Previously on Batwoman, Ryan remembered she has a Kryptonite wound slowly killing her, Mary told Jacob about her underground clinic which he promptly shut down, Ryan sold out Angelique to the Crows in order to protect her, and the search for the map to Coryana continued.
We start out this week with pure chaos. Ryan’s screaming, the bats are screaming, we’re all screaming because Ryan’s Kryptonite wound has reached CRISIS levels of progression. The Kryptonite has made its way to our girl’s brain and she’s starting to hallucinate.
Meanwhile, Tatiana has arrived in Gotham to confirm Ocean’s death, and Alice walks her through the bowels of the city. This is as far from the point as I could probably get, but I wonder what the Gotham Airport is like. I have to imagine it’s super dark all the time and the shops are filled with “I survived a night in Gotham and all I got was this t-shirt” shirts. Maybe Alice in Wonderland shot glasses. ANYWAY.
The only thing that bummed me out this week was how much time Sophie spent with Bad Dad Kane. I knowwww she’s a Crow and that’s the whole point, but Meagan and Javicia have such great scene chemistry and also Jacob Kane is trash so. Anywho, Sophie and Jacob get a lead on Doctor Bolo Tie that will possibly lead them to the map of Coryana.
Back down in the tunnels, Alice has her lesbian pet, Tatiana, handcuffed to a ladder and asks her to fill in the blanks in the memories that Safiyah took from her. Not the Sparknotes or tl;dr version. Alice wants the full-on, unabridged story of what happened 5 years ago on the island. Why would Safiyah have been threatened by her? Tatiana explains that it all started with Catherine Hamilton; While trying to get vengeance on her, Safiyah’s crew raided one of Catherine’s yachts and found Alice already there doing the same thing. *Flashback time!* They brought Alice to Safiyah as a prisoner, but Safiyah saw something more in Alice. I’m not saying what she saw…IN Alice…was her… but I’m not NOT saying it. I’ll let Tatiana say it for me, because she clocked Safiyah’s crush on Alice from the jump. Can we just talk about how casually queer this show is? I mean, the CW is probably one of the queerest networks I watch, but somehow I’m still shocked that what many of us chalked up to subtext between Alice and Safiyah was actually main text canon flirting. Whew, what a time to be alive.
Alice and Safiyah bonded over their shared hatred of Catherine and honestly I’m certain they said some other things, but I was too distracted by their chemistry. Safiyah used Ocean to teach Alice discipline if she was going to join her army; Safiyah wanted Alice’s loyalty; Alice wanted Ocean.
Meanwhile, Mary and Luke get intel from Sophie that they might have a lead on the map. Mary knows that Ryan is in no shape to suit up and help the Crows so she suggests that her dad and Sophie bring back a flower from the island once they find it, even if it means Jacob finding out about Mary’s involvement with Batwoman. Before they can weigh the pros and cons, they hear the Batmobile rev and realize Ryan peaced out.
Back to Storytime with Tatiana (yeah, the title needs work). Alice can’t understand why her crush on Ocean would have thrown Safiyah for a loop. Alice is that girl who doesn’t realize that everyone has a crush on her, but in a way that is somehow endearing and not at all annoying. Wait, is Alice the Waverly?? Let’s put a pin in that. Apparently Ocean and Alice hated each other at first because enemies to lovers is the best trope of all time. While the two fight in A+ pirate island wear, Alice tells Ocean that Safiyah keeps everyone shut off from the outside world as a means of controlling them and making sure they don’t stray. I recently started watching Welcome to Plathville on TLC (not an #ad), and that is the PERFECT way to describe the Plath parenting style. Again, not the point, find me on Twitter if you want to talk about that show though because ya girl has thoughts.
In a break from their sparring, Ocean asks Alice what she wants and wonders if Catherine actually did the Kanes a kindness in lying to them about Beth being dead. Would they have spent decades in misery coming up empty in their search? He tells Alice that she doesn’t need to learn how to fight, she needs to learn how to feel. Reader, that was the first time my heart broke for Alice during this episode.
Meanwhile, Ryan is auditioning for Fast and the Furious: Gotham Nights, speeding through the city cracked out on Kryptonite. She starts to hallucinate Mama Cora who tells her not to keep messing with Angelique because she’s trouble. I can’t help but wonder how many versions of this conversation the two had when Cora was alive. I never know what moments on this show are going to hit me, but there was something so familiar about watching Ryan so carefully walking her fingers through Cora’s hair. It reminded me of moments in my childhood where I was in Cora’s spot trying not to squirm even though the braids were hella tight. It reminded me of being in Ryan’s spot as I helped my aunt with my cousins’ hair on wash day. I’m certain Ryan and Cora had many a heart-to-heart in this position, and I’m also certain that during some of those talks, Cora read Ryan for filth in a way that only a mother can.
Portrait of a Happier Time
Despite Hallucination Cora’s warnings, Ryan is headed to Angelique’s where she finds Angie entertaining a gal pal who is wearing the very same robe Ryan wore when she stayed at Angie’s. Ryan is loopy as all hell and doesn’t bother to hide the fact that she knows details about Angelique, like the fact that she doesn’t drink. She asks Angie where Ocean is and honestly, Angie was disrespectful AF this entire time. I know they dropped some hints in earlier episodes that she was none too pleased with Batwoman, but homegirl did not have to throw Ryan off the fire escape! I knew we couldn’t trust her ass.
Luke and Mary throw on adorable hoodies to remove Batwoman from the scene and then fight over whether Mary would drive the Batmobile. She obviously wins that one. As they drive back to the Batcave, Ryan hallucinates some more. This time, it’s Alice in a variety of positions and masks. My personal favorite will always be Butterfly Knife Alice. Hallucination Ryan improvises a bo staff from a mop handle and fights off Alice’s goons. She confronts Alice about killing her mom and stabs her in the name of getting justice for Cora. Meanwhile, Mary’s getting a drug cocktail together to hopefully pull Ryan out of the hallucinations temporarily.
And now we return to Tatiana’s Tales (oooh, yes I like that one better) where Alice is pouring water into Tat’s mouth, but just enough to be hilarious. Tatiana finally just tells Alice that Safiyah was in love with her. In the next flashback, Safiyah tells Alice the story of the Desert Rose and why she needs an army to protect it. There’s a lot of storytelling in this episode so forgive me for wanting to capture all of the lore drops. Centuries prior, a group of women banded together to escape from their abusive husbands. They found an island to run to and pretty much created their own Themyscira. Before long, the men found them and although they managed to get rid of them, many of the women also died in battle. Safiyah’s ancestors were among the survivors. The next day, a flower bloomed on the battleground, grown from the life force of those women. Safiyah then showed Alice how her blood caused the miracle cure-all plant to bloom.
I say this every week, but Rachel Skarsten is truly a gift. The way Alice taunts Tatiana about being in love with Safiyah like a younger sibling might do to an older one, plus her triumphant “ha ha!”?? Absolute gold.
Sophie, Bad Dad Kane, and a murder of Crows descend on Dr. Bolo Tie’s facility to try and find the map. Jacob realizes that Sophie also knew about Mary’s lab but my dude… you just proved why no one tells you anything! You spilled the secret to the first person you saw! Before Jacob could keep pouting about being out of the loop, they find a conference room filled with scientists, including Dr. Bolo Tie, taken out by Zoom fatigue. Or by Dr. Bolo Tie’s experiments. One of the two.
In the Batcave, Ryan wakes up with a killer Kryptonite hangover. Hm, I wonder if anyone in National City might know the cure for that? (Can you believe it took me this long before mentioning it??) Mary recounts her experience driving the Batmobile, which apparently included accidentally rocket launching something. Dear show, please tell us what Mary blew up. We NEED to know. Ryan tells Mary that she went to Angelique’s to get a lead on Ocean so she could find Alice and kill her to get justice for both of their moms.
Back at the science facility, Sophie and Jacob ransack the offices looking for the map before realizing it was gone. I swear, this map is a more interesting character than Jacob Kane. It might also be the only straight character on the show? TBD.
On Flashback Island, Alice tells Ocean about the time Jacob and Kate managed to find where she was being held and how she prayed that Kate would somehow feel her through the door as they both had their hands pressed against it. Her desire for revenge is because she can’t forget those moments. Ocean tells her that she’s the only one who can fix herself and that she gave herself a second chance. And just as I was starting to trust a man, Ocean proposes that Alice escapes with him and the forbidden Desert Rose that he stole. They kiss as Tatiana looks on.
In the present, Tatiana tries to shock Alice with the information that Safiyah had her murder the one person who gave her a chance to start over, but Alice found her mother’s head in a freezer so pretty much nothing phases her at this point.
Down in the Batcave, Ryan is trying to nail down Ocean’s exact location based on the very specific needs growing mushrooms inside requires. But Mary won’t let Ryan kill Alice. Ryan questions Mary’s love for her mother and belief in what the Bat team is doing. She doesn’t understand how they can claim to fight for justice when Alice is just out there living and breathing. In Ryan’s mind, the only way to get that justice is by getting rid of Alice. This scene hurt my feelings. Ryan has so much rage built up and can’t see outside of it to realize the answer might not lie in murder. I’ve never had a serial killer murder someone I care deeply about, so I won’t presume to know how Ryan is feeling. But I do know that using Mary’s love for her mother as a way to justify killing Alice isn’t it. Both Ryan and Mary are hurting so badly and they deal with that hurt in different ways, but apparently hugging each other isn’t one of them. Please. Someone just give Mary a hug. I really don’t ask for a lot.
Alice starts to pack up, but Tatiana isn’t done yet. You see, it wasn’t as simple as getting rid of memories. When Safiyah found out about their betrayal, she enlisted a hypnotist named Enigma (badass) to take away what’s most precious to both Alice and Ocean–their memories of each other. But in doing that, Safiyah also took Alice’s love and her feelings. She activated the killing machine we all know and love today. She architected Alice’s development and reign as head of the Wonderland gang. Safiyah turned Alice into herself.
There have been moments on this show when the camera focuses on Alice’s face, where you can see the conflict in her eyes. It’s a testament to Rachel’s talent and its shows, to me at least, that Safiyah may not have been as successful as she thinks she was. Underneath the snark and the butterfly knife twirling and the cold indifference lies a heart that was broken by her family all those years ago. A heart that wants so desperately to feel love and belonging. A heart that I think actually just wants her sister back. Throughout much of the episode, I found myself wanting to Santana Lopez scream “he’s just a stupid boy!” about Ocean, and still kind of want to because he knew what would happen if they got caught. But. Hm, actually…because of him, Safiyah fucked with Alice’s head…so forget it. I’m not even going to attempt to redeem him here.
Back in the present, Alice tells Ocean everything Tatiana told him and he doesn’t seem very moved. He’s leaving the city and Alice is going to Coryana unless he stops her. Which he doesn’t. And the look on Alice’s face as he left broke my heart into one billion pieces.
Before Alice can sit in her feelings for much longer, she’s interrupted by Batwoman, demanding answers about Cora’s murder. I really shouldn’t laugh about this because Ryan is so so serious as she Inigo Montoya’s around the place, but Alice’s quips and delivery are unmatched. She takes credit for creating two separate Batwomen and then the two fight fight fight but sadly don’t kiss kiss kiss. It seems like Ryan finally has Alice where she wants her and she’s about to choke her out when she hallucinates Mama Cora once more. Cora tells Ryan that this isn’t the girl she raised. And finally, Ryan gets it. She gets that if she kills Alice she just becomes more like her. So she lets her ago. And yet again, Rachel Skarsten breaks my whole heart with her delivery of “it’s not my fault.”
Back at Crows HQ, Sophie’s arms.
Alice, dressed like an extra in a Tim Burton movie, hops in Tatiana’s car, and the two make their way to the airport to head to Coryana.
As Ryan wakes up in the Batcave, she’s greeted by Luke questioning her about Alice’s whereabouts and admits to letting her go. Don’t worry though, our girl is clever and put a tracker in Alice’s boot so the team will be able to follow her right to Coryana.
Next week, a Coryana showdown and a Kate Kane reveal?! What did you think of this week’s episode? Y’all have been leaving some really well thought out comments and theories and I can’t wait to hear what you come up with next.
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