‘Batwoman’ 1×6 Review: “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury”

I'll Be Judge, I'll Be JuryAfter last week’s slump, Batwoman is picking up again. There were some eye-roll moments for sure, but I can barely remember them past the incredible, perfectly on-Bat-brand moment that happened in the first third of “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury”. 

There’s a lot I could say about “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury”.

I could be annoyed by HOW MANY PEOPLE currently know Kate is Batwoman. It’s so deeply frustrating that a chunk of the recurring characters know who she is. I can’t really forgive the whole “Alice letting it slip” thing since Alice knows full well her Stockholm Sibling is a talented mimic. Alice basically has to kill Mouse now, which puts her a step down the road to Red Alice, and I don’t even like her yet. Boo. 

Alternately, I could be delighted by the development of Kate’s Bat-ethos. She’s really starting to understand the complex place Batman played in Gotham’s society, and she made some measurable progress on defining what her Batsona is going to be. That should stand her in good stead given how the Arrowverse likes to throw their characters into tangled moral dilemmas with wildly disproportionate stakes whether they make sense or not (looking at you, ENTIRE LAST SEASON OF FLASH).

I'll Be Judge, I'll Be Jury

This should be everyone’s reaction to being asked if they want to know a superhero’s secret identity. That never ends well for normal people, and Gotham needs people like Mary around to clean up after supervillains and collapsed economies.

If I really wanted to get into the overall long-term promise, I might give a nod to some emotional development in the side characters here. Mary made a good call in not wanting to know Batwoman’s name. Sophie had one single moment of decency and refrained from telling Kate’s whole family who she was. Luke realized he would also have to sacrifice some things to be Lucius Fox 2.0. Alice was briefly actually scary (YIKES on that face mask, and the not-quite-incestuous threesome references). Jacob- okay, well, his whole meltdown in the courtroom was eye-rollingly bad so no points for him. They can’t all be winners.

Some people might feel the most relevant thing that happened in “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury” was mentioning “Jack Napier” as the Joker’s real name. That puts the show (and by extension, the entire Arrowverse) in Tim Burton’s Bat-verse. Cool beans. We can now all thank the CW for giving us this chance to trot out our nerd trivia. This is definitely going to be a question on Um, Actually at some point in the near future. 

Maybe I could spare a moment to be annoyed by the continuous shitty treatment Batwoman gets from men. Ugh. Gross. Realistic, though, so I’ll allow it.

All those things are worth noticing, but I don’t want to talk about them. I want to talk about the absolutely MAGICAL moment that happens early in “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury”. It’s the single most Batman-esque thing to happen to a Batfamily member other than Batman in a live-action show. It’s actually the second most Batman-esque thing to happen if you INCLUDE Batman. 

Ready? Here we go.

Kate is standing in front of a rolling garage door, even though she hears an engine outside. A truck plows through the door and rams into her, knocking her unconscious while the Executioner steals a Plot Device from the warehouse. She doesn’t get a look at the license plate. It’s covered in mud, so Luke can’t see it on the terrifying number of cameras positioned all around Gotham by various entities. Dead end, right?

I'll Be Judge, I'll Be Jury

This is some absolute BAT MAGIC right here.

No. No, no, no, because even as neophyte heroes Luke and Kate have access to the Big Bat Toys. Batman’s suit, which Kate is wearing, has sensors in it that record pressure and damage in such mind-blowing detail that Luke is able to reconstruct the license plate FROM THE IMPACT OF IT HITTING KATE’S BODY. 

That’s right. Even while attacking Batwoman, the Executioner left incriminating evidence which allowed him to be found and ultimately stopped. Because you literally cannot attack a Bat without giving them an edge somehow.

If that’s not a ‘Grade A’ Batman move, I don’t know what it. I bet even Bruce had never tried that. (Real talk, he mostly dodges trucks which is honestly a better strategy, but hey…) I loved this scene so much that I watched it six or seven times just to enjoy the “okay well I guess this is a thing” expression on Kate’s face while Luke excitedly works his magic on the computer. 

More of this, CW. More of this and less telling everyone on the planet who Batwoman is, because in 6 episodes 5 people have learned her identity. That’s not a sustainable model, okay?

Whoops, I guess I was madder about that than I thought.

Still. Perfect Bat-moment in this episode, you guys. 

Author: Khai

Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and game enthusiast. She can talk fandom in five languages, and her proudest nerd moment so far was presenting original research titled “Gender, Sex, and Werewolves” at an international anthropological conference. Her first game, None For Me, is due out from Calico Games early next year.


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