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C-Cubed TV Review: “Birds Of Prey” (Part 2)

Hello, my friends.  There’s still no Caped Crusader in sight, but the dark streets of the familiar city continue to receive some superheroic protection with a fierce feminine touch.  As such, welcome back to my continued thoughts on the short-lived show called…
Our Title Card!

Before we continue, here’s a quick recap of the first five episodes.  Over in New Gotham, Batman has defeated the Joker, but the Clown Prince of Crime got his revenge by killing his beloved Catwoman and paralyzing Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl with a fateful gun shot.  These two incidents were so traumatic for the Dark Knight that he ultimately left the city.  Seven years later, Babs has become the tech-savy mentor named Oracle who’s already taken in a young woman named Helena Kyle a.k.a. Huntress, who’s the half-human, half-metahuman daughter of the Bat & the Cat.  During her recent ventures, she’s developed a complicated crime-fighting relationship with Det. Jesse Reese.  Joining the team’s fight is a young lady named Dinah who has burgeoning mental powers, which includes reading the thoughts of those whose hand she touches, along with having precognitive dreams and telekinesis.  Together, they protect New Gotham from the various fiends either operating on their own or who’re under the employmental control of Helena’s psychiatrist named Dr. Harleen Quinzel, who wishes to take control of the city as revenge for the Joker’s eventual arrest.  With all of that out of the way, let’s resume the team’s hunt for the city’s scumbags.

Episode 6 (“Primal Screams”) opens with Jesse using his special ring to summon Huntress.  Sure enough, she shows up very quickly as he exclaims that he has a way to take their ever-growing crime-fighting relationship “to the next level”.  He’s going to send her on a special assignment, which will serve as a personal “experiment” between them and even gives them a chance to better know each other.

From there, a night club called Gotham Deep gets robbed by a group of motorcycle riders wearing animal masks.  They pilfer from the patrons as one member keeps track of how long it would take before the police begin to arrive.  Once time’s up, the thieves ride off as it turns out that Helena was among the burglars.

Following the opening credits, we cut to sometime later as Huntress meets up with Det. Reese.  It turns out that he recruited her into an undercover assignment as she was placed within the thieving group in order for him to ultimately take this gang down.  He reminds her that they’re going to do this takedown “by the book” and that she’s supposed to inform him about where they’ll strike next.  She says that she hadn’t earned a certain level of trust with these robbers before their recent heist, but she now has as she exclaims that they’ll be attacking Gobu tomorrow night at 10pm.

We then cut to New Gotham High as Barbara is met upon by Wade.  During their conversation, it turns out that they’ve decided to slow their relationship down a bit.  Despite that, their chemistry sparks up again as they share a classroom kiss before they ultimately go back to her apartment (which is in the same clock tower as her team’s headquarters, I might add) where it turns out that they had sex as the scene ends with him exclaiming that he would love to “take care” of her, to which an inner conflict stirs up within her.

Later on within the base, Gordon shares her bedtime venture with Kyle and admits that while she did enjoy the love-making, she still has a nagging feeling from Wade’s comment about taking care of her just because she’s handicapped.  Helena tells her to not make a big deal about it since she’s simply “branching off into a new phase” of the relationship.  On a similar note, Kyle then brings up the takedown that she & Jesse have planned at Gobu where the arrest comes during the robbery.  During said bust, she’ll sneak out the back door while the police come in through the front.  During the discussion, Dinah comes in hearing about the upcoming plans and expresses her interest in joining.  However, her teammates express their worries for her emotionally since her mother had just perished in their last venture.  Redmond says that it doesn’t bother her too much since she barely knew her mom growing up and that in her mind, Black Canary no longer lived since the day she was dropped off at a foster home at the young age of six.  As such, she exclaims that she’s fine before taking her leave.

We then shift ahead to nighttime as Helena is approaching the Animals’ hideout.  Barbara informs her of the gang’s leader named Mick Winters, an extreme-sports fanatic who gets his adrenaline fix from various activities, like motocross.  Upon her arrival, Kyle is given appraisal by Mick and his team for her contribution to their recent caper.  As a reward, she’s given her own motorcycle in preparation for their next heist.  Just like before, the group’s other female member named Wolf will handle communications as she’s given a handgun just in case she comes across any physical obstructions and reminds the gang that the police’s response time will be five minutes.  With their robbery set to go, everyone but Mick & Helena head out to prepare while he tells her that this is a big step for her now that she’s part of his team and that it’s their stance against the self-imprisoning world that he sees as regular society.

Later at Gobu’s Restaurant, Jesse is in position at his table while his partner Det. McNally is inside the surveillance van waiting for the order to send the authorities in. Just then, Mick and his fellow Animals burst in to rob the patrons of their valuables.  Unfortunately, Wolf brings up the fact that all communicative signals are being jammed, thus Det. Reese isn’t able to contact McNally and deliver the command for his fellow officials to swarm the building.  As such, he decides to take it upon himself to oppose them.  However, Helena is right behind him and as a means to not blow her cover, she disarms her with a swift kick before knocking him out with one punch.

Huntress-Here's My Status Update On My Undercover Gig, Babs!

We then cut to the next morning as Kyle talks with Gordon about her undercover assignment as she’s fully entrenched with the Animals’ main confidence circle.  However, she’s not looking forward to her inevitable talk with Jesse since she feels that he’ll lecture her about legal procedure and that fact that she knocked him out.

Later, Barbara is having a sparring session with Dinah.  After a while, Babs notices Redmond’s erratic strikes that contain “all fury and no focus” before mentioning that anger is a natural part of grieving.  Dinah says that she’s not angry, but Gordon warns her that it’s dangerous to head into battle while still being fueled by her emotions.  After Redmond heads outs to keep on an eye on the Delphi System, Alfred steps in and comments about her “enthusiastic” nature to Barbara.  After she discovers the flowers that Wade gave her, she then expresses her worry over Helena & Jesse’s partnership and how it can potentially drive her towards reveling alongside the thieves that she’s supposed to ultimately take down.  Pennyworth mentions that her father, Commissioner James Gordon, didn’t always have a smooth partnership with Batman before Babs expresses her worry that Kyle & Reese’s differences in stopping crime may be too much for them to handle.  Alfred then mentions how peculiar it was that Bruce Wayne ultimately fell in love with a criminal in Selina, due to her “lawlessness” and thus, “the appeal of life outside the law” is a part of Huntress.

Over at the Animals’ hideout, Helena is playing strip poker with Wolf and two male members as she continues to defeat them.  Mick then comes in and says that he has to make a quick drop-off to their boss.  She then asks about this revelation, to which he exclaims that it helps take part in a grand vision.  She then wonders when she’ll get to meet their mastermind, but learns that “those meetings are off-limits” under the decree of said boss.  Winters then tells his team to prepare for their heist at Club New Gotham tomorrow evening before heading out.

From there, Mick meets up with his boss who turns out to be Dr. Quinzel as he presents her with a suitcase full of stolen money & valuables before placing some small diamonds in her hands.  He then mentions that he has a new member in his gang as she says that she’ll consider meeting her at a more proper time.

Back at the Animals’ hideout, Jesse is on stake-out as Det. McNally questions the reliability of his “source”, especially since they weren’t informed about the use of a cell phone jammer.  Det. Reese simply exclaims that he trusts his source and that they’ll nail these punks as long as they stick “by the book”.  Afterwards, they run out of coffee as Jesse wins a coin toss and sends McNally to go get more.  As he continues to observe the robbers’ base, a donut is suddenly placed in his field of vision as Huntress arrives and tells him that Mick isn’t the true head of this operation.  As such, she wants to hold out in order to capture their crime lord.  However, he says that it’s far too risky since innocent people will be put in danger if they don’t arrest the Animals soon.  With him stating that they’re sticking with their original plan, she tells him that the gang is laying low and that she’ll inform him if anything turns up.  Afterwards, she apologizes for bruising his jaw before vanishing.

Later, Helena makes it back to the clock tower as Barbara catches her snooping around the pantry for a late-night snack, since she skimped out on dinner.  After mentioning that she went out with the Animals in order to go “blow off some steam”, Kyle says that the gang is delivering their profits to their boss.  When Babs asks if it’s the mysterious woman that they’re after, Helena says that it’s most likely.  In order to work towards capturing said head-honcho however, she withheld the upcoming robbery of Club New Gotham from Jesse.  Gordon rightfully questions her decision, but Kyle says that the group is harmless and that they mainly steal from the rich.  She then goes on to exclaim that everyone gets a bit reckless with the rules and that the gang at least has a ball in their reviling, while Det. Reese is being up-tight before dismissing herself for her undercover operation.

Back at the Animals’ hideout, Wolf returns with some snacks before informing Mick that she saw “a dumpy guy in a cheap suit grabbing some coffee and sneaking a donut” as she also discovered the surveillance van.  As such, Winters decides that they’ll care of it in secrecy.

Meanwhile, Jesse is back on look-out duty as he tells Det. McNally that his source informed him about the Animals laying low for now.   Det. Reese then mentions that his source is a woman before beating his partner in another coin toss and sending him out to get more coffee.  Suddenly, he gets a call from his police scanner about a crime going down at Club New Gotham.  Stunned by this news, he contacts McNally and tells him to get back to the surveillance van.  Over at the club, Helena and the rest of the henchmen have successfully pulled off another heist as they mange to escape.  Meanwhile, Jesse is about to reach the surveillance van when the vehicle suddenly blows up, realizing that McNally has been caught within the blast.

As the sun rises over the city, Helena arrives back at the clock tower as Barbara delivers the bad news involving a bomb planted underneath the surveillance van.  Though Det. Reese was unharmed, McNally was too close to the explosion and is now in the Intensive Care Unit over at Gotham General Hospital.  Thankfully, Gordon says that he’ll pull through, but Kyle feels the guilt of her decision as she heads out.

Later, Jesse has taken his leave from Gotham General before Huntress gets his attention.  He proceeds to berate her for withholding the location of the recent theft from him and for ultimately getting McNally placed in the hospital as a result.  She exclaims that she did what she could to go after the Animals’ boss, but he says that it’s not the end goal of their plan.  She then exclaims that she operates on instinct and that it’s why she’s regularly worked solo, but promises to make the group pay and that he shouldn’t blame himself for what happened.  However, he says that he does since he trusted her.  From there, he gives the communicative ring back and says that he’ll take the gang down on his own terms, which’ll include her if it comes to that.  As he takes his leave, the scene ends with the fact that his conversation was being watched from afar.

Later on back at the clock tower, Helena blames herself for what’s transpired.  Barbara exclaims that this is the first time that she’s worked with Det. Reese, but Kyle says that this isn’t what they’re meant to do and that they only know “how to go it alone”.  Dinah then steps in and tells Helena that she can’t take the Animals down by herself.  After assuring Babs that she’s calm, she tells Kyle that she’s “not going anywhere” without her.

From there, Helena arrives back at the Animals’ hideout as Mick shows her a newspaper depicting McNally’s near-fatal fate before she exclaims that she would like to finally meet their boss.  Winters mentions that their head-honcho wants the same thing with her as he tells Kyle that the meet-up will occur at 11pm tonight before giving her a kiss.

Later on at the clock tower, Huntress is prepared for her big meeting.  Barbara then asks Dinah if she would like to sit this mission out, but Redmond tells her teammates to stop worrying about her and that even though she’s dealing with her own situation, she still wants to do her job.  After she takes her leave, Gordon and Kyle are stunned by her emotional progression.

As such, the mission gets underway as Helena arrives at the Animals’ base while Redmond parks the team’s Hummer from afar and informs Babs that their teammate has entered the compound.  From there, Mick and Wolf lead Kyle into their back room for their meeting.  To her surprise however, she finds out that they’ve captured Jesse before they attack her with tasers, which also shorts out the communications receiver in her neck brace.

Dinah picks up the static from Kyle’s comm link as she asks Oracle what’s going on, to which Barbara exclaims that it’s either interference or a malfunction.  Redmond then exclaims that she’s going to save Huntress, but Babs says that going in too early will blow Helena’s cover.  Dinah counters by exclaiming that waiting too long will cost their teammate’s life in a similar fashion to her mother.  Not willing to go through that again, she cuts transmission and heads inside.

Back inside, Huntress and Det. Reese are chained up as Mick exclaims that he found out about their partnership since Wolf spied on their recent conversation and that Jesse immediately came back to continue his stake-out assignment, only to end up captured by the gang.  Not only that, but the whole “we don’t hurt people” facade of his group was just his means of trying to get in bed with her.  Kyle and Det. Reese briefly argue with each other as she admits that she never knew about the surveillance van bombing, to which Winters interrupts them and prepares his taser for some further torture.

While Redmond fights and defeats the lone thug in the main room, Huntress uses her legs to fight back against Mick and his goons, with even Jesse getting to participate in the scuffle.  Helena manages to free herself before confronting Wolf, who attempts to run away.  Fortunately, Dinah comes in at just the right time and easily knocks her out.

From there, Mick recovers and jumps through an adjacent window.  After getting freed from his chains, Det. Reese grabs one of the perps’ shotguns, leaps through the shattered frame and corners the felon.  Winters tempts him to pull the trigger, but Huntress joins Jesse and tells him to resist the urge, even though he badly wants to see the punk suffer for hurting McNally.  Not only that, but Mick is looking for “one last thrill, one more rush” and that they’re possibly finally learning about what it means to be partners against crime.  Winters tries to goad Det. Reese one last time on whether he’ll actually listen to her, but Jesse takes the non-lethal route as he smacks him with the gun’s handle and knocks him out.  Kyle then exclaims that it wasn’t exactly “by the book”, to which Det. Reese says that the punk was agitating him.  Just then, the police helicopter flies in with its spotlight, blinding him enough so that she can take her leave.  Shortly afterwards, he soon discovers that she left him the same familiar ring from before.  This time around, he puts it back on as a reaffirmed sign of trust.

We then cut to the next day as Helena attends another psychiatric session with Harleen and shares her experience with establishing a level of understanding between each other.  When Kyle then mentions the risk of ending up “lonely, friendless and isolated” that she constantly faces when attempting to compromise with others, Quinn assures her that she’ll always be there for her.

Over at New Gotham High, Barbara has placed Wade’s flowers upon her desk when he comes in to talk about their recent sexual encounter.  He apologizes for pushing towards this intimate step, while Babs apologizes for not calling him back sooner.  She then expresses her worry of him not entirely understanding who she is, to which he admits that it’s true, since they’ve just started to grow their relationship.

And so, Episode 6 ends back at the clock tower at night as Helena looks over both her cat mask and her mother’s Catwoman cowl.  Dinah comes in as Kyle admits to never knowing her mom as the feline fatale since she gave that up when her daughter was born.  When she was with the Animals, it provided a particular thrill where she was finally living life just like her mother.  Redmond starts feeling teary-eyed since Selina was willing to step down from her costumed escapades for her daughter, unlike her own mother.  Helena assures her that Black Canary still cared for her, yet Dinah says that even though her mother sacrificed herself to protect her, she never got to spend significant time with her.  As such, she’ll never know the true person that her mom was as they give each other a comforting embrace.

Episode 7 (“Split”) begins with Det. Reese struggling to arrest a criminal.  Fortunately, Huntress arrives in time and delivers a precise kick onto the perp, allowing Jesse to catch up and properly arrest him.  Afterwards, she mentions that she’s been tracking the guy since he committed a hold-up at a store.  Det. Reese tells her that she needs to come with him to the police station since she’s a witness, but she declines.  He then asks her why she has to be difficult with his by-the-books approach to the law, to which she exclaims that following the rules like normal would allow more bad guys to escape, more crimes to occur and lots of harm would fall upon innocent people.  He tries to explain that it’s not the kind of help he needs, but she once again vanishes from him.

As Huntress proceeds to hop across rooftops, she asks Oracle why things between her and Jesse are unable to “be easy”, to which Babs mentions that she’s a vigilante crime-fighter while he’s a cop before the Delphi Alarm goes off, allowing her to inform Helena that a jewelry store robbery is being carried out by a small group of thugs.  Huntress makes her way over there and proceeds to fight the goons.  During the scuffle, a particular guy bursts through the window and helps her out of a minor jam before they kick the final goon out onto the sidewalk.  As they leave the store, she tells him that this is her city to protect as he casually exclaims “you’re welcome”.  Just as she gets distracted by the ever-growing police sirens, she discovers that the heroic man just pulled a vanishing act on her.

We then cut over to Robinson Park where a teenage couple are making out in the car.  Just then, the young lady hears some outside noises as her boyfriend peaks out and doesn’t find any suspicious activity before resuming his kissing session.  Suddenly, a fierce-looking behemoth (notably played by the Night Slasher and M.K.A.’s Shao Kahn himself, Brian Thompson) rips off the car door and knocks out the young guy with a single punch before tossing him out of the vehicle in order to go after the young woman.

Jesse Reese-I Can Only Imagine What We're Up Against!

Following the opening credits, we cut to a few hours later as New Gotham Police investigate the crime scene.  Jesse learns from Officer Hoffarth that the girlfriend was kidnapped as they look over the detached car door.  Det. Reese correctly assumes that it was ripped off by an abnormal being, to which an un-believing Hoffarth brings up some unlikely suggestions on who caused this before taking his leave.

Back at the clock tower, Helena returns as she begins to talk about the “Mystery Superhero Boy” that she came across before Barbara points out to her that he’s currently standing off to the side.  She then presents him as Darkstrike (played by Kristoffer Polaha), a old friend of hers who’s helping out on a case.  Kyle then takes Babs aside for a private conversation and asks her what his super powers are, to which Gordon exclaims that it’s similar to her: Superhuman levels of speed, strength and agility, alongside “enhanced hearing and sight”.  Shortly afterwards, Dinah comes in and asks about “the gorgeous guy”, to which Helena tells her to not get too attached since “he’s not sticking around”.  Despite her shallow warning, Redmond heads over to talk with him.  Barbara then assures her that despite her current frustration towards Jesse (and to an extension, “men in general”), Darkstrike is a skilled fighter and he’s currently trying to solve a case involving the abduction of several women by a fiend called Crawler.  Over with Redmond, he tells her that he fought alongside her mother back in his youthful days before giving his condolences over Black Canary’s death.  Babs then comes in and asks him if he has a place to stay at.  Dinah wants him to stay with them, but Kyle immediately objects.  Darkstrike then says that he’s currently staying at a hotel before they receive the signal that Det. Reese is sending out from Kyle’s ring.  Gordon discovers the signal over at Lover’s Lane and confirms it with the Delphi System informing the group of the recent kidnapping.  As such, he and Huntress head out to investigate.

Back at the crime scene, Det. Reese is met upon by Assistant District Attorney Lynne Emerson (played by Annie Wersching) who tells him that she’ll be overseeing this case before taking a look at the crime scene for herself.  Huntress sees them talking from afar just as Darkstrike returns and exclaims that he searched the park’s outer perimeter, yet couldn’t find a single footprint or tire track.  He then notices her observing the good detective engaged in his conversation and asks if she has a relationship with him, to which she says that it’s “strictly business” before asking what he knows about the Crawler.  Darkstrike explains that he’s followed the fiend for several years before mentioning that he has some files on him back in his hotel room that he can give to Oracle.  She agrees, but she also wants to talk with Jesse first.  Because of his uneasiness with the police, Darkstrike offers to do one last sweep while she talks to the detective before eventually meeting up at his hotel room.  Meanwhile, Emerson finishes her investigation as Reese promises to call her if anything else turns up in their case, to which she exclaims that he can still do so even if he doesn’t before taking her leave.

Afterwards, Jesse looks around a secluded area of the park before being met upon by Huntress.  He then spots Darkstrike in the distance and assumes that he’s a threat, but she assures Det. Reese that he’s working alongside her before he suddenly vanishes.  From there, Jesse informs her that the kidnapping victim is a 17-year-old girl named Amy Harris.  Other than that, the police haven’t found much to work with.  She then exclaims that their key suspect is the Crawler, a metahuman who hails from Central City (Flash’s home turf I might add, not that he’s mentioned here).  After learning that Det. McNally is almost fully-recovered, she asks Det. Reese about his “new partner”.  He says that she’s from the D.A.’s office and has looked over several of his cases, even mentioning that they share a common interest in “upholding the law”.  From there, the scene ends with him mentioning that he’s going to talk to a police psychologist in order to get a proper profile on their fiend.

We then have a quick dinner scene with the Crawler at his hideout as he tells Amy why he’s kidnapped her.  Because he spied on her romantic endeavor with her boyfriend, he exclaims that her “love must die”.

We then cut to Huntress sneaking into Darkstrike’s hotel room, only to discover it completely ransacked.  She informs Oracle about it before noticing something underneath the bed sheets.  Suddenly, she hears some approaching footsteps as it turns out to be Darkstrike who also notices something on his bed.  As he pulls opens the blanket, they discover a mannequin traced with red markings and some of Amy’s hair attached to its head.  He says that the fiend has the young girl and plans on killing her.  Not only that, but this is how the Crawler taunts him so that he’ll arrive too late and see the fair lady get murdered in front of him.  Darkstrike then explains his past where he followed his target around Central City for several investigative years.  On one fateful night, the Crawler kidnapped his fiance.  After three days of search, he finally caught up only for his girlfriend to get slaughtered right in front of him.  As such, Darkstrike says that this is how his foe operates, leaving behind evidence for him to discover so that he’ll ultimately show up too late to stop him.  Huntress then assures him that they’ll bring the Crawler down.

Jesse Reese-It's Never Easy With You!

Later, she meets up with Jesse in order to give him some of Amy’s ponytail for him to analyze.  She then says she’s keeping the rest of the girl’s hair, so that two separate parties can work on it and have one of them come up with the solution at a faster rate.  He then expresses his concern over whether her “facilities” will be able to help out, especially since she’s leaving him in the dark about them.  From there, he asks her about her current crime-fighting partner, to which she assures him that Darkstrike cares about seeing justice get carried out just as much as she does.

We then cut to the next day at the clock tower as Redmond assures Darkstrike that Oracle will be able to find the missing girl.  Dinah then worries if despite all of her training, she’ll be unable to live up to her mother’s legacy.  With her ever-burgeoning mental powers, he eases her own self-doubt of not becoming as skilled in unarmed combat like Black Canary was.  He proceeds to tell her that being a good crime-fighter ultimately comes down to the choices that they make and the need of sacrificing one’s self if it means the protection of innocents.

Meanwhile, Det. Resse has dropped by Dr. Quinzel’s office as she gives him her psychoanalysis upon the Crawler.  She says that in order to understand their killer, they need to understand “that single defining moment when everything changed” and he became a murderer.  Because the Crawler’s targets are young women, she suspects that he specifically goes after potential “victims in relationships”, due to it possibly stemming from his own “badly-broken relationship”.  From there, the scene ends with Jesse saying that her finding was particularly “impressive”, to which she exclaims that evil people fascinate her more than those who’re good.

We then shift over to nighttime as Barbara informs Huntress that the victim’s car has been impounded before telling her to meet up with Darkstrike and investigate the vehicle in order to find something the police missed.  Later, they search over the car, but come up empty.  As he expresses how there wasn’t anything he could have done to prevent his fiance’s death, Helena brings up the fateful moment from her teenage years when her mother was fatally stabbed by a mysterious assailant who ultimately got away, thus putting her in his similar shoes.  As such, he deduces that those kinds of experiences permanently changed their views on life and makes it easier for them to cut loose when fighting crime.

Later on back at the clock tower, Babs is deep into her analysis on Amy’s hair.  She says that she’s found “some distinctive pollen signatures”, but has yet to make a connection.  With his impatience gnawing at him, Darkstrike decides to head out.  From there, Redmond expresses her approval of their new comrade as she tells Kyle to romantically pursue him instead of Det. Reese.  After all, she wouldn’t need to hide who she truly is from Darkstrike, to which Helena does consider.  Later, Oracle contacts Huntress as she’s finally found a connection with the spores and pollen found on Amy’s ponytail.  It turns out that this specific combination of plants can only come from one particular spot: the Old Gotham Arboretum.  As such, Helena heads over there with Dinah en route.

Later, Huntress arrives and easily finds Amy.  However, she’s soon met upon by the Crawler as a fierce fight breaks out between them.  Ultimately, she forces the fiend through the window.  As she checks up on her foe however, he suddenly disappears.

Shortly afterwards, Dinah and Darkstrike show up.  Helena notices that he’s partially hurt, to which he exclaims that the Crawler blindsided him before running off.  Either way, the team has saved the hostage as Oracle contacts an ambulance.  Unfortunately, Amy is in complete shock, thus she’s unable to talk.  Redmond decides to use her ability and read her thoughts, to which Kyle is initially hesitant on but ultimately allows.  As such, Dinah touches Amy’s hand before a surge of traumatic imagery rushes upon her, mostly involving the Crawler, but also mysteriously showing someone familiar as well.  In the end, the harsh psychic reading causes Redmond to pass out.  Babs overhears all of this over the communication line as she tells Huntress to get their comrade back to the clock tower.  Darkstrike agrees as he offers to stay with Amy until the ambulance arrives.

Later, Dinah wakes up as Barbara assures her that she doesn’t have any permanent mental damage and was only overwhelmed by the hostage’s massive trauma.  After exclaiming that this has never happened to her before (especially since her own psychic powers are maturing), Redmond shares what she saw within Amy’s mind.  She saw the Crawler’s face filled entirely with emptiness and hopelessness, before exclaiming that the victim discovered something about her kidnapper, yet can’t nail down what it was.  Gordon exclaims that she received “a decent DNA sample from the blood on the window” and that she’ll look it over in order to find some possible weakness that they can use against their fiend.  With them knowing that Amy is now safe, Helena decides to head home in order to change clothes and rest up.

We then quickly shift over to the New Gotham Police Department as Jesse is in the middle of a vital phone call and discovers something crucial involving the Crawler.  From there, we cut over to Darkstrike’s hotel room where he discovers a message from his foe stating: “Your Girlfriend Is Next” as he has a horrifying realization.  We then shift over to Helena’s apartment which contains the same bar from her regular job.  She hears a strange noise before getting met upon by Darkstrike who warns her that their foe knows where she lives.  As such, they agree to stay together and wait for their perp to show up.

Back at the clock tower, Barbara is looking over Crawler’s blood sample as she and Dinah are rightfully puzzled at the unstable make-up of the fiend’s DNA.  Just then, they get a signal from Det. Reese’s ring.  Aware that he’s trying to contract Huntress, Babs locates his current position and ends up calling a pay phone that he’s nearby.  Now that he’s finally met the “invisible friend”, he shares the fact that he got in contact with an associate over at Central City Police and proceeds to inform her about what he’s just learned.  One year prior, a woman got killed in familiar Crawler fashion.  However, there were two victims: the lady and an unidentified “white male in his 20s”.  Because it didn’t match the Crawler’s profile, it wasn’t lumped in with the rest of his murders.  It turns out that the male victim himself was the one who not only took out the Crawler, but also took out the woman as well.  Shortly after concluding the call, Babs learns from Redmond that she did see a quick mental flash of Darkstrike.  Gordon is baffled by this revelation since Amy was kidnapped by the Crawler, but is perplexed as to how she would have seen Darkstrike’s face before her team intervened.

Back at Helena’s “other” job, she tells Darkstrike that this building also contains her apartment before prepping a drink for him.  Unbeknownst to her, he has a literal split personality as he transforms into Crawler before smashing a vodka bottle over her head.  By the time Barbara attempts to warn her teammate, it’s too late as the fiend drags Kyle away.

As Helena regains consciousness, she finds herself handcuffed to a chair and even discovers that her communicative jewelry has been removed.  She then sees Darkstrike as she discovers that he and the Crawler are sharing the same mental headspace.  The fiend tells the tragic hero that he let his fiance die, due to leaving her helpless and alone.  Ultimately, Crawler takes control of him before telling Huntress that she doesn’t know the man behind Darkstrike since he ended up killing his girlfriend and the fiend himself.

Meanwhile, Dinah is speeding over to Helena’s place in the team’s Hummer.  Barbara exclaims that both Darkstrike and the Crawler are the same person as she believes that D.S.’s girlfriend was really murdered by his foe.  From there, he killed the Crawler in an act of blind rage before Redmond exclaims that he now “tortures himself for his failure by killing again and again”.

Back with Helena, she demands to talk to Darkstrike.  However, Crawler refuses to relinquish mental control over his body.  He even tells her why he has to kill her, since she’s “tasted the beginnings of love”, though it’s not with Darkstrike.  Fortunately, she managed to free herself just enough to deliver a surprise strike before using the chain on her handcuffs to strangle the fiend, right before Dinah arrives.  Afterwards, Darkstrike regains control and is relieved to see Huntress alive before exclaiming that he’s unable to forgive himself for what he’s become.  Fortunately, Kyle tells him that he’s forgiven.

We then cut to the next day at the clock tower as Barbara informs the team that Darkstrike/Crawler has been placed in Arkham Asylum and that he’s been given solitary confinement with nobody allowed to visit him.  Redmond then mentions what Darkstrike told her about how “being a crime-fighter meant risking body and soul”, yet he wound up sacrificing everything with himself included.  Helena then exclaims that fighting crime was supposed to be as simple as “finding bad guys, kick the crap out of them, feel good and go home”, to which Babs exclaims that it’s not as simple as it seems and that nothing that’s worth fighting for is ever easy.

Over at Arkham Asylum, Harleen visits the Crawler in order to learn about his murderous intentions towards lovers.  During their talk, he realizes that she was the Joker’s girlfriend and with his knowledge of split personalities, he knows her by her actual identity: Harley Quinn.  He then asks her to help him escape, since he can help out in taking down a common thorn in their sides: Huntress.

From there, Episode 7 ends on the streets with Jesse arresting another perp as the familiar heroine stands by and lets him do his job.  Afterwards, he apologizes for what’s happened to her partner.  She accepts his condolences and assures him that it was just a one-time gig, especially since he was too much of a good thing and that a “complicated” relationship isn’t too bad.  She then asks how he’s doing with Emerson, to which he exclaims that he’s not working a case with her at the moment and that she was also “a really bad blind date”.

Episode 8 (“Lady Shiva”) opens eight years ago when Batgirl was pursuing the familiar female fighter following a robbery.  Lady Shiva tosses a shuriken-sized star in defense, to which Babs dodges before throwing her familiar chakram.  Shiva evades the spinning blade as it ricochets off of the building and ends up puncturing a gas line, allowing the lethal smoke to begin fumming inside.  From there, the two women fight each other before Batgirl defeats her foe with a spinning kick.  Lady Shiva proceeds to head inside the building before the gas build-up gets ignited by an off-screen spark, causing it to blow up as Gordon gets knocked back by the blast.  From there, the flashback ends over Shiva’s body, taking note of a particular pendant of hers.

We then shift over to a familiar bar in present day as Dinah and Barbara talk about an upcoming dance at New Gotham High.  Redmond is hesitant about attending it, but Babs says that it’s a good way to kick back following their recent bouts of crime-fighting.  Helena joins in and supports Babs’ reasoning by exclaiming that it’s an opportunity to meet other people, to which she then mentions that an old high school friend of hers has returned to town after eight years to hang out with her.  From there, Kyle sees her old comrade as she introduces them to Sandra “Sandy” Woosan (played by Sung-Hi Lee).  Unbeknownst to our main team, she’s wearing the familiar pendant worn by Lady Shiva.

Following the opening credits, we cut to near-closing time at the bar as Helena informs Sandy on what’s changed about New Gotham over the past eight years before asking her what she’s been up to since she left without any notice.  Woosan admits that things became hectic for her within her family and thus, she left to go live with some distant relatives.  Nowadays, she’s become a “headhunter” who mainly freelances.  Presently, she’s working on a project here in the city and it’s possible that she’ll be able to stick around.  From there, the conversation shifts over to Kyle as she reveals that her mom was murdered seven years ago as Sandy says that she understands what it’s like losing a family member.  Just then, Oracle contacts Helena and informs her that Det. Reese has sent out a signal from his ring while the Delphi System has picked up a murder report.  As such, Kyle says that she has to head out, but promises Woosan that they’ll go out and party tomorrow night.

A short time later, the police have blocked off the site of a recently-slayed person before Huntress ultimately arrives.  Jesse notices that she showed up a bit later than usual, to which she says that she was “visiting an old friend”.  He’s initially surprised at the thought of her hanging out with other people before informing her about the recent homicide.  The mutilated perp was a guy in his late twenties who mainly committed low-level crimes and it turns out that he was killed by a shuriken-sized star embedded right in his skull.  However, this projectile also has the Bat logo on it as he brings up how the now-deceased metahuman Detective Morton informed him of a time when Batman used to protect the city from the shadows.  When Det. Reese assumes that the Dark Knight has finally returned after all those years, Huntress simply pretends to be ignorant of the Caped Crusader’s existence.

Later on back at the clock tower, Helena finds it ridiculous that Batman would reemerge after being gone for seven years.  As Barbara examines the shooting star, she agrees with her teammate’s statement since even if he was back, he doesn’t kill criminals.  Kyle then wonders who their suspect could be, to which the somewhat-worried Gordon says that maybe they’re chasing after “a ghost”.  She explains that she previously came across a thief who used this kind of shooting star as her calling card, but she’s now dead.  From there, Helena tells her to get in contact if she needs help with something before heading out.

We then shift to the next day at New Gotham High as Dinah is spending her science class observing a cute boy named Matt Kendall (played by Ethan Browne) from afar.  Her friend named Gabby (played by Callie De Fabry) takes note of her obvious love stares and tells her to go ask him out to the dance.  Redmond thought that they were going to pass on it, but Gabby says that the event is looking up due to the possibility of a tender slow dance between them.  As such, Dinah agrees to do it on the condition that Gabby takes Kendall’s fellow classmate as her lab partner.  From there, she makes her way over and introduces herself to him as they prepare to dissect a frog.  As she reaches for the scalper, their hands touch as her mind-reading power kicks in and informs her that he’s into a little-known band called the Mighty Toms.  Afterwards, she starts humming the song that he was initially listening to as he’s amazed to know someone who’s into the same kind of music that he likes, thus beginning their high-school unionship.

Back at the clock tower, Alfred comes in and offers some tea to Barbara.  Thanks to his discreet overhearing of her recent conversation, he asks if Lady Shiva has returned.  She says that she researched the image of Shiva’s unique Chinese throwing star and found out that it’s been used to assassinate several high-level figures over the past two years.  This baffles Babs since she’s known her as a thief and not a murderer.  Plus, she thought that Shiva died eight years ago.  Even though a Jane Doe corpse was found, she’s always thought that it was Shiva.  However, the body was neither identified or claimed.  So now, Gordon knows that somebody did perish in the explosion, but she’s not sure whom.

Sometime later at the familiar bar, Sandra is chatting with Redmond about Kyle’s most embarrassing moments from high school.  Helena admits to those less-than-stellar times before asking Woosan if she’ll go to the clubs with her after she completes her shift.  However, Sandy says that she has some late work to take care of since it’s her “most creative time”, but promises to call her tomorrow.

Later on at the New Gotham Bank, a security guard ended up with a certain shooting star lodged in his head as Huntress oversees the crime scene with a remote camera in hand.  With this footage being transmitted back to Oracle, she zooms in to the embedded star.  Barbara then has a horrifying realization as she tells Helena to go get the star from Jesse.  When Huntress tries to ask her what the Chinese letter on the star says, Gordon doesn’t respond as Kyle decides to go talk to Det. Reese.  He explains that even though the bank vault was opened, not a single dollar bill was taken.  He even did some historical digging and found out that eight years prior, the bank’s vault was entirely swiped of its money and all that remained was a single Chinese throwing star.  Now, they both wonder why this thief would go through the trouble of not robbing the place, yet leave their small blade upon the night watchman’s head.

Back at the clock tower, Babs enters the training room and approaches a display case containing her Batgirl costume.  Knowing full-well that Lady Shiva has somehow returned, she’s decided that she must dawn the cape-and-cowl once again in order to deal with this.

Suddenly, Alfred pops in and simply talks about their past when he fitted her for the costume followed by her youthful & free-spirited ventures against crime alongside Dick Grayson.  Although he does commend her for her battles against the city’s criminal underworld, he exclaims that “this suit no longer fits” as he places the cowl back upon the display.  She then exclaims that the newest throwing star has a Chinese symbol on it that mainly translated to “life”, proving that Lady Shiva is alive and that the Jane Doe corpse was someone else as she blames herself for getting somebody whom Shiva knew killed.  As such, Barbara intends on stopping her, but tells Alfred that Helena mustn’t know about it since she feels personally responsible towards her and feels that it’s something she must tackle by herself.

We then shift to the next day as Babs quietly prepares for her personal battle.  Helena comes in and asks her why she went on radio silence as Gordon exclaims that “something came up”.  Kyle then notices that she’s not at New Gotham High teaching her literature class as Barbara exclaims that she called in sick.  Realizing that her teammate isn’t acting like her usual self, Helena demands to know about this “ghost” that’s been recently brought up.  She then realizes that the Bat symbol on the shooting star has nothing to do with her father, but with Babs and her past identity of Batgirl.  She says that this is a mistake that she’s dealing with, but Kyle counters with the fact that it’s more along the lines of “keeping it bottled up inside” and not letting anyone else help out.

Over at New Gotham High, Matt has finished working on his personal digital assistant (PDA) as he puts it away just as Dinah comes in and impresses him wearing a stylish outfit (with even Gabby liking it from afar).  He proceeds to compliment her fashion choice before she reveals that she’s acquired a pair of box seat tickets for them to go see the city’s baseball team called the New Gotham Knights.  As he continues to be impressed with the various things that they have in common, the scene ends with Matt asking her out to the school dance.

We then cut to sometime later over at the familiar bar where Helena is met upon by Sandra.  Woosen notices her friend is looking a bit bummed and proceeds to ask about it, to which Kyle says that Barbara has recently been acting strange around her and won’t let her help.  Seeing those two acting as close family members, Sandy then asks her if she’s ever imagined what her life would be like if her mother was still alive.  Helena exclaims that she thinks about it a lot, even in that split second right before she wakes up and realizes that her mom’s not around.  Sandra says that losing someone can change them to the point where they’re pondering over “life and death”.  Kyle then asks if everything’s okay with her, to which Woosen simply exclaims “It will be”.

Over at the clock tower, Barbara is still hard at work.  Suddenly, she notices Lady Shiva standing nearby as she surprisingly hops out of her wheelchair before getting attacked by her foe’s signature throwing star.

Fortunately, it was just a nightmare as Gordon wakes up before being met upon by Redmond.  Dinah admits to having used her mind-reading hand touch ability several times on Matt.  She admits that it was wrong of her to continually abuse her own power, even though she wanted to know him.  However, Barbara simply exclaims that she can’t help her with this situation as she just takes her leave as Redmond looks on baffled by the reaction.

That night, Babs shows up at a familiar spot from all those years ago.  However, she’s brought her Batgirl persona out of retirement and with the help of a neural-response device attached to her spine, she’s able to walk again.  As such, she confronts Lady Shiva and asks who it was that perished in the blast back then.  Shiva says that it was her 15-year-old sister and now, she wants Batgirl to pay through bloody vengeance.  Barbara says that she didn’t show up to fight, but instead to apologize for her reckless action as she wishes that she could undo what she did.  However, Lady Shiva refuses her condolences before a brief scuffle breaks out.  Batgirl gets knocked down and is unable to get up due to the device malfunctioning before her cowl is removed by Shiva and she ends up discovering her identity (not to mention that she also notices the wheelchair from afar).  Just then, Huntress arrives having just learned of this meet-up through bribing Alfred and is looking to fight her.  With Lady Shiva unintentionally discovering her secret identity as well, she runs off into the night.

Back at the clock tower, Helena calls Babs out on her suicidal decision to confront their foe by herself.  Gordon says that she had to make it look like she was able to stand in order for her apology to feel more sincere, with her only back-up plan being striking a disabling blow.  However, Barbara states that “she” has gotten too good.  Kyle then demands to know whom it was that they just faced.  As such, Babs proceeds to explain her backstory with Lady Shiva.  Eight years ago, she confronted her foe over at her apartment.  Barbara was so committed to her job as Batgirl that she never noticed that Shiva’s sister was watching the scene unfold from within the building, not to mention that she was unaware of the fact that her chakram has punctured the gas line that fueled the massive explosion to come.  Helena says that Lady Shiva had already chosen her path, but Gordon says that she turned their foe and herself into monsters when she accidentally got Shiva’s sister killed.

Later on at the familiar bar, Kyle is busy working when Sandra drops by.  She says that she’s been out walking around and thinking about how much she missed out on her friend’s life before asking Helena if she ever learned who her mother’s killer was, to which Kyle exclaims that the unidentified murderer got away.  Sandra then asks what she would have done if she ever reached the perp, to which Helena says that a part of her wishes to see him torn limb from limb.  Just as Woosan says that she understands her and is about to take her leave, Kyle asks if she’ll be sticking around New Gotham, to which Sandy confirms.

Over at New Gotham High, the school dance is underway as Dinah arrives with Gabby.  Just then, they spot Matt approaching as Redmond decides to make a confession to him.  She admits that she doesn’t know anything about the Mighty Toms or the New Gotham Knights as she pretended to like them in order to get his attention.  When he asks how she found out about his favorite things, she lies by explaining that she peeked into his PDA.  He calls her out on this violation of privacy before taking his leave, where he then proceeds to take Gabby into the dance hall while Dinah retreats into the more absent areas of the school.

Back at the clock tower, Barbara and Helena determine that Lady Shiva has become so determined to carry out her mission that she won’t stop until she sees them slayed.  As Kyle is about to head on patrol, Gordon has a sudden realization.  Since Shiva has seen their faces during their last battle, they horrifyingly discover that she’ll go after Dinah.

As if on cue, Redmond is met upon by Lady Shiva who manages to grab her hand.  Dinah ends up getting a psychic crash-course on her tragic backstory before attempting to flee.  Shiva pursues her before Redmond delivers a successful surprise attack by smacking her with a fire extinguisher.  However, Lady Shiva’s combat skills are too much for her to handle as she traps Dinah within a leg-lock and attempts to strangle her.

Fortunately, Huntress arrives and engages Shiva in a brief scuffle.  Ultimately, Helena defeats her before Lady Shiva takes her own mask off and reveals her identity.  She then demands to be killed since Kyle herself admitted to wanting her opposing aggressor to pay.  Huntress tries to tell her that Barbara didn’t intend on getting her sister killed, but Shiva isn’t willing to accept her explanation.  As such, Helena says that she’s not going to fight her anymore.  Lady Shiva is able to take advantage as she proceeds to attack her.  Suddenly, Babs arrives and subdues her with precise strikes from her retractable night sticks.  Once again, Shiva asks to be killed, but Gordon refuses to do so.  Lady Shiva then asks Babs why she won’t perform the final strike since she’s willing to kill her and the team herself, to which Barbara exclaims that it’s the difference between them.

We then transition into a new day at New Gotham High as Gabby tells Redmond that she heard about a fight that occurred during the dance.  Dinah fabricates by saying that some teachers got drunk and ended up in a scuffle.  She then asks Gabby how things went with Matt, to which she says that they just danced.  Afterwards, she tells Redmond that while she does like Kendall, he’s not her type.  Instead, she’s actually developed some true feelings for his prior lab partner named Gina since “She rocks”.  Afterwards, Dinah comes across Matt as he admits that he’s mellowed out since their last conversation and is willing to forgive her on one condition: She can’t tell anyone about a dream that he had concerning the cheerleaders, to which she agrees to.

Later on at the clock tower, Babs and Kyle briefly chat about their connection to Lady Shiva before Helena asks Barbara if she misses being Batgirl, to which she actually admits that she doesn’t.  After Kyle mentions that she actually saw her walking, Gordon says that it was only for a quick moment, but she’ll never stop tinkering with the neural-response device until it finally works properly.

And so, Episode 8 ends in front of the display case as Barbara quickly talks with Alfred about keeping secrets before she exclaims how she’s not the hero that she used to be.  He says that it’s actually a good thing because while Batgirl was strong, she was also “impetuous”.  Nowadays, he praises her for becoming a thoughtful and caring woman who’s willing to help others.  As such, she’s a different kind of hero.  From there, they take their leave.

Episode 9 (“Nature Of The Beast”) begins in a secluded Italian restaurant as a mob boss named Misha Petrov (played by Bob Papenbrook) and his bodyguard are waiting for the arrival of a particular man who’s currently being hunted by several people, with them even mentioning that he’s gotten a different look.  Just then, their main subjects arrive as a different-looking Al Hawke (played this time by Walter Skinner & Rama Khan himself, Mitch Pileggi) comes in with alongside his right-hand man Frankie.  Albert assures Misha that while his outer appearance has changed, he’s still the genuine article.  It’s then revealed that this meeting was formed in order to bury any bitter tension between the two mob families and agree to a merger.

Unbeknownst to them, Huntress is viewing the get-together from the rooftop skylight.  She’s in contact with Babs who’s doing an upper-body workout as she exclaims that Albert must have been seriously scarred from the explosion before he had some skilled surgeons change his facial identity.  Helena then informs her that Hawke is one of five guys in attendance, including Frankie Spitz who was let go via technicality while Al evaded police custody.  Back inside, an argument erupts as the men are unaware of the person that contacted them to this meeting.  Suddenly, a pair of hitmen pop up outside and unleash a bullet barrage upon the establishment.  Misha and his assistant get gunned down as Al & Frankie hide behind the counter, while Huntress is forced to back away from the skylight to avoid the incoming debris.  Following the bulletstorm, the hitmen take off while Helena heads inside to investigate.

Following the opening credits, she’s suddenly approached by Jesse as he was informed of this crime family meeting by the restaurant owner.  She says that the guy that they’re looking for is behind the bar, but they soon discover that he’s escaped, not to mention that it’ll be tough for them to find Hawke due to his new face.  From there, Det. Resse tells her to inform him of any new developments before heading out to report the incident to his department.

We then cut to the next day at the clock tower as Helena describes Al’s facial features for Barbara to run a face scan.  During this process, Kyle exclaims that it felt like Jesse was partially hoping that Hawke wouldn’t be there, to which Gordon exclaims that Al did escape during Det. Reese’s watch.  Helena then says that it’s more personal to them since he was the one who got Dinah’s mother killed and despite ultimately sending him to jail, he ended up going free.  By the time they finish their sketch, Redmond comes in and wonders whom the perp is.  Not wanting to upset her, Kyle exclaims that he’s a shoe store shoplifter.  As Redmond is about to head out to school, it’s revealed that she now has her own comm set before she takes her leave.  Helena then admits that her cover story was a bit flimsy, but only because she got “caught off-guard” and that admitting her recent failure at capturing Hawke would make their teammate upset, due to her obsession with finding him and that she’s almost gotten over the incident.  As such, they intend on telling her once Al is finally captured.

Later on, Frankie has a phone call with the hitmen as it turns out that he was the one who hired them to take out Al Hawke.  Just then, he’s approached by a particular person known only as the Specialist (played by Laim Pace himself, Neil Hopkins) who asks about the person he should target.  Spitz says that he wants Hawke killed and he doesn’t want to be connected in any way.  The Specialist assures him that he’ll “get the job done” and won’t quit until he completes his assignment, since he doesn’t tolerate indecisiveness.  When Frankie asks what is it that makes him “special”, the guy simply leaves the room like normal before demonstrating his metahuman ability of phasing through the wall.

Over on the New Gotham streets, Jesse meets up with Al’s men as they make him go through standard procedure before allowing him to meet up with their boss.  As such, he hands them his gun and places a sack over his head in order to not know where they’re going as he gets in their car and heads out to see his dad.

We then have a quick scene at the clock tower as Oracle’s computer is combing through numerous profile pictures based upon Al’s sketch.  Dinah returns and with her being the only person present, she discovers the massive technical search and wonders about her teammates’ interest with this “shoplifter”.

Meanwhile, Spitz is with Al over at the safe house as he informs them of approaching company, to which Hawke says that he’s been expecting his son to arrive.  Frankie then says that he has “some things to take care of” as he takes his leave just as Det. Reese gets brought up and is allowed to have his handgun back due to Al’s order.  After Jesse says that he only came here “for Mom’s sake”, he learns from his father that Hawke wants to seriously leave the criminal business behind.  Det. Reese essentially tells him that he’ll only get witness protection if he hands in state’s evidence against his criminal allies.  Just then, the security camera captures the Specialist arriving through the brick wall and taking out the henchmen as they escape through a false door within the closet before the fiend arrives.

Back at the clock tower, Helena says that she had no luck in their search while Barbara says that her facial-recognition system couldn’t find a match.  Suddenly, they receive a signal from Jesse’s ring coming from a hotel as Huntress heads out to rendezvous.  Afterwards, Redmond confronts Gordon and demands to know who it is that they’re obsessively pursuing.

Later, Huntress arrives at the hotel as she meets up with Det. Reese before seeing him with Al and feels the urge to make him pay for killing Black Canary.  However, Jesse takes her aside and says that Hawke is willing to turn in state’s evidence containing every notorious thug in New Gotham throughout the past several decades, thus finally crippling their criminal empires.  As such, he requires their protection.  However, she’s not willing to cooperate with a murderer, to the point where even Al wants to dismiss her.  Jesse ends up playing peacekeeper between them as Huntress demands to know why he’s doing this.  From there, he reveals to her that Hawke is his father.