Batwoman: Toxic

You really are short, aren’t you?

The saga of the new wave of Batman villains has been dominating this season of Batwoman. Most recently, Poison Ivy has been the focus of the story, and her effect on Mary Hamilton. Things have gotten stranger and more tense with a few shifting alliances, betrayals, and unfinished business with Jada Jet and her unstable son, Marquis. Now there’s a lot in play as the team deals with things getting “Toxic.”

We start with Ivy versions 1 and 2 in a greenhouse. Their victim is someone high up in a Gotham City healthcare company, which is a departure from Pamela’s usual ecological targets, but fits in well with Mary’s crusading doctor role. Mary gives a very impassioned speech, the two of them depart, and Pam draws more power from Mary. This time, it doesn’t seem as painless or effortless, at least not for Mary. The team, in the meanwhile, has relocated to the Hold-Up, I guess after finding out where Montoya’s allegiance was. Alice drops in on them with her usual offbeat approach to everything, and tells them about the problems with Mary.

Out in the woods, the Ivies talk. Pamela says she was impressed with Mary’s diatribe about healthcare. The original Ivy also talks about some events from her childhood that probably helped shape her dim view of people in general. Oddly, given the power at her command, Pamela uses bolt cutters to get through a security gate. Montoya is running around the streets of Gotham doing some errands when she gets some unwelcome visitors in the form of Ryan and Alice. Pamela leads Mary to a big dam outside Gotham City and goes on a rant about what it did to the local wildlife and ecology. If you remember what got Renee to help Batman all those years ago, this is an ominous visit.

Back at the bar, Renee remains defiant and refuses to help our heroes (and Alice). Ryan tries to persuade Renee to talk, but gets nowhere. Trying to help, Luke called Sophie to join them, but given their tensions, Ryan isn’t happy about this and Luke is baffled. The team calls Renee out on her betrayals and hiding evidence, and Alice gets creative with her threats. Luke tells Ryan that the Bat-signal has been fired up, and our hero takes off to see what’s going on. Personally, I’m wondering where this is. Still on GCPD’s roof? The building the Crows were in before they disbanded? At any rate, Batwoman arrives to find Jada there, and the woman remains absolutely obsessed about her son. Batwoman confronts her about the fate of some of her employees, and they finally strike an uneasy deal, with Jada adding a deadline as Batwoman leaves with, hopefully, what they need to cure Marquis’ insanity. At the dam, Pamela’s intent becomes clear, and Mary shows at least a bit of who she used to be. Ivy 1.0 isn’t really in the mood to listen, takes what she needs, and leaves Mary on the roadway.

Mary is found and some people actually do the right thing as Luke asks Sophie about the newest tension between her and Ryan. Sophie is evasive, which leaves Luke curious and concerned. They hear about Mary, bring Batwoman up to speed, and she tells Sophie to do something that’s probably going to be a lot harder than it sounds. Shortly, the Batmobile is speeding through the streets with Alice driving (which can’t be a good choice) and Batwoman not enjoying being a passenger. Alice does something that’s all bluff, which Batwoman falls for, as they close in on Mary’s current location. After some drama and a few odd choices, they get Mary and Alice tells Ryan about the dead hunter she found last episode. Of course, now they have an unconscious woman who they have no idea how to treat on their hands.

Back at the bar (I guess they’re closed? Although the doors clearly aren’t locked), Renee finally starts being helpful when they bring in Mary. Alice doesn’t like Mary’s terminology about what’s been happening. There’s a lot of bickering amid the information exchange, and Batwoman comes to a realization that should have been fairly obvious given the case history and what she says. Sophie, at least, as a trained investigator, should have put this together faster. As the team argues, Pamela attacks the dam and indulges in a few of her passions, like destroying equipment and killing people she finds inconvenient.

Getting clever, Ryan and company manage to revive Mary. Unfortunately, she’s really not in any mood to listen, and tries to walk out on them. Mary lashes out, but just verbally, not using any of her powers, which makes me wonder if the “real” her was fighting back in this scene. Mary gets increasingly happy as she sees Montoya and Alice both helping the others, and then Ryan stuns her with what Alice told them earlier. Then we get some cutting back and forth between Mary meeting up with Pamela and the team planning what to do. The solution Renee comes up with doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but hey, comic book science, I guess. Although how a more or less disgraced police detective is making scientific breakthroughs, I’m not sure. Those few bits of oddness to one side, the plan works relatively well, for the most part. Mary overestimated her own abilities, but they manage to weaken, and then capture, Pamela, as Batwoman fights the villain and Luke returns as Batwing and has a breakthrough of his own.

Things begin to wrap up for this section of story. Between Pamela drawing so much power from her and the chemical help from Renee, Mary is back to normal and there’s a tearful reunion and promise to treat each other better. Unfortunately, Mary didn’t get one of those “I can’t remember what happened” deals and is trying to process a lot. Ryan chats with Alice at the bar (the woman sure can drink), and they have almost friendly banter. Alice points out something Ryan seems to have forgotten, and you just know more bad news is coming. Renee and Pamela get their sort of happily ever after following a big argument. They’re being sent somewhere the show has a history with, so that was a nice touch. However, settling down there, which seems to be the plan, goes against pretty much everything every version of Ivy stands for, including this one. Mary decides there are some things she’s better off not knowing, and Ryan begins to learn what the price was for her missing a deadline. That looks bleak, but it gets worse as some collateral damage from the dam stirs up more trouble.

What I liked: There were a few clever ideas in this episode, like how they revived Mary. As usual, Alice got in a lot of great lines. Luke being clueless about what’s going on with Sophie and Ryan was both entertaining and believable.

What I didn’t: I’m really a bit over both Jada and Marquis. Jada is as thoroughly obsessed as any Bat-foe, and really needs some serious therapy. The more we see of Jada, the more puzzling I find it that she and Diggle were ever friends.  Ivy using bolt cutters was a weird choice I still don’t really get, as was letting Alice drive the Batmobile. Sophie is, in a lot of ways, following Diggle’s path on Arrow and I kind of wish they’d skip to the bit where she ends up in some kind of costume and identity. If that doesn’t happen, she really needs to get identified as Batwoman’s helper, since she keeps doing it. Moving to the Hold-Up was an odd choice, since it’s less secure and has so many windows.

I liked a lot of this episode, but it had some holes. I’m giving this a 3 out of 5. It sounds like Marquis is back next episode, which I could have lived without but I don’t get a vote.

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