Batwoman kicks off with a pair of college kids sneaking into an empty pool for some after-hours fun. But no sooner have they jumped in the water than the guy disappears, only to break the surface, someone or something dragging him around until he disappears again, a pool of blood in his place. His girlfriend doesn’t fare much better, being pulled under shortly after.
With these attacks, Renee gets the first chance to put her new task force, aka Alice and Batwoman, to work. Alice, ankle monitor in place, is released into the Bat team’s custody. Alice is under strict rules that if she harms anyone or breaks any laws, her deal will be revoked. Ryan is doubtful that will be enough, but Renee is making it her job to ensure Alice doesn’t try anything. If Alice falls through on her part of the deal, Renee is going to pull the plug on the Bat team. Ryan isn’t thrilled by this arrangement, but there isn’t much she can do.
Down in the Batcave, the team gets a recap on the OG killer croc, a former wrestler who was infected by an unknown source that caused him to become more reptilian and, according to Bruce’s theory, develop an appetite for flesh. Bruce had been researching ways to cure him, but the GCPD took him down before he could finish.
Mary theorizes the tooth, which was among Batman’s trophies, carried the infection and when someone found it, they were infected. Alice, who has been handcuffed to a railing through this whole conversation, would much rather know the reasoning behind the Batcave’s décor choices. Ryan wants a word out of Alice’s snooping range so they move their conversation to the main office. With a new killer croc on the loose, Ryan would really like Batwing at her side, so she asks that Mary give Luke a second pair of eyes.
Sophie joins them with a copy of the forensics report from the crime scene, letting them know the croc’s drool is a paralytic. Their conversation is interrupted by a helicopter landing on the roof. Luke gets a notice from security that the CEO of Jeturian industries, aka Jada Jet, has arrived. With the actual CEO of Wayne Enterprises being MIA, Ryan, who’s the acting CEO, has to meet her.
Not wanting Ryan to go in this meeting blind, Sophie tells Ryan that Jada is her birth mother. Ryan is nervous as hell (but also looking fine as hell in a borrowed outfit from Mary). She looks to Sophie for support and advice to get through this meeting and, hopefully, never had to deal with Jada again.
Sophie gives the wiki version of Jada and Jeturian industries; the company is a forerunner in micro-technologies and under Jada’s leadership the company’s worth has doubled. An impressive resume to match a woman who’s clearly a fighter, but as Sophie says, Ryan is no less of a fighter. Sophie reassures Ryan that Jada never gave her anything, so she can’t take anything away, holding Ryan’s hands as she tells her she’s got this.
And then Jada Jet walks into the room like she owns it — she did just take a helicopter 12 blocks to make a statement. She and Ryan trade pleasantries that feel more like the opening jabs of a boxing match meant to test their opponent, but Jade doesn’t waste time getting to business. Someone hacked into Jeturian Industries from a Wayne IP address (see, Sophie looking into Ryan’s birth mom last episode), and Jada doesn’t take kindly to corporate espionage. Ryan calls her bluff for not having any hard evidence, and Jada leaves with a warning to stay out of her business, to which Ryan is more than happy to oblige. The moment Jada is out of the office, all the bravado Ryan had crumples away.
Meanwhile, down in the Batcave, Luke is introducing Mary to his dad, or rather the AI version of his dad. Luke has managed to isolate the problem that was causing the suit to freeze up. A failsafe in case the user was injured, every time it froze on Luke, it was because it believed he’d sustained an injury. Luke assumes it’s a system glitch but Mary suggests they make sure that Luke is 100% healthy first.
In another part of the Batcave, Alice is trying to use the wifi to figure out how to get out of her ankle monitor. It doesn’t work. Ryan comes down and Alice asks about mommy dearest (they might have restricted her internet searches, but they left the feed from the Wayne security cameras). Ryan isn’t going to fall for her mind games, but Alice was actually doing work down here.
She knows how the mind of a killer works, yes mostly because she is one. And she knows Killer Croc likely wouldn’t have gone after two people for his first kill. So she looked into missing persons near the river, compiling a list of potential earlier victims.
Speaking off, near said river there’s a family having a picnic and a young girl, Whitney, is playing soccer. She kicks her ball into the woods, but when she goes looking for it, something’s taken a bite out of it. Before she can react, she’s pulled away.
Ryan and Alice head to the scene to investigate with Sophie running comms at the cave. They find drag marks, but no blood, which is a good sign of the kid still being alive. When the girl wakes up next to a body down in the sewers, she tries to run but realizes one of her legs is injured.
While they search the woods, Alice tries to get the details on Jada from Ryan. Ryan’s honest about how incredible Jada was, but insists that she doesn’t want her in her life. They find an entrance to the sewers and Ryan wants Alice to go first, not trusting her to not run if she takes her eyes off her. Alice’s quips fall away because at one point she was a little girl who needed saving and no one came for her. She isn’t going to leave this little girl to the same fate. Down in the sewers, they soon realize they’re not the only ones hunting Killer Croc, so is the new croc’s father.
Back in the Batcave, Mary’s giving Luke an exam to make sure he’s okay. The exam shows he’s fine, and it also leads to some delightful awkwardness when Mary’s composure cracks slightly seeing Luke shirtless. Likewise, Luke’s heart rate skyrockets when Mary gets close to him. Concluding the problem is the suit, Luke decides to remove the failsafe. Mary is skeptical about this being the right move, but Luke is certain of his decision.
Croc 2.0’s father is explaining that until a few weeks ago his son, Steven, was a normal teenager. They’d caught a fish in the river, finding the Croc tooth inside. The boy turned it into a necklace, but cut himself on it, getting the infection. Ryan promises they want to help, but the father doesn’t believe them. Pulling out a cattle prod, he electrocutes Ryan and holds Alice at gunpoint. Killer Croc joins the party, grabbing his father and dragging him away.
Alice uses the cattle prod to fry her ankle monitor and skips away while Ryan is still recovering. Once she’s on her feet again, Ryan asks Luke to go after Alice while she tracks down the girl.
Alice hears the girl in the sewers and after a moment of hesitation, she doubles back in the direction of her voice. She finds her, but when she realizes she’s hurt, Alice puts herself first. She tries to impart Whitney with a lesson she had to learn, ‘to only rely on yourself’. And then she leaves that little girl, the little girl she used to be, alone.
Elsewhere in the sewers, Ryan is calling out, trying to reason with Steven. She tells him he’s lucky to have a father who cares that much about him. The way her voice wavers, it’s clear she’s thinking about Jada being the opposite of that. However, when she finds his father’s body, she knows Killer Croc is too far gone.
Alice does get out of the sewers, but Batwing is there to meet her. He injects her with some tracking nanobots that won’t be as easy as an ankle monitor to get rid of.
Whitney is still trying to get away by dragging herself when Killer Croc comes up behind her. But Batwoman comes up behind him, restrains him to the wall with a net, and hugs Whitney, letting her know she’s safe. Later, Ryan is watching Whitney and her mother reunite when Renee joins. She knows Alice’s ankle monitor went down, but Ryan simply points across the way where Alice is sitting the Batmobile.
With peace restored (for now) to Gotham, Ryan is still left with her own unresolved quandary. One that might sting a little more now after seeing the depth of love from two different parents. She’s on the balcony at Wayne Enterprises when Sophie finds her. Sophie apologies for telling Ryan about Jada, but Sophie isn’t the one Ryan blames. Her frustration is aimed at the woman who paid 2 million dollars to hide her connection to Ryan.
Sophie gently points out that they don’t know why Jada made that decision, the kind of choices she had or what her life was then. Ryan still insists she doesn’t want to know. Sophie doesn’t press her, but she can see Ryan putting up her walls. If there’s anyone who can understand what’s it’s like to hide behind walls, it’s Sophie, but she also knows what’s like to want a hug from your mom. Then, Ryan’s real fear comes out. What if Jada doesn’t want her? Sophie assures that would be Jada’s loss, not Ryan’s.
At the Batcave, Luke is unable to talk with his AI dad as he checks on the suit. Mary suggests is because he took out the failsafe. She wants him to restore it because she discovered why the suit thought he was injured. It thought he was injured in the same place he’d been shot. He may have healed physically, but mentally that wound is still there.
Meanwhile, Renee is at city hall. They want to run tests to confirm “it’s” the real deal but no one is brave enough to open the container. Renee opens it and pours water inside. When nothing happens she reaches in and pulls out a handful of dead leaves. Her partner asks how she knew, and she says she’s seen the real thing up close.
Twelve blocks from Wayne Enterprises, Ryan matches into Jada Jet’s office. She drops the bomb that she’s her daughter and for what it’s worth, Jada looks genuinely surprised.
It’s a testament to this cast that almost every scene that threw two characters together this episode had chemistry pouring from the screen. But it was Javicia Leslie and Robin Givens squaring off that took the cake. There was so much happening, watching Ryan and Jada meet for the first time. And this is only the beginning for them. Watching them play off of one another here has skyrocketed my interest in their story for the rest of the season.
Speaking of beginnings, Alice is certainly on a path towards, probably not a full-fledged hero but one where she can be the kind of hero she needed as a kid. She couldn’t be that hero for Whitney just yet, the wounds of her own past are still too deep. But if this arc ends with her closer to an anti-hero who begrudgingly helps on occasion, I’m here for it.
Thus far, Batwoman has been doing a fair job of laying down the foundation for the rest of the season, teasing out the arcs and relationships for the season. See you next week to see what happens!
- Gotham has like one news reporter for field coverage.
- Alice with the real questions. Why is that tree in the Batcave?
- ‘Do you know why I did that?’ ‘Because you’re a killer, Alice.’ ‘No. Well, yes, but that’s not the takeaway.’
- Shout out to little Whitney imaging playing in a game with Megan Rapinoe.
- It’s so great having Sophie on the Bat team now and having her on comms.
- Has Renee fought Ivy before? Does she know her? How’d she know those vines up close? That’s what I want to know.
Images courtesy of the CW
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