Hello, friends! This week’s Batwoman is a real team effort! First up, a short synopsis of last night’s episode, “Survived Much Worse.” Then, a screencap recap by Nic. Then, a conversation between Nic and Carmen and Natalie about last night’s big revelation.
This week on Batwoman, everyone in Gotham City is on their way to Coryana, like when everyone in Gossip Girl used to end up at a big fancy party at the end of every episode — only at this party, there’s a lot of fire and stabbing and no artisanal cocktails. Alice is in Coryana with Ocean’s (fake) dead body, so she can get Kate back. Ryan convinces Mary and Luke to let her go to Coryana for the same reason, and also to snag a Desert Rose, which is the only thing that can cure her Kryptonite wound. She’s dying very fast! Sophie and Jacob go to Coryana also for Kate, because Luke tells Sophie he placed a tracker on Alice, and Alice’s main thing is getting Kate, and Alice is in Coryana, and so also probably Kate is there. Sophie’s like, “Well, I know this means you’re working with Batwoman, which we can address at a later date, pal.”
Batwoman and also Jacob and Sophie get snatched up by Safiyah’s goons as soon as they land/crash onto Coryana, but not without admiring the fields and fields of Desert Roses first. When Batwoman is dragged into Safiyah’s throne room, Alice is there, and so Batwoman’s like, “Just a hot tip: Peel the face off Ocean’s dead body real quick.” Safiyah does and it’s not Ocean! And she is pissed! She goes and gets the real Ocean and plops him down right in front of Alice and tells her to stab his handsome guts to death if she ever wants to see Kate again. And so Alice does. But Safiyah was just joshin’: the dagger was tipped with Desert Rose juice so Ocean does not die! And also she was joshin’ about having Kate: She actually only has a room full of Kate’s necklaces(?).
Alice is even angrier than usual due to being forced to murder when she didn’t even want to actually do a murder, and being lied to, so she breaks free and hurls a fiery spear into the Desert Rose patch and the whole thing goes up in flames! Sophie has escaped from her holding cell and so has Batwoman. They find each other in the fire and Sophie says if Batwoman will pick up the pace, she can catch a ride back to Gotham in the plane that Jacob “hot wired.” But Batwoman says she’s dying and now all the Desert Roses are ash and it’d be nice if Sophie just sits with her for a while. And so Sophie does, and Batwoman lays her head on Sophie’s shoulder.
Meanwhile a one of those Many Arms of Death comes for Luke and Mary. Mary who has spent the whole episode keeping Ryan’s beloved plant alive, by the way. The Death Arm nearly assassinates them, but Julia Pennyworth shows up from like behind the curtains and stops him. She also brings with her the knowledge that Kate’s body washed up on some beach and she’s definitely for really real surely and wholly dead. Mary wants to be sad, but when she looks up from the laptop, she notices that the Death Arm blood that spilled on Ryan’s plant has caused it to turn into a Desert Rose. Luke calls Sophie and tells her to get Ryan the heck home right this very second. They’ve got the cure!
Meanwhile, in a sewer, there’s a nearly dead person with fake face crust on them, and that person is wearing Kate Kane’s necklace.
So. Kate Kane’s alive, and has been recast. Thoughts?
Carmen: If they were going to recast Kate, I just feel like we could have gone that route from the jump. But they made the braver, better choice with creating the first Black Batwoman. And now!?!? Talk about undermining your Black superhero.
Natalie: Yeah, I watched the episode and this is just… not at all okay. I appreciate that they really seem to want to avoid the Bury Your Gays trope — but this ain’t it, chief. Shows need to learn that the Bury Your Gays trope isn’t just about burying gays being terrible, but it’s also about a lack of agency for the characters, right? If there’s one thing that Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane had it was agency. She had agency even when everyone around her tried to deny it for her.
Bury Your Gays can’t be an excuse to avoid telling the storylines you need to tell.
Before the season started, I wondered (read: worried) about how the writers’ room would handle race and while I’ve thought they’ve been a little too preachy (in the same way that Black Lightning often is), I was fine with how they were dealing with it. But this decision screams that they don’t understand how race works in this country.
I think the show had to invest 100% with Ryan Wilder as Batwoman to make the transition work, and it was always going to be a hard sell because the CW has a love/hate relationship with their female fronted properties and, frankly, because she was a Black protagonist and that was going to be tough pill for some part of the audience to swallow… and the ratings have borne that out.
Kate’s clearly in a bad state and I can’t imagine her ever being 100% as Kate Kane, much less Batwoman, but that won’t stop those people who were never on-board with a Black protagonist from wishing and waiting for her to come back.
Carmen: Yeah I think, even if what they’re doing here is trying to have a “proper” goodbye for Kate, there is no way to do that — as long as Kate exists in the universe of the show, then the worst, most racist, and toxic parts of the fandom that’s still holding on to her, now have an excuse not to let go. What this decision does (in my opinion) is two things:
1) It allows those fans to have a dead horse to keep beating everyone one else with forever. I want to be clear about this, I love queer fandoms! I love working for a website that gives platforms to queer fandoms. This isn’t about everyone. But even the slightest dig into some Twitter circles shows that there are fans who are still upset by the decision to cast a Black woman as Batwoman, to this very day. And some of those fans are performing (already hurtful, mind you!) micro aggressions, sure, but a lot of them are flat out vocal about it. Keeping Kate “alive” means the worst, most racist parts of Batwoman’s fandom will never have to just shut up and move on with their lives to leave the rest of us alone in peace.
It also delegitimizes Ryan in every way. As long as their Kate is alive, she is never going to be the “real” Batwoman. We also see this in the DC Comics, whose recently announced Pride Anthology brings together DC’s most famous gay and trans superheroes, but it’s Kate Kane, not Ryan Wilder, who is being featured. This decision undermines Ryan as the first Black Batwoman in every way.
It’s an obvious choice. And not one they had to make.
2) It’s a dog whistle telling those same very worst parts of the Batwoman fandom that they have power to influence corporate decisions. Which again, will only further embolden them. The other thing this dog whistle does, is that it tells Black fans that the show (and more broadly, the comics) isn’t going to invest 100% into Ryan, by proxy not willing to invest 100% into them. And that is hurtful!!
And if the DCEU and Arrowverse were serious, they could just do something similar to what Marvel does with Miles Morales as Spiderman. In the comics and the movie, Peter died and Miles took up the mantle, giving him his own series as a legitimate Spiderman in his own universe. (In the movies, alt-universe Peter becomes mentor to Miles, but in the end he goes back to wherever he came from, again legitimizing Miles as the one and only Spiderman). It’s like slayer rules. There can only be one. Imagine a DC Pride Cover that had both Kate AND Ryan, each holding like a corner of a pride flag, representing the past and the present (Thinking again about Spiderman and how they’ve pulled this off successfully) — how powerful that could be.
Nic: I’m so glad y’all are weighing in here, because when I first realized they were going all in with the recast, my initial thought was that it could be interesting to watch Kate grapple with the fact that there’s a new Batwoman in town and she might not be needed in the same way she was before. But the more I sat with it, the more I agreed with what you’ve both said. The show is getting to have its cake and eat it too. They get to have their Black Batwoman and also appease the fans who were up in arms over Kate being gone. I’m still all in on Team Ryan, and I want to have faith that she won’t take a backseat to Kate, but with two leads potentially vying for the same mantle, it seems inevitable. Please, prove us wrong, show.
Wallis Day as Kate Kane is amazing!
The actress is super and you will love her as Kate (on Krypton was really good)
Why are you afraid of two female leaders?? (I am talking in general)
Women must support each other and this is one of our powers!
Wallis will not take something of Javicia..On the contrary, Wallis and Javicia can create something beautiful!
They can co-exist in the series and it would be wonderful if they are partners in the future!
I supported Wallis Day as Kate Kane originally before we got Javicia as Ryan and she showed us how great she and her character are, but I think now we are in the worst situation imo.
In a perfect world we would have them both be equally important parts of the show going forward, but the reality is that one of them is probably going to get significantly sidelined or even written out of the show.
Either Kate is gonna decide to not be Batwoman anymore and probably fade into the background or even leave the show thereby making it feel like they wasted Wallis Day which after seeing her in Krypton is a real shame.
Or they are gonna have Ryan step back from being the Batwoman and relegated to a side or even background character which would just be bad after how good Javicia and Ryan were for the show and what it would signal to the racists in fandom an in general especially with Anissa also leaving our screens with Black Lightning ending as far as we know right now.
Here’s to hoping they find a way to make them coleads of the show or atleast keep Kate/Wallis Day around as a important side character and support for Ryan.
Also, Kate Kane must be in season 3, too!
Can you imagine Kate and Ryan working together (as two Batwomen or as Batwoman and Batgirl…or leader of the Crows and Batwoman, so many interesting possibilities)
For one more episode I continue to ship Mary and Ryan (Mary has feelings for Ryan)
and Alice’s story will become now even more interesting
First, thank you for these recaps and the photo captions. I always check AS on Mondays to find out if there was a new Batwoman ep. If there’s a review I navigate to the CW app, watch the ep and then come right back to read what you’ve written. It’s always fun, and I really appreciate everything about it.
I’m not a superheroes or comics fan, and I think I began watching this show last year because, well, how could there be a lesbian protagonist, a Jewish one at that, and not? While I was initially disappointed Ruby wasn’t returning, and was curious how a show could continue without its eponymous character, I have absolutely LOVED this season so far!! I’ve thought the storytelling has done an excellent job of creating narrative tension around Kate’s disappearance while also creating a really compelling argument that the hero is whoever is willing to take on the mantle, both literally and figuratively, of hero, that it doesn’t have to be a family/inherited privilege.
Which is all to say, because AS is the only place I go for Batwoman news, I’m surprised, and disappointed to read that Kate Kane is returning, recasted?! Thank you for the conversation surrounding this decision. I was really enjoying Ryan’s story and had been looking forward to seeing her continue to grow post healing.
Based on what the showrunner said in her interview with Variety, it doesn’t sound like Kate will reclaim the cowl. As per the article, Wallis “will take over the role of Kate and have her own storyline recurring throughout the rest of the second season” [where] “this altered version of Kate” is put through the ringer.
And if Kate does stick around past the end of the season, maybe she can reoccur as a support role, a la Oracle in the comics.
On a lighter note, I love their shout outs to the sillier parts of the Batman lore with some of their banter.
Luke: “And there’s no shark repellant on the utility belt!”
Ryan: “WHY NOT?”
Luke: “Because that’s stupid!”
I absolutely loved this episode – so twisty, and such a fun fuck you to the Bury Your Gays Trope, especially with the fake killing of Tatiana. I loved the bonding between Sophie and Ryan, and Ryan’s clarity that Alice wasn’t going to kill Kate, and more shots at the Crows from everyone.
Re: Kate Kane…….. I admit I was optimistic that she would come back and take on sort of an Alfred role; officially tell everyone that she is back, and alive, but no longer Batwoman, and therefore support Ryan in taking on the role for good. I think that could help those fans who are so committed to Kate move on. But then I read the interview with Caroline Dries and it’s clear they’re going to have a whole Kate Kane plotline, which is frustrating because I already feel that Ryan hasn’t been given the whole spotlight she deserves as the *headlining* *superhero*, needing to battle with Kate’s legacy and the plotlines all about finding Kate. I sincerely hope those parts are minimal so that we have a LOT of airtime focused on Ryan being Batwoman for real. And they had better not unseat Javicia, she is far too good!!!
thank you for the discussion.
be disappointing if Ryan’s character is anything other than batwoman – including missing. and if they are going for the parallel of desperately wanting someone back only to be disappointed like Kate was with Beth, i’m not currently encouraged. the pot development feels like a shoehorn and the narrative holes are gaping. dead fake-Ocean didn’t have the desert-rose-knife in him, why didn’t Safiyah notice he should be alive; who could’ve swapped Kate’s face if Alice didn’t and the other guys who know how are dead; how is it a desert rose when it come from a tropical island?
i could be missing stuff, the past couple of shows were more confusing the 1st ones, which were great.
The showrunners were between a rock-and-a-hardplace here. How could you kill Kate, and not have a BYG on your hands? [The CW found out ALL about that after the Clexa Debacle] So Kate had to live . . .
. . . but that doesn’t mean Kate will ever be Batwoman again (or stay on the show). If racists are going to hate on Ryan (and f#ck ’em, needless to say), they’re going to, whether Kate was alive or not.
I *think* this is part of giving Kate an “I-still-live-and-breath” farewell. Now that the Batverse and Superverse have melded into one (via Crisis), maybe Kate will take off for the stars? Go on that Heroes Journey to find Bruce? [If people are going to care about canon, legacy characters, he’s still out there, somewhere.]
Bottomline, I’m just not as negative as y’all, that Kate’s Return (such as it is, for now) means screwing over Ryan. Say it louder, for the nerd turds in the back: RYAN IS BATWOMAN. But Kate is NOT Another Dead Gay.
I don’t know anything about the comics I just watch this because its gay but Kate becomes Batwoman because Bruce is mysteriously absent and so I assumed Ryan would just be Batwoman while Kate was mysteriously absent!? I really thought this Coryana thing was just a wild goose chase that wouldn’t go anywhere and they’d have to accept Kate didn’t want to be found, then we’d get to the good stuff of finally focusing fully on Ryan’s character.
This season has been so much better with Javicia as the lead, I’m sorry I just don’t care about Kate Kane…
Kate Kane is great, sure, but this show is comitted to Ryan now and it’s time for Ryan to shine! She’s been kicking ass and making me cry all season. Let the girl stand in her own story for heck’s sake.
I mostly enjoyed this episode (esp Mary and Luke vs one of the many hands of death), but y’all really got to the bottom of my worries about what the return of Kate means for Ryan.
While I hope Kate passes on the mantle and then happily moves along elsewhere, there’s just no way that Kate’s return won’t eat up screentime that should be used to better connect Ryan to all the moving parts of the story.
Plus, as a person who has spent too much brain power on the cw, I’m thinking specifically of Jax Jefferson and James Olsen and Iris West and all the other Black leads that non-Black folks in the fandom have targeted for abuse because either their predecessor or their likeness in comics was white and I don’t want any Javicia haters to feel validated. I don’t want to see them exclusively making Kate gifsets when Ryan finally seduces Crowphie in S3.
If she’s really picking up this mantle, I need it to be hers. Not something she does while looking over her shoulder for Kate’s approval. Not after 9 straight eps of this character literally telling us that she needs to make this job her own if it’s gonna mean anything.
(But also if alive Kate can introduce Ryan to idk maybe Supergirl or Flash or a legend since they all share an earth and apparently have no way of noticing a paragon in distress or a vigilante getting shot with kryptonite, that would be lovely.)
I don’t really see any of the fandom online, so naive me didn’t think expect anything other than a KK cameo to wish the character off. I appreciate the thoughtful analysis. The avoidance of bury your gays here is frustrating–like people have said here, it’s about valuing gay characters and not seeing them as disposable. I’d much rather see a centered gay character that ends in a narratively significant death (like Bly Manor) than a gay character given nothing interesting to do who stays alive. Batwoman was so gay and centered on specifically gay stories. (Multiple sapphic romances w/o any important straight romance storylines felt so refreshing!)
I think the search for Kate and journey to Coryana was meaningful, gave Ryan a chance to grapple with taking up the mantle under difficult and confusing circumstances, and Julia’s news would have been a fine way to end Kate’s journey.
Anyway, i enjoyed the episode otherwise, loved the plant reveal and felt like aside from KK it was a nice resolution of the plot threads. I would have loved a bit of monster-of the-week to come next for Ryan and the team, and maybe a competing love interest. Something like the Reagan or Vampire episodes last season! But it seems like with the Kate reappearance we may just move right into another big bad.
I’ve been loving this season and I’m so here for Ryan as Batwoman. My first reaction to the recast was excitement to be honest because I forgot about how they want to avoid the bury your gays trope (which would be an amazing commitment on like every other show).
I was excited to get a bit more closure for Kate and assumed they are doing a storyline where she gets to say goodbye to Sophie and Mary and everybody and approve of Ryan as Batwoman, before sacrificing herself.
Now I’m not sure what to think, but I have enough faith to wait until the end of the season to form a proper opinion.
Also this is entirely not the point, but oh my goodness my shipper heart. I loved Kate and Sophie in season 1, so I’m excited to see more of them and I also kind of really ship Ryan and Mary. But for some not logical reason my OTP is Ryan and Sophie all the way. The chemistry is off the charts and more than anything I want two black queer women to be the main romance on a superhero show. So I really hope that Kate isn’t there to stay, so we can get back to the enemies to reluctant allies to friends to lovers slowburn between Ryan and Sophie that I need
Oof I didn’t realize that body was alive at the end! I’m disappointed, too. It’s just not necessary. I think Ryan is a lot more interesting than Kate was, and Javicia Leslie has been killing it. Hopefully Kate will have a very small part.
In other news… if Ryan’s plant from
Angelique is a desert rose…how close is Angelique to Safiyah? She already knew Ocean. But is she in the inner circle? Coryana is very The Chart. So many queer vibes on that island. Also loved the Ryan/Sophie moment.
“We also see this in the DC Comics, whose recently announced Pride Anthology brings together DC’s most famous gay and trans superheroes, but it’s Kate Kane, not Ryan Wilder, who is being featured. This decision undermines Ryan as the first Black Batwoman in every way.”
Okay, first of all. Ryan is the CW’s Batwoman, created by CW producers, who have no respect for the source material.
Kate Kane is DC’s Batwoman, created by DC writers. And she has held the mantle for over a decade in the comics and other media.
The idea that this CW version of Batwoman is ever going to be more important to DC comics than their own character is just absurd. I’m sorry. But it’s true. Just because the show erased Kate as Batwoman, doesn’t mean DC has any intention of ever doing that.
Look, the Wilder character has already taken Kate’s place on the show. Isn’t that enough for her fans? Can’t they just take the win and let us Kate fans have her as the only Batwoman in the DC franchise.
Because either way, that’s not going to change.