Batwoman: Do Not Resuscitate

Some underground doctors just can’t catch a break

I really had no idea what to expect from the second season of Batwoman, and they manage to keep surprising me anyway. The new Batwoman has worked out brilliantly in almost every regard, Alice has an interesting new storyline, and Luke and Mary are left wrestling with grief and uncertainty after Kate’s disappearance. I’m definitely at the point of not knowing what to expect, and almost all of the surprises have been really well executed. The show is also wrestling with various social issues that work a lot better with Ryan than they probably would have with Kate. Various mysteries deepen, and we meet another Batman foe, in “Do Not Resuscitate.”

The show opens with a follow up on the big bat attack on Gotham Square. That night was the gift that keeps on giving, as a doctor tries to replicate some miraculous results they noticed in the aftermath. What they get is a lot short of a miracle. The doctor in overall charge, Ethan Rogers, doesn’t seem terribly concerned with medical ethics as he pushes his team to keep experimenting to try and find the answer to the cure-all. The ones working for him don’t like the idea, but, as usual in Gotham, someone comes up with a bad idea and most people fall in line behind it. Showing he’s even less scrupulous than he first appeared, Dr. Rogers then goes to a special ward and recruits some help to get something he wants: Aaron Hellzinger, known in the comics as Amygdala. He’s a minor Batman foe who reformed once then slid back into crime again. He’s also a hulking giant in the books, but he certainly has the unnerving intensity here.

As Vesper Fairchild does another bit of on-air musing about the new Batwoman, the heroine in question takes out a few drug dealers, then just about falls over herself. Her wound that she was so brilliantly hiding earlier is getting much, much worse, and to show how bad the pain is, she dramatically rips off her helmet, joining the long list of superheroes who unmask in public for absolutely no good reason. Later, Ryan has turned to Angelique in her moment of need, and they go the emergency room. After an uncaring doctor brushes them off, Angelique gives a lecture about medical bias, then puts up some money to make sure Ryan gets the tests she needs, getting in two indictments of the American medical system in one scene. Efficient writing, that. Ryan again appeals to Angelique to leave her life of crime, which, if nothing else, is bad timing since that’s how Angelique is paying Ryan’s medical bill. Technically, it’s a work-related injury, but I can see that being complicated to explain.

On the run and moving around, Ocean and Alice have come to rest in what appears to be an abandoned subway car. Ocean isn’t really interested in listening to Alice’s theories about their odd memory problems, but gets drawn in despite himself. Elsewhere, Mary and Commander Kane are coming back from a very emotional meeting with a lawyer who has less ethics than the stereotype. Maybe he knows Dr. Rogers. Their discussion about Kate’s disappearance and the elusive Napier painting gets interrupted when Aaron makes a very dramatic reappearance after his earlier scene at the Asylum.

Unaware of the Kane/Hamilton roadside assistance issues, Sophie goes to The Hold Up and meets with a very unimpressed and disinterested Ryan. Sophie can be utterly ruthless when she decides to act, and that comes out here. Ryan, for the second episode in a row, overcomes her doubts about the Crows in general and Sophie in particular, and agrees to go along with the new plan. Mostly, I think, because this is what Ryan wants for the outcome. Mary and Kane slowly become aware of their new situation, and it’s not good. Aaron has control issues to start with, and he’s asking for the impossible. Intimidated by Aaron’s violence and general air of chaos, Mary reveals a lot of things that Kane didn’t know. The man is very bad at knowing what’s going on in his family.

Ryan, for one of far too many times this episode, peels off her bandage to look at the ugly mess her wound is becoming. Angelique comes in doing a deal on the phone (somehow the known drug dealer has a secure phone that’s not being tapped), and Ryan springs a surprise on her girlfriend. It really doesn’t go well. This leads to another tense discussion between Ryan and Sophie, followed by a phone call from Ryan’s very confused doctor. Aaron makes more threats, and, when Mary can’t produce a magical result, takes his frustration out on Kane. While Aaron rants about what was done to him in the past, and reveals some troubling news about the late Catherine Hamilton, Mary looks on, terrified. Under a lot of pressure, Mary shares something she probably shouldn’t have.

Ocean and Alice talk some more about their mutual memory issues, and, when she reveals something that’s come back to her, she’s in the unusual position of actually being hurt by someone’s responses. At the Batcave, Ryan does some studying on something she probably should have checked out a while back. Luke comes in to check on her and they have a very uncomfortable conversation about Alice’s recent activities. This gets interrupted by a very out of character call from Mary, leading Luke and Ryan to realize she’s in trouble. Ryan’s medical problems kick in again, and Luke gets concerned.

Not liking any of the answers she’s coming up with, Alice makes a call and chats with Safiyah, getting my favorite line of the episode about roofies, memory lane, and a few other fun bits of wordplay. Alice continues her obsession with getting Kate back. Ryan pulls off her bandage (again) and grosses Luke out. Ryan is determined to push ahead in defiance of her medical problems and Luke’s concerns. Alice and Ocean have a fight, then a flashback, then an uninvited guest as Sophie shows up. Sophie actually impresses Alice with some of her actions, and this leads to a showy reveal of what’s hidden in the painting.

Sophie and Luke catch each other up in a hurried call, and then Luke gives Ryan some last-minute advice as she prepares to go into action. Mary does something slick and helps Kane get free, but the Crow Commander doesn’t fare well against someone who has, at least in the comics, fought Batman. Sophie also shows up to get beat down by Aaron, and then Batwoman arrives to save the day. Kane gets Mary out and actually trusts Batwoman to do something, which is a big step for him. Batwoman doesn’t do too well until she uses Luke’s earlier mentioned trick, which turns the tables. Or it would, but then Dr. Rogers and a hit-team show up (what kind of lab does this guy work for??) and manage to escape with Aaron and the map. Seems like everyone wants to vacation in scenic Coryana. Personally, I’m not sure how you have a hidden island in the age of computers, planes, and satellites, but I guess there’s an explanation somewhere.  

Luke and Mary confer about Ryan’s health issues, and Luke has some grudging admiration for her at this point. Naturally, the only way to cure Ryan is the same miracle that everyone else is looking for, so we get another team entering the Race to Coryana. Commander Kane throws a temper tantrum in his office, and then takes his feelings out on Mary. She makes some great points, and stalks off, leaving Kane looking like a jerk, but then, that’s his default setting.

Two scenes wrap things up for the episode. Sophie tries her gambit that she talked Ryan into helping with, and it fails spectacularly. Whatever else the Crows might be good at, they do not have Batman’s level of tech. This disaster looks like it costs something very important to Ryan. Sophie gives an exasperated sigh, but I can’t tell if it’s from her plan failing or the mess she’s made. Alice decides she’s going to try and do what Safiyah wants, and there’s clearly some kind of scheme in the making. There are going to be some interesting developments next episode, which is apparently going to be delayed at least a week.

What I liked: Angelique clearly cares for Ryan, and does what she can to help her. The relationship has an odd dynamic, but the feelings are there. Ryan is certainly determined enough to be a hero, and getting better with the Bat-gear. Mary is also set on doing the right thing, no matter who tells her no. I’m glad Luke is coming around about Ryan. Aaron was an interesting, new, and chaotic presence. Alice and Ocean are fun together.

What I didn’t: This whole “hidden island” thing doesn’t work for me. It makes no sense. Dr. Rogers seems to have far too many criminal resources at his disposal. As the season goes on, I’m liking both Sophie and Kane less and less. The tech Sophie tried clearly needed more testing. I guess it’s good Luke doesn’t work for the Crows. I’m getting tired of Ryan hiding things, and dramatically pulling off her bandage. She’s hurt. It looks bad. We get it.

I’m still enjoying the show, but this was possibly the weakest episode of the season. I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5.