Sunday, June 23, 2024

Batwoman Wears Its Heart On Its (Villain’s) Sleeve

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Batwoman opens with Alice batting her way through Wayne Tower (with a cricket bat!) knocking down goons to get into the main office. As she finds the joy buzzer, one of Marquis’s lackeys burst in, recognizing her as Alice. But she corrects him, saying she was Alice and pressing the buzzer to her head.

Later, she wakes in Mary’s clinic with her step-sister by her side. Mary’s concerned about how Alice is feeling. With a voice fragile from relief, she says she feels like Beth again. Before we know it, we’re at a court hearing, where her lawyer is arguing that her past actions were done because of the years of trauma and abuse she experienced. The Bat team is in the court, listening with a heavy dose of skepticism, except for Mary, who’s giving Beth a reassuring smile. The court makes their decision and Beth Kane is allowed to go free. She tries apologizing to Ryan for using the buzzer, but Ryan isn’t having it. The public might have changed their minds about Alice, but she hasn’t.

Beth Kane
Even her physicality as Beth is different.

As a free woman, the first thing she does is pay to visit to her grave. She finally found Beth Kane again. While there, she’s greeted by Ocean, which if nothing else that’s happened so far rose a red flag, this certainly does. He doesn’t think Beth deserves a happy ending and immediately starts dying in her arms.

Alice comes to in her train car home, realizing that everything we just saw was a hallucination. Ocean, the trial, the buzzer. It’s heartbreaking to watch her come to the realization that Alice is still her reality when Alice is the person she doesn’t want to be.

Meanwhile, Batwoman is working the early morning shift, picking up Marquis’ lawyer, literally. Ryan’s after Marquis’ schedule so they can get a jump on his plans, but having to be Batwoman means having to leave one Sophie Moore alone in her bed (a tragedy, really). Not that Sophie seems to mind all that much, judging by the smile on her face when she wakes. She’s not fussed about her girl being gone, knowing Ryan will be back. Which is exactly who she assumes is at the door when she hears keys in the lock. She makes a quip that Ryan better have coffee. There is coffee, but it’s not Ryan at the door. Its Jada. Sophie barely gets her robe closed in time (but considering the robe is Ryan Wilder sized, it doesn’t really help the situation).

At the clinic, Mary walks into Alice raiding the place, desperate for medication. Mary thought Alice would have been far away from Gotham by now, but the hallucinations are back and Alice needs help. She needs the buzzer. Mary reminds her they need it for Ryan’s brother, but Alice shoots back that Mary has a sister who needs it more. Mary throws the sister card right back at Alice.

A sister wouldn’t have encouraged her Poison Mary impulses. A sister wouldn’t have let her kill an innocent man. Now she has to live with the knowledge that there’s a family without a husband and father because of her.

Back at the loft, Sophie’s fully dressed again (in yesterday’s clothes). She’s sus about Jada’s real intentions with Ryan. Jada’s focus is stopping Marquis, but Sophie points out that if Jada hadn’t coddled him in the first place, they wouldn’t have been in this situation. Before they can really get into it, Ryan returns, cutting the tension.

Jada Jet
Does this count as bonding with the mother-in-law?

Sophie’s annoyed Ryan didn’t give her a heads up about Jada so she could have thrown some clothes on. Ryan apologizes, explaining Jada wanted to strategize about Marquis. They look at Marquis’ schedule, seeing he oddly has nothing for that day when every other day is booked solid. Ryan comes across an email asking his lawyer to get the address of someone named Barbara Kean (!!!).

With some quick internet sleuthing, Sophie discovers Barbara used to be married to Jim Gordon, as in former-police-commissioner Jim Gordon, and that they divorced after skeletons were discovered in their son’s closet. Among other assorted body parts.

Hearing the name, Jada suddenly remembers she has somewhere to be, but promises if they need anything they just have to ask. And she’s out the door so fast, there might as well have been scorch marks left by her heels. Ryan notes there was some definite weirdness, but Sophie’s already done the math and tells Ryan to stay in the loft while she deals with something.

Jada’s outside the Hold Up, calling someone to warn them Marquis is after Barbara, but Sophie is already there, questioning Jada about the BeeGees (aka Black Glove Society, in case you forgot about Alice’s nickname). Sophie put it together that Barbara is part of the BGS, just like Jada. Sophie absolutely reads Jada about not wanting Ryan to know about her less savory social connections. If she wants Ryan to trust her, this isn’t the way to do it.

Jada’s just doing what she thinks is best and wants Sophie to stay quiet about it. A very shiny Rolls Royce pulls up and Jada gets in. Moments after she’s pulled away, another very shiny Rolls pulls up. Sophie asks the driver who she’s there for quickly realizing that Jada got kidnapped right in front of her.

Sophie Moore
That feeling when you lose your girlfriend’s mom.

Meanwhile, in the Joker’s workshop, Kiki is working away on something, oblivious to Alice to strutting up behind her. Alice is flipping her trusty butterfly knife when it slips out of her hands. The specter of Mouse appears to taunt her about losing her grip (even her hallucinations appreciate a good pun). Alice is able to realize it’s a hallucination this time, yelling at him to get out of her head as she grabs Kiki from behind.

At the Batbar, Luke’s tracking down the car that kidnapped Jada. He also clocks Sophie is in the same clothes as yesterday. Before she can explain, Ryan cuts in with an excuse about Sophie helping her with Batwoman stuff all night and she didn’t get the chance to go home. Sophie’s whole demeanor deflates. Luke gets a lock on the car and the ladies head out to stop whatever plan Marquis is cooking up.

Back with Alice and Kiki, her usual intimidation tactics are having a hard time breaking through a woman who used to work for the Joker. Marquis joins the party, shooting Kiki dead and taking the buzzer from her pocket. Marquis is a little star-struck meeting Alice, but that’s not enough to get him to hand the buzzer over. He uses laughing gas to knock her unconscious. She wakes up to box seats for Marquis’ big plan. He’s kidnapped the members of the Black Glove Society, a who’s who of Gotham high society: Barbara Kean, Burton Crowne, Jeremiah Arkham, Mario Falcone, and of course, Jada Jet.

He gives the spark notes version of the BGS’s backstory and how those in attendance mistreated their kids to keep their dirty little secrets. He starts picking off the BGS one by one, using the same methods they used on their kids. Alice is watching, while a figment of Mouse gives commentary. Mouse is there to drive home the idea that she doesn’t deserve the buzzer. She doesn’t deserve the easy way out. Alice is confused as to why a figment of her own subconscious would say that when she knows she deserves and needs that buzzer. He continues taunting her, tormenting her with everything horrible thing she did to him. She takes a swing at him, but of course, he’s not really there.

Meanwhile, Mary is in front of a quaint and completely unfamiliar suburban home. At the door is the family of the hunter she killed. She introduces herself as someone who has information on his death. As she’s working up the courage to say what came there to say, the mom interrupts her. They already know who’s responsible for her husband’s death. Someone called the police with the information that Alice killed him. Mary just quietly agrees.

On the Gotham streets, it’s once again time for therapizing in the Batmobile. Sensing the tension in the car, Ryan apologizes for how she reacted with Luke earlier (Immediately understanding where she messed up and apologizing? You know what that is? Growth). She didn’t tell Luke anything because it wasn’t his business. Sophie notes there’s a difference between not sharing something and trying to hide.

Sophie and Ryan
At least 90% of the scenes in the Batmobile this season has involved flirting or processing feelings.

Back with Marquis, Jada begs him to stop. He just points to the freeze canister he’s planning to use on her. He’s about to use the buzzer on her when Alice knocks him over. The two struggle over it. Marquis offers Alice a partnership, but she’s not interested. They come from different schools of evil insanity after all. Marquis smirks at this and starts telling her about the day the Joker pressed the joy buzzer to his forehead. The day the Joker got on his school bus and got behind the driver’s seat. The same day, that, during a chase with Batman and the Joker, a car with a young Beth Kane got pushed off a bridge.

She still doesn’t take the partnership, but she does offer him something that would make even the Joker jealous in exchange for the buzzer. Whatever she offers is good enough for Marquis to make the trade. Next we see Alice, she’s outside with the buzzer in hand. But Sophie’s there, ready to stop her.

Alice asks if Sophie is really helping the woman who almost froze Jordan. Sophie says she’s doing it to stop Marquis’ from unleashing havoc on Gotham. Alice manages to wrestle Sophie’s gun away from her, but before she can use the buzzer, Batwing knocks it from her hands while Sophie tackles her to the ground. It’s nothing short of heartbreaking as she begs to not be sent back to Arkham.

Inside, Batwoman swoops in to release Jada. Marquis has vanished for the moment. Jada hesitates about leaving Ryan, but Ryan urges her to go. While she’s checking on the others, Marquis ambushes her. The two fight and Ryan takes off her mask so she can confront Marquis face to face. She tell him she used to be jealous of everything he had until she realized the one thing she had that he didn’t: hope.

Marquis shoots her point-blank in the chest (rude) and tells her she’s wrong again, but he’d hoped that wouldn’t kill her because he wants to freeze her, along with Jada. He picks up the freeze canister to do just that, but Jada’s there, holding him at gunpoint. Marquis calls her bluff, saying she wouldn’t shoot her son. Jada renounces Marquis as her son, shooting the canister from his hands before he can use it. Jada holds Ryan’s face in her hands as she promises to never run again, and Ryan finally gets that hug from her mom.

Ryan and Jada
She even calls her baby girl!

Back at the loft, Sophie’s bringing ice for Ryan’s bruises, and she starts their conversation with, “I’ve never been in an out relationship with a girl” and Ryan’s smile gets so wide as realizes exactly the conversation she’s in for. Sophie’s never done the whole ‘introducing a girl to her sister and mother’ thing. She’s never had the chance to. And seeing Ryan clam up around Luke, it made her wonder. She’s finally in a place where she has the courage to be out and proud and happy, but worries that the person she likes doesn’t want the same thing.

Said person, seeing her open up, returns that vulnerability with the same. Sophie was right about Ryan hiding, but not to Luke. She was hiding from herself, hiding from the possibility of losing another good thing in her life by trying to deny it in the first place. Sophie holds her hands and promises that’s not going to happen this time.

Ryan smiles and smiles and jokes about meeting Sophie’s mom. Sophie reminds Ryan of the night she met her mom (she even includes pig snorts). Ryan, seeing her girl about to go off on a spiral, she kisses Sophie before she gets too in her own head.

Ryan Wilder
Ma’am, your heart eyes, they’re showing.

Luke and Mary come up the stairs and Ryan and Sophie almost regretfully pull back from one another. Luke updates them on Marquis going off the grid for now. Ryan knows she can’t lay low for long, so for now they’ll wait until he makes his next move. She asks the team for one chance to use the buzzer on Marquis before getting any authorities involved and they agree to that.

At which point, Mary clocks that Sophie is in yesterday’s outfit and wants to know what that’s about. Like a relationship bloodhound, something sparks in her mind and her head starts swiveling between Ryan and Sophie. She calls them out on being a thing and Ryan officially (OFFICIALLY!) confirms it. Mary’s joy is overflowing. Wildmoore can’t stop stealing glances at each other. Luke is probably wondering how he missed it when they’ve been flirting in front of his salad all season.

The Batteam.
When Mary was the fandom.

And if only we could end on such a happy note, but there is one more episode left this season so we must have the obligatory cliffhanger. In Arkham, Alice is haunted by the specters of Ocean and Mouse again. She tries to lash out at them, but it’s Mary she hits. Mary’s there to thank Alice for taking the blame for killing the hunter. Alice apologizes and Mary realizes she’s apologizing for something new.

That something new was telling Marquis how to get into the Batcave. So, here we are with only a season finale left and Marquis just got the keys to the toy shop.  


Where are Rachel Skarsten’s awards? Where? Alice has been on such a journey this season. The show has dug into her vulnerabilities several times before, but this episode lays her bare — Alice and Beth both. Back in episode two of this season, Alice had a moment to become the hero who never came for her to a little girl. But in that moment, she failed to rise to it precisely because no one had come for her. She didn’t know how to be a hero because no one was that hero for her.

But here, in her own way, she was a hero for Mary. She took the blame for a murder without expecting or asking for anything in return, and for Alice, that’s a huge moment. She did something to protect Mary solely because she cares about her.

Watching Alice’s own mind turn against her telling her she doesn’t deserve her happy ending. In a way, that subconscious seed is right. The buzzer would have been the easy way and like Kiki said, she has to put in the work. It’s not a repentance, but having to understand the road ahead of her isn’t going to be easy, but she’ll just have to take it one step at a time. I believe she’s already taken a few with Mary but to truly keep on that path, she needs something better than Arkham. Marquis might have pumped money into it for all the wrong reasons, but he made some valid points.

Speaking of Marquis, building him as a foil to Ryan has been one greatest gifts this season could have done for her character. Giving her a villain that is completely personal to her and her story. The villain Marquis has become could only have happened with Ryan Wilder as Batwoman. Ryan’s story with the Jets culminated in this episode when Jada came back for Ryan.

‘What if she doesn’t want me as her daughter?’ — the question a tearful Ryan once asked Sophie. Now she knows the answer: Jada wants her. Enough that she was willing to run right into danger for her. Enough that she was willing to disavow the son she did raise for her.

Now we come to the section of this recap where I once again shout about Wildmoore and how good their development has been. Just having the opportunity to watch two black women have an open and vulnerable conversation about their queerness on our screens is nothing short of amazing. Getting to watch how they’ve both grown, individually and together and how they’ve helped each other grow.

The Sophie Moore we met in season one was deep in the closet, and here she is three seasons later, completely opening her heart up to the woman she likes. (And talking about meeting her mother. Like this is it for them. They’re endgame.) And Ryan, who never holds onto anything too tightly because she’s scared it will get ripped away from her, is learning to set that aside and grab on to the person who makes her happy. Pure poetry.

There’s only one episode left this season and I already don’t want to say goodbye. Hopefully, it’s a goodbye for now (Renew Batwoman!). This season has easily been the strongest season of Batwoman yet and there are so many more stories to tell with these characters. I hope we get to see more from this amazing show.

Bat-astic Moments

  • When Batwoman’s cape does the thing™. Chef’s kiss.
  • Sophie Moore, in that too short robe. The height difference! Please, never stop having fun with their height difference.
  • “It’s a lesbian bar, know your exits.”
  • Alice is no one’s Harley.
  • Love that Luke’s the one who had front row seats to all the Wildmoore happenings this season, yet Mary was the one who put it together in five seconds flat.
  • The Joker smile on the Batwoman logo? Rude and uncalled for.

Images courtesy of the CW

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