Batwoman: I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury


A girl and her tech support. 

Batwoman’s sixth episode has several surprises where they diverge sharply from most other versions of Gotham City. There are also a few things that touch on some of the movies and even the recent “Gotham” tv series. It also has the character operating a lot more like a “standard” superhero with a new villain of the week, although Alice is lurking in the background. The title is dead on, as we see from the events of “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury.”

The episode opens with a Gotham DA (a job that’s never a safe thing) going to his car at night (never a good idea), who meets up with a nasty, if unique, death. In the next scene, Kate and Jacob Kane go over some of the evidence recovered from the Cartwright house, and argue about the way things went with the search for Beth all those years ago. This gets interrupted when Sophie brings word of a newscast they’ll want to see. The story of the DA’s death is featured, and Jacob is furious that the news networks have it before his Crows do. The GCPD, rather than alerting the Crows, have set up the new and improved Bat-Signal. Kate slips away and Sophie approaches Jacob about a new special assignment, possibly to make up for her never-explained ceasing to be Mary’s bodyguard.


Elsewhere, Alice is working with her “brother,” Mouse. In the course of the scene, they argue about Batwoman and Kate, fix up Mouse’s face, and set up a new task for him. We also see they have a prisoner. It’s a good illustration of both their odd relationship and Alice’s casual violence. There’s also a race afoot, as Kate and Luke on the one side, and Jacob and his Crows on the other, work to solve the bizarre murder. They both develop the same suspect, with Luke commenting that Batwoman can cement her relationship with the police, while Jacob seems mostly interested in his group’s reputation. All of this leads to a nasty hostage situation, a stand-off, a clever trap, and Sophie getting badly injured. Sophie also drops a big surprise on Batwoman as she passes out. One surprise following another, Batwoman brings the wounded Crow to Mary’s clinic. Mary is less than thrilled at this development.


Mouse effortlessly completes his mission, even coming face to face with Catherine Hamilton-Kane at one point. He largely gets away with this through a combination of bluffing and a very odd choice for biometric security. Luke is worried about Sophie’s new secret, but he and Kate are more focused on stopping the killer, and they get a good lead to follow up on after they figure out his methodology. The lead brings Batwoman to a rarity on hero shows- a warehouse/storage facility that’s not only NOT abandoned, but has security, in the form of a talking, flirtatious guard. The Crows catch their suspect, which Batwoman isn’t happy to hear, but then they get proof that he’s probably innocent, and Batwoman gets injured as she does something amazingly stupid during a violent, but low-tech, break-in. The bad guy gets away, but leaves behind something to help Luke and Kate figure out who he is. So far, the detective work seems to be split between Kate and Luke, so she has a way to go to fill the boots of the World’s Greatest Detective. The reveal of the bad guy’s identity proves puzzling to our heroes.


Sophie wakes up and has an interesting conversation with Mary where secrets are exchanged. Batwoman goes to the new suspect’s house, has a debate with Luke about how to deal with possible traps, and finds something unexpected. They discover a confession/explanation, which does a few interesting things. It’s an origin story that’s actually understandable, and highlights the kind of corruption Gotham suffers from between guardians, as I believe the events discussed are in the time between Batman’s disappearance and Kate coming back. The various stories here explain why we haven’t seen at least one major Bat-character in the series so far, and touch on some events from the Michael Keaton Batman movies, as well as events from both the comics and the Gotham series. Luke and Kate disagree on how to proceed.


The Crows hand over their suspect to the GCPD, which doesn’t go as planned, but Commander Kane receives a message he should look at. Alice plays a game with her prisoner, and shows the sort of comic bad temper so many Gotham villains have. Mouse returns, but tricks her into revealing something she was keeping from him. The two of them argue and Mouse takes some rash action. Vesper Fairchild pops up for some more on-air snark while Kate goes to see Jacob about the new evidence. Ever open-minded, Jacob of course is willing to hear a theory that doesn’t agree with something he’s made up his mind about. This turns into another argument about Alice and Batwoman both. Sophie manages to free herself from an unwanted entanglement, but gets a nasty (if earned) lecture from Mary.


Batwoman ends up in a complicated scene where she’s trying to save a bad guy from someone with understandable motives. If that wasn’t enough, the Crows end up on the scene as well. Batwoman doesn’t handle herself that well in this fight, ends up owing a debt to Commander Kane, but their face-off gets interrupted by a deathtrap. With some questionable advice from Luke, Batwoman saves the day, the Commander, and herself. Jacob makes a startling confession during this scene.


Aping modern media fairly well, Vesper goes from giving Batwoman a hard time earlier to praising her for her work on this case. Luke is less happy, going over some old files about a personal case. Gotham’s current hero drops in on Mary, scares the hell out of her, then surprises her with some compliments. Mary, in turn, passes on a warning.


In another journal to Bruce, Kate reflects on some of her own motivations about her attitudes on her family tragedy. She and Jacob make up some of their differences in a nice scene that I hope will end some of the ongoing tension between them. In a similar vein, Alice makes up with Mouse over their earlier spat. They each have some different ideas about the future, and I bet Batwoman would be surprised to hear about their plans.


What I liked: There’s a complexity to the writing and the series so far I’m very much enjoying. I like that Alice got some of her own scenes without them being dependent on Batwoman. I’m consistently enjoying Mary. She may be my favorite second tier character. I liked the nods to the other incarnations of Gotham, and the confirmation of Batman’s worst enemy’s existence in this world. The villain, a mashup of an obscure comic foe and a character from a tv series, was actually a fairly sympathetic character, and tied into the prevalent and perpetual corruption in Gotham. I’m hopeful some of the dissension between Kate and Jacob will die down a bit after this.


What I didn’t: One of the elements they mentioned is a personal least favorite bit about a major character. I was surprised to hear about the fate of the Bat-character revealed here. Batwoman’s fighting skill seems to vary a lot by the needs of the scene.


I thought this was another great addition to a series I’m really impressed by. I’ll give this a low 4 out of 5.