Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Who Are You?

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It's all about facing the truth on Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4 and the uncomfortable truth for viewers is that this is a show determined not to conform to expectations.

We have a hero who doesn't know how to hero, a techie just figuring out the tech, and a security firm who couldn't secure ducks in a barrel.

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On the Rooftop - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4

Honestly, at first, I was frustrated.

There is so much potential in this female-led, out-and-proud, visually engaging comic book adaptation but it kept JUST missing the mark for me somehow.

I was looking for my CW Superhero signposts.

Where's the slick central protagonist vigilante with an arsenal of honed skills, able to take down enemies with flawless execution?

Surveying the Aftermath - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4

Where's the genius, all-seeing, infallible central co-ordinator who calls the plays and knows every nuance of the system?

Where's the smart-talking, close-knit team of allies to keep the hero grounded?

Then I realized: We've seen that all before. Repeatedly.

You know the thing I love about bad guys is that despite ourselves, we are also tragically predictable.

Alice

Oliver. Felicity. Team Arrow.

Barry. S.T.A.R. Labs. Team Flash.

Kara. Winn. The D.E.O.

A Bat's-Eye View - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4

Yes, it's been four years since Supergirl blew into town but that doesn't mean the formula needs replaying AGAIN.

One other thing: we ain't in Star/Central City no more. We are in GOTHAM and Gotham's Bat has never (truly) been a team player.

Kate: How did Bruce make living a double life look so easy?
Luke: Oh, he didn't. He was miserable.
Kate: Bruce Wayne? Guy had three Ferraris and slept with half of Gotham.

So, they're trying something different with Batwoman and that's not to say they're getting it ALL right but I, for one, am interested to see if the unfamiliar can fly.

I can live with uncomfortable in the interests of something new.

Especially when the narratives give multi-pronged stabs central themes like "hard truths" the way this one did.

Kate and Sophie - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4

The most basic example is Sophie's realization that Kate took her at her word and had moved on to start a relationship with the cute, insightful bartender, Reagan.

Not exactly sure what Sophie thought was going to happen when she told Kate to do exactly that but I'm never clear on Sophie's thinking. Never ever.

Then there was the reveal I was most interested in -- Catherine Hamilton.

She's been acting incredibly suspiciously since the moment Alice appeared in Gotham and although I initially suspected she might have had something to do with the accident that supposedly killed Beth, the truth was a lot less villainous.

A Farewell to Army - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 1

Granted, she sent goons to attack Kate and Sophie on Batwoman Season 1 Episode 2 to get Alice's knife (and DNA) away from Kate. Not cool.

But I admire how she blew her own whistle rather than give in to Alice's blackmail. 

Of course, none of this improves my view of Jacob's ability to investigate if she was able to pass off deer skull fragments as Beth's remains even with phony DNA analysis.

And the hardest truth is that Jacob may not forgive her for convincing him that Beth was dead mostly because he probably knew he was buying a lie.

Jacob: I'm coming for you.
Alice: Maybe if you'd uttered those words fifteen years ago, we wouldn't be here now.

After all, Alice has been torturing him with that hidden knowledge from the very beginning.

Catherine Concerned - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 3

Her technique wouldn't have worked if he hadn't already doubted Catherine's story somewhere deep down.

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Luke's reality check is that Kate isn't Bruce. Huge, right?

He seemed to pick up on the differences in their personality and approaches early on, but the physical difference proved to be the stumbling block here when he fails to calibrate the Batarang for Kate's shorter arms.

Luke: Maybe you angled it wrong.
Kate: Maybe it's broken.
Luke: It's not broken.
Kate: If it worked, I would've caught it.
Luke: Did you try flipping your wrist back with a snap...
Kate: You're BAT-splaining.

To be fair, that should've been something that was caught in an equipment check in a far less fragile (and expensive) environment.

Right, like these two do equipment checks. Pfft.

Anyhow, Kate (and Batwoman) get the lion's share of clarity here as is appropriate.

Batwoman Vertical Season 1 Episode 3

And this relates to this show being something new.

Kate is climbing a steep learning curve up a mountain of experience with no guide, no mentor, no map.

Batwoman: Reagan's here.
Luke: Wait. You invited her to a take-down?
Batwoman: I invited her on a date that just happens to be at the take-down location.

She is going to make mistakes. A lot of them.

And we get to watch that and cringe. And gripe. And maybe swear at the TV a little bit.

The saving grace is that she moves fast to remedy her errors.

As Batwoman, she realizes that hanging a prisoner in a damp underground lair for weeks straight may be a miscalculation.

Kate: He's just dehydrated.
Luke: He's septic

Sister Mary Surprises Kate - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 1

That leads her to dropping the near-dead Dodgson into Mary's lap, errr... clinic.

Problematic, seeing as she captured Dodgson in the same clinic just as he was in the process of trying to kill her stepsister.

But at least she got him the medical attention, and it allowed Mary to face her attacker and prove herself (again) to be all sorts of awesome.

On the personal front, Kate realizes that a relationship with a partner as savvy and observant as Reagan isn't going to work as she's always going to lie to her and she's always going to know she's being lied to.

And she doesn't play the denial game once she sees that clearly. It's a quick, if painful, break-up with as much truth as is possible to share served up as a consolation to Reagan.
Hello There - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4

Oh, right, and there was a Villain of the Week (hereafter abbreviated to VotW because I sense it'll be a recurring thing) in the creatively crafty and complicated Magpie.

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What is her role in all this truthiness? See if you can follow my thinking on this:

1) Note that there has been a gala event for Gotham's well-to-do in three out of the four episodes so far.

2) Dodgson made a comment to Sophie on Batwoman Season 1 Episode 1 about how much people paid to watch the mayor turn off a light.

3) Reagan mentioned to Kate on their lunch-date-that-didn't that her childhood home got turned into unaffordable housing for Gotham's wealthy.

4) Magpie, when unmasked, made a snarky comment about how people like Kate Kane never notice people like her.

5) All of that led Kate to her new day job of creating affordable real estate projects for regular people to live in.

Luke: So Bruce was a billionaire playboy and you're going to be who? Joanna Gaines?
Kate: You can be Chip.
Luke: I just told you, I don't know anything about real estate.
Kate: Well, you better learn quick cause you're going to be my assistant.
Luke: Associate
Kate: Hmm... up for debate.

It's a very One-Percent-Giving-Back sort of message ultimately but it's also markedly different from Bruce Wayne's style of philanthropy which kept him hobnobbing with the upper echelon of society.

Magpie, despite being hella-cool to watch in action, was just a token villain designed to deliver Kate to her vocation.

When you watch Batwoman online, notice the little over-the-top moments they've seeded it with in an homage to the comic source.

Blowing up a lab with a sneeze? Don't say you didn't see it coming.

Magpie: Do we have to be on opposite sides? Birds of a feather should flock together.
Batwoman: I'm allergic to feathers.

Shielding the public from pearl grenades with the Bat-cape? The effects were a little underwhelming there, but the effort was appreciated.

And after all that effort to neutralize every pearl, all it took to take Magpie down was a grappling hook and a birdbath, err, fountain?

Magpie's nails alone made her chosen hobby pretty unlikely. But, they looked awesome.

The Magpie - Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4

Things are beginning to heat up plot-wise so what are you looking forward to most?

What's the fall-out going to look like for Jacob and Catherine?

Now that Dodgson is tagged with a tracker, can we assume he'll be running back to Alice?

Who will our next VotW be?

And the big question is obviously: Who is Mouse?

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Who Are You? Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.6 / 5.0 (16 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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