“And Justice for All” is a ballsy and relevant episode that builds to a big shock ahead of a brief hiatus.
This recap of Batwoman season 2, episode 14, “And Justice for All”, contains spoilers.
It’s easy to overlook shows on The CW, especially ones based on DC properties, but it’d be a mistake to do so. Just like how the reboot of Kung Fu is proving itself to be a surprisingly relevant look at the Asian-American experience as well as being a fun martial arts adventure, Batwoman has legitimately impactful and insightful things to say about Black life in America, the relationship between the citizenry and law enforcement, and plenty more besides.
All of these themes crystalize in “And Justice for All”, which is also, somewhat surprisingly, a zombie story. A new strain of Snakebite is turning people into ravenous cannibals, one of whom spends most of the episode at Mary’s clinic. But this is the least of anyone’s problems in Gotham, least of all the Bat-team, or indeed Alice, who is still grappling with the discovery that “Circe Sionis” is really her presumed-dead sister, Kate.
Alice – and Ocean, who she runs into on the way to enlist Enigma in helping restore Kate’s identity – gets a decent amount of screentime in Batwoman season 2, episode 14, even if she’s hardly the focus. The plot is complicated by Ocean killing Enigma before she has the chance to reveal the secret codeword that’ll unlock Kate’s memories, which he considers to be proof of his love for Alice. It’s a bit of a stretch, but you know how people are. What it’ll mean for Alice in the future is anyone’s guess, but let me be the first to say that I don’t exactly see their relationship working out.
The theme of “And Justice for All” makes itself pretty clear during a fundraiser that is being held at the bar for Imani’s new community center. Two cartoonishly racist GCPD officers storm the place on the thin justifications of noise pollution and overcrowding, and when Ryan defends their rights, she and Luke are arrested. So, too, is Sophie, who arrives shortly afterward to discover the carnage and isn’t believed when she says she’s a Crow.
A lot of Ryan and Sophie’s ongoing character development comes to the fore here. Ryan, always mistrusted by law enforcement, resents what she believes to be Sophie’s complicity in obvious abuses. Sophie, though, sees her own presence as a Black woman in law enforcement to be a vital thing having grown up among a community that was policed exclusively by people who looked nothing like her. Here, her knowledge of Ryan being Batwoman actually amounts to an impactful payoff, since she’s able to make the point that while Ryan can slip the cowl on and off at will, Sophie is who she is whether she’s wearing the uniform or not.
This is, ultimately, what prompts her to leave the Crows and, one assumes, join the Bat team full-time. It’s a welcome development since she’s unable to reconcile the obvious abuses of power that Agent Tavaroff and co. are committing in the name of the Crows, but Batwoman season 2, episode 14 won’t give her the job quite so easily. It seems very much like she’ll be taking the place of Luke, who is seemingly killed in a shocking, resonant ending after he tries to intervene in a carjacking and is shot dead by Tavaroff for pulling out his phone.
He seems to be dead, anyway – he might not be yet, but the point is made either way. This is Tavaroff’s official transition from annoying idiot to outright villain, and it occurs right on the cusp of a three-week break that’ll doubtlessly leave fans chomping at the bit in anticipation of the show’s return. This was a ballsy ending after a highly charged and topical installment, and seems, at least to me, like the show finally firing on all cylinders.