The second season of Batwoman has taken a hard look at several social justice issues. They have, in my opinion, managed to not do it in a preachy, club you over the head with platitudes manner (something Supergirl largely failed to do last season), but with some great writing and actual unflinching realism. Last episode ended with the shocking shooting of Luke Fox by extremely questionable Crow Russel Tavaroff. Now, the aftermath of that and some very surprising decisions emerge in “Armed and Dangerous.” According to IMDB, it was originally titled “Armed Suspect”
We see medics rushing Luke to the hospital as Commander Kane interviews Tavaroff. Tavaroff is smug and confident and the (all white male) board on his hearing seem more than happy to just dismiss the whole thing after Tavaroff lies to them. Kane seems to be the only one expressing any doubts, and he mentions both body cam footage and interviewing Tavaroff’s partner. Tavaroff smirks as Luke gets a strange vision of the Wayne Enterprises office so many scenes are set in. Mary and Ryan go down to the cave, wondering how in the world Luke ended up getting shot, and having very little actual information so far. Mary fills Ryan in on what she heard on the phone, and goes after something to help Luke.
In the late Dr. Ryhme’s office, Alice is going through the doctor’s files, ignoring the body on the floor. Hearing someone coming, she springs to her feet, knife at the ready, but it turns out to be Ocean. They have an odd discussion about arguments, their feelings, and points being made. Alice is still determined to find out what’s going on with Kate/Cerci, and Ocean wants nothing to do with any of that. He returned mostly to deal with the body, and Alice confirms for the fans what we suspected about who Ryhme was. This could be a very interesting subplot down the road if they follow up on it. As they part on not the best of terms, Batwoman is out for answers and uses the Batmobile to find Eli, the scum car thief we met last episode who was a big part of Luke getting shot. Eli tells his tale, mixed with a lot of self-justification and self-pity (a very realistic note for anyone familiar with real criminals of the non-costumed variety), and Batwoman learns what actually happened.
Luke sees a familiar face in his office/vision, but gets interrupted by the unexpected appearance of someone from his past. While Luke is confronted with a decision he has to make, Mary and Ryan do their best to figure out how to help him and bring some justice to the situation. Ryan gears up and heads out, and Mary is further distracted from her work when Alice turns up in the Wayne Enterprises office. Mary confronts her (brave, not wise), and they have a very odd conversation. We know what Alice is fishing for amid her warnings about Sionis, but Mary is confused. Despite that, Mary actually says something sort of nice as Alice leaves. It’s an interesting and multi-layered scene.
Batwoman stalks Tavaroff, but there’s a reason anyone planning a fight, raid, or military operation advises putting aside your emotions. Batwoman is not at all at the top of her game, and loses the fight when Tavaroff gets some backup. I’ve said before that Batwoman is the only Arrowverse hero who is alone in the field, and they really need to fix that. Alice and Ocean have another chat about body disposal and wanting it all before they appear to go their separate ways. Batwoman gets some help when she calls Sophie and asks for any information she has on Tavaroff. Mary tries to get in to see Luke, but is prevented by two Crows. What authority they have to bar anyone from a hospital room I’m not sure about, but then, their nebulous status as sorta-cops has been confusing off and on throughout the series.
The news publishes Luke’s name, and gets taken in by doctored bodycam footage. Tavaroff and company have been very thorough, also providing a gun as evidence with a nasty history attached to it. They’re scum, but they’re good at it. We also hear what Luke’s actual job title is (or at least one of them, he had a different job when Kate was around) as Sophie and Ryan try and figure out what to do. They argue about the Crows in general, bring up their many excessive force incidents (citing Wolf Spider as an example), and then get down to specifics on how to get the original, accurate footage. The Crows’ camera system has a major issue that sounds like it should eliminate it ever being used as evidence, but it adds tension and an artificial deadline. The writers are going for drama over accuracy. Ryan brings up some interesting guilt and indulges in the Arrowverse official hobby of all masked heroes- blaming themselves for anything that happens in their general vicinity or to anyone they’ve ever talked to. As Sophie hugs a shaken Ryan, Luke gets some more information on what’s going on in his strange vision, which starts to border on a lucid dream with help from a subconscious manifestation.
Running out of ideas, Sophie goes to the Crows’ Nest and appeals to Kane directly. He’s understandably not happy about her abrupt resignation the other day, and they argue about that and what the Crows have become. On the way out, she plants one of Luke’s gadgets. Batwoman engages in some breaking and entering while Mary distracts the Crows long enough for an ally to drop in and complete an important mission. Luke talks to his visitor in his vision as he tries to decide what to do about the serious choice he has to make.
Kane calls Tavaroff to his office and asks him some pointed questions. Tavaroff remains smug and unflappable and then goes from crooked “cop” to outright villain (not that he wasn’t before). Sophie guides Batwoman on her mission while Mary keeps the Crows confused at Luke’s door. Batwoman finds that the Crows’ files are complicated and, apparently, in no real order, which makes little sense and is something Sophie should have known. Mary and guest helper Evan meet up and walk off while Sophie somehow sees Kane getting taken away by Tavaroff’s crew. The Batcave has random surveillance of the Crows’ Nest? As an aside, I’ve been calling it that for months and Batwoman actually uses the term herself, which I’m counting as a personal victory whether it makes sense or not. This forces a nasty choice on Batwoman.
Tavaroff and his crew take Kane to another room (Why? We don’t know) to plot his death. A few seem taken aback by this, but Tavaroff bullies them into going along. This is when the lights go out and Batwoman makes a dramatic entrance, taking out Tavaroff’s thugs (who are, of course, mostly white folks). She drops all the bad guys, brings the lights back on, and beats Tavaroff down, although he does give a decent accounting of himself. Our hero frees Kane and makes a very pointed argument about what he should do next. Ryan and Mary have somehow gotten access to Luke’s room (I guess the Crows got called off?) and wait for him to wake up. Kane gives a surprising press conference and changes the status quo of the show going forward, which I’m sure will have many repercussions. Mary and Ryan plead with Luke to wake up, but Luke himself makes a shocking choice in the confines of his dream world. Things happen that change the outcome, but it’s something that should influence him going forward.
Getting to his car at the end of a very long day, Kane’s not pleased to see he has company. Alice is at least not hiding in the back seat to jump out at him/strangle him/stab him, so he should be happy about that. Alice shares some surprising news, makes an offhand but accurate comment about the Crows, and then proposes an unexpected alliance. She ends her pitch with a smile that’s equal parts manic and desperate. It’s an interesting place to end things.
What I liked: Bringing back their ally who owed them a favor was a good choice. I’m very interested to see what the fallout is from Rhyme’s death, and hope they follow up on that. The fight scenes are very well done, as they tend to be on all the Arrowverse shows. I’m intrigued by Alice’s newest steps on her quest. The big change should alter the landscape of this series from here out. Luke’s choice should affect a lot of things about him. As usual, Alice got some great lines.
What I didn’t: The details about the Crows’ body cam footage made no sense at all. Why did the Batcave have just the right monitor up of the Crows’ Nest, or have coverage there at all? How did Sophie not know how the files were organized? She never dealt with them?
It was a good episode but had some nuts and bolts style flaws. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5, and am looking forward to seeing where they go from here.