The season finale kicks off with Marquis reliving his memories of his encounter with the Joker, and searching a carnival funhouse for a hidden door.
Elsewhere in Gotham, Mary is capital ‘S’ Strutting into Arkham. On the way, she notices a jerry-rigged electrical setup leading to Alice’s room, where Alice is trying to DIY the buzzer. Alice is nothing short of distraught and broken. Mary tells her about an institution in Switzerland that specializes in childhood trauma, but Alice can’t stand the thought of another institution, another cell.
The rest of the Bat team are in the loft, planning how they’re going to close enough to Marquis to use the buzzer. Mary joins them, making a plea for the buzzer on Alice’s behalf. After seeing how desperate she’s become, Mary doubts she’ll survive much longer if they don’t help her. The team points out they’ve tried to help Alice already and she betrayed them. Not to mention the mile-long list of all the other ways she’s hurt them over the past few years.
But Mary more than anyone understands all of this, and she still wants to help Alice because she can see how desperately Alice wants to change. Mary just wants to give her the best chance to do that. It wasn’t that long ago when her friends promised that her voice would be heard, so this is what she wants them to hear. Alice needs their help.
Before anything else can be said, everyone’s cellphones start going off with an alert from Marquis Jet. He makes a city-wide announcement that in five hours he’s going to reveal Batwoman’s identity. Even with hours before the deadline time, people are flooding into the streets in anticipation, including Gotham’s hardest working reporter, Dana Dewitt.
Jada Jet marches her way into the loft (without knocking, much to Sophie’s chagrin). She wants to know how Marquis was able to get access to every device in the city. Luke explains there’s a system in the Bat Cave created by Lucius to do just that in case the Bat Team ever needed to get a city-wide message out.
Jada reminds us she and Lucius Fox were tight back in the day, and she knows he’d be rolling over in his grave if she doesn’t help Luke. So, she messages her people to get Luke better equipment to track Marquis with. She asks where Ryan is and the team lies very, very poorly about it.
The reason for the subterfuge is because Ryan went to Arkham with the buzzer. She asks why Alice needs the buzzer, and Alice being Alice goes for the jugular. She’s the ‘safe’ bet for Ryan to make. She wants to use the buzzer on Marquis to get the family she’s always dreamed about, but there’s the chance that even after being buzzed Marquis won’t want or need her. But Ryan doesn’t need Alice to like her, which makes giving her the buzzer the path with the least emotional risk.
Back at the Hold Up, they’ve closed the bar as Jada and her people turn it into a high-tech command center, aka Luke’s candy store. He’s so happy, he nopes out hard from being the one to tell Jada they don’t have the joy buzzer.
Back at Arkham, Ryan’s ready to leave, but Alice hits her with one more info bomb before she can. After seeing Marquis’ infatuation with the Joker, Alice poked around some of the Arkham lifers who’ve been in there since Joker’s days to see if they knew what the king clown was up to on the faithful day that changed Marquis’ and Alice’s lives. Marquis’ big plan to pull off what the Joker never could: he’s going to make acid rain down on all of Gotham.
At the same time, Luke gets a hit on Marquis’ location, but there’s something about it that doesn’t make any sense. He’s pinging off too many cell towers to be ground-based. His position is moving, but too slowly for him to be in a plane. Luke figures out Marquis has the Bat Blimp (Side note, there’s a Bat Blimp?!).
Ryan returns to the Bat Bar, filling in the team on what’s she’s learned. Luke thinks he could hack into the Bat Blimp, but he won’t be able to take full control. Ryan just needs him to get close to the GCPD roof. Sophie asks what her girl is planning and when Ryan won’t say, she knows this is going be the kind of plan that takes years from her life.
Ryan needs Mary and Sophie to get people inside without causing a panic. Sophie’s not sure they’re gonna do that, on account of her abysmal social followers. Mary proposes they use one of the Bat Trophies to get people to listen. It’s a good plan, except for the fact security is sure to be air-tight after Marquis caught Sophie and Batwing in his office. This time Ryan turns to Jada for help.
Jada’s upset Ryan gave away the buzzer after promising to put their family back together. But this has gotten much bigger than one buzzer and one family. Ryan’s trying to protect the city and to do that, she needs Wayne back. Jada used her power to take it away from her once, now she needs her to do the same with Marquis. But Marquis would have been smart enough to be careful about his financials and he doesn’t have a vigilante budget hidden in his books.
Jada does know of something Marquis is hiding, but Ryan warns her that particular information could come back to haunt Jada too. Jada’s willing to take that risk. If her daughter can put everything on the line to protect the city, she can too.
On the Bat Blimp, Marquis gets a call from the Wayne CFO informing him he’s fired. He turns on the news and sees his name is headline news. Jada leaked information about his father’s death and in the fallout around Marquis, Ryan is reappointed as CEO of Wayne.
Sophie and Mary are working that catwalk in the Bat Cave in their triumphant return. Sophie goes to the trophies while Luke and Mary banter over comms as Luke walks Mary through using the Bat computer. Sophie pulls out the Penguin’s Umbrella, planning to use its hypnotic pattern to make Gotham listen.
Luke hacks into the Bat Blimp (because a Bat Blimp exists), sending it to Ryan’s location. But before it gets low enough for her to safely grapple on, Marquis notices. He shoots his pilot and the controls, locking Luke out. Ryan grapples up anyway, getting onto the blimp. She finds the bomb and really hopes Sophie learned how to defuse a bomb at Point Rock. Naturally, her girl doesn’t disappoint.
Unfortunately, the Joker made the wiring overly complicated, making it impossible to disarm safely. The good news is Mary used the Bat Cave comm systems with the Penguin’s Umbrella to have everyone evacuate inside. Even with the citizens safely inside, Ryan doesn’t want to leave an acid bomb hovering over the city.
She heads to the cockpit to divert the blimp over the ocean but finds the controls completely busted, and her girlfriend is out of military school training that could apply for this situation. Sophie’s worried every moment Ryan is on that blimp is another moment Marquis could blow the bomb early if he notices he no longer has an audience. Ryan Wilder and her damn heart that’s too noble can’t just walk from this.
But Sophie’s not losing Ryan. Not when they’ve only just become an ‘us’. Ryan doesn’t get to make the outrageous risks that puts everything and everyone before herself. Not with Sophie. And she says it again, ‘I’m not losing you.’ Ryan, who’s so used to being the one losing, so used to being the receiving end of that loss, never considered she could be that person someone was terrified of losing.
Marquis doesn’t even give our girls one moment to process, showing up behind Ryan. The siblings fight, Marquis grabbing a parachute while Ryan tries to talk him into disarming the bomb. Marquis taunts Ryan with ‘Jada doesn’t love you’. Ryan gets the upper hand in the fright, begging for her brother back. Marquis apologizes and he seems sincere enough to get Ryan to back off. But Marquis Jet ain’t done playing yet, his apology is all part of his ruse. He kicks Ryan out of the blimp as soon as he’s on his feet again.
Thinking quickly, Ryan uses her grapple to pull Marquis out of the blimp with her, pulling on the parachute he’s wearing. Sophie and Mary hear them hit a roof on comms. Sophie begs Ryan over comms to respond, barely containing the panic in her voice. After an impossibly long moment of silence, Ryan finally responds that she’s not dying before Sophie buys her dinner. And the way Sophie’s relief hits her whole body.
Of course, Ryan doesn’t give herself the chance to catch her breath before asking about the bomb. Batwing is on the case. He doesn’t have the time to rewire the controls, but he thinks of his AI. If he hooks it up to blimp, it can pilot the blimp. But it means leaving it behind, leaving his father behind.
Marquis isn’t ready to surrender just yet, attacking Ryan from behind and knocking them both off the roof. Ryan just catches a ledge with one hand and Marquis with the other. Marquis laughs knowing she either has to let him die or they both drop to their deaths.
But there was one more person on the Bat team’s side: Alice. We flashback to Arkham with Ryan and Alice. Alice continues her plea for the buzzer. Ryan points out the thing that Alice knows deep down, but isn’t willing to admit: she is capable of changing herself, but it will be hard and she wants the easy way out. Alice protests that she can’t do it on her own, but Ryan shoots back that if anyone can survive hard, it’s Alice. She leaves the buzzer, but they both know Alice isn’t the one who needs it the most.
Back in the present, Alice pulls Ryan and Marquis up, giving the buzzer back to Ryan. When Marquis tries to attack her, she uses it on him. Ryan Wilder gives Alice a genuine thank you (now that’s a huge moment).
Luke’s hooked his AI up to the blimp, but with less than a minute left, they don’t have the time to get it out of the city. Sophie gives co-ordinates to the most desolate part of the city. Luke says one last goodbye to his father. Lucius tells his son he’s proud and Luke gets out just before the Bat Blimp blows up. He lands in an alley, coming across a kid who got separated from his mother. He promises to help the kid find her and introduces himself as Batwing.
At the clinic, Ryan and Jada are with Marquis, waiting for him to wake up. Jada promises to make a better future for her and Ryan. Marquis wakes, and he’s happy to see his mom and little sister. Genuinely happy. Ryan gets her unanimous victory. She saved the city and got her family.
Mary sees Alice’s butterfly knife on her table, a note with it. The note says she’s off to find herself, wishing Mary goodbye. Mary wishes Beth the best. We see Beth, with her bags packed and her hair brunette, taking the first steps down the hard road ahead of her.
Later, Ryan and Sophie are at Wayne Tower in Ryan’s office. Sophie asks what’s next and Ryan’s already focusing on putting her office back to how it should be. Sophie pulls her girl in and corrects her. She wants to know ‘what’s next for us?’ Ryan reminds her, she owes her dinner. And they share the softest kiss.
At least until Mary and Luke interrupt. Luke foresees this happening again, and Ryan and Sophie don’t even pretend they have plans to turn down the PDA. Mary for one isn’t going to let that stop her from popping the bottle of bubbly. With all the Bat Fam there, Ryan takes the moment to start putting things right in the office and the first thing is returning Martha Wayne’s pearls to their rightful place.
Ryan’s ready to get to work, and Sophie wonders if they don’t get one night off. But Gotham is always going to be Gotham, so Batwoman will always be ready to protect her city.
In the wreckage of the Bat Blimp, Dana Dewitt continues to put in the work, not letting a little thing like needing a hazmat suit stop her from getting the word out to the people of Gotham. She sees something behind her cameraperson and we see a bone hand attack them and a figure with a skeletal hand and foot stagger away from their bodies.
With every season, Batwoman has upped its game. Season three was Ryan’s season. In season two, she was still growing into the Batwoman mantle and getting settled in her place as a hero. By the end of season two, she’s fully embraced herself in the role and this season just ran full sprint from there. For all the times Ryan questions herself this season she doesn’t question her place as Batwoman. She never doubts if she should be the one in the cowl. When she stumbles, she vows to be better because she is Batwoman. She’s the city’s hero and she’s not going to waver from that responsibility.
Instead, this season brought out her vulnerability in other ways — by bringing her biological family into the fold, through her missteps with Mary, and of course, through her relationship with Sophie. Ryan’s choices this season became the linchpin in how the major arcs unfolded, cementing the story of Batwoman as Ryan’s story.
The Jets allowed the narrative to explore the scars left by Ryan’s past and especially her desire for a maternal figure in her life. I think it’s so important that the season ended with Ryan knowing her family, biological and found, is behind her unconditionally. (Even if I don’t fully trust Marquis’ magical cure-all just yet. But until season four happens, it’s nice to assume the best of intentions there.)
This season might have been Ryan’s season but the supporting characters weren’t left by the wayside. It was Luke’s turn to struggle for self-absolution on his hero’s journey. I especially enjoyed how his arc linked back to the events from season two and his lingering anxieties from that and losing his father. And for his arc to culminate in him sacrificing his father’s AI, giving up the last piece of his father he has left, nothing could reinforce Luke’s place as a hero more.
Mary became a whole supervillain as part of her arc this season. Poison Mary pulled off a narrative trifecta by developing Mary and Alice’s relationship, giving Mary her arc about claiming her voice in the Bat Team and seeding the classic Batman baddie, Poison Ivy, Pamela Isley herself. And speaking of Alice, I know I’ve sung Rachel Skarstens’ praises plenty this season, but I can’t begin to say enough about the writers organically wove Alice into the fabric of this season.
As for Sophie, this season brought her story to a culmination that’s been building since season one. It is nigh impossible to imagine the Sophie Moore we met in the pilot sitting down to have a ‘defining the relationship’ conversation with a woman. But here we are, after three seasons of watching her fall in and out of love, fall in and out of lust, and a whole lot of change and growth, witnessing the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
I’ve talked ad nauseam about how important this show, these characters, and this story is. And I will continue to talk about them in the future, season four or not. For now, this is the close to a fantastic season of television.
- Sophie’s going to be salty about Jada’s refusal to knock for the rest of their lives.
- Was Lucius the employee Bruce ‘poached’ from Jada back in the day? Is Lucius Ryan’s father? The world may never know.
- Again: there’s a Bat Blimp?!? Why? What situation could Bruce have possible foreseen where he would really, really need a blimp? Were their more blimps around his Batman-ing days he was hoping it could provide some stealth transport?
- Is it just a Bat Team thing to flirt over comms now? Remember at the start of the season, when it seemed like Hamilfox was making moves faster than Wildmoore? They have some catching up to do.
- Shout out to those people who brought pizza to the ‘learning Batwoman’s identity’ tailgate.
- ‘I’m not losing you.’
- God help Mary and Sophie having to deal with the superheroes and their dramatic ass pauses when they narrowly escape danger.
- R.I.P to Dana Dewitt.
Images courtesy of the CW
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