They’ve drawn on a few different sources for story ideas of Batwoman. A lot of the ideas have come from the Bat-Family or various Gotham-based characters or situations, but they’ve also gone a little further afield. This episode introduces a fairly obscure character, most of whose decades-long history is linked to various versions of the Teen Titans. There are a few different ways you can interpret this title: “Grinning from Ear to Ear.”
The show opens with the origin story of this week’s villain. It’s most in keeping with the DCNU version of the character, which I admit I wasn’t quite as familiar with. It’s fairly horrific and touches on body image issues. Once that opening unpleasantness is over, there’s an amusing split scene that deals with Batwoman and Sophie’s big kiss from last episode. Mary runs into Sophie at a coffee shop, while Luke talks with Kate in the cave. Sophie and Mary start off more with friendly banter, while Luke and Kate talk about upgrades to her cowl. By the end of it, Mary is stunned to hear Sophie had a moment with the masked hero, and Luke is warning Kate about the complications a love affair would be for the safety and security of all involved. Mary says she’s happy for Sophie, especially after the ex-Crow gets a text from Batwoman setting up a meeting.
Pardon the rant, but how does that work? Batwoman has a phone? Who does the bill go to? Does the caller ID say “Batwoman?” Even with Luke’s technological wizardry, that seems like a big security risk, considering how many ways there are to trace phones or get viruses through them. And, considering how security-minded Luke is, I doubt he’d do it. Yeah, it’s a minor detail, but seriously, that one bit just really threw me out of the story for a scene or two.
In her hideout, Alice reads her own obituary and isn’t happy at the writeup. Rabbit, who seems to be her lieutenant in Mouse’s absence, brings her some information on her newest interest: Dr. Ethan Campbell. In the Crows’ Nest, Jacob Kane takes a meeting with a lawyer, and finds out that an earlier debt of his is being called in, and this ties back to a murder that’s very important to one of our heroes.
Back at her place, Sophie is adorably nervous about her upcoming meeting, fidgeting with her hair and trying on outfits. Batwoman, of course, makes a dramatic entrance on the balcony. I wonder how characters without balconies manage to be friend with superheroes? That seems to be the only way heroes go in to normal apartments. Batwoman tries to do what Luke recommended, but doesn’t quite manage it. Their unplanned kiss gets interrupted by a noise from inside the apartment. Sophie motions Batwoman back and goes to handle it herself, and nearly ends up shooting her mother, who dropped by for a surprise visit. As a general rule, if you know someone who works a job that requires them to be armed and deal with criminals, surprising them at home is probably not a great idea. By the time Sophie gets all that sorted out, Batwoman, of course, has gone.
After this, we see a snooty model at a photo shoot who goes from annoying to stalker victim as the villain from the opening is back. Vesper Fairchild gets in her weekly voiceover to tell us who the victim was and make a few snarky comments about social media. Luke checks in to see how Kate’s meeting went, and she is actually embarrassed, which was fun to see. Changing the subject, Kate focuses on the villain. Realizing this deals with the world of social media, she goes to see Mary, who has been part of that world since she was introduced. Mary provides some useful insight, a few leads, and then drops a lot of hints about what she’d deduced about Kate’s double-life. Kate doesn’t get it, but does go to follow up on the clue.
Sophie’s unexpected visit is not at all peaceful and enjoyable. Mom isn’t happy about the recent changes in Sophie’s life, from her breakup with Tyler to her suspension from the Crows. Sophie, it seems, hasn’t been very good about keeping mom up to date on recent events, but for some reason or other, Jacob called Mom. This seems both out of character and seriously out of bounds. Mom is worried, and the conversation quickly turns to her disapproval of Batwoman, and the reasons why. After this, Sophie goes to meet Batwoman again, and this time it’s the hero’s turn to fidget before they meet up. They exchange information about Mom’s visit, their theory of the villain’s targets, and a plan to go forward.
Sophie visits Dr. Campbell, where the leads take her. Her interview leads to a suspect, and the backstory shakes the ex-Crow. Batwoman runs with what Sophie found out, and gets some decent teasing from Luke along the way. It’s nice to see her on the receiving end of some of that for a change. There’s some banter from Luke, a weird weapons misfire they never attend to, a demonstration of a new feature, and threats about the same. Our hero finds a new victim, but the bad guy gets away after the classic “make good guy choose between chasing villain and saving a life” gambit. While this goes on, Alice has a very odd therapy session that she gets a lot out of, and poor Dr. Malone really doesn’t.
A lot of characters on this show have had rough lives, but I seriously think Mouse might be in contention for worst run of luck. Continuing that trend, we see him tied to a chair as his father tries to make him “see the truth.” Things aren’t going well for Alice’s dear brother, especially after August shows Mouse the obituary that so infuriated Alice earlier in the episode. The subplot about the favor the lawyer asked, which actually ties back to two different earlier episodes, leads Jacob to talk to Agent Robles, one of the few Crows around to get individual screen time. Jacob is starting to have some doubts about what happened during the investigation of Lucius Fox’s death, and Robles isn’t exactly reassuring.
Mary gets another scene to pitch her use as a confidant/assistant, this time when Batwoman comes calling for some help about a picture she got earlier that was confounding her facial recognition software. Mary steers her in the right direction, but Batwoman ignores her not-so-subtle hints. Taking off, the vigilante gets Luke to help her find the next likely victim, but she, and then Sophie, get there a bit too late. How Sophie knew about this, I’m not sure. As the Crows close in on them, Batwoman pulls Sophie onto her bike and they flee, both clearly loving the experience. Not done having a bad day, Mary brings dinner back to her clinic to find Alice raiding it and sharing some surprising information.
Our villain of the week turns out to be named Duella Dent. Duella has a long, complicated comic book history, at various times claiming to be the daughter of Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, Riddler, and a few others. She used to be on the good guy side, working with the earlier versions of the Teen Titans, but since the reboot has been strictly evil as Joker’s Daughter (no actual relation). Here, she goes full supervillain, leaving her next victim in a deathtrap. Batwoman arrives just in time to find her allegedly high strength batarangs get chewed up by simple machinery (that shouldn’t be in this plant anyway) and then pose dramatically to watch that, necessitating a last-minute rescue. The media-obsessed victim doesn’t bother to thank the hero, just hopes someone got it on film. Sophie, meanwhile, proves to be a useful actual partner and KO’s Duella. After the capture, the two women talk about partnership, wearing masks, and why this can’t work. Neither of them are happy. Personally, I’m wondering if Sophie has a costume in her future, since A) she’s good at this B) it would solve some problems, and C) Batwoman is the only CW hero with a show but no “Super-friends” at their side.
Before the GCPD can get there and bag the bad guy, Alice finds her first, and offers a deal. You know this isn’t going to be good. Jacob Kane keeps digging into his own organization and starts to wonder how much he doesn’t know. At roughly the same time, the cops make a discovery that ties Duella closer to one version of her famed alleged father, while Alice uses some nasty trickery to take down August. The theme “wrong girl” repeats in this confrontation.
At a loss, and nothing if not pragmatic, Jacob reaches out to Sophie about her coming back to the Crows in the wake of his discoveries. Sophie ignores this for now to have an unpleasant conversation with her mother. I applaud Sophie’s strength, and really hope we never see Momma Moore again, hateful woman that she is.
Our two wrap-up scenes build for future stories. Mary drops in on Kate at her suddenly empty bar, and drops a lot of hints even Kate can’t ignore, and makes some great points as she does it. She leaves, with Kate stunned in her wake. August wakes up to some direct demands from Alice, and laughs in her face. The reason for this is revealed in the last shot, which looks really bad for one of the characters’ future.
What I liked: There was a lot of good stuff in this episode. Mary is earning her place as my favorite character on the show, and I liked how she handled herself this week. It was nice seeing Luke manage to tease Kate instead of the other way around. Kate and Sophie’s confusion on how to handle things was realistic and well done. Alice is a clever, devious, ruthless villain, and does some slick things. I can’t say I ‘liked’ how Momma Moore treated Sophie, but it was sadly realistic and showed that Sophie’s concerns from years ago up to now were justified.
What I didn’t: I’m not sure how Sophie managed to cross paths with Batwoman later in the episode. There were some clumsy bits that made it seem like Luke is borderline incompetent in his job as Batwoman’s tech support/armorer. The death trap was classic, but made no sense on several levels. I just don’t like the newest version of Duella, either in the comics or here.
I thought it was a really good episode. I’ll give this one a low 4 out of 5.