We’re baaaaaack! I hope you’re all rested and more hydrated than Pamela Isely, because we have one heck of an episode of Batwoman to recap this week. So let’s not waste any more time, allons y!
Right off the bat (heh), we’re thrown into a flashback from ten years earlier where a uniformed Renee Montoya approaches what appears to be the scene of a Poison Ivy attack. Montoya’s partner demands that Pam show herself, so she obliges; and from the midst of the trees like some kind of woodland Elsa, struts Pamela Isely wearing Bridget Regan’s face and it’s at this point I knew I wouldn’t survive this episode. I have loved Bridget Regan since she burst onto my screen as Dottie in Agent Carter, and since then my philosophy has been “if Bridget Regan’s in it, I’m watching it and I’m also assuming her character is queer thank you so much.” In all seriousness, it is an absolute joy and honor to get to write about such an incredible actress and I can’t think of anyone more perfect to portray the OG Pam than her.
Back to the flash, Montoya refuses to shoot her girlfriend and Pam attacks Renee’s partner with her vines before telling Renee that she’s doing this because someone has to care.
In the present, in a posh Metropolis hotel room surrounded by shopping bags and mountains of food, Mary gives Alice a green manicure while Alice tries desperately not to hurt Mary’s feelings with the truth that green isn’t exactly her color. They’re soon interrupted by hotel staff demanding they leave on account of all of Mary’s cards getting declined. After some quick green-eyed mind control, Mary convinces the staff to change their minds. Y’all, I have missed this duo so much! Alice’s little eye gesture to tell Mary to use her power! And Alice making sure the staff refer to her sister as “Doctor” and not “Ms.”! It’s just delightful.
Mary realizes that the “Bat bitches” (LOL) cut her off and goes on an almost Alice-esque rant about the fact that now that she’s gone, that’s when they decide to pay attention to her. I love that Nicole Kang uses some of the same mannerisms and line delivery patterns that we’ve come to expect from Alice; and Alice is clearly impressed by Mary’s villain progression. (Speaking of line delivery, Rachel’s “you kill them immediately” took me OUT.) Realizing that Mary is completely spinning out, Alice offers her some less than great advice: make the Bat Team hate her so much they have no choice but to give up on her.
Renee is at Mary’s clinic and seeing white flowers amid a sea of green and vines sparks a memory of Pam. In it, Pam apologizes for injuring Renee’s partner by bringing her girlfriend white tulips. (Queers really love their meaningful white flowers, huh? Lilies, moonflowers, tulips…) First of all, HEIGHT DIFFERENCE. Ahem. Okay second, Renee is still upset that she can’t do her job of upholding the law while Pam is out here breaking those laws left and right. Pam just wants Renee to have her back and see the impact climate change is having on the world around them. She asks Renee to go with her, but Renee won’t do it unless it’s with the “old Pam” she feel in love with. Look, I’m sorry Renee but Pam is out here making POINTS, and also… ACAB.
Meanwhile, the Bat Team has set up shop down in the basement of City Hall, right outside Renee’s office. Luke’s desk is out here looking like my apartment before I got that pandemic WFH stipend. There are wires everywhere, the Internet is laughing in their faces, all while Sophie is trying to figure out if asbestos has a smell. Frankly, the whole thing is hilarious.
Enter: Renee Montoya, her sarcasm, and her guilt. Homegirl is Frustrated and takes it out on Ryan, saying that she allowed things like “family” and “friendship” get in the way of her decision-making when she let Mary go and wouldn’t send Marquis to Arkham. Renee keeps saying that she did what she had to, that Pam was out of control, that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few; but I think there’s a little part of her that wishes she was more like Ryan. That she waited just a little longer to appeal to the Pam she believed was still inside Poison Ivy.
Sophie comes over and starts to agree with Renee about what to do about Mary, before Ryan immediately accuses Sophie of agreeing just because they slept together. And Sophie’s faaaace, y’all!! I love that Ryan refuses to leave this alone. My friend Monica joked that this should be a running bit where in random situations Ryan is just like “oh hey, remember that time you SLEPT WITH MONTOYA?!” and honestly, I’m here for it.
Renee explains that she understands where Ryan’s coming from and that she tried to see the best of Pam, but Renee chose Batman and the people of Gotham. Rather than relegate Pam to Arkham, Batman developed a serum that would desiccate (aka dehydrate) her, keeping her alive but inert and unable to harm anyone. The team figures if they can find Poison Ivy and siphon the serum from her, they can use it on Mary to stop her while they come up with a way to cure her. But Ryan still doesn’t want to do that to their friend; but unfortunately she’s outvoted on this one.
Step 1 in their plan is to figure out where Batman stashed Pam, and Luke figures Bruce probably wrote about it in his journals (because of course), but with Marquis’ increased security at Wayne Tower, they don’t know how they’ll get into the Batcave to get them. As this is happening, you can see Renee puzzling something out on her face, and she realizes that after all this time as a detective, she’s just learning that Bruce Wayne is Batman. I swear, this team is looser with secret identities than the Super Friends.
Meanwhile, Marquis video calls Ryan, and his sister pleads with him to get help. Ryan overhears one of Marquis’ assistants giving details about that night’s party, and she decides that’s their way into Wayne.
The party is a deck of cards themed masquerade and our team is looking FLY as all heck. In the first elevator scene of the night, Luke, Sophie, and Ryan go over their fake identities: Spencer Glad, Cecelia Langley, and Penelope Devereaux (who’s French by the way), respectively. Luke and Sophie are really into their identities, but Ryan is…decidedly not. At one point, Sophie says “my girl sounds hot” and in the moment I thought she meant Ryan, but on second watch, I realized she probably meant the girl she was pretending to be but you know, headcanon and all that. They mask up and enter the party because everyone knows partially obscuring the area around your eyes renders you unrecognizable to anyone who’s ever seen you before.
Marquis hits the stage and tells a story about his first meeting with the board where they decided he wasn’t right to lead the company so naturally, he fired them all. As he continues, Luke and Sophie tag team Marquis’ assistant to get the shot glass Marquis touched and to switch the SIM cards in the tablet for full access to the building’s security. (Their little handshake when they realize both of their tasks are done!!) Ryan’s job is to get close enough to Marquis for a full retinal scan.
They realize this is some kind of group job interview as Marquis pulls a card and the person with the matching card joins him onstage. All seems as normal as something like this can be until the “contestant” gets a question wrong and is immediately electrocuted. Ryan decides this is her chance to get up close and person to her brother so she takes the next card called and hits the stage. She and her blasé French accent manage to stall long enough for the scan to complete.
Fact: elevators are gay. They’re also hella awkward. Put those two things together and you’ll get this magical scene with Ryan, Sophie, and Renee heading up to Bruce’s office. Ryan side-eyes the heck out of Renee and Sophie tries to lighten the mood with a joke since you know, it’s kind of her fault there’s tension to begin with. Renee insists she’s just there to help because you see, she and Pam are soulmates and there’s a good chance she’ll understand what’s in the journals.
Ryan tells Sophie that just because she and Renee decided to make up, doesn’t mean Wildmoore is in the clear. She decides she’ll take Renee’s help, but only if Renee agrees to keep Ryan’s name out her mouth. But Renee won’t agree to that until they find Joker’s joy buzzer, which they need Alice to find and OH HEY REMEMBER WHEN ALICE WAS SOPHIE’S RESPONSIBILITY BUT INSTEAD SHE HOOKED UP WITH RENEE. LOL Oh Ry Ry, I get it, I really do, but you gotta talk to her. I know there’s a lot happening right now, what with your best friend and your brother turning into supervillains before your eyes, but I’m really going to need you to be real about your jealousy and for Sophie to reassure you that this thing with y’all is more than just a one night stand. Please. Y’all are queer. PROCESS THIS.
When they reach their destination, they’re greeted by Marquis’ cronies playing pool and watching basketball and when I tell you the way my heart stopped when those three queer women of color burst through the door??? Previous awkwardness almost forgotten, these three are all business and ready to kick some ass. And kick ass they did. This was some of the most gorgeous fight choreo I’ve ever seen, made even more beautiful by the color coordination of the wardrobe. 10/10 would watch a spinoff of The Cleaning Ladies. Once the cronies are taken care of, they take yet another elevator down to the Batcave.
Mary Hamilton has Arrived at the party looking FOINE, I might add. Luke radios this info down to Ryan as the ladies look through Bruce’s journals, and Ryan is so hopeful as she asks if Mary came home looking for them. It’s like she’s grasping for any bit of evidence that the real Mary is still there, to prove to her friends that maybe they don’t need to give her the Poison Pam treatment.
Back at the party, Mary ignores Luke and heads directly to Marquis where the two verbally spar before Mary asks him to dance.
Ryan is getting frustrated that they haven’t found anything yet and suggests they look through the journals chronologically based on when Renee first contacted Bruce. Now, I’m not even sure what day it is today, but somehow Renee is able to remember this being early June 2011. They come across a drawing of the Gotham Dam which thrusts Renee into another memory.
My dear friend Daphne co-wrote this episode, and as soon as I heard the first chords of the background song (“Feel” by Fletcher), I knew she planned to emotionally attack us with this scene. Pam is packing up to leave when Renee comes in, visibly exhausted and dejected, with a single tulip (that Pam informs her technically she just killed) and asks if her girlfriend knows anything about a break-in at the Gotham Dam. Pam knows the truth will cause an irreparable rift between them, and a lie wouldn’t be true to her cause. She knows what she wants, so she asks Renee to answer that same question. There’s a moment when Renee steps up to Pam to answer her where Pam looks almost surprised at Renee’s movement. Maybe it’s the height difference, maybe Pam thought she had the upper hand and didn’t expect Renee to push back when their love was at stake. Either way, Bridget Regan played it perfectly.