Sunday, June 23, 2024

Romance Blooms on Batwoman

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Batwoman kicks off this episode with a pair of fishermen who are pretending they can’t read the ‘catch and release only’ sign next to them while they gut their catches. That is until they’re pulled into the water by vines. The men don’t return. Instead, it’s Pamela Isley who breaks the surface. But she still hasn’t fully recovered from her decade of dehydration. She thought the water would restore her to her former glory, but it failed to work. Renee rushes to help her as Pam stumbles into the shore.

At Gotham cemetery, Ryan is at her Mama Cora’s grave. Ryan finds herself wondering how Cora carried the weight of the world, three jobs, and volunteering at church on her shoulders without breaking a sweat. Ryan is feeling the weight of all her burdens, especially her failures and she can’t get out of her own head about it.

Meanwhile, the Bat team has seemingly taken over Renee’s office as their current base of operations. Luke is doing shirtless pull-ups like this is season one Arrow. Sophie is there, making quips about HR violations and helping him spar.  He’s throwing punches like there’s something he’s mad about but he dodges all of Sophie’s questions.

Sophie Moore
Maybe the Batcave should get a salmon ladder. For reasons.

Elsewhere in Gotham, Jada Jet has an old friend visiting. The old friend is none other than John Diggle. She confides in him the situation with Marquis and wanting to protect Ryan. She offers Diggle a job as her head of security. He turns down the position but does offer to help her while he’s in town. The doctors suggested that another jolt from the joy buzzer might help Marquis, but Jada has no way of getting her hands on it. Diggle’s heard of Renee’s off-the-books rogue’s units and suggests they check it out for any information.

John Diggle

Back in the woods, a solar recharge isn’t working for Pam either. Renee tells her strength will return with time. It has been a decade since she’s used her body. Pam is worried about how quickly her strength is being depleted. Renee thinks her strength is fine, given how easily she took out those innocent fishermen. Pam doesn’t see them as so innocent, they were upseting a balance that she restored.

Renee’s reminded of how everything used to go down between them. Pam wants to know what Renee was expecting to happen when she freed her. Renee didn’t have a plan, caught up in the moment and emotions of seeing Pam again. But she had an idea to help Pam get her strength back.

Under City Hall, Ryan arrives with two coffees and an extra-large helping of petty as she hands one to Luke and slides right past Sophie with the second. My girl Sophie had her hand out and everything. And Ryan has the gall to look her dead in the face as she drinks her own. She shows Luke (and only Luke) a new article about the fishermen, found with weeds tangled around their legs. All signs point to Pam.

Ryan Wilder
Petty, thy name is Wilder.

Sophie wants to know how long Ryan plans to keep this game up and Ryan shushes her because she’s trying to find Sophie’s girlfriend Renee. Luke interrupts their squabbling to confirm they think the fishermen attack was Pam and not Mary. There were two other incidents that also fit Pam’s eco-terrorist MO.  While Sophie goes to triangulate the sites, Luke has a new toy to show Ryan. He cooked up a paralytic and herbicide mixture for a tranquilizer gun. It won’t stop Pam forever, but it will buy them time to recreate the desiccation serum.

Sophie was able to determine all the reported attacks that happened nearby to one another. The bad news is it’s smack in the middle of the ‘national park’. Sophie points out in the horror movies, the black people who go into the woods don’t come out of the woods. Ryan points out that black people don’t write those movies (bless this show), and it’s time they flip the script.

Meanwhile, getting cozy in the woods, Renee is talking about plant networking and it might as well be foreplay for Pam. If it works, it should draw Mary (she calls her her sporeling) to Pamela. Turns out the vine infected Mary to create what’s essentially a battery to jump-start Pam. At the same time, Alice is reading about the OGs return and she guesses this is not good news for her step-sis. Mary skips up with iced coffee and a trip to Santorini planned. Alice doesn’t need to hear anything more. She’s ready to go. But before they can even start their trip, Mary gets one killer headache.

Renee Montoya
Chicks dig plants.

And we’re back in the woods. This time with Sophie, Ryan, and Luke, all in Sophie’s car. Sophie is laying out the apologies and all Ryan says is a ‘yep’. The petty is still strong with this one.  But before Sophie can pry Ryan’s defenses down to get something better, they encounter a random injured white man stumbling in the middle of the road.

Ryan and Luke leap out to help him. He doesn’t have the time to explain what happened to him before vines are wrapping around Sophie’s car (probably because it’s not electric) and begins dragging it into the bushes. With Sophie still inside. Ryan forgets she’s supposed to be mad at Sophie and screams for her. Sophie grabs their supplies and tucks and rolls out of there. They don’t get the chance to process a whole ass SUV just vanished into the woods before they’re being chased by more vines.

The white guy is snagged by a vine, and another grabs the gun from Luke before he gets the chance to aim it. This white guy doesn’t make it to the end of the horror movie. They run into a nearby cabin for safety. The ladies search the cabin and are able to find some supplies. Luke meanwhile has been hammering the door closed very insistently and Ryan and Sophie know something is up.

Between watching a guy get impaled right in front of him, failing to stop Marquis, failing to stop Mary, and the Batwing suit not working, Luke feels like everything is his fault. He doesn’t think he can be a hero.

Ryan says that every hero’s journey is marked with failure. Look at Sophie, she messed up with losing Alice and Renee. Sophie points fingers right back, reminding them how Ryan failed to notice her best friend and roommate was becoming Poison Ivy. Why yes, this is them using sass to reconcile. And continuing to not have an adult conversation.

Ryan and Sophie
This is how not to have a conversation about your feelings.

Meanwhile, Pam returns to Renee (who set up a tent), not with Mary, but with the tranquilizer rifle she snagged from Luke. She asks Renee how Batwoman knew where to find her. Renee’s worried she did something, but Pam assures they’re fine. She does wonder why Renee cares when Batman buried her for ten years. Renee defends that Ryan isn’t like Batman.

Renee wants the chance to convince Ryan that Pamela can change. But from the look on Pam’s face, it’s clear that isn’t what she wanted to hear. The realization that who she is, isn’t enough for Renee. And Renee is too caught up in the ideal version of this relationship she has in her head. The one where she and Pam get to ride off into the sunset. The one where she’s enough for Pam. Unfortunately, that’s not this reality. Pam kisses her and then uses her hypnotic powers to make her stay behind while she goes after Batwoman.

Back in the city, Dig and Jada arrive at Renee’s office. Jada picks the lock on the door and the two search for any information on the joy buzzer.

Meanwhile, the traveling sister act of Alice and Mary is trying to leave Gotham and failing miserably because every time Alice drives away from the woods Mary’s headache gets worse. Mary gets out of the car, ready to walk to the woods. Alice tries to stop her, sure that if she does, she’ll be killed by the OG. She shows Mary the article about Poison Ivy. Instead of feeling the same fear Alice does, Mary’s excited to meet Poison Ivy. She sees her as the one who remade her. If she’s calling to her, Mary’s going to answer that call. Alice gives in, agreeing to go to the woods with her.

Back in a cabin in the woods, Ryan saunters up to Sophie with tequila in hand. Sophie is suspicious that this is a trap and she’s about to be passed over, like the coffee incident from earlier. Instead, Ryan smiles and offers her thanks for grabbing the Bat-suit while escaping the car. She even calls her a badass.

Ryan Wilder
Ryan: Maybe if I smile sweetly enough she won’t ask me the hard questions.

Sophie accepts the drink, but there’s something else she just can’t put to bed. She asks Ryan what’s her problem with her. Ryan thinks she’s been playing nice because she hasn’t mentioned Renee once since the wood’s themed horror show started. But Sophie knows their issues started long before Renee entered their lives. Ryan’s played this game of hot and cold since the beginning.

Ryan tacks in ‘back when Sophie thought she was a common criminal’ to that statement and Sophie goes on the offensive, because she’s apologized and repented for how she treated Ryan when they first met. She’s put in the work to prove herself worthy of Ryan’s trust. She changed her outlook on the Crows. She quit her job. She changed her perception of, frankly, a lot of things in her life. And she did it because of Ryan. Because of their relationship. Because Ryan pushed her to be better.

She’s been trying. She’s been trying so hard. And she hasn’t been getting anything in return. Ryan asks what she wants in return and Sophie throws the question right back. What does Ryan want? Ryan has so much going on, she doesn’t know what she wants. But Sophie calls her bluff. She thinks Ryan is scared. Scared she might find something real and blow it.

Sophie Moore
Sophie, at every given opportunity: What do you want?

While this is happening, neither notice a vine sneaking into the cabin until it grabs Sophie, pulling her backwards. Luke comes in, armed with vinegar and salt, using it to kill the vines. Ryan’s excited they have a way to fight back now, but Luke used all the salt in that batch. This is information he whispers to them because he’s figured out Poison Ivy can use her connection to nature to hear them, so the hammering and yelling drew her right to them.

There is good news. Sophie saw bags of ice salt in a pick-up truck outside. The bad news is its outside. Where the nature is. There’s a brief debate on who should go, but Ryan saves them the time. She’s Batwoman. She’ll do it. She gears up in the suit, preparing to head out.

Meanwhile, Alice and Mary arrive in the woods. Alice is ready to take a tire iron to the OG, but Mary won’t have it. Alice’s true feelings come through when she screams she’s worried that Mary could die. She tries to play it off as their trip to Santorini being at risk, but Mary sees through it. As much as she and Alice might want to deny it, they found the sister they always wanted in each other.

Alice and Mary
That feeling went the family member you had the least in common with is the one who gets you the best.

Alice tries one last time to make Mary stay so she can confront Pam, but Mary uses her Ivy hypno powers on Alice to put her to sleep. Mary struts off into the woods, but she doesn’t get far before Renee confronts her with Luke’s dart gun, knocking her out with it.

Meanwhile, Diggle has found some beer in their search of Renee’s office. He gets Jada talking about Ryan and he can see the pride in her face when she talks about her, even as she said she needs to keep her at arm’s length. He suggests she let Ryan in and she might be surprised with the relationship they could build. At the same time, Jada finds the joy buzzer in one of the drawers. They’re going to need to trade in their beer for some wine to celebrate.  

Back in the woods, unfortunately, there’s a father and son trekking through it. The kid is recording on his phone, ‘making memories’ when they come across Mary. The father wakes Mary, starling her. She summons a vine that pulls him into the darkness and the kid runs off, dropping his phone.

Back in the cabin in the woods, Sophie and Luke are watching Ryan and her short arms fail to reach the bags in pick-up. She tiptoes to the back of the truck to climb up by the tailgate. But the little kid has stumbled on the scene, and seeing the city’s hero, he screams for help. It’s loud enough to draw the vines, forcing Ryan to take shelter in the truck as the vines begin crushing it like a tin can.

She tells Luke to get ready to run and says she needs Sophie. Needs her to blow up the truck. Sophie’s confused by the request and how Ryan expects her to do that. Ryan flawlessly quips back ‘shoot it, Hotshot’ in a delightful call back to the Clue Master episode.

Luke double times it out of the cabin to get to the kid while Sophie takes her shot, hits gas kegs in the back of the truck, sending the whole thing up in flames. As the little boy looks at Luke in awe, he realizes he is cut for this hero business after all. While he takes the kid to the cabin, Sophie searches the area for Ryan.

She finds her next to the truck, coughing and maybe a little singed, but alive. Ryan insists she’s fine and is already laying out their next steps, but Sophie is still caught on the fact Ryan asked her to blow her up. Ryan brushes off her potential fiery demise like it would have been nothing more than an inconsequential footnote and that’s something Sophie can’t live with it.

But Ryan is exhausted. Sophie asked her what she wants and honestly, she wants to sleep. But she has family terrorizing her city, one Poison Ivy she failed to notice her best friend turning into and another one who kicked her ass. So the death by explosion is looking like the good option here.

Ryan is spiraling. To stop that spiral, Sophie kisses her. Sophie Moore kisses Ryan Wilder. On the lips. Stops her rambling cold. It’s a kiss to stop her from thinking about having to carry the weight of the world on her shoulder all the time. To remind her there are people who will carry that load with her. That Sophie will carry that load with her.

Ryan and Sophie

And because they’re still in the middle of the woods, with literal Mother Nature out to get them, Sophie runs off to find her car. And maybe she runs off because she just kissed her crush and that’s a lot. She leaves behind a speechless Ryan, who, for the first time in a long time, has a reason to smile.

Later, back in the city, Luke is at the cemetery to have a talk with his dad. He knows his dad wouldn’t think he’s ready to be a hero, but he’s no longer going to look at everything that’s happened to him as a reason to not suit up. They’re all the reasons why he should suit up. And he’s not going to let his father’s memory hold him back anymore.

Luke is joined by Diggle, and we learn the reason he was in Gotham in the first place was to see if Luke could open a certain box for him. Unfortunately Luke couldn’t and he asks how Diggle managed to open it the first time. But the thing is, Diggle didn’t do anything special the first time. It just opened for him. Luke points out the key to opening it might not have anything to do with tech. Diggle has a message for Batwoman, that Jada Jet is ready to fix her son.

Meanwhile, Alice wakes up in the car and goes looking for Mary. She finds the kid’s phone, seeing the video of Mary pulling the father away with vines. She ventures further into the woods where she finds the man, impaled on a tree.

In another part of the woods, Pam is shocked to see Renee after she used her powers on her. Renee reveals she’s been taking small amounts of toxins every day to build up a tolerance for when she saw Pam again.  Renee calls their relationship what it is, toxic. Pam will let Renee walk away, if that’s what she wants but it will be because Renee gave up, not Pam. But Pam’s eyes lock onto something behind Renee.

It’s Mary. Sporeling and Ivy finally meet. Pam embraces Mary as green spores swirl in the air around them and Pamela is restored to her full Poison Ivy glory.

Pamela Isley
Trouble never looked so good.


I’ve discussed Wildmoore a few times and how well their relationship has been developed. It’s amazing, watching this relationship, the time, effort, and care that has been put into developing the story of these women. These Black queer women. And this marks a culmination in that story, but it’s far from the ending. There is so much more to watch unfold.

And it wasn’t even the only beautiful development in a wlw relationship in this episode. Pam and Renee are as beautiful as they’re tragic. Two women who love each other so deeply, but they just can’t love each other in the way the other is asking to be loved. Renee wants to be enough for Pam, enough to give up her crusade. And Pam wants Renee that her choosing her crusade doesn’t mean Renee isn’t enough.

Speaking of Pam, she is a powerhouse. To use Ryan’s words, she kicked their asses and she wasn’t even in any scenes with them. And this was with Pam at only a fraction of her power. Now that she’s restored to her full powers she’s more terrifying than ever.

To be honest, I was with Alice in thinking that Pam intended harm to Mary. Intentionally or not, I was expecting Pamela to need to drain Mary for her powers to return. It was a genuine surprise when that didn’t happen. But Alice’s concerns might not be unfounded. With her powers returned, Pamela seems to have every intention to pick right up where she left off.

Bat-atastic moments

  • “You’re gonna give me the silent treatment for the rest of our lives?” – My takeaway from this is even with Ryan mad at her, Sophie has every intention of sticking by her side.
  • ‘Butter’ is a dope song, Alice just has to poke fun at Mary’s music choices.
  • Poor Luke has just been third party to all the Wildmoore awkward phase.
  • Everyone’s beanie game was on point this episode.
  • I know it was Ryan throwing shade at Sophie, when she brought up her failures to reassure Luke, but it also means Ryan thinks of Sophie as a hero.
  • I would not be opposed to learning more about Diggle and Jada’s past.
  • “Her damn arms aren’t long enough.” “I can hear you.”
  • Ryan picks up one bag of the ice salt. Luke: “If you could grab both that would be even better.” Ryan: “You grab both.”
  • In case it wasn’t make clear eariler, Ryan and Sophie share a kiss this epiosde.
Images courtesy of the CW

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