Batwoman: 1.14 Grinning From Ear to Ear
Batwoman continues its "villain of the week" format for a second straight week with 'Grinning From Ear to Ear', introducing Duela Dent to Gotham. Duela's backstory has varied in DC comics over the years, but in this show she's revealed to be the niece of Harvey Dent (better known as Two-Face), a young woman with deep psychological issues. It's up to Batwoman to stop her reign of terror while events across Gotham begin to come to a head.
Duela, played by Alessandra Torresani, makes for an interesting villain. Her issues are made apparent from the start with a disturbing flashback that sets up the plot of the episode. She's so convinced with her twisted beliefs that she'll stop at nothing, including attempted matricide, to make them happen. I can't help but notice her similarity to Alice, however. Both are young women, blonde, deeply disturbed, and have a fixation on causing physical harm to meet their own psychotic goals. The only real difference is that Duela's issues appear to be something she was born with, while Alice's were inflicted over the course of her captivity. This similarity isn't a bad thing per se, given both are connected to Dr. Campbell in their own way, Duela could almost be considered a foil of Alice, a glimpse at something she might have become if she'd handled her torture differently.
And speaking of Dr. Campbell, it's amazing that no one outside of Alice has put two and two together regarding his true identity. If Alice doesn't succeed in eliminating her tormentor herself, a likely scenario given she's still afraid of him, there will be hell to pay if word of this ever gets out. On a related note...is Dr. Campbell supposed to be the alter ego of the Scarecrow? Fear toxin is generally associated with that Batman villain, and I'm wondering if Campbell's possession of it is a hint as to other things he's been doing.
The ongoing sub-plot with Sophie and Kate continues to be heart wrenching to watch. It's so patently obvious that they belong together but for reasons of drama, fate continually conspires to keep them apart (for the moment at least). To be sure, the reasons Batwoman gives Sophie for not entering a relationship are sound: if word ever got out that Sophie was with the masked crimefighter, it would make her the ultimate target. But still, the emotion on each woman's face is so easily readable that it leaves you screaming at the TV: "Just be together already!" It's also going to be very interesting to see Sophie's reaction when she finds out she was right about Batwoman's true identity all along.
The most emotional part of this episode, however, has to be the final scene with Sophie and her mom. You can tell how much effort it's taking for Sophie to open herself up at last, and I think this scene reverberated for anyone who has ever struggled with sharing their true identities with their family.
On one final note, it was funny to watch Mary try to unofficially join Team Batwoman without letting Kate know that she knows her secret identity. With all the verbal hoops she's jumping through, it won't be at all surprising if someone figures out that Mary knows the truth.
Grinning From Ear to Ear is a heart wrenching and at times disturbing episode of Batwoman that ultimately left me rapt and wanting more by the time the credits rolled. Things are definitely getting interesting in Gotham as the story of Kate Kane and Batwoman continues.