“Batwoman” Boldly Goes Where Few TV Shows Have Gone Before — Into a Gay Lady Love Triangle!

Lesbian and bisexual storylines have come a long way over the last five years, especially on The CW, but few have boldly gone where Batwoman went this week: Into the minimally charted waters of the gay lady love triangle. When we met Kate Kane in the pilot, lo those three weeks ago, she was still pining over her military academy love, Sophie Moore, who also happens to be the star soldier in Kate’s dad’s private army. Sophie, though, got herself married off to a man while Kate was away training to accidentally become a crime-fighting vigilante. She tells Kate she’s happy. She tells Kate to move on. And this week, Kate tries it!

“Down Down Down” (lol) introduces Reagan, a bartender who neither melts under Ruby Rose’s intense smolder nor is shaken from her single-minded pursuit of asking out Kate Kane by the fact of three entire elevators plummeting to the ground in the building where she’s working a party. Reagan’s good at reading people. She hates rich white dudes. And she can be trusted to choose something decent when Kate inexplicably just orders “a beer.”

It all starts when Tommy Elliot, Bruce Wayne’s childhood frenemy, steals the one gun that can pierce Batman’s armor (which, of course, Batman, himself, made as a check against his own power). He hides the gun in the building he bought right next door to Wayne Tower — but five entire stories taller, okay? And then he throws a fancy party to celebrate that he’s got the bigger building. Kate attends the party to deal with his shit. Sophie attends the party as Mary’s personal bodyguard. And so Sophie watches Kate flirting with Reagan and gets all in her feelings about it. She flashes back to every scene they’ve had thus far, especially the one of her telling Kate she’s happily married. Sophie even watches Reagan ask out Kate, and now she’s the one pining.

Early on during Batwoman‘s press blitz, the show’s producers said Kate would “go on dates and have girlfriends” — but I am so unused to any lesbian character having multiple dates and multiple romantic interests that I couldn’t even really register that promise. Love triangles are such an easy and effective and fun way to get to explore characters and their motivations and desires, but I can only think of three times in TV history we’ve seen a three-lady love triangle. (One of them, funnily enough, included Rachel Skarsten; the ol’ Bo/Lauren/Tamsin dance on Lost Girl.) On the one hand, I don’t want to see Kate spending her days chasing a married woman. On the other hand, I am such a sucker for all of these fan fiction tropes, like Kate and Sophie continuing to literally fall on top of each other and stare into each other’s eyes when they’re fighting bad guys. (P.S. Sophie knows Kate is Batwoman.)

These Batwoman writers are not scared of Kate’s lesbianism, and it’s really refreshing. Her love interests are as big a deal as any Superman outing, and that’s saying something. Plus this lesbian jokes (at the expense of straight people) keep coming. Equally exciting is that the creative team isn’t forcing any straight cis white guys into the narrative to try to give the dudes in the audience a proxy. In addition to the Kate/Sophie/Reagan dynamic, there’s the main relationship on the show, between Beth and Kate, and there’s Kate’s closest confidante, her step-sister Mary. (Mary is perfect in every way and the absolute standout on this series so far.) I liked Batwoman a lot during the first two episodes, but I made the leap to loving Batwoman this week when Kate and Mary and Sophie ended up stuck in the Gotham’s most awkward elevator ride.

Sophie: What about you, Kate? What brings you to an adult frat house?
Kate: I was told to move on.
Mary: 👀

Batwoman‘s showrunner, Caroline Dries, told Entertainment Weekly, “We’ve only seen Kate get her heart wrung a bit, and now here is this woman who’s smart, funny, cool, available, and it brings out sort of the smile and hope that Kate can find normalcy in her life. Of course, like any superhero will tell you, it’s not easy to live two lives and keep one identity a huge secret.”

Next week, they’re all meeting. I can hardly wait.

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 890 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I have to say, that third episode was damn good … I had been enjoying the series in the first two episodes, don’t get me wrong, but that third episode was absolutely brilliant.

    And Mary & Sophie’s interactions throughout the whole episode? Gold.

    Also, given I have all these amazing queer women existing in this series, naturally mind you I find myself crushing on Mary, the ostensibly straight one. Because of course: lesbian. Plus, she’s pretty awesome.

  2. So happy to see a review! I feel like the first few episodes were like a prologue and things really got moving last night once she got her costume. Can’t wait to see where everything goes from here.

  3. In true love triangle fashion, I have three main thoughts:
    1. Boy does Ruby Rose know how to wear a jacket! It gave me Big Queer Feelings every time.
    2. Often love triangles make me anxious, because I am firmly on one person’s side and it seems like there are too many obstacles in their way. But I’m curious where things could go for both Sophie and Reagan! I think there’s enough Kate Kane to go around.
    3. I love a “I’m smarter than people think I am” character, and therefore my heart belongs to Mary. She runs a secret clinic AND has excellent taste in sparkly dresses; we should all be so talented.

  4. I would die for Mary!! I love her character so much!!! Also Rachel Skarsten is so good as Alice, and I love seeing the dynamic between her and Kate!

    I yelled at the costume reveal and re-winded a couple of times. I’m so happy to see the red, though I’m hoping they figure out how to get the wig to not look so weird!

  5. I would die for Mary. She is amazing.

    This show is quickly becoming the highlight of my week.

    I was a huge fan of Batman growing up, from reruns of the campy 60s series, through Michael Keaton etc. I even had a weird queermo crush on 90s cartoon Batman as a young teen.

    Yet I didn’t anticipate how much of a jolt it would give me, to see batwoman
    In the suit diving from a building and saving the woman she loves.

    We’ve seen Batman do it countless times. This time was different, because it was ours. I couldn’t anticipate how it would make me feel because it was the first time. I’m so here for this.

    Thanks for the recap! More please 🦇

  6. THANK YOU FOR THE RECAP!

    I didn’t believe I’d love this show. There has been enough talk about the flaws, but I find that I don’t care for those.
    Yes, Ruby Rose is not an actress, but she is charming! And Kate is a little arrogant and a bit of a jerk and I love that.
    The show just looks good, the costumes are amazing. Maybe there could be a fashion-post in the future?
    And the fact that, like you said, women interact without being annoyingly interrupted by but-me-is-important-dudes?? I only want to watch shows like this for the rest of my life.

  7. kate’s blazer / lace top / earring combo fully murdered me, and then the donning of the suit brought me back to life. i love this show and am SO GLAD to have your brilliant recaps to read after each episode.

  8. Watching Batwoman I had the same thought I had watching the pilots of Supergirl and Black Lightning and later episodes of Legends of Tomorrow, and that is I’m just so happy this exists. The more young people who can see themselves in superheroes the better.

    • Catherine’s investigators are the ones who found little girl skull bits and she hired people to steal the knife with Alice’s blood on it.

      The 2 of hearts, the 8 of clubs, and the 3 of diamonds having meanings in cartomancy, I only know the 2 of hearts has to do with marriage or at least romantic partners and 3 of diamonds has something to do with material things.

      My guess is that maybe she was reminding Catherine she got her marriage and level of success in an underhanded way that depended on Jacob Kane’s grief, I strongly suspect she was somehow behind the bridge accident that happened 15 years ago or at the very least covered up Beth’s survival.

      But why she even needs or needed Jacob Kane when she seems to have plenty of power in her own right is bigger mystery as the Batfam has a sizable rogues gallery and DC comics plenty of secret societies never mind what cross over shenanigans could be in the works with the rest of the DC-TV universe.

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