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Batwoman - I'll Be Judge, I'll Be Jury - Review Roundtable: Two Halves



This review was written by Aimee Hicks, Donna Cromeans (DJRiter), and Ellys Cartin.

After a few weeks of mediocre episodes, Batwoman delivered one of its strongest episodes in I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury, a complex hour of character interactions. Continue reading below to find out our thoughts on the episode. After reading, please leave your own thoughts in the comments.


Despite all her protests, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) is clearly working to protect Kate (Ruby Rose). This week saw Alice diligently work to get a weapon out of Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis)’s hands that could hurt Batwoman. This comes on the heels of Alice saving Kate from Hush( a few weeks back. But she’s also in the precarious position to be stuck between the sister she still has a strong bond with and the man who has twisted his way into her life that she now seems like a brother. The writers are clearly setting up a showdown between Kate and Mouse (Sam Littlefield) where Alice is going to have to make a choice. How do you see this inevitable confrontation going? Will Alice hurt Kate to protect her from Mouse? Hurt, or even kill, Mouse to save Kate? No matter the choice she inevitably makes, do you think it’ll be enough to bring Beth back to the surface or suppress her further?

Aimee: I would bet money that a confrontation is on the horizon. As for how it’ll go down, of that I’m not so certain. Alice is so unpredictable that I can see her hurting Kate to save her and I can also see her killing Mouse to save Kate. The common denominator is that I predict whatever action Alice takes it will be to protect Kate. As I mentioned last week, we already know that Beth is a protector and whether Alice likes it or not, Beth is still inside of her. As to if it’ll bring Beth out or suppress her, it really depends on the choice that Alice makes. If she hurts Kate to save her from Mouse, I can see that bringing Beth to the surface. If she must kill Mouse to save Kate, I see a scenario where that causes Alice to further suppress Beth as she tries to deal with losing the only “family” she’s known for over fifteen years. I think once the grief passes then Beth would eventually begin to reemerge with Mouse out of the picture. He has clearly gotten his manipulation skills from his father and has done a number on Alice’s head. I think him being out of the picture could be the best thing to ever happen for Beth.

Donna: There will be a wicked chain of events, all of which will end badly for Mouse. The inevitable confrontation will come after Mouse goes after and injures Kate while trying to kill her. Alice will kill him to save Kate. The Beth of Kate’s childhood is gone, but this incident will likely be the impetus that pushes a new Beth to the surface, one more inclined to forgive and help her family but still possessing a darker nature.

Ellys: In the previous episode, we saw how Mouse was complicit in Beth’s abduction and captivity. That didn’t quite mesh with the present-day scenario where Alice seemed to hold all the power over Mouse. This episode corrected that by showing Mouse’s twisted jealousy over Alice’s wish to protect Kate. He was also angry that she didn’t want to kill her latest prisoner. A part of Alice fears Mouse. We saw that in that tiniest hint of fear when she traded him back for the Batwoman-killing weapon. Alice might imagine she can share the tea table with Batwoman and Mouse, but the only thing those latter two have in common is Alice herself and the very different versions of her they want in their respective lives.


The audience, and Kate, finally have confirmation of what we’ve suspected for weeks, that Sophie (Meagan Tandy) really does know that Kate is Batwoman. The episode left everything wide open with the two not getting a moment to talk about the big revelation. Where do you think things will go from here? Will Kate try to pull some trick to throw Sophie off the truth? Will Kate come clean to Sophie? Can Sophie be trusted to keep Kate’s secret from her father? On that same note, can Sophie be trusted to keep Mary (Nicole Kang)’s secret too? A lot of responsibility was laid on Sophie to protect the woman she loved and the woman who stitched her up and saved her life. Two very different secrets were laid in the hands of someone that hasn’t proven great at keeping secrets. Will Sophie betray both women or finally take a stand and protect someone other than herself?

AH: I’ve been very critical of Sophie and her portrayer, Meagan Tandy, but this week both got a chance to shine. For the first time since the series started, I can’t complain about a single scene that Sophie was in. Also, for the first time, Sophie wasn’t the weak link in the story. The writers gave the character purpose and Tandy really latched onto it and delivered some great material. That makes me think that this entire time I’ve been blaming her it really might have been the writer’s fault that Sophie was so mediocre at best. This episode turned things around. It was nice to see Sophie have a real purpose in the episode. I’m also glad that she knows both Kate and Mary’s secrets because it adds a little to her story as a character. As to where things go from here, I’m not real sure, but I really hope the writers don’t go down the annoying road of having Kate try to convince Sophie that she isn’t Batwoman. I hope Kate owns up to her identity and confronts Sophie about keeping her secret. I honestly think that prior to Mary’s big speech that Sophie would have ratted out both women to Jacob. However, I think Mary managed to get through to Sophie and that mixed with the big emotional moment Sophie witnessed between Kate and Jacob, I expect her to keep both secrets at least for now. It did just prove that Kate really needs to hurry up and let Mary in on the secret. Mary is the best person with secrets in the entire group of people Kate knows. I will be interested to see how Sophie utilizes Mary now that she knows about her clinic. They gave a lot of room for Sophie to grow and if the writers don’t squander the potential, this could finally be the start of some good material for Sophie and Tandy.

DC: This episode took big steps in making Sophie a more interesting character. At this point, there is no need for Kate to try to throw her off. That’s been the problem with this relationship and how it’s been written. Neither character has been able to be totally honest with the other going all the way back to their time at the Academy together. I still don’t see this relationship as being viable or the strongest one on the show and whatever glimmer they’re trying to give it begins with honesty. Sophie hurt Kate badly in the beginning and in order to try to make it up to her will go against her instincts and training and keep Mary’s secret because Kate asks her to. I’m still not sold on Sophie nor the actress who portrays her, so I would not be surprised if she ends up betraying the secrets of both Kate and Mary.

EC: I know one thing for sure. Sophie will have no trouble hiding her wound from her husband whose name I had forgotten. The story would be more compelling if he were someone she genuinely cared about like a good friend, because that would also give Sophie a stronger tie to the Crows than Jacob. That’s a minor quibble for me because this episode blessed us with some fantastic character development. Sophie’s choice to keep Kate’s secret was complicated by her need (though Sophie isn’t about to admit she has any such need) to keep Kate safe. This was the best Sophie episode for me so far, which isn’t saying much, but it gave her a dilemma that can be used to build up who she is and explore what makes her tick.


Kate had a couple heart-to-hearts with her father this week ending in some of the most emotional stuff we’ve seen between the two of them. Is this a turning point for their relationship? Do you think Batwoman saving Jacob will change their relationship? Will he start to see the Bat any differently or will he still be targeting her?

AH: That big emotional moment is exactly what they each needed. They’ve both been suppressing that emotion for far too long and it was nice to see them both break down in the arms of the other. I think that it might help to start bringing them closer together as father and daughter. He’s always going to be cautious with Kate because she is all he feels he has left, but I do hope this will open the doors for them being more emotionally open with each other especially regarding Alice, Beth, and the accident. Kate also got to hear the core of what has been bothering Jacob about the Bat and I think that will finally allow Kate to be more open with her father as well. That whole final scene between the two of them was a truly outstanding display of acting from Rose and Dougary Scott. It was by far their best scene together in the series to date. As far as Batwoman and Jacob, well, I do see things changing a bit in that department. He’s still going to be extra hard on her, but between her saving them both and Sophie hopefully advocating for Batwoman I see maybe a cooling of hostility.

DC: This is the first time I’d felt anything beyond contempt for Jacob. It was also the first time he’d expressed any genuine emotion on the show. The emotionally charged scenes in this episode between Rose and Scott was also the first time I’d seen any honest connection between Kate and Jacob as father and daughter. Kate may have made progress with her father, yet Batwoman still has a way to go. Jacob is a by-the-book man and Batwoman’s unconventional methods go against everything he believes in. Her efficient and competent actions to save them both in the courtroom may have earned a little begrudging respect from him but he’s still not going to accept the presence of Batwoman in Gotham.

EC: This is a turning point for me caring about their relationship. Nothing gets cookie points from me like a well-earned hug. Scott gave his best performance so far, a recurring accomplishment of this episode’s writing. I’m sure there will be more tension between Batwoman and the Crows, but Kate and her dad are definitely going to start healing.


The Executioner (Jim Pirri) proved to be one of the most challenging opponents for Batwoman yet. It was one of the darker grittier episodes. What do you think made him a better opponent than Hush or Magpie? They’ve been walking a line where they haven’t really gone as dark and sinister as they could with the story. This week the writers took the story to some dark places with The Executioner as the bad guy. Were you glad they took the story dark? Do you think this is the start of a new trend or will they slip back into the lighter quirkier stuff?

AH: Unlike Hush or Magpie he was a real physical opponent for Kate that tested all her training. When they fought, he was a real challenge for her. She didn’t easily yank him off a building with a grappling hook-like with Magpie and he wasn’t easily taken down by a board to the head like Hush. The Executioner was only taken down by Jacob’s bullets. Now, there is an argument to made that it’s annoying that Kate had to be saved yet again like what happened with Hush, and that is a very valid and frustrating fact, but at least The Executioner and Kate got to have an actual compelling fight. I would like to see Kate get the chance to take down a worthy opponent herself, but at least the fight was well choreographed and fun to watch. I do hope that this is the start of some darker storytelling for the show. They have been skirting the truly dark stuff and this was the first time the show heavily leaned into the dark nature of Gotham villains. While I hope they keep playing to this I’ve come to learn to not get my hope to high for anything with this show. So, I’ll wait and spend my hope on hoping they don’t screw things up when this episode set them up to deliver a lot of great dark storytelling.

DC: They need to find the proper balance of walking on that dark edge, which worked extremely well in the latter part of this episode, and those lighter, quirkier aspects. The Executioner was a better opponent because his motives and plan were clearly defined. He challenged and tested Batwoman and her more than anyone, other than Alice, has this season.

EC: Magpie had almost no dialogue, and Hush was just a one-shot Batman Easter egg. The Executioner had a terrifying modus operandi, as well as a deeply moving and a complicated backstory. More importantly, his actions had real consequences in how they affected individual characters. He was from the Gotham that comic readers are familiar with, dark and corrupt with villains hiding themselves in plain sight (like the judge) while others elaborately electrocute people in the middle of the night. The Executioner is also representative of a problem that Gotham and the real world historically face, discrimination against the poor and people of color. It’s just a much more interesting story than a rich boy being mad at another rich boy or a run-of-the-mill paper-thin jewel thief. The characters were also in real danger from the Executioner, which made the episode much more exciting, because there’s nothing like danger to bring people together. One episode doesn’t establish a new trend, and a villain doesn’t have to be dark and gritty to have an impact; but I hope that we get more well-rounded antagonists.


Luke (Camrus Johnson)’s father was revealed to be murdered which is a big deviation from the comics. What do you think the bigger ramifications will be because of this deviation?

AH: It was interesting to see the big change from the comics. I think the change is good as it’ll give Luke an opportunity to grow on his own without having to deal with his father’s shadow. He’s looking to live up to his father’s legacy and likely he may now be looking to avenge him in the wake of the revelations that the real murderer might not actually be in prison. They might even be setting him up to go a bit dark as he must deal with the ramifications from the revelations of this episode regarding the cabal. I see this change allowing Luke to grow and mature faster than his comic counterpart.

DC: This deviation will prove helpful giving the character some much-needed depth and make him more relevant to the story than he has been thus far. Giving him a purpose by wanting to seek justice adds an interesting layer to this otherwise bland character, Batwoman has been the force he needed to be exposed to in order to bring that out in him.

EC: A genius ripple effect of the Executioner being brought to justice was that it could result in the killer of Luke’s father walking free. This created real conflict between Kate and Luke and again Johnson got the chance to be more than the guy in the chair. The scene where he tells Kate about how his father was killed was quiet and subtle, and Johnson got show great character layers with how his character still mourns his father but found solace in the killer being behind bars.


Reader Question: Submitted by Ivan. When do you want them to start hinting at Luke's superhero identity, Batwing? This season or in future seasons?

AH: I do think that the writers have set him up to eventually become Batwing. I would say that on any other show they’d hold something big like that for a future season, but this show has proven that it likes to fly through big plot points, so at this point, it’s anyone’s guess regarding the timeframe. I would prefer they wait until a theoretical, but likely, Season Two, but I expect them to start edging into it by the second half of this season.

DC: I’m not that steeped in Batman canon, so I am unfamiliar with the character. However, I will ask doesn’t adding a male superhero in the mix take away from the focus of the original premise of the series – Kate Kane’s journey to becoming Batwoman, defender of Gotham?

EC: It remains to be seen if the show will even take Luke down that route. Now that he has his own tragic motivating backstory, there’s a chance the second half of season one could explore that though.


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?

AH: Now, this is a hard one because everyone actually delivered noteworthy performances this week. But, I must break from my normal answer of Skarsten and say Ruby Rose. While Skarsten had some fun scenes, it was Rose that stood out the most. When Kate was in her father’s office looking at the map and the tears started coming it was the single most powerful moment of acting we’ve seen from Rose yet. It was the first time that I looked at the screen and smiled because I really and truly saw Rose as Kate Kane. I saw her fully inhabit the character this episode not just as Kate, but as Batwoman as well. She was finally the Batwoman I knew she had the potential to become and I was proud of her for how far she had come as this character in a relatively short span of time. Now, whether this will all hold up is unknown, this show is so inconsistent I don’t dare get my hope up, but I am finally fully onboard with Ruby Rose as Batwoman.

DC: Going to have to go with series star, Rose, again. This was the first time she fully embraced Kate Kane’s pain and she was finally given meaty material to work with that served to make that much-needed connection with Jacob. She also got the chance to flex her Batwoman muscles both physically and as the intelligent crimefighter we know the character to be. While Rose shone in the emotional battles between Kate and her father, the highlight of the episode for me was a well-written and well-crafted battle sequence of Batwoman saving herself and her father in the courtroom. It was some of the series’ finest action work so far.

EC:This was the first episode where I thought everyone got a moment to shine. Tandy’s face when Sophie walks away from Kate and Jacob hugging. Mary giving Sophie a friendly, firm warning. Kate and her dad breaking down in each other’s arms. Batwoman and Jacob literally cutting through the fog of death to find something to unite them. Alice being rattled by Mouse’s phone trick and subsequently almost losing all her cool. The aforementioned conversation between Luke and Kate. Batwoman’s great fight with the Executioner. I was very happy with the episode.


What are your final thoughts regarding this episode?

AH: I ended up absolutely loving this episode, but the first half was honestly a bore-fest. With each passing minute I was getting more frustrated at the show because it was squandering so much potential. Then the second half came around and everything changed. The episode went from a horrible bore-fest to a captivating compelling episode that made me perk up and get excited about what I was watching. The outstanding nature of the last half wasn’t enough to erase the boring first half, but it did certainly elevate this episode way above the two mediocre episodes that preceded it. The inconsistency in the storytelling is a problem that has continually plagued this show and the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the two parts of this episode was a prime example of that. I know all first season shows go through growing pains, but this series needs to hurry up and end this growth spurt and settle down. The writers aren’t only jerking around the audience, but their performers as well giving them choppy material to work with. The last half of this episode showed all the potential within this show and hopefully the writers don’t squander that next week like they did after the outstanding second and third episodes with the mediocre fourth and fifth.

DC: As you may have noticed I’ve used the word first a lot in my responses this week. When this episode began, my initial thought was we were going to be disappointed by another disjointed story. However, about midway through something clicked and the stakes were finally raised, and the second half was easily some of the show’s best work of the season. It had to be if they managed to give me reasons to not dislike Jacob and Sophie so much. It was the first time Scott and Tandy were acting as though they had a clue to the identity of their character. What really sold me on this episode was the fact they finally invited Batwoman to the party and featured her as the lead of an episode of her own series! HALLELUJAH! This is the show and character I’ve been waiting for! Batwoman kicked butt and used different Bat-gear and displayed the characteristics that clearly define this character. This was the closest they have come to that confident Kate and Batwoman we saw be a highlight in last year’s disappointing Elseworlds’ crossover. Thank you, for finally letting Batwoman be Batwoman!

EC: Two weeks ago, in this space, I shared my hopes that James Stoteraux & Chad Fiveash would deliver a quality episode, and they did! High five, guys!


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.


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