Batwoman’s second, and very impressive, season is achieving a lot of complicated and difficult things at once. They’ve replaced their lead character, reoriented the main villain, and shaken things up for a few of the supporting characters. The show is also tackling social justice issues, and doing it in a good and engaging way. This contrasts with what Supergirl did a few seasons ago, where they clubbed you over the head with morality plays almost every episode. There are some new twists and turns ahead in “Time Off For Good Behavior.”
The episode opens with the local news covering a fight between Batwoman and the False Face gang. How the reporters knew where to go isn’t clear, but they get some great footage, and then become a vehicle for Batwoman to deliver a threat to Black Mask. The reporter mentions that Batwoman seems to be succeeding where the GCPD and the Crows have failed so far. This doesn’t sit well with Jacob Kane, who looks annoyed at the coverage. Jacob then gets the classic back seat ambush, and has an odd flashback, reliving a slightly different version of a major event in his life. He wakes up and sees something that horrifies him, but was damn clever on the part of Black Mask and his minions.
In the cave, Luke and Ryan banter about a few things. It’s nice to see them actually getting along after their contentious start. They discuss the odd claims Black Mask has made about his motivations, and give us our first reference to Aquaman in the Arrowverse. Realizing she’s late, Ryan rushes off to visit Angelique in prison (which she shouldn’t be in, but none of these shows do great with legal details). They go from flirting to pushing each other to having doubts. The course of true love never did run smooth, as Shakespeare said. Following up on something they mentioned last episode, Ryan and Mary help Jordan, Sophie’s sister, open a new Community Center. Things go well, and there’s a new character we’ll probably see more of, and it’s an overall success and good time. Until the new villain shows up, a guy with a boring costume but a really big lightning gun. He trashes the place, and then disappears before Ryan can really react. We also meet a new reporter, Horten Spence, who doesn’t make himself popular.
Vesper comes back for a voiceover and tells us the new bad guy has been dubbed Kilovolt. Luke fusses about the accuracy of the name, and Ryan wonders about his priorities. Luke also points out that the advanced weaponry didn’t make much sense for this target. They then do some research on Spence, and find some suspicious answers. Sophie and Julia spend some time trying to figure out what happened in the time Julia is having trouble remembering, and Sophie asks some good questions. After getting a coded tip, Julia ends up meeting with Alice. After the two banter for a bit, Alice makes an interesting proposition, and Julia starts to realize what might have happened to her. I actually enjoyed the weird “frenemy” vibe between the two.
Kane calls Dr. Rhyme, a physician consulting with the Crows about the snakebite crisis. He tries to bluff her, but she sees through him and they have a more real talk, as well as telling us exactly what snakebite does. Batwoman pays a call on Spence, the odd reporter, and things just refuse to line up with her and Luke’s theory. Then Kilovolt shows up, and things get ugly. The villain once again comes out of nowhere, accomplishes his task, and disappears, although Batwoman does manage to wound him slightly. Batwoman brings the injured Spence to Mary’s clinic, and this is where a few things don’t really make sense to me. I’m not sure why they didn’t just take him to a hospital, and, if Kane closed the place down, why are the cabinets still stocked and chained shut instead of emptied? Batwoman reflects on something interesting about the attack while Mary goes to work on the singed reporter. Luke examines the weapon Batwoman captured, finds an interesting lead, and then this leads to a new suspect who has a great alibi.
Alice and Julia talk some more, and Alice somehow finds notes in Julia’s bag Julia herself didn’t. They agree to work together for this one job, and go their separate ways after Alice reveals her new goal. Kane talks to the doctor again, who offers him some good advice he’s not likely to take. Ryan pays a call on the new suspect, and gets a clue, despite what all the evidence says. They need to be careful with this, though. Ryan is involving herself in a lot of Batwoman cases, and someone’s going to notice. She then talks to Angelique again, and asks her a few questions.
While Black Mask shows his management style and outlines the gang’s current problem, Ryan goes to see Sophie, desperate to act on some information she’s dug up. Sophie is a bit less impressed. Ryan and Luke break their suspect’s alibi, find who they think is pulling the strings, and work in a condemnation of the private, profitable prisons concept. For what it’s worth, I find that idea reprehensible myself. Kane gets an unexpected visitor who knows exactly what he’s doing when he leaves a gift behind. Julia pays a call on someone, is incredibly overconfident, and falls for the same thing she apparently did before.
Luke traces down where the new bad guy is, and Batwoman shows up to do some stalking. This turns out to be a trap, and this, too, doesn’t make a lot of sense. He knew Batwoman was coming? The hero gets some extra firepower deployed against her, and things aren’t looking great for her. Mary worries back in the cave, and Luke’s news doesn’t make her feel any better. Sophie leads a raid on some other suspects in another case, and finds that some people don’t follow the basic courtesy rule they use at every firing range I’ve ever shot at. She also finds a dead end in the form of two specialized targets on the range. Batwoman isn’t doing great against the superior numbers against her. She really needs a Robin of some kind. She gets saved by someone who got across town suspiciously fast, shows a skill we’ve never seen or heard of them using before, and really needs to start wearing a mask if they’re going to keep helping Batwoman in public.
Vesper gives us an on-air wrap up of one of the bad guy’s cases, which sounds good, and indicates a possible partnership down the road. Alice does the least intensive search of an office I’ve ever seen, but manages to find something important anyway. Mary finishes her treatment of Spence, and he leaves just as Kane arrives. The two have a discussion where he makes what he thinks is a good offer, and she points out all the ways it won’t work. This one of the few things I’ve seen Mary really impassioned about, and she clearly cares deeply. Julia comes to a sudden decision that leaves Sophie puzzled, and who could blame her? Ryan gets a few visitors at the Hold Up as she meets with a woman we saw earlier and then gets good news from Sophie. While Kane does something understandable but stupid, Ryan gets a phone chat with Angelique that is interrupted when things go badly for the recently released prisoner.
What I liked: The acting and writing is great on the show. They are weaving in important social issues but doing so in a way that fits the stories well. I enjoyed the Alice and Julia scenes. I like that Mary is going to fight for what’s important to her. The improving relationship between Ryan and Luke is good. The attack on Kane was as brilliant as it was ruthless, especially with his background. Luke and Ryan’s early theory about who the bad guy was made perfect sense with what they knew.
What I didn’t: I’m not sure why they brought Spence to the clinic or why the place still had meds. The big trap at the end was a bit off. The MO for Kilovolt didn’t fit the others in the pattern they find.
I thought this was another great episode. I’ll give this one a strong 4 out of 5.