Sunday, June 23, 2024

There’s a Royal Flush of Trouble for Batwoman

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Batwoman returns for the back half of season three and it wastes no time putting its foot on the gas. Things kick off by throwing us back ten years to a young uniformed Montoya and her partner rushing to a scene where cop cars have been completely consumed by vines. One guess as to what happened here.

Renee’s partner calls out for Pamela Isley to surrender, and the woman herself comes strutting out of the woods. Renee begs her to stop, while her partner shouts about taking her down. Renee’s partner tries to shoot Pamela and he’s stabbed by a vine, right through his abdomen. Renee begs to know why Pam is going this. Pam’s only response is ‘someone has to care.’

Poison Ivy
Like a beautiful and terrifying forest nymph.

In the present day, in a hotel room overflowing with food, desserts, and piles and piles of shopping bags, are Mary and Alice enjoying some sisterly bonding time. Mary is painting Alice’s nails. Alice is trying to find the nice way to say she hates the color.

They’re interrupted by some hotel staff who aren’t happy with the tab Mary has racked up because all of her cards have been declined. With a little gesture, Alice reminds Mary about her new charm powers, which she used to enthrall the men, forcing them to leave them alone.

The moment they’re gone, Mary is up in arms because ‘the Bat bitches’ cut her off. She wants to be left alone, but their continued interference is getting in the way. Alice suggests all Mary has to do is make her friends hate her, so they’ll leave her alone.

In the rain forest formerly known as Mary’s clinic, Renee sees some white flowers growing and the sight thrusts her into a memory. In it, Pam comes home with white flowers in hand, a token of forgiveness. But flowers aren’t enough when Renee’s partner lost a kidney because of Pam. The two fall into an argument about Pam’s actions and blatant disregard for the law. Pam wants Renee to choose her, but Renee can’t do that and uphold her civic duty as a police officer. 

Pamela Isley
I’m just a girl, standing in front of a girl, asking her to forgive attempted murder.

Back in the present, the Bat team has set up shop in the basement of city hall, next to Renee’s office. Luke is struggling with the slow internet, Sophie’s concerned about suspicious smells, and all in all, it’s a pretty hilarious introduction to the team’s current situation.

Renee, meanwhile wants to know why they aren’t storming into wherever Mary’s holding up. Ryan believes they could get through to Mary. Renee once had the same mentality with Pam, but she couldn’t pull Pam back from the green side and she doubts they’ll be able to do the same with Mary. They need a way to stop her, not reason with her.

Sophie and Luke agree with Renee: Mary is dangerous and they need to stop her. Ryan might not be ready to give up on Mary, but she is ready to throw shade at Sophie for sleeping with Renee (and spoiler, she stays ready throughout most of the episode). Renee proposes they do the same thing that Batman did to Pam. He had created a serum that desiccated Poison Ivy, rendering her inert. Renee still has the device used to inject Pam with the serum, but the only batch of serum is currently in Pam’s bloodstream.

Sophie Moore
Sophie does not catch a break this episode.

Ryan’s concerned about potentially releasing one Poison Ivy to stop another, but the serum merely kickstarts the process that dehydrated Pam, it’s not needed to keep her inert. As long as she remains dry and away from sunlight she shouldn’t wake up. Sophie and Luke are on board with this plan. Ryan is still reluctant, but with no other plans, she agrees. Now they just have the simple issue of finding where Pamela was hidden.

Luke suggests they look at Bruce’s journals, but without access to Wayne, getting into the Batcave is nigh impossible. Just then, Marquis calls Ryan to flaunt his new office upgrades. But while he’s taunting her, she overhears his assistant mentioning a party that night, which gives her an idea. They’re going to crash the party.

One party scene transition later, Ryan, Luke and Sophie are in the elevator, practicing their cover identities for the evening. Luke’s a former Olympian, Sophie’s girl is a whiskey heiress and Ryan is a French board game designer. Lowkey, Luke and Sophie are having fun getting into their identities. They’re given playing cards at the door to go with the theme of the party.

Luke and Sophie swoop in on Marquis’ assistant. With some quick handy work and subterfuge, Luke is able to switch the sim cards on the assistant’s tablet to gain security access while Sophie gets the shot glass with Marquis’ fingerprints on it in the same fell swoop. Not that they’re bragging about it, or anything. Well, they might be bragging a little because Ryan is the one keeping them back. Her task is grabbing Marquis’ retina scan.

The party, turns out, doubles as a group job interview for the Wayne board of director, as Marquis fired the existing board because they didn’t like him.  The cards are how Marquis decides who’s coming up on stage for their interview. The first guy is excited to hop on in front of everyone until he answers one of the questions wrong and is electrocuted. 

Ryan swipes the next card Marquis calls to get on stage with him, getting close enough to get the retina scan. With everything they need to get into the office, Ryan, Sophie, and Renee hop into the elevator.

Ryan, Sophie and Renee
One elevator + three WLW = a lot of tension.

Ryan’s still throwing a little bit of a hissy fit in Renee’s presence. Sophie’s trying to crack jokes to ease the tension, but even Wayne Tower isn’t tall enough to give them time to clear the air. Ryan does relent in accepting Renee’s help this time, but she wants to be done once this is over. The list of missing trophies is pretty much cleared but Renee points out the Joker’s joy buzzer is still unaccounted for.

In spite of the tension between them, the ladies know how to put that aside when there’s a job to be done. So when they find the main office full of guards, they can put the sass aside momentarily to hand out an ass-kicking.

Sophie, Ryan and Renee
They’re here to take out the trash.

Meanwhile, Mary shows up at the party, and Luke lets the ladies know about this development. For a moment Ryan is hopeful Mary came looking for them, but Luke doubts that. Luke tries talking to her but gets the cold shoulder. Instead, Mary saunters over to Marquis. They banter and dance together.

In the Batcave, the ladies are able to find some notes in Bruce’s diary by looking at entries from around the time Renee first told him about Pam. They find notes on the Gotham dam, as Poison Ivy was planning on destroying it. Ryan wants to know what Renee could have seen in this woman, but Renee, maybe better than anyone, understands Poison Ivy is as much of a poison to Pam and Mary as she is to anyone else.

We flashback one last time to ten years ago. Pam is packing a bag when Renee returns home with a flower. White. A tulip. Pam is willing to overlook the fact that Renee killed the flower for the sake of symbolism. Renee heard about a break-in at the dam and she wants to know if Pam was involved. Pam knows the truth would break them, but why should she lie when her convictions are right. Pam has been honest this whole time. She wants to save Gotham from becoming an environmental disaster. And she wants Renee. The only question left is what does Renee want.

Pamela and Renee
Beautiful. Heartbreaking.

Renee wants Pam to make a choice. Her cause or Renee. And Pam, she wants Renee. But she also believes she needs to help Gotham. When they kiss, it’s maybe a little bit mournful because they both know this is goodbye. When Pam asks what the flower is for, Renee says forgiveness. She then injects Pam with the serum.

In the present, Sophie finds a note about Bruce hiding Pam somewhere he had access to her but was also away from sunlight and water. They can’t think of anywhere that fits that bill in Gotham. Until Ryan turns to the dead tree stump that has been in the Batcave this whole time.

While Ryan is suiting up, Sophie lets Renee know she doesn’t have to join them if she’s not ready to see Pam like this. But Renee isn’t going to run away from this. Ryan returns with a map of the tunnels under the Batcave. She asks Renee and Sophie to be quiet while she uses the sonar in the suit to find Pam.

Hilariously, it’s at this moment Sophie gets a fraud alert on her credit card. She also gets a pretty dirty look from Ryan for the interruption. With the sonar, Ryan is able to locate Pam’s heartbeat and the trio descend into the tunnels to look for her.

Back at the party, Mary whispers something to Marquis that leaves him speechless. She slips a parting gift into his pocket and takes her leave. Luke tries to radio the others but they’re too deep underground for a clear connection.

They find a mass of dead vegetation and sure enough, when they pull enough away, there is Pamela Isley, like dehydrated sleeping beauty in a tome of organic decay. Seeing the state her body is in, Ryan has second thoughts again about doing this to Mary. Sophie and Renee insist that stopping Mary is the safest course of action for everyone.

Ryan still has her doubts, but she extracts the serum from Pam and prepares to head back to the party. She asks Sophie and Renee to stay behind, in case Pam wakes up. She gives Sophie one of her bat weapons, ‘just in case’.

At the party, Marquis pulls Luke aside and calls him Batwing. Mary told a secret.

With it being just them, Sophie tells Renee that Pam would forgive her. Renee takes some of the blame for Alice. Mentioning Alice makes Sophie realize something. The fraud alert she got was for a cheesecake and grape soda that was sent to a hotel room. It screams Alice. She goes after Alice, leaving Renee with Pam.

At the hotel, Alice is happily munching on the cake she ordered when Sophie kicks down the door. But of course, this being Alice, she isn’t surprised to see her former roomie. She wanted Sophie to find her because she’s got a secret to share about ‘Rey-nay-nay.’ Renee has been lying to them. But Alice knows Sophie won’t believe her on her word so she tells her where to look in Renee’s office for proof.

I miss the Sophie/Alice roommate adventures.

Mary, meanwhile, makes her way out onto the roof of Wayne Tower where Ryan intercepts her. She tries to use the serum, but Mary pleads with her, making her hesitate just long enough for Marquis to find them. He has Luke at gun point. Marquis calls her sis and Mary confirms she told him.

When it looks like Marquis is about to shoot Luke, Ryan throws the syringe into Marquis, using the serum on him. Mary escapes, going back to the hotel with Alice. She’s almost disappointed that Ryan saw Marquis as the bigger threat in that moment. To her, it was Ryan putting everything else before Mary. Again.

In a moment of twisted comfort, the kind that only Alice could provide, she confides in Mary that she hasn’t had any delusions since she began helping Mary. So helping Mary grow into her Poison Ivy persona has helped her. Twisted? Definitely. Sweet? A little bit.

In a tunnel under the Batcave, Renee apologizes to Pam. A single white flower grows from the dead vegetation and Renee takes it as a sign that Pam can hear her. So, she kisses the love of her life. And, for the first time in a decade, Poison Ivy’s eyes open.

At the clinic, Ryan and Luke are considering what they should do with Marquis. They can’t risk rehydrating him when he might share their secret. Ryan calls Jada as Batwoman, telling her she has her son. Sophie calls, having found the evidence Alice tipped her off on. Renee has had the Joker’s joy buzzer hidden in her office. She was going to hold the list of missing trophies over their heads until they found the thing Renee really wanted: Pamela Isley.


We’ve been anticipating the OG Poison Ivy’s return for a while now and ‘Trust Destiny’ gave us a beautiful dose of her backstory to introduce her character ahead of her first proper confrontation with the Bat team. This episode needed to sell the tragedy of Renee and Pam’s love in order for the twist at the end to carry any narrative weight. And even with only a few scenes to do that, Victoria Cartagena and Bridget Regan absolutely sold the impossible conflict Renee and Pam found themselves caught in. All they wanted was each other, but they believed in their convictions more.

Over the years Renee, probably seeing the corruption in Gotham’s Justice systems, realized she regretted choosing her convictions over Pam. It’s why the twist of her using Alice and the Bat team works so well. Plus, now Ryan gets to lord a big ‘I told you so’ over Sophie. Speaking off, her petty sass brought a lot of humor to a high-stakes episode. Kudos to Batwoman for being able to bounce from heart-rending scenes to delightful humor and back without the episode feeling tonally dissonant.

Pam and Renee didn’t monopolize those heartbreaking scenes either. Mary and Alice’s final scene together really hammered home just how lonely and isolated they’d felt. In a way, they are helping each other, albeit by encouraging each other’s worst tendencies. In the long run, that’s going to make things worse for everyone.

As much I enjoyed Ryan’s shade this episode, I know there will be an episode in the near future that gives Ryan and Sophie the space to have a conversation where they clear the air. So much of this season has been fixed around those two leaning on each other, building their trust and connection. Now they’ve both gotten their episodes where they got to be upset because they each felt like that connection was belittled. Now all that’s left is for them is to kiss and make up. (This is a joke. Mostly.)

Bat-tastic Moments

  • Alice correcting the man when he calls Mary Ms. instead of Dr., bless.
  • Pam and Renee, another tol and smol ship.
  • Ryan brought out 110% of her sass game this episode and Sophie and Renee got all of it.
  • And poor Luke was caught in the middle of the WLW drama.
  • Renee’s expression upon learning Bruce Wayne is Batman.
  • Even when Ryan was clearly mad with Sophie and throwing sass all over the place, she still checked in with Ryan after she talked with Marquis.
  • “I fitted your mask with ocular mesh scanners from the Batsuit… Sophie, yours is from the dollar store.”
  • Sophie has a therapist? I wonder if she speaks in metaphor for Bat team drama or just doesn’t bring it up at all.
  • It’s a shame that between Ryan throwing so much shade and Renee angsting over the love of her life, no one gave Sophie a complement about her dress.
  • That fight scene was amazing. A+.
  • Alice walked in on Sophie in the shower. Do with that information what you will.

Images courtesy of the CW

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