'Batwoman' Season 1 Episode 19 Review: Hush is the most disappointing portrayal of a villain in Arrowverse
The fanfare around famed Batvillain Hush leads to a huge letdown, as the villain is little more than a masked thug with a bad theme
Spoilers for 'Batwoman' Season 9, Episode 19 - 'A Secret Kept from All the Rest'
Hush (Gabriel Mann) is a Batvillain who may have gotten one of the most elaborate origins and setups out of all of Batman's rogue gallery. The villain of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's highly acclaimed 'Hush' storyline, he is a big name to be brought on to the show. The show, unfortunately, squanders this opportunity with a Hush that is little more than a thug with a theme, one that is not used to particularly great effect, either. Not all Arrowverse characters have transitioned smoothly from the comics, but Hush might just be the biggest letdown to date.
Now in possession of Lucius Fox's coded diary, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) is holding Hush's literal face for ransom to get him to kidnap code-breakers. Hush's introductory scene sees him randomly massacring innocent people in a library, though he apparently does this stealthily enough for people in the background to not even notice he's there. As if to highlight the absurdity, the ostensibly iconic shot of Hush saying his catchphrase (it's "Hush") for the first time is undercut by someone casually checking out a library book behind him.
Hush has a fascinating backstory as a man obsessed with Bruce Wayne, who managed to organize Batman's greatest villains in a conspiracy to take the Bat down. In this episode, his entire motivation is reduced to wanting to get his face back. The only threat he poses is that of being a man with two guns, rendered useless by Batwoman's bulletproof armor (which in itself is a strange choice). Gabriel Mann's exaggerated performance to compensate for his lack of facial expressions comes off as clownish, and every scene transition away from him is a relief.
The rest of the episode features Batwoman (Ruby Rose) and Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) parting ways after arguing about the trustworthiness of Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe). Kate and Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) discover just how much they've depended on Luke this entire time - which is a great excuse to bring in Parker Torres (Malia Pyles) to the Batcave, bringing some levity to the episode.
Though Alice's plans may be bizarrely obsessed with killing a woman who is, by all accounts, mortal, she and Mouse (Sam Littlefield) still give compelling performances in their own way -- Alice with her manic charm, and Mouse wearing his heart on his sleeve, believing he'd found his happy ending before Alice heartlessly burns it all down in her Arkham escape.
It's an entertaining episode overall, one that may just be teasing a Metropolis crossover for the season finale. All the hubbub about the appearance of Hush, however, would have been better-left silent, as there is nothing that the character adds to the show beyond the disappointment of him not being better.
The next episode of 'Batwoman' airs May 17, on The CW.