Welcome back to another Batwoman recap where I try to rein in the amount of all caps yelling I do because…professionalism.
Previously on Batwoman, Renee Montoya coerced Alice and Ryan into playing nice with each other, Luke injected Alice with tracking nanobites so she wouldn’t be able to leave Gotham, and Ryan came face-to-face with Jada Jet, the birth mother who abandoned her all those years ago.
We appear to be sticking with the “Batman trophy of the week” theme, and not gonna lie, I’m into it! This time it’s a canister of a liquid nitrogen-like concoction ending up in the unfortunate hands of an eighth grader who accidentally sets off the canister and freezes the entire back half of the bus they’re riding. (By the way, I love that this show is like, “I know, I know. Another white guy in a suit. But don’t worry, we will immediately show you how terrible he is.”) Thanks to Dana Dewitt, we know that freezing agent is linked to former Batman foe, Victor Fries.
At the Haus of Purple Hued Decor, Ryan meets with Jada for a meeting the latter apparently called. Jada makes it clear that she had no plans to ever meet her daughter, but she’s glad that Ryan has made a name for herself despite her circumstances. And Ryan, bless her heart, reassures Jada that she’s doing just fine and that she doesn’t judge Jada for choices she had to make almost 30 years ago. She’s so earnest and hopeful, and it makes Jada saying that she doesn’t want a relationship with Ryan that much harder to watch.
One of Ryan’s greatest assets is her heart and how much she cares about people, and in this moment, she covers her hurt with anger toward Jada for covering up her birth in the first place. Jada warns Ryan to stop digging into the past and into her family, and threatens to take down Wayne Enterprises if she doesn’t comply. Our girl gets the last word in though, telling Jada that she finally realized her birth mother is someone who isn’t worth her time.
Before Ryan leaves, a man looking fly in white and fresh kicks comes in and asks why they’re meeting without him. Turns out, this is Marquis Jet, the Executive Vice President of Jeturian Industries. Oh and also he’s Jada’s son.
Back at Wayne Tower, after Sophie and Ryan reenact their favorite Stay the Night elevator scene (Wait, what? Wrong show? My bad.), Sophie tells Ryan that yes she knew about Marquis but she kept that information from her because Ryan only wanted to know the bare minimum. Sophie keeps doing this thing where she changes her tone and body language before asking what Ryan needs. This time it’s about what she needs in this situation with her mom, and it simultaneously breaks and warms my heart.
Down in the Batcave, Mary and Luke comfort Ryan to the sweet sweet sounds of Alice fake coughing in the background. Big Karen from Mean Girls energy with this one. It is damn near impossible to do justice to Rachel Skarsten comedic timing in this episode, but I’m going to try. Alice going on about how everyone was so mad about her killing Ryan’s mom and now that she provided a new one, they’re still mad about it, but anyway, homegirl needs some water.
Luke explains the deal with the “freeze stuff” while Mary goes to get Alice the least amount of water needed to suppress her cough. I see you and that pettiness, Mary! Alice claims she can feel the nanobites crawling in her skin, but Mary insists that’s not a thing that happens. Alice asks for a sick day (I wonder what the Batteam benefits package looks like. Those out-of-pocket premiums must be outrageous) and Luke figures that would be better than Alice helping to break into the GCPD to find the canister.
When Ryan gets to the GCPD, she discovers the canister is missing. We quickly learn that it’s in possession of an older woman who is ready to finish what Victor started. Before we find out what that is, a very attractive woman in a sleeveless vest kicks down the door demanding answers to how Nora Fries was frozen for 20 years, yet sits right in front of her.
In the Batcave, Luke explains that the woman who stole the canister is Dee Smithy, Nora Fries’ sister. Nora was diagnosed with MacGregor syndrome decades ago when there was no cure, so Victor put his wife in a cryochamber until a cure was found. He died before that happened, and when Nora woke up, she was quite obviously confused about missing 20 years of her life, so instead of finding her the mental health resources she needed, they locked her up in Arkham. Real quick though, it seems hella easy to break out of Arkham. Like, I haven’t read every DC comic, but it seems like people are just always escaping?? Whatever, I’m anti-carceral anyway, carry on escapees!
Before Ryan can investigate further, Marquis Jet shows up with a basketball for some reason. This is absolutely not the point, but can we talk about Javicia’s stellar chest pass for a second? I mean, WHEW! Ahem. Back to Marquis who is listing off everything he knows about Ryan, including the fact that she’s his sister. Apparently, nannies talk, and Child Marquis figured that a sibling from an affair was the reason his parents stopped talking to each other. Adult Marquis saw right through all of Jada’s secret meetings and wants to prove himself to his mother. And what better way to do that than partnering with the person who managed to ruffle Jada’s feathers. He offers Ryan the chance to show Jada what she missed out on by not claiming Ryan as her daughter. So she decides to think about it.
At Dee’s house, Batwoman investigates the scene of the break-in and notices all of the medications. She and Luke assume Dee wants to put Nora back in stasis, and they’re probably going to use the cryo chamber at ACE Chemicals because OF COURSE there’s a cryo chamber at ACE Chemicals.
Meanwhile at ACE, Dee and Nora give the hot lady notes on cryogenesis and listen, I know she’s a “villain” or whatever, but LOOK AT HER.
Back at the clinic, Mary is checking Alice vitals as part of her sick day routine, but everything looks normal. Nicole Kang and Rachel Skarsten have some of the best non-romantic chemistry I’ve ever seen. They banter and play off each other in a way that most sisters would, and it is absolutely delicious to watch.
Mary suggests that while Alice is physically okay, there might be something else at play here, and asks if this fake sickness is a cry for help. Sadly, Alice says that she’s learned cries for help don’t actually work. There’s been some dancing around mental health lines this season (the Mad Hatter, Luke, Alice), and so far I think they’re doing a good job of playing on the surface. I just hope as the season progresses and they get deeper, they address Alice and Luke’s trauma in a real way.
Mary genuinely asks Alice if she needs help, but Alice deflects to the Luke situation and the fact that Mary is in between telling Ryan about Luke’s PTSD, and staying loyal to Luke who she LOOOOOOVES. Again, Rachel Skarsten…HOW?! Alice keeps trying to get into Mary’s head by suggesting the Batteam only sees the doctor when they need something from her.
Back at ACE, we get confirmation that putting Nora back in the cryo chamber is the only way to save her. Then Batwoman drops in and takes out several goons before having a very hot fight with the lady whose name we may never know. The woman knocks out Ryan who comes to inside the cryo chamber.
Ryan contacts the Batcave and Luke realizes that her vitals are super concerns and she needs to stay awake before hypothermia sets in. Ryan begs him to suit up because it’s the only way to save her.
At the clinic, we see that Nora successfully made it out of ACE and is in the care of Dr. Hamilton while Alice putzes around in the background. The putzing doesn’t last though, but Alice appears next to Nora and threatens to slit her throat if Mary doesn’t take the nanobites out of her. Nora throws a wrench into Alice’s plan and doesn’t care if she kills her because the last thing she wants is to be trapped again.
Once Alice leaves, Mary apologizes for her, but Nora sees Alice and understands better than anyone that Alice has been trapped for her entire life and just wants her freedom. We’ve seen Alice physically held hostage by her captor and by the GCPD, and now we’re seeing her held prisoner by her mind. All she wants is to exist on her own terms for the first time since she was 13 years old, and I really hope that happens for her. Try as you might, show, I refuse to see Alice as the villain!
Back in the Batcave, Sophie is on comms!! She’s checking on Ryan and begs her to stay awake. Her tactic? Queer processing, obviously. Y’all, the way I leaped off my couch when Sophie said, “Where do we stand? You and me.” Like oh, we’re doing doing this right now as Ryan freezes to death. Cool cool cool. Sophie’s hurt because when Ryan needed tactical help finding her mother, Sophie was right there for her doing the dirty work, but when it came to the emotional part, Ryan went right to the Batteam instead. Sophie has layers, y’all, and she wants Ryan to peel back each and every one to learn exactly who she is. Meanwhile, Ryan is literally dying of hypothermia but is upset to learn that she hurt Sophie’s feelings. This is the gayest shit, I swear…
Ryan starts to ask what Sophie wants her to know, but starts to drift off. Batwing shows up just in time to save Ryan while Sophie screams at literally anyone to give her an update. This woman is going THROUGH it, but she physically relaxes as soon as she learns Ryan is okay.
You can tell Sophie is more relaxed because as Batwoman and Batwing chase the goons in the Batmobile, she’s chillin’ in the Batcave without her jacket on. Guns out. Just…looking like that. Ryan calls Sophie clever for the tactics she used to keep her awake and talking, and Luke ASKS RYAN OUT LOUD IF SHE’S FLIRTING WITH SOPHIE. Ryan tries to deny it and Sophie reminds them that the comms are still on, but she looks genuinely SO HAPPY about the conversation happening in that car.
And then the bad guys blow up a section of the bridge, and I assume Ryan is going to have to Spice Bus this situation, but instead Luke freezes the open area and Ryan drives right through. She tries to get Sophie to admit that was a badass move, but all Sophie gives back is, “it was interesting.” Ryan smirks and delivers one of the sexiest lines I’ve ever heard on this show: “Woman, you are hard to please.” And what goes unsaid is that despite that, Ryan is going to keep trying to please her. THE SMIRK ON SOPHIE’S FACE, Y’ALL.
I know I say this a lot, but I’ve been watching TV for a very long time. It wasn’t until very recently that I started seeing myself represented in that TV. And I don’t just mean shows inserting queerness and Blackness as it suits them. I’m talking about those small moments that capture what it means to be Black and to be queer. There’s a scene in the movie Girls Trip that I think back on a lot, where the four friends are in their hotel room getting ready for bed, and during the process they’re all wrapping up their hair. But it’s not a conversation; it just happens. Supergirl did something similar, in an episode directed by Azie Tesfai, where Kelly spent several minutes quietly just existing as a Black woman in her space.
And now, we get Ryan and Sophie overtly flirting with each other and it almost seems silly to give this much time and space in a recap to what amounted to maybe 60 seconds of on-screen interaction. But I remember a time when we’d look for every crumb of evidence to prove that Brittany and Santana were into each other. And even when queerness on network TV became more overt, it rarely involved Blackness in a way that wasn’t tragic or painful. Ryan didn’t hesitate before flirting with Sophie even after Luke called her out. It was smooth and deliberate and like I said, sexy as all hell. This might be hella corny, but I’m just glad we get to have a show that celebrates and showcases multiple parts of Blackness and queerness; it matters.
Also the team saves Dee and the bad guys get away.
For some reason, Alice is seemingly back in Arkham or at least hallucinating being back in Arkham? She sees the nanobites crawling under her skin and wonders what the heck is going on with her.
Back in the Batcave, Ryan’s shelving the freeze canister when Mary comes in and tells her the truth about why Luke seems to have figured out the Batwing suit. She admits she shouldn’t have cleared him because he’s showing signs of PTSD from being shot. Ryan confronts Luke, but he insists he’s okay before walking out, clearly pissed at Mary.
At The Hold Up, Sophie is in a Black hoodie with the sleeves rolled up and I am super duper gay. She goes over to where Ryan is sitting, and Ryan tells her about Marquis’ plan to work together. Again, Sophie asks Ryan what it is that she wants. And because Ryan paid attention to what Sophie said earlier, she opens up. She admits that she wants all of the little things that come with having a mom. Sophie reminds her that it’s Jada’s loss. Ryan knows that having Jada as an enemy will put everyone she cares about at risk, and she has to put the team first.
Meanwhile, Dee and Nora are in the park and Mary gives Nora meds to get her through the next few days. Despite Dee’s feelings, Nora is perfectly content experiencing her life in the moment, no matter how much time she has left.
As Mary walks away though, a curious set of vines snake toward her, wrap around her ankles and pull her into the hedges! Me thinks Poison Ivy is afoot, y’all!!!!!
Next week, Sophie maybe comes to terms with her feelings for Ryan?!?! WILDMOORE HIVE, WE RIDE AT 9PM NEXT WEDNESDAY!