“Batwoman” Episode 210 Recap: Cruelty is the Point

Previously on Batwoman, the Bat Team decided to cement their legacy by focusing on community outreach, we met Sophie’s younger and equally badass sister Jordan, Angelique took the fall for the Commissioner’s murder, and Alice vowed to remove the memory of Kate from her mind permanently.

The Devil works hard, but Gotham’s only reporter Dana Dewitt works harder. She is live on the scene where Batwoman is taking down the snakebite supply chain one distribution center at a time. Dana expertly transitions from reporting breaking news to breaking bones before Batwoman grabs the mic and warns Black Mask that she’s coming for him.

batwoman staring into the camera

Meanwhile, Jacob is in his car watching the news report and incredibly not checking the backseat, so it should come as no surprise that someone chloroforms him and knocks him unconscious. The knocking out part felt a bit like overkill, but who am I to tell False Face how to run their crime operation? Anyway, we flashback to when Jacob went to rescue Beth from the Cartwright farm, only this time he’s able to save her. It’s then that we realize this is not a flashback at all; it’s a hallucination brought on by the snakebite that Jacob’s attacker injected into his arm.

In the Batcave, Luke actually commends Ryan on her latest False Face takedown, and even goes so far as to jokingly chide her for not literally dropping the mic she was holding. Oh sweet sweet wound-too-tight Luke, how far you’ve come from basically trying to kick Ryan off the team! We love to see it. Unfortunately he still doesn’t have any leads on who Black Mask might be. Ryan assumes the list of people the previous Batwoman killed must be short, making it easier to find him, but Luke says the list doesn’t exist; Kate never killed anyone. They don’t get much further in their convo because Ryan realizes she’s late for visiting hours.

Which finds us at Edgewater Prison where Angelique is doing time for a crime she didn’t commit. Okay listen, I still don’t completely trust Ang, but those prison braids are pretty dang cute. Ryan and Angelique discuss the realities of commissary inflation and Ryan proudly tells her girl about the community center she’s been working on. She wants to give the kids of Gotham a safe place to land instead of getting tangled up in the system like she and Angelique did. Ang jokes that she wishes she could attend that night’s open house, and Ryan tells her that could have been a reality if she just gave up the people who killed the Commissioner. Angelique refuses again and throws in a dig on Batwoman, asking if that’s Ryan’s new girlfriend. Which, hahahahaha. That joke only works on this show where pretty much everyone is queer and lesbehonest, I’m sure Ryan would date herself if she could. Have you seen her?

angelique facing ryan talking through prison glass

At the community center open house, my new best friend Jordan is rocking both the mic and a Phenomenally Black t-shirt. (Did I immediately go order one for myself? Yes, I did.) As Jordan thanks Ryan and Mary for their work, a MAN interrupts her to ask how they plan to keep the center safe. His name is Horten Spence and he’s a writer for the Gotham Gazette. He barely gets out a full warning before Jordan and another woman absolutely read him for filth with statistics on how centers like the one they’re opening make a massive positive difference in areas that Horten called “rough.”

We find out shortly after that this woman’s name is Imani and she’s the director of the center’s tutoring program. We and Ryan also find out at the exact same time that Jordan volunteered her to teach a martial arts class because I’m not sure if you know this, but Ryan is trained in SEVERAL different types of martial arts. I assume Jordan figures if her sister isn’t going to flirt with Ryan then SOMEONE should, because she cheekily leaves Imani and Ryan alone to talk about how important the center will be for at-risk youth. Interruptus is the name of the game this week, because they’re interrupted by a dude with some kind of laser gun destroying the center for seemingly no reason.

jordan and imani standing at the front of the room talking to a man whose back is to the camera

I really need to give Camrus Johnson his flowers for this episode because homeboy made me laugh even more than usual. Luke. is. Furious. About the attack, yes of course. But also because of all the names the media could have given this guy, they chose “Kilovolt” which is just INACCURATE based on the amount of energy being blasted from that lightning gun. The team doesn’t understand why the center was a target, and Ryan points out the definitely-not-a-coincidence fact that Horten talked about a potential attack right before an actual attack happened. Not only that, Luke discovers that Horten was actually fired from the Gazette six months earlier.

At Crows HQ, Julia shows Sophie expense reports from when she was tracking down leads on Kate’s whereabout, except she doesn’t remember anything about the trip. And listen, I used to travel a lot for work and after awhile, all of the itinerary details would get jumbled together and I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell you why there was a $50 room service charge either. Wait, why did I bring that up? Oh right, Sophie implies that the most likely explanation is that Julia was probably too drunk to remember what happened but told her not to beat herself up about it. An agent then informs Julia that they got an anonymous tip for her to go to the Cartwright farm and that the person referred to her as “Penny Dreadful.”

sophie and julia looking at a computer screen

Julia knows exactly who she’ll be meeting once she arrives at the farm and of course, it’s Alice. Y’all, I had to watch this scene no fewer than 3 times just to retain what these two talked about because their chemistry was out of control. The only word I can think of to describe this scene is “delicious.” I’ve talked before about how you can put any two characters in a scene together and magic will happen, and that was on full display here. The last time we saw Alice and Julia together was when Alice stabbed Julia in the stomach and Julia hasn’t quite forgiven her. Alice needs Julia’s help to find Enigma and promises that she’ll leave Gotham after she gets what she needs from the good doctor. Julia assumes that Alice wants to clear her conscience of all the wrongs that she’s done, and as Alice explains exactly what Enigma can do, Julia realizes that she’s actually met her before.

alice walking up the stairs while looking down at julia

Commander Kane calls in Dr. Evelyn Rhyme to explain the addictive properties of snakebite to him like he’s a five year old. In case Dr. Rhyme’s face and cane look familiar, that’s because we were previously introduced to her as “Enigma.” Evelyn explains that snakebite targets memories associated with regret so the user essentially gets a hallucinogenic do-over. She also clocks that Jacob has already used snakebite and desperately needs her help.

Down in an alley (why is it always an alley?), Horten is doing a terrible job of sneaking to his car when he hears a who. The who he hears is Batwoman and he’s shockingly pumped to see her because no one else will listen to his claim that attacks like the one perpetrated by Kilovolt have happened and will continue to happen unless someone does something. All of the attacks have been centered on locations that will provide refuge for kids who need it most. Luke and Ryan struggle to come up with a motive and Horten explains that trying to figure that out cost him his job, but after the most recent attack, his editors are willing to hear him out. Horten barely points out where he’s keeping the evidence when Kilovolt shows up to attack both him and Batwoman. Ryan manages to slash at him before he gets away, leaving his weapon behind.

horten talking to batwoman in an alley

Ryan brings Horten to the clinic and it’s time for Doctor Mode Mary! Horten has some serious burns and Mary starts to treat them while Ryan realizes that there must be some truth to his claims if Kilovolt came for him like that.

Down in the Batcave, Luke’s examining the lightning gun tech and finds a partial print that belongs to a man named Mickey K. A man named Mickey K who has been in prison for the last two years.

Meanwhile, Alice and Julia attempt to retrace Julia’s travel steps and in the three seconds Alice has been helping, she figures out that Julia wrote down Dr. Rhyme’s name on the back of one of her boarding passes. Come on Julia, this is your literal job. Before parting, the two talk about how while they both have Kate in common, they also both know what it’s like for her to choose someone else over them. I’m certain some other things happened in this scene but my brain absolutely short-circuited again.

julia talking to alice who's playing with her hair

Jacob is in therapy with Dr. Rhyme and shares that his biggest regret is not saving Beth and that’s why he wants another hit of snakebite; so he can do right by his daughter. Rhyme suggests that he should focus on repairing his relationship with Mary since what happened with Beth can’t be changed.

Does this prison have a frequent visitor program or something? Because Ryan is back and it’s a two-for-one on visitation. First up: Mickey K! She asks if he knows anything about the attack and he refuses to answer, but she notices his bandage is exactly in the spot where Batwoman slashed Kilovolt. Next, she goes to see Angelique and asks if she’s heard any rumors of a secret way out of the prison as if she’s just sitting on that info and hanging out behind bars just because. Ryan tries to convince her yet again to snitch on the shooters and promises to protect her from Black Mask, but this time she uses their famous pinky swear to get through to her girl.

ryan giving angelique a pinky swear through the glass

And speaking of Black Mask, he’s pissed that there hasn’t been any new snakebite production in 2 weeks so he shoots one of his goons. You know. Because 1+1=2, I guess? Another member of False Face reminds Sionis that Ocean is gone and Angelique is in prison and no one else knows the recipe so they’re kind of screwed.

Ryan heads to Crows HQ to beg Sophie to get Angelique out now that she’s given up the names of the shooters. Sophie promises to follow up on the lead.

Down in the Batcave, MARY IS TRYING TO KILL ME WITH HER LEWK MY WORD. Ahem.

mary

Luke shows them surveillance footage from Mickey K’s cell from the night of the attack except it’s the exact same footage from two weeks prior. Someone inside the prison let him out and the date after the attack, Mickey was granted a parole hearing for early release. In fact, all of the attacks Horten told them about line up perfectly with scheduled parole hearings. It turns out, rich white prison CEO Ellis O’Brien orchestrated these attacks as a way to ensure at-risk youth remain on the streets; which leads to more arrests for non-violent and petty crimes; which leads to more incarcerated brown folks; which leads to higher incarceration rates; which leads to more profit for the prison. O’Brien might lose out on 1 or 2 prisoners thanks to parole, but he knows he’ll be able to replace each of them tenfold.

I’m not going to go on about how fucked up the prison system is. Chances are, if you’re reading this recap, you get it. As I write this, the streets of Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota are filled with people demanding justice for Daunte Wright, another Black man murdered by police. Including the word “another” in that sentence is like a punch in the gut. I’m exhausted. I remember watching the mix of anger and sadness cross Ryan’s face as she realized the motive behind the attacks was racism and greed. She realized that sure, that day’s enemy was Ellis O’Brien, but it was also the system that was engineered to keep people like him in power. People who can get away with earning money for every black body they incarcerate because it’s not technically illegal. People who can murder in broad daylight because the likelihood of consequences is microscopic. Gotham is fictional, but this depiction exists at a time when the issues facing that city are evident in the real-world the literal day after an episode airs. Part of me is glad they hammered home just how ridiculous it seemed for someone to attack places that focused on bettering a community. Especially when put in the context of a superhero show. Sounds crazy, right? It absolutely SHOULDN’T make sense that Kilovolt would destroy a new community center. And yet. The cruelty is the point. The abuse of power is the point.

At Crows HQ, Sionis makes up some nonsense about finding snakebite on one of his employees and leaves it for Jacob when he knows he needs a hit.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rhyme is walking through the halls of HQ when Julia stops her to ask what they spoke about the last time they saw each other. They find someplace a bit more private to talk where Julia reveals that she knows Dr. Rhyme is Enigma. Rhyme tries to escape and then injects Julia with a substance contained in the handle of her cane.

enigma holding a syringe

At the site of a new correctional facility, O’Brien is doing some late night bad guying when Batwoman shows up to confront him about the few hundred million dollars he makes per year to keep his prisons populated. The real problem is that there’s nothing illegal about what he’s doing. He confesses to Batwoman which catches her off-guard, but he’s just stalling to give his security team time to attack with their own lightning guns. Batwoman does her best to dodge the lightning bolts, and just when it seems like she’s about to be bested, Luke shows up with his own lightning gun to save her! Okayyyy Luke in the field, I see you!

Sophie’s leading a team of Crows to check out the gun range the shooters work at, but they find both shooters hanging from the rope Black Mask used to tie up remaining loose ends.

Alice breaks into Dr. Rhyme’s office and proceeds to sneeze into a tissue and put it right back in the box and I don’t know why this made me laugh so hard but when I tell you I CACKLED. She notices that Jacob is on the doctor’s schedule so she listens to the recording of him saying not saving her was his biggest regret. The range of emotions that Rachel manages to convey in 4 seconds is truly incredible. Alice would rather forget than forgive, so she erases the tape with a press of a button and practically wills the memory out of her with a crack of her neck.

alice looking down at a desk

Back at the clinic, Mary gives Horten some meds and the two adorably cheers with lollipops. Jacob shows up and I guess his way of repairing their relationship is to throw money at the clinic as long as she uses it to operate it “the right way.” He doesn’t get it though. Mary explains that the entire reason she opened the clinic is to serve the very people Jacob doesn’t consider “legit.” She finally feels like her work matters and she’s damn good at it. She will never forgive him for trying to take that from her. The world needs more Marys. But really. Can we clone her?

alice facing jacob talking to him

Julia tells Sophie that she put in a transfer to Berlin because “it felt right.” Sure Jan, it’s definitely not because a certain enigmatic doctor planted the idea in your brain. Definitely not. I hope to Rao Sophie didn’t buy that excuse.

At The Hold Up, Ryan shrunk her uniform shirt and I’m just supposed to ignore that I guess. Imani comes in arms with the newspaper story about the community center and some A+ flirting tactics. The flirting doesn’t get too far because Sophie enters and tells Ryan they got Angelique out and she’s being moved into witsec. Since it’ll be awhile before the two will be able to speak freely, Sophie gives Ryan a chance to call Angelique before she goes off the grid.

imani looking at ryan

And then Sad Jacob is sad because no one loves him and his daughters won’t forgive him so he shoots himself up with the snakebite Sionis left and surely that will be fine.

Angelique talks to Ryan as she’s driven by two Crows escorts. Apparently it took a few days behind bars for Angelique to really understand the sacrifice that her girlfriend made when she did 18 months for her. Suddenly, the car is attacked by False Face and they grab Angelique for what I can only assume is because they need her to make more snakebite.

ryan talking into the phone looking sad

Next week: SOPHIE IN BRAIDS TEAMS UP WITH RYAN! Let me know what you thought about this week’s episode, and to all of my Black family, take care of yourselves. See you, next week.

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Nic is a Senior Product Manager at a major Publisher and lives in Astoria, NY. She is way too attached to queer fictional characters and maintains that buying books and reading books are two very different hobbies. When she's not consuming every form of fiction, you can find her dropping it low on the dance floor. You can find Nic on twitter and instagram.

Nic has written 19 articles for us.

9 Comments

    • So weird! Considering that the track record just this season involves a stabbing and a drugging, I’d really think the Crows would have sent out a mass email about checking the backseat by now.

  1. I love a lot of things about this season, but Jordan Moore smoothly accepting that her sister doesn’t want her wing-womaning for WildMoore, and then immediately introducing Ryan to yet another presumably queer Black woman? That’s very high on the list.

    The absolute only thing I want and am being denied is for Jacob Kane to either actually try being a decent dad/man for more than 3 consecutive scenes, or for him to simply fade into the background of Sophie’s work scenes. (And maybe a grief-induced hookup between Alice and Julia, just for funsies).

  2. I liked a lot about this episode but two things bothered me about this one: first, that Jordan would open this community center and her sister wouldn’t be there? Maybe that’s why Jordan’s outchea trying to create roadblocks for #WildMoore…because Sophie’s not showing up for her little sister.

    Second, the idea that Julia would go alone to confront Enigma knowing what she’s capable of? That just seemed far-fetched. Obviously Enigma was going to try to wipe her memory — that’s her whole thing — and it’s hard for me to believe that Julia and Alice wouldn’t have anticipated that. I hope that it’s a case of misdirection.

    On the plus side, though: SOPHIE IN THOSE BRAIDS.

    I’ve never anticipated an episode of Batwoman more.

  3. Did it seem odd to anyone else that Julia started behaving like Alice in the first scene between them at the farm? It was to the point where I almost thought the actress who plays Julia was deliberately mimicking the way Rachel Skarsten delivers her lines as Alice.

    I haven’t watched Season 1 so I’m not sure if Julia is typically so sarcastic and flippant, but I’m guessing not?

    What if Julia is becoming more like Alice because she’s had some of her memories wiped? Maybe the more memories one has wiped, the more detached one becomes, the more psychotic one gets?

  4. * “Sophie implies that the most likely explanation is that Julia was probably too drunk to remember what happened”

    And then Julia—whose shade game was on point THROUGHOUT the episode (well, until being essentially mindwiped by Enigma that is—reminded Sophie that “I was searching for one ex having been dumped by another.” Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to get a little blotto in those circumstances? [And/or, which of us HASN’T?!]

    * “She also clocks that Jacob has already used snakebite”

    Clocks? She (or more likely one of her and Black Mask’s mutual minions) undoubtedly dosed him in the first place!

    * “Down in the Batcave, Luke’s examining the lightning gun tech”

    Was anyone else reminded of Willow and Xander examining (BTVS S4) a “blaster”? Willow’s all “push a button!”, and Xander responds “It’s called a blaster, Will. Now, if it were called an orgasmatron, I might go in for your push-the-button experimentation.” No, just me?

    * “Down in the Batcave, MARY IS TRYING TO KILL ME WITH HER LEWK MY WORD. Ahem.”

    Same, SAME!

    * “Next week: SOPHIE IN BRAIDS TEAMS UP WITH RYAN!”

    LOL, how did I KNOW that would get a shout-out?

    Not gonna lie, I sometimes feels this show goes in for the sledgehammer of set-piece speeches, when more refined (and natural) *conversation* would better make the point. But whichever we get to that point (ITA, it’s cruelty: racism, sexism, classism, homo-/transphobia, the works), I’m still totally down for the ride. This season and, hopefully, every season to come. [But please don’t send Julia to Berlin! Unless/until Safiyah is made a regular, we need someone on this show to bring a sexy accent.]

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