Previously on Batwoman, False Face kidnapped Angelique, Alice went to therapy and discovered Ocean wasn’t as dead as she left him, Batwoman left a smidge of blood behind at a crime scene, and Sophie learned that her new crush (leave me alone, I said what I said) Ryan is actually Batwoman!
I don’t know how, but this show keeps getting better and better with each passing week, and this week’s episode quickly became one of my absolute favorites.
We open this week at the Sionis mansion where Roman, with an audience of Enigma and New Face Kate, is waxing poetic about masks and why we literally and figuratively wear them. Roman reveals his plan to use Kate as a replacement for his daughter Circe while admiring the custom mask that he exhumed from Circe’s grave, which is a completely normal sentence. Kate tries to fight back, but Enigma wipes her memory of everything Kate has ever known and replaces it with Circe’s memories. Roman tells CirceKate that she’s wearing a mask because of a fire during her escape from Arkham and promises that the mask will ensure no one ever hurts her again.
I’ll admit, I was really nervous going into this episode knowing we would officially meet New Face Kate. We’ve spent the previous 11 episodes getting invested in Ryan as Batwoman and I hoped this wouldn’t be a fight between Ryan and Kate for who got to wear the mantle. While I don’t like the idea of Roman taking away Kate’s agency and using her as a Circe puppet, from a storytelling perspective, I think this opens up a lot of doors for where Kate’s story can go without undermining Ryan. Especially once Alice realizes who Circe is, and I’m certain she will realize it.
Speaking of Alice, she wakes up in bed with Ocean and winces as soon as she remembers both where she is and the feelings that got her there. She quickly gets dressed and tries to sneak out before being confronted by members of False Face who attack and grab Ocean.
At Crow headquarters, Sophie is doing that thing you do when you have a crush on someone and you can’t stop thinking about them so you stare at their photo and compare it with a masked vigilante’s and wonder how you never realized they had a secret identity and somehow that makes you love them more. I imagine she had just gotten off the phone with Lena Luthor where the two had a good laugh over how they could be blinded by glasses and a mask that revealed very unique parts of a face. Hmm? Sorry what? Oh right, I’m back.
Anyway, Sophie approaches Agent Guy about having Batwoman’s DNA and learns that Commander Kane is the one who authorized this utilization of resources. Sophie confronts him and tries to divert his attention away from her girl and onto Black Mask instead. Bad Dad Kane blows up at Sophie, calls her relationship a “little fling” and throws her out of his office. I just think it’s funny how they’re trying so hard to remind us that you know Jacob is addicted to Snakebite because look at his erratic behavior!! But like Mary says later in the episode, these seemingly out of character moments are actually completely within character for Jacob Kane. Clean Jake would absolutely scream at Sophie for no reason. Anyway, Bad Dad is still addicted and I still don’t super care.
Down in the Batcave, the team is watching footage of Angelique being held at gunpoint and Mary is baaaaack! She returns in a blaze of “I’m not just a pretty face (even though it’s a really pretty face though right?)” glory by explaining that because Black Mask streams his cookhouse like some kind of super specific Twitch streamer, they’re able to track the camera’s IP address to find out where Angelique is. Before Ryan can head out, the Batsignal goes off.
Ryan gets to the roof where Sophie is waiting. I repeat. Sophie used the literal Batsignal, an emergency beacon seen by the entire city, as her own personal pager for Batwoman, y’all I am UNWELL. And the little “Hi” from Sophie when Ryan shows up?!?! Followed by her snarky, “well I wouldn’t have to use the Batsignal if you just gave me your name and number lol”?! Stop this right now. Sophie tells Ryan that the Crows are in the process of extracting Batwoman’s DNA profile but it’s totally fine because it’s not like Batwoman is actually a woman whose DNA would be in the system due to a series of arrests over the years, right? Ryan realizes she doesn’t have much time so she starts off to save Angelique since the Crows couldn’t be bothered, and Sophie promises to do her best to destroy the sample. I kept hoping Sophie would say “Ryan” while talking to Batwoman, if only to watch both of their faces at the reveal, but it seems like Sophie is going to ride this one out for a bit.
Ryan is investigating a False Face hideout, and Luke and Mary try to get her to come back because in their minds, the possibility of Batwoman’s identity coming out is a bigger deal than saving Angelique in this moment. Ryan doesn’t want to hear it and tells them while she’s out here saving her girl, they need to work with Sophie on shutting down the DNA processing. As she makes her way through the hideout, Ryan finds Alice BBQ’ing a False Face goon’s actual face.
This is a Batwoman recap, so I won’t stray too far for too long, but stick with me here. I’ve watched television for my entire life and I’ve been involved with fandom for over half my life; I’ve seen some shit. But it wasn’t until I started watching shows like Orphan Black and Wynonna Earp that I realized how much of a difference it makes when the cast gets along and truly enjoys coming to work every day. It’s not a requirement, of course. Acting is a job like any other, and you don’t have to like all of your co-workers; but when people like Emily Andras institute a “No Asshole” casting policy, it reflects on screen.
I have no idea what kind of casting policy they employ on Batwoman, but it’s so clear that these people are having the time of their lives filming this season. On both Wynonna and Batwoman, this is so clearly evidenced by the fact that you can put any two cast members in a scene together and they will create magic. There is a trust and an ease there that is so hard to fake. It makes watching shows that prioritize a joyful and respectful set that much more fun to watch. Javicia, Nicole, Meagan, Rachel, and Camrus are hilarious with each other on Twitter, and they’ve all welcomed Wallis into the fold with open arms. I say all of this because this week, we got some incredible scenes with Alice and Ryan that I knew would be tough to do justice. Even copy and pasting all of their dialogue wouldn’t properly showcase Javicia and Rachel’s playfulness and chemistry in every single scene. So bear with me and do yourself a favor, go back and rewatch their scenes; it’s so worth it.
Ahem. Back to the show where Alice gives Ryan a “Batty” new nickname while doing some Sherman-Palladino-esque fast walking and talking. She’s been hitting up False Face hideouts in hopes of finding Ocean. Coincidentally, Batwoman is also looking for a False Face prisoner, and Alice knows all about Angelique and how valuable she is. Alice needs backup aka “someone to stand behind so the bullets don’t hit my visage” (Rachel Skarsten with the delivery, though), and Ryan seems almost impressed by just how unhinged Alice is. Y’all, Alice nonchalantly kills a man in the middle of a conversation where she proposes a partnership with Batwoman, and then SKIPS out with an “oh goody!” once Ryan silently agrees. The woman is unmatched.
In the Batmobile, Alice is touching everything in sight and Ryan showcases some of that Crowphie exasperation (wait a minute. Ryan didn’t say “Crowphie” one time this episode. THIS IS LOVE) by threatening to eject Alice, who is actually super interested to see if that would work. Alice delivers an excellent driving straight joke and tries to get Ryan to spill the tea about how a drug dealer managed to woo the masked vigilante. Ryan is not having it though, and Alice spitefully hits yet another button.
Meanwhile, Sophie casually and not casually at all checks on the DNA progress which is at 84% and climbing quickly.
In the Batcave, the team is tracking the Batmobile and making it very clear that they aren’t on board with teaming up with Alice when Sophie calls and tells them she wasn’t able to destroy the sample.
Ryan and Alice arrive at the False Face facility while one of the goons forces Angelique and Ocean to make Snakebite on camera. Ryan spots one sentry and Alice adorably tries to see for herself by grabbing the binoculars from Ryan. She doesn’t understand why she doesn’t get her own Battoys or at the very least, a Batarang. And look, it’s probably not a great idea for Alice to have any of those things, but we all know it would be entertaining as heck. They devise a plan to have Alice draw out the guard so Ryan can take him out and Alice complies; by loudly honking the horn and drawing not only one, but many guards to them.
At Crows HQ, Mary brings Sophie a kill drive that would corrupt Batwoman’s DNA file. Sophie accuses Mary of being on Batwoman’s payroll and y’all, her face as Mary stumbled through a lie was priceless. Mary yet again shows us why she’s the GOAT, and tells Sophie that she will distract Bad Dad so Sophie can use his Tier One computer access.
Meanwhile, Alice and Batwoman skillfully take down a bevy of False Face guards without dropping their snark for one second. Ryan realizes that Alice loves Ocean, and Alice adorably denies it because I mean, she stabbed him, so. Ryan notes that wasn’t a “no” and Alice recaps her therapy breakthrough about her feelings.
As Black Mask watches Angelique and Ocean cook, Ryan radios that Batwoman and “that bitch Alice” breached the perimeter. While the two wait for the guards to head in the opposite direction, they have a little hero/anti-hero real talk. Alice likes Ryan, and wonders out loud if Angelique is actually good enough for Batwoman. Ryan calls her on it though, and pinpoints that Alice might be asking that question because she accidentally caught feelings and doesn’t think she gets to have them. Angelique always had Ryan’s back, even when Ryan got out, and Alice clocks Ryan’s guilt right away.
Valerie Anne said it perfectly during the episode; these two have so much in common and whether or not they realize it might not be relevant right now. Ryan sees right through the wall Alice has taken great pains to build, and Alice has seen firsthand what guilt did to her sister. It feels important that Alice refers to herself as an anti-hero rather than a villain; she doesn’t see herself as evil. As much as she tries to Lena Luthor her way through her feelings, sometimes those little boxes crack open and remind her of her humanity; of the Beth she tries to forget. But before the lid completely comes off the box, she quickly shuts it, shakes off the feelings, and reminds Ryan that the thing about trying to save everyone is…you can’t. Ryan goes off to save Angelique and Ocean, but not before handcuffing Alice and vowing to tell Ocean exactly what she is.
Mary managed to get Bad Dad away from HQ for a bit, so Sophie’s using his computer to get rid of Batwoman’s DNA profile. At least she tries to before realizing there are dozens of other profiles in the upload and if she uses the kill drive, it will protect not only Batwoman, but also rapists and murderers. Sophie won’t let that happen and tells Luke she has a plan.
Meanwhile, Mary is showing Commander Kane all of the improvements she made to the clinic. Bad Dad is really unfocused though, because in case you forgot, he’s addicted to Snakebite. Mary shows him the paperwork she would fax (?!) over to GCPD in the case of a gunshot wound, but forgets that the machine is unplugged. Apparently this doesn’t phase old Snakebite Jake though, because he signs off on the clinic and pretends he didn’t see the violation.
CirceKate and her karambits (yes, I did Google the name of those knives) have arrived at the BlackFace facility in search of Batwoman. CirceKate finds Alice first, who compliments her mask and tells her where to find Batwoman. I love that Alice seemingly doesn’t recognize her sister here, when she’s been holding onto the fact Kate didn’t sense Beth in that cell all those years ago. Now, I don’t know the depths of Enigma’s hypnosis, and I also don’t know if Alice is playing dumb, but it just seems like for the amount of time she spent gazing into CirceKate’s eyes, she should have felt…something.
Back at Crows HQ, Sophie’s trying to delete Ryan from the DNA database instead of deleting Batwoman’s sample from the upload. A plan they probably could have thought of sooner, but whatever, it’s fine. Agent Dude is feeling hella cocky about unveiling Batwoman’s identity, until no results come up and Sophie strolls in and hits him with a zinger.
Angelique and Ocean finish their Snakebite YouTube tutorial so one of the False Face goons shoot Ocean. It’s hard out there for influencers, I guess. Batwoman shows up, destroys all of the Snakebite, and sends Ang and Ocean on their way. Ryan barely has time to breathe a sigh of relief because CirceKate has entered the chat and is ready to fight. It’s Batwoman vs. Batwoman and this fight choreography was some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Alice shows up and momentarily knocks CirceKate out. Those two fight and when Alice pleads for help, Ryan starts to walk away and my heart begins to break. Alice tries to appeal to Ryan’s emotions and reveals that she actually does remember Cora, but Ryan reminds Alice that while that may be true, you can’t save everyone. WHEW. Ryan. That’s COLD. But like, I also get it? I’m sitting here on this side of the screen rooting for Alice in spite of everything, but Alice killed Ryan’s mom. That kind of hurt runs deep. It’s complicated and I love it so much.
Back at HQ, Sophie finds an empty Snakebite box in Bad Dad’s office because apparently homegirl didn’t have enough secrets to worry about. She goes to the clinic (LOOKING FLY AF IN THAT COAT COME THRU, SOPH) to warn Mary about Kane’s erratic behavior, but Mary doesn’t buy it.
We’re back at Ryan’s apartment, and the music tells us there’s about to be Big Queer Feelings. Angelique gay leans herself right into Ryan’s apartment and fully takes responsibility for everything that’s happened. Ryan wants them to start over and Angelique agrees, except her version of starting over involves the two of them in witness protection. Ryan can’t do that though because Gotham is her home and she wants to make it better so other kids can have the opportunities she and Ang didn’t have. Angelique realizes that she can’t hold Ryan back from this, so she does the thing that hurts, and she lets her go. It may have been the lingering feelings of distrust, but I thought she might push a bit harder for Ryan to leave, and I’m glad she didn’t. The two say their goodbyes and Sophie pops out like Kim Kardashian behind that hedge, ready to swoop in. I’m kidding, that last part didn’t happen, but imagine?!
At Sionis’ mansion, Black Mask has Alice tied up and instructs CirceKate to shoot her. Before she pulls the trigger, Roman changes his mind and tells CirceKate to dump Alice in the cellar and oh my Rao can we please stop locking Alice in cages?!?! CirceKate pistol whips Alice after creepily staring at her for several seconds and we’re left to wonder what exactly Sionis needs Alice for.
Next week: Sophie in casual wear, a puzzle to solve, and this warning from Camrus which is absolutely fine.