Batwoman: A Lesson from Professor Pyg

What do you mean it’s not a costume party?

The second season of Batowoman has been dealing with two main storylines: the recapture of Batman’s stolen trophies, which are disturbingly creating a new wave of supervillains, and Ryan clashing with her birthmother, Jada Jet. There are a few twists and turns, some interesting developments, and a new version of a different Batman foe in “A Lesson from Professor Pyg.”

The show starts off on a light note for once, as Sophie and her very unwanted house guest Alice watch a horror movie. Their bickering gets interrupted by what sounds like an intruder which leads to an argument over a bottle of wine and an unexpected visit from Batwoman. Apparently there’s another strange murder, and Renee Montoya wants the Dysfunctional Duo on the case. They examine a flamboyant crime scene, working to stay ahead of the GCPD (which you’d think Montoya could help with), and their talk is the first time Catwoman gets confirmed in the Arrowverse. The only major Batman figures we haven’t heard about are Dick Grayson (although there was a Robin mention) and both Jim and Barbara Gordon. After a joke about Indiana Jones, we hear them talk about what sounds like body stealing, and Batwoman leaves to deal with something else.

At Wayne Enterprises, Luke and Ryan are still dealing with the fallout of Jada’s attack on the company. Mary drops by, worried that Ryan has been invited to a dinner party at Jada’s, and Mary is acting a bit odd. Ryan has a plan to try and help their current circumstances, and it’s not a great one, but they don’t have a lot of options at this point. At least in the midst of her odd rant, Mary addresses an oddity about the current plot I’ve been wondering about myself. At Sophie’s place, she and Alice keep bickering, which is mildly entertaining. Alice’s attempt at a vacation gets interrupted when Montoya calls her in. Which is another odd point in all this: Alice is a multiple murderer on the weirdest kind of work release, and she’s roaming around the city on her own? I don’t care how “connected” Montoya is, I don’t see that getting approved.

Ryan and Sophie arrive at Jada’s place and meet Damian, Jada’s supercilious butler. Ryan makes an offhand comment and Sophie provides some keen insight. Jada comes down for a dramatic entrance and some introductions while Damian goes to speak to Jada’s chef. The chef, as it turns out, is a version of Professor Pyg, the titular character from the episode and one of the newer Batman foes, created in 2007 by Grant Morrison. Jada asks a few questions that show how badly Sophie and Ryan prepared for this escapade. Jada repeats her threatening theme about Ryan staying away from her family, which is odd coming from the woman who invited her to dinner. There are a lot of plot threads that don’t quite line up in this episode, and this is one. The tension gets ratcheted up a few levels when Marcus and his date show up, apparently uninvited.

That’s not a bad time to leave the room, and that’s exactly what Sophie does, using the excuse of needing the bathroom to cover for her getting on coms with Luke and planting a bug in Jada’s study. This, too, is a bit odd, as with her background and training, I wouldn’t think she’d need Luke’s help to figure out where to place it. But, Luke is almost out of this episode entirely, and I guess they needed to give him something to do. Sophie ignores some good advice and pretty much blows her reason for being there, so maybe she needed the help after all. Marcus and Ryan bicker a bit and then Jada calls everyone in for dinner with a snarky line. At Montoya’s office, we learn that several other minor Bat-foes exist in the Arrowverse, and Alice shows why you should be careful about asking for help looking into things when you have your own secrets.

Dinner is very quiet and tense, with some sharp comments about the food, and Ryan announces she’s vegan. I have no idea if we knew this before, and I’m very tempted to go back over her previous episodes and see if that holds up. Marcus’ date proves to be Zoey, who offers some psychological insights about family dynamics, excuses herself, and then proves that, no matter what color her dress is, she’s a redshirt. Marcus’ snarking at the table gets interrupted as we go from family drama to a variation of a slasher movie. I will say that either Sophie or Ryan should be able to handle the bad guy with one hand behind their back, and the way they get around that was clever and believable. Much of the rest of the episode is a cat and mouse game throughout Jada’s place with slowly increasing stakes, which are also believable. That part of the writing they did well with. Montoya makes a sort of confession about her background, and we learn of a link between her and one of the missing villains. We also see just how hardcore Montoya can be, and I have to admit I was impressed.

Ryan and company have found a safe haven, but they are worried by what the villain is up to next. Then, as things get worse, Ryan puts herself at risk to try and save them. With Ryan out of the room, Sophie and Jada have an intense conversation, and recent events get brought up. Jada claims to have no idea what Sophie is talking about, which rings false from a control freak who mounted a major attack on Wayne Enterprises in such short order. Maybe she kept herself out of the loop on details from the thug, but it feels wrong to me. While Ryan stumbles through a few horror movie cliches, Mary goes over her findings from her assignment with Alice. Mary really isn’t acting like herself, and Alice starts putting the pieces together. While I know Alice and Mary have a nasty shared history, Mary is a lot less sympathetic than I’d have expected when Alice actually breaks down and asks for help.

The ugly scene at Jada’s comes to an end with a lot of nastiness, some last-minute medication, and an unexpected twist with one of the characters. Alice and Montoya share another scene where they pool information and Alice realizes something that I had thought was blatantly obvious earlier. The episode starts wrapping up with a short scene between Ryan and Sophie before Ryan has a much longer scene with Jada. We learn what her motivations are for some of what she’s done, and it’s a very twisted Gotham story. I don’t think a lot of what Jada’s been up really jibes with this reveal, and it feels like someone in the writers’ room had a clever idea and they tried to do some retcons. It does set up for some interesting plots for the future, and might end the Ryan/Jada war.

What I liked: Rachel Skarsten consistently turns in amusing performances as Alice, and gets a few good scenes in during this episode. They did a good spin on a classic slasher movie concept and made it work even with characters who should have been able to handle themselves. Mary’s scenes were troubling, and they’re making it clear where she’s heading. The big reveal about Jada and Marcus was an unexpected spin, but it works and should make for some interesting future episodes. The insight into Montoya’s background was an unexpected development that makes some of her actions make a lot more sense.

What I didn’t: Some of what Jada says in this episode really doesn’t seem to line up with her recent actions. Poor Luke almost gets pushed out of the episode. Sophie does some dumb things, but they do give her a decent excuse as to why. Alice is really slow to figure out something pretty obvious.

It was a very different episode, and an interesting change of genre. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5, despite a few flaws, and hope they build off the good parts.

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