Birds of Prey, “Prey for the Hunter”

Mulder Jr. as a metahuman.

By Diana Estigarribia
October 24, 2002

“Prey for the Hunter” focuses on a killer loose in New Gotham who’s targeting metahumans. Helena is pissed that this dude is knocking off su gente so she takes it personal. Meanwhile, Dinah starts high school and finds she doesn’t fit in. (Aww, I hate it when that happens to a good kid).

This episode has a few good things going for it: an expansion of the whole “metahumans” underground in New Gotham, the focus on Reese (always a good thing), and a guest villain who isn’t half-bad. This is not to say, however, that the story is as good as it can be.

First of all, New Gotham is apparently crawling with metahumans. They’re everywhere, in all walks of life, from your local building janitor to the police force. This calls to mind an X-Men kind of scenario, especially since most of the metahumans we’ve met so far are young people. Not only are they young, but they have their own hangout: the No-Man’s Land Collectables (does anyone know how to spell in New Gotham?) store, which is actually a front for a secret bar where metahumans can have a drink in peace, hang out, and play pool.

That’s fine; in fact, it’s kinda cute, and the little geek metahuman who hangs out at the bar and likes Helena gets some good lines. And the way to get into the bar is by twisting a brass bust, which is very 60’s-to-the-Batcave-Robin tv series Batman. At least, I hope it was intentional, because it’s pretty hokey otherwise.

And when the killer is revealed to be a self-hating metahuman with a bad case of migraines (his power is to spidey-sense metahumans and then absorb their powers) you’re really on comic book overload here. The one good thing is the screen time afforded to Reese as he hangs with this fake investigator. “Mulder Jr.” manages to feed the seed of doubt in Reese’s mind about Helena, and there’s an ugly moment when Reese lumps The Huntress in with the metahumans, or distasteful “things.” A girl doesn’t like it when her crush asks her, not “who” she is, but “what” she is. A no-no.

But she does save his life, again. I think it’s funny that Det. Reese is the “woman in jeopardy” every week. The writers should be careful of overusing this device; what I’d like to see is an episode devoted to The Huntress and Reese working together, rather than just her jumping out of nowhere when she’s needed. A couple of times this episode I thought these two might arrive at some kind of détente, but natch, the dialogue cycled back to the old “I don’t even know who you are/I won’t tell you who I am” thing. These characters are being made to chase their own tails, and something’s gotta move forward, and soon.

This episode was the first without Harley Quinn, and despite my liking to Mia Sara’s characterization, I didn’t miss her. I also could have done without the scenes of adjustment for Dinah at high school. Yeah, it’s playing to the audience, but nothing new was said about what it’s like to fit in/being the new girl. All I see is a size 2 blond actress in trendy clothes. Don’t tell me she’d have any trouble fitting in high school somewhere. Give us something a little out of the ordinary here.

Are the writers being lazy? Maybe. I think they’ve decided to try and squeeze a little something for everyone, but that’s just to the detriment of everyone. They’ve got to figure out a way to get these women working together and not just in three parallel stories that never meet. We need some focussed storytelling, and maybe a few bigger arcs. Right now, it’s still a little by the numbers.