Batwoman: Trust Destiny

No, see, I’m the new Joker. I am! I’ve got cards and everything.

Anyone who has studied military history and/or tactics will tell you that fighting a two-front war isn’t a good idea. Unfortunately for them, that’s what Batwoman and her allies have been doing most of the season, when it’s not more like three or four fronts. They’ve been dealing with Batman’s missing trophies, the machinations of Jada Jet, and Renee Montoya manipulating and blackmailing them, not to mention Alice being the usual wrench in the works. Now all of those things come together and make things incredibly complicated in “Trust Destiny.”

The episode opens with a flashback from ten years ago, as Officer Montoya and her partner have a run-in with Poison Ivy. There have been a lot of different incarnations of Ivy over the years, and this one seems to be visually based on the one from the Arkham Asylum games. Montoya is clearly suffering from some conflicting loyalties, and her partner pays the price as Ivy walks away. In the present, Mary and Alice are having a deranged girls’ night in a hotel, and Alice is sort of sweet in her own sociopathic way. They have a bit of a problem with hotel security, but Mary enjoys her newfound power and resolves the issue. After the unwelcome visitors are dealt with, Mary fumes about some financial issues she’s having, and Alice gives her some grim advice based on her own experience with Kate.

Montoya goes to Mary’s clinic, which is completely engulfed in runaway plant growth. I’m not sure why she’s there unless it’s to trigger the flashback we see next. The younger Ivy and Montoya meet up and argue about the course Ivy has set herself on. Back in the present, Batwoman’s team has set up shop in Montoya’s less-than-desirable offices, and Luke is having assorted technical issues as he tries to work his keyboard magic in reduced circumstances. Amid a lot of banter about how bad the place is, tensions rise about what they’ve done and what to do next. Ryan gets even more annoyed when Montoya and Sophie team up against her as far as their next moves go. They finally agree that they need to dig up the serum Batman used against Ivy, but that requires actually finding Ivy. For all Luke’s knowledge of Bat-lore, this is something he doesn’t actually know.

The team starts trying to strategize how to get to the Batcave, because apparently this one is only accessible through the Wayne Enterprises offices. This is a ridiculously foolish set-up, bad tactics, and not something I see Batman doing at all. Besides, the Batmobile and motorcycle get in and out of there somehow, right? In the comics, the cave under Wayne Enterprises is a secondary one and the original Batcave is under Wayne Manor. We’ve seen hints of that at least during Crisis, but I’m beginning to think there’s no such cave in this world, as it’s never mentioned and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t fall back to that one under current circumstances. As if all this wasn’t enough drama, Marquis picks this moment to call Ryan in a strange, boastful, almost Joker-level crazy video chat. They’re really trying hard to make him Joker 2.0. We know what supposedly happened to the original, but I’m now curious what happened to Harley in this world. She had a voice cameo back on Arrow years ago, but I don’t think she’s ever been officially confirmed on this Earth, and certainly not since Crisis.

In a move vaguely reminiscent of the flamboyant showmanship of Jack Nicholson’s Joker in the first Batman/Keaton movie, Marquis is throwing a huge masquerade party to celebrate his new acquisition of Wayne Enterprises. It’s a ridiculously lavish affair, but it does give Sophie, Ryan, and Luke a chance to sneak in so they can try and enact a ridiculously complicated plan to regain access to the cave. Marquis is holding court in all his insane glory, and even in Gotham, this really should draw the attention of the cops. Montoya joins them (and no, she doesn’t count as the cops at this point) and she and Ryan keep sniping at each other. I don’t know what ranks below “uneasy alliance” but that’s where they are. Sophie tries to play peacemaker, but to me at least, this seems half-hearted at best. Somehow, they get the idea to split up, leaving the one with the weakest combat skills (sorry, Luke) in the swirl of chaos that is Marquis’ party while the three ladies who know how to fight go take out a group of security guards who were playing pool. As Ryan makes Montoya turn away so she can’t see how to open the way to the cave, the party gets even more complicated when Mary arrives, intent on mayhem. I have to say, Ivy has most often been some kind of extreme eco-terrorist, but Mary just seems to delight in causing chaos and problems.

Luke reports in on this new arrival, while the cave group go through journals. Between them, they are remarkably collectively stupid as it takes them a long time to figure out a really simple method of finding which one of Batman’s journals to read. Luke gets in a good line, Mary dances with Marquis (who seems genuinely confused by her presence) and Ryan is now somehow in costume. She clearly didn’t bring it with her, and the fact that there was a problem with “THE Batsuit” has been a plot point several times, so I’m not sure where the costume came from, but moving on… We get another flashback, this one apparently showing the moment when Montoya turned on Ivy, working with the Batman (who we never see) to depower and imprison her. Returning to the present, the team finally works out where they think Ivy is, and it’s a bad choice on almost every level. The down below group moves out to try and find Ivy while Mary sows chaos and Luke tries to keep tabs on everything.

Mary enjoys her dance with Marquis and the two have some fairly intense dialogue. Their conversation ends with him once again looking surprised as she whispers in his ear. The exploration team manages to find Ivy, and Ryan is still conflicted about whether or not to use this new weapon against Mary. Finally, she gets talked into it by both Sophie and Montoya, and heads back to the party. Before she goes, Batwoman gives Montoya and Sophie very strict instructions about how to handle Ivy and leaves them a weapon to deal with the villain, just in case. The party gets a lot worse for Luke as he gets some attention he’d rather not have, and Sophie tries to reassure Montoya that they’re doing the right thing. Sophie then gets distracted by a fraud alert on her credit card, figures out it’s a clue, and rushes off, leaving Montoya alone with the imprisoned Ivy, because that’s a good idea. Mary realizes that the team is trying to keep her there, and decides to find another way out.

Sophie finds Alice, which turns out not to have been all that hard. Alice, in her own unique way, is sort of helping the team, but mostly out of petty motives which makes it a bit more believable. The writers have clearly lost the concept of spatial relations as the next scene unfolds. Mary’s attempt to leave somehow ends up with her on the roof, where Batwoman makes a dramatic entrance, dropping down from… somewhere? If it was that easy for her to get to the roof, did they need to go through the charade at the party to get into the building? Then Marquis shows up with a hostage and things get even more tense. Marquis goes into babbling supervillain mode, Ryan backs down from an earlier decision, and then uses something she’s decided is dangerous on someone she’s been defending for a while now, and Mary makes her escape.

Wherever Mary and Alice are hiding out, it’s apparently not that far away, as Mary turns up there, guzzling alcohol as Alice makes an amusing entrance. Mary complains about how things went with Batwoman, and Alice shares some interesting observations, as well a humorous recapping of some of her recent hallucinations. Left alone with the villain she used to love, Montoya gets part of a monologue out and then something happens that shocks her, and bodes poorly for the team, and Gotham in general. Sophie, acting on what Alice told her, makes a surprising discovery. The team has to try and deal with the aftermath of this, as well as the results of the fight with Marquis, as the show comes to an end.

What I liked: Alice, as always, got some great lines. The fight scene of Ryan, Sophie, and Montoya versus the security guards was well done and gave a modified Birds of Prey vibe. The Mary and Alice scenes were really entertaining.

What I didn’t: There were a lot of holes in this episode. Where did the Bat-suit come from? There’s only way into the cave? Why leave Luke on his own at the party? Is there not a cave under Wayne Manor in this world? How did Mary end up on the roof? And on a more personal level, I’m just not finding Marquis a compelling, or interesting, villain.

The series has overall been good to great, and this episode wasn’t. I’m giving this a low 3 out of 5, and I guess we’ll see where all this chaos goes.