Luke’s life hangs in the balance in “Armed and Dangerous” and various characters grapple with the implications of what happened to him.
This recap of Batwoman season 2, episode 15, “Armed and Dangerous”, contains spoilers.
The Crows in Batwoman are pretty explicitly an analog for traditional American law enforcement, and that was obvious even before Agent Tavaroff shot Luke Fox, an unarmed Black man, for basically no reason at all. “Armed and Dangerous” is exactly what Luke wasn’t, which is entirely the point. He spends all of this episode in a coma, chatting to people in his subconscious, lamenting the injustices of the world, while the rest of the Bat team have to jump through a series of draconian hoops in order to a) save his life and b) ensure that Tavaroff and the Crows, in general, are held to account for what happened.
Tricky territory then, I’m sure you’ll agree. And in some ways the obviousness of the episode’s construction – the whole dream sequence thing is played out, Mary can’t just head straight to the hospital with the Desert Rose because it has a bit of a ramping-up period, etc. – chafes against that earnest desire to say something meaningful and important. The Crows in general and Tavaroff in particular are stripped of any potential complexity and reduced to near-cartoonish levels of villainy to make the moral terms of all this easier to swallow, but I can live with that because it also allowed Jacob Kane, a character who has had some welcome complications, have his moment of redemption.
There’s probably something important to be said in how easily the crime scene footage of Luke is doctored to incriminate him, and how readily people swallow it (stealing the metadata from the Crows’ servers to acquire the real footage is another plot element that comes with a time limit and feels a bit contrived.) Again, though, it mostly exists to give Sophie something to do, including giving Jacob some home truths and enlisting Wolf Spider to deliver the Desert Rose under the noses of Luke’s Crow minders. People scoff at this kind of thing, but it’s a delicate balance for a procedural to achieve, being about something and also working on its own terms and as a component in a larger overarching plot. Batwoman season 2, episode 15 inevitably makes some concessions, but not so many that it feels trite in its conclusions.
On that subject, Jacob holding a press conference to announce Luke’s innocence and disband the Crows really works as a payoff to his spiraling drug addiction and fraught relationships with Mary and Sophie. So, too, do Luke’s conversations in his subconscious with Bruce Wayne; how many people has Luke inadvertently saved, and how much good work has he done for Gotham, just for him to be unceremoniously shot in the street for the crime of simply being Black? That strikes me as a good use of a superhero’s tech support figure, which is typically a thankless role that ends up largely being divorced from the responsibilities and obligations of a hero. Luke’s an interesting character and should only be more so now that he has been revived into a world that actively wants to kill him.
Alice is also in “Armed and Dangerous”, going through Enigma’s remaining files and discovering Roman Sionis’s fascination with the Kane family. Her quest for answers – and Ocean’s determined refusal to help – takes her to the Batcave, and then to Jacob himself, who might be more willing to work with her now that he’s clean and a bit more morally forthright. We’ll see. But in the meantime, Batwoman season 2, episode 15 did a decent job of juggling a difficult subject with its ongoing storylines, and it probably won’t get the credit for doing so, which is a shame.