Hi, friends! To those of you who joined me here last week, thank you so much for your kind words; they mean the world to me! And if you’re new, buckle up because I spent the majority of this week’s episode yelling at my screen in pure joy. One of the most challenging and rewarding things about recapping Batwoman is how central every single female character is to the story. There’s no downtime where I can say, “eh, I can zone out because men on screen” AND I LOVE THAT. They really upped the ante this week by giving us so many different and dynamic pairings that showcased just how incredible these actors are. And if you’re not following the cast on Twitter, please go do it right now. They’re having so much fun together and their love for Javicia is palpable. At least it’s not just me…
Anyway, on to the episode! We didn’t get a previously on, but that’s okay because all you need to know is that we met Ryan Wilder and fell INSTANTLY in love with her.
Alice: Unhinged is back with a vengeance, this time with a plan to get Safiyah’s attention. She lures infected bats to Mouse’s dead body (yes, she’s still just hanging out with her dead former best friend, I guess) by duct taping a rat to him. I know they say duct tape can be used for almost anything, but I’m not entirely certain this is what the creators had in mind. I’m going to try not to just yell “RACHEL SKARSTEN!!!!” every week, but her rendition of “twinkle, twinkle, little bat” was so deliciously creepy that I can’t help it. Rachel, we do not deserve you.
*FLASHBACK TIME* Scene: it’s two months ago, it’s Halloween, and an adorable Ryan Wilder is heading home while donning the cutest pair of cat ears you ever did see. She’s attacked by a gang looking for money and Ryan is all “LOL. Not me. Wrong bitch.” Out of nowhere, Batwoman swoops in to save her and Ryan can’t help but be a bit starstruck.
Back in the present, Ryan is interviewing for a security job (sorry, I blacked out for a second imagining her in a security uniform) with a man who is all too quick to dismiss her because of her ex-con status. He doesn’t understand that the fact that she spent time inside means that she learned how to read people, an invaluable skill when working security. Or, you know, becoming a superhero. Or figuring out in five minutes what it took other characters a full ass year to. But apologies, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Commander Kane and Sophie decide to play bad cop/hot cop and call in Luke and Mary to question them on whether or not they knew Kate was Batwoman. They both deny it, with Mary giving her dad major “Batwoman? Never heard of her!” vibes and Luke playing the “If only Kate had someone she loved and trusted to share her secrets with” card with Sophie. Big ouch.
And speaking of Sophie, she’s still giving Julia the cold shoulder for not telling her Kate’s secret. Look, Sophie, I know you’re upset and probably a smidge jealous that Kate didn’t tell you, but cut Julia some slack. We don’t out people! Not even when the outing is of their secret life as a superhero!
After her interview, Ryan heads to a convenience store to get some pain meds for that Kryptonite wound that we definitely did not forget she sustained. She can barely get out a request for generic ibuprofen before the store is robbed at gunpoint. Ryan attempts to thwart the thieves, but by the time officers arrive, all they see is Ryan standing over the clerk’s body. I’m never going to get used to watching a Black woman put their hands up with no hesitation when faced with police confrontation. I watched this episode three times and despite knowing she was going to be okay, my heart still skipped a beat when Ryan was caught in what appeared to be a guilty position. Thanks, America.
And now, the first pairing that for some reason my brain had not let me imagine when I first found out about Javicia’s casting. Ryan is cuffed (and in case you forgot she’s queer, she’s wearing many rings) and waiting to be interrogated when none other than Sophie Moore walks in. Oh wait, I’m sorry, “SOPH” walks in and BOY HOWDY do these two women have history! Both women are different than the last time they saw each other; Soph, physically, but Ryan’s insistence that she was actually helping the situation has Sophie thrown. Apparently they crossed paths the many times that Ryan was brought in for covering for her ex-lady friend (tell me more, show). Again, Ryan says that she’s innocent, but it’s not until an officer comes in to confirm Ryan’s story that Sophie backs off.
I’m struggling to find the words for how I felt watching Meagan and Javicia slay this scene. Their chemistry was off the charts, but it’s not only my shipper heart that was going wild. Meagan posted a photo of the ladies goofing off while filming this and it hit me that I actually get to watch these talented Black women show off their craft as main characters on a popular SUPERHERO show. I need to all caps that because for so long, that genre has been gatekept by cishet yt people, so this just feels… important. And that aside, within the story itself, Ryan so casually and comfortably says that she believes the reason she’s been brought in more times for crimes she didn’t commit than Alice, an actual murderer, has is because Alice is white. Now, does Sophie slip up and admit that Kane has sympathy for Alice? Yes. But did they shine a massive spotlight on biases inherent in police forces? Also yes.
On her way from the Crows’ to Mary’s lab, Ryan puts 2+2 together and figured out that Alice is Beth. Mary’s as shocked and impressed as we are, and tells Ryan that Alice killed her mom too. I honestly almost forgot that happened, because Mary spends so much time worried about everyone else that she hasn’t had time to process her own feelings for revenge on Alice. Before the two can get too deep into their Alice trauma, someone wheels in a very dead and very ravaged Mouse.
Oh hey look! It’s time for another new pairing filled with confusing sexual tension! Julia gets in her car and despite being a literal agent, she doesn’t check the backseat first. If she had, she would have seen Alice waiting, ready to propose a supervillian superspy team up against Safiyah. This scene had everything: tension, various “penny” puns (@ me with your fave), A+ line delivery by Rachel Skarsten, and my personal favorite — Julia reading Alice for filth and calling out her desperation now that Kate, the only person with sympathy for her, is gone. Her read doesn’t come without consequence though, because dear Alice stabs Julia in the ribs with her butterfly knife.
Back at the lab, Mary informs Luke and Ryan that Mouse was actually poisoned by the same toxin that killed her mom. They realize how disturbing it is that Alice and Mouse had a falling out because it must mean that she’s worse off than they thought; that she’s lost her tether to morality and reality. Mouse starts to convulse and a bat bursts through his chest startling the crew and evoking the most hilarious scream from Ryan who HATES BATS!
The team learns that Alice is planning something big, probably around a highly-populated public event. Ryan points out the Batwoman rally as a potential target, so Mary suggests putting Julia in the suit to show the crowd that Batwoman is okay. Julia’s still recovering from a butterfly knife to the ribs though, so Ryan eagerly volunteers. She doesn’t even consider the fact that she looks nothing like Kate; she’s still high off the last time she was in the suit and just wants to help. In what will go down as one of the best lines in Arrowverse history, Luke incredulously reminds the women “Hello?!?! BLACK!” but it’s so clear that Mary and Ryan have each other’s backs on this one and Luke is going to lose this fight. I was so distracted by Camrus’s line delivery, that I almost missed Ryan and Mary turning to look at Luke at the exact same time once they decided Ryan was going to suit up. I love this Bat Team so much it hurts, y’all.
Above the rally, Ryan lands clumsily on the roof of a building while Luke continues to throw shade her way. Mary’s fully Team Ryan though, and walks her through the best way to pose so that the wind catches her cape just right. It’s so cute and fun and MARY IS THE BEST! Someone in the crowd does spot Batwoman, but Big Daddy Kane (thanks to my friend, Nic, for this one) grabs some extra strength binoculars and realizes it’s not Kate. I love Javicia’s portrayal of Ryan for so many reasons, but the earnestness (and frankly, Blackness) with which Ryan pleads with the crowd to leave is so endearing and at the top of my list. The crowd can’t help but cheer her on instead of heeding her warning.
Up on the rooftop, Ryan pauses, and out jumps good old Alice to get a closer look at the new girl. In Ryan’s ear, she hears Luke tell her that Batwoman doesn’t kill, but her heart is telling her that she needs to get revenge for her mom. Luke is furious, but Mary has had enough of pretending that she’s just okay with Alice skipping free around Gotham after killing her own mother. Back on the roof, Ryan and Alice fight until Alice sets off some kind of beacon that draws a swarm (??) of bats toward the crowd and chaos ensues. Instead of chasing down Alice, Ryan decides to put her own feelings aside and help the people below.
At the clinic, Mary’s checking on the victims being brought in, all with the same symptoms exhibited by the infected bats. What Mary doesn’t expect is to see Alice, feet up in her office, offering a cure for the bat infections. Remember how I said this episode really brought the pairings? Yeah, this one takes the entire cake. Mary questions whether or not Alice truly believes Kate is dead because if there’s anyone who should understand that no body means there’s still hope, it’s Alice. Oh, but Alice’s relationship with Hope is a complicated one.
The thing about Hope is that too much of it can lead to blind optimism, while not enough can leave you jaded and cynical. But when Hope is completely absent? That’s a dangerous place to be. The first time Hope let Alice down, she was a little girl being held prisoner who just wanted her family to find her. That little girl grew up watching the family she loved move on without her. When she came to Gotham as Alice, Hope snuck in again with the idea that maybe, just maybe, Kate would have her back. Hope lied to Alice again. So now here she is, devoid of the one thing keeping her somewhat grounded. For Alice, Hope has been an all or nothing deal and without it, Alice is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
For the second time this episode, Alice gets called out for missing her sister. As soon as Mary identifies Alice’s cry for help, Alice’s face starts to fall and her eyes glaze over. It’s too real, it’s too hurtful, so Alice deflects and (literally) turns the discussion to meeting Ryan. As soon as Alice walks out, Mary crumbles; she lets herself feel every ounce of pain she’s been holding in since her mother died in her arms.
Back at the rally, Ryan hops in the Batmobile (!!) with the transmitter and speeds away from the crowd, drawing the bats as far away as she can. Thinking quickly, Ryan pulls over a Crows Security bus, asks the driver to get out and directs the bats into the back of the bus before throwing a bomb under it. Clever girl! Before the bomb goes off, she manages to save an unhoused woman who, despite Ryan’s claims otherwise, tells her that she’s Batwoman to her. Have I mentioned how much I love Ryan? I have? Okay cool, just checking.
In speed that I wish could be applied to the COVID vaccine, Hamilton Dynamics was able to use the blood from Alice to get cures to everyone infected by the bats. Sophie and Mary (WHO JUST LOOKS LIKE THAT, I GUESS) barely celebrate because they know Alice must be planning something much bigger.
I hope you didn’t think Sophie was done giving Julia shit because she’s back at it again, but this time it’s about the new Batwoman. Sophie comes in hot and even though Julia is wincing in pain from her stab wound, Soph doesn’t bat (lol) an eye. Julia is desperate for time with Sophie though, so she informs her that she was able to find where Alice has been hiding. Before Sophie leaves, Julia wants to know if the two of them are over because Sophie doesn’t trust her or because she’s not Kate. And Sophie drops one little word that broke the hearts of queer women everywhere, “Both.”
Ryan’s in the Batcave returning the suit, when Luke and Mary join her. This is the 2nd best thing to happen to Ryan and she begs for a chance to bring hope back to Gotham. She can bring something Kate couldn’t: firsthand experience with criminals. As long as Ryan promises not to kill, Luke relents. Mary can barely contain her excitement and starts to show Ryan around.
Within the Batcave, Ryan sees more than just a fancy suit and even fancier weapons. She sees a new beginning for herself; one she’s been searching for and one that she finally feels worthy of. After reading Kate’s journals to Bruce, she picks up her pen and starts a new chapter in the Batwoman saga with a simple “Dear Kate,”.
Meanwhile, Sophie finds Alice exactly where Julia said she’d be, but before she can take her in, Sophie finds herself with a sword at her neck courtesy of Tatiana, one of Safiyah’s associates. Tatiana is in Gotham to warn Alice but joke’s on her because Tatiana’s presence means Alice’s plan is working. Tatiana knocks out both women and we fade to black.
Next week we get the introduction of Victor Zsasz and while I KNOW the DCTV universe is different from the cinematic universe, my gay little heart just wants an appearance by Huntress? Is that too much to ask?
I hope we learn more about how Kryptonite affects Ryan soon, because I have stress!! What did you all think of episode 2? Sound off in the comments or on Twitter and I’ll see you next week!