I’m starting to get a little worried about Batwoman’s pacing. We’re three episodes in and it feels like episode 10. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but in this case slowing down some plot developments would help this new series breathe. Down Down Down made an important advancement yet raced through a subplot that really shouldn’t have been introduced and wrapped (heh-heh) in one episode.
Alice is having nightmares. This is a weird spot to place the villain as it makes her sympathetic as if the traumas from her childhood have made her crazy. Villains work best with some delusion or exacerbated slight. So far Alice is unstable, but providing her with an excuse for her actions diminishes her as a character and a villain.
Maybe to hedge their bets, the writers introduced Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann). Surprisingly they dump all pretense of questions with Tommy’s agenda as he debuts in an infomercial talking about making Gotham safe again. Anytime, the Arrowverse writers toss a Trump-ism on a character they’re a bad guy. In no time, a Wayne Enterprises rail gun is stolen and Kate and Luke quickly deduce it’s Tommy.
I appreciate the characters not being clueless, but they’re piecing everything together within one episode. As we’re already seeing with Alice, speeding up these reveals doesn’t mean a lot if the characters have to tread subplot waters before advancing the storyline. There’s no reason Kate hasn’t agreed to at least put Alice in custody and brought her in on her own. She’s had the opportunity the last two episodes and I don’t doubt we’re going to see several of these confrontations before Kate decides to actually bring Alice in.
Outing Tommy as a first-class douche right away felt rushed. It also completely sidesteps the whole friend betrayal storyline. With Kate returning to Gotham she doesn’t have any established relationships. Her reunions and interactions would mean more if she had anything to lose.
Sophie is going to be her Mary’s bodyguard, but it’s clear early on she really wanted the gig so she could keep tabs on Kate. Is anyone happily married in the Arrowverse? I can’t be bothered to remember Sophie’s husband’s name as it’s clear he’s just an obstacle character for Kate and Sophie getting together. What’s worst is Kate isn’t trying to be a homewrecker, but suddenly Sophie is so unsatisfied she’s casting longing glares when a bartender Regan (Brianne Howey, Scream Queens) starts flirting with Kate.
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This is the soap opera writing that always undermines Arrowverse romance drama subplots. Instead of this goofy love square, why not go the unique direction of actually having Sophie and Kate be friends as Sophie has legit moved on? Instead, by episode 6 at this rate, Sophie will be begging Kate to take her back. It was also lame that Sophie lied to her husband about her past with Kate. Again, more needless soap opera storytelling.
I appreciate the Kate/Luke dynamic as it’s far more of a classic Q and 007 relationship as opposed to the traditional Arrowverse socially awkward genius who geeks out with every random vigilante move.
Kate confronts Tommy, who name drops Riddler revealing Bruce was Batman like the comic in a nice touch. Realizing more of Batman’s enemies might come seeking him out if she doesn’t tell her truth, Kate puts her personal touch on the Batman suit to make it obvious she is not Batman. Tommy jury rigged some elevators to explode presumably not figuring Sophie and Mary would just pry the doors open to escape. That seems like a poorly thought out death trap.
Mary helps the EMTs respond to the injured hotel workers whose elevator did crash. Naturally Mary corrects the professional EMTs. Way to make the Gotham emergency crew look totally incompetent. The writers are going to need to figure out their approach with Mary as she flips from night doctor to telling the elevator intercom she’s a social media influencer who will slam the hotel with bad reviews the next. Mary doesn’t have a secret identity so it’s odd the writers are making her operate as if she has an alias.
Kate’s big confrontation with Tommy as Batwoman is underwhelming with a badly lit and slowly executed action sequence that finds Kate rappelling from a crashing elevator. Tommy tries to break her grip only to get knocked out by Alice. It’s the third episode and Alice is already helping out Batwoman. Regardless that she killed a security guard while taunting Catherine, it’s way too early for this kind of character twist.
Besides getting the Fall Out Boy song stuck in my head, Down Down Down was a slightly worrisome episode that Batwoman is going too fast too soon with its big subplots and character development. Allowing subplots and new characters to get worked into the mix slower could mean a lot in the season’s overall effectiveness.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW