Batwoman: 2.10 Time Off for Good Behavior
*Warning: Minor spoilers below as our US writer Becky discusses the latest US-paced episode...
The newest episode of Batwoman, Time Off for Good Behavior, is a clearly defined tale of two stories: one following Batwoman in her latest adventure to clean up Gotham and the other following the next chapter in Black Mask's ongoing saga to rule the city via the deadly drug Snakebite. Both storylines are incredibly well done, as this episode proves to be a massive step forward for the plot.
Among the many things this episode got right, the part that absolutely must be highlighted is Jacob Kane's story arc in this episode. For weeks now I've been beyond frustrated at the elder Kane's lack of character development, which seemed oddly out of place as all the other characters in Batwoman continued to develop and grow. But it seems I just needed to be patient as this episode delivered everything I've been wanting and more. This episode was the start of something huge for Jacob Kane, something that has the potential to be just as deadly as Ryan's kryptonite infection in the first half of the season. What really sells this new story is Dougray Scott's performance, as you believe that this is a man who genuinely wants to do the right thing, but is at a loss for how to do that anymore. This is finally the means by which Jacob Kane is going to grow to the next level and I'm beyond thrilled to see it play out.
The next story element that intrigued me the most is that of Alice. I was rather worried about her given the confusing story in the previous episode, but it seems to be a momentary lapse. Rachel Skarsten is back to full form as Kate's deranged sister, with a new goal that makes a scary amount of sense. It was a lot of fun seeing her interact with Christina Wolfe's Julia Pennyworth; the two click surprisingly well. I hope that's not the last we see of Alice and Julia together because it was very entertaining to watch.
And then there's Enigma, one of my new favorite characters in the second half of this season. It could be a coincidence, but she reminds me very much of the Riddler with that distinctive walking stick and her green attire. There's also the fact that her name, Enigma, could be read as a play on the Riddler's real name: Edward Nygma (or E. Nygma). I had been operating under the belief that she worked exclusively for Safiyah, but after watching this episode I'm not so sure about that anymore. Given her rather unique skill set, Enigma might be one of the scarier villains presented on Batwoman, because she can act with near impunity and erase all the evidence after the fact. Well, almost all of it. This episode did reveal one thing: Enigma's skills are not perfect and she does make mistakes, something that might come back to haunt her later on.
All of these separate plot elements play out under a "villain of the week" format that is nothing short of spectacular. While it takes a bit to get started, Ryan's investigation into a series of seemingly random crimes against community centers has a massive payoff, one that ties in to this season's ongoing pattern of focusing on real-world social issues, albeit with a superhero twist. Batwoman continues to pull no punches when talking about important issues, and I'm glad they're continuing to do so now that the Safiyah storyline is concluded.
Finally, Peter Outerbridge continues to impress as both Black Mask and Roman Sionis. While his appearance in this week's episode is relatively brief, it makes a major impact, particularly in regards to Jacob Kane's ongoing plot development. In one scene, Peter Outerbridge demonstrates perfectly why Roman Sionis/Black Mask is so incredibly dangerous and not to be underestimated and it's by far one of the best parts of this outstanding episode.
Time Off for Good Behavior is one of the best episodes of Batwoman ever created. It has more than enough plot development to make up for past stumbling blocks, intrigue for future episodes, and an ending that will have you begging to see what happens next.