Thursday, May 7, 2020

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 17 - A Narrow Escape

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here


Kate encounters a new challenge when an old villain - a mad bombber called The Detonator - seems to come out of retirement. Meanwhile, Alice, now locked in Arkham Asylum, faces her own trial by fire and her own set of challenges.


Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams.


Nicole Kang once again steals the show as Mary, showing the steel the character is capable of throughout the episode.


The opening scene and how it fades from Alice's dream to her nightmarish reality is well-executed.

It has to be said that the show does a brilliant job portraying Kate's PTSD and it's nice that a superhero show isn't shying away from showing the consequences of a person dealing with the trauma of taking a life. It's a little touch that does much to establish Batwoman as Arrow's spiritual predecessor. 

Bat Trivia

There are two previous DC Comics villains who used the codename The Detonator. The first was a Green Arrow villain who armed himself with a special explosion-causing super-suit and attempted to blackmail his employer. The second was a master assassin and explosives expert who was part of the Seven Men of Death; a squad that was itself part of the League of Assassins. The Seven Men of Death fought Batman during Grant Morrison's run on the main Batman title.

The Arrowverse Detonator is an entirely original creation, who uses a gimmick similar to The Joker's final plan in The Dark Knight, where he tested a ferry full of criminals and a ferry full of civilians to see which one would blow up the other one first. In this case, the Detonator abducted local heroes and put them in explosive vests primed to cause buildings full of innocent people to explode if they chose to save themselves.

Mention is made of Rucka Avenue. This is a nod to writer Greg Rucka, who co-created the modern Batwoman character. 


Kate identifies the code used in military paperwork for dishonorable discharge from a military academy. 

The Bat-Suit's nano-tech is designed to withstand detonation over-pressures of 10 PSI. This effectively makes Kate bomb-proof in her costume. Luke warns her that it's not effective against radiation, so if she sees any bombs with a nuclear component she should get away from them.

Lucius Fox designed a fail-safe into Wayne Tower which allowed it to be sealed-up to protect against internal and external bomb threats. Every window in the building is fitted with a bomb-proof shutter to prevent an internal explosion from going outside. Every exit in the building has a similar shutter which will contain any bomb blast to within one room and one room only.  This will contain the bomb in the parking garage so that it does not destroy the whole building.

Dialogue Triumphs

Mary: So, insider tip? My scissors should not be able to cut through your super-suit. Why are you pretending to be Batwoman?
Batwoman Impersonator: Because the real one is MIA and the city still has PTSD from when Batman left. I thought that maybe if people saw me and believed that she was still around that-
(The Impersonator gasps as Mary pushes on her lower torso.)
Batwoman Impersonator: I know. I'm an idiot.
Mary: Your heart is in the right place. Your ribs, however, are not.

(Kate decides to confront George Adler as herself rather than Batwoman.)
Luke: Ok, uh, look. The Bat-Team doesn't have an HR Department, so as your co-worker and partner and pretty much only person you see on a regular basis, shouldn't I know what the hell is going on with you?
Kate: If I told you the truth, you would not want me to suit up either. 

(Kate helps Mary pull the rubble off of the Batwoman Impersonator. She blinks as she sees the costume.)
Who is this?
Mary: (pointedly) Isn't it obvious? She's Batwoman.

Mary: Do you want to know why people like her exist? And why they keep on showing up to spread hope? It's because you inspired them and now they feel abandoned! 
Kate: What - what are you talking about?
Mary: Please. I know you're Batwoman.
(Kate looks up at Mary, stunned, but she doesn't try to deny it.)
Mary: I just can't believe I didn't figure it out sooner...  But of course. Batwoman's the same girl who hunted down Derrick Peters and locked him in a urinal after he ditched me at Homecoming. And of course the maniac on the Batbike is the same maniac who taught me how to drive without actually having her licence, and totally charmed her way out of a ticket after my ass got us pulled over. It couldn't be more obvious. Batwoman is the same person I've looked up to my whole life. And now this city needs you as much as I do! 
Kate: It's not that simple.
Mary: (scoffs) It never is. But Batwoman doesn't get a sick day.
Kate: I'm not a hero, Mary!
Mary: I'm not asking you to be a hero. I'm just asking you to keep going. 


The episode opens with a scene where Alice dreams that she and Kate are normal sisters, hanging out, drinking wine and playing video games. This gives way to the reality that she's trying to escape into a happy place while being tortured with electric shock "therapy" by Dr. Butler in Arkham Asylum.

Kate stops a jewel thief but agrees to let him go with a warning after he drops the loot. The thief tries to attack her only for Kate to accidentally knock him down a staircase fighting back. This triggers a PTSD flashback of Cartwright's death from 115.

Kate barely escapes before the Crows show up.

Luke notes that Kate's heart-rate is through the roof following her anxiety attack.

Officer Wilcox is a respected hero cop and the first apparent target of the returned Detonator, who tests him with a bomb vest that will either kill him or blow up a building full of innocents nearby.

The building in question turns out to be Gotham International Bank, which is blown up after Officer Wilcox chooses to save himself rather than die to save others. 

According to Vesper Fairchild, The Detonator hasn't been heard from in seven years. His gimmick was proving that there are no heroes by kidnapping acclaimed heroes (usually police officers, doctors and fire-fighters)  and outfitting them with bomb vests, offering them a choice between dying to save others or saving themselves while triggering an explosion elsewhere. 

One of the people brought into Mry's clinic is a Batwoman cosplayer, who was caught in the collapsing rubble of the bank trying to help dig people out.

According to Mary, she's the second woman dressed like Batwoman who has come to her in the past week after being injured trying to help people.

It's been one week since Batwoman was last seen publicly.

Julia created a foul-tasting hangover cure, which she calls The Chimney Sweep.

Julia knows that Kate killed Cartwright.

One dozen people were killed in the bombing of Gotham International Bank.

Mouse and Alice are in group therapy along with Tommy Elliot (last seen in 103) and Magpie (last seen in 105).

According to Tommy Elliot, Bruce Wayne could speak 40 languages. 

Therapy has turned Tommy Elliot's disdain for Bruce Wayne into an obsessive admiration.

The assassin killed by Jacob Kane in 116 is identified as Michael Fisher, though that's likely an alias.

Julia and Sophie determine that Fisher was wired $100,000 from an account at Gotham International Bank.  With the bank having been blown up, there's no way to access the servers and trace who made the payment.

Julia likes her hamburgers with extra pickles.

Luke has taken up boxing using the gym in the Batcave, to work off his anger at someone killing Reggie Harris after he was granted a new trial.

Kate still hasn't told Luke the truth about Cartwright and has been ignoring his texts.

Bruce Wayne was never able to figure out who The Detonator was. 

All of The Detonator's bombs had the number 214 stamped into the ground plate. This information was never released to the public, suggesting that the new bomb (which had the same number) was also made by The Detonator. 

The Detonator set off 15 bombs over the course of his career. 

Kate identifies 214 as part of the code used in military paperwork for dishonorable discharge from a military academy. The full code is DD-214.

George Adler was a private black-ops contractor, fired for taking selfies with enemy corpses. He was also dishonorably discharged from military school.

Kate is now having PTSD attacks whenever she looks at the Bat-Suit.  Because of this, she decides to confront George Adler as herself.

Alice is stabbed by Tommy Elliot in the hallway in Arkham.

George Adler confesses that his father, George Adler Sr., was The Detonator.

George Adler Sr. died seven years earlier so he can't be the person using The Detonator's gimmicks this time.

Bobby Reeves, the defender who got Reggie Harris a new trial, becomes The Detonator's next target.

Tommy Elliot is said to be in solitary confinement after his attack on Alice.

Alice reveals to Mouse that she planned the attack with Tommy Elliot so that she could get her hands on an improvised shiv and surgical thread, from when the staff nurse treated her wound. 

The Crows clear the area one mile around Bobby Reeves' car. 

Jacob Kane refuses to call in a bomb squad to try and save Reeves, saying it's pointless given how The Detonator wires his victims and that they need to focus on evacuating people and trying to find the secondary bomb.

The closest intersection to where Bobby Reeves is parked is Wiget and Brighton. This is close to Mary's clinic.

The Batwoman impersonator stays behind to help Mary protect the patients she can't move.

The secondary bomb is ultimately revealed to be in the same building as Mary's clinic. 

Both Kate and Mary are inside the building when the secondary bomb is triggered. 

Kate has another panic attack when she sees the Batwoman costume of the Impersonator. 

Mary reveals to Kate that she figured out her secret identity.

Mouse kills Dr. Butler with the shiv Alice gave him, during one of his EST sessions.

"Michael Fisher" lived at 2420 Maple Street. This is the address of the second bombing attack by the new Detonator.

Julia and Sophie guess that The Detonator hired "Fisher" to kill Reggie Harris and cover his tracks.  Luke says that's not possible because The Detonator is dead.

Julia determines that Miguel Robles was one of the police officers investigating The Detonator seven years ago.

Miguel Robles is currently the head of the Crows Security Homicide Division. 

Robles was the Crows agent who convinced Jacob Kane it wasn't worth investigating 

Robles was also the first officer on the scene of the crime of Lucius Fox's murder.

Jacob Kane is jumped and taken captive by Miguel Robles, who is confirmed to the Detonator copycat.

Kate suits up and goes chasing after Robles, who is trying to escape Gotham via the bridge near the 1200 block of Rucka Avenue.

Kate has another PTDS attack chasing Robles, but powers through it to catch him. 

Robles confesses that the secondary bomb for the one attached to Jacob Kane is in a parking garage under Wayne Tower. He planted the bomb there to kill Luke Fox, because he knew Luke was looking into the truth behind his father's murder.

Kate takes Robles to the parking garage to force him to tell her how to disarm the bomb. 

Julia and Sophie try to help Jacob disarm his bomb, but he tells them to evacuate Wayne Tower first.

Sophie finds out that Julia knows Batwoman as well.

Luke threatens Robles with a gun and demands to know why he killed Lucius Fox.  

Robles says that Lucius' death was an accident and that his gun discharged after Lucius charged him, after Robles threatened to go after his family. 

Robles confesses he was originally hired by Tommy Elliot to acquire Lucius Fox's journal by roughing him up. He was paid $10,000 to do this.

Everything Robles did, from framing Reggie Harris to hiring the sniper and impersonating The Detonator was done to cover-up his original crime.

Kate stops Luke from killing an unconscious Robles.

Kate confesses to Luke that she killed Cartwright and that's why she stopped searching for him.

Sophie is reinstated to The Crows and made co-head of a new strike-force.

Julia Pennyworth reveals she was just hired to be the other co-head of the strike-force.

Luke says that his father's journal contained all of his designs for everything he ever built for Wayne Enterprises and Batman.

Luke tells Kate that even Bruce couldn't live up to his "No killing" rule and implies that Batman killed The Joker, saying that The Joker is not in Arkham (which the public apparently believes) and there's a reason he hasn't been seen in five years.

Mary reveals that she knows Kate's secret identity to Luke.

Alice is revealed to have made a flesh mask of Dr. Butler, whom Mouse is now impersonating. 

Alice has come to agree with Mouse that they are safer in Arkham, which they can now use as a base of operations as they gather their forces and strength.

The Bottom Line

A solid episode, though it drags a bit since Alice doesn't have much to do. Still, at least they finally ended the "how long will Mary hide what she knows?" subplot and the storyline involving why Lucius Fox died. Not that these subplots were dull, really, but because they paled in comparison to the much bigger questions around Alice and what shes' planning to do next. It's the classic problem - the Bat-heroes are never as interesting as their villains and that's especially true here.  Still, the episode promises big things are coming now that the inmates are running the asylum.

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