Batwoman: Mad as a Hatter

What, you thought Batwoman was the only one who got a 2.0?

Last season had a lot happen on Batwoman, but one of the things I was most glad to see was that she won’t be alone in the field anymore. Batwoman was the only Arrowverse hero without backup, and that’s finally changed as Luke Fox became more like his comic book self and donned the Batwing armor. Of course, there are other problems plaguing our heroes, and new complications coming from the missing Bat-trophies. Things start off with a new version of an old villain, in an episode where the title itself is arguably a spoiler: “Mad As A Hatter.”

The episode starts with an amusing story, told with no dialogue, about how the Hatter’s hat ends up in new hands. It was a very modern, believable tale. Then we see the new Dynamic Duo of Batwoman and Batwing raiding a grow house (do they know marijuana is legal a lot of places now?) in order to find something else that’s missing. They get what they want, but have some complications including heavily armed thugs and some technical difficulties. Also, while he’s got the armor, Luke doesn’t have a codename yet. After a few scenes of women partying in a club and Alice getting very happy about mail, Batwoman and Luke finally get out, although one of them really isn’t thrilled with how some things went. There’s also some discussion of the word “sidekick.”

I think I’d rather be fighting armed thugs and have troublesome equipment than be in Mary’s shoes. Out of familial obligation, she’s gone to Arkham to visit Alice. It’s not a fun visit, with a lot of cutting remarks and veiled insults hurled back and forth. Alice ends things with a question for Mary to pass on. Back at the Cave, Ryan isn’t happy about the glitches that plagued their earlier mission, and Mary reminds them that her graduation is tomorrow. I’m amused they chose to make her graduation an event, considering we never saw her go to a class or even study. Mary complains about some things Alice said, and passes along her question, which leaves everyone puzzled. Down in the tunnels, a new problem emerges as we find out that Alice has a super-fan, and he’s not shy about following in her homicidal footsteps.

After this chaos takes place, we someone sleeping at their desk and waking up grouchy when disturbed. This proves to be Renee Montoya, a name with a long history in Gotham and the Bat-mythos. Interestingly, she’s played by Victoria Cartagena, who played the same part on the show Gotham. Some are saying this means Gotham was set in the same world before the Arrowverse really started, but some of the time issues don’t really line up. Gotham was also one of the few DC shows NOT to make any kind of appearance during Crisis on Infinite Earths, but Gotham was also on another network. Renee goes to investigate the new crime scene, and we learn she’s on specialized Rogue Unit duty. Team Bat goes over what they know about the original Hatter, and Ryan makes a good point about disturbing options. Finally, they realize they need some special insight, so Ryan has to make an uncomfortable trip.

Grudgingly, Ryan follows Mary’s earlier example and goes to Arkham. Alice is about as helpful as you’d expect, and dangles a mystery in front of Ryan. Not getting anywhere, a frustrated Ryan leaves and meets up with the others, joined by Sophie. Sophie has joined the ranks of many Arrowverse characters who keep themselves going with no job and not being independently wealthy. The team debates what to do next, which avenues to explore, and who is doing what.

While our new villain does some setup on his plan, Sophie digs into her assignment. She sets an interesting example when she starts computer hacking because she simply doesn’t feel like waiting for proper channels. Also, when did she get to be a hacker? Montoya goes to the Mayor about her new concerns, and there’s a passing reference to Mayor Atkins, who was one of the mayors during Gotham, so throwing fuel on that particular fire. Renee and Mayor Hartley argue about priorities and budgets. That scene ends with Renee protesting about how much she loves her city, while Sophie brings some troubling news to Ryan. Luke shows up just after Sophie gives an envelope to Ryan, and they go find their seats for Mary’s graduation. Mary is getting ready to give her speech when she gets an unexpected visit and things start going badly for her on what’s supposed to be a great day.

On stage, Mary starts giving her speech, but things take a turn for the weird. Her friends rapidly realize what’s wrong, and that Mary has fallen under the influence of the new Hatter. The villain sets Mary on a grim task that I’m sort of surprised made it on to the air, while the others scramble to do what they can to keep things from getting worse. Alice is in group therapy in Arkham when things go weird, even for that place, and there’s a sort of jailbreak going on that Alice actually isn’t interested in. They manage to make us feel almost bad for her when a delusion she’s been clinging too comes crashing down around her. Batwing (where Luke was hiding the armor, I have no idea) goes to the roof to use a gizmo to limit Hatter’s power. Hatter himself has conveniently wandered off so Sophie can get to Mary and try to find a way around Hatter’s commands. Sophie comes up with a desperate idea that is really kind of from the dark side. Hatter finds a way around Batwing’s gadget, and things start going badly again. Batwing has a recurring problem return, and this is something he really needs to address.

Batwoman has struck a deal with Alice, which is never a good idea, and the villain gets another ride in the Batmobile. Arriving at the truly memorable graduation, Alice plays her part and tries to get Hatter under control. It’s a brutal scene between the two of them, and Alice delights in inflicting a bit more harm to someone. For the second time, Batwoman betrays Alice, which you’d think the villain of all people would have seen coming. Everyone is saved and things are looking good, which is never a great thing in Gotham.

Back at the loft, Mary gives her real speech to Luke, Ryan, and Sophie, and it’s a good speech. Almost as soon as she’s done, Luke bolts to go do some work, and Sophie and Ryan slip off for a private talk. Basically, after a horribly traumatic event that was supposed to be a triumph for her, Mary got ditched by all her friends. Ryan makes her choice and she and Sophie deal with an envelope, while we get a setup for what’s going to be a big problem later. Luke does some tinkering and gets a big surprise that’s actually good for once, while Mary gets an unexpected gift that doesn’t explode or spew poison gas, which is a really good day in Gotham. The biggest surprise comes in the last scene, as Batwoman is summoned via the signal, and meets Montoya. Montoya has been given some information, and sets up a team up that’s going to be an issue for the rest of the season.

What I liked: I’m glad Batwoman isn’t alone out there anymore, although I’m hoping the ongoing issues get resolved soon. The new Mad Hatter was a good spin on the original and they did some clever things with him. Montoya is a force to be reckoned with, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. Sophie came up with some good ideas. I’m impressed they made me feel a little bad for Alice.

What I didn’t: I don’t like the plot they seem to be building for Ryan. Batwoman got blindsided at the end of the episode, and while she couldn’t have known specifics, she really should have realized she can’t keep screwing with Alice with no consequences. I hope the tech glitches get dealt with quickly.

It was a good opening for the season and I’m glad to see these characters again. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. On to more trophy hunting!