Another week, another fantastic episode of Batwoman! I’m always excited, but this week was extra special because joining Caroline Dries as writer of this episode was friend and fellow Earper, Daphne Miles and shocking no one, they BROUGHT IT aaaaand also made me cry. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
Previously on Batwoman, ACAB! Ryan and Angelique spent some time reconnecting and becoming girlfriends again, Alice and Ocean had several verbal sparring matches, and Ryan and Sophie butt heads about what counts as dismantling an oppressive organization.
Lillian Luthor?? Is that you?? No no, despite the numerous references to Kryptonite in this episode (and references to National City I’m about to make in this recap), this isn’t a Luthor doing experiments on two cancer patients. At the request of a bolo tie-wearing man named Dr. Rogers, this woman is attempting to replicate the miracle cure by taking the blood from a 10 year old boy who received the bat bite cure and injecting it into an 80 year old man who has a similar cancer to the boy’s. When the boy received the bat cure you see, his cancer also disappeared. Unfortunately, the older man immediately began coughing up blood because as Not!Lillian keeps telling Dr. Rogers, replication can’t be done. The doc goes to see a patient named Aaron who desperately needs a cure for his brain cancer, and the doc promises it to him, so long as he helps to get it.
Meanwhile, our girl Batwoman is getting the hang of this whole Taking Down Bad Guys thing complete with improved one-liners and badass martial arts skills but oh no. That pesky Kryptonite wound is slowing her down. Luke notices that her vitals are dropping, but Ryan shuts off comms before painfully attempting to catch her breath.
Instead of going to Luke or Mary or literally anyone who knows anything about Kryptonite, Ryan’s at the hospital waiting to see a doctor. Angelique is losing patience though, and flags down the closest Attending and educates him on implicit bias and the reasons Black women die at a higher rate than other patients. She’s not wrong, and the tactic worked, but both Ryan and I needed her to take it down from a 12 to about a 5. These two have gotten mighty comfortable haven’t they? What with the “girlfriend” and “my girl” and “babe’s”. In any other situation, I’d probably be gushing about it, but I still don’t trust Angelique’s motives so I’m choosing to side-eye the both of them. When the doctor arrives, he gives her antibiotics for what Ryan describes as a spider bite, and Angelique offers to cover additional bloodwork since Ryan’s insurance won’t cover it. Ang’s phone starts going off like mine does any time one of my favorite celebs does ANYTHING and everyone wants to tell me, and Ryan tries to convince her to get out of the drug game. Angelique deflects and says it’s not that simple.
I keep thinking that Alice can’t get sexier and then she sits criss-cross applesauce in a broken down subway car which shouldn’t work and yet??? She’s trying to get to the bottom of why Safiyah would think that Ocean tried to frame his sister, but Ocean insists he has nothing to do with Kate Kane or that note written in lipstick. The two go quip for quip and I’m obsessed with the way Alice seems to be surprised by him. It might have everything to do with the relationship they clearly shared but don’t remember, but it’s added yet another impressive layer to Rachel Skarsten’s performance. Ocean tells Alice that he’s the one who trained Safiyah’s army so he’s not afraid of them. He tried to leave the island with Desert Rose but got busted and ended up in Gotham; which is pretty much the same story that Alice remembers but with her ending up in Gotham. She thinks that they two of them got caught together, but Safiyah erased any memory they had that included the other person.
Mary and Jacob are in the car debriefing from a meeting with a lawyer, when Sophie calls to tell them the Napier is a fake, but a partial print left on it was from none other than Ocean. This guy is in higher demand than a Playstation 5, I swear. He’s somehow the answer to Coryana and the Desert Rose, but also the reason for Gotham’s latest drug spike, and potentially the one living person Alice cares about besides Kate? I suppose all of those things can be true, but whew! He a busy boi! Anyway, Sophie asks for the high-frequency generator receiver (talk science to me, boo) and before Mary can ask what that is, a truck slams into the side of their car, and Aaron carries her out of the wreck.
It’s not quite opening time at The Hold Up, but Sophie Moore hasn’t met an intense conversation she doesn’t like, so she strolls right in and passive aggressively congratulates Ryan for staying out of trouble. She says she’s building a case against Angelique, and needs Ryan to give her and her supplier (Ocean) up in exchange for the destruction of Ang’s file. All Ryan has to do is use the receiver on Angelique’s phone to get information on Ocean. In a bit of genius wordplay that I can’t believe I didn’t think of, Ryan calls her Crow-phie and refuses to betray her girlfriend. Sophie doesn’t back down though and reminds Ryan that she did prison time for Angelique.
They stare daggers into each other before Ryan relents as long as the file goes away. I so badly want these two to get along for the sake of having two Black women on the same side, but I also kind of love what the show is doing here. Sophie sees everything in black and white; right and wrong. Ryan hasn’t had that luxury. She knows that there are shades of gray in everything, especially when the cops and the Crows are involved. In Sophie’s eyes, it’s simple–drug-dealing bad, drug-dealers behind bars good. Ryan is from a world where because of systemic barriers put up by people like the Crows, there often isn’t a choice for people like her and Angelique to get out of their circumstances. As much as I don’t trust Angelique, I see why Ryan felt like this was the only way to protect the person she cares about.
Mary and Jacob are being held at Mary’s clinic but Mary definitely doesn’t know it’s an underground clinic because she has never heard of such a thing, nope. No way. Aaron needs the antidote and demands answers. Jacob starts to respond, but Aaron’s looking right at Mary. She reveals that she knows everything about the antidote and why its curative properties did more than initially thought. She also tried to make more but couldn’t. She tells Jacob that knows all of this because this has been her clinic for the last two years.
Back at Ryan’s apartment, she’s staring at her THROBBING wound and I assume not calling anyone in National City because of the cost of long-distance phone calls, when Angelique lets her own self in (???) while finishing a call with one of her clients. She noticed that Ryan still has the plant she gave her five years prior (HOW DO YOU KEEP A PLANT ALIVE FOR FIVE YEARS?!) and calls her “soft.” Ryan surprises Angelique with The Hold Up’s t-shirt uniform because she got her a job! It turns out, Angelique lied; she doesn’t actually want out of her situation because she considers those people to be her family. Ryan’s frustration shines through as she gets a little judgey about the type of people Ang is rolling with, and as she reminds Angelique that she’s pushing so hard because she did actual time in prison for her. Before they can continue their conversation, Ryan doubles over in pain and sends Angelique to get her meds. Once she can see clearly, Ryan uses the opportunity to use the device on her girl’s phone.
Downstairs at the bar, Ryan gives Sophie back the device as Sophie continues to outwardly judge Ryan for going back to Angelique and putting herself in the same situation as before. Ryan’s not stupid. I think she knows exactly what situation she’s in, but her love for Angelique has her believing she can protect her and fight for her. Ryan doesn’t think Sophie could understand that. Once Sophie leaves, Ryan gets a call from the hospital informing her they need to re-test her because the first test contained radioactive material. Right. BECAUSE IT’S KRYPTONITE, BRUH.
Back at the clinic, Aaron demands the antidote otherwise he’s going to kill Jacob Kane and like, while I know that would make Mary sad and I’m Team Stop Making Mary Cry, I’m going to need a better reason to not give you the antidote dude… Jacob is all in his fee fees about how he could have missed all of his daughters’ secret lives but the answer is within you, my guy. *whispers* It’s because you’re terrible. While Aaron looks for some pain meds, Mary notices his craniotomy scar and asks if that’s what he needs the cure for. With a perfectly creepy score in the background, he relays all of the treatments he’s been through, including secret Hamilton experiments that ultimately gave him brain cancer. Mary finally tells him about Coryana after he stabs Jacob one more time.
Down in the Batcave, Ryan is doing research on Kryptonite and okay. Yes, I’ve been yelling about them calling anyone from National City, but in a world where crossovers exist and Kate was literally flying back from seeing Kara when her plane blew up, I have to believe that Luke has Alex and Lena on speed dial. Speaking of Luke, he comes in and tells Ryan that they’re trying to find Ocean and to do that they needed Angelique. He also lets it slip that Alice is the one who helped. Ryan is PISSED that he had Alice and let her go. Javicia’s line delivery here gave me CHILLS: “And then you left and promptly called 911.” I hope you don’t expect me to stop yelling about how incredible she is as Ryan, because it’s not going to happen. Mary calls to ask for the map, but homegirl calls Luke “Lucas” and uses the phrase “like a bat out of hell”, so Luke and Ryan realize that she’s in trouble. Clever girl, Mary. As she runs to suit up though, Ryan collapses on the floor.
Alice calls Safiyah to help her fill some “potholes on memory lane” because she’s missing very specific memories and she wants them back. Safiyah claims what she did was turn Alice into someone who could kill Ocean with zero emotional attachments to him. As Alice is wont to do, she claims to have no emotional attachments but we and Safiyah know that’s a bunch of horse shit. It’s one of the things I love most about Alice. She can be absolutely calculating and cold-blooded, but beneath all of that is a girl who believes she was forgotten by the people who she loved the most.
Ryan finally shows Luke her pulsating wound and explains that Kryptonite is in fact fatal, it just happens really slowly. She tells him that she acted like she was fine because she was so focused on proving to him that she could do half as good a job as Kate did in the suit. Luke tries to stop her from helping Mary, but Ryan is tired of listening to what she can’t do. Right now she just needs him to have her back.
The music on this show is absolutely incredible, and this week we got an Alice and Ocean fighting montage set to a beautiful cover of “Call Me.” Their real-time fight is interspersed with island memories of them fighting and eventually making out after fighting. While they collectively gather their memories, Sophie comes in guns blazing and quoting Hamilton to boot. I don’t know how Meagan managed to keep a straight face acting opposite Rachel in this scene because Alice’s reaction to Sophie shooting behind her is GOLD. Ocean takes out the painting and reveals a map by lighting it on fire. Y’all, I play a LOT of D&D, and when I tell you how much it delighted me to watch this reveal play out!!
Anyway, Crow-phie has the map and calls Luke to update him, and he sends her to Mary’s clinic. Ryan’s suited up and ready to go help too because Coryana has the only thing that might cure her (other than National City, I guess). Instead of stopping her, Luke tells Ryan if she needs it, the suit can dispense a single dose of adrenaline to keep her going.
Back at the clinic, Mary and Jacob realize that it was Hamilton doctors who experimented on Aaron, and Catherine might have known about it. Sophie arrives and drops the map while fighting Aaron, Jacob attacks him with the scalpel Mary slipped to him, and Batwoman shows up telling Mary and Jacob to leave while she protects Sophie. She ends up breathless on the ground and requests an adrenaline boost. It’s exactly what she needed to take down Aaron. Dr. Bolo Tie from earlier comes in with Sophie at gunpoint and demands the map. Batwoman hands it over, refusing to let Sophie die.
The Batteam, minus Ryan, debrief and Luke tells Mary that without the Desert Rose, Ryan will die from the Kryptonite. He admits that Gotham’s been safer and more hopeful since Ryan put on the suit, but there’s no way they can get everything they need to save her. For some reason, Mary insists that Jacob Kane is the man for the job.
And no sooner does she say that, does Jacob remind her and us exactly why he’s a pile of steaming garbage. He’s shutting down the clinic because it’s illegal and because he’s a bureaucratic asshole. Mary has helped countless people through the clinic; people who the healthcare system leave behind; people who feel human when they enter the clinic. And Jacob wonders why no one tells him anything…
Meanwhile, Sophie’s listening in to Angelique and Ryan thanks to the sneaky device. The jig is up though, because Angelique knows Ryan betrayed her and she doesn’t care why she did it; only that she snitched and can’t be trusted. Ryan cries to her that she didn’t have a choice and that Ang is the only person who knows her and she needs her now, more than ever. Angelique storms out as the lyrics “did you ever really love me?” play.
Back in the subway car, Alice plunges a knife into Ocean’s body and tells Safiyah he’s dead except…he’s not. Our girl put Ocean’s face on someone else’s body and I can’t wait to see if it’ll actually work.
That was a big episode with big feelings, y’all. I’ve said a lot about Javicia and Rachel’s performances, but Nicole Kang absolutely slayed this episode. I hate when Mary cries but when Nicole delivers a tear-filled monologue, I am glued to the screen. My kingdom for a cry-free episode though. What did you think of the ep? Do you trust Angelique? Am I being too harsh in my distrust of her? As always, sound off in the comments and we’ll be back here in TWO weeks for the next episode.
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