Well into season two, Batwoman is starting to more actively clash with the False Face society and their leader, Black Mask. With the chaos of Safiyah out of the way for now, as far as we can tell anyway, Team Bat can focus on troubles closer to hand. This episode shows a lot more of Black Mask’s operation and his reach, introduces a new potential antagonist, and has a major cast member missing for the first time. Our hero and her friends must do a lot in order to “Arrive Alive.”
The show opens with some Fast and Furious style stunt driving all over the city, and there are a lot of references to those movies throughout the episode. These are special heist drivers for Black Mask, who use encrypted phones to get their directions, and deliver needed supplies for the new batch of Snake Bite. Black Mask threatens Angelique as he has the chemicals brought to her, and we hear they’ve had issues with the product since Ocean dropped out of sight. In the cave, Ryan pushes for more information from Sophie, but, of course, can’t really tell her why she needs it. Sophie lets a few things drop but isn’t going to share much with a civilian who has romantic ties to a missing person involved in the case. We do learn the final ingredient they need is fear toxin, which sounds like a chance to bring in Bat-foe Scarecrow, but sadly, he’s a no-show.
Alice is following her own investigation, which leads to an entertaining scene with her pretending to be someone else as she waits for her real target. When they finally show up, she shows her usual cutting wit to emphasize her demands. Enigma, who Alice is waiting for, is surprised to learn what Alice wants. Batwoman leaps into action against the drivers on the next supply run, but somehow manages to stop the car being driven by an undercover Sophie, so that goes poorly for everyone. They don’t have to like each other, but some communication would be good.
Alice shares more with Enigma, who offers some cautions about what the deranged woman wants. Alice, of course, listens to and respects the professional advice. Just kidding. At the Crows’ Nest, Sophie comes to report and we meet Agent Russell Tavaroff, who is a minor villain of a different Bat-clan member in the comics. Kane isn’t really listening to reason much, and chews Sophie out before giving her current assignment to Tavaroff. Sophie and Ryan catch each other up, and Ryan ends up in the odd position of hearing someone blame their alter ego for a setback. Finally, they come up with a new plan, which I think is a bad one, but, as Ryan points out, they don’t have a lot of choices.
Enigma begins working with Alice, sending the madwoman on a trip down Memory Lane. Alice argues with herself, and then gets a surprise as she sees there is more to her trip. She finally comes out of it pissed off at Enigma, which isn’t generally healthy for anyone. Ryan lines up a needed prop for her new gig, and we hear at least a mention of Mary, which is the only reference to her, and this becomes the first episode that she doesn’t show up for. This leads to more amusing bits as Sophie brings Ryan to Luke for fake id, but of course, Ryan and Luke aren’t supposed to know each other. I admit, secret identities can be complicated, but they’re a big part of the superhero mythos as far as I am concerned. When Sophie goes to do something that really should have been done before this, Ryan and Luke talk, and Ryan learns that she’s not as good as she thought. Luke gives her some special gear and she ignores a warning.
Alice and Enigma argue more about what they’re doing, and Alice surprises Enigma again. Ryan passes an audition, and I’d swear is getting some special help through an ear piece, but we never get that confirmed. Sophie then calls her and warns her that there are more complications and wants to call things off, but Ryan pushes ahead. Part of the plan goes well, but then Luke and Ryan compare notes and realize that Sophie is trying to play hero and possibly getting herself killed.
Alice’s session takes a surprising turn with what could be another vision and/or hallucination, but turns out to be the real thing as Ocean returns. For a hidden, unreachable island, people make the Gotham/Coryana trip a lot. Kind of like Star City and Nanda Parbat. Alice and Ocean talk, argue, and are generally surprised, and then, when they take things up a level, Enigma shows she plans ahead and slips away. Sophie is, indeed, trying to play Lone Ranger, and it goes poorly. Black Mask shows he is improbably skilled, and just as Sophie is about to get in worse trouble, Batwoman shows up for a timely rescue. The big fight goes on for a bit until Black Mask plays a trump card to ensure his escape. He does get in some really good lines. We also see Tavaroff make some progress on a mystery that isn’t going to be good for our hero.
Later, Angelique gets threatened again, and then makes a new deal. Alice and Ocean team up once again, not thrilled about it but certainly making the best of it. We learn why Ocean is here, and how things lead back to Gotham and Batwoman both. Sophie does some searching and then makes a really surprising discovery that is going to change the status quo. She made it because Ryan was sloppy and Luke didn’t, or couldn’t, clean up after her this time. This will be interesting to see when the show comes back in a few weeks.
What I liked: The Alice scenes were good. I wasn’t a huge fan in season one, but she’s been shinning in this season. Black Mask got in some great comments. Enigma is more formidable than she seemed at first. The Luke/Ryan not knowing each other scene was fun.
What I didn’t: Much of the episode revolved around fast cars and driving stunts, and that’s just not a big thing for me. Batwoman made some sloppy mistakes, and she and Luke both screwed up at one point. I missed Mary, and Julia would have been good, too. I’m not sure if she’s been written off, or is just gone until the next time they need a surprising development.
Like most of the CW shows this week, for some reason this just wasn’t their best outing. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5 and hope for better after the few week hiatus.