Welcome back, fam! It’s been a few weeks, but we are back with a recap of Batwoman’s jam-packed PENULTIMATE (?!) episode of season 3, “We’re All Mad Here.” I really did think I’d felt every emotion possible while watching this show, but Daphne and Maya really said “LOL, sure Nic.” Let’s get into it, shall we?
We open at the Wayne Enterprises Elevator O’ Fun with Alice attacking several security guards with a cricket bat. Because, WHY NOT? She’s there to steal the joy buzzer, and steal it she does. Before she can buzz herself though, one of Marquis’ guards recognizes her as Alice, but she corrects him and says that she was Alice; a distinction that becomes more and more important throughout the episode.
Alice touches the buzzer to her forehead and we flash to her waking up at Mary’s clinic, her step-sister by her side ready to take care of her after the Bat Team brought her in. And for the first time in over a decade, Alice feels like herself again; she feels like Beth.
The next thing we see is a brown-haired Beth in court as her attorney details the torture and trauma that led Beth to create Alice as her alter ego. Rachel Skarsten absolutely BODIED this episode, y’all. Everything about her demeanor shifts as she morphs from Alice back into Beth. She’s uncertain and cautious as she remembers what it’s like to be in a mind and body she hasn’t known since she was 13. She even walks differently; not a jaunty skip in sight!
The entire Bat Team is there in the courtroom looking on in disbelief as the attorney paints Beth as a victim whose empathy and feelings returned as a result of the buzz. Well, not Mary. Mary locks eyes with Beth and reassures her with a simple nod and a smile that everything is going to be okay. All charges against Alice are dropped and she’s a free woman. She rushes to apologize to Ryan outside the courtroom, but Ry’s still pissed about not using the buzzer on Marquis.
Beth heads to the cemetery and stops in front of her own grave, literally and metaphorically finally finding herself. She’s not alone though, because who shows up but her dead boyfriend, Ocean. At first Beth is lit to see him, until he reminds her that it’s her fault she’s dead. And that’s when she realizes that none of this is real.
Alice is back in the subway car, clutching the go bag Mary gave her, surrounded by clothing and reminders of everything that makes Alice, Alice. And our girl is crushed. She’s all alone, she doesn’t have the buzzer, and she feels trapped in a prison of her own creation. The way Rachel screamed at her own reflection to leave her alone?! Haunting.
Oh hey, remember Batwoman? The titular role? Ry Ry makes sure we don’t forget as she swoops into a garage to confront Marquis’ right-hand man about her brother’s schedule and his secrets. Ya know, there was a time when Ryan could barely work the Batsuit, and now she’s flying around Gotham sticking landings like some kind of Simone Biles. I feel like a proud mama.
Meanwhile, in the loft, Sophie wakes up in bed, realizes Ryan is gone, but clearly gets distracted by the mere memory of the previous night and immediately starts smiling. It took her several solid beats to even remember she needs coffee, so you just KNOW Wilder turned it out last night once she figured out that belt situation. And can we talk about the fact that wasn’t even pressed about Ryan being gone? She trusted that her girl was coming back.
Soph hears a key turn in the lock and assumes it’s her boo, so she snarks that she better have coffee for her (because remember that time she slept with Renee and homegirl left Sophie in bed with no breakfast despite living above a damn coffee shop?!) if she’s going to wake up alone. But reader, it’s not Ryan at the door. It’s Jada Jet. Jada Jet is in the apartment and Sophie can barely cover herself fast enough with Ryan’s too short robe (this height difference is hilarious and I will never be over it). But at least Jada has coffee?
At Mary’s clinic, Alice is frantically looking for anti-psychotic meds and Mary’s confused about why Alice is even still here since she’s an actual fugitive. Alice cuts Mary off and yells that she’s losing her mind and the hallucinations are back. She pleads with Mary for the joy buzzer, but Mary reminds Alice that they need it for Ryan’s brother. So Alice plays the sister card. It backfires though, because Mary says that Alice isn’t her sister. She claims a sister wouldn’t have let her get so out of control that she murdered someone. And Alice looks like Mary punched her in the gut. Mary is the one person Alice has been able to open up to, probably since Ocean. And I honestly don’t even know if she let Ocean see her be as vulnerable as Mary has.
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t sure if this scene was real or a hallucination. We know that Alice is terrified of losing Mary. She said so herself while they set up a makeshift blood clinic at a random bar. Her hallucinations have typically depicted situations and people that Alice fears for one reason or another. So to have Mary, someone who finally sees and accepts all of Alice, turn on her and blame her just like every other person in her life has?? It’s heart-wrenching. Alice spends so much of this episode questioning her reality and in this brief moment, the writers had me questioning my own as well.
And Mary! Dear sweet Mary is the most scared we’ve ever seen her. She killed a guy and her friends keep telling her that it wasn’t her fault, so of course she’s going to blame the easiest target. Alice immediately reminds her that it was Poison Mary (emphasis on the MARY) who did the tree murder, not Alice.
It’s funny, my friend Nora tweeted about what would happen if Alice and Wanda Maximoff ever met, and she quoted Wanda’s “You break the rules and become the hero. I do it and I become the enemy. That doesn’t seem fair.” Once I put the pieces of my brain back together after imaging that scenario, I thought about it some more, and I actually think that quote can apply to Alice and Mary too. Or at least, I think Alice would apply it to her and Mary. From where she stands, both she and Mary did terrible things while not completely in control of themselves or their minds. Yes, Alice’s entire persona is a result of years long trauma vs. a weeks long plant infection, and I don’t think the situations are exactly the same. But I DO think the similarities are enough that Alice sees Mary’s insertion back into normal Bat Team life as categorically unfair. Plus look, I’m not saying it’ll fix everything, but I’m really going to need them to get a good therapy practice set up in Gotham.
Back at the loft, Sophie gets dressed and confronts Jada about why she suddenly cares about Ryan. She blames Jada for her part in Marquis’ shenanigans because she treated him with kid gloves instead of like a criminal. Before they get much further, Ryan comes in and breaks the tension.
Sophie’s annoyed that Ryan didn’t warn her about Jada’s visit because LOL if she thought that tiny ass robe was going to keep Jada from seeing her half-naked. Ryan apologizes and explains that she and Jada made plans to strategize on what to do about Marquis. They look at his calendar which is booked solid every single day except today. Nothing seems to jump out as unique about today, but they notice Marquis emailed someone to get Barbara Kean’s home address.
Yup, that Barbara Kean. AKA Barbara Gordon. AKA ex-wife of police commissioner Jim Gordon. Jada gets really squirrely as soon as Barbara’s name is mentioned. She packs up and exits after offering any resources the two need to figure this out. Ryan clocks Jada’s weirdness immediately, but as usual, Sophie is one step ahead of all of us and tells Ryan to stay put while she goes to handle something.
Turns out, Jada is the thing being handled. She’s on the phone warning someone that they’re not safe when Sophie appears in the alley seemingly out of thin air. Jada can’t believe Sophie made it down there so fast, but you see, when there’s one lesbian bar in town, the chances of running into exes is very high (I mean hell, the chances are high in NYC and there’s 8 million people here), so one must always have an exit strategy. Sophie knows The Hold Up like the back of her hand.
Soph calls out Jada for not mentioning that Babs is part of the Black Glove Society. Jada doesn’t want to involve Ryan in this, which will surely end up being just fine. Jada gets picked up in a very shiny Rolls Royce, but almost immediately, another very shiny Rolls Royce pulls up to do the same thing. Sophie realizes someone kidnapped Jada in front of her eyes, and runs after the first car.
Meanwhile, Mary is at the door of a house we’ve never seen and oh no. It’s the family of the guy she killed. She tells them she has information about his death and no no no Mary, this isn’t the way!
Down in Joker’s workshop, Kiki is hard at work as Alice starts to approach, twirling her butterfly knife. In a very un-Alice-like move, she accidentally drops the knife when Hallucination Mouse comes up behind her and starts taunting her. These hallucinations are rude AF, I swear. Like, I get it. Alice killed them. But give a girl a break! Alice yells at Hallucination Mouse to fuck off, and proceeds to attack Kiki from behind.
Back at The Hold Up, Ryan, Luke, and Sophie realize that the car switcheroo was a targeted attack on Jada. Luke barely noticed when Mary spent the night in the park, but apparently he clocked Sophie’s repeat outfit right away. Ryan jumps in and says Sophie was helping her the night before and didn’t have a chance to go home and change. SOPHIE’S SAD FACE, Y’ALL. Ugh, she just wants Ryan to claim her on the TL for the world to see! Anyway, someone bought a decoy car on Wayne Enterprises dime, so Sophie and Ryan head off to investigate what Marquis is up to.
Meanwhile, Alice threatens Kiki if she doesn’t make another joy buzzer for. Alice isn’t the first “crazy blonde” Kiki’s dealt with though, and like, my kingdom for an Alice/Harley interaction in some DC property. I genuinely don’t care which one. Just give me Rachel and Margot together, please and thank you. Alice doesn’t have a chance to plead her case to Kiki, because Marquis arrives and shoots her before taking the buzzer from her pocket.
This is the first time Alice and Marquis are in the same room, and I have almost no notes written down for this scene because I was so enraptured by the two of them. Marquis plays to Alice’s ego by calling her a legend before hitting her with some laughing gas. I saw a tweet that said something about how Wildmoore isn’t the only good thing about this show, and reader, I concur. Every single character hits. Every single storyline hits. Every single pairing hits. It is not easy to do right by such an important relationship while also telling a comics-worthy story based on existing IP, while also developing truly complex antagonists we love to watch, while also infusing comedy and emotions into tense situations. And yet, the Batwoman writers keep asking us to hold their beer.
Alice comes to in an unfamiliar room, and sees Marquis holding court over several Black Glove Society members dressed in robes and tied to chairs. It’s giving secret society; it’s giving Lovecraft Country; it’s giving Runaways. The guests of honor are Barbara Kean, Burton Crowne, Jeremiah Arkham, Mario Falcone, and of course, Jada Jet. Marquis promises to kill them all at this “final ceremony” and even Alice is like, “this dude is wildin’.”
Marquis gives us all a little exposition history lesson about the transgressions of each member of the BGs. He brings out a wheel o’ death and confronts Babs about how she tried to “fix” her son by pumping him full of experimental drugs. Marquis returns the favor and does the same to Barbara. As this is happening, Alice looks on while still hallucinating Mouse. He tells her that she doesn’t deserve the buzzer; why should she get a do-over? Alice says the quiet part out loud by acknowledging the confusion that her own hallucination would say she doesn’t deserve this. Could it be, my dear Alice, that you don’t think you deserve it? She takes a swing and obviously misses on account of Mouse not actually being there. It would be hilarious if it didn’t break my damn heart.
Back at Mary’s victim’s house, she starts to tell the family she knows who killed their husband and father. His wife doesn’t let Mary get far before revealing that she already knows who killed him; it was Alice. The look on Mary’s face as she realizes Alice took the fall for her nearly took me out. So much for “you’re not my sister, huh?
On a completely different note, I’m obsessed with the fact that the Batmobile has become the official vehicle of Lesbian Processing. Ryan looks over at Sophie and can practically see the wheels turning in her head. So instead of deflecting or making a joke, Ryan apologizes for freezing when Luke questioned Sophie’s outfit. Sophie accuses Ryan of hiding their relationship, but Ryan insists that it’s just none of Luke’s business. Look, she may not immediately own up to hiding, but she knows she messed up and at least takes the step to apologize. I’m taking this as a Ryan “I don’t talk about my feelings” Wilder win.
Back with the BGs, Marquis continues his murder spree. Jada begs him to stop and he threatens to freeze her like she did to him. Before he can follow through on his threat, Alice tackles him and the two fight over the joy buzzer. Marquis offers Alice the role of the Harley to his Joker, but Alice claims he has it backwards and besides, they’re different kinds of crazy. But are they?
And this is where the writers really flexed on us. Marquis recounts the day that Joker ambushed his school bus and buzzed brave little Marquis. Joker commandeered the bus and tried to drive away from Batman, who was trailing them. But you see, there was a too slow car in the way, so Joker rammed that car into a bridge guardrail. The very same car that young Beth and Kate Kane were in before it plunged into the water. My friends and I often talk about how rare it is for us to “get got” by TV, mostly because we watch so much of it. But I was really and truly gagged by this reveal. They took an established event we’ve seen from many different angles throughout the series, and seamlessly connected it to new characters they introduced. Like, it makes so much sense??? I’m still floored.
After Marquis threatens to hit Jada with the joy buzzer’s last charge, Alice offers him something the Joker could only wish he had, in exchange for giving him the buzzer.
Whatever that thing is, it’s enough for Marquis to relinquish his toy, because Alice has the buzzer and her freedom, but Sophie confronts her before she can use it.
Back inside, Ryan shows up to save Jada, and demands that she leaves before she gets hurt.
Sophie has Alice at gunpoint and reiterates that they need the buzzer for Marquis. Alice scoffs at Sophie for doing anything for the woman who basically turned Jordan into Olaf (LOLOL), and manages to wrest Sophie’s gun from her. I trust these writers so much, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when Alice pointed that gun at Sophie. Batwing shows up and knocks the buzzer from Alice’s hand before she can use it. He and Sophie cuff Alice as she sobs and pleads with Sophie not to send her back to Arkham. Give Alice an option other than Arkham WHEN.
Meanwhile, somehow Babs is still alive after being gassed by Marquis, who immediately tackles Ryan. The two argue, and Ryan takes off the Bat Hat to confront him. Just so we’re clear…Barbara Kean is STILL ALIVE and in the room, and Ryan has accidentally revealed herself to yet another person. Somewhere, Kara Zor-El is SCREAMING.
Ryan tells Marquis that she used to be jealous of him because he had everything and believed he could be anyone. But one thing Ryan has that he doesn’t, is hope. That’s wrong too though, because Marquis shoots her point blank and hopes it doesn’t kill her so he can use the freeze serum on his sister. I know the suit is bulletproof, but I still gasped. Jada appears, renounces Marquis as her son, and shoots the freeze serum out of his hand. Ryan told her mother to run, but Jada promises she’ll never do that to her again. And like, I just need to know who threw in the “baby girl” to the dialogue. Was it you, Daphne? My Wynonna Earp heart is still fragile and that one HURT.
Back at the loft, Wildmoore is chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool (literally, because Sophie brings Ryan some ice. GET IT?!). Ahem. Sophie gets right to it and tells Ryan that she’s never been in an out relationship with a girl before, and as soon as Ryan realizes they’re about to DTR, she smiles the biggest smile we’ve seen on her since…well since the night before, but you get my point. Soph’s body language is so vulnerable as she continues that she’s never introduced any women to her mom or sister, and she’s terrified that once she gets the courage to do that, what if her person doesn’t want the same thing?
I can’t help but think about season 1 Sophie Moore who was closeted with a whole husband and a secret past with Kate we only saw via flashback. The same Sophie Moore whose mother told her how disappointed she was when she came out. The Sophie Moore who gave Kate Kane her whole heart and got a kiss and a goodbye in return. The Sophie Moore who was so loyal to a broken system, she could barely see what was right in front of her. I wonder if Season 1 Crowphie would even recognize this woman who’s allowed herself to fall in love with Ryan Wilder. Because this Sophie Moore sits here baring her heart to the woman she loves despite every single fear she has telling her to do the opposite.
And what does she get in return? This time, she gets her feelings validated. This time, the person she’s opened herself up to sees her and tells her that yeah, she was right; Ryan was hiding, but not from their relationship. She was hiding from her own fears. When I say this relationship feels earned, this is what I mean. These two have grown separately, together, and separately again. We get to watch two Black lesbian characters be open and vulnerable with each other in ways they haven’t been, because they feel safe.
There’s a very cute moment where Sophie reminds Ryan what happened when she met Jada for the first time, and she does a little snort. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize this was a reference to Professor Pyg, and when I tell you I laughed even HARDER. Sophie rambles on, anxious about what will happen when Ryan meets her mom, and it’s Ryan’s turn for the “shut up” kiss. She smiles into it and Sophie visibly relaxes. I just…I love them so much. That’s it, I’m emotional. That’s all I got.
Mary and Luke come in to ask what they’re going to do about Marquis, but they don’t get far before Mary calls out Sophie’s outfit. It takes Mary all of 3 seconds to deduce that WILDMOORE IS REAL and the journey that Nicole Kang goes on here. She embodies every single Wildmoore stan out there. The squeals! The disbelief! The manic laughter from not knowing how to feel something good! Luke is still clueless until Mary spells it out for him and Ryan confirms that in case anyone wasn’t sure…they are OFFICIALLY A THING!! Ugh! We knew, but the way Sophie and Ryan keep stealing smiles at each other, and confirming their relationship to their friends?! WE DESERVE THIS, OKAY!!!
Back at Arkham, Alice gets thrown into a cell with Mouse and Ocean still haunting her brain. She turns around to slap them, but gets Mary instead, and she’s actually there. Alice begs Mary to get her out, but Mary is there to thank her for taking the fall for killing the guy in the woods. She apologizes for their fight, and acknowledges that Alice is trying. Alice apologizes right back, but it seems to be for something new. Mary asks what Alice did, and we don’t have to wait too long to find out.
Marquis knows exactly how to get into the Batcave and he now has every single Bat weapon at his disposal. Which will definitely be fine. Yup. The inclusion of the Joker smile on the Bat logo is probably just a misdirect…mmhmm!
Somehow next week is already the season finale?? I’m not ready to say goodbye to this show for the season, let alone forever, so if anyone even remotely responsible for these decisions has found this recap…could you maybe pretty please renew Batwoman? I’m just a recapper and I don’t speak for the fandom in any way, but I’m pretty comfortable saying that this representation matters and is so important to so many people.
As always, I’m looking forward to seeing your comments and thoughts on this massive episode! See you next week!