To Ear” brings us screaming into the present after the surprising ending we witnessed at the end of the previous episode, two long weeks ago. We last saw Batwoman in an embrace with her ex, Sophie, after Mary had pieced all the clues together and realised that her step-sister and the scarlet and black crusader were one and the same.

Deciding whether renewing a relationship, or having her secret identity discovered is more dangerous to Batwoman isn’t as easy as one might think. Historically, being linked romantically to any member of the Bat-Family has always ended up being more of a curse than a blessing, and uncovering a hero’s secret identity – particularly when said hero is a loved one or relative – has never been a walk in the park either. I don’t know if I’m more worried for Mary or Sophie these days!

Mirror, Mirror

The shocks don’t end there… oh, no! The episode starts with Duela Dent through the looking glass, but her reflection and warped sense of self perception is far more twisted than Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s ever was. If this episode is about anything it’s about how we feel about how others see us, and how in many cases that’s nowhere close to how we see ourselves.

Duela is the perfect character to bring to the forefront in this kind of story, as over her 44 year comics history she’s had more character twists and flips than almost anyone else in comics. The self dubbed “Joker’s Daughter” has been a murderer, an anti-hero and even a full-blown member of the Teen Titans! Her lack of cohesive identity is a strong part of this week’s story, and ties in beautifully with Kate and Sophie’s romantic dilemma and with Alice’s childhood terror at coming face to face with her captor and torturer, August Cartwright.

Masks

“Grinning From Ear To Ear” had me doing just that, from the opening scene to the closing credits. This episode was deep, intriguing and beautifully written; in terms of psychology, self-image and both the fragility and strength of the human spirit. I have to admit that I haven’t liked the character of Sophie Moore at all in this show, but I guess I’ve never walked a mile in her shoes. The introduction of her mother in this episode, played brilliantly by the wonderful Jeryl Prescott, made me think again.

Batwoman wears a mask, both to protect herself and those she cares about. Sophie Moore has worn a mask too, since her break-up with Kate. Whereas Kate’s mask defends both herself and others. Sophie’s decision to put on a facade to please everyone else ended up hurting Kate, her husband, her mother and – worst of all – herself. Lies seldom go uncovered, the truth will always out, and trying to save other people’s feelings by hiding the truth will hurt them all the more when it’s uncovered. Beyond that, the one person you’re really lying to is yourself.

Sometimes telling the truth will hurt you, or some of those you love. It’s a deep cut, a painful one, but one that will scar over and eventually heal. Lying, pretending and trying to please everyone else is like stabbing yourself each and every day of your life. Those are the kinds of wounds that remain raw and will never truly heal.

Conclusion

I absolutely loved this episode. I now have a deeper understanding of Sophie and Meagan Tandy has delivered her best performance of the season thus far. Ruby Rose continues to grow, week by week, and the old stalwarts, Rachel Skarsten, Camrus Johnson and Nicole Kang never cease to impress.

The writing and direction were also rock solid and even the guest stars were killer. Caprica‘s Alessandra Torresani made a deliciously depraved Duela – more, please – and I’ve been a fan of Jeryl Prescott for years. If you’re wondering where you may have seen this veteran actress recently, she played Madame Xanadu in DC Universe’s outstanding Swamp Thing series. How’s that for versatility?

“Grinning From Ear To Ear” was another terrific chapter of Batwoman, which left me excited and anxious for more.