Batwoman - Grinning From Ear To Ear - Review Roundtable: Self Awareness By Aimee Hicks (March 13, 2020, 9:00 pm)
This review was written by Aimee Hicks, Donna Cromeans (DJRiter), Ellys Cartin, and Marko Pekic.
Batwoman delivered a strong poignant episode in Grinning from Ear To Ear.Continue reading below to find out our thoughts on the episode. After reading, please leave your own thoughts in the comments.
This was a big episode for Sophie (Meagan Tandy) that added a ton to her character growth. She got a chance to begin to find herself outside of being a Crow. She got a few moments of peace with Batwoman before they went their separate ways…for now. She also found the incredible courage needed to confess her truth to her mom and finally came out to her. What did you think about Sophie’s journey in this episode? What do you think comes next for her in her journey?
Aimee: I was really impressed by Sophie’s story in this episode. At the start of the season I did not like Sophie. I felt she was the weak link of the show and I couldn’t see the chemistry between Meagan Tandy. The shift was gradual, but I started to not only like Sophie and Tandy’s portrayal of her, but I have come to really like the character. I don’t know if the issues early on were due to the writers struggling to find the voice for the character or Tandy taking extra time to settle into the role, but whatever it was I’m glad the show was able to move past it. I find myself actually excited to see what comes next for Sophie. I was really proud of the courage she found to speak her truth to her mom. My heart also broke for her when her mom basically called her a disappointment. Tandy was phenomenal in this episode. As for what comes next, I’d like to see Sophie and Kate (Ruby Rose) forced together in more situations. I’d like for the show to explore the Kate and Sophie dynamic and the Batwoman and Sophie dynamics more. But I’d actually like to see Sophie explore possible romantic interests with someone other than Kate. Just so that she’ll never be in a position to wonder about what it’d be like with another woman after she and Kate do inevitably get together. That’s another thing, I have been avidly against Sophie and Kate becoming a couple. Admittedly, I’d still adore a Kate and Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe) coupling to happen more, but I’m coming around to the idea of Sophie and Kate being a couple. I’d also like to see Sophie stay away from the Crows and continue down her own path figuring out the big things in her life before she launches herself back into her work.
Donna: I’m the first to admit that Sophie is one of my least favorite characters on the show and it’s hard for me to find myself caring about any storyline she is in. That said, this was a good episode for Tandy and Sophie. I find it a little ironic that as hard as they are pushing a Kate/Sophie relationship, (in which I see NO chemistry), Sophie has tons of chemistry with Batwoman, boggles the mind. Personally, I was disappointed that Jacob (Dougray Scott) called her to come back to work because I think I would like to see the Crows done away with altogether because frankly they just don’t add much to the story. See what it would for Sophie out on her own. It took a great deal of courage for her to face her mother, but I found the mother’s reaction predictable. Despite this being some of Tandy’s best work in the series,I just don’t see Sophie as Kate’s one true love, however.
Ellys: I loved Tandy’s performance this week. She brought a sincerity to the material that made it work, even though we have zero interest in Sophie’s bond with her mom. Hopefully, the show will follow through on this angle and we’ll see Sophie asserting herself and taking back her power in her life and career.
The villain-of-the-week, Duela Dent (Alessandra Torresani), was obsessed with perfection. The idea of plastic surgery and trying to changes one’s self-proved to be a very accurate analogy for the situations the main characters found themselves in. Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and Sophie, in particular, had some pretty big character-defining moments. This episode seemed to change a lot of the characters. Who do you think was left the most changed after the events of this episode?
Aimee: The answer here is easily Sophie. She had has had her world upended multiple times in recent episodes and this one didn’t cut her any slack. Sophie is a rapidly evolving character and I’m really liking the journey they are taking her on now. Alice had a lot happen to her as well, but I think it’ll be this upcoming episode where we see major character developing events really rock her world.
Donna: That is a tough one, the obvious answer is Sophie, but again she’s not a character I’m that invested in. And yes, there were great character-defining moments for Alice, but as much as I adore Skarsten and her work as Alice, I’m growing weary of her tale as well. I wouldn’t say changed but watching Mary (Nicole Kang)’s reactions after realizing Kate was Batwoman and trying to subtly work her way into Team Bat were the most intriguing to me.
Ellys: Weirdly, the character who most came to life in this episode, compared to previous episodes, was Jacob. He just seemed more awake and more proactive than we’ve seen him be before.
After figuring out the truth in the prior episode, Mary chose to keep quiet regarding Kate’s secret. After Mary’s moving speech to Kate, she may have finally started to realize that Mary may know the truth. What do you think happens next between them? Will Kate try to do what she did to Sophie and hide the truth? Or will she finally open up to Mary and tell her the truth? What do you hope happens with their dynamic?
Aimee: I kind of had a feeling Mary was going to go the route of just sitting back and being awkward waiting for Kate to come to her. I would have enjoyed Mary charging up to Kate and calling her out on things, but I really appreciate the way Mary handled herself. I adored the speech that Mary gave Kate at the end. It was so heartfelt and honest, and Kang’s performance was powerful. You could feel the truth behind Mary’s words in the way Kang delivered the monologue speech. Without saying the words she basically told Kate she knew the truth and had her back no matter what. I look forward to the moment when Kate lets her walls down and brings Mary into the fold.
Donna: I didn’t expect Mary to come right out and confront Kate, that’s just not her style. Mary wants to be invited to the party and it was fun watching her drop hints to those involved to let them know she was ready to be invited. I think she would be a great ally. She did everything but tell Kate she knew at the end in a masterful scene. To me, she understands why Kate kept the secret and is waiting for Kate to be sure enough in herself to come to her. This is a nice contrast to the way the revelation of secret identities has been handled on other shows. It’s a thought out and reasoned response.
Ellys: Mary’s decision to wait for Kate to trust her is easily one of the most mature versions of how this scenario plays out. Kang’s delivery of the speech Mary gives was fantastic, and I think Kate will have a hard time keeping her in the dark much longer.
Luke and Mary had very different reactions to finding out Batwoman and Sophie were getting close. Who do you think was right? Was Luke (Camrus Johnson) right in that Batwoman shouldn’t have a girlfriend? Or was Mary right to support Sophie and her growing bond with Batwoman? Do you see any scenario other than Kate revealing the truth where Batwoman and Sophie can be together as a couple?
Aimee: They both had valid reactions. Mary just wants Kate and Sophie to be happy and, truthfully, the potential is there for them to have that. Sophie is capable of protecting herself. But that brings me to Luke’s point, which is also valid. Sophie dating Batwoman would only put a target on her back. The only way that Kate and Sophie are going to work is for Sophie to be let in on the truth, and that seems quite some time off. Hopefully Mary’s positive reaction will eventually give Kate the courage to face Sophie and tell her the truth. Batwoman and Sophie can’t be a thing until Sophie knows who Batwoman is. It’s like Batwoman and Sophie concluded, that as long as Sophie doesn’t know who is behind the mask they can’t be a real couple and Kate just isn’t ready for that yet. So, while both Luke and Mary had valid points of view, I think I have to side with Luke on this one.
Donna: There are pros and cons on both sides. I think Mary has the advantage because she may be closer to both women involved. It’s the classic superhero conundrum though, the hero reluctant to get involved with anyone for fear of them becoming a target of their enemies. And you can’t tell me that maybe, just a little, deep down Sophie knows Batwoman is Kate and it’s the thrill of the adventure and the anonymity behind the mask that attracts her. Kate must become more confident of herself as Batwoman behind the mask before truly letting anyone in all the way, whether it be Sophie, Mary and in a fashion, even Luke. Right now, as things stand, I say the less more people know Batwoman’sidentity, outside her immediate team in which I would include Mary, the better.
Ellys: We really need to spend more time with Luke, because everything he was saying about Bruce seemed to also apply to himself. He doesn’t seem to have much of a life or friends, and his world is about to be upended when the man he thinks killed his father is released. I think vigilantes can have relationships, perhaps even successful ones. It’s just keeping them interesting that poses a creative challenge for writing teams.
The tell of a truly evil villain is when other villains are afraid of them. Cartwright (Sebastian Roche/John Emmet Tracy) is definitely that sort of villain. He essentially made Alice and Mouse (Sam Littlefield) into the dark and twisted people they are, but they thought they escaped him. Now he is back tormenting them both and is presumably about to unleash hell on them both despite Alice thinking she got the upper hand on him. What do you think will happen next with him? Will he become the big bad for the remainder of the season? Will his dastardly evilness drive Alice and Mouse to an uneasy alliance with Kate and her father and her Bat team? Or will his return drive them both even further into the darkness?
Aimee: I really hope that he takes over as the new big bad. Alice is way more than just a big bad and I’m happy to see that they are slowly trying to explore that more. They are starting to peel back the layers to her and a big first step is for her to slow her evil ways. But I don’t know that the show will go that route. What I do hope they do is make Cartwright a big enough evil character for enough episodes that Alice is forced to ask for Kate’s help. In the previews for the upcoming episode, it looks like Kate may have her hand forced to try to go find her wayward sister and save her from Cartwright. That could be a turning point for the sisters is Alice sees that Kate came for her this time and fought to save her. While I know it wouldn’t fix Alice and make her Beth, it could inspire a big change in her. I’m very interested to see how things play out with Cartwright back in the picture because he clearly still inspires deep-set feelings of fear and anger in both Alice and Mouse.
Donna: There is the distinct possibility that he will become the big bad for the foreseeable future, but there is always the chance while they are focusing their efforts on him a more formidable foe will arise. I do feel he will wreak havoc, that will ultimately lead to the death of one of the major characters. I just can’t decide if that character is going to be Jacob or Mouse. There will definitely be a cautious team up to capture him, but it may drive even the paragon of courage deeper into the darkness.
Ellys: The face thing is kind of meh at this point, although this episode sent me down memory lane and made me nostalgic for Gotham. The scariest thing about any villain is often not how dark they might be but how dark they might drive others to be. I was surprised by how moved I was by the promo for next week and what could happen to the Kane family.
Reader Question: Submitted by Ivan: We heard Kate talk about real estate courses in Drink Me, which brought to mind that Kate does have a cover job, do you want to see more of her real estate life or are you fine with her just being Batwoman and The Hold Up?
Aimee: I’m honestly not really interested in the real estate cover. Her owning The Hold Up and running that is far more interesting to me. I want to see her spend a little more time at the bar, actually.
Donna: The real estate cover is just that, a cover, a convenience to use to explain unusual actions. The true story will revolve around her being Batwoman, which I would like to see a LOT more of, and of what goes on in and around The Hold Up.
Ellys: Superhero shows often struggle with the “cover job” stories. Writers zone in on relationships and action scenes and catching the bad guy. It’s probably asking for too much for them to meaningfully incorporate any other parts of Kate’s life, including running her bar.
Which performer do you think delivered the most memorable performance in the episode? Why did their performance standout for you? What were their best scenes?
Aimee: This is another tough one. The usual trio of Rachel Skarsten, Ruby Rose, and Nicole Kang delivered amazing performances. But this week I have to go with Meagan Tandy. I was just so impressed by her performance this week. The scene where she came out to her mom was a really powerful scene and I felt the fear and hurt that Sophie was experiencing. Tandy, who I haven’t always been a fan of in this role, has really started to win me over to the point I now look forward to Sophie being on the screen.
Donna: I am genuinely torn. We have the usual suspects of Skartsten, Rose and Kang and of those three I was most impressed with Kang’s work. Mary’s veiled but not so veiled subtlety was fun to watch. These are the three who have been carrying the bulk of the show to make it watchable. But you must give big credit to Tandy this week as the conflicted Sophie who found the courage to finally come out to her judgmental mother. As stated previously it was some of her best work of the series and the closest she’s come to making me care about this character.
Ellys: Nicole Kang today, yesterday, and forever. She deftly juggled the humorous moments when Mary was trying to get Kate and then Kate as Batwoman to confide in her. And her chill irritation with Alice was also wonderful. The ending scene, of course, was stellar too.
What are your final thoughts regarding this episode?
Aimee: I was pleasantly surprised by this episode. In fact, I think I may even slightly be letting my guard down a bit. The writers have gone enough episodes without massively disappointing me that I think I might actually be on the cusp of starting to very cautiously trust them. I’m still expecting the other shoe to drop, but after the recent set of episodes, I’m really hoping that post-Crisis all the pacing issues caused by Crisis looming have resolved and the show is finally starting to settle into a groove. I like how things are trending at the moment and this episode did a lot to start to calm my nerves about the show and reassure me that the show may finally be starting to stand on stable ground. Granted it shouldn’t have taken this long to settle in, but they were dealt a crappy hand by launching prior to Crisis which I think really hurt them. I look forward to what comes next as they have started to do some really good character building.
Donna: This is not on my list of favorite episodes of the season. Some of the reactions of characters were extremely predictable and aside from a few scenes the writing was adequate. Could be this is one of those almost filler episodes they use for a storyline dump to move things toward the season’s climactic final episodes.
Ellys: This episode had three different stories happening that really didn’t play off each other well. However, Tandy and Kang’s performances kept me engaged.
Each week we will select one question from all of you to include in our roundtable. Please submit your questions in the comments section below.