Batwoman had some big changes in 2021, one of which being the main ship at its core. Wildmoore, the relationship between Ryan Wilder and Sophie Moore, burst onto the scene, and my heart, in season two and over the course of the past season and a half, has been weaving one of the most compelling slow burn, enemies to lovers stories on television right now.
Looking back on their development over this past year, let’s reminisce on some of their best moments.
5. Will you sit with me? Please.
Ryan and Sophie did not have the most tender of beginnings. Their first scene together is on opposite sides of an interrogation room and we learn very quickly it’s far from their first time being in that situation. That dynamic colors all of their interactions in the early episodes of season two.
Their history shaped their perception of each other. For Ryan, Sophie was this walking embodiment of the flawed system that’s failed her, her entire life. To Sophie, Ryan as Ryan was someone who fell in with the wrong crowd and paid the consequences. She didn’t consider there might be more to her as a person until Ryan became more of a fixture in her own life because of Mary and the Hold Up. Ryan as Batwoman was a tense and reluctant ally who was forcing her to look at the corruption in the Crows (and a constant reminder that Kate was gone).
And then they both end up on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Both looking for something. Both having failed in their search. Ryan’s dying from kryptonite poisoning and with only a few hours left, she asks Sophie to stay with her because she doesn’t want to be alone in her final moments.
In this moment their facades drop. For the first time, they just have an honest conversation with each other.
‘I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot. You didn’t deserve that.’
‘Is it because I wasn’t Kate?’
Sophie holds Ryan’s hand and gives her that small reassurance that she’s there in what Ryan thinks are her last moments (remember this, because it comes up later).
This was the moment that Wildmoore as a romantic pairing clicked for me. While there were moments that count as flirtations before this, those were mostly layered in snark and sass. This was the moment I first saw the potential for the depth of emotions and chemistry that could and would be there. And speaking of the depth of emotions and chemistry…
4. ‘I had a dream about Ryan.’
Let’s jump to season three. By this point, Sophie’s been fully integrated into the Bat Team. She’s been staunchly supporting Ryan as she deals with sudden drama from a birth family she didn’t know she had. And Sophie, she’s caught a bit of the feels. More than a bit if her dream is anything to go by. Because, like it had been ripped out of the best of fan fiction tropes, Sophie Moore had a dream about Ryan Wilder. The best part of this isn’t that she tells this to her sister, Jordan (aka, the OG Wildmoore shipper) who immediately calls out her feelings. Nor is the fact this conversation happens in the first place because Sophie lost her train of thought because she was too busy gazing at Ryan across the room.
No, the best part of this is the actual content of the dream was Ryan taking care of her. A scene of pure domestic bliss to hint at Sophie’s subconscious longing for something more.
3. ‘Great first date, huh?’
Another choice fanfic trope Batwoman pulled was fake dating. When invited to her mother’s home for dinner, Ryan brings Sophie along to help do some recon into the woman’s shady business. Despite not discussing it beforehand, Sophie introduces herself as Ryan’s girlfriend. They manage to make up a compelling story for how they met on the fly, helped when Ryan draws on the very real moment of Sophie holding her while she was dying (I told you came up again). When the rest of the evening is interrupted by a killer in a pig’s mask out for revenge against Jada and her family, Ryan and Sophie rely on each other, fight together, save each other, momentarily get lost in each other’s eyes (I could make a whole top 5 list just from moments from this episode alone).
And then, at the end of the night, when the danger has passed (and Ryan’s just wrapped a blanket around Sophie to keep her warm and safe) Sophie says, ‘Great first date, huh?’ She says it half-jokingly, just enough to play it off as a joke if that’s how Ryan chooses to take it. Just enough to keep her feelings under the surface if they’re not returned. But Ryan’s response definitely showed her own interest.
On top of the surface level flirting happening here, there is just so much subtle development going on. From Ryan and Sophie inventing their meet-cute on the fly because they do work well together, to calling back on their very real emotions to add weight to their story. To the fact Sophie decides to introduce herself as Ryan’s girlfriend, leading to all of it.
Dinner with Jada was meant to be an information-gathering mission. Being the fake girlfriend served no purpose, tactically. But there was an emotional one. Jada’s purpose behind the dinner was to intimidate Ryan into keeping her distance. Introducing herself as the girlfriend showed Jada that Ryan has someone in her corner, unconditionally. It was to show Jada that was nothing of real value that Ryan missed out because Jada wasn’t in her life.
And even she isn’t Ryan’s girlfriend (yet) that’s what Sophie has been. Someone who’s there to support Ryan, one hundred percent.
2. ‘I didn’t want to force you to trust me. I wanted to earn it.’
That support wasn’t something that was innately there. Like I said, their beginning was anything but tender. The trust between them was something that was slow to come and one they had to build on the rockiest of foundations. Especially for Ryan who couldn’t separate her feelings about the Crows from her feelings about Sophie. This culminated in a dramatic moment where Ryan (and Mary) is on a bomb, but she still refuses to trust Sophie and Sophie has to reveal she’s already figured out Ryan’s secret identity.
So much of the second season was about Ryan and Sophie learning to see beyond their surface impressions of the other. Learning to trust one another. And this episode did some heavy lifting in that department (another episode that I could make a whole list on by itself). By the end, they’ve both learnt more about each other. They haven’t quite forged their trust in one another yet, but this was their first big step. They’d started to earn it.
It’s impossible to only talk about five moments for this ship. As it is there are so many that I’m not going to mention here. But for the honorable mentions, there are the moments that couldn’t properly be condensed into one moment and then there is, a very special mention.
‘What do you want?/What do you need?/How can I help?’
Sophie has asked Ryan this question in one way or another so many times over the course of season three. When Ryan trusts her with the knowledge that her birth mother is alive (before anyone else), at every turn Sophie has let Ryan make the decision on how she wants to move forward. The one exception to this being when she told Ryan Jada was her mother, moments before Ryan was about to have a meeting with the woman so she wouldn’t be blindsided. She never pressed her one way or another only offered advice and the reassurance that whatever the outcome may be, Ryan doesn’t need her mother’s approval. This is Sophie being Ryan’s number one supporter.
Their Angst Phase.
A good angst phase can make a ship’s journey all the sweeter. Wildmoore’s angst has been about their hard-earned trust cracking because of a few crucial mistakes on their part. Ryan, after all that support from Sophie, chooses to keep a secret regarding her birth family from her. This, understandably, hurt Sophie deeply and she worked through those feelings in the arms and bed of another woman. A woman who happens to be Ryan’s current frenemy. Which ricocheted to hurting Ryan. It’s all a mess of a feeling and it’s delightful because it only reinforces the fact that these two are going to get together sooner or later (hopefully sooner). And we know this because…
They’re already married and adopting!
Okay, they’re not married or adopting. Except technically, they are. But also that didn’t happen. But also it’s going to happen. Time travel shenanigans. Barry Allen, aka, the Flash, time-traveled to 10 years in the future, where Ryan and Sophie are already married (and Iris West was Ryan’s maid of honor, bless) and they’ve decided to adopt.
Now, in this future several things are wrong, not least of which being that Barry’s arch-enemy has taken his place as the hero. But, hear me out, Thawne changed the things directly involved with Barry and considering a lot of the same people are still around as we know them in this timeline, it means those events that aren’t directly influenced by Barry or Thawne still happened as they were meant to. Just because it happened in the wrong timeline, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen in the right one.
1. ‘Interesting? Woman, you are hard to please.’
Because even knowing that this is a slow burn that is very intentionally being built to, it’s still nice to have that certainty that they’re going to get there. That they are, in fact, endgame. And that’s why this moment is the top of the year for me. Because out of all the amazing moments this ship has had this past year, this is the first one that unambiguously said, ‘yeah, these two, Wildmoore? They are definitely flirting. There is more here.’
Shall I set the scene?
Gotham city, night. Interior Batmobile. Ryan Wilder, only minutes before was about to succumb to hypothermia. But she didn’t, because she had one Sophie Moore in her ear, keeping her talking. Ryan acknowledges Sophie’s clever tactics to keep her conscious and Luke, also in the Batmobile asks, out loud, if Ryan is really flirting while they’re in the middle of a car chase. Despite her protestations, Ryan is indeed flirting. Sophie hears all of this, to her own delight.
Then the bad guys blow up the bridge in front of them. Instead of listening to Sophie about the giant gap in the bridge, Ryan guns the Batmobile right towards. At the last moment, Luke uses some freeze serum to make an ice bridge for her. It’s very badass, and Ryan can’t help but want Sophie to admit it. Sophie doesn’t give her a better rating than ‘interesting’ which makes Ryan respond with the aforementioned ‘woman, you are hard to please.’ If you’re keeping score, this is Ryan flirting. Again.
There are no words I can put down that will do it justice. Before this moment it was pretty certain that Batwoman was developing Wildmoore romantically, but this was the moment that really kicked things into gear. Three episodes into the season. I went into this season, expecting a slow burn akin to a Sunday evening drive. Something slow and steady with a clear destination. And this was the moment that made me realize that, oh no this was a rollercoaster and we were just hit the top of the first hill.
This list is only a drop in the bucket of all the things that make Wildmoore amazing. If you have a favourite moment that isn’t on this list, trust me, it is also one of my favourite moments and I’m sad I couldn’t put it on here either. I could have made a top 20 list and still have to leave out great moments. And there’s only the promise of more once Batwoman returns in January.
Images courtesy of the CW
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