“Batwoman” Episode 215 Recap: The Blame Game

Welcome back, fam! I hope you’re all rested and have had time to process what went down in the last episode. As with the last Batwoman recap, there will be some discussions of systemic violence against Black people, so please, take care of yourselves.

Previously on Batwoman, ACAB. Also there were some cannibals, Ocean killed Dr. Rhyme in an attempt to prove his love for Alice by controlling how she handles Kate being alive (??), Sophie officially joined the Bat Team, and the Crows shot Luke because racism. Also ACAB.

I don’t know about y’all, but I haven’t been able to get the previous episode’s final scene out of my head, so it was extra jarring to see it played out again at the beginning of this week’s episode. This time though, we also see the immediate aftermath of the shooting; paramedics come and rush Luke to the hospital and right into surgery. Meanwhile at Crows HQ, a group of white men, including Commander Kane, discuss the circumstances of the shooting. Tavaroff sits there looking as smug as all heck while he explains that he and his partner saw a suspicious man next to a car whose alarm was blaring. He claims that the man pulled a gun, so they shot him before he could fire on them. And the confidence with which that lie, that indictment on Luke, rolled off Tavaroff’s tongue sent chills down my spine. It’s the confidence in a system built to protect the man who shoots an unarmed Black person with almost no questions asked; confidence that doesn’t waver at the mention of a body cam review; confidence that is repeatedly earned.

As Luke is being wheeled into surgery, his subconscious walks into a very well-lit version of Wayne Enterprises. He sees the silhouette of a man standing out on the balcony and realizes he’s finally in the same room with father for the first time since the elder Fox’s murder.

Luke Fox walking through Wayne Manor

“Huh. I thought Purgatory had more of a ‘Western’ vibe…”

At the real Wayne Enterprises, Mary and Ryan walk — no no, they WALK (there’s so much power walking in this episode y’all, whew! — down to the Batcave while talking through what happened and questioning why Luke didn’t call in the threat. Mary instructs Batwoman to deal with Eli, the guy from their holding cell, while she focuses on saving Luke’s life with the Desert Rose. Look, it’s no secret that Mary is the backbone of the Bat Team, but the way she commands every single interaction in this episode shows exactly why.

Ryan and Mary power walking

“Can you believe I put on this fit today to deal with some damn Crows?”

Meanwhile, Alice is still at Dr. Rhyme’s office because remember how her kind of boyfriend, Ocean, snapped the doc’s neck just as she was about to give Alice the password to unlock Kate’s memories? Yeah, me and Alice too. Alice is going through Rhyme’s files and notices that for some curious reason, the doc marked all of the Kane family files for Sionis aka Black Mask. Ocean comes back to get rid of Rhyme’s body and Alice reveals that she’s Riddler’s daughter. Real quick — that wasn’t explicitly stated before this, right? The question mark on her cane felt like a heavy clue, but I don’t think anyone ever said it. I know it’s a small thing, but I love the nods and allusions to Batman/DC lore sprinkled throughout the series. Anyway, Alice is still rightfully pissed that Ocean kept her from unlocking Kate’s memories and somehow Ocean doubles down on not actually caring about what Alice wants?! I can’t believe I was rooting for this man at some point. Thankfully, Alice doesn’t wait around for him and heads to take care of things on her own.

Alice with a cane being held to her head like a weapon

Riddle me, whomst?

Even though all the commercials were hyping up the release of In the Heights, Ryan seems to be more excited about the upcoming Fast 9 movie, because she’s speeding through Gotham, chasing after Eli who’s in a stolen car. Once she catches him (with a DOPE Batmobile grapple), she accuses him of shooting Luke, but he explains it was the Crows who did it. And Ryan does that thing where she questions how Luke is in a hospital bed and Eli is free to roam and thieve all he wants. Because it doesn’t and shouldn’t make sense for an innocent man to be fighting for his life while a guilty one faces no consequences. Every single cast member brought their acting A-game last night and I’ll try not to shout about every time they slay a scene, but Javicia Leslie’s almost innocent questioning conveyed just how unjust the situation is. And then Eli blames Luke. You heard that right — he blames Luke for being stupid enough to grab his phone. For voicing his intent to show video evidence of his innocence and then moving to do so. I don’t think I need to explain how and why this hits so hard, but y’all, Black people just want to live. For once, we’d like the presumption to be “cell phone” instead of “gun.”

Batwoman looks PISSED OFF

“I know you didn’t just fix your mouth to say it was Luke’s fault.”

Back at Purgatory Enterprises, Luke is trying to get his dad’s attention when Bruce Wayne shows up and tells Luke that he’s been shot and that he has a choice to make about what happens next.

Luke is a very well light purgatory staring at the ghost of his father

No notes. Just a gorgeous shot.

Has Gotham’s Only Reporter Dana gotten a raise yet? I swear, that woman works harder than any White House Press Sec ever has (except Jen Psaki. She’s an angel.) Anyway, Mary’s watching Dana’s coverage of an anti-Crows protest while she distills the Desert Rose down to a form that can be injected into Luke. Ryan hilariously can’t figure out the Bat computer at first, but then uses it to look up Tavaroff and his laundry list of offenses. Mary decides to call Sophie while Bulletproof Ryan heads to take on the trigger happy douchecanoe.

Mary works with a chemistry set

I love it when Mary does Science.

I know I said I wouldn’t keep yelling about this cast’s performances this week but well, I lied. Because Rachel Fucking Skarsten. The way Alice saunters into Wayne tower, purposely triggers the intruder alarm, and waves into the security camera while Mary makes her way upstairs with a taser??? *chef’s kiss* Alice is there to ask about Circe, but Mary has never heard of the supermodel-esque assassin. The two banter for a bit and Alice even gives Mary, the step-Kane, a new nickname: “Steppy.” Mary admits that even though she hates Alice, she also knows that she’s in love and that’s something everyone deserves.

Alice looks sexy leaning against a wall in an elevator

“Honey, I’m hooooome!”

Meanwhile, Tavaroff is skulking around an alley when Batwoman swoops in and attacks. Y’all, I will truly never tire of foes getting so frustrated by this Black woman being bulletproof; it’s wonderful. I know Black Lightning is over, but if we can get Diggle next week, then I don’t see why Anissa can’t hop over to The Hold Up to laugh with Ryan over people’s faces when they realize they can’t shoot them. Tavaroff doesn’t understand why Batwoman even cares about what happened to Luke. Aside from not knowing the connection between the two, what Tavaroff fails to grasp is that this fight belongs to Batwoman the same way George Floyd’s fight belongs to me. As Black people, we often don’t have the luxury of choosing our battles (aside from much-deserved mental health breaks, of course) because non-Black people sure as hell don’t choose which of us to attack. We’re not a monolith, but we do and will fight as one. That’s what Ryan conveys when she tells him that this fight is in her DNA. She doesn’t get to say much else because before long, Tavaroff’s goons show up and run her under with an SUV.

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Nic is a Senior Product Manager at a major Publisher and lives in Astoria, NY. She is way too attached to queer fictional characters and maintains that buying books and reading books are two very different hobbies. When she's not consuming every form of fiction, you can find her dropping it low on the dance floor. You can find Nic on twitter and instagram.

Nic has written 78 articles for us.


  1. Whew! SO MUCH in this episode. And in this recap. Hope I can keep it all straight (well, I never keep anything “straight”, but you know what I mean)

    * Minor correction: Alice previously called Mary “Steppy” back in, like the 2nd or 3rd episode of this season? When Alice showed up in the clinic, and Desert Rose was discussed for the first time.

    * “she’s in love and that’s something everyone deserves”

    The thing a great piece of art does, is remind you of other great works of art. And Yes, I’m applying that to “Batwomen”, and the other (at times, anyway) great shows it reminded me of (which happened a BUNCH of times in this episode). This was was on the subject of “deserving love”: as w/ forgiveness, is love something we really deserve? Or just something we need/can’t live without, and good people give to those who need it, whether they deserve it or not? Show Reminder #1: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Episode “I Only Have Eyes for You” (Buffy and Giles discuss whether a murderous spirit “deserves” forgiveness or not. Wise Giles points out that deserving isn’t the point)

    [I’m going to list the other reminders here, out of chronological order to the recap. Because I Very Fecking Old, and may otherwise forget them.]

    * Ryan blaming herself for Luke getting shot. Hello, “Supergirl” Ep 5.19! This is what a hero-with-a-team has to live with: that team-members—lacking Kryptonian- or Batsuit-invulnerability—may nevertheless risk it all for you. And the guilt that evokes for the hero.

    * Luke waking up, thanks to Desert Rose, when his CHOICE was otherwise. Back to Buffy again: Season 6 (cringe, I know all its problems). Buffy “This world is hard, and cold. I think I was in heaven.” Luke “This is still a world where this (innocent black men being shot) happens. I don’t want to live here anymore, I want to go be w/ my dad.” I think the specificity of WHY this world is cold&hard (and for some moreso than others) makes it even more tragic. What will the ramifications for Luke’s involuntary callback-to-life be—can Team Bat make it feel, to him, worth his while?

    OK, back to the recap!

    * “Ocean from delivering on his promise to keep Alice from what she truly wants while calling it love”: Nic, APPLAUSE-APPLAUSE! Perfectly-stated. I am SO over this prettily-packaged box of nothing. “…or that he is once again manipulating Alice’s feelings.” Ding-ding-ding! She may enjoy the lips (etc), but it seems they can’t keep her from her (far healthier, IMO) goal.

    * “Mary is STRUTTING” …in her Fuck-Me boots! {Raises hand, I volunteer for the assignment ;-) }

    * “Ow” This is all.

    * “it looks like they’re heading toward a redemption arc for Kane and I, for one, am not here for it”: I feel ya, it’s just that, do we really want to put Mary, Kate (when she’s back), and now Alice, and even Sophie through any more grief? I, for one, do not. [And you KNOW how I’ve been all “Jacob Kane is the Worst” week after week!]

    * Speaking of Kate: I was legit shocked to see that pic of Ruby-Rose-as-Kate—I seriously thought we’d never see her again. Sharp-But-Ambivalent Feelz.

    * “doing emotional labor for our non-Black friends who we know mean well” : Sigh, I did a thing this afternoon. I purchased something at store—fairly sizable objects—and put them in my home-brought bag. I then walked into the store next door, checked to see if they had an item I wanted. They did not, and I walked right out again. With my generic-bag of stuff purchased next door. “No one will stop me.” I KNEW I was practicing White Privilege even as I was doing it. I knew it.

    * “Look, I hope that Alice gets what she needs from Jacob”: that’s what I hope about all the other characters-we-care-about in this show. They get what they need from Jacob . . . and then, without further trauma, he . . . I don’t know, get a new job in Metropolis or National City. [Or hell, Smallville.] Just Somewhere Else.

    Kudos to you, Nic, for recapping all this. It’s clearly a job you love, but also puts you through it. Grateful.

  2. I really do love this show and I’m pleasantly surprised to see the Crows disbanded (GCPD next, please and thanks, what are they even doing anyway???), but hoo boy am I with you about not wanting Jacob Kane’s redemption arc, Nic! I do not care about this lil man, I will not be moved by him, I cannot stretch myself want anything from him except in very tiny flashes and only ever for his daughters’ sakes. And even then, I’m more team legit therapy (Mary and Kate) and prison plus therapy (Alice) than team daddy-daughter reconciliation.

    Part of the reason that Sophie leaving the Crows is so compelling is that she’s a) a Black woman grappling with her relationship to an inherently anti-Black system that she would like to see reformed (and believes at first can be reformed), and b) while the audience sees Sophie make questionable choices w/r/t to how she threatens suspects, we actually since S1 have watched her try to de-escalate the Crows down from lethal measures, and also remove herself and report it when Crows start violating basic rights. We know that Crowphie has believed in this bad system, but we also know she was a good faith actor. She also actively listens when people challenge her complicity, and has been building toward leaving the Crows since late S1.

    We’ve only ever seen Jacob Kane escalating violence and tensions up until the moment he realizes he’s trying to kill someone in his own bloodline. We’ve watched him be a crappy boss slash father figure to Sophie while promoting people who he literally must know have been accused of brutality, and either greenlight or tacitly accept a violent open season on drug users while abusing snakebite himself. We’ve watched him ignore every invitation to be empathetic, or to question the organization he founded after any of many bloody incidents involving his Crows.

    It’s mentioned in the ep that he tried to murder Batwoman in the stadium last season, but conveniently left out that he personally called for the slaughter of the Black man that Kate was painstakingly talking down from committing any more violence. Yes, that Black man was guilty and had proven himself dangerous and hard to subdue, but guess what? So’s Alice. And since her last breakout, Jacob doesn’t even care if she’s locked up or out and about doing murders in broad daylight. And killing her has been pretty much yanked off the table since he realized she was his kid. A Black man menaces the city for a week and Jacob thinks 100 bullets are exactly what he needs. Alice menaces the city for over a year and Jacob simply grits his teeth and screens her calls.

    Jacob claiming that he didn’t understand how corroded his personal paramilitary outfit had become when he has actively chosen to fabricate evidence against some people and put out kill orders on several others is really something. The lack of regard that Jacob showed for life, and specifically Black life, might never be brought up again, even as he skates over his snakebite usage and general dickery into being a hero, and I feel some type of way about that.

    I’m grateful that Luke will heal physically, and pleased that his traumatic experience led to the end of the Crows and hopefully the last time we’ll see Tavaroff, but I’m gritting my teeth over having to watch a Black man be hurt and traumatized (TWICE) just for Jacob to finally be in a black square on IG kinda head space.

    I need them to let this bad CW dad fade into obscurity so I can comfortably split my time between all the fascinating, complex women (and Luke) featured here, plus all the mean-but-in-a-fun-way milfs scattered across other CW shows. Tired of having my resentment for Jacob eclipse my big feelings about Mary, Ryan and Sophie.

    Also lmao imagining Julia traipsing back into town one day, still in a daze from being hypnotized over and over, finding herself suddenly with no job prospects, with one ex dating a new Batwoman with a better wig, and another ex with a whole new face.

  3. Oof. This was a hard episode to watch. Thanks for recapping it for us, Nic.

    Mary’s fierce looks and Alice’s quips about the lack of security in the parking structure were the light moments I needed to offset the heaviness of the rest of the episode. My heart was breaking in all the other scenes.

    Glad that Ocean and Bad Dad Kane are on their way out. I need less disappointing men and more of Ryan, Sophie, Mary, Luke.

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