The theme of the third season of Batwoman seems to be the trophies from former Batman foes giving rise to new villains. They did Mad Hatter well, but I was puzzled by the title of “Loose Tooth.” The only Bat-foe I could think of that might work for was Killer Croc, and I couldn’t see how that would give rise to a new version. They actually handled it pretty well.
The show opens with a young couple breaking into a pool after hours. Drunken flirting gives way to horror as they get attacked by an unseen monster. Aside from showing us how the monster works, this scene is also the first Arrowverse mention of Aquaman. Atlantis was mentioned on Flash a few times, but this is the first namecheck of the King of the Seas. Elsewhere, under a voiceover from Renee Montoya, Alice is escorted through the halls of Arkham to be paroled, although I’m not sure that’s the right word, to Batwoman. I had some concerns about this particular plot, and right off the bat we see Ryan is there in civilian clothes, and, as far as I can tell, Montoya outs her secret ID to the two guards in the room. Alice is her usual snarky self, and she and Ryan clearly don’t care at all for each other.
The news covers the attack at the swimming pool, and we learn Killer Croc was around two decades ago, making me wonder how old Bruce Wayne/Batman is on this world. Luke tells the rest of the team about the original Croc, and his modified origin in this world works for the character and for what they do in this story. We learn what happened to the original, and I will point out that, from what we hear in this retelling, Croc could still be alive. As they finish the briefing, Alice makes a few snarky comments and complains about being cuffed to one of the rails in the Cave. Ryan has the two resident geniuses go work on the Batwing suit, although what Mary is going to contribute as a medical doctor, not an engineer, I’m not sure. I guess offering feedback on the bio-sensors. As if they didn’t have enough to do, Sophie and Ryan have to deal with Jada Jet dropping in via helicopter. In addition to being a powerful CEO, Jada is Ryan’s birth mother. There is no Jada Jet in the Bat-mythos, although there is a Jezebel Jet, who was a love interest of Bruce Wayne’s for a time.
Nervous, Ryan, in her role as acting CEO of Wayne Enterprises (since Kate is off searching for Bruce) meets with Jada. She’s there about the breech in her company’s computers last episode, which was Sophie learning about Ryan’s birth. Jada is snappish and threatening, and Ryan handles herself well, although she’s shaken afterward and gets some reassurance from Sophie. In the Cave, Mary and Luke try and figure out what’s going on with the suit, and agree that the “failsafe” mode really isn’t safe. Alice tries to get free from her ankle monitor, and we see she’s been left in a place with far too much access to computers and cameras. Ryan joins Alice, and they talk about mothers, killers, and hunting grounds.
Illustrating Alice’s point, we see a young girl playing soccer near the woods, and you just know that isn’t going to end well. Sure enough, it doesn’t. Batwoman and Alice get there a while later, and find some really obvious drag marks the police apparently missed. They also find some shed skin and an opening to the sewers. We get to see the missing girl is still alive, although not in a good place on any level. Alice and Batwoman follow the trial and talk mothers and disturbed childhoods. Alice claims to have a bond with the missing girl that sort of makes sense, although it’s difficult to trust her.
While Batwoman and Alice follow the trail and have an unexpected meeting, Mary gives Luke an examination. The two of them have had an awkward attraction for a while, but just in case they were being too subtle, the writers make sure that’s front and center now. There’s some banter about wounds, the suit, and overprotectiveness. In the sewers, we get an origin story for the new Croc, and it works pretty well. Then there’s a big surprise and we see someone let their guard down who really should have known better. Sort of following up on Luke’s comments about overprotectiveness, we see the new arrival going to extremes before things turn on him in an ugly way. Wasting no time, Alice takes advantage of the new circumstances, does something visually cool that I don’t think would work, and walks off. She seems to have a crisis of conscience over the missing girl, and then ends up sharing her twisted world view before skipping off.
Batwoman stays on mission and tries to talk the new villain down, but that’s not going to happen. Renee and her liaison realize Alice is off-program, but can’t do anything about it, since they weren’t as ruthless as Amanda Waller with her Suicide Squad. Alice’s bid for freedom is cut short by Batwing. They have a decent fight before ‘Wing pulls a clever trick.
Down in the sewers, Batwoman saves the girl, beats the villain, and manages to not get torn up too badly. There’s a happy reunion, a nice little acknowledgement, and Batwoman managing to snark at Montoya some, which I’m sure made her feel at least a bit better. That scene ends with an amusing little bit from Alice.
Once again, Alice moves through Arkahm with a voiceover, this time provided by the never-seen Vesper Fairchild. Croc is captured and Alice is back where she belongs, so those stories go well. Ryan and Sophie borrow a recurring bit from Supergirl and have a Balcony Conversation™, where Sophie does her best to help Ryan with some new and wholly understandable insecurities. Luke and Mary poke at the suit some more, and Mary comes up with a working theory that makes perfect sense about the shutdowns. Montoya comes to a realization about one of the captured trophies that means bad news for everyone, and Ryan ends the show by going to confront Jada about the past. I’m glad they didn’t draw this plotline out, at least, although it’s an awkward end for the episode.
What I liked: The new Croc story made sense and held up well. I don’t like what Montoya is doing, but I get it and it works. The Luke and Mary scenes were fun to watch. Alice, while a psycho who gets away with a bit too much, is entertaining. Sophie is being a great friend to Ryan, although I’m really not sure when their relationship changed.
What I didn’t: I have a lot of concerns about the Odd Couple/Defiant Ones (look it up) Alice and Batwoman pairing. Renee seems to be slipping up with Ryan’s secret already, which isn’t good for her leverage over the hero. I’m also not sure about the Batwing glitches as an ongoing plot, although Mary may have worked that one out.
It was an enjoyable episode, with another revamped villain that worked for the story. I’ll give this a solid 3.5 out of 5. If they keep this pace and level of quality, it should be another enjoyable season.