This Batwoman review contains spoilers.
Batwoman Episode 18
Let’s pop some of Mary’s champagne and toast the Bat Team because this was one hell of an episode! The first half was a high-stakes heist, while the second half piled on one twist after another.
I’m not a big twist fan – I’m of the belief that if the show or movie is no longer enjoyable with the twist spoiled, then it wasn’t very good to begin with – but these don’t feel like cheap, plot-driven gotcha moments that fall apart under scrutiny. Rather, while I’m in danger of falling into Magpie pun land, this is Batwoman’s chickens coming home to roost. The groundwork for Reagan, Magpie, and Tommy was laid in the first half of the season, and the added complications with Julia, Mary and Luke are building on the trajectory of recent episodes.
“If You Believe in Me, I’ll Believe in You” felt like the first that made complete use of Batwoman’s full roster, both in terms of the show and Team Bat itself. There are so many more opportunities with a full team – like allowing Kate to run into Reagan while Julia keeps the break-in going. When things went south for Batwoman and her “associates,” the writers made use of their full rogues’ gallery (and all that time Alice spent plotting in Arkham) to throw one escalating complication after another at our heroes and the viewer. Batwoman has clearly been finding its groove and getting better and better from one week to the next, but when it comes to a straight-up superhero serial, this week is what it looks like to be firing on all cylinders.
Of course even when Batwoman is mostly doing a standard episode of caped television, it’s still always serving something extra. Four of the major characters shown on screen are queer women – Kate, Sophie, Julia, and Reagan. When’s the last time that much wlw energy came together on a mainstream show? And then there’s Mary continually pushing back on people who underestimate her because she’s a young woman who knows how to dress and use social media. Even Luke (who I’d file as the opposite of toxic masculinity) got caught up in thinking Mary could only tag a mob boss in her insta story, when in reality he saved the damn day.
Nicole Kang’s performance as Mary continues to be a breath of fresh air that fends off the Bat family’s tendency toward the grimdark, and Batwoman’s stiffness. Mary and Luke’s dynamic continues to evolve, with him volunteering that he was missing his dad and being more able than Kate to articulate that his concerns with Mary were about her safety, not her competence. Ruby Rose also seems to be settling into her role. The more playful side she showed when messing with Luke and her warmth – and much-needed apology – with Mary are helping make Kate Kane feel more multidimensional.
If you’re wondering why the action in this episode is bananas-good, look no further than the director: James Bamford. He’s perhaps best known for his work on Arrow, where he worked his way up through the ranks coordinating fights and stunts and eventually became a director, showrunner, and executive producer. I still think the fight scenes are too dark and the camera moves too much, but this episode has more imaginative choreo and multiple big set pieces that just keep going in that Rube Goldbergian way that the best Arrow sequences used to. One of the best parts of Arrow’s take on action was the way different characters had signature fight styles, and I especially appreciated that women characters fought in ways that were realistic and played to their strengths, which was at play here as well.
So about all those twists. Reagan having an ulterior motive is a smart move, especially after her reappearance. The penny didn’t drop for me until late in the game, which I appreciated, and her clearly complicated allegiances to her sister(!) Magpie and Kate make this feel like a realistic betrayal that will nonetheless mess Kate up something awful. I expect she’ll be a wildcard, much like Julia.
This is also the week everyone learned that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Tommy Told Alice and Mouse, and poor Luke let it slip to Mary and immediately looked like he was going to be sick. If Bruce ever comes back to town, he’s going to have quite the welcome party. In between freeing Magpie and casually sewing a face, Alice and Mouse found time in this very packed hour to convert Tommy to his Hush form. We’ll finally see him in action (trench coat, bandages and all) in next week’s episode.
Over in love triangle land, Kate is very aware of Sophie and Julia’s flirting and she is not having it. It will likely hit harder, though, that Sophie didn’t tell Kate about coming out. It’s understandable – Sophie is explicitly taking time on her own to figure that stuff out and telling a new person was likely easier – but it hurts nonetheless. What will also hurt is when Sophie and Kate find out Julia has an allegiance to someone else and is trying to get Lucius Fox’s journal for them. Is it possible she’s talking to Bruce? That feels like the most obvious answer that keeps her a good person. But we also know Safiyah is at play somewhere out there in the world.
- Ok, did literally anyone think Reagan bought Kate’s story about Batwoman helping her? Kate didn’t even seem like she was trying with that one!
- For everyone upset about Kate’s wig (which included Bruce Wayne in the comics), they heard you and they’re on it! But why aren’t you mad about capes? Surely they present an easier target for grabbing purposes.
- Why yes, Batwoman did use the Kitty Delgado comic book as an opportunity to shade the industry for giving women unrealistic bodies and costumes, and yes, I am here for it!
- Julia’s red leather pants and zebra print jacket were amazing, but shout out to Kate Kane being able to wear the highly functional (and not high-heeled) Bat boots out to da club.
- Mary has so many gems: “We wanna hide the goods, but not hide the goods, ya feel me?”
- Tommy is such a fun villain, and Gabriel Mann is perfect for the role: “If you can’t trust your money launderer, who can you trust?”
- “Who are you?” “The heir to Hamilton Dynamics. And I’ve got money to spend” Mary Hamilton Kane and her white over-the-knee boots are not here to play!
- Kate Kane sleeping in boxers is for the culture.
- Who was the fancy lady in all black with severe hair and a bold lip at Sabatino’s? Did Julia actually kill her? Was it supposed to be that hot?