This Batwoman review contains spoilers.
Batwoman Episode 19
Hush’s entrance – silencers first, jacket collar up, Rorschach-style – was cool as hell, though he still seems to be new to the world of hands-on, non-white-collar crime. Alice has double-crossed him a couple of times now (and considered it even more) and he still doesn’t seem to get it.
But in a way it feels like I keep saying Hush has been introduced because, well, he has. It’s fun to see him finally in action, and perhaps one of Batwoman’s better qualities is the way it has created a three dimensional world full of characters who weave in and out of the show organically rather than parachuting in for overhyped one-episode events. But it also means that there are three different episodes of “wow, Hush is here!” excitement which feels a bit like milking it.
The positive side of this is the way this episode brings teen Parker Torres back. Alice knows about her tech and cryptology skills and wants to use them to crack the code in Lucius Fox’s journal. Parker always felt like a character who was destined to return, and this episode cemented my conviction that she’ll one day be part of the Bat family. Parker and Mary had great chemistry, and watching them commentate Kate and Sophie’s awkward talk about the relationship developing between Sophie and Kate’s ex Julia was delightful.
All season, Alice and Mouse have danced around fundamental disagreements in how they should conduct their criminal enterprise. Now Mouse is the one who wants safety and normalcy while Alice is on the warpath, feeling wronged by Kate for choosing Beth over her. Since Alice literally lit their safe harbor on fire (lol at anyone thinking Arkham Asylum is safe), here’s hoping that they’ll finally hash out their differences for real.
Something else Batwoman has been dancing around (and in some cases, outright denying) is the importance of one warlord Safiyah Sohail, the only person (other than her now-dead abuser) who actually frightens Alice. Using Julia and Lucius’s journal is the most natural way to finally bring her in as well as quickly resolve the issue of Julia’s double-cross.
It’s worth noting that Kate said she didn’t recognize Safiyah’s name – in the “Many Arms of Death” storyline in the comics, she was another of Kate’s exes, from when she traveled the world training post-military school, pre-Batwoman. Is Kate hiding the truth from Julia? (I’d hide my exes from her now too, even the violent ones.) Or is this interpretation bringing a new twist on one of Batwoman’s best characters? Safiyah also comes from the same place as the flower that produced the rare elixir that saved Mary’s life and made her blood basically magic – could her appearance spell trouble for Mary?
Jake Kane declaring war on Batwoman feels almost cute at this point and is definitely a narrative step backwards. Emotionally, we’ve all moved on from the “oh no Batwoman’s evil!” portion of the program, thank you very much. And frankly we’re not even all the interested in the “tee hee Batwoman’s identity is a secret” scenario, either. There was nothing from his character keeping this animosity top of mind for so many episodes that it almost feels like it came out of nowhere. At least he hit Kate Kane with a great philosophical issue: she needs Alice as much as Alice needs her, the same way Batman and Joker needed each other. Maybe that’s why Batman disappeared – with no Joker, he was all out of whack?
Finally, there is the heart of this episode: “there is no Batwoman without Luke Fox.” It’s a simple quote, but between two tight-lipped people who let few people in, and especially for someone like Luke who lives in the constant shadow of his father, it needed to be said. What has taken other shows many seasons or their entire run to say, (looking at you, Flash and Arrow) Batwoman is saying in season one: the city is saved by more than just the person in the suit. The Hero is the entire team, and the person in leather couldn’t do it alone.
It’s no mistake that the crux of the initial argument was over a) trust and b) Luke’s ability to disagree with Kate and still be valued. John Diggle was incredibly valuable to Arrow (the show and the team) in so many ways, but one of the biggest advantages he represented was pushing back on Oliver Queen in ways big and small. It’s bumpy of course, but it’s great to be watching the beginning of another relationship that is clearly going to be of that caliber and will hopefully go on for many season. Yes, it turns out Julia was being shady, but everyone is wrong sometimes, and there was also more to her duplicity than Kate thought, proving that she shouldn’t go all scorched earth.
Ultimately, Kate and the show made the strongest possible statement: Luke Fox is more valuable to Batwoman than her own life. Seen another way, Kate is so confident in her team when Luke Fox is on it, that she knows when he’s safe, they can take on any comers. So while she might not have retrieved the journal in that moment, Kate’s probably certain they can stop whatever is coming next. Which brings us to the actual content of Lucius’s notebook, which causes Alice to send her mummified errand boy to go fetch some Kryptonite, of all things. Is this an epic misdirect from the ever-careful Lucius Fox, or is there something about Batwoman’s (and Batman’s) suit that only Kryptonite can penetrate?
- This week’s episode saw that the last episode had four queer women and was like “hold my flannel” – there are six queer women, all with lines!
- What has Julia lied to Kate about in the past?
- I’m very here for Parker getting confused while trying to learn the lesbian girlcode of whether exes can date exes. I’m even more here for her telling Kate to fight for Sophie.
- We’ve always known Kate is secretly a boomer, but damn! She has a landline!
- Parker Torres, rando teen: “No offense but I’ve been kidnapped by worse.” And also: “I thought ‘Bat Cave’ was, like, a metaphor or something”
- Rachel Skartsen fully committing to the bit as Alice pretending a mop is Parker is the kind of delightfully bonkers weirdness we come here for.
- Luke, bb, you’re a genius too. Lucius was so proud! You apparently know letters from the Aramaic, Babylonian and Mayan alphabets?! You got this.