What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Batwoman “Grinning From Ear to Ear”! Pretty crazy that a show like Black Lightning is tonight having its season finale because shows like Batwoman and Supergirl have found some way to consistently miss nights of airing. At an interesting point too where you would think these shows were trying to better capitalize on the new momentum granted from the events of Crisis. Not a bad thing yet, but of course here we are once more back after a short break.
That said, another week means a new set of problems to arise. For Kate, this meant buckling down on that line she needs to draw between being Batwoman, and being herself. Since the very start of this series this has been a looming fear for Kate. Wanting to take the role of hero without sacrificing everything normal which she desired. After that kiss she shared with Sophie in the previous episode, this line was more important than ever to draw. For the most part I did find this part problematic. So many things should not work with two people who know each other so well being that close. In the comics that kind of thinking goes right out the window, but this is a show. You have to try a bit harder. Fortunately there is always Luke playing the role o the person who knows what is at stake in letting one life bleed into the other.
Where I found mixed feelings about this episode was again the writing for Sophie. Where they stepped up was leading Sophie down this path where her eyes were now opened about the things she could accomplish without a leash. When you’re a Crowe, you are working under a microscope, the world sees you, you also have to do things by the book. However, its a whole different world you step into when having the freedom to work through your own initiative and instinct.
Now this unexpected visit from Sophie’s mother was the high-point for her story. What we got out of their interactions was exactly what we should have been seeing from the start. We get it, Sophie struggles being open about the real her who she has kept a secret for the sake of her career and relationship with her family. Though there was always a better way of going about it. That way was not in making self-destructive decisions to her marriage, or throwing her into the arms of Batwoman to fulfill some fantasy of mystery. We needed to blow the doors wide open to actually show what it looks like when someone close to her isn’t accepting of the version of her she wants to be freely. We all knew what this visit with her mother was going to lead to, but it mattered more how they would land the execution and build-up getting to that point. The low-point, was again that thing they tried to make happen with herself and Kate. Obviously it was never going to stick, but it wastes time when both are better than what they were trying to indulge in.
With that said, this brings us to the villain of the week. This one wasn’t too memorable in contrast to some of the others, but it is good to see that with each passing week they are taking the creativeness seriously. Batwoman may not be Batman, but with her there is still the expectation that the foes will still be of the criminally insane variety. For that reason alone this villain made for a great challenge o both Batwoman and Sophie. Especially when it came down to moments of shock for what this new threat was capable of.
This turned out to be a good week for Mary. I’m not going to lie that this wasn’t a character who at first let me with some reservations about the role she plays in this story. The party girl thing seemed like something you could easily roll your eyes at. Yet when you got past this, there was so much more to this character than you ever thought they were going to unravel. Having a heart of gold for the people of Gotham who can’t get medical assistance easily. Not to mention in most cases being able to help without getting in the way. It made sense that with this much activity, someone like her would eventually be able to connect some dots. How they handled this so far has been commendable. Things could have gotten very predictable, and in turn unnecessarily dramatic. They nailed the approach in Mary finding the struggle in being on the outside while understanding what is being kept from her. I mean, when do you confront someone about said secret? Is it even your secret to force out of someone? A fine line was walked from start to finish of this episode.
Considering Jacob Kane was only just released, it made sense that they would not dawdle too long when it came time to be approached about making good on a favor. Surely enough we were all thinking about what kind of favor this could turn into, and that did not disappoint. Not just for what the favor turned out to be, but for the kind of choices this would force Jacob to make in order to get out of this new hole he dug for himself.
As for Alice’s plans for retribution? This took a dark turn which I loved. Giving her a break from Kate was much-needed. Particularly when she now has her own demons to face. That which takes the form of the man who stole those years from her. Alice’s plan was cleverly carried out, it was met with genuine emotion, and led to a huge development for the series as a whole.
All in all, Batwoman “Grinning From Ear to Ear” had a lot going for it. Some developments stuck the landing, others did not. Luckily I would say that most things worked. I know some people are trying to be hard on this show, but let’s not forget that there hasn’t been one Arrowverse show up to this point that had a perfect first season. There will be bumps in the road to get to a place where you are in for the ride.